Do you read the Foreward, Introduction & Extra Content?

October 19, 2013 Discussion 29

I learned a lesson recently while reading through a super hero short story anthology – SUPER STORIES OF HEROES & VILLAINS. Don’t skip the mini intros – and be damned sure you browse the extra content! Or you’ll miss out.

All of you have seen it, from time to time a book will start off with a forward or Introduction either written by the author, editor or another author – SOMEONE…writing something about the book you are about to read.

Do you read this? Usually I do – sometimes I find they help get me more excited about what I’m already about to read. Other times, I wonder – who the heck picked that person to write an introduction?

Now, there are also some occasions that you will see mini intros at the beginning of each chapter or section. Again…do you read this? Is it necessary? Sometimes I can be an impatient reader and I just want to plow ahead. I do say though if it’s there – it is likely there for a reason – you should probably read it.

How about glossaries and footnotes (typically I only see these in textbooks), or extra content at the back of a book!? What do you read and don’t you read? Personally, I will sometimes read the Discussion topics in the back of a book if I really loved the book.  I tend to see these only in young adult books though.  I did see an awesome interview with the author in the back of Charming by Elliott James, and in the back of Ink by Amanda Sun there was a lovely Japanese to English glossary and extra illustrations.  So, sometimes the extra content is amazing.

What do you wish there was more of? What don’t you read as far as extra content is concerned? I for one NEVER read the first chapter of the next book that is sometimes included at the back of a book. Why? Because I don’t want to freaking torture myself with something that I won’t be able to have for likely a whole year. I’m not a masochist for crying out loud…alright you got me, maybe sometimes I am *looks at book avalanche*

Tell me, tell me. What extras do you like? *and don’t even get me started on my love hate relationship with single light novellas*…I love short stories but if you want me to buy it you better give it to me in a collection with 10 to 20 other stories and not have me pay 2 dollars for ONE story that is a measly 40 pages unless that money is going to charity…But you know what…I can’t stop myself from doing it. I kick myself every time but I still buy these single shorts and novellas. Hence the love hate.

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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29 Responses to “Do you read the Foreward, Introduction & Extra Content?”

  1. Christy @ Love of Books

    I usually read everything. But when I read The Passage, I was keeping notes of all of the characters. When I told Kim^ this, she told me there was a glossary of all the characters in the back. D’oh! I NEVER look in the back until I’m finished. At the same time, I still would’ve kept my own notes.
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    • Pabkins

      See maybe I’m weird but I always check the back of the book first for extras. Because I love glossaries and to use them as I read. I wish they would always mention them at the beginning in a table of contents.
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  2. [email protected]

    I read everything, because I’m too scared to miss anything important. I especially like it when there is an explanation in historical fiction, where the authors tells about real events and what they made up. I love a page with maps or a list with names/made-up words. It makes it even easier to connect with the story, because you can see the world they live in. That’s probably one of the reasons I love fantasy so much.
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    • Pabkins

      I agree, I do think that bit that some authors put in at the end detailing the actual history and what aspects completely veered off in their book is always fascinating!
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    • Pabkins

      Haha man you skip a bunch! I do think the intros are probably the only really necessary should not skip bits. And everything else just fluff..but I still usually enjoy fluff.
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  3. Bookworm1858

    The only time I don’t read an introduction is for a classic because sometimes they assume you’ve read the classic and discuss plot points that kind of spoil the novel. Otherwise I am so glad that stuff is included as it means more reading material and more cool insight.
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    • Pabkins

      That is so true!! I definitely don’t read the intro in classics either! I think that is probably the only time I don’t! Sometimes I have read the book already. But I find those intro so stuffy.
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  4. Charleen

    I usually do, but I wait until after I’ve read the story. Especially in the case of books that have been around a while, sometimes the introduction includes spoilers for the book! Why would you put something like that in the front?!

    I don’t read sneak peeks, though. Maybe I would if I were on the fence about continuing a series, but if I already know I’m going to read it, I’d rather just wait than be teased.
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    • Pabkins

      Me too! I can’t stand those sneak peaks. A few times I did read them and later noticed the opening chapter was completely different when the next book was released. It’s like a way early ARC. So why even bother?
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    • Pabkins

      You don’t read the author or review blurbs that are in the inner pages? That is a good point! I read the review blurbs on the back cover, but I never read the ones that are on the inside front and back few pages. At that point why would I bother since I’m already going to read the book+?
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  5. Jamie

    I often skim read introductions, and content extras (glossary, character breakdown, etc) What I will always read is a summary of previous books if it is part of a series. Especially if it has been a while since I read the last book. I appreciate when authors recap briefly to jog readers memories. Also maps! In fantasy novels, etc. I love checking out the map they often have.
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    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      I don’t think I’ve ever seen a summary of previous book section in a series book before. Do you have an example of a series that does that so I can take a book…hopefully I have one of them on my shelf. Yes a recap would be so freaking helpful!

  6. Ashleigh Swerdfeger

    I like to read everything! I like to be informed lol. I think there is a lot of great content in the intros and forewords/after- there is usually something to learn. I like reading sample chapters but it does depend on the book. It does seem like torture at times!
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  7. Silvia

    I usually read the introduction, especially if the book’s by one of my favourite authors. If I can tell it’s just going to be acknowledgements, I’ll usually skip it (except for Neil Gaiman, because even his acknowledgements are a good read).
    I definitely read the bits at the start of the chapter, I never considered not reading them – they’re obviously there as part of the story and can be used as a great device to get more background or mythology of that world to the readers without doing annoying infodumps in the narrative.
    Appendices and maps are something I’ll usually consult at the end, unless it’s a huge confusing book or series with a million characters that travel all over the place (I’m looking at you, Wheel of Time), then I refer to it whenever I get confused. But I try not to look at maps right away because I find I can guess too much of the story from them.
    I’m with you on sneak peeks – they just drive me crazy, it’s upsetting enough that the book I enjoyed just ended, I don’t want to be taunted with another one that ends before it even starts properly.

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Yes!! The Wheel of Time – jeeejummperjahosifats man! Though I guess if you read it all back to back its not so bad. I find the Song of Ice and Fire series much more in depth and crazy. The thing that always confused me about WOT was the Forsake and when they get reincarnated – I hate not KNOWING for sure who was who. It was rather annoying.

      So with Epic fantasy it definitely is a must to have those sections in the back with glossary and genealogy. Heck I used to keep track of all that junk on the WOT wiki page. haha.

      • Silvia

        Oh god yes, the Forsaken drove me crazy! I kept losing count of them and had no idea who was who. And Song of Ice and Fire is even worse. Now that’s one series that needs summaries at the beginning of every book, what with having to wait for five years between books.

        • Tabitha the Pabkins

          That is exactly why I’ve stopped at book 4. I refused to read any further til the man completes the series. I mean at this rate it will end up like it did with Jordan and someone else finishing the series!

          • Silvia

            Yeah, that’s what I’m worried about too. I guess you can’t hurry the creative process along, but he’s not getting any younger…
            I haven’t actually read the last one, precisely because even a summary of the previous books would take me forever to read and I kinda feel like I should read them all again before I start the next one.