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Archive - General > Do You read Forewords, Prologues, and Introductions?

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message 1: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Yes I do. They can give you a brief outline of what to expect from the book and who the central characters are. Sometimes they can give you the starting point by bringing you up to speed with the story line.

I prefer it be written by the author, since he/she is the authority on their books.

If it is a historical book then an expert on the subject would be fine.

message 2: by Caroline (new)

Caroline (carolinecarnivorous) Of course I do!
I think they're pretty important to ''get into'' and ''get out of'' the book.

message 3: by Michael (new)

Michael (micky74007) depends on the author. Always read the prologue with Clive Cussler, as this is an integral part of the story. Otherwise, usually not.

message 4: by Wendy (new)

Wendy Percival | 11 comments Sometimes a forward can be an appetiser for the main event... delayed gratification for a book I'm looking forward to reading (but that will usually be by an author I know well). As far as a prologue's concerned, of course - but if it fails to interest me I won't bother to read any further!

message 5: by Mel (new)

Mel (bullet123) I'll read them after I've read the main body of the book and prefer it if they are written by the author.
If the book is fictional then finding out what the inspiration was for the writer, which parts they found difficult to write and why they started writing the story are interesting.

message 6: by David (new)

David Freas (quillracer) | 2235 comments It depends.

If the prolog is integral to the story - if the action in it precipitates whatever happens in the rest of the book - or if it give me some insight into the main character, yes. Although why the initiating action would need to be a prolog instead of Chapter 1 escapes me.

If it's not part of the book, I may skim it to see if there's anything of value in it. However, as soon as it appears to be the author, editor, or some other person trying to justify what the author did (or laud what a great, fantastic, wonderful writer he is - usually found in re-issues of well known books), I'm outta there!

message 7: by Marie-Jo (last edited Aug 25, 2013 10:39AM) (new)

Marie-Jo Fortis | 35 comments I read prologues in novels, of course. Good question, by the way. As far as intros and forewords, I now go to them after reading the work itself. I don't want these to manipulate my thinking, for one. And, for two, if some of these are enlightening, others are academic bores. So this approach helps me to spend time with what is truly essential, and that may mean skipping the intro entirely if it looks too wordy and full of air.

message 8: by Karen (new)

Karen I sometimes read them and sometimes not. Usually I do the prologue. It depends.

Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) Jac wrote: "Do you read prologues, forewords, and introductions?

In what kinds of books do you find them useful?

Do you like them:
(a) by the author,
(b) by an editor,
(c) by some expert, or
(d) by any other person? (Who?)

What useful things can it tell you before the chapters start?

I read prologues and epilogues always.

If it's an author intro I usually skip it but it depends on who it's by and if it's a favorite, etc.

I sometimes read other peoples intros, mainly if it's a classic or for a favorite book, but I skim or skip if it's too dry.

message 10: by Karen (new)

Karen (karen94066) | 262 comments It is written, therefor I read it.

message 11: by Terra (new)

Terra yes i do

message 12: by Wendy (new)

Wendy Kalthoff (wkalthoff) | 32 comments I do. I like to get the backbone of the story. I also like to read acknowledgemnts sometimes. It shows gratitude to people who have helped them.

message 13: by Dee (new)

Dee (hatcherdee) Yes, I do. I don't care who writes it as long as it furthers by understanding of the book.

message 14: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 187 comments Jac wrote: "Do you read prologues, forewords, and introductions?

In what kinds of books do you find them useful?

Do you like them:
(a) by the author,
(b) by an editor,
(c) by some expert, or
(d) by any o..."

I tend to read them unless they are in a textbook. I find them quite interesting when they are written by the authors and talk about their inspiration or the research they did. They often help in understanding the book and connects you to the author. As far as acknowledgements go, well I usually just skim those.

message 15: by Portia (new)

Portia | 308 comments When I was in high school, I had it drummed into my head that reading the prologue is essential. Decades later I still read them, even the ones that go on for pages and pages.

message 16: by Ray (new)

Ray Chance | 16 comments I always read the prologue to each and every book. Why? I am afraid that I might miss something interesting.

message 17: by Leigh (new)

Leigh | 6313 comments Ray wrote: "I always read the prologue to each and every book. Why? I am afraid that I might miss something interesting."


message 18: by Donna (new)

Donna | 64 comments I generally read almost everything in the book, from the dedication to the credits at the back. Sometimes I even check out the date the book was first published. I want to know everything about the book.
The prologue is especially important to me as it does set the stage.

message 19: by Sylvia (new)

Sylvia Sarno (goodreadscomsylviasarno) I always read the prologue. But never the intro until after I finish the book because of plot spoilers.

message 20: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 2 comments I read everything straight through, from the dedications to the author's description.

message 21: by Beth (new)

Beth  (techeditor) | 1005 comments Jac wrote: "Do you read prologues, forewords, and introductions?

In what kinds of books do you find them useful?

Do you like them:
(a) by the author,
(b) by an editor,
(c) by some expert, or
(d) by any other person? (Who?)..."

yes, I always read them. But if they're by the editor, it's never useful information, just praise for the book.

message 22: by Beth (new)

Beth  (techeditor) | 1005 comments Jenni wrote: "Is it the late Elmore Leonard (RIP) who said: "Never write a prologue because there is nothing you can put in it that you cannot put in the main book." Something to that effect."

That's true.

In one of the book reviews I wrote, I commented on its prologue and other prologues that have lots of action. I said something like they're a promise that the story that follows will be boring.

message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes they help me understand the book and the author better

message 24: by Julia (new)

Julia Tottenham-Whitehall (juliatw78) | 10 comments Prologues are story-dependent. Clive Cussler's books start with a prologue describing how the ancient treasure was lost (Ghengis Khan sent a fortune in gold to Hawaii but it was lost at sea in a typhoon ... or was it?). Those prologues make sense. Dan Brown's Inferno had a prologue that was really chapter 1. That didn't make sense.

message 25: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 468 comments I read books cover to cover.

message 26: by Malina (new)

Malina | 1844 comments Yes, I read the whole book

message 27: by Norene (new)

Norene Moskalski (norene_moskalski) | 9 comments Yes, I do, too. Some fascinating non-fiction info in those sections.

message 28: by J. (new)

J. (jguenther) Forewords are optional. I may go back later and read the foreword, or read it when/if I reread the book. Introductions are also optional, but I skim them for anything intriguing. Usually, they don't say much.

Prologues, however, are part of the story and should be read. If it's over a page long, it's really Chapter 1. Prologues are useful to let the reader know what the story and tone will be, without giving away any secrets prematurely.

Victoria_Grossack Grossack (victoriagrossack) | 15 comments Prologues and epilogues often belong to a frame story.

message 30: by J. (new)

J. (jguenther) Victoria_Grossack wrote: "Prologues and epilogues often belong to a frame story."

I did that for my S&S novel. Still haven't found a publisher, unfortunately.

message 31: by Terri (new)

Terri (terrilovescrows) | 28 comments I always read prologues and epilogues but not always introductions - esp if they are long

message 32: by Val (new)

Val (valz) | 56 comments I used to absolutely NOT read prologues because I thought they gave away too much of the story and then I read a book that you really had to read the prologue to appreciate it and now I've started doing so BUT I wish they didn't exist.

message 33: by J. (new)

J. (jguenther) Jess wrote: "I think they use prologues to cut to an explosive or very intriguing scene that is possibly outside of the timeline and POVs of the main story, so that the author can start the book with a bang and..."

Right. Prologues should be short, half a page or a page at most.

message 34: by Michael (new)

Michael (micky74007) This is a little bit off topic---I just picked up a book of Emily Dickenson poetry. The book is 75 pages.
The intro is 17 pages! I want to read the poems, not someone else's dissertation about the poems. Needless to say, I did not read the intro.

message 35: by Portia (new)

Portia | 308 comments Thank you, Michael! Good laugh. Been there, read that (or something nearly as long).

message 36: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes, I read prologues and I've written them for two of my books. I find they are ususally something that happened in the past that would not fit into the story in the present but is important to the story.

Richard Brawer

message 37: by VickiLee (new)

VickiLee | 251 comments I always read the prologues, forewords, and introductions. Postscripts as well. Often, people ask me why. It seems to me that not to is an insult to the author. I also enjoy them (most often).

Maggie the Muskoka Library Mouse (mcurry1990) Yes, I do. I enjoy reading everything about the book before I delve into it. I find that sometimes it helps me understand the content better.

message 39: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Mclaren | 185 comments I didn't use to but now I find them very interesting because they inform what was happening to the author at the time, what the story is based on or additional information about the time period in the story. I find it gives the reading an additional richness.

message 40: by Taylor (new)

Taylor Always. They're part of the book after all. I even read the page with the publishing info.

message 41: by M.A.R. (new)

M.A.R. Unger | 127 comments Yes, forwards and intros after the book, especially for an anniversary edition. The editors and experts do ruin the book even if you've read it before.

message 42: by Brendan (new)

Brendan Yes, yes, and yes.

message 43: by Jeri Dexheimer (new)

Jeri Dexheimer | 4 comments For fiction, definitely a's a part of the story! For non-fiction...yes to reading preliminary info, usually.

message 44: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimgysin) | -1 comments Yes times three. Pretty much the only part of a book that I might not read is the acknowledgements, and even then I'll usually at least skim them.

message 45: by David (new)

David L Wallace (davidlwallace) | 7 comments I love a great prologue. I try and unravel the motive of the big bad guy / girl as it relates to what happened there.

message 46: by SherryRose (new)

SherryRose | 170 comments I read all of those things.

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