Saturday, November 28, 2015

Reading the Acknowledgments

Do you read the acknowledgments pages in books? Some may find them tedious, but I always read them, sometimes before I read the book itself. I find them fascinating. I like to know: Who do they mention? Many people or a few? Do I recognize any of the names? (The thought is probably unfair, but I am both impressed by mention of “big names” – other authors – and suspicious that the acknowledger is namedropping so we know they know famous writers….) What do they say about their family members? (Is there any new way to thank one’s spouse or significant other?). One reason I enjoy reading acknowledgments is that, like blurbs, they sketch out the network of connections that the author in question, along with other authors, is part of. Readers can generally see how well connected (or not) an author is by seeing who blurbs her or him, and who is acknowledged by her or him. In addition to the content of the acknowledgments, the tone and style are of interest. Some are straightforward, some slightly intense or even emotional, some lighthearted, and some humorous. These choices are also of interest to me. Oh, and you could probably guess this: I also read the front and back jacket flaps with great interest, and examine the author’s brief self-portrayal in the biography on the back flap. Photos are also of interest (but how do all authors, even those of middle or advanced age, look so young and polished? Old photos? Make-up and hairstyling? Gentle photoshopping?).
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