Book readers, do you read the very first pages before chapter 1?

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by Higgins909, Jan 5, 2019.

  1. Higgins909

    Higgins909 Member

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    I think I've heard this be called the media of a book? I'm talking about the first 5-10 pages of the book where it talks about the book, IBSN, and the author. Maybe the author mentions some people, and then it gets to the contents and then after contents chapter 1 starts. I'm trying to get into reading books, but a part of me is telling me that I got to read every page, but after reading all that I seem to get burned out.

    Thanks,
    Higgins909
     
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  2. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    Sometimes there is advertising, Most times a formal preface. Yeah, I consider it part of the book. Even if I feel I'm slogging through it, since it is usually a pretty small amount of pages? Yeah I read it. Sometimes a preface has information you want. Consider it an exercise in discipline. -Read it.
     
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  3. kenmce

    kenmce High Voltage Member

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    I've taken to skipping that part. It's polite that the author wants to thank their friends and helpers, and tell you where they were when they got the (rolls dice) car that talks with an accent idea, but I don't much care. I'm there for the story.
     
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  4. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    If it's a legitimate preface, yeah I'll usually read it. Or a dedication. Or a poem. An example of the latter, at the beginning of Sometimes a Great Notion:

    Sometimes I live in the country,
    sometimes I live in the town.
    Sometimes I get a great notion,
    to jump in the river and drown.
     
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  5. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    Depends on the author, and depends on the Preface.
    Sometimes there are significant pieces of information, I think most people would want heading into the story.

    Maybe it's Victorian upbringing....or Parochial Schooling, but I read the book, which includes IMO the Preface, Story, and Epilogue.
     
  6. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    I read that book a long time ago.
    I also saw the Paul Newman movie, when I was a kid.

    I loved "Horror" pictures when I was a kid. The classic Gothic Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolfman, also "Night Of The Living Dead"...really just about anything and everything.
    Didn't really scare me, just fun.

    Oddly, the movie that scared me as a kid? "Sometimes a Great Notion".
    *Spoiler Alert
    The part where the brother get's pinned under the tree, and slowly pulled underwater and drowns, was terrifying to me. That scared me more than Vampires, Monsters or Zombies.
    I thought both the movie and book were great pieces of work. Even though it's been a long time, I should revisit. But for me? As a kid, Sometimes a Great Notion was my personal "Horror Film".
     
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  7. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    I skip that stuff the first time I read something. Sometimes I go back after I finish and read it, to catch it all in context if out of sequence.

    I often enjoy reading introductions or added prefaces when going back and re-reading things I'm already familiar with.
     
  8. Elektroingenieur

    Elektroingenieur Senior Member

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    I haven’t heard that use of media—perhaps you’re thinking of in medias res.

    Front matter is the usual term for the pages in a book before the main text. If I plan to read an entire book, I’ll usually read those pages, too, for insight into the author’s objectives and state of mind. If I’m looking for specific information, or if I’m not sure if the book will be interesting, I might skip to the first or another chapter.

    Don’t let the front matter take the fun out of reading: it’s usually much better to have read the chapters and not the preface or acknowledgments, than vice versa.

    Since this is PriusChat, I’ll note that Toyota publications used to include more front matter, but this seems to have disappeared in recent years. New Car Features books, for example, once began with a Foreword (“To assist you in your service activities, this manual explains the main characteristics…”); now they just start with the list of model codes. Every Owner’s Manual once began “Welcome to the growing group of value-conscious people who drive Toyotas…”; now it’s just a disclaimer about options. More efficient, but also somehow less civilized.
     
  9. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    "Front matter" is the term I've heard before.

    There can be all kinds of things in the front matter. Sometimes a preface by the author, sometimes a foreword by somebody who knows the author or the subject really well, maybe another writer whose stuff you like, maybe fascinating or touching or hilarious.

    I would certainly look at it to see what it was, and then maybe decide whether I felt like reading it first, saving it for later, whatever.

    If it's called a prologue in front, or an epilogue in back, it's probably part of the story.

    I knew a young person who had convinced herself in elementary school that epilogues were optional parts of books and deserved to be skipped. She was also a big, big fan of the Twilight series when that was a thing. Then when the first movie came out, she was telling me all about how horribly the movie had messed with the book, and how it added this whole bunch of stuff at the end that totally never happened in the book, and,

    and I was like "wait a minute, I thought that did happ—say, you skipped the epilogue again, didn't you?" :D

    I think, from embarrassment, she maybe changed her position on epilogues after that.

    Somewhere on a shelf, I have a book that's (says here on the cover) C. P. Snow's The Two Cultures, but that doesn't start until 74 pages in. In this edition, before you even get to T2C (all 51 pages of it), you get hit with a 65-page "introduction" (14 pages longer and all in smaller type!) by an English Lit prof who appears to have felt personally tweaked by exactly everything Snow was saying, and uses the 65 pages of front matter to try to poison you toward it before you even get to read it yourself.

    That was a piece of front matter I'd call better to save for after the main course.
     
  10. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    find a quiet comfortable place, with no distractions. a cup of your favorite beverage, and a snack if you like.

    start the book wherever you feel comfortable, there are no rules. sometimes i start at the end and work my way to the beginning.
    reading takes patience and practice.
    don't burn yourself out. if you aren't enjoying it, take it back to the library and try another.
    my wife is an avid reader, always comes home with 5 or 6 books, but usually only makes it through a few. you can't like every book.
    don't give up! reading is a life skill and can be a lifetime of entertainment and learning
     
  11. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    That's not what the Sisters in Parochial school taught me!

    They call it a Preface...because it suppose to be read first. It really depends on the author, but sometimes prefaces can have significant information, that can be helpful in understanding the entire story.

    Also out of respect for the author. If they bothered to include a preface? I'm going to read it.

    Come on you lazy crew.
    It's about 3-10 minutes of reading. Even if you don't like the preface, it's not going to kill you.
     
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  12. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Maybe not, but I was about ready to kill the guy who wrote that introduction to the Snow book...
     
  13. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The OTHER One Percenter.....

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    I mostly do audiobooks, and their publishers decide which of the author's preambulations get into the production and which do not.

    Sometimes however.....I avail myself of the right to hear but not listen.
     
  14. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    I got a hand-me-down Kindle (electronic book reader) with a number of authors loaded on it. It's not bad, smart idea, the future for sure. The interface counfounds me a bit; I'm ok as long as I just treat the various stories as a page-by-page book, don't jump around.
     
  15. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    Prologue and preface, epilogue and postscript...I read the whole thing. Unless there's advertising.
     
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