1. struggler
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    struggler Member

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    Do you read the introductions to novels?

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by struggler, Jun 9, 2012.

    Last year when I started reading 1984 for the first time I read the introduction and at first I found it interesting but then YAM! in a single paragraph major plot spoilers the entire book was spoilt for me. I wasn't surprised with whatever happened because I already knew it beforehand.

    So from then on I decided to always read the introductions to novels last and so far I think that's been a good decision.

    Does anyone else do this? or just find it irritating the whoever writes intros forget that whoever is reading it hasn't read it before?
     
  2. ithestargazer
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    ithestargazer Active Member

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    Are you talking about introductions or prologues?

    Either way, I don't skip anything, ever. I have to read a complete novel from start to finish. I've never read a book where the intro/prologue spoiled the book though it would irritating if it did. I like subtle foreshadowing, though to be honest most books I read don't have intros so I don't have to make that choice. I guess you don't really know if an intro is a spoiler until after you've read it. I'd still read it in order though, it's just the way I have to read.
     
  3. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I read prologues; they're part of the book. I always think of "introductions" as being a sort of author's notes, more about how the book was written, so I may read the first bit to make sure; if that is the case, it usually won't get read until after I finish (because if the book is boring, who cares, right? :p
     
  4. BeepBeep
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    BeepBeep New Member

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    I've found some spoilers too. I particularly remember an anthology of selected Lovecraft stories. There was a short introduction to every one of them, and many contained a big spoiler about the ending. Absolutely ridiculous. Apparently the editor (who was the smart-arse writing the little introductions) was assuming that we already read those amazing stories and allowed himself to write a few pedantic and patronizing lines.

    So, depending on the edition, who wrote the introduction, if it's annotated or not (sometimes, these also take for granted that you have some previous knowledge about that particular work)...etc... I could leave it behind and read it after finishing the book.
     
  5. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    When a contemporary writer includes an Introduction, like Stephen King or Haruki Murakami, I always read them. They are almost always fun little essays about certain things, usually on writing short stories, or brief little amusing anecdotes about how the book came together.

    If it's a classic, I always read the introduction last, just in case of spoilers. For some reason I never feel like I've read the full book unless I've read the introduction too.
     
  6. tiggertaebo
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    tiggertaebo Member

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    Not exactly the same but I recently read a book where the "Product Description" on Amazon (which should essentially be the book's standard blurb AFAIK) told me a couple of dramatic events that seemed to set up the premise, all well and good - except it turns out that one of the things it mentions doesn't occur untill three quarters of the way through so because you know it's going to happen it just turns reading the first 350+ pages of the book into waiting for this event to happen which was remarkably tedious :(
     
  7. growingpains
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    growingpains Member

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    I usually don't read the introduction to the novel until I finish it. Introductions are generally what a writer has to say about their own book - unless it's an introduction written by someone else. Either way, it will usually include opinions and a story about the story and reading that something isn't I really care for unless I like the book itself. So if I enjoyed the book then I'll read the introduction to see what the writer (or whoever wrote the introduction) has to say.

    As for prologues, I'll only read them if they're short. Otherwise I risk reading something that will give away something major in a plot or character.
     
  8. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    It all depends. 90% of the time I would read it because it decided whether or not I want to read the book. It gives me a "this is what the book is all about in 3+ pages." However there are times where the author gives the introduction, like a speech before the presentation, and I skip over it and head right into the first chapter.
     
  9. TMnorton
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    TMnorton New Member

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    I don't tend to read the introductions to books. I prefer to start reading with a fresh mind. If I read the introduction, I'm going to be thinking about what that writer said about the book before I even had time to make an opinion.
     
  10. milagros
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    milagros Member

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    I actually enjoy introductions.Never skip any))
     
  11. writesistah
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    writesistah New Member

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    I don't usually read the introductions. I usually don't even read the back cover information. I base whether or not I'm going to read a book on the front cover. I hate it when I read the back cover information and it spoils most of the major surprises inside.
     
  12. ithestargazer
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    ithestargazer Active Member

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    @writesistah - How do you know what the book is about if you only look at the front cover? That seems to be a really rudimentary way to choose what you read.
     
  13. Estrade
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    Estrade Member

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    No, I don't read introductions until afterwards. I don't want to be told what to think. :)
     
  14. josie101
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    I read the introductions, prologues, and reveiws(wich are spoiler free) always so I know what the book is about and if it is any good. I think if you think you are going to be spoiled from the introductions, the author probably intended for you to learn that information like on movie trailers, just to get you hooked on. :)
     
  15. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    "Introductions" bore me, and I've come to associate them with boring "classics" I was forced to read for a class.
     
  16. rick_danger
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    rick_danger Member

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    I raely read introduction to novels.
     
  17. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I skip the introductions to novels. They are usually incredibly boring and not needed to enjoy or understand the story anyway.
     
  18. gramar2
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    gramar2 New Member

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    I usually do read the introductions. I like to know something about the book before I read it. I have been known to skim through a few pages in the middle of the book just for the heck of it. I never ever read the ending, tho. Lol.
     
  19. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    Prologues, even if it is a bit of prosy history, I read. Deplorable habit I know, but we all have vices. One of mine just happens to be prologues. Introductions. Nope. I like to form my own thoughts and opinions first. When I go back and reread a title, then maybe I will indulge with passive interest. :rolleyes:

    - Darkkin
     
  20. rick_danger
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    rick_danger Member

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    no i dont
     
  21. Lischo Pine
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    Lischo Pine New Member

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    I do read most of them, and I also read them before the book. It's true that they might hold spoilers and even influence how I look at the story, but I really like to get a background on the writing as well. Introductions by the author are fine, but I also enjoy reading introductions by people other than the author. If it helps me to more fully comprehend what the author is trying to convey to me as a reader, I usually go for it. However, if it diverges into topics unrelated to the story, I feel like I wasted my time.
     
  22. Chronicle535
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    Chronicle535 Senior Member

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    I find that if I dont read the Intros or prolouge it leaves out a major part if the story for me and I often have to read it just so I feel like I am not missing anything
     
  23. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    It depends on the writer and the point-of-view taken in the intro. Usually, I read the book first and then return to the introduction.

    I skip introductions appended by editors and the like. If I want to read a book review I'll buy the Sunday LA Time.

    What do you guys think of afterwords?
     
  24. Shane Grayson
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    Shane Grayson Member

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    All the time, and for every book. If you felt your reading of 1984 was ruined because the author of the introduction revealed it, then you are reading that book for the wrong reasons. That book wasn't like a novel you find in today's gimmicky, plot driven novels. It is the the theme of Totalitarianism and Orwell's intelligent and thought-provoking prose that brings everything together. Out of curiosity, did you ever pick up on Big Brother intentions? and how much our society today loves him?

    What do you guys think of afterwords?

    You know, I rarely see afterwords in novels anymore. Nothing even comes to mind. But, I would be fine with and most likely read it. I usually like to know as much about the author as possible. I say to hell with this Modern Criticism where the author is dead the moment they finish the novel!
     
  25. struggler
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    struggler Member

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    I think I was misunderstood by a few people. I did not mean introductions by the author but by other people in later editions of more well known and older books. I recently finished Frankenstein and loved it to bits but didn't read the intro until afterwards. I liked what was written in the intro, they always make me see different aspects of the book I didn't think about while reading (Dracula was about xenophobia, lol) but they also contain major plot spoilers, so I save reading them till last now.
     

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