I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I don’t often read the introductions to books, and when I do I usually skim them. Sometimes I also skip over the chapter headings, which can get me into a little bit of trouble when they are time stamped or specifically denote which character is speaking. Book clubbers beware.
I recently read an article on Book Riot by Abby Hargreaves accurately titled “I Don’t Read the Introductions in Books.” Like me, Hargreaves received her B.A. in English, where it was almost necessary to read (or skim) the introductions to classic texts. Now, without the pressures of assignments lingering over our heads, we read primarily for enjoyment. Hargreaves mentions that she likes to be surprised by the books that she reads, and the introductions tend to ruin this for her. I tend to find the introductions boring, and rather dive right into the story line of the text.
So library readers today I’d like to ask you. Do you read the introductions?
-Jessica Bielen, Adult Services Librarian