Do you read the acknowledgements sections of novels

I skip the acknowledgement section unless I’m reading a book that posits an alternative history or a modern take on a real history because I want to know what parts of such books are true. Otherwise, acknowledgements seem like sucking up:

A big thank you to my wife who decided not to divorce me when she discovered this book was likely to make us rich.

No greater editorial team exists that can top Tom, Julie, Wes, Jim, and Sandra at BIG ASS PUBLISHERS, LTD. Without them, I’d still be selling used cemetery plots.

A special thanks to the intensely personal help of the girls at Nevada’s Rising Sin Gentlemen’s Club who showed me the ins and out of selling sex. 

Bob and Mary, if you’re still married when this book is published, thank you for taking me into your home and showing me your illegal gun collection. Wow, we could launch a revolution. I’ve changed your names here so the FEDS won’t be able to find you.

Frankly, I don’t want to read all this smarmy stuff. I guess it’s there only for one’s spouse, Tom, Julie, Wes, Jim, Sandra, Bob, Mary, and the ladies of the evening at one’s writer’s get-a-way location.

On the other hand, I’m intrigued by short and sweet:

For Zeke, who knows where all the bodies are buried.

For Emily, who only cheated on her husband once during the Vermont Writer’s Conference last year (Thanks for last night.)

For my wife (who still thinks my pseudonym is “Stephen King”).

Now those are the kinds of sentiments that tempt me to look for more of an author’s books.

How about you. Do you read the acknowledgements?


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4 thoughts on “Do you read the acknowledgements sections of novels

  1. No, I don’t read them and don’t know anyone who does. What’s surprising to me is how many authors/publishers still put the acknowledgements in the front of the book. To me, that acknowledges that they have no respect for the way things work online — you can sometimes get a preview of the first few pages of a book, but by the time you scroll through the front pages, the dedication, the title page, and the acknowledgement, there’s nothing left to preview.

    1. Whenever the front matter takes up the entire “Look Inside” preview, I’m not amused. Plus, some acknowledgements have spoilers in them that I really would rather see after I read the book.

  2. You are quite right about acknowledgements and e-books, Pat: never at the front!

    I always read at least part of the author’s ‘thanks’. Sometimes they give a clue as to how the book evolved (certain writing courses pop up regularly), which can be interesting. Being immensely vain, I always look to see if I got name checked (after all, I was a creative writing tutor for several hundred students).

    In my own ‘thanks’ I always name check the people who helped me with the book. Sometimes that is museum researchers; once it was a friend’s father who was a retired science teacher and explained – successfully – to me the chemical make-up of oil; beta-readers, and friends of friends who know about stuff as diverse as Wagner and the north London canal system, all get a name-check. People love to be asked about stuff they are knowledgeable about – and appreciate being thanked publicly too. So it saves a ton of consultancy fees which I could not afford.

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