Thursday, May 08, 2008

The introduction dilemma

I have had this dilemma before but in both cases of the books I am reading this week they both come with long introductions. There is a real temptation to get some background that will put the book in some sort of context but introductions always spill the plot and spoil the experience you get reading something never knowing what is coming on the next page.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a Barnes and Noble Classic version with a very good introduction as well as a timeline of Stevenson’s life. It feels somehow wrong to skip the first 80 pages or so and dive straight into the story.

The alternative is after reading the book to then go back and read the introduction. But somehow having finished the book you are half looking forward to your next read. Some of the most enjoyable books have a brief author biography but no introduction – takes the risk of prior knowledge out of the equation…

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