The prologue & epilogues of a book

@maezee (26739)
United States
March 21, 2012 3:28pm CST
Do you actually read this? I was just wondering as I finished kind of a crappy book (it took me FOREVER, and I mean like weeks upon weeks to finish this last 300-page book by James Patterson, I was just not feeling it). Anyway, I was considering, at the end, to skip the prologue. But I wanted to see if the main character lived or not (as the last paragraph of the regular part of the book was a big cliff-hanger - he got injured badly or something). I don't think I have ever considered skipping the prologue and/or epilogue though, besides that time. Usually I read them both because the prologue seems important (usually background information or something like that, that is relevant to what's going on in the main part of the book) and the epilogue is kind of nice to see where things are at with the characters later. How about you? Do you read ALL parts of the book? Including the prologue & epilogue?
2 people like this
11 responses
@irishidid (8119)
• United States
21 Mar 12
As a writer of fantasy I do include a prologue, but not also an epilogue. I also figured the last chapter is the epilogue. For my writing the prologue is essential to the story and sets the mood for what's going on in the book. Of course I've had people read my book who like the prologue and others who didn't like it. Just depends on the reader.
1 person likes this
• Australia
22 Mar 12
Irish, are you somebody I should know (and I don't mean in a MyLot sense)? I'm a keen fantasy reader. I think my favourites would be Pratchett, Kerr, and possibly Feist/Wurst. Lash
@irishidid (8119)
• United States
22 Mar 12
Hi Lash, I write under R.K. Finnell and have a novel titled Kickshaw Candies. Strangely, although I write fantasy I don't read it. But, on the same note my fantasy isn't your typical fantasy.
@petersum (4526)
• United States
21 Mar 12
I guess it must be a reflection on my reading habits but the type of books I normally read don't have such things! I don't think that I have seen them since my schooldays.
1 person likes this
@SusanLee (1920)
• United States
15 Aug 12
Yes, I always read the prologue and epilogue. I don't read deep subject matter though. I read for enjoyment so I'm usually invested in fictional characters. I like to know how things begin and how they end.
• India
5 Jul 12
Yes, I read to prologue and epilogue of the book before I start reading the first pages of the book because it gives me brief idea about the story. And so I would be a lot interested to read it. It’s like a summary of the story. So I better read it first before I start.
@PageTurner (2827)
• United States
28 May 12
Yes, I read the prologue and the epilogue of the books I read. I consume books, and look for every possible opportunity to read them, including appendixes and notes. I find that there is so much more information to glean when I read in this way.
• India
22 Mar 12
nice thought of u. actually i find it really nice to start a book with the prologoe and end it with the epilogue! consider a Dan Brown novel, though i could not understand the prologue in the beginning, it comes as a spark with the epilogue after reading the whole book. till we dont finish the whole novel, we do not get a hint about what the author is trying to say through the prologue( as we generally start with the prologue). in short, we can consider them as the 15 sec trailer of a good 1 and half hr movie. the base of the writing is hidden in them!
@shebacs (178)
• Philippines
22 Mar 12
The only thing I purposely skip in reading a book is the publisher's page or copyrights. :) I even do not skip the dedication because I think its beautiful and warm how the author gives credit to those who inspired him. And some even thank their readers for reading the book or following the book series. I especially like how JK Rowling wrote her dedication for her last Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Because I stuck with Harry and his journey until the very end. And it was the most memorable scene of James Potter and Harry Potter in the book (excuse the movie trying to hide it under the rags).
• Australia
22 Mar 12
Well of course. The only time I don't is when I am reading a series in which the prologue, which sets the scene, is basically the same each time. By the way, I don't blame you for having problems with Patterson. Ever since his books became fodder for the Hollywood pulp mill his books have been bloody awful, all clearly written with the thought in mind of how the special effects and stunt organisers will be able to create their ridiculous fantasies. Lash
• United States
21 Mar 12
Yup. I read prologues, epilogues, acknowledgements, and about the author. Whatever is in there. Even if I don't particular enjoy a book or think I'm going to enjoy it. As for prologues and epilogues, you often miss elements of the story if you don't read them. I actually really like prologues and epilogues... and I get excited when I see that a story has them. It's something about the story structure, a mysterious beginning with background info and then what all happened after. I enjoy those.
@marty3888 (2359)
• United States
21 Mar 12
yup! I read every part of a book. The author wrote it for a reason. I'm not sure what I would do if I was bored with a book and couldn't wait til it was over. but I know I always read the prologue and I don't think I've ever skipped an epilogue.
• United States
21 Mar 12
I have kind of mixed feelings on this subject. On the one hand, I always read either or both, depending on the book, but sometimes I wonder if they were necessary. Many Harry Potter fans, for example, agree that the epilogue of that series was ridiculous and unnecessary. She skips to ten years in the future where everyone is married to who they were supposed to be married to and have children and everything is puppies and rainbows the end. After the brilliance of the rest of the story, those few pages felt as if they could have been written by a 14 year old. As for prologues, they are often background information. Especially with fantasy and science fiction, they may tell of the history of the world in the story, how it came to be the way that it is, why people are divided the way they are. A lot of the time I think all of that could have been worked into the story, as dialog, perhaps, a character doing research... That's just kind of where I stand on the question of epilogues and prologues.