Non Fiction Books: When Do They End?

17 Jul

I’m sure you’ve all looked at a non-fiction read before and thought, “Wow, that’s a long book!” just to discover the last 50-100 pages are notes and afterwards and epilogues and misplaced introductions. I know I have multiple times and it makes the books seem much more manageable. But I’m starting to question how much I ‘need’ to read this.

This is stemming from my current read of The Feminine Mystique. I’ve come to the ‘end’ of the book or something like an end. I still have 100 pages of ‘other’ stuff. Some of it I want to read, some of it I don’t. But it got me thinking about how much of these ‘after’ things people read. Eiplogues I almost always read. But the acknowledgements? The afterward? The introduction to the reprinted edition? The notes? I think there’s somewhere to draw a line.

Reader, I’d love to hear your thoughts. How much of the print after a book ends do you read? Do you consider a book ‘read’ without going through all of these? Most importantly, can I finally leave The Feminine Mystique behind?

Until next time, write on.

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17 Responses to “Non Fiction Books: When Do They End?”

  1. abigailsbooks32 July 17, 2018 at 10:34 AM #

    I always read the Epilogue like you but I never read the after stuff haha. Sometimes I’ll skim through it though


    • Sam July 17, 2018 at 11:10 AM #

      I always read epilogues in fiction but I don’t see a ton in nonfiction like this. I’m thinking of skimming everything else. I just want to be done with this book haha. Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Rae Longest July 17, 2018 at 3:21 PM #

    Erik Larsen’s notes and even bibliography are almost as good a read as his factual books that read like novels: Devil in White City/Issac’s Storm/ Dead Wake

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sam July 17, 2018 at 4:09 PM #

      I’ve listened to most of the Erik Larsen that I’ve enjoyed so I never knew. I haven’t enjoyed Isaac’s Storm but adored the others you mention. Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rae Longest July 18, 2018 at 6:36 PM #

        We here on the Texas Gulf Coast read everything about the great storm of 1900 that wiped out Galveston that we can get our hands on. There are several local writers who have included family lore in their books, but nobody researches quite like Larsen.


      • Sam July 18, 2018 at 7:26 PM #

        I hope to check it out soon! Thanks for the suggestion.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. beckylindroos July 17, 2018 at 5:13 PM #

    I read a lot of nonfiction and I always read the prologues and the epilogues and usually quite a lot of the other material, too – I often read the “Notes” as I go through the book – not after the narrative. Sometimes they’re quite interesting, other times just a list of sources. The notes usually make up the bulk of the “extra pages.”). I sometimes underline in the Notes section – (my own books!)

    It’s really easy to read the Notes as you go on a Kindle, but I used to use a bookmark to keep my place in the Notes part. .

    I’ve read books with voluminous appendices – (David Hackett Fischer). Many of those are fascinating – and very helpful.

    Still, I think of them as “extra” pages – because I don’t really feel I “need” to read them in any way. I just enjoy a lot of it.


    • Sam July 17, 2018 at 5:26 PM #

      I’ve never been one to read the notes of a book. I admire your dedication to read them as you go! I think my issue here is that I’m not enjoying the book and just want it to be over. It would be great if I could just put it down and be done, haha. Happy reading!


  4. Hunida July 17, 2018 at 6:23 PM #

    I always read the epilogue & skim through the acknowledgments but if there’s anything else like book discussions etc. I’m not reading it! Leave your Mystique book behind. 😉


    • Sam July 17, 2018 at 6:37 PM #

      Haha, thanks! I think I may just do that soon! I can’t wait to move on. Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. littlemountainlibrary July 18, 2018 at 11:40 AM #

    For me, it depends on the book. I always read epilogues in fiction. If it’s a series or author I love, I’ll usually skim the acknowledgments. For nonfiction, I’ll read the notes and extras if I found the book really interesting. If not, I skip them.


    • Sam July 18, 2018 at 5:12 PM #

      This is one a do not find too interesting at all. Skipping them seems like a good move. Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. shanaqui July 18, 2018 at 3:34 PM #

    I read whatever’s relevant and potentially interesting, I guess. For example, in some of the non-fiction popular history books I’ve read, the appendices include some of the primary sources. Fascinating stuff! And given that I’m a scientist, the references in a science book are usually interesting to me — and vital if I’m not just going to take the author’s word for it. It frustrates me when people complain about that section: if you don’t want to read it, don’t, but it needs to be there for people who care about verifying the info! (Not saying you’re complaining, just I have seen that complaint out there.)


    • Sam July 18, 2018 at 5:18 PM #

      I know I’ve utilized notes and appendices in other books so I can understand the appeal. I thought this book was a bit excessive, though. I feel like it never ends haha. Happy reading!


  7. Aislynn d'Merricksson July 21, 2018 at 5:44 AM #

    I read epilogues but not notes or appendices usually. That depends on how much I enjoyed the book proper. Haha, it sounds like you want to end the Feminine Mystique.


  8. Mani October 12, 2018 at 3:14 AM #

    I read the complete book including acknowledgements and epilogues. Notes section can be skipped but I’m also interested in having a quick look at them. It gives me an idea from where the author took the references to weave a beautiful non-fiction book like that.


    • Sam October 12, 2018 at 6:00 AM #

      I go back and forth about acknowledgements. I used to read them but lately I’ve been skipping them because I don’t know the people or institutions and it doesn’t mean much to me personally. Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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