That is my question for you. You’ve just finished reading a book that you love and you’re wishing you had just a little more from the author. You turn the page and there it is – those extra words you’ve been looking for. No, they aren’t more of the story but it’s more words from the writer. That connection with the writer, sometimes the only real connection you can get, is waiting for you. All you have to is read the heartfelt words in front of you.
How many of you read the author acknowledgement after you’ve read the book? I make sure to do so every time. I look at this part of the book as a bit of an eye into the writer’s mind. Sometimes it’s a simple list of names that were helpful/integral to writing the book; sometimes it’s a glimpse into the idea that sparked the story. Whatever it is, I’m happy to read those words.
Some of my favorite author acknowledgments are Stephen King, Joe Hill, and Neil Gaiman. Each author has their own way of writing this page which makes it that much more enjoyable for me. S.K. thanks his “constant reader” as well as provides a brief background of the story; Joe Hill aligns his to fit with the story just read; and Neil Gaiman can give a great reason how the story came to be. All of this allows me the reader to get to know the writer just a tiny bit more. As a reader who will more than likely never meet these writer, something I’m grateful for and can never get enough of. Thanks to the writers out there and keep the acknowledgment pages coming!
So, if you don’t read the acknowledgments, maybe give it a try next time. If you do, why do you like to read them and who are your favorite?
Neil Gaiman’s newest book The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a short one but a good one. A man returns to his childhood home for a funeral and finds himself arriving where his childhood home no longer stands and where a distant memory returns at the side of a pond that is really an ocean.
Although this book is being promoted as Gaiman’s first adult novel in several years, most of the book reads as YA. Not to say it wasn’t enjoyable, just that the bulk of this relatively short novel (178 pages) takes place while the main character is 7 and his friend appears to be 11. Gaiman is a master at conjuring up vivid images and putting them into the readers head. From the creatures that threaten to torment the young boy to a violent struggle in the middle of the book, the reader is provided with great detail as well as emotion. I feel the loneliness of the boy at the beginning as well as the comfort he feels when Lettie and Old and Young Hempstock take him in and fight for his survival. The child caretaker that comes to live with the boy and his family is a nightmare come true and the boy must find a way to get her out of his house before she takes him down a path of no return. The pond on the Hempstock land isn’t what it appears to be and holds it’s own secrets as well.
This book is a mixture of fantasy and horror and won’t disappoint if you enjoy that genre. The shortness of the novel is not noticeable since Gaiman packs so much into his book – I found myself caring for the boy and Lettie and wishing there was more while at the same time happy with how it ended. One line that really struck me in this book is “adults follow paths, children explore…” Gaiman allows you to be the exploring child while following the path of his imagination. One that I will happily follow again.