Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tuesday's Top Ten [Reasons to Never Skip the Author's Note]

At the end of every book is a note from the author. Here's 10 reasons to never skip it...

1. It adds depth to the story. When you learn why an author wrote a book it may blow your mind. For example, after reading one of my all time favorites, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, I learned that the original author became ill and asked her niece to finish the story. She died before it's completion, but how the story began is one that I thoroughly enjoyed reading, nearly as much as the book. Plus it helped me to understand the work she did to uncover the history behind this phenomenal historical fiction novel. The niece wrote the author's note as a tribute to a story teller I wish I had the chance to listen to in real life! 

2. You will learn something new. After reading, and loving, A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist, I found out that the letter she based her book off of was one that a father actually wrote to his daughter during the Civil War (it will break your heart) and that a schemer actually did put an ad in the newspaper for men to purchase brides. THEN he created separate contracts! The women signed a contract stating they were going to work and the men signed a contract thinking they were getting a wife. Can you imagine the chaos when they met?!

3. The story behind the story will inspire you. After reading one of my all time favorite children's book (written in the 80's) titled The Jester Has Lost His Jingle by David Saltzman I was awed by his story. After being diagnosed with cancer (which took his life at the age of 22) he made the choice to be joyful. This book is all about that choice and if I had not read the author's note, I would have missed out on how one man's struggle forced him to find the joy in life, thus inspiring me to do the same.

4. It will make the story come alive! After reading about how Suzanne Collins is an expert on how war affects children, I took her books more seriously. Wow, they are depressing, but they are also eye-opening. She knows what she's talking about and she chose science fiction to tell us about it.

5. You will respect the author that much more. If an author writes a really good story that's because there's a lot of prep to be done beforehand. Research. Reading. Interviews. Travel. Research. Reading. Reading. Reading. So many times the author talks about that hard work and not only does it add depth to their story - making it come alive, but I typically learn something new, and walk away inspired. 

6. You make a friend. Although I have yet to meet my favorite author's face-to-face, I can honestly say I would call each one of them a friend based on their writing alone. Writing reveals a lot about a person - their wit, intelligence, work ethic, etc. And it's usually their note to their reader that makes me like them all the more.

7. It makes the author human. I know that sounds crazy but it's upon learning about their struggles, dreams, hard work... that I realize, hmmm they're more like me than I realize! 

8. It helps you understand the why, the who, the what, the when, the where, the how. The author typically reveals quite a bit about their story and there are so many times that my understanding of the story increased ten-fold because of that little note at the end.

9. The writing is just as good as the story itself. If you liked the writing style of the book, you will like the writing style of the author's note. The same person wrote it. So read it.

10. Sometimes it's like a continuation of the story. If the story is good I don't want it to end, so this is one way of making it last just a little bit longer. I savor every word. Sometimes, just sometimes, the author gives a little bit extra. It's like finding hidden treasure!

Plus One: Sometimes they share their testimony. In Atonement Child by Francine Rivers she tells this incredible story of a young woman who was raped, became pregnant and faced the decision on whether or not to have an abortion. Her testimony sounds very similar. It forces you to respect the content for which she was writing, because she has personal experience, but it adds so much depth, her testimony is inspiring and made her book come alive! Everything I listed was accomplished by reading Francine's note. I'll never forget the story because of this particular author's note.

If the book is good and the author has something to say about it, don't skip it! Seriously.

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