I’ve neglected my reading big time. All for the love of Haiku. But no more. I must do a balancing act and so I’m starting by joining the Classics Clubmeme this month. This August, Clubbers are to answer the following:

Do you read forewords/notes that precede many classics?  Does it help you or hurt you in your enjoyment/understanding of the work?

I must say that I used to be a very fast reader and if a book grabbed me, I stayed up late till I finished reading it. Back in the days when I was a student, I could read a book all night long when I had a paper/exam the next day. Not so anymore. Other life changing events moved in and my reading slowed down horribly.

Yes, I read the forwards and or notes that precede the Classics or any book if there is one. And I do so as a form of shortcut to gaining a better understanding of the book since I don’t have the luxury of time. To be frank, my reading the forward does not detract in any way from me enjoying the book. I find it helpful, especially a forward that throws more light on the background of the author and the book itself.

A typical example: Natasha Asenhurst kindly gave me an eNotated Tess of the D’Urbervilles for review. The e-Introduction deals with the background of Thomas Hardy, as well as the socio-economic issues prevailing at the time which have direct impact on this Classic. As you read along the notations and references throw more light on settings, events and key phrases which all give a better appreciation of the book. I might add that these are in no way spoilers. They are rather enhancements.