I can’t bear to skip a page in a book. It feels like I’ve missed some of the essence in a work. Whatever the reason for my behavior, it has grown in me a serious appreciation for the acknowledgements section.

It contains in it an account of the journey of creation. It features the joys, the doubts, and people that the author worked and lived among as they wrote. The experience is a bit like sitting down over coffee and hearing part of a life story. In the acknowledgements of James C. Scott’s Seeing Like a State, I discovered that he:

  • Spent forever writing the book and was a bit ashamed of how long it had taken
  • Worked on a farm in East Germany a year after the Berlin wall fell
  • Studied and worked at universities across the world from Amsterdam to Australia
  • Had a bit of an addiction to writing books and considered some of his time writing them to have been wasted

Liner notes bring a similar enlightenment. They have the additional benefit that they can be read while the work itself is listened to. It’s a great place to find other artists you might enjoy, as well!