The Stuff at the End of a Book

If you read fiction, you know that a novel usually ends on the last page of the book.  There might be a little snippet of the next book in the series, or a page about the author or the typeface, but that’s about it.

Nonfiction is different.  I just got done reading a large non-fiction book about biology.  The book part ended on page 614, but the last page of the book was 673.  That’s right, 69 pages of extra stuff.

What is this extra stuff, and why didn’t I read it?  In this case it was a list of suggested readings, references and citations from throughout the book, and an index.  These are reference materials, necessary for the book, but not really sit-and-read type things.  These are common things to find at the end of non-fiction (which I have been reading a lot lately) but which are usually not needed for fiction.  (A notable exception is Michael Crichton’s Eaters of the Dead which includes both real citations and fictitious ones.)

This makes me glad that I don’t write non-fiction.  🙂

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. deshipley
    Jun 02, 2012 @ 21:55:58

    The end of Tolkien’s “Return of the King” (my copy, anyway) has several pages of appendixes full of I forget what all — Middle Earth history and genealogy mostly, I think. Mercy no, I didn’t read all of it; finally getting through the trilogy proper was accomplishment enough for me. (:


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