I never miss a chance to read dedications and acknowledgements, to get a glimpse of how a book became a book, to examine its complicated midwifery.
There we find the inspirational and supportive spouses, patient and perceptive editors, kids and moms and dads and employers who deserve apologetic thanks, grants and workshops and residencies to be noted, gratitude for cottages and office space lent, credit given where long due.
I have two favourites, the first of which is not from a book, but the liner notes of a CD made by Gros Morne Summer Music, whose guests and versatile classical players we have put up from time to time in our little guest house at Bonne Bay.
We were catching up over breakfast with with its director, a man who is a brilliant pianist, when our usually genial schnauzer Hank (what went through his doggy brain?) bit his shin. Hard.
"Thank you to Stephen and Jeanie and Holly," the acknowledgement reads [the boys were mainly at home that summer].
"And not Hank."
My other favourite (below) is robustly elegant, translated as it is into Italian. My father read most of Facing Ali in draft form and was delighted to know that it was dedicated to him, as he would have been to know there was an Italian edition (and one in Japanese) in the book's future.
And he would have creased his brow in worry over Hank. The dog had hurt someone? Was it an anomaly? Well, all right then. How interesting, a concert pianist...
A stiff-upper-lip locator of silver linings he was:
"Not his fingers, thank God!"