Thursday, March 18, 2010

Writers with Good Humor

It is standard practice in either the Preface, or on an Acknowledgements page, for authors of books to extend thanks to all the people who provided assistance to the author in various ways and stages of his or her writing. These often are "yada yada yada" litanies which readers tend to scan over hurriedly since the names (usually) mean nothing to the reader. Normally, a standard boilerplate is included to the effect that "all these individuals helped make my book better, but I alone am responsible for its errors and shortcomings."

In many years of reading books, I have noted only two creative variations on this theme, both delightful and unique:

In the Preface to Biblical Preaching, Dr. Haddon Robinson pays homage to his mentors and teachers and then says, "Since all of these and others influenced me deeply, it is only fair that for weaknesses in this volume they should shoulder a large share of the blame."

And in the Acknowledgements section of Eating Animals, author Jonathan Safran Foer says (read this carefully), "Betsy Uhrig's eye for errors large and small has made this book finer and more exact—any mistakes are untirely mine own."

Nice to find authors who use a bit of disarming humor in the midst of their serious endeavors.

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