All three of the individuals I plan to name as having materially contributed to my research seemed tickled when I asked permission to publish their names in this way. But this morning I read something in The Guardian Books Blog that has made me wonder how other readers and writers view acknowledgements pages:
...I just don't like acknowledgements pages in books. They seem superfluous and grandstanding - a place where, as the novelist Alan Hollinghurst wrote recently, "the mumble of humility masks the purr of self-satisfaction".
Nor do I entirely trust them. What exactly are they meant to prove? The very magnanimity of the gesture invites suspicions of ulterior motives - and not without reason. What, after all, is achieved by those lists of authorities, so generous with their time and wisdom, except to attest to the diligence of the author? ("Look!" they cry, "I left no stone unturned!")
Jeepers. And I thought I was a curmudgeon. How is an acknowledgements page "grandstanding" on the author's part? And since when is saying thank you a "magnanimous" gesture? Surely I owe something to these three men who have helped me with my book. And surely my willingness to admit that in public will show them something of the depth of my gratitude. This won't be about impressing readers and "proving" that I researched the book. It will be a private message in a public place--the biggest and best thank-you note I know how to write.
What do you think? In general, do you read the acknowledgements page of a novel? Would you be thrilled to see your name on one? If you are a published author, do you include acknowledgements pages in your books? Why or why not?