According to Wikipedia, an epigram is a brief, interesting, memorable, and sometimes surprising statement. This literary device has been employed for over two millennia. Epigrams often appear as Epigraphs at the beginning of a book to suggest its theme. The only books in which I did not employ an epigraph was my first, The Olympian, A Tale of Ancient Hellas, and my cop thriller, DWI: Dying While Intoxicated. I subsequently added an epigraph to the Kindle edition of The Olympian.
The epigraph captures the soul of the book.
Excepting DWI, these are the epigraphs I employ in my books….
“Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right using of strength; and strength is not used rightly when it serves only to carry a man above his fellows for his own solitary glory. He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own.”
Henry Ward Beecher (1813 – 1887), clergyman and social reformer
“Raphael answered, ‘I will go with him; so do not fear. We shall leave in good health and return to you in good health, because the way is safe.'”
“I never disregard any narrative as unhistorical simply on the ground that it includes the miraculous.”
“For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Write all the words I have spoken to you in a book.”
Jeremiah 30: 1-2
“I am the same to all beings.”
The Bhagavad Gita
“It is in the shelter of each other that people live.”
“These things shall be seen as a sign on your hand and a badge on your forehead…”
To the surprise of the person who asked, I once answered, “My books define me as a human being.”
I’ll add that the epigraphs define the value of my books. If you’ve not read one but are curious, select one to read by the epigraph that catches your attention and causes you to pause – if only for a moment – and think, “What might this be about?”