When reading works from the era of the Reformers and Puritans, it is helpful (I think) to consider carefully the letters of dedication and letters to the reader that were customarily included. Much of interest and much that tends toward spiritual edification can often be gleaned from this prefatory material. While we still see today that prefaces and forewords are part of many works, there seems to be a distinct difference between what we have now and what used to be a standard part of any work. I suppose in particular letters of dedication (which often are VERY personal and strongly hortatory) are just 'out of fashion' in our laissez-faire day. Our loss.
In reading through Calvin's Institutes in 2009, I'm following the Princeton schedule (see the link on the left-hand column) which has as its January 1 reading Calvin's letter to the reader and the prefatory note on the subject matter of this work that is included in the Battles translation edited by McNeill. Tomorrow begins several days on the dedicatory letter to King Francis I of France.