One of the many things that differentiates fiction from non fiction is probably the footnote. While you will occasionally stumble over footnotes in novels too, usually used as a literary device - Terry Pratchett who has made numerous uses of footnotes within his novels, often as set up for running jokes throughout the whole book - they are certainly most at home in the realms of non fiction.
While I am the first to admit to not always (all right, rarely) reading footnotes, they do have an important purpose. Most often they are used as an alternative to long explanatory paragraphs within the text which can be distracting to readers. And then of course, let's not forget, they are being used as form of citation.
Personally I prefer endnotes as those make it easier to *cough* skip them, especially when the individual notes are longer than just a line or two. I've encountered many a footnote that spanned over more than a page, and frankly, I find it just plain distracting. Of course, footnotes can be even longer than that. John Hodgson's 19th century work History of Northumberland has a footnote that runs for 165 pages, and has been called "the longest footnote ever."*
* Can blog posts have footnotes? Apparently they can. Or would this be a middle note? It's not really at the end after all? Things to ponder, eh?
Man's Search for Meaning chronicles his experiences as a concentration camp inmate which led him to discover the importance of finding meaning in all forms of existence, even the most sordid ones, and thus a reason to continue living.
Curious? Find out more about his work on Goodreads.
We cannot, after all, judge a biography by its length, by the number of pages in it; we must judge by the richness of the contents...Sometimes the 'unfinisheds' are among the most beautiful symphonies.
I know you love reading, but how about some new hobbies? You could go fishing, or learn to play the flute, and when all else fails there is always fencing!
Sex, Death and Fly Fishing (John Gierach)
The Iron Flute: 100 Zen Koans (Nyogen Senzaki and Ruth Strout-McCandless)
Fencing: A Renaissance Treatise (Camillo Agrippa and Ken Mondschein)
Do you skip reading footnotes too or do you search for a meaning in them? or maybe you just put away those books and catch flies for next week's fishing adventure?