Saturday, June 17, 2006

A Completely Boring Post In Which I Rant About Footnotes

Who on earth decided to put footnotes at the back of a book? (this is an entirely rhetorical rant, btw. I don't like it and therefore it's wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong, squared to infinity.)

Not only is it a PITA to flip back and forth but there should also be a separate numbering system for citations and for interesting sidenotes. Do I care that that the information about the aging Henry VIII's stuff came from David Starkey's inventory? (And that must have been a fun job, 500 years later.) Or that the fact cited came from letters & papers from the Spanish Ambassador? (Okay, I care slightly. It's interesting! But not enough to keep flipping back and forth to find out that it's a citation.) The footnotes I like tend to be more informative and or gossipy. And they belong on the bottom of the page.

Loads of footnotes in Robert Hutchinson's The Last Days of Henry VIII: Conpiracies, Treason and Heresy at the Court of the Dying Tyrant. (L) (368 pages according to Amazon, but I'm betting that includes the appendices, index and his "cast of characters".) I found the book interesting but confusing as hell. Either I can't remember who anyone in the court is (and the habit of a family name and a heraldic title could not be more mystifying - how did that happen? The title came with the land?) or Hutchinson hopscotching around in time threw me off. One minute he's writing about Cromwell's beheading and the next he's in a Privy Council meeting.

The chapters address different areas of Henry's final years, so some overlap is to be expected to explain the circumstances of the next subject but combined with the miserable footnotes at the back of the book and not at the bottom of the page (where they belong) it was a hard read. He did have more minutiae that sparked the book up. I'd actually recommend it, particularly if you're fairly familiar with the Tudor Court. Lots of behind the scenes detail.

No knitting news. I wove in some ends on The Shell to block it, but haven't blocked it yet, continue to carry around Elizabeth I but haven't even cast on, still working on the Critter Blanket but 36" by 36" is going to take longer than I thought. Granted, I found the thing when there was already 24 inches done, so it's only a foot and a half of stockinette stitch on size 10's but doesn't that sound like it would go really, really fast? Not really. (But should be done in plenty of time for Basil & Abner's Charity Drive. )

But then again, I woke up with a migraine and spent the afternoon sleeping it off, so I didn't get much done today at all anyway. Great way to spend a Saturday.

Oh, and I cannot find Peaches & Creme yarn anywhere around here. The LYS don't carry it, which I can kind of understand, but Beverly's? Michaels? K-Mart? Do I have to drive to Pittsburg to go to Wal-Mart? I wish I'd realized that when I was in Oakland the other day. Wait, that's a K-Mart. Bah. Oh, and Alameda Co. doesn't have a record of my birth certificate so they had to send off to California State for it. Good thing I started trying to get my passport now for the late Fall. Maybe my dad wasn't lying when he said I was hatched.

To continue the ranting, bah on the wasteland that's summer TV. There's nothing on! A CSI NY rerun tonight that I've already seen. Tomorrow The 4400 is on and The Dead Zone premieres at 10pm, and The Closer on Monday at 9pm that I want to watch if only for J K Simmons. Okay, there are a couple of things on. I should watch the movies I've had from Netlix for ages, I suppose.

A statue at the Orinda Shakespeare Festival theater


Blogger chittavrtti said...

I so agree about the footnotes. When I first found footnotes they bothered me, I wasn't used to this tiny print at the bottom of a page. But then I realised I could just scan down to it and quickly back to the text. This fliping thing is for the birds ;) I lose the flow of my read when I have to go in the back and check, and if I wait 'til the end I lose the context*sigh* ***CV

10:34 PM  
Anonymous mrspao said...

I hope your migraine is better now. Hug!

3:49 AM  
Blogger Sonya said...

As a librarian and an indexer, I've noticed that publishers tend to do things that are easier for them, not the reader. Endnotes save you from having to make sure that the footnotes fall on the right page, I suspect. It drives me crazy too. I lost Saturday to a migraine too. So disgusting to have a migraine on the weekend! So today I knit all day to make up for it.

3:50 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

1) I hope the migraine is all gone.

2) Hate, hate, hate endnotes too.

3) Peaches and Creme: Walmart in Martinez.

4) Thank you for your words about Ashe. We are sad here, but comforted by knowing we made the right decision.

6:05 AM  
Blogger CynCyn said...

If footnotes need to exist, I prefer they be footnotes and not endnotes, like you. hope your weekend was restful and restorative!

11:03 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Pooey on the migraine - hope you're better today. I had one Friday, but a shot nipped it in the bud. Worst shot I've ever given myself - the bruise is nasty. Anywho.

Ditto on endnotes.

Good luck on finding the cotton yarn. Can you find Sugar'n'Cream? That's what we have around here.

Great picture!

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Geraldine said...

You are certainly right about the footnotes, a big pain in the ...

Thanks for stopping by Veggies...
Have a great Sunday, G :)

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Julia said...

Yeah, footnotes are a pain. Most writers prefer them at the bottom of the page, but publishers find it less expensive to lump them all at the end. Bah. Oh, and Netflix - you can also get complete past series of television shows, which are really great for summer. We've been going through the past 15 years of the PBS Mystery! series. TV shows aren't such a time commitment as movies.

12:08 PM  
Blogger teabird17 said...

Sorry about the migraine - I usually take Fioricet (my doctor is very old-fashioned), lie down with ice behind my neck, and try to sleep it off. Thank goodness for the aura - at least I can get home before the migraine begins to stab.

Oh, definitely, footnotes in the back of the book are awful. I don't buy the idea that it's easier for the publisher to put them in the back - not since typesetting has become digital.

I've bought so much Sugar /Peaches and Creme lately that I may have caused a shortage.....

12:52 PM  
Anonymous Kat with a K said...

I totally agree about the footnotes!! And that book sounds interesting. I love the Tudors.

2:31 PM  
Blogger KSD said...

JK Simmons is terrific in a movie called "Off the Map." I rented it for Sam Eliott, but am a fan of Mr. Simmons as well.

3:53 PM  
Blogger knittinbrit_in_wi said...

Ditton on the footnotes.

I'm taking a quick commercial brake from watching Treasure Hunters - I quite like it, but the kids love it, so I'm getting some knitting time in.

I found that WalMart was the only place I could find with Peaches & Creme, although I have used Sugar and Creme and it's pretty much identical to the P&C. S&C can be found at Michaels, JoAnn's, etc. What are you going to knit with it? I assume something from MDK

6:19 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

I agree about the footnotes. That's why they call them FOOTnotes people - they belong at the foot of the page. If the belonged in the END of the book I'm sure you can guess what they would be called. ;)

10:51 AM  
Blogger Christine said...

Re. your comment: I am not convinced. I even emailed my 41 year old sister for verification. I think she was 8 then, but she would still have a better idea than me. I guess I don't believe in sexual innocnece outside of certain classes of Victorian maidens.:P Esp. since I had an aunt pregnant in the mid-1960's at only fifteen, and she had no TV.

12:16 PM  
Blogger AmyArtisan said...

I've never knit with PnC - I always use Sugar'n Cream.

The Closer - was wanting to start that series this summer but alas the hotel doesn't get TNT, seriously...grr...

6:39 PM  
Blogger RheLynn said...

I will def. have to send you pics of a sculpture garden I saw in Memphis - but.. later. And I like footnotes at the bottom of the pages too - a lot of my older books have them and they are quite fun to go through.

Do hope you feel better!

7:06 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Yeah, reading Moll Flanders and having to flip back to see what the vocabulary word really meant was a bit of a pain!

If it is something that enhances the flow, e.g., foot notes are fine- it should be a foot note, if it is extra information: end-note city baby!

good luck in your yarn search!

Feel better!

8:27 PM  
Anonymous Rebekah said...

I can understand your rant. But then lately, I seem to be ranting about absolutely everything.

Don't worry you have plentyo f time, and we really appreciate your efforts.

2:12 PM  

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