Yesterday was my last final. Wahoo! In honor of another semester finished, I decided to do a post on end notes.
I discovered end notes in second grade. My parents had bought me an easy reading series, (the Exitorn Adventures by Peggy Downing) set in a semi-imaginary version of the Middle Ages. The book had a glossary in the back for the less familiar words, like `portcullis' and when my mother got tired of me pestering her about what this or that meant, she taught me to use it.
When I hit high-school and discovered Dickens, the concept of notes in the back of the book was a familiar one. I'd already discovered how frustrating it is to try to FIND the end notes while you're in the middle of a story, so I came up with the two-bookmark system. One bookmark kept my place in the story, the other bookmark kept my place among the end-notes. I spent many happy hours flipping back and fourth. I learned all kinds of cool things about the Victorian Era, such as the fact that `Lucifer matches' are an early term for regular matches (and that they were invented early enough for Dickens to talk about.) I also got to read the bits and snippets that Dickens cut out of his novels, and that later editors collected. I learned to look for Penguin and Everyman editions of my lovely classics because their editors do such a good job giving `extras'.
Lately I've been trying to branch out of European literature a little, and I find footnotes and end notes are vital because I don't have the cultural background to catch the significance of what's going on. The copy of Popol Vuh that I've been slowly working my way through (the Allen J. Christenson translation) has almost as many footnotes as it has text.
So what about you guys? Do you enjoy pausing, as you read, to take in end-notes or footnotes, or would you rather ignore them and get on with the story? Or do you like to read through classics and myths twice -once for the sheer joy of story, then a second, more leisurely time, taking in the editorial notes?