Being brutally honest about books

Showing posts with label discussion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label discussion. Show all posts

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Footnotes in Novels: Yea or Nay?

The novel I'm reading at the moment includes a feature I hadn't noticed I disliked so much: footnotes. In fact, I'm ignoring the footnotes, they're annoying me so much. This annoyance leads me to this post, which I believe is on an original topic.

Footnotes can be useful in non-fiction, as they allow the author to provide more details or context for a point made in the main text. I absolutely understand the point of them in non-fiction, where the more information there is, the better the reader's understanding. Footnotes in non-fiction are fine. No complaints from me.

I keep repeating the word "non-fiction". Know why? Because I don't believe footnotes have a place in fiction, or in novels.

When you're reading a novel, there's a story there, which takes place within a certain world, and the writing should flow. Things should make some sort of sense. Footnotes interrupt the flow of the writing; they disrupt the story by making you take your eyes away from your place on the page. The last thing I want when I'm getting into a story is to be interrupted. What I want is for it to flow and be easy to read, and I don't want interruptions of any sort, even if it's to add more context or details about the sentence I just read. Especially not if it means I have to leave a paragraph, read a footnote, and find my place and get back into the story.

Not only that, but footnotes in novels are plain unnecessary. All the information you need in order to understand the story and the world in which it takes place should be there in the main text. In the book I'm currently reading, I found early on that the extra information in the footnotes confused me further, rather than explained things. There is such a thing as too much detail, and footnotes in novels just go to prove once again that concise is always better. As I said earlier, I'm ignoring the footnotes in the book I'm reading, and I don't think I'm missing out on anything important. This means that the footnotes are not needed, and therefore shouldn't be there.

This is a short post, but I've made my stance clear: when it comes to novels, footnotes are unnecessary and annoying. In some cases I might even say that footnotes are lazy writing - if you can't fit all the essential information in a paragraph, rewrite it so you can, rather than relying on footnotes. Thank goodness this technique is rare in fiction, and years could pass before I encounter it again.

So there you have it. I'm a firm believer that footnotes in novels do not need to be. But what do you think? Are footnotes in novels ever a good idea? Or are they a waste of everyone's time? Are there exceptions?

Thursday, 20 April 2017

10 Books I Loved That Nobody Else Did

A few days ago I talked about 10 books everyone else loved that I didn't, always an awkward position to be in. But here's another awkward situation: when you love a book that nobody else loves. You can't rave about the book with other fans, and you wonder what you missed that made everyone else not love it. Why weren't other readers on the same page as you? So here are 10 books I loved but no-one else did.

Book covers link to Goodreads.

Goddess by Kelly Gardiner
This book is about a fascinating historical figure. She was a French swordswoman and opera singer, but that's not all. Do yourself a favour and read it. My review.

The Silver Blade by Sally Gardner
The French Revolution, murder, and magic. I loved this book so much as a pre-teen/young teenager; I even have it in hardcover. I'd probably roll my eyes if I reread it now, but I adored it at the time.

Derby Girl by Shauna Cross
I hadn't heard of roller derby before I read this book. I think the awesome concept of it is why I liked the book so much.

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
This is one of her less popular novels, but I loved it! Yes, it's long, but it's still a great book. Also has a fun genre shift partway through.

 The Elites by Natasha Ngan
A dystopian that's original and didn't make me roll my eyes? What? My review.

Dead Time (The Murder Notebooks #1) by
The series was so thrilling and so British and I loved it.

Sense & Sensibility by Joanna Trollope
A modern AU of a Jane Austen classic that isn't disguised as anything else (looking at you, Bridget Jones's Diary). My review.

Hysteria by Megan Miranda
Just look at that tagline. This is the thriller that got me into thrillers. Not that I read a lot of thrillers. In fact, I should read more...

Love in the Land of Midas by
No-one knows about this book and that's sad, because it's so good! A little tropey in terms of Adult fiction, but I was new to the genre then, and of course I always love reading about Greece. My review.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

10 Books Everyone Else Loved That I Didn't

I often feel like an odd cookie when my opinion of a book differs from the consensus. It's an awkward feeling, but surely it's something all of us experience at times? So I thought I'd share 10 books I didn't enjoy as much as everyone else, in no particular order. Maybe sometime I'll also do a post of books I loved that nobody else did...

Cover links go to Goodreads. 

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by
I guess I'll never relate to American high school students. I also got very angry when the main character mused that queer girls have it easier than queer boys. 

Night Swimming by
The idea was better than the execution. If it'd been better written, I could've loved it. 

The Lord of the Rings by
I adore Middle-earth, but I can't stand Tolkien's writing style. Too dry? Too formal? I don't know. What I do know is that there's too much scenery. 

The Kite Runner by
I couldn't relate to a single thing in this book, and I didn't find the story interesting either. I felt the author was showing off by using as many language/writing techniques as he could. The fact I had to study this book probably put me off the most.

Afterworlds by
This made me want to a) never publish a YA book and b) never go near paranormal fiction again. I liked the cute f/f relationship though, that was a nice surprise. 

We Were Liars
I hardly remember anything about it, but I read it and couldn't see what the fuss was all about. 

Ash by
The characterisation was just too weak for me to get into it. A shame because I like her other books.

How I Live Now by
It's been years and I'm still squicked out about her being in love with her cousin 😕

You're Welcome, Universe by
I learnt a lot, but I couldn't relate to any of the characters; I had nothing in common with any of them.

Juliet Takes a Breath by
I didn't connect with the protagonist because she was so angry. She had a right to be for sure, I just couldn't relate to that.

Conclusion: Most of the time I don't enjoy a popular book it's because I don't relate to the characters or the writing style doesn't click with me.

What popular books did you enjoy less than everyone else? Do you agree with any on this list? And how do you react when everyone else loves a book and you don't?

Saturday, 1 April 2017

10 Lessons to Take From War and Peace

It's a classic, and my current favourite book. It's old and very very very long, so of course there are plenty of lessons to be learnt, some of which are more obvious than others. Here are 10 messages you can take away from War and Peace.

Don't drink a bottle of rum while sitting on a window ledge and then tie a bear to a policeman and throw them both in the river. 

This is just common sense.

Don't challenge people to duels. 

This is just common sense. 


Don't fall in love with your second cousin. 

This is just common sense.

Don't go to war. 

This is just common sense.
By François GĂ©rard - L’Histoire par l’image [1], digital version produced by Agence photographique de la RĂ©union des musĂ©es nationaux [2], Public Domain,

Don't get married, never consummate it, have affairs, get pregnant, try to divorce your spouse, and then convert to Catholicism. 

This is just common sense.

Don't gamble away your family's roubles. 

This is just common sense.

Don't flirt with your daughter's companion. 

This is just common sense.

Don't plan a fake marriage when you're already married to someone else. 

This is just common sense.

When you see a grenade, move. 

This is just common sense.


Don't stay behind when your city is about to be invaded by Napoleon. 

This is just common sense.
By Unknown German - [1], Public Domain,

Basically, War and Peace is a novel of what not to do. If you've read it, what did you learn from it?

What are the most important lessons you've learnt from the classics? Do you like your books to have messages?

Oh, and Happy April Fools'!

I'm Alexandria, a 19-year-old reader/writer/blogger from New Zealand. I love language, history, and sci-fi. Hi! I'm always around if you want to talk, which you can do via comments, the contact form, or Facebook.

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