I realized a few years back - I like footnotes. I know: technically they break the flow of the story, they can be unnecessary, they can be randomly specific or absurdly vague... But overall, I've found footnotes to be extremely useful in certain cases. They are easy to read if I want, easy to ignore if I don't, and their benefits overall outweigh any of their detriments.
Endnotes, on the other hand... I do not like endnotes. Here's why:
- They appear only in classics.
- They are usually about historical cultural differences, usually plot irrelevant.
- They are impossible to read within the flow of the story.
For example: I was reading Middlemarch a month ago (I will discuss it soon, I promise!). My edition has these long, bizarrely detailed endnotes about the most random details. They didn't add anything and were just entirely unnecessary. At some point I stopped reading them. So what's the point? This has happened to me many, many times and I just don't understand it. The only justification I can find for endnotes versus footnotes is in the case when they're long and even then, sometimes it'd probably be better if the notes themselves were shorter. Is this just a personal thing? What do you think - footnotes or endnotes? Or nothing at all?