Here’s a quirky think about me when I read non-fiction. I love footnotes. Not the kinds that merely cite a reference, but the kind that contain nuggets of information, like gold, somehow related to what you are reading. When I look at a page and see a footnote, I get excited, the way I used to get when opening a box of Lucky Charms and digging for the toy buried within the cereal. I don’t know why this is. Somehow, my mind was fed the idea that the author is providing some of the most significant insights within footnotes, ironic as that may seem.
I especially like witty footnotes, and as an example, here’s one that I just finished reading in Our Oriental Heritage:
*In this medley of now almost forgotten kingdoms there were periods of literary and artistic–above all, architectural–creation; there were wealthy capitals, luxurious palaces, and mighty potentates; but so vast is India, and so long is its history, that in this congested paragraph we must pass by, without so much as mentioning them, men who for a time thought they dominated the earth. For example, Vilkramaditya, who ruled the Chalyukans for half a century (1076-1126), was so successful in war that (like Nietzsche) he proposed to found a new chronological era, dividing history into before him and after him. Today he is just a footnote.
Is there anyone else out there that shares my child-like fascination with footnotes?