3 Main Reasons Why I hate footnotes


Lately (idk why), I’ve been reading several books that have a format where the authors include A LOT of footnotes. AND, I’ve realized that I hate it when books have them.

Yes, Nevernight is a Young Adult fantasy book and Crazy Rich Asians is a Contemporary trilogy, but both of them have *spoiler-alert, footnotes.  (Btw, there are many other books that also have footnotes)

I haven’t finished reading Nevernight because I still have no clue what’s going on and the time jumps + POVs are really confusing. I have heard really good things about this book and I’m still on page 70-ish so I really hope it gets better…

With Crazy Rich Asians, I did finish reading it and I actually also read China Rich Girlfriend (the sequel). I haven’t read the third book but hopefully, I will do so this year. The thing with this trilogy (that has nothing to do with footnotes btw), is that the storyline that interested me the most was not even the main one. 

Either way, whether it’s a good book or not, I don’t like it when books have footnotes. These are the 3 reasons why: (which btw it’s really just one reason divided into mini sections)

Side Note: This is my experience with only physical books because I have never read an ebook with footnotes. 


1. Footnotes are supposed to be short, not two paragraphs long.

When an author is writing a word in another language I get why a footnote is needed. OR when the author is using a ‘slang’, I also get why a footnote is needed.


When I’m reading and then there is a 2-3 paragraph footnote where I need to turn the page to finish reading the footnote and then go back to the paragraph itself, it’s really annoying. (Idk if what I just said makes any sense but I’m hoping you get what I mean). 

2. Sometimes the footnote should be part of a paragraph/chapter itself

Let’s say…

I’m reading this story about a soldier that’s fighting for her life and her best friend is about to start fighting against her and betray her. I don’t want to be stopped midway with a footnote about the history of betrayal and how once upon a time the enemy was also betrayed by their best friend.  

If there is a side story that is also important, it should be included in the paragraph itself. OR in another chapter. 

3. Footnotes are simply confusing

Maybe this only happens to me, but going back and forth between a very long footnote and where I was reading before, is so confusing. I often have to re-read a section when the footnote is placed in mid-sentence. It’s a struggle.


So yeah… 

This was a short post compared to what I normally write. Honestly I wanted to write more but couldn’t think of any more reasons why I hate footnotes hahah. I just felt like I had to write this post sort of as a ‘rant’ :))

Your Thoughts:

Your thoughts:

Do you like it when books have footnotes? 

Did you struggled keeping up with footnotes in Crazy Rich Asians or Nevernight?

  1. Sofia

    I completely agree!!! I’m really (definitely) not a fan of footnotes, for the all reasons you mentioned and just because I hate having to take a break to read the freaking footnote 😂 I’ve never read a footnote that should be in the chapter itself, but wow that sounds very annoying!! It’s like the author couldn’t find a way to integrate it in the story so they just threw a footnote there so the readers aren’t confused. huhhhhh not a fan :///

    • val @behindthatstory

      Ikr! 🙌 I feel like having to take a break to read the footnote is just annoying. Idk why lately I’ve been reading books with footnotes but yeah… not a fan either.

  2. Nicola @ NicolaMartin.com

    Yes, I agree. A lot of time with non fiction/history books, the author just dumps a whole load of info that either not that interesting or could have been incorporated into the narrative. Sometimes footnotes can be quirky/fun (Douglas Coupland’s Generation X makes up fake slang and footnotes it) or completely change the story (House of Leaves springs to mind), but this is a rarity IMO.

    • val @behindthatstory

      Ikr 🙌 I’ll definitely have to check out Douglas Coupland’s Generation X cause the fake slang sounds like fun! Also, I’ve never read a book with footnotes that completely change the story so yeah… I agree it’s a rarity

  3. Marta @ the book mermaid

    I haven’t read any of those books, but if footnotes are *huge* I’m more likely not to read them, and then I might end up not getting important info :/

    • val @behindthatstory

      Exactly! smh… footnotes should be small🙈


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