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Interview with Mary Roach on Mental Floss

Since we'll be discussing Gulp soon, I thought I'd post a link to this interview with Mary Roach on Mental Floss.    You can click on the link to read the whole thing, but I thought I'd include an excerpt from it, which is about her footnotes.   This has been a topic of conversation in our previous book group discussions of her books, so I thought readers might find it interesting:

So I wanted to talk a little bit about your footnotes. In a lot of books, I’ll skip them because they’re kind of boring. But your footnotes are always very funny. Sometimes they deal with what you're talking about, sometimes they don't, and sometimes they're just a joke you're making. Is that stuff that was going to go in the text but got cut, or are you writing those and then putting them in as you go along?

It’s material that doesn’t really fit the narrative, but I can’t bear to leave out. So it’s just me being indulgent. If I’ll have something that I have in a folder and I can’t find a way to fit it in that isn’t distracting or annoying for the reader, I’ll put it in a footnote. Some chapters have a lot of them; some don’t. Some books have a lot, some more of them. I’m tending on doing fewer of them because they don’t work so well with e-Books. They take people off the page to another part—a dedicated page—and then they have to go back, is how it’s been working, and people don’t like it. So I’m doing fewer of them with the next book.

It also just goes book-by-book. Like, Bonk has three times as many as Stiff, or SpookGulphas quite a few. Packing for Mars has quite a few. It kind of depends on the material. Sometimes there’s a bunch of footnote-worthy stuff and other times there’s not.

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