i have neither the author’s note nor that photo in my finished copy. BOOOOO!
-Did you have much knowledge of this book before it was selected for our book club read in September?
the only knowledge i had of it was from seeing at the store and reading the flap copy, putting it on my “someday, probably in paperback” radar, because i liked her first book, the bear, quite a lot.
-Do you have any expectations going into this story?
nope! i am the worst at “thinking ahead.” i pretty much plow into all my books with very little preparation, which can go either way on the pleasure/disappointment seesaw, but usually turns out okay.
-When you read fiction, do you appreciate extra content such as a family tree, maps or a glossary? Can you think of other novels you have read that included such extras? Did this add to your reading experience?
glossaries, YES - especially for slang-heavy or books written in dialect. sometimes books go too far with the glossaries - cynical karen sometimes wonders if it’s just to give the book the appearance of research and authority &etc, defining terms that are pretty common, but i might just read too much within certain areas, so i’m familiar with uncommon stuff without realizing it’s uncommon. however, i find it really frustrating when the glossary is at the end of the book, without a note saying “hey, handy glossary for you at the end!” because that’s just mean. but i do like to read the entire glossary first, before starting the book, because it locks it in my mind as far as “these are terms to expect,” and also lets me know if i will need the glossary at all.
maps - i never look at them. i always appreciate that they are there for cartography-buffs, but even maps that are meant to get me from one place to another just look like scribbles to me.
family trees i can take or leave. i think it helped me in homegoing https://www.rifflebooks.com/books/900740, but also gave away something before i’d read it, which doesn’t bother me too much, but i remember having a moment of “d’oh!” in general, though, i file them under “thoughtful detail i will likely not refer to.”
-The story begins with an epigraph, quoting george eliot:
Our deeds still travel with us from afar,
and what we have been makes us what we are.
George Eliot, Middlemarch
When you read this, what did/do you think??
if we are being truth-tellers, and not trying to be impressive, my actual response was “ugh, middlemarch.” i liked mill on the floss, but middlemarch was a real drag for me. but i’m the same as kim - usually i will return to the epigraph (and if there’s a prologue, i will reread that, too) after i finish the whole thing, for perspective. the “proper” way is too speculative for me - i wanna get into the story immediately, not anticipate about “what could it signify???”