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Indexes for novels

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Maybe my memory's getting bad but there are times when I'm reading a novel when I think "Wait, this doesn't make sense - how is Deirdre related to Martin?" and I know it was explained earlier in the book and I have to hunt down the section where it explains that Deirdre is Martin's first wife's cousin. How much easier would it be if I could just turn to the index and look for "Deidre - related to Martin, p.98". The situation is even worse in Science Fiction, where the characteristics of a strange race of aliens might be explained in Chapter 2 but only become relevant in Chapter 13. Authors will oppose these indexes as they like to believe that we readers treasure their every word and commit them all to memory and this would disillusion them horribly.
hippo, Sep 07 2009

Bold First Who Bold_20First_20Who
by phundug. A related problem solved. [calum, Sep 07 2009]

The plural of index ... http://www.merriam-...om/dictionary/index
... is "indexes" or "indices", according to Merriam-Webster. "indexes" is more common in the US than in the UK, but by no means absent from the UK.
Or you could just sidestep the issue and call it a concordance. [jutta, Sep 07 2009]

Deirdre and Martin. http://www.psychoheresy-aware.org/
Am now seriously worried about hippo's reading material. Searches for "Deirdre and Martin" all lead here. [DrBob, Sep 10 2009]


       This would bring a whole new category of plot device for novels with twists (such as crime novels): the unreliable index!
Jinbish, Sep 07 2009

       // reading the footnotes //   

       ... and presumably the handnotes as well .....
8th of 7, Sep 07 2009

       sp. "indices"
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Sep 07 2009

       I have certainly seen this part-baked in Anna Karenina (and books of a similar girth and ilk (good name for a pub that)), where some editions have an index of names (incl. patronymics) and familial relationships, though, admittedly, these did not cover events.
calum, Sep 07 2009

       There's nothing worse than a punctuated colon.
xenzag, Sep 07 2009

       [Absinthe]: "indexes" is acceptable in non-technical instances.
Jinbish, Sep 07 2009

       Brilliant! I was reading a novel with some outstanding statements I wanted to remember. I marked the page and promptly dropped the book, lost the page, never found it again. I actually turned to the back looking for an index. Hippo must have felt my pain.
dentworth, Sep 07 2009

       [Jinbish] Says who?
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Sep 07 2009

       I find this situation tends to occur if you decide to read a late on a Saturday night after a few jars. I try to have something disjointed like "Does Anything Eat Wasps?" to hand if I fancy intoxicated reading.
wagster, Sep 07 2009

       What [calum] said. There's a list of characters and their relations in the back of War and Peace, too.   

       I think if you added more than a sentence about them, it would ruin most of the plot. It would work if you just had a list of page numbers where key things happen/are described, and then you'd know from what page you're on whether you'd read that bit yet.   

       Perhaps you could turn this into a website. It would explain the plot or give information about a character up to a chosen point in the book, so as not to give anything away.
mitxela, Sep 07 2009

       Wait a minute, how do I know you? Oh yeah, I remember now. This is a great one, oh hipps, great indeedy.
blissmiss, Sep 07 2009

       [Absinthe]: Concise Oxford Dictionary, 9th Ed. I had it on my desk at work - forgive me while I paraphrase:
"pl. indexes, pl. indices, esp. technical"
Jinbish, Sep 07 2009

       As far as I am concerned all the good books already do this. Tolkien, Homerus. And that's it really, as far as good books are concerned.+
zeno, Sep 07 2009

       Sorry that's not quite what your idea is. I don't like an index that says on which page you can read about what. I like to see lists of characters and who their ancestors are and what their history is. Oh, and Shakespear is also good.
zeno, Sep 07 2009

       Oh gees, now I feel I have to make a list of all the other good books, why don't I just admit I am drinking sake and stop right there ok?
zeno, Sep 07 2009

       Or, perhaps make an index of your annos?
Jinbish, Sep 07 2009

blissmiss, Sep 07 2009

       Looking for 'Dumbledore, Damien, connection to: p.x' and seeing 'Dumbledore, death of: p. 235' might not further the enjoyment of reading the book. (Not that there is any to be had; i, too, subsist, nay, flower, on a diet of Homer, Tolkien and the Kalevala (colons, anyone?))   

       'Infinite Jest' has an index and ~100 pages of footnotes, but it uses both for effect. Adding them to a work that was not created to have one alters the impact of the work. [-]
loonquawl, Sep 08 2009

       I'm against the idea but I'm not entirely sure why. I did have a good reason but I can't remember what it was. I know I was definitely against it though.
DrBob, Sep 08 2009

       Great anno dr. Made me laugh.
zeno, Sep 10 2009

       Although the family tree at the front of One Hundred Years of Solitude was very handy, I agree with [loon] that too much info might ruin the plot, even if by accident.   

       It's the literary equivalent of standing in a crowd of people talking about the film you're just about to go and see. Much of what you hear will blur into incomprehensibles but one loud-mouth will shout, "I can't believe they killed off Sally!" and it'll stick in your head, ruining the whole experience as you wait impatiently for poor, doomed Sally to go the way of Old Yeller.
theleopard, Sep 10 2009

       [thesnowleopard] The family tree in "100 years of solitude" is invaluable. The first time I read that book I was looking at it all the time. It's not helped either by most of the characters seeming to have the same name...
hippo, Sep 10 2009


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