Memoirs of a Geisha (see post below) is starting to indulge in something that would drive my late friend and mentor Zena Sutherland completely around the bend. The narrator-protagonist has started doling out facts about geishas by the handful, and while I'm listening to the audio version, I can see that the information is contained in lengthy expository paragraphs that my eyes would skip right over. We used to see this a lot in the YA problem novel of the seventies and eighties, where a teacher or counselor, or most baldly, a pamphlet the characters find on a table or bulletin board, lays out all the facts about whatever pathology or disease the book is exploring. Zena's favorite example was from a book in which the main character (and readers) learned all about whatever disease it was the character had via a conversation between two nurses in the hall.
At home, Richard and I are watching Fortunes of War, an old BBC miniseries based on a series of books by Olivia Manning I read a hundred years ago. The director and screenwriter have found a very effective way of getting historical information in by making the character played by Emma Thompson all nosy and blunt and new to the scene (1930s Bucharest), and asking the questions viewers will have about the politics of the time and region. We get the context we need at the same time Thompson's character is being developed--quite canny.