two books, a few words and they're out of here SBD

The first book is by a sort of pal so you can forget me telling you the title.
The second is The Duke and I, a bestseller by Julia Quinn. See? I did a name for once. I don't know Quinn but I know that a little whine in a tiny blog is not going to harm her sales.

I should have enjoyed both books, but my experience with them is further proof that I'm turning into a cranky old biddy. The repetition of a word and an action turned me off. I finished them, but only because I paid full bucks for 'em. No, that's not true of my pal's book. I wanted to know what happened in that one.

I don't blame the authors entirely. Every writer has a word or two they latch onto and I think it's almost impossible for the writer to find the damn word if there's not enough time between deadline and final copy edits. Someone else has to seek out and destroy that word. Okay, sure the writer ought to see it, but she's really not the trained editor, right? Come on, work with me here. It's the editor's fault. Okay, and the writer's fault, too. Bah.

For my friend's book it was "huff." Not my favorite word to begin with so I noticed the heck out of that thing and there were a lot of that word to notice. People huffed out words, breath huffed out of bodies. No one huffed any whipped cream cans but that's about all they didn't huff.

For Quinn it was the act of eye rolling. Every time someone did anything remotely annoying to another character, eyes would drift heavenward or roll. Also the heroine's mention of "four brothers" made me seriously think someone needed to go over that manuscript one more time. Yeah, it was cute but overdone.

Both books had fun plots, engaging situations and characters, blah blah blah, but both books were just about ruined for La Princess Pickypants here (is that a pea under my seventeen mattresses? oh fie!) and I thoroughly dislike that kind of reader for obvious reasons (how many times did you say laugh in that last ms, Ms Devon?)

You might climb on your high horse, as so many do over at AAR and Smart Bitches (and I'm usually up there, too), and say that I, The Reader, deserves a book that doesn't have that kind of repetition or mistake.

I say I'd rather just not notice things like that. I'd rather be so absorbed by the story that the typos and other dumb nonsense soar right past me. As much as we deplore them, the dumb mistakes are going to be there. And come on, the bottom line is there's actually no point whining about the most minor of the dumb mistakes because they're not going to go away. No one has time or rather money to hire the proofreaders to go through the mss with finetoothed combs and pick out all those nasty itchy little nits (Real question: are the nits the eggs or the bugs? The ESL class wanted to know. Nilhofer said the eggs, but I'm not convinced.) Anyway, if you're going to have to live with nits, the best trick, I hear, is to develop less sensitive skin.

You itching yet?

I think I used to be an oblivious reader--I was so desperate for escape, my brain would skip the problems. Turns out I'd rather be the happy, dumb reader than the observant, grouchy one.

There. Even though I kind of like Crocs--I don't own a pair--I think Beth's rant is more fun, but at least I posted an SBD.


  1. This irritates me too.

    For some reason, I reread Lowell's Jade Island three times in a row. I may never read another Lowell book because it irritates me when I see her pet phrases.

  2. Nits are the eggs.

    Now I'm feeling paranoid. As many times as I run through this manuscript, I keep picking up repeated words, phrases, actions, similes. The common things are the most insidious -- do my characters sigh to much? Do they all do the exact same dismissive hand gesture?

    Fear of readers like you is driving me batty. And you're in my corner. So what about the evil alternate-universe Kate who isn't in my corner? She's going to slam me!

  3. TOO much.


  4. Ok I enjoy Julia Quinn. And hate Crocs. So. We are still opposites. Good to know all is still right with the world ;-)

  5. I think I'll just save the link to this post for the next time I think I'm being too picky as a beta reader. :)

    It's tempting to say that if the book's otherwise really good, that I don't notice, but I think it's more accurate to say that it's easier to let it go if I'm really into the book otherwise.

    Word repetition bugs me, but incongrous details are what'll throw me out of a story faster than anything else. A recent read never recovered from a little girl's father shining her shoes for school--in 1995.


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