When I feel like throwing a book

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Early this week, I settled in to read a book, which let's call "The Book of Errors" for the moment. I was unsure initially, because the principle theme of the book is that of religion - something I rarely read about and am barely curious of other than for checking some specifics or tragic happenings in Wikipedia. But then The Book of Errors is about extreme obsession with religion and about a major tragedy related to it. So I was piqued, I was curious about the said incident because apparently everyone had heard about it and I had no idea. Of course, I could still wiki, but when there's a book on it, who needs wiki?

(Picture credit)
So then I settled down to read it, found it to be a really fast read for a nonfiction, and an engaging one too, until I came across a typo. Okay, never mind, I told myself. After all, I'm reading an ARC. Typos are expected in ARCs. That's why they are ARCs! Knowing that, I kept reading, but before soon, another typo jumped out at me, and then another, and soon again another.

This began to turn into a contest of Catch Me (the typo) If You Can.

This isn't the first book I'm reading with typos. I've read published books with the occasional typo. And I've read a few ARCs, with a little more than that occasional typo. But this is the first time, I'm coming across a whole lot of them in one book. I was very disappointed. The author had published another book previously which, although I haven't read it, had received some good reviews. And The Book of Errors is also well-written - featuring some good research, good pacing, fascinating build-up, and I can't wait to see how this ends in tragedy.

(Picture credit)
Except, the typos have me seriously rethinking.

I love reading ARCs as much as the next reader. There's something about holding a fresh-off-the-press copy in your hand, that will not be published until days or weeks or months later, and trying to figure out if it's going to make people rave about it or not. The downside with reading an ARC, however, is that they are not finished copies. Some of my favorite sections in a book - the Preface, the Afterword, even the Acknowledgments sometimes, could be missing. Whole sections or chapters may be changed when the book finally comes out for publication (although I haven't directly heard of this), and there is no saying what level of proofreading has been done by the time my copy was printed. There could be some good volume of errors in the ARC or there could be next to none.

I read for the reading experience. And that means, I expect a whole lot from the book I'm reading, especially language. And although I try not to pick on the typos in an ARC and just focus on the general writing and the flow of the book, sometimes it isn't possible, like with The Book of Errors. At some point, the obsessive English tutor in my head starts brandishing her red pen and virtually scratching across the pages. At that point, I know, ARC or not, my reading experience will be heavily influenced by the issues I have with it. That's usually the time to let go.

Since this is my general reaction to a book peppered with typos, I didn't want to reveal the real name of the book that had sprung this reaction in me lately. If I finish The Book of Errors, I'll review it, in which I will mention about the typos.

40 comments:

Patti Smith said...

The typos would drive me bonkers...I'm an English teacher so I am easily distracted once a pattern of errors develops...it's a disease, I know.  ;)

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.... said...

Ahhh sorry it ruined it for you.

bermudaonion (Kathy) said...

Typos in a finished copy bug the heck out of me but I can overlook them in ARCs for some reason. 

zibilee said...

I have a funny story about this type of thing. So, I once got a book for review that was riddled, and I mean just riddled with typos and bad grammar. It was so distracting that I started to have a very negative reaction to the story itself, and I couldn't concentrate on what was going on in the book. This was a nonfiction book. I emailed the publisher and asked if they realized that there were SO many errors in this book that it was almost unreadable, and they replied that the copy I was reviewing was very close to the finished version. I was floored! They were going to put the book out in that condition? I ended up reviewing it and making a lot of noise about all the errors in said book. Others seemed to have no problem with it, but I was just so flummoxed by how bad the narrative was presented! I have never forgotten that particular book...

christa @ mental foodie said...

You did realize this book is called The Book Of Errors right? So having all these typos are very fitting - living up to its name! :) Usually I don't notice too many grammatical error. Typo, every so often. I found it interesting that sometimes the names are different - the same person is called THIS throughout the book, then in one spot, it's called entirely something else... made me wonder!
christa @ mental foodie. http://mentalfoodie.blogspot.com/

Erin said...

There is something simultaneously cool and disappointing about ARCs, I think, the latter especially with regards to the incomplete or less polished ones. Have you read The Great Typo Hunt? You might enjoy it. It's typo-hunting across America, with a sense of humor :-)

Helen Murdoch said...

It is so fun to get ARCs and I have been lucky to have well edited ones. I would be really annoyed to have to sift through a bunch of typos. I might have even given up on the book

Tiina said...

Typos suck! ;) It's very annoying to read a book with lost of typos.
By the way, I just found your blog & will definitely visit again.

Leeswammes said...

I really don't like typos. I think I can handle about 10-20 in an ARC but any more and I feel insulted as a reader. The book was obviously put together without due care and attention and then they want me to read it and review it? Nah!

Vasilly said...

Ugh! I know what book you're talking about. I don't understand how an ARC can have so many typos! This is pretty ridiculous coming from a major publisher.  I was thinking about asking for a e-galley of this book but I think I'll just wait and get it from my library. 

Athira / Aths said...

That's exactly my reaction to errors too  - it's pretty hard to look past them!

Athira / Aths said...

At least, the book is good otherwise, or else I would have been infuriated!

Athira / Aths said...

I usually overlook typos in ARCs, but I've never come across so many in a book. I feel it's just not worth reading a book like that.

Athira / Aths said...

That's exactly what I'm worried about too. The whole typo thing is already turning out to be a big deal - by the end, I'm surely going to be upset about the book as a whole.

Athira / Aths said...

I haven't come across wrong names in a book. Yet. That would be the last straw, I guess. I will give the book one more try and if it doesn't work out, never mind.

Athira / Aths said...

I have heard of that book, and possibly come across some stories/typos featured in it. I'll look for it - looks like it will be an interesting read. Thanks for sharing! 

Athira / Aths said...

I am pretty close to giving up. The one thing holding me on, is that barring the typos the book is very interesting, so I may still give it one last try.

Athira / Aths said...

Thanks! It definitely is terrible reading a book packed with typos. 

Athira / Aths said...

That's precisely my stand too. I understand that ARCs come with the condition that there may be errors. A few is fine, but a whopping load of them in each page shows lack of respect for the reader and for the writing occupation, and I hate that.

Athira / Aths said...

If I don't manage through the book during my one last try, I may also do the same. That is, if I'm not so worn out that I can't stand the sight of this book. It's such a pity.

Kim @ Sophisticated Dorkiness said...

I'm always a little disappointed when I get an ARC without the acknowledgments or prologue because I love reading them.

Zohar said...

 I don't mind the errors in ARCs but I get those for free. If I paid for a book and it's error ridden I will return it because it's a faulty product.

http://www.ManOfLaBook.com

Bibliophilebythesea said...

I get turned off when I'm reading something with typos. A few in an ARC are expected but "the book of errors"...LOL seems extreme. (Hope you review it).

Jackie said...

I don't like typos, but I tend not to notice them. It is only when I spot a few in a row that I go back and start looking and then they seem to be everywhere. I hope you finish The Book of Errors so I can find out what it is - I'd love to know if I've read it and failed to spot them ;-)

Athira / Aths said...

Glad to see that you also like them! I love looking at who all influenced a writer, and it's always great to read all the extra info about a book.

Athira / Aths said...

I try not to worry about typos in a free book, actually I try not to complain. But when it starts affecting my reading experience, it's time for quits.

Athira / Aths said...

I hope I'm going to review it, lol! The book is good otherwise, which is such a pity. I hope they do some good editing before publication.

Athira / Aths said...

Lol! I'm hoping to continue with it and if so, possibly review it next week. The typos are glaring but at least the book is good otherwise.

Ash said...

Firstly, I haven't been to your blog in awhile and I love the new look! And of course the tyops really stink. I once read an arc on my nook and it was missing all kinds of letters. I think this really changed my opinion about the book, which is unfortunate, but arc or not I think the book needs to at least appear edited. 

Athira / Aths said...

Thanks, Ash! :) I'm worried my opinion will be influenced by the typos too, and I'm planning to give one more try to the book. If it's still bothering me, I'm kissing it goodbye.

Piyush Garyali said...

What more can you expect from a book with a title, "The Book for Errors" ???? 

Athira / Aths said...

Well, the book's title isn't The Book Of Errors. I named it that just for generalization. Didn't want to reveal the name of the book yet. :)

Ti said...

Typos bother me too. Except, a few months ago I got an ARC where entire pages were missing. Now, that REALLY bothered me.

Lenasledge said...

I can overlook a few typos, but too many and I'm not a happy camper. Everyone makes mistakes and we are human, but more than 5 is my limit. I can't imagine missing a whole page Ti, that would leave me in disbelief. Wow.

Piyush Garyali said...

Ah ! :)

Athira / Aths said...

Oh my goodness, that would annoy me. Typos are a small thing in comparison. I can't imagine getting into a big suspense and seeing that the next page is missing!

Athira / Aths said...

Yeah, I can usually overlook a few typos. Too many, and it shows a lack of good editing. When I was reading this, I was thinking this is the draft that would go to your close ones, not to random readers like me.

Anna said...

I don't mind a few typos; actually, I expect it with ARCs.  But it's a shame when there are so many that it affects the reading experience.  I one time was given a bound manuscript with notes from the editors to each other, and they were changing characters' names midway through and commenting on parts of the book they wanted changed, and it took me forever to finish it.

Athira / Aths said...

Oh my goodness - that is pretty crazy! I wonder why they send unfinished drafts like that. I'm impressed you finished it, it would have driven me insane.

Aliz Cloe said...

I hate reading books with a bunch of errors!  I understand mistakes, no one can be perfect, but a large amount drives me insane! A few weeks ago I read a book that was filled with errors. The worst part was that it was an already published book!  It would have been an OK first draft, but it was already published.
Spelling mistakes, grammar errors,  names kept being changed, people kept change how they look without explanation, random people would pop in and out of a scene, historical inaccuracies, and many dumb errors.  My forth grade sister could have edited it, and it would have been so much better. 
Even worse was the fact that the author is well known, and has many good books already published. This one thought looked like a they printed and published the first quick draft, without going thought to edit. It really made my opinion of this author diminish.