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Sandi Shilhanek | Does a Book Have To Be Perfect To Be Enjoyed?

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This week I read a new to me author, Marie Bostwick. I read her book A Thread of Truth. When I started it I was warned that there might be numerous typos but I was to see if it really detracted from reading. With that thought in mind I set out to not enjoy the book, because last year I attempted to read a different book by a different author that was so riddled with typos, both spelling and grammatical that after four days of reading I hadn’t even made it to page one hundred.

I’m very happy to report that even though A Thread of Truth was the second book in the series I had no trouble following along, and that the typos didn’t pull me out of the story, and I truly feel that there were only two times that I would have even noticed them had I not been warned. I’m also thrilled to say that I had been told for some time that Bostwick would be an author I would like, but I had been putting her off, and I was not misled…Bostwick is now on my must read list.

Ivy Peterman has a potentially life-threatening secret, one she must protect not only for herself...but also for her children's future. With her resources depleted, Ivy's landed in the small New England town of New Bern, Connecticut. Ivy has no intention to stay longer than necessary, but with the help of the women of the Cobbled Court Quilt shop, she finds a refuge and the strength to stand up for herself when her past catches up with her. As her new-found friends work together to find a way to keep her safe, Ivy slowly learns the lessons of friendship.

A SINGLE THREAD might not be an easy book to read for Marie Bostwick examines a difficult emotional subject and takes it apart piece by piece. When the last page is turned, you realize Bostwick has stitched a truly compelling story of friendship overcoming adversity and a community pulling together for one of its own.

So while we want a book to be perfect, and for the storyline to flow in a smooth easy manner, what do you do when you notice the typos be they spelling or grammar? What happens when the story line loses its natural flow, or doesn’t flow the way you thought it would? Do you continue reading or say it’s not worth the time and effort to continue.

I don’t know about you, but I have to sign off now so I can go check out Marie Bostwick’s backlist, and perhaps start a new book by this author that has suddenly found herself on my authors-to-look-for list.

Sandi ShilhanekUntil next week happy page turning!

Sandi Shilhanek

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Comments

39 comments posted.

Re: Sandi Shilhanek | Does a Book Have To Be Perfect To Be Enjoyed?

Typos usually don't ruin a book for me. I notice them, but consider it just a matter of bad proofing.

My first experience with Marie Bostwick's books was "A Single Thread". That book really resonated with me & has become one of my all-time favorite books. I was thrilled to see "A Thread of Truth" & am looking forward to reading it.
(Cheryl Snyder 10:23am June 21, 2009)

I just finished a review book,
it was the first book by this
author I had read, and their
were some typos and some
incorrect word usage, but I
was totally wrapped up in the
story line that I was able to ignore them. LOL And some
times if the story line is not
well developed and they will
pull me out of the story and
make me put it up. T
(Melissa Tackett 11:02am June 21, 2009)

I notice the typos and go on. I realize proofreading relies a lot on spell check and grammar check. When there are as many as five or ten on a page it gets difficult. I still enjoy the story even though it is like wading through a minefield.

A book by one of my favorite authors was incorrectly collated. Five or six pages would be reversed, some were correctly collated. Once I figured out what was happening I would check before reading. I still enjoyed the book, but returned it to the store for a corrected copy.

Ray
(Ray Getzinger 11:20am June 21, 2009)

Most typos do not bother me, but if is one that is really noticeable it can pull me out of the story. I remember when I was reading a book about Marines and they said they were stationed at 23 Palms instead of 29 Palms. That really threw me and I all could do is hope that it was a typo and not an error on the author's part.
(Pat Richardson 11:26am June 21, 2009)

Typos usually don't bother me and I'll just skim by them. I do remember one though, the heroine was talking to the hero and called him the villains name. That's an editing problem, I got a chuckle out of it though.
(Shauna George 11:41am June 21, 2009)

Since I generally get ARCs to read, typos really don't bother me. Kathy
(Kathy Boswell 12:17pm June 21, 2009)

Ideally, I would hope that publishers would take the time to be excellent in their job and editing is part of that. But personally, typos do not bother me. I am more concerned about the story itself than a typo or two. I read a lot of medieval texts and standarized spelling did not exist then so maybe that is part of why it doesn't bother me. Awkward grammar botherw me more -- not the kind of incomplete sentences an author uses when the character is using indirect dialogue for what is going on in his/her head but rather sentences that do not flow. If this happens a lot, then it bothers me because then it is more characteristic of the author's writing than just a missed correction/editing error.
(Merri Crawford 12:21pm June 21, 2009)

Typos don't bother me- I tend to make a passing notice and go one. If I notice more than one, though I tend to think that editing did a bad job of proofing. I will say, I have seen fans take an almost gleeful joy in pointing out a typo (with the page marked) while asking the author to sign their book for them.
(Sara Edmonds 12:33pm June 21, 2009)

Typos don't ruin the book for me. I notice them, wonder why the book wasn't edited better, and go on with my reading. One of my pet peeves is the misuse of the words affect and effect. That annoys me more than the bad spelling.
(Jill Hayden 12:35pm June 21, 2009)

As a copy editor, I sometimes find it very hard to read for pleasure because of typos (usually grammatical rather than spelling). I have to consciously "turn off" that part of my brain, as it were. Luckily, that is fairly rare, because all my favourite authors have excellent proofreaders and editors! However, every once in a while a real blooper will make it's way through the lines of defense, and I'll catch it. In a case like that, it's usually something that just stops me dead, and then I start laughing hysterically, because it's SO obvious and SO stupid, that there's nothing else to do but laugh! Only once have I had to stop part-way through a book, and that wasn't because of typos. It was just an "off" book for that author. Everything else of hers that I own and/or have read is fine. Go figure.

Later,

Lynn
(Lynn Rettig 12:45pm June 21, 2009)

Typos don't bother me unless there are so many you can't follow the storyline. As long as the book holds my interest, that's all that matters to me!
(JoAnn White 12:48pm June 21, 2009)

Generally typo's dont bother mecause well no one is perfect and sometimes spell check does not catch everything.....
It only bothers me when it is blatently being done and to the point that you just can not ignore it at all.....

Cindy Mac
(Cynthia Mclelland 12:50pm June 21, 2009)

If I'm really into a book, typos won't bother me. I'm too involved with the characters and the story.
(Rosemary Krejsa 1:09pm June 21, 2009)

I find typos amusing. They make me smile broadly. Then I make a correct substitution and keep stepping.
(Alyson Widen 1:12pm June 21, 2009)

Good question Sandi! Typos don't usually bother me but when there are a lot it will pull me out of the story. I read a book last year that had quite a few typos and it did ruin the flow of the story but luckily it was good enough that I kept reading. What bothers me more if poor writing which falls under poor editing IMHO. Choppy sentences or run-on sentences drive me nuts.
(Mary Perry 1:48pm June 21, 2009)

I do some reading/critiquing for a number of authors and tend to look a little closer than I should at books I'm reading for pleasure. A minimal amount of typos don't pull me out of a story, but when they're numerous, I start to think about how they should have been caught, etc.

Interesting subject, Sandi! I'm not familiar with Marie Bostwick, but am intrigued by her work - love the cover on A THREAD OF TRUTH!
(Laurie Damron 1:58pm June 21, 2009)

Typos usually aren't a major issue with me. I am much more bothered by inaccuracies, except when an author has told me that it has been done for the sake of the storyline.
(Carol Gowett 2:27pm June 21, 2009)

I notice mistakes, but if the story is good, I just assume the editing hadn't caught them -- I mean even Tolkien had mistakes -- lol, but I never dreamed of putting him down.
best
billi jean
(Billi Jones-dimatteo 2:29pm June 21, 2009)

There is no such thing as a perfect book. I agree with Mary Perry because I wonder why the editing is so bad--or non-existent. I'm glad to see that others find it annoying, too. Real typos don't bother me but frequent mistakes in word usage and grammar definitely detract from my enjoyment of a book. I wonder if books are being published without going through a proofreading stage because of the cost, which really should be minimal. We are definitely our own worst proofreaders so the writers can't really be held responsible. I have a "gift" for language but none at all for creative writing. However, I must say that I'm reluctant to read a third book by any author whose books are consistently poorly or not at all edited. I guess, though, that's because I have too much reading material.
(Sigrun Schulz 2:33pm June 21, 2009)

It seems like there are always going to be some typos in books. As long as they're kept to a minimum it usually doesn't pull me out of the story. I do remember a book w/ a character named Marian. And this character's name was spelled Marian and/or Marion throughout the book -- this did kind of irritate me.
(Pam Nolan 3:03pm June 21, 2009)

I notice them but, unless there are a lot they don't bother me. I have had books with so many that, I just couldn't finish reading I was too distracted.
(Julie Scharff 3:54pm June 21, 2009)

Typos usually do not bother me unless there are quite a few of them. I will have to check this author you mentioned out...book sounds good.
(Kim Paronish 3:58pm June 21, 2009)

Typos don't really bother me as much as really bad grammar when it isn't necessary.
(Karin Tillotson 4:11pm June 21, 2009)

As a former teacher and college newspaper proofreader, I have to admit that typos really jump out at me! The ones that get me the most are the wrong pronouns; I go, "huh?" Most times I'm able to move beyond the typos and enjoy, or not, the book. I feel that today we rely too much on spell checker and grammatick and fail to proof our own work.
(Trudy Miner 4:13pm June 21, 2009)

So glad to hear that so many of you don't let typos keep you from a story you are enjoying. I think that if a
story is well written, and you feel a connection to the characters then the typos usually aren't really
noticed!

As for those of you who haven't read Marie Bostwick, and are thinking you might. I suggest you learn my
lesson, and not wait as long as I did from when Sara was recommending her, and dive right in. This is a
rare author who can write a series and keep each book stand alone enough that you don't feel lost, and
unless you were told as I was (and yes, I still read out of order) wouldn't even necessarily realize you were
reading a series. Those are rare in my opinion (was going to say book, but thought that was just too bad a
pun).
(Sandi Shilhanek 5:18pm June 21, 2009)

Typos will not make or break a story. A well written, well flowing story will carry it self. Typos are a blad reflection on the proofreader and the books editor. I always makes for a better read when the grammer is correct and there are little or no typos. Bad grammer and bad sentence structure, unless it is a spoken word from a character, is a reflection on the authors education or lack of it. A good editor will take care of that for a god or great writer. I know I write and edit a newspaper for a living. I am a photojournalist. My mistakes can sometimes be the talk of the state!

Louise Roys
(Louise Roys 7:58pm June 21, 2009)

It all depends on the story, if the story
has hooked me than I probably won't
even notice the errors, but if I am
struggling with the story I will notice
every little typo.

I don't care who you are - we will
always have some typos in a
manuscript - but if we can get them
into the story...
(Maggi Savage 7:59pm June 21, 2009)

LOL! Good topic, Sandi!

Generally speaking, I will notice a typo and frown a little, but carry on reading. One character in the book being called by another character's name will get a bigger frown, but I'll still carry on reading. Grammatical errors get a growl. What really makes me scowl - and growl - is when there are inconsistencies in the story. I just finished reading a book where the heroine was drugged by the villain putting something in her punch. She put the (paper) cup down and attempted to walk away, only to fall, unconscious. Then, 5 or so pages later she was trying to prove that she was not on drugs and "happened" to remember that she had crushed the cup in her hand when she fell, thus finding it in her effects at the hospital. Things like that - or errors in distance while travelling (in books) - REALLY irritate me.
(Donna Breitkreuz 8:49pm June 21, 2009)

Unless there is a real bad error that totally changes the story for me I can keep on reading.
(Julie Harper 9:34pm June 21, 2009)

As a proofreader, I get very discouraged when I read a book with lots of errors! I'm glad to find out there are some books that can still be appreciated despite the goofs!
(LuAnn Morgan 9:46pm June 21, 2009)

Usually typos don't bother me. Generally errors don't bother me too much!
(Martha Lawson 10:30pm June 21, 2009)

Rarely do I not finish a book I start. I
have noticed lately that there are a lot
more typos, misspellings, and
grammatical errors. One book I read
was so bad I took a red pen to it each
time I read it. Very annoying.
Poor story flow is another story. I'll
still read the book, but not enjoy it as
much. I might not pick up another
book by that author.
One thing I've noticed lately is authors
falling down at the end. Several books
have been suspenseful, good
character development, and good plot.
They author brings the story through
the climax of the plot and then falls
flat. It is almost like they finished the
big chase scene and lost interest in
finishing the story. It sort of spoils
the whole story.
(Patricia Barraclough 11:17pm June 21, 2009)

Grammar and spelling don't pull me out of the story unless there are just too many to ignore. Sometimes grammar is twisted for a reason or a particular accent.
(Summer Sharp 11:18pm June 21, 2009)

Most of the time typos do not bother me. Now if it was all the way through the book, than I might have a problem with it. I know no one is perfect.
(Michelle Sauer 3:10am June 22, 2009)

First things first, Bostwick just went on my TBR list. Thanks : )
Typos don't bother me too much, unless there are a lot in the same book.
Grammar, yeah, that bugs me if I catch a mistake like that. But, hey, I'm a Virgo (lol).
(Mary Hundley 9:34am June 22, 2009)

Typos don't bother me, and I don't blame the author, but if they are numerous, I tend to frown upon the publishing company/proof reader.
(Robin McKay 1:27pm June 22, 2009)

Typos don't really bother me. I pretty much don't even really notice them all that much because they really aren't that bad, if they're spelling, grammar or punctuation typos. Mistakes involving actual places, people and events and other things that should have been researched more thoroughly and I might know something about, and see that the author has their information wrong, that bothers me but not so bad that I can't enjoy the story, if it's good. It's irritating but not all that earth shattering. If I have a way of doing so I will just email the author to let them know that some of the information in their story is off and most times they do realize it but it was too late to fix it or the publisher didn't care because no one would notice it. Believe me, we do notice.
(Debbie Beverley 2:33pm June 22, 2009)

Hi Sandy,

Most of the time, minor typos do not bother me. What bothers me most is when it is clear the book was never even proofread, much less edited. I, too, read a book recently that had so many typos that it pulled me out of the story and I still can't believe I kept trying up to page 150 and had to give up.

The problem with all the typos and grammar is that it brought to light the weakness of the characters. I had a really hard time believing this could happen in the first place, mostly because the major, and I do mean major, grammar errors pulled me out of the story so much that I couldn't allow my brain to get suspended in disbelief.

I learned in one of professional writing classes (from the text of a well-respected professional of the field) that you lose credit as a writer if your writing is bad, and that is very true, whether you write fiction or non-fiction.

I definitely have to agree that typos can be ignorable and that the publishing house and/or editors are responsible. However, I do have to wonder when I see errant periods and random capitalization whether or not there is a legit author for the story.

I hate to say it, but I don't care if you're Jayne Ann Krentz, Ann Stuart, Stephen King or someone like me (anal with spelling and grammar errors), we all need editing.

Unfortunately, I have also learned that when cost of a book is an issue, editing and proofreading are the first things to be cut or skipped.

It's sad really because editors and publishers need to realize that the best story-tellers aren't always the best with grammar, punctuation and spelling.
(Carrie Hinkel-Gill 4:29pm June 22, 2009)

Sandi, for me typos, spelling, and grammar are the last thing on my mind. I just focus on the story. If there is a mistake I probably wouldn't notice because I would be too busy to read to notice.
(Maggie Roso 7:27pm June 22, 2009)

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