KingMidget's Ramblings

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It’s A Small Thing

The older I get, the more frustrated I get by the lack of standards of the younger generations.  The lack of writing ability.  The lack of analytical skills.  The lack of interest in spelling and punctuation.  The lack of desire to ensure accuracy in the spoken and written word.  The reality, to me at least, is that technology is making the human race more and more stupid as we go along.  But, you know, it is what it is.  Until I buy a book and half way through read the synopsis on the back cover of the book and realize that not even a reputable publisher can get it right.

I just finished The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman.  Ms. Hoffman has published 18 novels, had a book featured in Oprah’s book club.  She is, in short, a critically acclaimed, traditionally published author.  This book was published by Scribner.  It’s extremely well-reviewed by a lot of critics.  And, here’s what part of the cover synopsis says:

One night Coralie stumbles upon a striking young man taking pictures of moonlit trees in the woods off the Hudson River.

The only problem is this … Coralie stumbled on the “striking young man” while he was grilling a fish over an open fire.  There was no picture taking involved.  Instead, it was the young man who, some time before, had stumbled on another photographer taking pictures of moonlit trees in the woods that inspired that young man to become the photographer’s protege and pursue a career in photography.

This is the kind of thing that drives me crazy.  If the publisher can’t even get it right in the cover synopsis (which is also the Amazon synopsis) of the book and this acclaimed author doesn’t bother to correct the mistake, why should anybody else care about accuracy and integrity.  Yeah, it’s a small thing, but, seriously whatever happened to people caring about getting things right.

* * * * * *

As for the book … it was pretty good.  I can’t complain about the story or the writing.  Although the characters strain the boundaries of credibility at times.  There’s a moment or two when they just seem to be caricatures, too extremely drawn to really be based on any kind of reality.  But, you know, it is fiction.


23 responses to “It’s A Small Thing

  1. Carrie Rubin July 15, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    Makes you wonder if a change was made to the manuscript after the book blurb was written, and then by the time they noticed, a huge number of books were already printed. That would sting.

    • kingmidget July 15, 2015 at 8:05 pm

      Maybe that was it … but it doesn’t explain that the Amazon blurb still has the mistake. To me, it makes me wonder whether the blurb writer even read the book and then I wonder about the quality control by both the publisher and the author. If I was the author, I’d be embarrassed by the mistake.

  2. Ike Jakson July 15, 2015 at 8:09 pm


    It’s actually a big thing. We have talked about it previously from another angle. Our young people have “unlearned” the difference between big and small things. Life has become too easy.


    • kingmidget July 15, 2015 at 8:11 pm

      Completely agree. While I believe that mistakes happen and perfection is impossible and should not be expected or enforced, there seems to be such a cavalier approach to mistakes.

  3. JunkChuck July 15, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    I get it–though you make me awfully self-conscious due to the metric tonnage of grammatical flubs, wrong words typed, freudian slips, and out and out errors in my blog, where I tend to type fast and not look back. One of my peeves in the unnecessary apostrophe, like “Fundraiser Benefit’s Mundy family All You Can Eat Pancake’s and Sausage Adult’s 7.50.” I see that all the time, and it makes me dream of time travel, in which I’d go back in time and kick the living shit out of the morons screwing around in the back of “Language Arts” so I won’t have to blow my top over their butchery in real-time life.

    • kingmidget July 16, 2015 at 6:57 am

      I, too, worry about typos on my blog and regularly find them when I read my posts after I’ve put them up. My pet peeve is the dying use of the comma.

  4. John Callaghan July 15, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    My wife is driven half crazy about this kind of thing. She still reads a hard copy of the newspaper (how old fashion of her) and she is always finding major grammatical errors. Sometimes she even brings them in to show her class.

    • kingmidget July 16, 2015 at 6:59 am

      Don’t get me started about the newspaper. In some respects, I think the local newspaper is the perfect example of the lowering of standards. I regularly see headlines like “Body Found Dead …” Of course, it was dead, it wouldn’t be a body if it wasn’t. And that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

  5. sknicholls July 15, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    It’s is big. You know that both the author and the publisher have noticed, but somebody important said it didn’t matter. The apathy in this world is appalling. Too many people are getting high. I pointed out to a grocery store manager today that there was regular jelly stocked on a shelf reserved for sugar free items. His response, “It doesn’t matter.” I said, “It matters to me and I’m a customer.” His response, “But you read the label and most people do these days.” To which I responded, “So when I’m in a hurry and grab the wrong jelly, your store will pay my medical bills?” Sure, I guess I shouldn’t be in such a hurry, but the attitude and the apathy from the store manger was disgusting. I just sighed and walked away. And to think, I thought I was doing them a favor by pointing it out.

  6. Trent Lewin July 16, 2015 at 2:37 am

    I think language is changing to some extent. I don’t think in history that language has ever changed as rapidly as it is now, given the proliferation of short-form texting etc. I’m afraid this all might get worse, and that the errors people make may gravitate to be the norm.

    • Ike Jakson July 16, 2015 at 3:19 am


      I fear you may be right for one other reason too. With the computer our young ones have lost the motivation to learn to spell. I have mentioned that I am involved in a school project. How the kid passes matric I don’t know because he can hardly write his own name.


    • kingmidget July 16, 2015 at 7:00 am

      That’s my fear … this is only beginning and will get much, much worse. All part of why the hermit kingdom awaits me in a few more years.

  7. Amy Reese July 16, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    Oh, I like Alice Hoffman. I’m glad the book was good at least. I see things wrong all the time. I wonder, too, if it’s not just technology that makes people stupid, but also allows for even more mistakes. I think things are done and undone so often that mistakes like these get printed before people realize the error. It’s too bad. You should tell them, Mark. Why not?

    • Ike Jakson July 17, 2015 at 3:33 am

      I am so pleased to find company with others who agree with me on the matter of the Internet. It is a good thing and made many things easier but it has now become a matter of the humans being driven by the machine iso the other way round.

      The entire World News is full every day of the financial corruption made possible by the Internet but so few realise the moral risk and the collapse of the human mind due to being controlled by a computer chip.

      You know, most readers of George Orwell 1984 were at first thinking that he was talking of Communist control by the screen on the wall and much of the criticism was aimed at Russia. Read the book again together with Animal Farm and hammer me if you wish. I think he was talking about the Internet when the human mind ceases to control human activity. The machine will take over and man will become the robot, much like the reversal of the roles of man and animal on the farm in his other book.


      • kingmidget July 17, 2015 at 6:48 am

        You know, it’s interesting, I was just thinking of that famous Apple commercial from 20 or 30 years ago. First shown on TV during the Super Bowl. I don’t remember exactly what it was, but it depicted a kind of 1984 type world and I realized that Apple is doing everything it can to make that happen through all of its technological innovations.

      • Ike Jakson July 17, 2015 at 7:36 am


        It’s scary!

        We let the machine run wild; the idea of unmanned drones dropping poison gas bombs scars the living daylight out of me. Yet, with all the progress [the latter really needs inverted commas] we cannot get the food to the starving masses, and all the while birth control is highly Non PC.

        I still often think about dropping all my writing e efforts and spending more time with my piece of garden soil. Have you read my latest?

        Spend a couple of minutes on the last bit that’s in italics and is really unrelated; the latter is my point. There was a time when the human mind discovered, invented and made beautiful things with his hands. Now some moneybags will plant more lettuce heads than they can truck out on the overloaded roads.

        Lastly, for your info, did you know that we at last decided to print less money BUT it is not because we know that we shouldn’t print too much, not that all? The reason is that it costs more today than the value of a 20 dollar bill to print it and get it to the banks; the idiot voter doesn’t know that the computer chip is now the only source of money in the upper income groups, the latter including drug and other money laundering.

        Laugh and the World will laugh with you.

  8. Kathy July 20, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Every time a repeated news scrawl on the bottom of the screen has typos (or: typo’s ) I start to develop a tick. I have to change the channel or just go back to the book I was reading. Speaking of books, I’m reading Harlen Coben’s “The Stranger” and the main character’s description of his boys (same age difference as yours) makes me think I’m reading you and how you describe their different personalities. Good book! GREAT book! I love Harlen Coben. His books have never disappointed me in any way.

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