lyzzybee (lyzzybee) wrote,

... and these are just the ones I noticed

CLIVE BLOOM - Bestsellers: Popular Fiction Since 1900 (2nd ed.)

25 Dec 2010 - gift from a friend (off my Amazon wishlist and a marvellous pick for me - friend not blamed in the slightest!)

This has a great premise - a look at the bestselling (as opposed to critically acclaimed or prize-winning (in the main)) books of the 20th century.  A set of chapters forms an overview and critical essay at the beginning, then there are pieces on each author, loosely grouped chronologically.  So far, so good.  But I was ABSOLUTELY ASTONISHED, especially given the fact that this book is published by an academic publisher, Palgrave Macmillan, at the number of copy-editing and proof-reading errors rife throughout the text.  I counted over 40 and this was not even all the ones I noticed (I started putting post-it tabs in after a while, to mark them, but didn't particularly go through the bit I'd already read).  OK, I'm a copy-editor by profession, but I don't think I'll have noticed much that the ordinary intelligent reader wouldn't have noticed (c.f. the book on servants three of us have just read - the other two noticed pretty well what I noticed).  What is more, this is the second edition.  While some parts are added, this book should have been checked at least twice.  It can't have been!  If it was copy-edited and/or proof-read, then I suspect that the alterations the relevant professionals suggested were not made.  We all miss things.  No one could have missed all these.

The text was quite unwieldly itself and seemed quite muddled, going into an academic register at one point and then a gushing load of exclamation marks.  Again, something a copy-editor would have picked up.

I'm so shocked at this that I'm going to list them under this cut.  I'm sorry if this is rude or bad sportsmanship, but I'm just truly shocked!  Note: quite a lot of these are comma-free sentences that are hard to understand without the commas.  He uses commas perfectly well elsewhere, so I really don't think this is a style guide choice issue!

p. 2 - ... a good example being Mark Haddon's, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2003), a tale of a child with Asperger's disease. [Asperger's Syndrome or syndrome, repeated on p. 298]
p. 6 - Occasionally a writer such as Gilda O'Neil emerges from the twilight world, who having begun life as an East End saga writer now writes non-fictional nostalgia about the East End. [lack of commas]
p. 8 - Indeed the book cover could not be more misleading, 'single male vampire seeks more than one-night stand' is calculated to gain the attention of the Love Spell Book Club rather than any literary awards. [needs a semi colon]
p. 8 - Vampires can [...] watch Monty Python films, Black Adder and the Simpsons on television, buy and sell on ebay ... [Blackadder and eBay]
p. 9 - Written (mostly) by heterosexual women fans of popular television, film and fiction about the repressed but suggested gay (male) sexual relations amongst leading fictional characters, especially those in Tolkien, J.K. Rowling and the television programme Star Trek." [This is a full sentence in the middle of a paragraph which doesn't work as a sentence]
p. 16 - ... Arthur Golden's Geisha and Alexander McCall Smith's 'First Ladies Club' detective series. [No. 1 Ladies']
p. 73 - Equally, heavy bor-rowers enjoyed reading whenever possible ... [word split in the middle of a line, not over 2 lines]
p. 101 - Of the top ten books in 1991, eight were by women - the top two being by one author - Thomas Harris. [I know what this means but really clumsy as talking about women then swaps to Harris]
p. 109 - Indeed the serious study of popular fiction despite its tentative beginnings in the 1970s became a small academic industry by the mid- to late 1980s. [could do with two or three commas]
p. 118 - ... it is not surprising to find that readers looked for escapist and uplifting reading, something they found in J.B. Priestley's The Good Companions (1929) and in the genre of historical romance provided in Spades by Margaret Mitchell's Gone With The Wind. [odd capitalization]
p. 142 - The Famous Five Club counted nearly a quarter of a million children in 1967. [comprised, included, counted ... as members. Otherwise it implies they went around counting children]
p. 143 - In the 1950s Johns fitted in with the revived interest in secret agents and master criminals and influenced boy's comics such as The Eagle, whilst in the 1960s with Biggles now somewhat old fashioned even camp programmes such as Monty Python's Flying Circus could have a character called Cardinal Biggles and everyone would get the joke. [long unwieldy sentence crying out for commas]
p. 147 - 'His Dark Material's' is an adventure story in three books ... [inappropriate apostrophe]
p. 150 - Winnie-the-Pooh, Mogli or Peter Pan ... [I've never seen this other than Mowgli and I'm pretty sure he's mentioned as Mowgli elsewhere]
p. 161 - There were two types of best-selling authors in Britain ... [best-selling author]
p. 179 - After his death the Grahame's went to Italy ... [inappropriate apostrophe]
p. 179 - It was a slow to take off, but writers like A.A. Milne recognised its significance ... [It was slow to ...]
p. 183 - At 19 Edith met Hubert Bland a writer and freethinker who converted her to socialism and who married her in 1880. [put some commas in and you don't need the and, even!]
p. 183 - Although the Bland's joined the Social Democrat Federation in 1885 ... [inappropriate apostrophe]
p. 207 - He married and took a curacy near Birmingham where he lived until 1946 subsequently living in Cambridgeshire until his retirement in 1965 when he moved to Gloucestershire. [commas ... ]
p. 222 - '1984' has entered the English language as shorthand for totalitarianism, as has 'Big Brother' (used in 2000 to 2008 for a game show!) [odd register switch plus the name was actually appropriate!]
p. 227 - The Lord of the Rings was even turned into a musical in March 2007, it opened in London to mixed reviews. [needs a semi colon]
p. 228 - Despite this, Wheatley's 50 books sold over 40 million copies in Britain, all the books were republished in 2005. [needs a semi colon]
p. 229 - Jonathan Livingstone Seagull is the story of a bird who files for the love of it rather than the necessity. [flies]
p. 230 - The sort of girl's who might have once read the Malory Towers books ... [inappropriate apostrophe]
p. 231 - Perhaps there is only so much 'growing up' and 'reality' readers can be bothered with when it is not laced with the escapism and intimacy offered by writers such as Jacqueline Wilson whose Tracy Beaker (The Story of Tracy Beaker [1991] onwards) stories about a girl in a residential home and foster care which have become a huge television hit and whose books are presented in cartoon covers.  [A few commas in and that "which" removed and this might work as a sentence]
p. 233 - His most famous book, with its distinctive art work was published in 1969 and has sold over 25 million copies. [artwork should arguably be one word and should definitely have a comma after it]
p. 270 - It was as a camera man that he wrote the first story of the little Peruvian bear ... [odd sentence - while working as a cameraman - and also that is usually one word]
p. 275 - The story follows Eragon a poor boy who finds a blue stone in the forest that turns out to be a dragon's egg, whilst looking for food in the winter. [Sentence structure makes the blue stone turn out to be an egg while it's looking for food, and there is a distinct lack of commas]
p. 280 - Introduced to a love of poetry at school (although she had to leave a the age of thirteen), ... [leave at]
p. 289 - He lives in London and Freemantle, Western Australia where he was had dual citizenship since 2004. [comma after Australia and has had]
p. 289 - ... Robert Redford, with Kirsten Scott Thomas. [it's Kristin Scott Thomas]
p. 290 - In 2008 he was commissioned to write another James Bond story to mark the centenary of Ian Fleming's birth. Faulks is a versatile stylist so that on the hundredth anniversary of Ian Fleming's birth in 1908 he was commissioned to write a new adventure. [repetition]
p. 296 - Her attention to style, detail, and overall talent for narrative [...] have earned her an avid audience, as well as several awards - among which include such honours as the .... [among which are or which include]
p. 299 - From 1992 onwards he has concentrated on historical fiction about Nazi Germany and Ancient Rome and contemporary political fiction, especially Ghost supposedly based on the Blair years. [comma after Ghost]
p. 303 - ... or Jill Murphy's Five Minute's Peace ... [minutes' - took me 5 seconds to look up on Amazon ... ]
p. 309 - Ever controversial his more recent work Plateforme (2001) found the author in court ... [comma after controversial]
p. 320 - ... The Red Dhalia being published in 2007 [Dahlia - spelled correctly at the top of this author entry]
p. 323 - McCulloch spend much of her early adulthood in the Australian Outback working in a variety of jobs, such as a teacher, a library worker and a bus driver [such as teaching, library work and bus driving OR for example as a teacher, a library worker ...]
p. 330 - Indeed it appears from most bestseller and best loved short lists that he is one of Britain's favourite authors coming before even J.K. Rowling whose work he has criticised. [commas, again]
p. 332 - Detective fiction and Scottish fiction seems to have thrived together. [seem]
p. 334 - All of her works follow forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan whose lifestyle is quite similar to Reichs herself. [Reichs' as we're talking about someone's lifestyle]
p. 343 - Deported from South Africa he took up lecturing at the Cambridge College of Arts and Technology [comma after Africa]
p. 346 - Born 8 October 1943 Stine discovered his passion at quite an early again. [an early age (plus a comma)]
p. 360 - Last of a set of quotations from a Mass Observations document not indented to match the others.
Tags: book reviews, reading

  • Post a new comment


    Comments allowed for friends only

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened