I have lately found myself immersed in books, both in the form of study as well as in the form of enjoyment. At this point, I consider the two types mutually exclusive. Nothing I read for study these days is, shall we say, likable. Informative, sure, but still dreadful. Two books are at the forefront of my current reading list, and both have been cause for different rants. Today being Monday, I think a rant is in order.

  • I’m reading a book for school that is written by a “professional.” This professional is a specialist in a field, and not a writer. I have to come to notice that there is a clear difference between the two. The author is clearly knowledgeable, but her writing style is atrocious. Her book is quite readable, though it actually feels conversational. While this may seem to be a nice touch, it lends itself to being far too wordy, not to mention chatty.

    Plus, and I wish I was joking here, she includes “illustrations” throughout the text. Only instead of using actual drawings, little Microsoft PowerPoint stick figures are used. They strike various poses, replete with question marks above their heads for “surprising” information. It’s all I can do to not gag.

  • Thanks to a referral from my friend Dave (note: he mentioned this quite a while ago; my to-read list just happens to be about 20 miles long), I am currently immersed in Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair. This book is captivating, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. What I’m not enjoying, however, is the previous owner’s use of the book. As I do with many books, I bought this one at the used book store. Sometimes it’s fun to find used books with notes in them. I like to see what gets underlined, as that’s what’s generally found intriguing at the time, and I especially love little notes about ideas or thoughts from a reader. It makes a read very interesting, and I myself have been known to do such things on occasion.

    However, I draw the line when someone’s only markings are critical. Whoever owned this book before I did thought himself quite the editor. Every few pages, a word is circled that is deemed to be ungrammatical or a typo. I mean, really, what’s the point? We all know what the author meant, and in the grand scheme of things, a mistyped prepositional phrase doesn’t really make all that much difference to the story. I have a mind to go and erase all the markings so that I can enjoy this great work of fiction without being shown all its mistakes. So there.