Reading books, then writing about them, seems like a perfect gig, right? Opening a new book with great expectation and anticipation, a story no one else has insisted You Must Read This and then proceeded to tell me what happens- All good. But there's a lot of responsibility in this newness. And then there's the pulling together of the review. You know a lot of really accomplished writers are going to see it, and you don't want to get it wrong. Apostrophes count. Just recently someone commented on something I'd written and cautioned me to watch for typos. Typos? Me? I'm the original line editor. What I think he meant was my propensity to leave out commas in short compound sentences. I do that occasionally and I know I do it (like that).
Is that so wrong? Well, I guess not, as long as I realize what I'm doing and do it intentionally. That's my story anyhow.
Check out Barbara O'Connor's recent blog posts (scroll past the hilarious antics of her new puppy Ruby...) to see how even the most experienced writer anguishes over her latest manuscript edits. Or at least that's what accomplished writers should do. There's nothing worse than reading a book filled with grammar and puncutation mistakes. I know. I've been sent books, albeit just galleys, so filled with errors that I wonder how they could ever fix them for the actual book.
But back to my reading and writing about books. Today's Christian Science Monitor featured my review of Rebecca Stead's book When You Reach Me. That was one hard book to review! I didn't want to give too much away because the story is complicated and hinges on events that take place early in the writing but later in the story. Aha, see that right there makes no sense when I write it. You just have to read the book. It was a terrific book, well-written and accomplished and unusual. And I loved reading it.