A New Book-Reviewing Experience

At least for me.

I recently agreed to review a book because it dealt with a current and important matter. It was also authored by one with a long and distinguished career in his chosen field. The book was up on Amazon, was published for real, and was being promoted by a well known publicity outfit. I approached the project with enthusiasm and the high hope of rendering a favorable review.

I don’t believe any of my own published books, despite my best efforts, is entirely error-free; therefore, I have a built-in tolerance for a certain level of cosmetic impurity. But this book pushed me too far. Whole sections were repeated verbatim in different parts of a single chapter, vocabulary choices were unintentionally weird and wrong, and punctuation conventions, admittedly different between the U.K. and the U.S., found themselves near the Bermuda Triangle. Most astonishingly, a famous quotation, known to school children around the globe, managed to have one of its four words wrong.

Always looking on the bright side, I noticed that I was reading something called an “Author Copy,” which I gather is akin to an ARC (Advance Review Copy), so I wrote to the publicist asking for a Kindle copy, confident that all had been put right in the course of the book’s journey to final publication. In reply, I was asked to send back the Author Copy with my notes. Even though I usually get paid for editing services, out of deference to all the high-power personages involved, I complied.

That is the last I heard from anyone. Checking the book’s two Amazon reviews, which I never do until my own review is published, I note that both consist of a single sentence, one of which is the work product of a relative of the book’s author.

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