Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Book Review: The Great Typo Hunt by Jeff Deck and Benjamin D. Herson

The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a Time

It's a cold, rainy day here in Georgia, and I'm thinking that this book review may wind up being very unhelpful for those wondering if they should read The Great Typo Hunt: Two Friends Changing the World, One Correction at a Time. These boys picked a subject near and dear to my heart; just a few days ago, I put proofreaders' marks on a sign at my daughter's school proclaiming "Volunteer's Needed," and I pointed out "Kid's Eat Free" to the girl at the counter of a local pizza place. If I could, I totally would've joined their quest across the country, my own little correction kit slung across my shoulder, fixing typos wherever I went. In a nutshell, I absolutely loved the premise of this book and the overall story behind it. Loved it.

I'm just not sure - and I openly admit that this could also be my jealousy and bitterness shining through - that this needed to be a book. Do all blogs with great stories need to become books? Is there a way to reward great writing and great stories financially in another way? Will blogs with great stories attract the same audience, in both size and quality, that the printed word attracts? Do all of these questions run counter to my belief that printed books trump e-readers any day of the week? But can't we also agree that a book is static while a blog is living, and that stories like this may continue beyond the confines of the covers? And why is it that when I stop and think about other blogs-to-books that I've read, I can't think of any that I actually disliked or felt were undeserving of the leap? (Like, oh, I don't know, this blog could totally be a book. Somehow. About smoothies and book reviews. Or something.)

Let me explain further. I felt like sometimes there were points where the story of the typo-correcting road trip was fleshed out more than necessary. I felt like sometimes there were points where the history of language and grammar bogged down the flow of the story. I felt like sometimes I wanted to just hear about the typos being corrected without the grammar lesson. But again, I'm jealous and bitter, and I also have a master's degree in this stuff, so I've already learned it. Not everyone has.

So maybe my blog-to-book thoughts aren't general after all; they're specific to this book.

I think I would have preferred to have read about TEAL (the Typo Eradication Advancement League) in its original blog form. But then I also would've missed out on the whole getting-in-trouble-for-fixing-a-sign-at-the-Grand-Canyon part of the story (which I loved reading) and a lot of the behind-the-scenes drama.

I'm stumbling here because a) I am terrified that I've made a typo somewhere in this entry that will be pointed at and ridiculed (but I am imperfect), and b) I am pretty sure that at least one of the book's authors will see this since he follows me on Twitter and my blog post titles are posted on Twitter and...well, I'd click if I saw my (imaginary) book reviewed on a blog too. Um, hi. Underground Atlanta is bizarre, you should've come to Decatur! I love Somerville! Manch Vegas FTW!

Here. Let me sum it up for you. I liked this book, I questioned the general "blog to book" concept. Its/It's makes me STABBY, and incorrect apostrophes make me cry. I don't think typos make little towns more charming and I don't think language is evolving to such an extent that you can make up spellings whenever you want. I have a limited attention span now that I have a kid and I did finish the book (that doesn't always happen anymore) so that should say a lot.

A mere $1 plus shipping gets you this fabulous one-inch button, which I designed.

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