a tiny thing, really

I’m reading a little book right now called Einstein’s Dreams, by Alan Lightman.  I picked it up at my new favorite source for books–the free cart at the library.  Libraries only have limited space on their shelves, so they have to discard stuff sometimes to make room for new books.  I guess I’m just like the library, really.  My personal library can’t stop acquiring new books either.  I just can’t stop!  And then I discard ones I’m done with.  Then they can join someone else’s book collection.  It’s a literary cycle.  Actually, I’m writing this right now from the library, and I just picked up five more books on my way in here–two mysteries, a young adult novel, a historical novel, and a book by an author I like (Kate Atkinson–try her out if you’re into quirky).

Anyway, before I started rambling I meant to write about this particular free-cart book, Einstein’s Dreams.  It’s rather good.  The book jacket compares it to Italo Calvino, which makes a connection for me between my casual reading and my academic reading.  As if there needed to be a distinction…  I told B in my letter to her that I really did see the similarities with Calvino.  That’s praise, by the way, in case you haven’t heard of Italo Calvino.  But there was this one little thing, a problem, the last time I was reading Einstein’s Dreams and it was enough to make me put down the book.  I’ll pick it up again, but I had to walk away and think about editing for a while.  There was a scene in the book where a character takes up needles and starts crocheting.  As someone who both knits and crochets, I know that you don’t crochet with needles.  You crochet with a hook.  Singular.  It’s a very small detail, unimportant to the plot, as much as there is even a plot, but it reminded me that even the tiniest details matter sometimes to a reader.  Or, from the point of view of a writer, every tiny detail matters, because you don’t want to make your reader annoyed.  You don’t want to cause them to put down your book.  I just hope that when I’m trying to get published, in the future, that I can catch all tiny problems in my writing and soothe and fix them to perfection, and that I’ll have a good editor to help me.

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