Tag Archives: mistakes in print

By a Spider’s Thread by Laura Lippman

Word Lily review

By a Spider’s Thread by Laura Lippman, book 8 in the Tess Monaghan series (William Morrow, 2004), 368 pages

Mark Rubin, orthodox Jew and wealthy Baltimore furrier, insists that he had a perfectly happy marriage, despite the fact that his wife and three children vanished. The police won’t help, so he comes to Tess.

I blew through most of this series this fall. I’m not planning on reviewing most of them, though; I just don’t feel like I have much to say about them. They were all enjoyable, but mostly quickly forgotten. And since I read five of them back to back, they kind of blend together in my mind.

Really, this one is no exception. I have but one rant, and it’s really more of an editing rant than a beef with the actual story, but it won’t leave me alone, so here I am. Note: I read the hardcover, so maybe (hopefully!) this was fixed in later editions already.

Speaking of Tess’s newly formed country-wide group of female private detectives, the book states:

“There were still some wide-open places to be filled — they had no one to cover the vast swath west of the Mississippi and east of the Rockies, and an Atlanta connection would have been helpful. But they were otherwise solid along the eastern seaboard and could do most of Texas and the Pacific Coast in a pinch.”

~page 30, By a Spider’s Thread

See the problem?

Yes, I’m probably more attuned to it than some, since I live in that vast wasteland known as the Midwest. But there’s no excuse for screwing up (so badly) on geography. Look at a map! Most of Texas lies between the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi River.

I understand that Tess lives in Baltimore and hasn’t ever ventured far from there and is probably clueless about this, as so many people who live on the coasts are. But this paragraph wasn’t really in her words. It should have been accurate.

Anyway, like I said, I’ve generally enjoyed this series. I like how rooted they are in their place, and Tess and her family are delightfully flawed.

I think my favorite aspect of this book is how her partly Jewish, partly not, background tugs on Tess in various scenarios.

Rating: 3 stars

About the author
Laura Lippman grew up in Baltimore and returned there in 1989 to work as a journalist. She has won numerous awards for her work. I interviewed her last year. Her most recently published is The Most Dangerous Thing.

My reviews of other Lippman books
Baltimore Blues (book 1 of the Tess Monaghan series)
Life Sentences (a standalone)

Other reviews
Rhapsody in Books
A Worn Path
Have you reviewed this book? Leave me a link and I’ll add it here.

I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.


Paul and I were talking over lunch about kitchen remodeling plans. Part-way through, I went to get my tape measure to take a couple measurements. Now, I have the lame tape measure in the house. My husband has more than … Continue reading

On genre labels, and more

I’ve been reading and reading and reading for the INSPYs, which has left little time for blogging. A few random notes, though (cobbled together by bullets):

  • I’d never considered what genre the majority of Christian fiction falls into, but when I heard it called women’s fiction by Mike Duran, in a comment on his post about edgy Christian fiction, it made complete sense, as I’ve been immersed in a steady, gorging diet of such books recently.
  • I’ve really liked some books labeled women’s fiction and really hated others.
  • I do hate that it’s called that, though. The whole gender bias. Argh.
  • On communication: We heard that Grandma had been to see the pulmonologist and that she now had an appointment with the heart surgeon. I was stressed the whole day, distracted, waiting for word. A day or so afterward, we learned her appointment had actually been with the eye doctor, not the heart surgeon. How do these kinds of miscommunications happen? It’s like we’re kids again, sitting in a circle and playing telephone.
  • I have so much I want to write about, but I don’t feel like I have the time to write it.
  • I had a really great time at the Nebraska State Fair this past week. I spent most of my time hanging out in the fiber arts section, looking at all the knitted and crocheted and woven projects, as well as the handspun yarn. The best part, though, was meeting a couple of members of the local weaving and spinning guild.
  • As I tweeted earlier this week, books published with glaring errors really irritate me:
  • This reading a ton of books but not blogging at all? Not the best combination.
  • It was great for Maisie to have a few days with another dog who would play with her, but apparently this:


    yields a puppy who is filthy dirty more than twice as fast as normal. Sigh. Guess what’s on the To Do list for today?

Wisdom Hunter by Randall Arthur

wisdom hunterWisdom Hunter: A Novel by Randall Arthur (Multnomah, 2003), 336 pages

Pastor Jason Faircloth is growing his already-large Atlanta church and feels his life is on track. Not that he stops to question that, or anything else. He lives out his know-it-all faith in the same manner and questions those who see things differently. But then disaster strikes. He travels the world in search of answers, healing, in search of the granddaughter he’s never met.

I knew I wanted to read this book, but when I picked it up and learned that 1) Arthur was a missionary, 2) he got fired because of this book, 3) he doesn’t regret that, and 4) the copyright is held by Eternal Perspectives Ministries, I really wanted to read it.

But then I opened the book, and in the first 4 pages I found 4 copy-editing problems, and I was reconsidering. Thankfully, that pace of mistakes didn’t keep up, and in the end I was mostly able to overlook them and focus on my love of this story. I wasn’t disappointed.

It points its finger at legalism in the American church — but then also shows the way forward. It paints a beautiful picture. This book was, at least in some small way, healing for me. Love it!

At a few points, the book seemed a little out-dated, especially in regard to technology, but that makes sense since it’s not a 2009 book (but rather a re-release).

A quote: “‘Therefore man should fear the easy routine way of life that weakens, but he should welcome the resistance-filled life that strengthens and makes wise.'” ~Yoma speaking, page 217

About the author
Randall Arthur is the author of Jordan’s Crossing and Brotherhood of Betrayal. He served as a missionary to Europe for more than 30 years.

Other reviews
Ronnica at the Book Nook Club
Have you reviewed this book? Leave me a link and I’ll add it here.

I received this book from the publisher. I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission on sales through my affiliate links.

Perish nurse

I went back and forth about whether I should post this. I try to be respectful, and sometimes pointing out the mistakes of others is certainly not respectful. This one is almost so egregious that I would expect to see it in one of those email forwards or something.

In my bulletin at church this morning:

“There is a fact sheet about the H1N1 Flu on the information desk, put out by our perish nurse, if you are interested please take one.”

Wow. Yeah, I got a good laugh out of that one, Talking about an infectious disease, and suddenly the church has a perish nurse. I know that parish and perish sound the same, but they mean very different things. Spell check won’t catch this mistake, but it must be caught.

Double negative labeling

I promise this blog is not turning into one that just finds fault with grammar and usage (plenty exist already), but I couldn’t help myself.

Sans Gluten Free glutino

Here we have Glutino brand Sans Gluten Free Wafer Cookies. While they taste really quite good, I was a little nervous because if it’s “without gluten free,” I suppose that would mean the cookies actually did contain gluten, which I’ve been strictly avoiding for nearly 11 months now.

I realize that this instance is almost certainly due to the bilingual nature of this packaging (Glutino is a Canadian brand), but still. On the side of the box, it’s much clearer, where it says: “SANS GLUTEN/BLE • GLUTEN/WHEAT FREE.” See, it’s not actually that difficult to communicate clearly, is it?

(And yes, they were quite tasty. Yum.)

Today’s National Grammar Day

The official site for the event, hosted by the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar (SPOGG). The site boasts a Bad Grammar Hall of Fame Playlist, not to mention a Top Ten list of grammar tips. The site also has links to many, many other grammar-related blogs. (Here’s the SPOGG blog.)

Meanwhile, Arnold Zwicky at Language Log is shunning National Grammar Day and its “nastiness”.

I’ll admit, some of the language on the official Grammar Day site does sound a bit militant. Nathan Bierma, writing in the Chicago Tribune, urges a middle ground. He also cites Grammar Girl as hoping for civility in the discussion.

So, instead of celebrating this day cheerfully fault-finding, howzabout we celebrate good grammar where we find it?

How will you celebrate National Grammar Day 2009?

My post about National Grammar Day last year. And a related post from nearly two years ago.

On the rebound

Once again someone (intelligent) is attacking reporters. This time it’s Mark Liberman of Language Log.

I started defending the journalism cause, all the time asking myself, Why do I care? I intentionally got out of that industry. And yet I do care, at least a little.

Do you, my readers, have a possible solution for the problem Mr. Liberman broaches?