Monday, November 17, 2008

I know I'm way too picky

but discrepancies in pronunciation, spelling, or grammar drive me crazy! When I read, I notice every time the wrong form of a word is used (too instead of two or to, loose instead of lose, the various spellings of there, their and of course they're, and on and on). Misplaced hyphens are also noticed; it's vs. its is a particular annoyance and also your vs. you're. All the spell checking in the world doesn't make up for having a basic understanding of the English language.

Today I noticed another thing that bothers me (what a surprise!) I was listening to an audio book while I worked in the garden. I have developed a great fondness for this method of "reading" as it allows total multitasking. Anyway, I usually get a list of books from the bookstore or newspaper, then request CDs from the library. I usually download them onto my computer so I can put them into my ipod. So, by the time it comes to listen to the book, I can't remember where I heard about it, what it's about, or why I requested it. I'm always surprised, usually pleasantly.

David Guterson is a favorite author of mine. He's from this area and his novels have been set in the Pacific Northwest. I began listening to The Other today. His writing is beautiful and the stories always draw me in immediately. Yet, I find that when books are set in my town, discrepancies in small details can be very jarring, whether I am reading or listening. What bothered me today was the pronunciation of Alki (Al-kye). This is a beach in the West Seattle area where the first white settlers to this area came ashore, and everyone around here knows where it is and how to say it. The reader says "Alky" as if it were a neighborhood set aside for alcoholics.

It seems to me that when books are recorded, a little research could be done so pronunciation of names that are repeated several times or are important to the story wouldn't be so glaringly incorrect.

Or is it just me?

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