Each year in the second August issue of the Seybold Report newsletter, which publishes this year in the last full week of the month, we try to do something a little (or a lot) different. Different as in not our usual type of coverage. Some years different has meant publishing articles on the history of various aspects of the graphic arts industry. Other years, we have presented extended case studies.
This year, we are doing book reviews. From time to time in the newsletter we mention a book related to the graphic arts. This issue will be almost (maybe entirely) about books related to publishing, printing, graphic design, photography, and so forth. My nightstand is stacked high with books we are considering for inclusion in the issue.
(Book publishers and authors: it is not too late to be considered for inclusion in this issue or a later one. Contact me if you have a book you would like use to review. The book need not be new. Nota bene: it must be a book related to the graphic arts. Sending me books on other subjects just helps me get my holiday shopping done early...) Oh, and it's print books for this newsletter. Yep, that's right. Ink-on-da-paper books. E-books we review in the Digital Publishing Report.
Last night I dipped into a few of the books on the top of the towering nightstand stack and came across Just My Typo, compiled by Drummond Moir and published by Three Rivers Press (a Penguin imprint). Then I howled, guffawed, chortled, giggled, snorted for nearly an hour. You get the picture. The book is, for the most part, a collection of typos, some made by publications, some made by the mixing of a powerful technology cocktail (a human's compulsion to text in a hurry coupled with a smartphone's compulsion to auto-correct in dead-stupid ways), and some made by school children of all ages.
People in publishing know well a hard and sad reality: typos happen. They happen at the best of times and the worst of times. They happen despite high levels of caffeine in the blood stream and higher levels of determination in our hearts and minds. They happen, but if we were to be honest with ourselves and our readers, we would admit we all rather typos would happen in someone else's publications.
With that in mind, here are a few of the typos from other people's publications which are part of the Just My Typo's collection:
- On page eight, line seven, the words "state zip code" should read--"pull rip cord." (from a book on learning how to sky dive)
- Police in Hawick yesterday called off a search for a 20-year-old man who is believed to have frowned. (from a Scottish newspaper)
- Armstrong Used Rugs" (from a newspaper headline about disgraced athlete Lance Armstrong)
The book is more than a compendium of typos gathered up from here, there, and the Internet, though. There are some elements to the book which will appeal to graphic arts professionals such as recurring snippets entitled, "When Typesetters Lose It." Here is one such item:
Morgan met his accustomed pursuers, the newspapermen, when he emerged from the courthouse shortly before 1 o'clock. He varied his familiar phrase slightly by saying, hT"welawibej-fssufa-:cmfwypmfw. [sic]
There are also plenty of examples in the book of the traumas introduced by a misplaced or missing comma or some other punctuation mark including one which cost $500,000 to redeem.
And, for graphic arts professionals who like children or who are children at heart, there is an entire chapter on mistakes children have made in their homework and essays and such, which is where I found the epithet about how the origins of coal. Among the other howlers in this chapter are:
- Unaware means the clothes we put on first.
- Chaucer was the father of English pottery.
- A polygon is a man who has many wives.
- The Normans introduced the frugal system.
- Another of the commandments is "Though Shalt Not Kick A Duckery."
- Blessed are the meek for they shall irrigate the earth.
Oh well, I've made my point. Funny book, useful for teaching (K-12 educators, please note, there are some funny-but-dicey typos reproduced in the book), look for more in the second August issue of the Seybold Report.
Oh, yes. One more thing. If I have made any typos in this brief review, I do not want to hear about it.
--Molly Joss, Owner, Principal, Etc. Etc. Etc of the Joss Group