Dear Author

Mrs Wids is reading her way through our local library. Recently she came across a wonderful Australian murder/mystery series by Kerry Greenwood, The Phryne (pronounced ‘fry-knee’) Fisher Mysteries, set in Melbourne during the Roaring Twenties.

One day not long ago she (Mrs Widds, not Phryne) was sitting in her favourite armchair in our study with her broken foot perched at a jaunty angle on her favourite footstool. I was nearby typing away, rather noisily I must admit, in full creative flight when I heard a series of ascending indignant grumbles and harrumphs, followed by words somewhat coherent and entirely unsuitable for young ears.

I turned to her and asked, “Yes, dear?”

“Look at this!” she said, and poked an accusing finger into the book on her lap. I looked, and silently handed her an eraser.

Portholes rather than French windows?

Portholes rather than French windows?

I don’t write in printed books. It goes back to my childhood, I think, when books were scarce and precious portals into far-away worlds. Also it just seemed … well … bad mannered.

When I come across a big typo, I’m a little annoyed ( a helluva lot less now than I was before I started my writing career) because it stands out like a sore thumb and throw me out of the story.

But these weren’t just your everyday typo corrections.

Drills and passengers

Drills and passengers

These were editorial opinions, perhaps based on accurate personal knowledge, perhaps not. But someone else, other than the author, passed judgment and voiced their opinions in a way that forced EVERY SINGLE OTHER READER of that book to pay attention to them. Thereby also forcing EVERY SINGLE OTHER READER out of the story.

Talk about egotistical attention seeking.

Even in the days before the interwebz, readers had a way to contact an author, or their publisher, and inform them of such things as typos. Now, social media makes it so much more simple. We can leave messages/comments on author blogs, websites, twitter, youtube, facebook, whatever and engage the author in a dialogue.

But this? …

... this is just disrespectful

… this is just disrespectful


22 comments on “Dear Author

  1. When working on my Ph.D. in lit, I definitely got into the habit of writing in my books, both fiction and non-fiction. But only my own books, ones I was reading for research purposes. And not comments on the author, just notes to myself for things to consider for the next paper or article.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a hanging offence!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Someone dared write IN A LIBRARY BOOK!?!?

    That is so WRONG.

    I don’t think, in all my years of reading library books, that I have seen writing in them. I am SHOCKED. Or ‘shock-éd,’ as my Uncle Charlie would say.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. jannatwrites says:

    That would be annoying to see. If the person knew so much, I wonder why they didn’t write their own series? Oh, because it’s easier to anonymously criticize than to actually put a coherent story to paper using all the correct terminology 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. BunKaryudo says:

    I agree with all the other commenters here. I do often underline things or write in the margins of my own books (well, the non-fiction ones at least), but writing in a library book is a shocking thing to do. I suppose the one saving grace is at least the comments were written in pencil and so could be erased. I think the writer must have been a bit of an ego problem, though.


  6. Olga Godim says:

    Do you know there is an Australian TV series based on Greenwood’s books? And everyone agrees: it’s much better than the books. The star, Elsie Davis, is amazing. Here is one of her photos from the series:


  7. People who write notes like that in books are cowardly and have no sense of propriety. They ought to be found, fined, and have their library cards taken away for years, if not forever. Even better, have them write a 32-96 page manuscript (I’m being kind) which the library publishes and invites everyone to comment directly on the book. Some will learn, some will not. okay, I’m going overboard. I can’t stand people who do that.


  8. acflory says:

    Haven’t read the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries, but I adored the tv series. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. […] seems our pernicious grammarian continued their dastardly actions and picked on the entire Phryne Fisher series. They grow bolder by the book, not content to merely […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.