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This is just a little moan about the way authors sometimes get it wrong, by just not checking their facts. It is very off putting when you are reading a book, and a fact you know to be false is stated as truth.
I'm not sure which is most annoying, finding one of these incorrect facts in a fiction book, or in non-fiction.

I'll give some examples, but obviously not the books they are from, of this.

1) The characters in the a book set off from London to the Lake District, a weekend/week away. They drive up the M1 and magically manage to get to the Lake District! I say magically, as the Pennines divide the East and West side of Britain. London is in the South East, the Lake District in the North West. If they travelled as far as they could up the M1 they would still be around 60 miles away from where they were supposed to be. This was early on in the book and made me question stuff the whole way through it. [Fiction, obviously.]

2) In a book I was reading for research purposes, the author states a fact that I know is erroneous. As it is stated differently in several other books on the same subject. More importantly, books written around the time the event took place also state a different fact. [Non fiction]

3) One I have just started to read, and I will NOT be including here. The parents are trying to get their child into a high profile grammar school. (11-16 education for Americans.)
Yet the author has the parents mentioning that their son had a part-time job at a local bakery. As the child in question is still at primary school, and is elsewhere said to be 11, this is wrong. (Children are not allowed to take on part-time work until they are 16 in the UK, other than a paper round, or milk round.) The book is a recent publication, 2007, and written by someone from the UK. So this is a simple case of again, not checking the facts. I will finish it, but as I said, I will be questioning things . [Fiction]

You see my point? Why not check the facts? And how do these inaccuracies get past the proof-readers?

Then I thought it was OK to read on in the book mentioned in point 3.....noooooooooooooooooooooo
What have I found now? Remember the child is still in primary education here in the UK in the story, that puts him at 11 at the very most. The author also has him just having completed his Silver Duke of Edinburgh award, and award that you have to be at least 14 to be considered for. If you don't believe me, check this link out.
Duke of Edinburgh's Award UK
Official site. Programme of activities to provide personal development for young people between the ages of 14 and 25.

It came up first in a web search. How difficult is it to check facts, I'm not even sure if I'm going to read any further now, because if I keep finding things like that it will drive me silly. It was a cheap read from a supermarket, but that aside, the author should not insult the reader's intelligence by so much misinformation.

4 Comments:

  1. J. Kaye Oldner said...
    I am so glad I am not the only one. I do avoid books with Louisiana settings. Most of the time, the author doesn't get it right. And sometimes, these are southern writers.
    Sea said...
    Thanks , I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds it annoying.
    I did finish the book, it was ok-ish, but I won't be rushing to the bookshop to buy more by the same author. To me, it was like the aerosol cream you can buy, looks substantial, but fizzles away to nothing quickly. I've started another, and only two chapters in, it's beginning to look good.
    Blue said...
    I disagree. I live in Louisiana and not every author gets it wrong.
    Sea said...
    But the facts HAVE to be right, or the novel crumbles.
    Worse still, non-fiction where you just KNOW they have a fact wrong, might as well chuck the book in the shredder

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