I’ve been staring at my unchanging computer screen for about half an hour. Before that, I was flipping through Facebook pages and Twitter feeds for about an hour. Actually, every time I’ve had any free time in the past month or two–which isn’t always often–I’ve reverted to blind Internet-wandering to the point of large blocks of time spent unaware of what I’m looking at. Why am I numbing my mind? Because I have a job to do, and it’s a doozy.

I have to review a book for Talk Nerdy With Us, and–spoiler alert!–it’s terrible. I’m having a very difficult time sludging through it.

The thing is, I can’t decide which I’m dreading more: actually reading the rest of the book, or figuring out how to write the review without using the words “painful,” “excruciating,” or “unfinishable.” Is unfinishable a word? It should be. I don’t want to have to use it, but it should still be a word.

I think I’m going to ask how far I have to get into the book before I can give up on it and just grit my teeth through the writing of the review. As a lover of the well-written word and a fan of grammar and consistent formatting, I just don’t think I can go on much further.

Small print

I don’t feel quite so bad about my own book having a couple minor typos in it now that I’m reading another book to review for the website.

Now, this book that I’m reading isn’t self-published like mine was. It was published through a publisher–possibly a small publishers, but a publisher nonetheless–and has (theoretically) gone through the editing process and formatting and whatnot. So why are there so many paragraphs without indents, or with indents that are different lengths, or missing commas, or commas that don’t belong there, or… well, there are quite a lot of punctuation and formatting errors, and I’m only two chapters in.

For a book that runs $23, I’d expect much more. (And I haven’t even gotten into the bland sentence structure or terrible analogies.) I’m trying to give it the benefit of the doubt and save the review for when I’ve read the whole thing, but it’s pretty slow going.

The best part? This is the first book in a series. A series of this.

I’m not including the title of the book because I have to review it proper for the website, but man, this is tough to read. It almost physically hurts to read it. It certainly pains my writer’s brain.

I shouldn’t complain, though. I’m certain that there will be those who read my own book and find multiple faults with it, which would make me quite the hypocrite.

But good Gods, this is hard.

The other side of the glass

Though I have a solid idea for a new novel and am mostly ready to start, I’m putting that aside for a while to do a beta read that’s been sitting in my computer for far too long.

I’ve already read this novel in bits and pieces for critique, but this will be my first time reading it all the way through. It will also be my first beta read, so I have to read through carefully and look for plot continuity and things like that.

Beta reading should be interesting. When I read for a critique, I usually look for grammar/spelling and general readability, and I usually only get snippets–a chapter or two at a time. This time I have the whole manuscript before me.

Being a beta reader is a big responsibility. This is someone’s livelihood. They’ve entrusted me with their hard work to pick apart or compliment as I see fit. You can’t just phone this one in.