Everything Is Miscellaneous - not a review (yet)

Nice surprise package in the office this morning - my copy of David Weinberger's new book, Everything Is Miscellaneous, just arrived.

Obviously, I haven't had the time to give it much more than a cursory glance so far, but I have a couple of tiny, immediate observations:

1. The publisher's letter included in the package opens with: "Dear Michael, We have made a mess." I thought, at first, that this was a reference to the fact that a bunch of the complimentary copies they'd shipped out had somehow gone missing in transit, but it's actually a segue into their blurb for the book: "We have made a mess. In the past, everything had its place -- its one category or shelf..." Accidentally appropriate.

2. I think I may have described in the past one of my rather unusual talents ("quirks" might be a better word). When I look at a page of text, if there's a single typo or spelling error, it seems to jump out at me before I've even read the page.

My eye is magnetically drawn to mistakes on the page - in anything but my own writing, anyway. I always manage to miss my own typos, even if I read the page five times over.

It's a rather strange little skill, if that's even the correct word for it. I've often thought I could always get a gig as a proof-reader, if all else fell through. Back when we were doing the IPO, in rooms full of bankers, accountants and lawyers, I always seemed to be the first to spot the rounding errors and data entry cockups in the columns of numbers. I completely suck at number-crunching, but the errors on a page just sing to me.

So I slide David's book out of the padded envelope and the very first thing I see on the back of the book is this quotation from Jimmy Wales:

"Just when I thought I understood the world, David Wei nberger turns it upside down..."

The cover design is all shiny and lovely, and they've done something very clever with the printing, giving the text on the front and spine an almost 3D quality. Shame to find this silly and utterly trivial little glitch on the back.

Pointing this out, btw, is in no way a reflection on the book at all. It's an incredibly trivial and picky thing to draw attention to; says more about my curious typo-sensing radar ability than the quality of the fine tome I hold in my hands.