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#amwriting Much Needed Motivation

Need motivation to keep going? This is it:

The Funny Little Errors in The Goldfinch

I have been noting little errors and inconsistencies while reading The Goldfinch, and I thought I’d document them. This doesn’t mean I don’t like the book. I love the book. The quirky flaws make it even more precious to me.

By the way, this isn’t a full review. I haven’t even finished the book yet.


The first inconsistency is right on the first page. Main character Theo says he doesn’t know a word of Dutch, then a few sentences away he refers to the people as dames en heren, which is Dutch for ladies and gentlemen. This particular error is probably intentional and tells the alert reader that Theo is a bit of an unreliable narrator.

Later errors are probably not intentional. For example, in the hardcover version on pages 248-249 Theo and his friend Boris go shoplifting at a “discount supermarket” for “…steaks for us, butter, boxes of tea, cucumbers…” Shoplifting at a grocery or convenience store wasn’t an unreasonable scenario, and I didn’t think a thing of it until Donna Tartt reveals the store:  Costco. I burst out laughing. Costco is a mega warehouse store that only sells in bulk. The packages all contain multiple items. You wouldn’t steal a single steak, you’d have to hide an enormous pack of five steaks. Then you’d have to get them past the security check. Costco stations people at the door to look you over and read through your list ticking off your purchases. Let’s just say it isn’t likely Boris and Theo would shoplift at Costco if there were any alternatives, which there were.

My husband does woodworking, so I immediately noticed on page 418 that Hobie is using “cramps” to hold his wood together. British and Australian woodworkers use cramps. In America — and presumably New York City — we call them clamps.

The Bigger Picture

A lot of readers have noted that the drinking age isn’t eighteen as suggested in the book, but is in fact twenty-one. Maybe Tart was channeling her own inner teenager, which was from an earlier time?

Other reviewers have also pointed out errors in the technology used at various points. I’m a bit more forgiving about these because let’s face it, it took the author ten years to write the novel and technology changed so much during that period. With some 771 pages to keep track of, I would be more surprised if she had been able to stay consistent.

To me, all these little imperfections are rather like the scuff marks on a fine piece of antique furniture or the bubbles in a delicate pane of old glass. They give the novel a unique character.

That said, I’d like to let Donna Tartt know that if she needs a fact checker for her next novel, I’d be more than willing to volunteer.

No End to Trouble

A month or so ago author Marianna Heusler contacted me about reviewing her cozy mystery No End to Trouble: A St. Polycarp Elementary School Mystery. It is the third book in a series and the fourth is coming out soon.


Mrs. Hopwood and Mrs. Johnson are friends who teach at St. Polycarp, a Catholic school. When the head master leaves, the new principal shakes things up. Even worse, a cafeteria lady dies. Will the two be able to figure out who killed her without riling the new principal enough to lose their jobs?

Does it sound like something you’d like to read? Here’s an excerpt from page one to help you decide.

He heard footsteps behind him.
He stopped and saw the shadow of someone dressed in black.
He opened his mouth to ask if the person needed help, but he never uttered a word.
Instead he saw the flash of a metal object come flying towards him and hit his skull with a massive force. He heard something crack and he tasted hot blood, as it poured into his eyes and his nose.

Intrigued? As of today, the Kindle Unlimited e-book version is available for free at Amazon.

Series: St.Polycarp Elementary School Mysteries
Paperback: 282 pages
Publisher: Hilliard & Harris (August 9, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1591334128
ISBN-13: 978-1591334125

Still Life With Oranges


Changed My Blog’s Look (Again)

Today I decided my blog looked too messy and decided to change the theme. I thought the notebook look was fun at first, but got tired of it.


I think the new header image is more “mysterious.” Does the accent color of the text in the sidebar match the header in your browser?

So, what do you think?

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