The other day, I was reading a library book and a few pages in, I saw that someone had taken a pencil and crossed out the word "was" and wrote in the word "were" in one of the sentences.
Now, maybe this person was right, I don't know. Grammar is not my strong suit. What bothered me is that this correction made me stop and read the sentence again. It took me out of the story. Some person - not the author - decided to "fix" what was maybe a problem, and ended up causing a bigger issue for me the reader.
I've wanted to fix things in books. For me, it's more about typos. You know, where the word is "if" and it should clearly be "of," that kind of thing. But I've never done that. Partly it's because I harbor a fear of marking up a library book (anyone else remember that "Seinfeld" episode with Bookman, the library cop?) But it's also because I don't want to do something that will take another reader out of the story. I "fix" the typo in my mind, and I figure other readers will do the same.
This is all just my opinion, of course, and maybe some of you appreciate someone fixing the typo for you, or someone correcting grammar mistakes in your library or used books. But here's what bothered me the most - a few pages later, this same person underlined basically an entire sentence about a character seeing herself reflected in another character's eyes, and then wrote "doubtful" in the margin. I mean, really. Was that necessary? Sheesh.
Where's Bookman when you need him?