For years, Patti has teased me that I am such a slow reader. She is right on the mark. Frankly, I just love books — everything about books, including the covers, the writing, premise, plots, etc. You name it about books and I just can’t seem to get enough about them.

I have stopped doing this, but years ago, as I would read a book, I would edit it, too. It was my fun. Occasionally, I would rewrite the text in the margin. I still have some of those marked-up books.

So, it was with a great deal of pleasure to me when I was reading Pat Conroy‘s latest novel “South of Broad” and I found an error in the book. Toward the end of the book, there is a sentence and the word “to” is left out of the sentence.

Now, that probably doesn’t mean much to anyone else, but, to me, this was like winning the Kentucky Derby. I understand that Pat Conroy is a real stickler for precision when he is writing. And, his editor, Nan Talese, has a stellar reputation for producing the absolute best top-quality books in the marketplace. That’s a powerful 1-2 punch.

So, when I discovered this error as I was reading, it came as quite a surprise. You see, I grew up under the premise that publishing allowed absolutely no errors in the finished published work. The commendable notion that the book was “clean” was a significant matter of pride by the author, the editor and the publishing house.

Conroy is my favorite author, when he is writing his novels. I don’t care much for his cookbook or his book about basketball, but when he tackles a novel, there is none better, in my book, sotospeak. I have seen some reviews of this book and the complaint that there is a lot of sniveling among the ¬†characters. Perhaps. But a reader knows that about Conroy’s novels. They are loaded with tortured souls and fractured dreams.

‘South of Broad” is about Charleston, South Carolina, and a group of people whose friendships developed in high school. The novel carries them through various trials and tribulations both in childhood and adulthood. There are no car chases, no nuclear threats, no terrorist plots solved by superhuman CIA agents. It’s just fantastic character development with a plot that moves the reader along. The fact that Patti and I had just been in Charleston and had a map of the town helped as Conroy made numerous references to the city and places within the town.

For me, it was a great read, even though I did discover the error.

I may be retired, but some lifelong skills I acquired in college and in my career have not left me. Once  an editor, always an editor.

I am thankful for that, and the little things that bring us truly the greatest joy.