I've decided there are some conditions - or is it some forms of conditioning? - which amount to a kind of curse. Nothing as bad, you understand, as having everything you touch turn to gold, but annoying nonetheless. This morning it was the book I'm enjoying. I may well blog more about the book as a whole when I'm done reading it, but for now I'm at the stage where the narrator is becoming recognisable, so that I begin to care what happens to him; the historical setting is enjoyably unfolding in such a way as to convince, and the grounds for the story are beginning to be laid in a way which promises further involvement. In other words, it's becoming a book I'm enjoying, in the classic manner of a summer read which won't over-tax the brain but is at the same time intelligent and engaging.
So where does the curse come in? Well, towards the end of Chapter four, actually. At the bottom of a page, where I read: "Most, like you or I, are content with the hope of salvation, and leave matters in God's hands." And I feel immediately discomfited. I know people have bothers with "like" and "as", and tend to use "like" as a conjunction - in fact, I'm almost used to that in direct speech. But this isn't even that. It's just one of these sloppy moments - and I feel the writer ought to have been more assured. In fact, I feel it ought to be impossible for him to write that. And it clearly isn't.
But then he didn't have my upbringing. I knew from regular repetition that "like" wasn't a conjunction from such an early age that I can't remember not knowing. I think I used to say "like I did" for devilment. But even devilment wouldn't have me write "like I". See what I mean? It's a curse. And I can't switch it off.
I'll tell you about the book in a bit. As long as there aren't more infelicities.