Has it ever happened that you were reading a book, a brand new hardcover, not a review copy, and you suddenly come upon a jarringly misplaced sentence? I'm talking about a sentence that changes the whole scene that you have just read, an alternative to the action just described, a version that was obviously considered at one point but was left in the book only because of some really poor editing.
That happened to me this afternoon with a book I just started reading. About 50 pages into the thing, a murder mystery that had completely sucked me in to its story, I suddenly did a literal double-take. I had to re-read the paragraphs three times to make sure that I was really seeing what I thought I was reading.
Now I can't get that blip out of my mind and it's causing me to think less of the book. I know that's not fair, and I suspect I'll be over it by the time I finish the book in a few days, but it sure bugs me right now.
Are editors doing a poorer job than they did in the past? Or do we perhaps become better readers over time as the number of books we have read keeps adding up? This is a bit like watching a movie that you really like until you suddenly recall what a jackass the leading man is in the real world? The movie becomes a bit tainted at that point. Silly, I know. You don't have to say it.