On the Mark

One of the joys of book reviewing is hearing from readers.

Occasionally, someone disagrees with something I said, which is fine. Some books, movies and restaurants work better for some people than others, and I think the different opinions create a rich dialogue.

More often I hear from readers wanting to know the name of a particular book, about which they half-remember a few details. "You reviewed it a few months ago; it took place in England." Or, "It was about a woman whose husband had died."

These are a challenge. Lots of mysteries are set in England, and newly single women often turn up as protagonists.

Usually I cudgel my brain, and go through my files, and sometimes come up with an answer.

I also learn things from readers. Recently I heard from a man questioning my use of the word "sharpshooter" in a review when I should have said "sniper."

Based on his own experience as a Marine serving in Vietnam, he explained the way different levels of shooting expertise are classified by the military.

I’m grateful for the lesson. You can be sure the next time this subject comes up in a review, I will try to shoot straight.

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