Author Topic: S/O Reading Pet Peeves - How Accurate is This Book?  (Read 7786 times)

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Jocelyn

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Re: S/O Reading Pet Peeves - How Accurate is This Book?
« Reply #45 on: February 10, 2013, 02:47:58 PM »
OK...I could see that for children, where you'd want the shoes to not conform, because you'd be counting on them being passed down to siblings.
Any evidence that this practice was used by adults, once their feet quit growing? Seems like comfort might be more important to adults, especially in shoe designs where there were buckles on the outside of the foot; putting buckles to the inside could result in uncomfortable scrapes on the opposite ankle.

magicdomino

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Re: S/O Reading Pet Peeves - How Accurate is This Book?
« Reply #46 on: February 10, 2013, 03:01:38 PM »
This thread made me remember another book that bugged me.

In one of Sarah Dunant's books (I think it's "The Birth of Venus"), there is a nun who has a tattoo of a snake wrapping around her body, from her shoulders to her *coughs* lady parts.

I know tattoos have been around since the dawn of humanity, basically, but how likely is it that a reasonably well-bred woman in Italy during the Renaissance would have one?? She obviously couldn't have done it herself, and they don't reveal who helped her (as far as I remember). It just doesn't ring right to me.

I read that and wondered about the tattoo myself.  Tattoos have been around for millennia -- the "ice man" found in the Alps had numerous tattoos -- but most were simple shapes like stripes and dots.  Even elaborate tattoos were made from a series of lines.  I haven't been able to determine when pictures were being done in Europe, but colored inks didn't start showing up until the 17th or 18th century.  At best, the snake would have been fairly crude in black ink, not a replica of an artist's drawing.

Part of the reason that the tattoo shocked those who saw it was that they had never seen such a thing.  Spaniards who saw picture tattoos on Meso-Americans thought they were engraved by the devil.

Elfmama

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Re: S/O Reading Pet Peeves - How Accurate is This Book?
« Reply #47 on: February 10, 2013, 03:36:43 PM »
Marking one's body with a tattoo was a grave sin in medieval/Renaissance Europe, specifically forbidden by God.
Quote
Leviticus 19:28. Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you.
  Unless the tattoo was given to the nun against her will, I doubt that she would have been allowed to become a nun at all.  If she did it willingly (and I have no idea how one could be given an elaborate tattoo without being willing) then she would probably  face the Inquisition. A serpent, the very symbol of Satan himself?  Who but a witch or demon-lover would have such a thing engraved on her body!
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Thipu1

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Re: S/O Reading Pet Peeves - How Accurate is This Book?
« Reply #48 on: February 10, 2013, 03:58:44 PM »
One of my pet annoyances is one of the 'Brother Cadfeal' books where there's a major inaccuracy which basically drives a coach and horses through the plot. (Deliberately vague to avoid spoiling it for others)
Is that the one that had to do with a shoeprint?  Because I caught that one too.

Why would a shoe print be a problem?
I haven't read the book, so I'm just guessing with the shoeprint suggestion, but here goes:
Shoes were not 'right' and 'left' until reasonably modern times (I want to say Georgian, but I'm not
certain). If the shoeprint was supposed to be of 'a left foot' (or vice versa) that would be historically inaccurate. Shoes were the same shape for both feet (one of several reasons why sore feet is a very
period complaint!  ;D).

At least as late as the American Civil War (1860s) boots and shoes that were supposed to fit either foot were advertised as 'indifferent'.  In earlier times, the soles may have been the same but the uppers were likely to be soft enough to adapt to the individual foot.

  Also, very few people land exactly the same way on the left foot and the right foot.  Every runner knows that.   It just may be possible that someone in the Brother Caedfael novel noticed that someone was left-footed rather than right-footed.  The print of the predominant foot would be deeper than that of the other foot. 

This skill could be very well honed in men who had grown up hunting game in a forest.



Twik

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Re: S/O Reading Pet Peeves - How Accurate is This Book?
« Reply #49 on: February 10, 2013, 04:04:22 PM »
In earlier times, the soles may have been the same but the uppers were likely to be soft enough to adapt to the individual foot.

Agreed - I would imagine it's unlikely that, unless the wearer rotated his/her shoes like tires, the shoes wouldn't start to mold to the wearer's feet in such a way that, after a while, "left" and "right" would be detectable in prints.

However, if the author didn't expand on that, one may assume that it was a mistake.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

Tini

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Re: S/O Reading Pet Peeves - How Accurate is This Book?
« Reply #50 on: February 10, 2013, 04:18:53 PM »
Worst nonfiction book that I have ever read for accuracy was 'The Mother Tongue - English and how it got that way' by Bill Bryson. The guy is a journalist and only speaks English, and the stuff he put in his oeuvre where he compares English with other languages or talks about imported words seems to have been made up of factoids gathered from newspaper and magazine clippings, plus the occasional input of mischievous foreign waiters who knew he'd stiff them on tips and lied to him with smiles on their faces.
Amongst his claims:
- Finnish has no swearwords, so the Finnish say 'ravintolassa' (in the restaurant) instead
- he perpetuates the Eskimo vocabulary hoax about how many words for snow they have
- 'bumfodden' is not a German word for toilet paper
- According to him, 'The French for instance, cannot distinguish between house and home, between mind and brain, between man and gentleman', which must be news to the French (and certainly is to one Amazon reviewer)
- English is superior because other languages don't have thesauruses
-The existence of the word 'schadenfreude' is indicative of German sensibilities. Huh, German has no word for 'bully' - is that supposed to say anything about all those millions and millions of native English speakers?
-Esperanto has no definite article - yes it does

This goes on and on. I speak and read four languages to varying degrees and have studied and mostly forgotten two more, and he talks nonsense about every one of them. Reading the Amazon reviews is quite amusing, if a bit disheartening. The reviewers who speak any foreign languages or have a bit more insight into English linguistics think it is atrocious. Everyone else thinks it's wonderful because it's so funny, never mind the facts. There's even a teacher who says she'd still use it in her lessons because it got her kids so enthused. A book with an error on every page.

VorFemme

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Re: S/O Reading Pet Peeves - How Accurate is This Book?
« Reply #51 on: February 10, 2013, 04:22:22 PM »
Quote
One of my pet annoyances is one of the 'Brother Cadfeal' books where there's a major inaccuracy which basically drives a coach and horses through the plot. (Deliberately vague to avoid spoiling it for others)

Can you PM me what it is?  Because I love those books, and now I'm wondering if I'm a doofus for missing something!  LOL!

Me, too.
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I say more?

Jones

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Re: S/O Reading Pet Peeves - How Accurate is This Book?
« Reply #52 on: February 10, 2013, 07:02:53 PM »
OK...I could see that for children, where you'd want the shoes to not conform, because you'd be counting on them being passed down to siblings.
Any evidence that this practice was used by adults, once their feet quit growing? Seems like comfort might be more important to adults, especially in shoe designs where there were buckles on the outside of the foot; putting buckles to the inside could result in uncomfortable scrapes on the opposite ankle.
Once upon a time I was in the SCA, and if I recall correctly, shoe buckles weren't invented until the mid-1600s. Also, at least at first, the buckles were on the front rather than on the outside of the foot.

Elfmama

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Re: S/O Reading Pet Peeves - How Accurate is This Book?
« Reply #53 on: February 10, 2013, 09:08:16 PM »
OK...I could see that for children, where you'd want the shoes to not conform, because you'd be counting on them being passed down to siblings.
Any evidence that this practice was used by adults, once their feet quit growing? Seems like comfort might be more important to adults, especially in shoe designs where there were buckles on the outside of the foot; putting buckles to the inside could result in uncomfortable scrapes on the opposite ankle.
Once upon a time I was in the SCA, and if I recall correctly, shoe buckles weren't invented until the mid-1600s. Also, at least at first, the buckles were on the front rather than on the outside of the foot.
And in at least one form of period shoe, the ties that held it closed WERE on the inside of the ankle.  It was easier to tie them that way.
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I don't go crazy.  I AM crazy.  I sometimes go normal. 
Please make a note of this for future reference.
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Jocelyn

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Re: S/O Reading Pet Peeves - How Accurate is This Book?
« Reply #54 on: February 10, 2013, 10:04:53 PM »
OK...I could see that for children, where you'd want the shoes to not conform, because you'd be counting on them being passed down to siblings.
Any evidence that this practice was used by adults, once their feet quit growing? Seems like comfort might be more important to adults, especially in shoe designs where there were buckles on the outside of the foot; putting buckles to the inside could result in uncomfortable scrapes on the opposite ankle.
Once upon a time I was in the SCA, and if I recall correctly, shoe buckles weren't invented until the mid-1600s. Also, at least at first, the buckles were on the front rather than on the outside of the foot.
I judged a SCA costuming contest, won by a man who created Anglo-Saxon (pre-Conquest) garb; part of it included shoes with hand-cast buckles. He had the documentation to support them, including a full description of how he had cast the buckles.
I can see ties being on the inside, if the ties were made of some soft material that wouldn't abrade the inside of the ankle; definitely easier to tie. But either way, what I'm questioning is whether adults would switch the shoes from inside to outside fastening, and back again; I think it's more likely that they'd wear them in the same location all the time.

Twik

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Re: S/O Reading Pet Peeves - How Accurate is This Book?
« Reply #55 on: February 10, 2013, 10:17:59 PM »
Worst nonfiction book that I have ever read for accuracy was 'The Mother Tongue - English and how it got that way' by Bill Bryson. The guy is a journalist and only speaks English, and the stuff he put in his oeuvre where he compares English with other languages or talks about imported words seems to have been made up of factoids gathered from newspaper and magazine clippings, plus the occasional input of mischievous foreign waiters who knew he'd stiff them on tips and lied to him with smiles on their faces.
Amongst his claims:
...- According to him, 'The French for instance, cannot distinguish between house and home, between mind and brain, between man and gentleman', which must be news to the French (and certainly is to one Amazon reviewer)....

It's even news to Google Translate, which can distinguish, say, between homme and gentilhomme, and esprit versus cerveau.

Your suspicion about the waiters reminds me about something my archeology prof said about Herodotus: "When you tour ancient sites, you can get the 50 drachma guide, who has studied the site, perhaps helped excavate it, or the 5 drachma guide, who has no idea what these old buildings are, but is quite happy to make up a story. Herodotus always went for the 5 drachma guide."
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

Ereine

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Re: S/O Reading Pet Peeves - How Accurate is This Book?
« Reply #56 on: February 11, 2013, 12:59:10 AM »
Worst nonfiction book that I have ever read for accuracy was 'The Mother Tongue - English and how it got that way' by Bill Bryson. The guy is a journalist and only speaks English, and the stuff he put in his oeuvre where he compares English with other languages or talks about imported words seems to have been made up of factoids gathered from newspaper and magazine clippings, plus the occasional input of mischievous foreign waiters who knew he'd stiff them on tips and lied to him with smiles on their faces.
Amongst his claims:
- Finnish has no swearwords, so the Finnish say 'ravintolassa' (in the restaurant) instead

That's pretty funny as we're sort of famous for how good our swearwords are. But at least ravintolassa is spelled correctly, though it has nothing to do with swearing (except maybe once you get the bill for alcohol, then there may be swearing).

Tini

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Re: S/O Reading Pet Peeves - How Accurate is This Book?
« Reply #57 on: February 11, 2013, 03:02:08 AM »
Twik, that quote about Herodotus is hilarius. I just had to read that out to my husband, and he burst out laughing.
Ereine, I'm glad to hear Finnish is well supplied with excellent swearwords (I almost want to learn some now). Now and again having a good curse is just good for the soul, and I would have hated to see Finns deprived of this.  ;)

Perfect Circle

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Re: S/O Reading Pet Peeves - How Accurate is This Book?
« Reply #58 on: February 11, 2013, 03:29:20 AM »
It is a shame about Mother Tongue because most of Bryson's books are rather excellent.
In all this talk of time
Talk is fine
But I don't want to stay around
Why can't we pantomime, just close our eyes
And sleep sweet dreams
Me and you with wings on our feet

Ereine

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Re: S/O Reading Pet Peeves - How Accurate is This Book?
« Reply #59 on: February 11, 2013, 03:47:35 AM »
Tini, here's a Wikipedia article on Finnish profanity. I think that our language is well suited for swearing, with strong Rs and long words that are easy to say while stressing every syllable with feeling.

For the book with the heroine with orange lips, it also addresses every titled man as Lord Something from Sir Horace (who's actually a baron and so should be called Lord Osbaldon but not Sir Horace, maybe the author is thinking of a baronet?) to the Duke of Keryton (the heroine tells her niece that he should be addressed as Lord Rotherham). The dialogue uses a lot of slang that may or may not be accurate but feels pretty painful to me (the heroine calls everyone "cawker", fondly). The heroine is said to be unlike every woman of her class, apart from her famed beauty (and fortune) she was also a complete personality at 13 and has studied everything from fencing to architecture. (The apparent hero seems also pretty dismal, but that's possibly quite accurate.)