Theodore Dalrymple:

Pedants delight in error, not in truth, and fall upon it like scavengers on a carcass. I have books, pre-owned—or even pre-loved, as dealers in secondhand objects are now inclined to call them—in which pedants have underlined or scored out words containing misprints, as if the search for such misprints had been their main reason for reading them in the first place. A missing apostrophe may drive a pedant into a paroxysm of pleasurable fury. With what righteous indignation may he (I imagine pedants to be mainly male) mark the page to alert future readers to this disgraceful error!

I could probably maintain a separate blog devoted entirely to documenting the tiny errors I discover in my reading. Thankfully, this has only ever been an idle thought. Most errors are neither egregious nor entertaining enough to call attention to them. One recent exception presented itself in Wallace Kaufman’s Coming Out Of The Woods: The Solitary Life Of A Maverick Naturalist, where Kaufman refers to the “plaintiff sounds of whales” in a section about animal communication. The Onion once joked about the apocalyptic consequences for humanity of dolphins developing opposable thumbs. I don’t want to think about the sort of reparations we’ll be looking at should whales discover the legal process.