Super-objective book review: Apple Culture in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Wisconsin Border (not a glowing one!)

Well maybe not super-duper objective, as I feel personally insulted by being sucker enough to fall for buying this book!

In summary Apple Culture in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Wisconsin Border’: it is 100% useless & 101% awful - not worth $14.99, not worth $1.49 or even 15c.

This book is an embarrassment to Michigan and to apples. And to nature study and even giant jigsaw puzzles (what?! - see below)!

It’s like the worst paper written at the last minute by the laziest, most stoned history 101 student (and I’ve taught some bad -and good- 101 students myself and reluctantly admit I turned in at least one truly horrid last minute procrastination disaster term paper - but for the love of Pete, I wouldn’t ‘publish’’ it! - I’m still ashamed decades later!).

This ‘book’ has some of the worst writing I’ve ever seen; the most contorted run-on sentences I’ve seen (even worse than this post!) and most tired cliches, the most absent and superfluous punctuation, the most inconsistent capitalization, the most maddening unclosed quotations (and superfluous use of quotations), and most frequent misspellings.

Hundreds of banal punctuation and spelling errors could have been fixed just by looking for red squiggly underlines on any word processor since 1998 (or dare I say proofreading & editing), and grammatical errors could be at least hinted at (assuming either author knows grammar), but clearly they didn’t bother.

Trying to read this book, even if it were interesting or with some grounding in fact, is the equivalent of trying to follow a very bad mobile phone call where 75% of the wor __ d DDD istorted __ www DDDDD is-is-is-is - wwwwuuuuuuu rd zzzzzz istortistort-istortistort-istortistort-istor_ed uerzzzz arrrrrrrr urdzzzzzz …

Well, you get the idea, it’s like a worm-ridden apple; inedible at any speed (I’m sure there are poorly mixed metaphors in it too!)

Error-laden at best (but: I don’t believe malevolent!), full of evidence-free conclusions, oddly sweeping summaries, and apparently reliant on a minimum of web searches of a few online newspapers or large & coarse statistics, and a few ‘images’ pulled off the web from the usual source (Wikipedia).

To be fair - because I am a fair guy (!) - there are a few pictures of local adverts, etc. from a couple of UP history & old photo sources. And to be unfair, I gave up reading this book from fatigue and disgust about halfway through, at least for now; so possibly one author wrote everything I was horrified by and another wrote the part I didn’t read yet (the senior author has written some more readable things I’ve enjoyed in past years – but he did put his name on the book as first author!).

And don’t hope to find references where needed, or sources where cited, or any consistency or completeness when they do exist!

There’s even made-up ‘species’ of Malus! (“Malus gensis” (p. 1), which they claim is a crab apple… Hey look! (to be certain I was not mistaken I searched the web of it - it got one hit…)

First one to look through other pages (or same) of this and find more errors wins - we are all winners here–unless we buy this book.

It seems likely that much of this was ‘written’ via speech to text conversion with no further proofreading or correction, based on error patterns (weird homonyms or incongruous words that a machine likely mistook for another, variable spellings of names - even within the same paragraph - and a weird ‘phone call’ syntax). Or by an eight year-old on their i-phone just 4 u lol (sorry, I can’t really mimic that). Then maybe autotranslated between a few languages after that to boot, except that that’d’ve caught the misspellings and probably improved the grammar…

Clearly this was not intended to be read. The ‘senior’ author is a retired professor at a state university, adding further embarrassment to our state, who was boldly praised in a press release by same university for this book, proving nobody read it there either and it’s only use is as a make-believe proof of ‘scholarly work’. The 2nd author was a student whose parents apparently owned an orchard which seemingly afforded him no knowledge of apples; let alone history, research, writing, grammar, punctuation, or spelling.

I keep thinking I ought to write a somewhat more cohesive amazon review with specific examples (of which there are many) to save further victims their $15 (and from half that going to the space zillionaire amazon owner).

But it is a good example of what’s possible without the hindrance of effort, ability, or an editor & with ‘we print your nonsense’ publishing. Sadly, one potential benefit of such ‘on demand’ printing files is also wasted; the copyright is 2019 but mine was printed September 9th 2023; you’d think enough time for some kind (or cruel!) soul (or machine?) to tell them the degree of mistakes that, in an ideal world, they’d care enough about to correct then zap it to the Big Book Machine for improved future printings. It’s fully possible I’m the only one who bought the book let alone read it (including authors)

Well, they do include a disclaimer … of sorts. I quote: “We attempted to be as accurate as possible, but given the nature study, which is comprised of of many pieces like a giant jigsaw puzzle, someone might find errors or incomplete chronology, but the work is ours.” (sic; this is as printed) (p. x)

I almost look forward to reading the writings of 'artificial intelligence after this’ - and I don’t like robots!

Some valuable information:
Publisher: Lulu (June 12, 2019)
Paperback: 168 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0359849260
Reading age: 1 year and up (don’t damage your child’s language ability with this!)
Amazon sales rank at this moment: #4,039,618 in Books
#83,526 in U.S. State & Local History (thank goodness this isn’t a big seller, and now I’m glad I couldn’t find it in any nearby libraries!)

3 Likes

Your poor review is so entertaining that it makes me (almost) want to read the book. Nice job not selling it. I really enjoyed reading your don’t read it stance.

I’m looking at something the dog drug up that the cat is turning his nose up at. I also have to go watch some paint dry. Entertainment is short shrift with book reviews like this.