Monday, September 17, 2012

The Great Typo Hunt

A little while ago, my husband noticed that I was lacking in a book to read. I had finished my previous selection and had yet to choose another. So, in the interest of being helpful, he brought me several to choose from, leaving the other novels on the end table for me. So began a reading feast!

The first I chose was a nonfiction. I don't read too much in the way of nonfiction. It seems that made up stories tend to catch my interest more often. And if you aren't a good story teller, then the truth comes out rather bland, much like the newspaper. I do read the newspaper every day, but it's just not the same as a great fiction. I read a different nonfiction earlier this summer that was quite brutal to get through. It was just dry and non-engaging. The character development was missing and it felt like the story (or lack, thereof) was just dragging.

But this nonfiction was something different. Written by two men (Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson), but written in the first person narrative from Mr. Deck's perspective, this book contains a good story. They really knew how to get the words down without leaving me wondering where the story was. It was well-written, bringing me on their journey, and making me feel a part of the adventure.

I present to you, The Great Typo Hunt.  This is the true story of a man's journey (accompanied by several friends) around the great country of the United States of America. His mission? Change the world, one correcction correction at a time. While attending his five-year college reunion, Jeff Deck decided that he wanted to change the world. Many of the people he'd graduated with had done some great things in the five years since graduation. Jeff wanted to make his mark. A road trip was something he was putting into consideration, but how could that tie into doing something great in the world?

Jeff had a degree in creative writing. That led him to a publising company, where he worked as an editor for a few publications. He found that he was a natural at spotting typos. He'd since moved on to another job. But his heart "remained that of a revisor and corrector." When he returned home from his reunion, he noticed a sign: No Tresspassing. The extra s in trespassing seemed to taunt him. It wasn't the first time he'd noticed this sign. But then it made him wonder, how many other mistakes were out there that no one bothered to fix?

And thus, the great typo hunt was born. He enlisted three other friends to accompany him, each on different parts of the trip. He planned three months on the road covering about half of the 50 US States. He went around the country, finding and fixing typos, and blogging about it as he went.

There were some people who were very gracious about correcting the errors, some who were down-right stubborn about it, and then there was a run-in with the law, concerning a historic sign. Corrections were made by request, in secret and some were just simply denied. There were a few times the book wandered a little on a tangent here and there, but mostly, it was a great adventure. And now, I'm seeing typos everywhere!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Reading Totals

As the end of 2010 came around, I realized that it had been a dismal year for my personal reading. I'd hardly gone through much literature at all, and that was depressing. SO, I decided that my 2011 New Year's Resolution would be to read. And to keep myself from allowing this resolution to go by the wayside, as many resolutions do, I made it specific and with documentation. I stated that I would be reading at least one novel each month. I have a little wallet sized notebook in which I would record the titles of each book completed. I even decided that I needed to finish each selection within the parameters of the month, to keep me on track. No carryovers.

So, with simple goal of one book per month and a Book Journal to keep me on track, I began the year with 4 finishes for the month of January. Off on a bold start, I decided that I could up my goal to a minimum of 2 books each month. I kept that goal, and ended the year with a grand total of 33 books read.

I was quite proud of myself. January 2012 came along, and I recorded 3 novels total in my Book Journal. And that's all that are listed for 2012. I kind of slowed down on the reading when I was doing Ray Bradbury reviews each week. By the time that was all finished, I had forgotten the Book Journal altogether. I have certainly read more than 3 books this year. In fact, in the past 2 months, I have read at least 6. I just didn't record them.

Obviously, it's not important for me to record how much I read to keep me in the books. I think that I have done a fairly decent job of keeping the pages flowing, allowing one book to slide into my hands just as soon as the previous book has finished.

However, for my kids, it was very important for them to keep track of all they had read over the summer. Our School District Superintendent issues a Summer Reading Challenge to the students every year. It's simple: read 10 (level appropriate) books or 1,000 pages over the summer. Keep track of the titles and page numbers. Turn in the Reading Challenge sheet during the first week of school. Then the Superintendent sends you a certificate acknowledging the accomplishment. The idea is to keep kids reading during the summer, with the incentive of recognition when school starts again.

To my kids, this is a big deal. While younger kids can include books that are read to them, I encourage my kids to do the reading themselves, and not count the books that I read at bedtime. My boys love to go to the library, happily choosing books they can read alone and then diligently reading them. They kept me on track, and made sure their books were recorded on their lists.

Did they reach their goals? Oh, yes. My oldest son read 20 books with a total of 1,704 pages. His brother read a fabulous 14 books with a total of 626 pages. These were just the books they told me about. I'm certain that my oldest read quite a bit more than the 20 we put on his list, and the 14 on my younger son's list are just the books he read aloud to me. I'm sure he did some independent reading that we didn't think to record.

How does this compare to my 33 books in a year? I don't know how many pages that adds up to. My guess is that it reaches somewhere over 10,000 pages. But I had a whole year and about 25 years of practice. I am truly impressed by the enthusiasm my boys have given in reading a combined 2,330 pages in just 12 weeks. If we were to keep track of every book from January to December, including page numbers, I think they may just beat me. And for that, I am very pleased. Here's to a continued joy in the world of reading. Bravo!