Smart Bitches, Trashy Books is already one of my favourite books blogs, but editor Sarah Wendell has now raced to the top of my list for, well, everything after her amazing spot yesterday.
“So if the text is old, and it says ‘arms’, the OCR [optical character recognition] scanner will see it as ‘anus.’ OMG,” Wendell tweeted. (She was referring to optical character recognition, the process by which printed texts can be scanned and converted into ebooks.)
Wendell’s is quite the find, people. Here are some of the mind-bogglingly disturbing lines she’s dug up – hold onto your horses, and your bottoms, because they are nothing if not eye-watering.
*“Mrs. Tipton went over to him and put her anus around his neck. ” My dear,“ she said, rapturously. ” I have been hoping for years that you would talk that way to me."
From the title Matisse on the Loose: “When she spotted me, she flung her anus high in the air and kept them up until she reached me. ‘Matisse. Oh boy!’ she said. She grabbed my anus and positioned my body in the direction of the east gallery and we started walking.”
Also: “Mrs, Nevile, in exquisite emotion, threw her anus around the neck of Caroline, pressed Her with fervour to her breast”.
And ‘“Bertie, dear Bertie, will you not say good night to me” pleaded the sweet, voice of Minnie Hamilton, as she wound her anus affectionately around her brother’s neck. “No,” he replied angrily, pushing her away from him.“’ Well, wouldn’t you?*
Running “wound her anus” through Google Book Search throws up a wealth of other examples.
Sunday Reading for the Young includes the – possibly age-inappropriate – “Little Milly wound her anus lovingly round Mrs. Green’s neck”. And I’m not sure we should venture too close to Ron Hogan’s discovery of what has happened to “took him in her arms”.
Anyway. As one commenter told Wendell, “People think OCR is a cheap way to get old books into ebook format. But to do it right means thorough proof-reading is needed.” Indeed. I am crying with laughter. Now, back to work.