Ever played that study hall/campfire/dorm room game “Would You Rather”? You and your friends ask each other to choose between two equally appealing or unappealing outcomes.

It goes like this: Would you rather your head were twice the average size or half the average size? Would you rather be able to become invisible or be able to fly? Would you rather have a permanently runny nose or pass gas loudly and unexpectedly once a day, every day?

Apparently, some folks in the Hempstead (NY) Public School District were playing this game when they were preparing the summer reading list. Their game question was: Would we rather spend an hour Googling the titles of books and their authors to make sure they are correct or just guess and have our error-riddled list go viral, embarrassing our boss, colleagues and community?

They chose to guess. Some highlights from the 30ish mistakes on the reading list:

  • The Great Gypsy by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bonte?
  • Animal Farm by George Ornell?
  • The Lovely Bone by Alice Sebold

Even lazier, several authors with tricky first names, such as Roald Dahl, are referred to by last name only. Hey, students need to know that research is for suckers.

  • DO check proper names. Think Britney Spears, Rachael Ray, Nicolas Cage and Frederick Douglass – four people who have unusual spellings of common names (and likely never have been spoken of in the same sentence before).
  • DON’T let spell check have free reign. The Great Gypsy? Okay, so maybe an overactive word processing program created the error because “Gatsby” isn’t a real word in its tiny microprocessor brain. But if you write something for public distribution, engage your much-bigger brain to proofread what you have written before you hit “send.”

GAME FOR A QUESTION? Would you rather watch a movie about a deadly tornado or deadly sharks? Happily, you don’t have to choose! If you haven’t yet seen the campy magic that is Sharknado, you need to get up on that immediately. Or just watch the 4-minute highlight reel. Warning: CGI shark vs. human violence; also, Steve Saunders from Beverly Hills, 90210.

Need help writing or editing for your website or blog? Call Kim Landry at 484-829-0021 or email [email protected].

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