language and words in the news

In the news – making your mark

© Stephen Coburn /

The British attempt to break the longest-standing land speed record continues in the Mojave Desert, USA this week, after a series of disappointing failures. The team’s steam car, Inspiration, is fondly known as ‘the fastest kettle in the world’, a nickname that raises some interesting mental images! It has already unofficially beaten the 127mph steam car record, set in 1906, but must now repeat the feat meeting strict FIA criteria. So far, technical problems have dogged their every step, but the team is not giving up.

The desire to be the best at something probably exists in all of us, at some level, but there are those who set out to prove it, and in some weird and wonderful ways. Going faster than anyone else isn’t really all that strange (although the image of doing it in a kettle certainly is!), but what about typing books backwards, or reading aloud in a shopping centre?

In November 2008, Italian Michele Santelia successfully completed his Most Books Typed Backwards record attempt, when he finished number 67. He had typed 3,503,013 words, in their original languages, from books including Macbeth, The Odyssey and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Meanwhile, in 2007, a team from Uruguay had set the record for the Longest Reading Aloud Marathon (as a team – 224 hours) entertaining passers-by at a shopping centre in Paysandú.

Then there’s the Longest Title of a Book and interestingly, the Best Selling Copyright Book turns out to be the Guinness book of records.

Email this Post Email this Post

About the author


Sharon Creese

1 Comment

Leave a Comment