Reading the Entire Oxford English Dictionary

If you think reading all of Neatorama is a big task (that quite a few of you have actually accomplished - yay, go you!) then take a look at this: Ammon Shea, 37, has just read the entire Oxford English Dictionary!

Ammon Shea, 37, who has been dissecting dictionaries since the age of 10, spent a year absorbing 59 million words, from A to Zyxt - the equivalent of reading a John Grisham novel every day.

Cooped up in the basement of his local library, the removal man from New York would devote up to 10 hours a day painstakingly making his way through all 20 volumes of the OED - helped by cup after cup of very strong coffee. [...]

By the time he reached the 400 pages devoted to words beginning with "un", he said he was "near catatonic, bored out of my mind, and so listless I can't remember why I wanted to read any of this in the first place.

"At this point, telling myself, 'You only have 351 pages of un-words to go', does not seem helpful. I don't quite feel as though I have lost my mind, but it often seems as though it is on vacation somewhere else, just east of sanity."


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If you're the slightest bit interested in the OED then you'll love the book "The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of The Oxford English Dictionary".

True story.
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