Hyphenation in Stanza

Stanza.app: Bad break (detail)
Okay! I’ve got basically one month left in which to do my thesis project, so I’m thinking I should try to blog about a little something every day, to force myself to process some of this stuff. Perhaps call it BroTheBloPoMo—Brooklyn Thesis Blog Post Month.

What have I been up to? Well, unless you count reading a lot of trashy novels as e-books, not a whole hell of a lot. But, man, I am rocking the e-book–reading.

It’s not entirely not research. For one thing, I’ve been learning an awful lot about the hyphenation rules in Stanza. They suck. Every time I see what would be counted as an unacceptable break in a dead-tree American trade book, I note it in an annotation. Stanza then lets me view a list of all my annotations, from which I can jump to each offending passage. I’ve also been marking misspellings, logic errors, and infelicitous organization of material (e.g., loading the front of an e-book with tons of sales crap—I’ve already bought the book; just get to the text, please), but those are editorial issues rather than technological ones.1

Some typical composition errors seen in Stanza (not all of which, especially in the last column, are Stanza’s fault):

Multiple punctuation marks Word division Broken compounds Miscellaneous weirdness
you?
” he
again-
st
gauntlet—some-
thing
father—-
passed
Cathedral
—”
the-
se
gentle-
men—who
me—-
turn
have
—?”
S-
tay
Indian—ob-
tained
people— the
boy?
bare-ch-
ested
hard-
ness—feel
average— of
they?
S-
tarling
German—some-
thing
anyway— neither
it?
respon-
se
mar-
riage—or
life— touring
it?
” Jasper
ch-
in
cof-
fee-brown
this— they
then?
six-
th
Ex-
cept”—she
them— as
him?
” Rebecca
ch-
estnut
ill-re-
pute
too— she
down?
Sh-
effield
self-con-
scious
him— where
“—
he
ch-
intz
old-fash-
ioned
too— a
him?
” he
ch-
in
rose-be-
decked
encouragingly— and
  modis-
tes
sweet-na-
tured
so— she
  on-
ce
twen-
ty-seven
circle— the
  s-
pars
Ex-
pensive-looking
referred— she
  ch-
intzy
heavy-lid
ded
now- predictable
  o’-
clock
like-
ly-looking
cleft-—“I’ll
  child—y-
our
late-sum-
mer
large— He
  per-
ch
wa-
ter-filled
for-sake
  seven-
th
morn-
ing-room
 
  re-
al
four-
teen-year-old
 
  prince—n-
ever
stir-
rer-up
 
  belowstairs—k-
itchens
it-
self—it
 
  champag-
ne
well-be-
ing
 
  Th-
ese
it—ex-
cessively
 
  you—n-
ever
coun-
try-bred
 
  urns—w-
ere
moth-
er-in-law
 
  the-
se
John-the-Bap-
tist
 

You get the idea. These are from multiple books, but many of the nastiest breaks—ch-in, ch-est, again-st, the-se, on-ce, n-ever—appear over and over again. Stanza’s still my e-reader application of choice, but that’s mostly because it’s so easy to download my Fictionwise bookshelf into it. I’ve been buying my e-books almost exclusively from Fictionwise, so that’s key.

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Notes

  1. Though they could be technological issues. It would be great if the e-reading app had a built-in means of reporting typos to the publisher, so that they could be corrected for future downloads; or perhaps the reader could just correct the word in his or her own copy. Clever Eucalyptus encourages users to send screenshots of bad typesetting, presumably so algorithms can be tweaked.

    The Eucalyptus feedback system:
    Eucalyptus.app: Send Feedback Eucalyptus.app: Send Feedback (with text) Eucalyptus.app: Send Feedback (confirmation)

    And if the front matter, ad card, and the like were marked as such, the e-reader software could then offer users choices such as “hide all front matter” or “display front matter at end of book.” I’d want a global setting, so all my books open to the first page of the main text and have any extraneous material glommed on at the very end. []

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