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Learn to Type by Copying Literary Masters

The Red Queen teaches typing.
The Red Queen teaches typing.
Photo: John Biggs/Gizmodo

A new project by a Canadian techie named Adam Doquiatan aims to teach you to type by asking you to copy great literature. The site, called TypeLit.io, lets you pick from a library of public domain classics—Alice in Wonderland, 1984, and many more—and then shows you the text of each chapter. To complete the exercise you just have to type over the text, rewriting the classic at your own (hopefully improving) pace.

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The process is easy, in theory, but hard in practice. Because Doquiatan is using texts from the Gutenberg Project and other open-source repositories, there might be a few weird formatting issues that make it hard to maintain flow. That said, even hipsters are catching the craze by retyping classics in smoky diners in an effort to recapture some lost cool.

“The founders are just me—a Canadian web developer who’s relatively new to the scene,” said Doquiatan. “I started TypeLit.io as a side project after graduating from the British Columbia Institute of Technology back in April. A couple of years prior I had taught myself how to touch type by transcribing novels I had laying around (which, as it turned out, was certainly more fun than typing exercises). I figured others might find this sort of thing beneficial so I turned the idea into a website.”

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The site saw about 600 users per day before public interest drove it to 19,000 per day. He expects the numbers to fall, presumably as everyone gets great at retyping Dumas.

“It’ll probably settle somewhere in the middle, but your guess is as good as mine where it ends up,” said Doquiatan.

John Biggs is a writer from Ohio who lives in Brooklyn. He likes books, board games, watches, and his dog. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Gizmodo.

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DISCUSSION

joehawkeye
Go Hawkeyes

Says books in multiple languages but I can only get it in English? I’m learning German so this would be good practice to take a book I’ve read already, such as 1984, and type it out in German. But I don’t see the option to change the language.