Monday, December 7, 2015

Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols & Other Typographical Marks by Keith Houston

Buy here*
Publication date: 2013
Publisher: WW Norton & Company
Pages: 246 (not including end notes)
My rating: 4 stars

What exactly is the pilcrow? How did the hashtag get its start? Why don't we use the interrobang more often? These are all questions that Houston answers in this book. From the Greeks to Twitter, he shares the secret history of punctuation.

I have to admit something. My mom gave this book to me on my birthday in April and it took having "no other books" to read for me to pick it up. But the moment I read the Foreword, I was hooked. This isn't your dry style manual.

Houston is clever, sharing the long history of symbols and punctuation with funny insights and some slight sarcasm. This more than just how to use punctuation, but how it started, who invented it, and in some cases how it disappeared. You go into the history of persons, peoples, and places, to help you better understand why punctuation is such a big deal.

I was having so much fun with it that I annoyed my sister the day she gave birth with pictures from the book and interesting things I had learned from it. (Don't worry, it was AFTER she gave birth, not while she was in the labor and delivery process.)

Recommended for language, writing, and history nerds.

*I do not receive compensation from Amazon.

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