Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation

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

Do you know what the pilcrow is? Are you interested in learning about the octothorpe? If you are adventurous and want to try to learn the arcane, and fascinating history about the boring, everyday punctuation you use then read on! I am fascinating with reading, history, and typography so this book ticks all the right boxes for me. Some of the first chapters, especially the ones about the pilcrow (no I won’t tell you what that is, read the book!), and octothorpe seemed to be the most well researched, or they just have a more clear historical record on their use and development. Some of the later chapters weren’t as academically rigorous as I would prefer. I understand that this book isn’t supposed to be for the typography expert, or a dense textbook, so I am happy with what I learned and the topics the author chose.

It really is interesting were these marks came from, and some of the punctuation marks that were tried but ultimately failed to become mainstream! The author name-dropped a lot of books he used in research, so I have lots of new books I need to buy & read. The author is good at blending: myth, historical record, and quotes, into a readable, and clear narrative. I would recommend this book to anyone who is even slightly interested in history. You will feel very smart indeed when you call the pilcrow by the correct name next time you are editing a document for your boss in your word processor.

Rating: ★★★★

Book #25 in my #ReadingChallenge2021 #Books #BookReview #KeithHouston #punctuation #history #nonfiction”,

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