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Shady Characters – The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, and Other Typographical Marks: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, & Other Typographical Marks

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If you are ignorant about how people wrote and read way back when (what do you mean there were no spaces between words? With Henry lying in a coma, it’s up to Mary to investigate the matter and uncover the individual who harmed her friend.

I wish I’d read it on my kindle, because there would have been loads of highlighted passages to share.

His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, Mental Floss, BBC Culture, and on Time. Read this, and you will understand about half the Auto-Correct settings in your word processing program! There were apparently a whole bunch of different dash lengths used for different effects that have now all been reduced to the simple -.

Perhaps not, but Houston shows how the cultural, linguistic, and technical aspects of this seemingly arcane topic play out in our written heritage especially in the digital, internet age. The first book in the Shady Hollow series, in which we are introduced to the village of Shady Hollow, a place where woodland creatures live together in harmony—until a curmudgeonly toad turns up dead and the local reporter has to solve the case. Christianity both drove and benefitted from the innovations in writing, printing, and punctuation in many ways taken for granted. I found it a little jarring and it took me a while to start reading them after reaching the end of the sentence! The small town feel in Shady Hollow feels authentic to traditional cozies, and Shady Hollow and all its locales ring with an air of authenticity and realism, despite not being populated by humans (in fact, nary a human exists within this story’s world).I loved the small, local village feel to the book and the characters, who keep some of their animal traits and stereotypes. Despite having pioneered the integrated circuit, the Cal Tech’s chips were so complex that the company could not reliably produce them en masse. Without the constraints of a good story, non-fiction authors often give in to the temptation to dump an enormous amount of information in an unstructured, unsorted way that leaves the reader overwhelmed, confused or just plain bored. In reading this book, there were moments when the sound of Houston's ego echoed with every keystroke. Overall, somewhat interesting, but probably of most interest to those that already have an interest in (or obsession with) typographical marks.

Together, these shady characters form a rich, entertaining and surprising history of the written word and our ongoing attempts to shape it.Houston peppers his accounts with witty insights, humorous anecdotes, and plenty of self awareness ( [In a footnote] "In honor of their [asterisk and dagger] role as footnote reference marks, I plan to fill this chapter with numerous lengthy and entirely tangential footnotes so as to take full advantage. Conceived by HP’s co-founder, Bill Hewlett, the HP-35 was to be the company’s route out of that niche and into a wider world of consumer electronics.

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