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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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Causing one often to press the book open, especially paperbacks, then over time the book breaks the spine. Author Keith Houston presents scholarly material with a conversational tone accessible even to school-age readers. No scenes of impropriety are ever shown nor are any details of the affair discussed (it’s simply presented as background information and nothing more).

Simple backgrounds and an adorable main character will work well for the youngest of readers, and the low amount of text on each page is perfect for older infants and young toddlers. This amount includes seller specified domestic postage charges as well as applicable international postage, dispatch, and other fees. More than a mere catalog of curious trivia, it’s an absolutely fascinating blend of history, design, sociology, and cultural poetics — highly recommended.A lovely book about a fascinating subject, spoiled slightly by too many digressions that work against understanding. We’re looking at the Hewlett-Packard HP-35, a scientific calculator that today looks quite unremarkable — and yet which, at the time, was revelatory. Think of how much historical context is written into Thackeray's Vanity Fair; how much social history around the early 19th Century, all effortlessly woven in to a cracking good yarn. However, when Henry goes off to investigate a few strange sounds emanating from his garage, Mary finds him lying unconscious and a mysterious, indistinguishable figure running away.

With a Curta, a practiced user could add, subtract, multiply and divide numbers by adjusting a few sliders and then turning the crank on top. I wish I’d read it on my kindle, because there would have been loads of highlighted passages to share. This was partially because the subject matter - the origin stories of punctuation symbols, weird and common - seemed sufficient quirky and yes, so incredibly nerdy, that it seemed bound to read a little differently, even for non-fiction. The chapter on the hyphen was a little dry in parts, and I was never quite able to picture montype/linotype.

The beginning of the book actually has a part that explains who each character is and their animal “form. I kept stopping to report captivating details (at least, I thought they were captivating) to the people around me. Throughout the book, Houston successfully weaves together history, technology, and design in telling the stories of characters that we’ve seen countless times without giving a second thought to.

Ancient Roman graffiti, Venetian trading shorthand, Cold War double agents, and Madison Avenue round out an ever more diverse set of episodes, characters, and artifacts. It was an alluring electronic device at a time when the very idea of consumer electronics was still in its infancy.developments that, at times, took centuries (some innovations came much more quickly, as circumstances and needs changed). Designed in the 1930s by an American naval pilot named Philip Dalton, the E-6B combined a circular slide rule with a “wind triangle” computer — a clever analogue mechanism for figuring out how the direction of an aircraft flying at a particular speed will be affected by the wind. That’s because the second reason for the Curta’s prominence is that it was designed in a Nazi concentration camp. But as Houston explains one kind of mark in each chapter, he opens a panorama of history and culture that is dizzyingly fascinating.

As such, the discerning slide rule enthusiast appreciates the accuracy of the circular slide rule as much as the portability of the rectangular version.The animals do fall into some stereotypes like the owl being a professor (reminded me a lot of Blathers from Animal Crossing) or a racoon being the prime suspect. The content is quite geeky, which suits me - I am now much better informed about the history of the symbols we use to communicate, and the history of printing. If you’ve never seen one before, there’s a good example of a rectangular slide rule belonging to the US astronaut Sally Ride in a previous post here at Shady Characters. Ebooks fulfilled through Glose cannot be printed, downloaded as PDF, or read in other digital readers (like Kindle or Nook). If you want to know the difference between the purpose of the many kinds of dashes and the hyphen, question how quotation marks arose, are curious about the manicule's past, want to learn the difference in uses for the Maltese cross versus the dagger, or wonder what's behind the pilcrow, the diple and the guillemet, this is only book needed.

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