Every character we write or type is a link to the past, claims Keith Houston, and his book—which features 75 black and white illustrations—charts the lives of some of the most intriguing examples. Here is the humble pilcrow (¶), which went from its noble origins in ancient Greece to near obsolescence, only to be revived again in word processing software. Each character reflects the bust and boom endured by punctuation with each new technological innovation—from Gutenberg's printing press to e-books—and together they form a rich history of written communication.
"Make no mistake: this is a book of secrets.... Inside, we meet novelists, publishers, scholars and scribes; we range from ancient Greeks to hashtagged tweets; and we see the weird and wonderful foundations of the most successful technology of all time."—Robin Sloan