Today's post is on Alphabetical: How Every Letter Tells a Story by Michael Rosen. It is 448 pages long and is published by Counterpoint. The cover is green with the title in different fonts. The intended reader is someone who likes history, language, and a lots different threads in a book. There is no language, no sex, and no violence. There Be Spoilers Ahead.
From the dust jacket- How on Earth did we fix upon our twenty-six letters, what do they really mean, and how did we come to write them down in the first place? Michael Rosen takes you on an unforgettable adventure through the history of the alphabet in twenty-six vivid chapters, fizzing with personal anecdotes and fascinating facts. Starting with the mysterious Phoenicians and how sounds first came to be written down, he races on to show how nonsense poems work, pins down the strange story of OK, traces our five lost letters and tackles the tyranny of spelling, among many many other things. His heroes of the alphabet range from Edward Lear to Phyllis Pearsall (the inventor of the A-Z), and from the two scribes of Beowulf to rappers. Each chapter takes on a different subject - whether it's codes, umlauts or the writing of dictionaries. Rosen's enthusiasm for letters positively leaps off the page, whether it's the story of his life told through the typewriters he's owned or a chapter on jokes written in a string of gags and word games. This is the book for anyone who's ever wondered why Hawaiian only has a thirteen-letter alphabet or how exactly to write down the sound of a wild raspberry.
Review- This is a very good book about the history of language, the alphabet, and how we read. At times it does get a little off topic but in the end it is a very fun read.Rosen talks about everything from where the letters come from originally to who put in the letter in Minuscule. Rosen gives personal stories about learning and dealing with language to common stories that everyone learns as we learn about words and their meanings. Overall this is an interesting book but at times Rosen gets a little detailed that has nothing to do with the overall narrative. He gives the reader a interesting and solid overview of the alphabet and how it came to be the way it is now.
I give this book a Four out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.