The 2017 Shady Characters gift guide

The year is coming to an end and that can mean only one thing: it’s time for me to promote my books!

I’m kidding. Sort of, at least. Fatherhood has occupied most of the time that, in previous years, I would have spent hunting down punctuation-related gifts for you, the discerning reader. That said, I’ve been interested in the comings and goings surrounding emoji (“picture writing”, or symbols like “😊” and “🎁”) for some time now, and in doing so I came across Josh Williams’ pleasingly minimal “Unicalendar” for the year 2018.

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Miscellany № 83: Thomas Jefferson’s ivory polyptych

“An ivory what?” you may well ask. In the process of researching and writing The Book (which is, need I say, available from all good bookshops), I came across any number of tidbits that lay just fractionally below the interesting-ness threshold required for inclusion in the book. One discovery in particular, though, has had me kicking myself since I first handed in the manuscript back in 2015, and I still wish I’d found a way to incorporate it into the narrative. Here it is!

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Miscellany № 82: the Future (and the Past) of Text

On Monday 11th September I gave a talk at Southampton University for the 2017 edition of a yearly symposium called “The Future of Text”. I’ve known Frode Hegland, its organiser, for a few years now (we first corresponded back in 2014, as I was finishing the manuscript for The Book, and he’s a fellow immigrant here in South London) but I must confess to having been a terrible conference tease. Each time he has asked me to participate, I’ve made positive noises and then subsequently had to back out because of one thing or another.

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The Book: A Talk at the British Library on Monday 3rd July

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be giving a talk about books and book history at the British Library’s Knowledge Centre, 96 Euston Road, London, at 7pm on Monday 3rd July. The talk will be about an hour long and there will be plenty of time to ask questions if you so desire. (The bar will be open later, too, until 10pm — I’ll be needing a stiff drink afterwards, I’m sure!)

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Książka: The Book is now available in Polish

I’m pleased to say that the first translated edition of The Book is now available: Książka is published in Poland by Karakter and is available there in all good bookshops. Paweł Lipszyc was the translator.

If you’d like to learn more about The Book (or rather Książka), you can read my interview on the occasion of its publication with Zofia Zaleska of Dwutygodnik. Alternatively, you can take a look at Juliusz Kurkiewicz’s review for Gazeta Wyborcza or Jakub Nowak’s review for his blog Qbuś pożera książki — which translates, aptly, as “Qbus devours books”.

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