Sunday, January 22, 2012

Typewriter Disassembly

Typewriters are amazing things. They usually have forty or fifty keys, and with the help of the shift key they can make a hundred or so different characters. It arranges each chosen character in a linear fashion, uniform according to its language, performing its roughshod typesetting and kerning as it goes. Mighty complicated pieces of machinery — and it shows, in this image from Todd McLellan's series Disassembly:

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Sunday, January 08, 2012

Queer Book Titles Found

From a wire news story, published in 1913:

Queer Book Titles Found
London.—As the keeper of four millions of books, the late Dr. Fortescue delighted to tell of the titular curiosities in the British Museum. He found it necessary very frequently to dip deeply into a book before discovering its subject. Thus, "Music of the Wild" resolved itself into natural history; "Light for the Blind" into an appeal on behalf of foreign missions, and "Earl Percy's Dinner Table" into a war history.

But the book that baffled him completely was "The Abbey on the Marsh." There was internal evidence that the book was an account of a real abbey, but the author had forgotten to mention its name.

So the lesson, dear writers, is as you compose your book of nonfiction, let not your creativity in describing things allow you to forget to say the name of the darn thing.