A post from Shady Characters

Win one of two UK copies of Shady Characters!

Matthew Young’s jacket for Particular Books, featuring cunningly matched front and back covers. Sneaky!
Matthew Young’s jacket for Particular Books, featuring cunningly matched front and back covers. Sneaky!

If you missed the chance to enter Goodreads’ giveaway of the American edition of Shady Characters, now’s your chance to win a copy of the UK edition, complete with Matthew Young’s clever wrap-around jacket. I have two copies to give away, and I’ll happily post them to the two winners wherever they are in the world. To enter the competition, just do one of the following:

  • leave a comment on this post, making sure to supply a valid email address so that I can contact you in the event that you win, or
  • reply to, retweet, or mark as favourite the tweet announcing this contest, making sure to follow @shadychars so that I can send you a direct message in the event that you win. (Please don’t create multiple accounts or repeatedly reply to the message — Twitter may ban you as a result. One reply is fine!)

I’ll make a list of all unique commenters and tweeters in two weeks’ time and pick two names at random as the winners. The contest will close at noon GMT on Sunday 29th September 2013, so make sure you enter before then. Good luck!

Update: the competition is now closed. Thanks to all who entered!

76 comments on “Win one of two UK copies of Shady Characters!

  1. Comment posted by Mert Şen on

    I’m fresh graduate design student from sunny Porto.
    It would be amazing to have one copies of Shady Characters.

  2. Comment posted by Alberte Romero on

    Since the pilcrow article I was a silent follower of this website, and the first thing I did when I created my Twitter account, was to follow @shadychars.
    I mailed you (with another account) concerning the asterism as well of the hyphenation.
    I am indeed very intrigued to read your book. Thanks.

    1. Comment posted by Keith Houston on

      Hi Alberte — I remember that! Have you continued to use the asterism in your CMS?

    2. Comment posted by Alberte Romero on

      Thanks for asking. The CMS resulted in a simple Python blog generator from Markdown. In the end the solution is better the easiest.
      And yes, I use the Unicode Character ‘ASTERISM’ (U+2042) as a separator in my blog. I run another website (with the same engine) where I wanted to use the asterism also, but the font I’m using doesn’t provide it. I have to say that the CSS style I’m using was (a bit) inspired in Shady Characters.
      [This site is http://letrashistoriadas.es/%5D

    3. Comment posted by Keith Houston on

      I’ve just taken a look at your two sites, and I do like them! I may have to steal back some of your ideas when I next do some site design. Nice work!

  3. Comment posted by David Givens on

    Glad you enjoyed my knock knock joke. Here it is for your blog followers benefit:
    who’s there?
    libro pondo
    libro pondo who?
    LB Octothorpe. Now open the door before I, #, # it open

    Hope an American is eligible for the UK prize.

    1. Comment posted by Keith Houston on

      Hi David — absolutely! I’m sure the package will only be a # or two to post.

  4. Comment posted by Brian on

    Throw my name in the hat, too. If I don’t win, though, I will still happily buy it, as I’m sure your book will deliver plenty of ! for the $.

    1. Comment posted by Brian on

      & you can ” me on that.

  5. Comment posted by Edith Berger on

    My students had a blast matching up the name of the character with a drawing of that character. You would have enjoyed listening to their reasoning! You have excited a lot of interest in a lot of humble (and not so humble) punctuation.

  6. Comment posted by Richard Taylor on

    Ooh I like the cover on the UK edition!

  7. Comment posted by Emlyn on

    I’d like to enter the competition.

  8. Comment posted by Diane Burry on

    Although American, I am married to a Brit, and we have a British pub in Northfield, MN. Giving me a copy of this book would bring joy not just to me but to all of our patrons! I can use it to have lots of fun on the menu board. Cheers!

  9. Comment posted by Jim Lukens-Gable on

    If I won a copy of the UK edition, I would share this inspiring book as a traveling loan with the group of graphic designer’s at the university I work at in Pennsylvania.

  10. Comment posted by Trey Jones on

    Thanks for the chance to win a book! The history of orthography is always interesting, but especially so for these odd little symbols most people rarely think about.

  11. Comment posted by Quinn on

    (I just like the UK cover better.)

  12. Comment posted by Jane B McCarthy on

    On Sept 7 I sent out a Tweet about the New Yorker blog about Shady Characters. I would love to have this book. If I don’t win it I’ll buy it..

  13. Comment posted by Saadat on

    Here’s a hello from a silent reader in Pakistan. :)

  14. Comment posted by Jeni on

    Oh, yes please, I’d love this book.
    Thanks for the opportunity to enter.

  15. Comment posted by lm on

    It will be so nice to win book with clever jacket :)

  16. Comment posted by spike on

    A London type designer (& Shady Characters follower) would love to win a copy of your sexy new book =;]

    I love reading about the strange histories of our famous and infamous glyphs that you so kindly share with us.

  17. Comment posted by D-AW on

    Great topic for a book. Do you know Lennard on “lunulae”? I see from Google you cite him for “dash” and “virgule,” but I always thought he was at his best on parentheses.

    1. Comment posted by Keith Houston on

      Interesting — I found The Poetry Handbook through Google Books, so I’m afraid I haven’t read it in its entirety. I came across the term lunula when doing some research recently, so I’ll have to go back to it. Thanks for the note!

  18. Comment posted by Chih-Chun Chen on

    I love your blog and it would be most happifying to be one of the lucky two to win a copy of your delightful wrap-around-jacketed book.

  19. Comment posted by Annie Morgan on

    I’ve always wondered why US publishers have found it necessary to use not just different dust jackets, but also in many cases change titles. The UK dust jacket is so much more interesting, to say nothing about its attractiveness.

    1. Comment posted by Keith Houston on

      Hi Annie — in this case it was the UK publisher who changed the subtitle. Different tastes in different markets, I suppose!

  20. Comment posted by burned on

    Hi and greets from germany. I am a reader of your blog since the first post, enjoying most of them.

  21. Comment posted by Syd on

    Awesome blog! I would love to read the book.

  22. Comment posted by Chris on

    Indeed! I’ll put a post in the hat for the drawing.

  23. Comment posted by Julie on

    Will there be a third cover for the German edition?

  24. Comment posted by Hannah on

    Hi there! I just discovered your blog and am already completely fascinated. I have a deep love for punctuation (as evidenced by my semicolon tattoo), and would love to win this book. Thanks!

  25. Comment posted by Pauli on

    I’d love a chance to win a copy of this book.

  26. Comment posted by rhonda on

    Would love to win the uk copy.

  27. Comment posted by John on

    I wouldn’t mind having a copy. In fact I believe I would even enjoy owning a copy.

  28. Comment posted by John Champneys on

    mmm, I wonder how I might qualify to win a copy of this book? I think I’ll try with a Statement which is strange but true.
    “There is a fictional character called John Cromer who is the hero (or anti-hero) of the two volumes “Pilcrow” and “Cedilla” by Adam Mars-Jones.
    I am the character on whom these novels are based.”
    I wait with interest!
    The archetypal Shady Character.

    1. Comment posted by Keith Houston on

      Hi John — well, now I really have to read my copy of Pilcrow. I’m afraid I’m going to have to maintain my impartiality, but I do hope you manage to get hold of a copy one way or another. I’d love to hear what you think of the book!

  29. Comment posted by Nora Cumming on

    I would be absolutely thrilled to win a copy of this very important book…….but, sigh, I live on the edge of Canada, on an island that everyone forgets….sigh. And, it is so very necessary for me to have a copy of this book, because the English written word is being murdered here and I have so much to do to save it from a hideous, hideous death. sigh.

    ….the language avenger….

  30. Comment posted by Peter M on

    I have the US edition, would love to have the beautiful UK edition as well

  31. Comment posted by Przemysław Sakrajda on

    I’m a huge fan of your blog from almost of its beginning. The best part of it is that you always provide bibliography which helps with some extra research – it’s very helpful as I’m a printer and typographer. I’m looking forward to read your book!

    1. Comment posted by Keith Houston on

      Hi Shem — I’m glad you still enjoy the blog. Thanks for entering the competition!

  32. Comment posted by Joanna on

    I found your blog via mental_floss, and I’ve really enjoyed looking around. I’d love a copy of your book.

  33. Comment posted by birgit on

    I’d love to have this book – especially the UK-edition!

  34. Comment posted by Andrew on

    It’s a minicule! I’ve always thought it was called a printer’s fist. Very happy to have learnt that. (It’s my favourite marginal mark). The book sounds great. Nice work.

  35. Comment posted by Emma Poon on

    Hello from Hong Kong!
    Brought here by the lovely ampers&s
    Love the UK cover

  36. Comment posted by Nancy Upper on

    No longer doubtful or in the shade,
    Keith’s characters merit an accolade.

  37. Comment posted by Slavka on

    totally fresh type]media 13/14 crew would be very thankful for one copy of your book!

    Dankuwel from Den Haag

  38. Comment posted by Matt on

    My favorite punctuator is the semicolon; it’s not exotic, but sophisticated.

    I’d love to win a copy of the book.

  39. Comment posted by Greg Boyle on

    Hi Keith,
    I’ve been following your site since its inception. I would really love to win a copy of the U.K. version of the book. I think the dust cover is much better than the U.S. version.

  40. Comment posted by Peter on

    I’d love to win a copy of your book.

  41. Comment posted by Flavia Grita on

    May I leave a comment in Italian?
    Saluti. E buona fortuna.

  42. Comment posted by Robertd on

    I would love to spend time with my favorite char-actors. Best wishes for continued success from the book!

  43. Comment posted by Tom on

    Longtime reader of the blog, would love to have a copy to curl up and real non-electronically! Hope it rocks the book charts!

  44. Comment posted by C on

    It’s capital that you have printed a British English version of Shady Characters. We make a point of maintaining our differences and value your respect for every jot and tittle of UK spelling, usage and of course, if I may make so bold, punctuation.
    If the book is as interesting as the website, I’ll bring all my usual activities to a full stop and dash to get a copy.

    1. Comment posted by Keith Houston on

      Hi C — ah. About that. Aside from their bindings and covers, the books are functionally identical. In practice, this means that they both use American spelling and conform to the Chicago Manual of Style. I hope you aren’t too disappointed!

  45. Comment posted by Dasha on

    Your blog has become my most recent addiction – can’t wait to get my hands on the book!

  46. Comment posted by Graham on

    Came in halfway through your appearance on Robert Elms’ prog on BBC London 94.9 today and was fascinated by your explanation of the #. Wish I’d discovered your blog earlier.

    1. Comment posted by Keith Houston on

      Hi Graham — well, I hope you enjoy reading now you’ve found it! Thank for the comment.

  47. Comment posted by Samantha Perkins on

    Hope to get my hands on a book very soon!

  48. Comment posted by Charles St.Clair on

    Just discovered your blog, thanks to The New Yorker. I’d love to win your book; punctuation, has/ always…been of~ more than ‘passing” interest to me@

  49. Comment posted by Robyn roscoe on

    I love your blog almost as much as I love the semicolon; thank you for your delightful work.

    1. Comment posted by Keith Houston on

      Hi George — I’ve glad you’ve enjoyed the book! The typo is duly noted and will be fixed in any forthcoming editions.

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