A post from Shady Characters

The Book, revealed!

The Book hardcover. (W. W. Norton, 2016.)
The Book hardcover. (W. W. Norton, 2016.)

Ladies and gentlemen: The Book: A Cover to Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time is now available for pre-order! You can order the hardcover in the USA from W. W. Norton, Amazon.com, Indiebound or Powell’s. In the rest of the world, order from Amazon.co.uk, The Book Depository or Waterstones. It will be published in August.

It’s been quite a journey since starting on this second book, and I think that the book itself reflects that: it begins with the clay tablets of the ancient Mesopotamians, takes in the papyrus scroll, the parchment book, paper, printing of all kinds, the Industrial Revolution, photography, lithography and computers, and finishes with the book in your hands. The book (and The Book!) is a product, essentially, of the whole of human history.

Brendan Curry, my editor at Norton, got the band back together again: Judith Abbate provided the sumptuous design (of which more in a future post), which was then expertly typeset by Brad Walrod and copyedited by the eagle-eyed Rachelle Mandik. This is not to forget my agent, Laurie Abkemeier, who was, as always, a great supporter throughout the process. Nor my wife, the long-suffering Dr Leigh Stork, who by now almost certainly knows more than I do about book history.

In lieu of interior shots, for now the typographers and typophiles out there might be interested to know that The Book is set in Adobe Jenson Pro Light, designed by Robert Slimbach between 1995 and 2000 in emulation of type cut in the fifteenth century by the French printer Nicolas Jenson.* Judith has carried over the black-and-red theme from Shady Characters, albeit with the addition of some suitably Venetian printer’s ornaments, and readers of the first book will feel right at home.

I’ll be posting more about The Book in the coming months, but if this has whetted your appetite even a little, why not head over to the retailer of your choice and reserve your copy today?

Though the two are not directly related, Judith’s choice of Jenson steered me towards Monokrom’s similarly grand Satyr and Faunus for the recent redesign of the Shady Characters site. 

7 comments on “The Book, revealed!

    1. Comment posted by Keith Houston on

      Thanks! It’ll be great to see it out on the shelves, whether virtual or physical.

  1. Comment posted by Ralph on

    Having read your first book, the usual “will I, won’t I?” process lasted all of a nanosecond. Congratulations, and I can’t wait to read it.

  2. Comment posted by Monica on

    Well done! I can’t wait to read it.

    1. Comment posted by Keith Houston on

      Hi Ype — I saw John’s post, and it looks fantastic. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but it’s in my Instapaper queue for a more leisurely read at some point soon.

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