My co-authors and I will be making a lot of hoopla these days surrounding the publication of our newest book (Short Cuts, by Alexander and Nicholas Humez and Rob Flynn, the first bound copies of which arrived on our doorsteps this week from its publisher, Oxford University Press). And rightly so; it’s a good read. But we would be remiss not to mention that this is our second Oxford book, the Humez bros.’ On the Dot having been published by that same press in October of 2008 — and that one’s a good read too.
The dot is the absolute minimum sign that can be used to impart some sort of meaning, and has been used in one form or another for as long as there has been any writing at all, as a delimiter or separator, as a multiplication sign, in bullet lists, in Morse code, incorporated into other signs (colon, semicolon…) and so on. A “social history of a punctuation mark” (as one reviewer put it), On the Dot continues our lifelong exploration of the ways in which language and their components travel with their jam-packed cultural baggage, which we pry open and invite the reader to join us as we peek inside.