- STAFF PICKS
- GIFTS + GIFT CARDS
- SELL BOOKS
- FIND A STORE
This item may be
Check for Availability
Language Visible: Unraveling the Mystery of the Alphabet from a to Zby David Sacks
Synopses & Reviews
Letters are tangible language. Joining together in endless combinations to actually show speech, letters convey our messages and tell our stories. While we encounter these tiny shapes hundreds of times a day, we take for granted the long, fascinating history behind one of the most fundamental of human inventions — the alphabet.
The heart of the book is the 26 fact-filled “biographies” of letters A through Z, each one identifying the letter’s particular significance for modern readers, tracing its development from ancient forms, and discussing its noteworthy role in literature and other media. We learn, for example, why the letter X has a sinister and sexual aura, how B came to signify second best, why the word “mother” in many languages starts with M, and what is the story of O.
Packed with information and lavishly illustrated, Language Visible is not only accessible and entertaining, but essential to the appreciation of our own language.
An entertaining and informative study of the mysteries of the alphabet traces the history of alphabetic symbols and inscriptions from ancient times to the present day and offers close-up portraits of the twenty-six letters of the English alphabet, detailing each letter's significance, its development, and its role in literature and other media.
David Sacks is author of the Encyclopedia of the Ancient Greek World. His articles mainly on cultural topics have appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the Wall Street Journal and dozens of magazines. He wrote a 26-part series for the Ottawa Citizen on the letters of the alphabet that was received enthusiastically by readers and which he has expanded and developed into Language Visible. Raised in New Jersey, he now lives in Ottawa, Ontario.
What Our Readers Are Saying