Keith Houston, the author of Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols, and Other Typographical Marks, blogs about unusual marks of punctuation at Shady Characters. He lives in Scotland.


It's national punctuation day! In his new book Shady Characters, Keith Houston investigates the origin and evolution of such punctuation marks as the asterisk (*), the dagger (†), the at sign (@), the pilcrow (¶), and the octothorpe (#). But it is the quest of a father and son to invent a symbol for sarcasm that will live in infamy.