Th*nks for asterisks: the maligned punctuation enjoying Twitter revival


This post is by Terena Bell from Books | The Guardian


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They can sometimes draw attention to what they aim to conceal, but they have found useful new life on social media as a marker of disdain

Is “n*gger” the same as the N-word? It’s a question we chose to avoid earlier this year. When writing a piece about the differences between book titles in the UK and the US, we decided to describe Agatha Christie’s 1939 mystery as a “novel that included the N-word in its title”, judging that spelling out the word didn’t meet the test our style guide advises of being “essential” to the story. But we didn’t use the asterisk.

Before we get too far into a discussion of that word, note that this is not an essay on race – instead, it’s an apologia for the asterisk. Over the past 120 years, our poor little * has morphed into the linguistic equivalent of black Xs ...

A book by any other name: why does the US change so many titles?


This post is by Terena Bell from Books | The Guardian


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Stuart Turton’s new novel The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle has been supersized to Seven and a Half – and not because Americans die more often

There was widespread reaction when the Philosopher’s Stone in the title of the first Harry Potter book became the Sorcerer’s Stone after its US publisher, Scholastic, decided that children might confuse wizards for Plato.

But hordes of books have had their titles changed in America. Disproportionately, they are mysteries. Twenty-five Agatha Christie titles have been “localised” but unfortunately, their new names do not add to their allure. Instead, they merely baffle Brits who, when buying Murder in Three Acts or Poirot Loses a Client on vacation, discover they are Three Act Tragedy or Dumb Witness in disguise.

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