Book Review: Script & Scribble: The Rise & Fall of Handwriting

Script and Scribble: The Rise and Fall of Handwriting by Kitty Burns Florey is an overview of history of handwriting. I was distracted by some page layout issues in the book, particularly in the first chapter where the footnotes were mis-numbered and some of the photos butted up against the text. I hated that the layout issues colored my impression of the book because there are lots of fun little details and trivia bits along the margins.

I enjoyed the quick overview of the rise of writing through history though the majority of the content deals with the last 100 years of writing. From Spencerian to Palmer to the modern italics, Script & Scribble provides a loving overview of the history handwriting.

One chapter struck me as odd, the history of handwriting analysis. I realize its an interesting aspect and everyone believes their personality might come out in their handwriting but overall it seemed like it should have been a couple of paragraphs, not a whole chapter.

The book did reaffirm my belief that handwriting remains an important component of our lives and it remains a skill that will never need batteries or electricity for us to accomplish. Thinking of the people in Japan right now suffering through blackouts makes it even more poignant to think of how seldom we practice our handwriting skills with the convenience of computers and cell phones.

Interior spread from Script & Scribble

In the end, I was inspired to break out my copy of Teach Yourself Better Handwriting by Rosemary Sassoon and Gunnlaugur S.E. Briem and beginning to practice handwriting with more thoughtfulness. I’ll share my results in the coming weeks. Because really, the best asset to have at a well-appointed desk is a well-appointed hand.

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