Rogerson's Book of Numbers
The Culture of Numbers from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World
Barnaby Rogerson counts down from the many millions of angels who could dance on a pin to the ultimate zero of Nirvana. On the way he delves into the cultural significance of important integers, explaining why 13 is unlucky in the West but 14 is the number to avoid in China, how John Buchan decided to write about 39 steps and which six patrician families were Rome’s greatest.
The Language Wars
A History of Proper English
For centuries bitter arguments have raged over the correct usage of English, with ideas of correctness often having more to do with morality and politics than language itself. In a witty, combative and thought-provoking book, Hitchings presents the most persistent disputes, asking where ideas of 'proper' English have come from and assessing their implications for our relationships, work and freedoms.