A celebration of alphabetical order, from its humble beginnings to its pre-eminence as the organizing principle for the sum of the world's knowledge.
Judith Flanders is the author of the bestselling The Victorian House: Domestic Life from Childbirth to Deathbed (2003); A Circle of Sisters (2001), which was nominated for the Guardian First Book Award; the New York Times bestselling The Invention of Murder (2001), shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction; The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens' London (2012), shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times History Book of the Year; The Making of Home (2014) and Christmas, A Biography (2017). In her copious leisure time, she also writes the Sam Clair series of comic crime novels.
Marvellous . . . I read it with astonished delight . . . It
is equally scholarly and entertaining. -- Jan Morris
Quirky and compelling . . . She is a meticulous historian with a taste for the offbeat; the story of the alphabet suits her well . . . Fascinating. -- Dan Jones * Sunday Times *
A library and academic essential. -- Libby Purves * The Times *
One of the many fascinations of Judith Flanders's book is that it reveals what a weird, unlikely creation the alphabet is. -- Joe Moran * Guardian *
Judith Flanders's A Place for Everything presents itself as a history of alphabetical order, but in fact it is more than that. Rather, as the title suggests, it offers something like a general history of the various ways humans have sorted and filed the world around them - a Collison -level view of the matter, in which alphabetical order is just one system among many.' -- Dennis Duncan * The Spectator *
Judith Flanders has a knack for making odd subjects accessible . . . In A Place for Everything, the popular historian paints alphabetisation as one of our most radical acts. . . Flanders retains a sense of fun . . . finds contemporary resonance in humanity's search for order. * i *
Praise for Judith Flanders' previous book, Christmas: A Biography: 'A catalogue of colourful information, and as surprising an assortment of items as any you might find heaped up under a tree.' -- Lucy Hughes-Hallett * Observer *
A well-researched account. There are more footnotes here than there are presents under a Rockefeller Christmas tree. Indeed, the book is stuffed with facts - enough to satiate even the most ravenous postprandial taste for quizzing. * Sunday Times *
[An] entertaining biography . . . Following the fine tradition of light entertainment Christmas books, Judith Flanders provides lots of trivia . . . However, there is much more to it than that. Flanders is a respected social historian, best known for studies on Victorian life, and the strength of this warm book lies in its quiet erudition. * The Times *
Judith Flanders . . . likes Christmas (I think), but she loves reality and its awkward, amusing facts. (A previous book of hers, Inside the Victorian Home, is deep, bright and encompassing.) * New York Times *
The non-fiction I most enjoyed . . . an excellent subject, carried out with exemplary care and authority. -- Philip Hensher * Spectator *