There’s going to be an official UK edition of BECAUSE INTERNET! It’ll have a slightly different cover and subtitle, and will be coming out on October 3 in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and everywhere else that typically gets UK editions of books. You can preorder it here in hardback, ebook, and audiobook formats. (As tempting as it sounds, I will NOT be re-recording the entire audiobook in a fake British accent for the UK edition — you’ll have to settle for my actual Canadian one.)
BECAUSE INTERNET hit the New York Times bestseller list for a second week, and through mysterious alchemical forces I acquired a Wikipedia bio page and this nifty Google search box beside my name.
There are, as I learned this month, two different ways that a book can be reviewed by the New York Times. One is through the Daily reviews, which is what happened last month. The other is through the weekend Books section, which is what happened this month with a review by Clay Shirky, who said:
If you are concerned about digital tools dumbing down written English, or leaving young people with lazier syntactic habits, this is definitely not the book for you. If, on the other hand, you are interested in how language actually works (the rules are just collective agreements, constantly renegotiated), and how the internet is changing those rules, it definitely is.
I also wrote an adapted excerpt from BECAUSE INTERNET which appeared in the Wall Street Journal. Here’s a bit of it:
Irony is a linguistic trust fall. When I write or speak with a double meaning, I’m hoping that you’ll be there to catch me by understanding my tone. The risks are high—misdirected irony can gravely injure the conversation—but the rewards are high, too: the sublime joy of feeling purely understood, the comfort of knowing someone’s on your side. No wonder people through the ages kept trying so hard to write it.
Other media highlights: reviews in the Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal, and NPR Fresh Air, being quoted in a New York Times article about the em dash, and interviews on the BBC World News and NPR It’s Been a Minute. (This month’s full, ridiculous, media list below.) Here’s a quote from the Atlantic:
McCulloch shows how creative respellings, expressive punctuation, emoji, memes, and other hallmarks of informal communication online demonstrate a sophistication that can rival even the most elegant writing.
I did a Reddit AMA on the r/Books subreddit and wrote a Big Idea post on Whatever, John Scalzi’s blog, about the quixotic attempt to write a book about the internet. I’ve been reading both things for years so it was exciting to finally be on them!
I collaborated on a second Language Files video with Tom Scott and Molly Ruhl, this time about “no problem” “you’re welcome” and other phatic expressions.
I tweeted my reading of two other new books, This Is How You Lose The Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone, and How To by Randall Munroe.
The main Lingthusiasm episode was about how putting sounds into syllables is like putting a burger together (a thread about how we designed this metaphor). The bonus was about metaphors themselves, including metaphors we take for granted and the career of metaphor design. We also ran a Patreon Special Offer to get signed bookplates of BECAUSE INTERNET (which is closed now, but you can still get your name and favourite IPA character on our Lingthusiasm Supporter Wall of Fame).
Here’s the ridiculously long list of all the media I did this month, another 34 items to add to July’s 68. (For those keeping score at home, that makes for 102 media things in July and August alone, which is a bit more than the amount of total media that I’d ever done in the five or so years before that. In other words, that’s a LOT.)
BBC World News – interview –8/1
NPR/“It’s Been a Minute” with Sam Sanders– interview –8/10
NPR/ “Fresh Air”– review– 8/20
National Print/Top Online:
New York Times– roundup “Editor’s Choice”– 8/4
Wall Street Journal – first serial “How The Internet Is Making English Better” – 8/10
New York Times Book Review– review – 8/16
People Magazine – review–8/12
The Washington Post– Op-Ed mention– 8/8
The Atlantic– review– 8/10
New York Times Style– mention– 8/14
BookPage– starred review – August issue
The Ringer– feature – 8/1
The Big Idea– author essay – 8/1
Vox– review– 8/2
The Week– review– 8/7
New Yorker/Mary Norris’s Comma Queen column–review– 8/15
Refinery29 – feature – 8/19
Wattpad– feature – 8/27
Globe and Mail – feature – 8/31
Six Pixels of Separation “Six Links” Newsletter – mention – 8/3
Recs Weekly from Rex Sorgatz Newsletter– mention – 8/4
Class Participation Newsletter– mention – 8/6
Superlinguo blog – snippets – 7/29
Sentence first (Stan Carey’s blog) – review – 8/20
Northern Plunder blog – review – 8/22
Fansplaining – interview – 8/6
This Is The Author (Penguin Random House’s Audiobooks podcast) – interview – 8/7
The Curiosity Daily podcast – interview –8/20
New York Times Book Review podcast – interview – 8/30
KQED “Forum” – interview– 8/09
NBC Bay Area/Press: Here – interview– 8/12
WNYC “All of It” – interview– 8/20
AO3 wins a Hugo! aka, hugamus, we win a Hugo
Selected blog posts:
Linguistics jobs: learning scientist at Duolingo
How to teach yourself linguistics online for free, revised and updated
This month’s photo is a composite of various people’s photos of Because Internet hanging out with other books, thanks to people tagging me in their photos on instagram! It’s been really fun seeing this book I’ve been working on for so long out there in people’s lives! (Remember to tag @gretchen.mcculloch directly in the photo rather than just in the comment if you want to show up in this view!)
Thanks for coming along!
(PS: I’ve just switched these newsletters from Mailchimp to Substack, which should make them easier to edit. Hopefully this will not change things much for you, but if it looks a little different this month, that’s why!)