Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada
Letter Perfect by David Sacks.
I enjoy David Sacks' insightfulness into the Alphabet. He shows how it is traced back to Egypt, where Phoenicians used some hieroglyphics as an Alphabet. The Greeks copied the alphabet from the Phoenicians, then the Etruscans copied the alphabet from the Greeks, the Romans copied it from the Etruscans and then English speakers copied it from the Romans. All of these people had very different languages, but the alphabet was able to be flexible enough to work for them all.
He also gives a "biography" for each letter, with some cultural lore as well. Some interesting points are how the letter A originally meant "ox" and was shaped as an ox-head. If you look at the letter A up-side-down it still shows a likeness to an ox's head. Letter B meant "house". The name of the letter B in Hebrew is Beth and shows this meaning in the word Bethlehem meaning "house of bread". You will also see how the third letter was originally a G-sound, until the Etruscans turned into a C-sound, for they did not have a G-sound in their language. When the Romans copied the Alphabet, they kept the third letter as a c-sound, but needed a G for their language. They then improvized and changed the seventh letter (the letter Z, corresponding with zeta in Greek) into a G. Afterward they also wished to have the Z itself and then added it to the very end of the alphabet.