And that's two!
Genre - Non fiction
Length - About 300 pages of largish print
Author - Michelle Dresbold
"Handwriting expert Michelle Dresbold -- the only civilian to be invited to the United States Secret Service's Advanced Document Examination training program -- draws on her extensive experience helping law enforcement agencies around the country on cases involving kidnapping, arson, forgery, murder, embezzlement, and stalking to take us inside the mysterious world of crossed t's and dotted i's. ... Looks can be deceiving, but handwriting never lies."
Excellent. The author gives good, clear examples and applications to real-life cases that she's worked on, which is great. I found myself going, "Just one more section, I'll only read one more"... She introduces you to the basics quick enough that you can get a handle on what's going on, and see what she's talking about.
The tone of the book, which is incredibly easy to read and is entertaining as it informs. The concrete examples, even if they are occasionally contradictory (see low points). The real-life applications - this book is choc full of actual criminal investigations and analyses of writing that broke cases. Much coolness.
The fact that according to how I interpret what she's saying, my handwriting says I'm a con-artist* who can't keep a secret and has a quick temper. *less than impressed* Yes, I have scrawly handwriting. No, I don't think it's because I have a deep-seated desire to confuse people with what I'm saying, or to deliberately make it illegible. I think it's because I'm too lazy to write neatly, and write very fast in order to get all my thoughts down as quick as possible. I hate handwriting. That's what keyboards are for. (On the plus side, my handwriting also shows I'm an upbeat, happy kind of person.)
Besides, doctors have scrawly handwriting, and they're not all con-artists, are they? (hehe, maybe don't answer that one O:))
The other thing that annoyed me a little about this book stems from the fact that I am not a black and/or white person. Shades of grey, people, shades of grey! Circumstances matter! Just because something means such-and-such in isolation, doesn't mean it means that all the time. Of course, the black-and-white-ness of the book is, I think, caused by the fact that she's trying to pack years' worth of learning into a single, easy-to-read beginner's book. I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt that handwriting analysis isn't actually so clearcut :)
This was my read-during-the-quiet-times-at-work book. Sections are small enough that you can read them in sometimes under a minute, so it's perfect for having around to read in small snatches and bites :) And despite the title, it's a respectible enough book that you don't get odd looks when someone asks you what you're reading :D
Non-fic books will get an additional rating: Application to Writing (since that is, after all, the point of this blog!). Sex, Lies and Handwriting was fun to read, but unless you happen to be writing crime scene investigation novels where the MC could utilise handwriting analysis, it's probably not the most useful non-fic book. It's not really something you can just drop into a novel unless you've set it up.
(The miller's daughter looked down at the note the farmer's son had passed her. Oh no, she thought. He slashes his i's. And look at those t's! Not to mention the anatagonist p's... And my, oh my, is that a weapon stroke I see? Methinks I shall stay far away from this 'gentleman'...)
* Pondering on this later, it occurred to me that perhaps I am a conartist. I am a writer, after all, O:) the whole business of which is to dupe people into believing our lies (stories)...