Argleton and Ada Come Calling

Seriously, is everything that comes to my house with British postage on it awesome?

Because it is certainly looking that way.

Some time in the distant past (two years ago? three?) I chipped in a little of my ready cash to support an intriguing, London-based Kickstarter project that caught my eye called Argleton: A Story of Maps, Maths, and Motorways.

I’ll be honest. I didn’t know that much about it when I signed on, except that it seemed to involve some delightful melange of the following:

  • Writing
  • Bookbinding
  • Puzzles
  • Geocaching
  • Social media
  • Crowdsourcing
  • Writing
  • Handmade things
  • Textiles
  • Writing
  • Awesomeness

Sounded like a recipe for greatness to me. And I am rather famously impulsive with my spending money, let’s face it.

Essentially (and I’ll admit, the details are hazy at this point, but I’ll do my best), some woman in London was proposing to write a book, then bind it herself, then send copies of it off to her staunchest supporters. The story was going to be based on this fascinating tidbit from real life about a town in Lancashire that had its own pin and everything on Google Maps, but still stubbornly refused to actually exist.


How great a story is that?

Pretty great, that’s how great.

So, ever a supporter of things that are great, I threw my weight behind the Argleton project. Then I guess I sort of… got distracted.

Somewhere in there, I quit my job, went back to school, graduated from school, got a sexy-fancy-big-city job, and just in general became far too busy to think too much about any such fascinating projects again.

Anyway, I discovered at some point that Suw and I were generally in the same line of work, that we both spend our time more or less making the world safe for social media and related technology; that she, too, did a lot of work with nonprofit organizations of various ilks; and that she was even responsible for the altogether fantastic and necessary Ada Lovelace Day, celebrating women in technology for at least one fricking day out of the year, for crying out loud.

I don’t know. I am kind of ridiculous that way.

So Suw went on her merry way, occasionally regaling her supporters with updates on how it all was coming along, all of which I read with great pleasure and then promptly put entirely out of my mind. I mean, it was all highly theoretical, right? All I knew was that there was a handmade book in it for me, somewhere down the line, and that was frankly all I needed to know.

The fact that it was going to come from London, pretty much my favorite place in the whole world, and from a woman who was also into social media AND Ada Lovelace, well, that just made it all the better.

So I waited. Or rather, I went about my life. And not long ago, I got an email telling me that my book was on its way.

You guys, it arrived today. My husband tossed it into my lap when he came back from a visit to the Post Office, and my pulse literally quickened. Literally! It’s possibly the most overused word in writing, but in this case it applies!


 I do love seeing that queenly postage come my way.


I might, in fact, have ripped it open with a certain amount of unseemly haste.


 So much haste, in fact, that I neglected to take a picture of it in the pretty white tissue paper it was quite charmingly wrapped in. Beneath that layer, it was somewhat more intriguingly wrapped in a map.

Look! Loch Ness!


 So tidily wrapped. Sigh. I do love a tidily wrapped present.


So I carefully removed the map and set it aside. Before I could get to the book, however, I was first confronted with an odd little collection of postcards. So I dutifully inspected those too, one by one, before moving on to The Main Event.

Postcard 1


Postcard 2



Postcard 3


Finally, my postcard-viewing duty done, I took a look at the book itself.

I might have gasped.

I might, in fact, have gasped so loudly that my cat, Satchel, came racing over to see what the hell was up, and whether or not there was cheese involved.

Satchel really likes cheese. I don’t know how to explain it. He’s a weird little guy.

Satchel wants to know

Sadly, freaky little cheese-loving cat was doomed to disappointment. Because there was no cheese here.

Only a beautiful, beautiful handmade book.

Covered, mind you, in silk.


 Did I mention it was hand-embroidered silk?







 It has been signed, naturally, by the author.


Next, because I am a narcissistic fame-whore, I flipped right to the acknowledgements in the back, so that I could see my name in print.

Beth Dunn

 And at that point, something unexpected caught my eye.

Sidney Padua

See, if I had really been paying attention, I might have already known that Sydney Padua was contributing an illustration to Argleton.

I happen to be an ARDENT Sydney Padua fan.

Have you seen The Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage? Because if you haven’t, then you should honestly stop right now and take a look. Seriously. Do it.

The person responsible for THAT was involved in Argleton. And I thought I couldn’t love this book more.



 Let’s take a look at all of the other fabulous supporters, shall we?


There is even a lovely silk ribbon attached to the spine, just like there is in all the best books, to hold my place with elegance and style.


 Now, if I can just stop fondling it long enough to read it.




4 Thoughts.

  1. That is an astonishingly beautiful book. And I love the idea of a Kickstarter project – really clever funding model. Also – Satchel’s a cutie, cheese-freak or not.

  2. Gosh, I’m pretty much speechless! Thank you so much, Beth! I’m so glad that you liked the book, and just hope that you enjoy the story as much!

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