... quirky and compelling ... [Flanders] is a meticulous historian with a taste for the offbeat; the story of alphabetical order suits her well ... As Flanders’s short but fascinating book shows, the alphabet has only ever been one listing method competing with many others: some weird, some wonderful, some completely mad and random, but each providing a tantalising glimpse into the minds that dreamt them up.
... fascinating ... Flanders, a meticulous scholar who has written books on Victorian London and the history of Christmas, prioritizes thoroughness, and at times her book can read a bit like the encyclopedias she writes about. The footnotes get some of the best lines ... Ultimately, A Place for Everything rewards us with a fresh take on our quest to stockpile knowledge. It feels particularly relevant now that search engines are rendering old ways of organizing information obsolete.
Flanders has a remarkable capacity to see nothing as inevitable. Even as she sifts meticulously through millennia of historical artefacts, Flanders asks the kind of rudimentary questions usually proposed only by small children: but why do we organise things A, B, C? Why not differently? ... Flanders retains a sense of fun ... Flanders finds contemporary resonance in humanity’s search for order.