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Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

"Just my type" by Simon Garfield

It was a Christmas present. It arrived out of the blue. I made surprised and polite noises of gratitude.

But it was really interesting.

I have never particularly noticed or thought about typefaces (not 'fonts'!) before except to be delighted by the Guradian's April 1st spoof about the island of San Seriffe (run by General Pica and inhabited by Flongs) and to use a different typeface (not 'font'!) for a friendly signature to a memo. But this book made me suddenly realise that typefaces are all around us. Like coins they are overlooked, miniature and everyday works of art.

And suddenly I discover what a ridiculously high cross piece the little e has in Times New Roman compared to the e in Arial. And I judge types by whether they have serifs or not. There are scripts and 3D and gothic and frenchified and ...

I was amazed at how enthralled I was (the last similar experience was when reading the book 'Salt'). It has almost literally opened my eyes. I  would like to study fonts in more detail because it is still so hard to spot the differences between Times New Roman, Arial, Georgia, Helvetica, and Verdana to mention but a few. I would like to understand more about the bits that make up a letter, the serfi, the bowl, the loops, the diagonals; the book was rather lightweight on this aspect. But it also had fascinating stories about the weird people who become typographers and lots of trivia (who invented the dropped T on the Beatles drum kit?). 


Surreally fascinating.


Feb 2011; 331 pages

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