The Write Stuff

CE-avatar Cara/Andrea here,

The other day, a friend of mine was poetic on the convenience of reading on both her Kindle and her spiffy new i-pad. She loved that she could carry a gazillion books in one device that was close to the size of one hardcover novel (the i-pad is slightly bigger, but not much) thus assuring that she would never be bored at the doctor’s office, or waiting in the grocery line. She also got a kick out of being able to crank up the type size to  poster proportions for those times when she forgets her reading glasses.

260px-Manutius Now, I appreciate all those tech developments, and see their advantage for traveling. But everyday? I’m not a Luddite, but I simply prefer printed books for aesthetic reason. I love the feel of fine paper. Okay, maybe mass market newsprint doesn’t send shivers down my spine, but there’s something sensuous about the feel of real rag paper . . . the thickness, the texture, the subtle shades of color from rich ivory to pristine white. Add a deckled edge and I’m ready to swoon.

But more on paper some other time. What I really want to talk about today are typefaces, which really create the essence of the reading experience. For me, lights and diodes simply don’t capture the wonderful, and often quirky, nuances of letterforms that make books so  special. E-formats offer a few basic choices—plain vanilla, if you will. And since I was trained as a graphic designer, I find that a little bland,

You may ask, well, how many typefaces can there be? The answer is LOTS. Too many, in fact, to discuss in detail. But for those of you who want to sharpen your pencil and take notes, here’s a very short primer on typography.

There are five basic categories of type design. (I am talking about designs that were cast in lead and then handset into pages for printing on a press.)

Humanist Humanist

The first is Humanist, which is comprised of types that were modeled on handwriting. These developed in the mid-1400s and are characterized by a relatively even weight all around and a small x-height (X-height refers to the part of the letterform that corresponds to an ‘e’ or ‘o’. In other words, the x-height of a ‘b’ refers to the rounded, enclosed part, and not to the thin part sticking up. That’s called an ascender. On a ‘p’ it’s called a descender. So now you know the three basic parts of a letter!)

Garamond Old Style

Old Style types show more refinement. We see serifs come into play (the little wedge-shaped tails on the end of a stroke.) And there is a greater contrast between the thick and thin parts fo the letter. These are some of my favorite typefaces. Times Roman is an Old Style typeface, as is Caslon, Bembo, and Weiss. I really like Garamond, designed by Claude Garamond in 1540. You can recognize it by the distinctive points on its capital ‘T’.

Baskerville Transitional

The Transitional typefaces are more vertically oriented and show an even greater contrast between thick and thin. Baskerville, created by John Baskerville in the 1700s, is perhaps the best known of this family.

Square-serif Square Serif

Next up is Square Serif, sometimes called slab serif. This category is mostly used for display type, like posters or playbills, As you can imagine, in text size these could get a little hairy to read.

Helvetica Sans Serif

And this brings us to the Sans Serif family. The names speaks for itself. A modern 20th century design, it’s most recognizable font is Helvetica (it originated in Switzerland—Helvetia in Latin—and thus its name.)

So that a whirlwind tour through the pages of type history, and while it does not do justice to the lore and or the amazing beauty of many of the designs, I hope it gives a hint of why plastic and chips and LED units doesn’t capture the true beauty of type as it was meant to be seen. At least not to me ye.

What about you—do you notice the style of type when you are reading? Do you care? Do you think letters are an artform?

130 thoughts on “The Write Stuff”

  1. Cara, what an thought provoking post! I haven’t seen the humanist before … I like it because it a little different but not too much.
    Like you, I savor a paper book (any size, any back). For historical books, I think it is fun to write the prologue, date, or location in an old fashioned type just to set the mood. And yes, letters are an artform!

    Reply
  2. Cara, what an thought provoking post! I haven’t seen the humanist before … I like it because it a little different but not too much.
    Like you, I savor a paper book (any size, any back). For historical books, I think it is fun to write the prologue, date, or location in an old fashioned type just to set the mood. And yes, letters are an artform!

    Reply
  3. Cara, what an thought provoking post! I haven’t seen the humanist before … I like it because it a little different but not too much.
    Like you, I savor a paper book (any size, any back). For historical books, I think it is fun to write the prologue, date, or location in an old fashioned type just to set the mood. And yes, letters are an artform!

    Reply
  4. Cara, what an thought provoking post! I haven’t seen the humanist before … I like it because it a little different but not too much.
    Like you, I savor a paper book (any size, any back). For historical books, I think it is fun to write the prologue, date, or location in an old fashioned type just to set the mood. And yes, letters are an artform!

    Reply
  5. Cara, what an thought provoking post! I haven’t seen the humanist before … I like it because it a little different but not too much.
    Like you, I savor a paper book (any size, any back). For historical books, I think it is fun to write the prologue, date, or location in an old fashioned type just to set the mood. And yes, letters are an artform!

    Reply
  6. Lovely post, Cara. I enjoyed learning about the history of some of the types and you’ve whetted my appetite for more.
    I don’t usually notice type unless it’s extra lovely — or I hate it. But I do notice and appreciate nice paper and an elegant layout.
    I also appreciate the storage capacity and convenience of e-books, but for me there’s a
    pleasure in handling real books, and since I spend long hours staring at a computer screen anyway, I don’t want to do that in my leisure time.
    Another thing that keeps me faithful to real books is that I often don’t retain titles in my mind. Authors, yes, usually, though occasionally they’ll slip my mind. But even when I can’t remember the title or the author I can still locate a book I want by its position on my shelves, and if it’s in the unshelved (to be shelved) stacks I’ll remember its size, color and a vague impression of the cover or spine design. Can’t do that with an e-reader.

    Reply
  7. Lovely post, Cara. I enjoyed learning about the history of some of the types and you’ve whetted my appetite for more.
    I don’t usually notice type unless it’s extra lovely — or I hate it. But I do notice and appreciate nice paper and an elegant layout.
    I also appreciate the storage capacity and convenience of e-books, but for me there’s a
    pleasure in handling real books, and since I spend long hours staring at a computer screen anyway, I don’t want to do that in my leisure time.
    Another thing that keeps me faithful to real books is that I often don’t retain titles in my mind. Authors, yes, usually, though occasionally they’ll slip my mind. But even when I can’t remember the title or the author I can still locate a book I want by its position on my shelves, and if it’s in the unshelved (to be shelved) stacks I’ll remember its size, color and a vague impression of the cover or spine design. Can’t do that with an e-reader.

    Reply
  8. Lovely post, Cara. I enjoyed learning about the history of some of the types and you’ve whetted my appetite for more.
    I don’t usually notice type unless it’s extra lovely — or I hate it. But I do notice and appreciate nice paper and an elegant layout.
    I also appreciate the storage capacity and convenience of e-books, but for me there’s a
    pleasure in handling real books, and since I spend long hours staring at a computer screen anyway, I don’t want to do that in my leisure time.
    Another thing that keeps me faithful to real books is that I often don’t retain titles in my mind. Authors, yes, usually, though occasionally they’ll slip my mind. But even when I can’t remember the title or the author I can still locate a book I want by its position on my shelves, and if it’s in the unshelved (to be shelved) stacks I’ll remember its size, color and a vague impression of the cover or spine design. Can’t do that with an e-reader.

    Reply
  9. Lovely post, Cara. I enjoyed learning about the history of some of the types and you’ve whetted my appetite for more.
    I don’t usually notice type unless it’s extra lovely — or I hate it. But I do notice and appreciate nice paper and an elegant layout.
    I also appreciate the storage capacity and convenience of e-books, but for me there’s a
    pleasure in handling real books, and since I spend long hours staring at a computer screen anyway, I don’t want to do that in my leisure time.
    Another thing that keeps me faithful to real books is that I often don’t retain titles in my mind. Authors, yes, usually, though occasionally they’ll slip my mind. But even when I can’t remember the title or the author I can still locate a book I want by its position on my shelves, and if it’s in the unshelved (to be shelved) stacks I’ll remember its size, color and a vague impression of the cover or spine design. Can’t do that with an e-reader.

    Reply
  10. Lovely post, Cara. I enjoyed learning about the history of some of the types and you’ve whetted my appetite for more.
    I don’t usually notice type unless it’s extra lovely — or I hate it. But I do notice and appreciate nice paper and an elegant layout.
    I also appreciate the storage capacity and convenience of e-books, but for me there’s a
    pleasure in handling real books, and since I spend long hours staring at a computer screen anyway, I don’t want to do that in my leisure time.
    Another thing that keeps me faithful to real books is that I often don’t retain titles in my mind. Authors, yes, usually, though occasionally they’ll slip my mind. But even when I can’t remember the title or the author I can still locate a book I want by its position on my shelves, and if it’s in the unshelved (to be shelved) stacks I’ll remember its size, color and a vague impression of the cover or spine design. Can’t do that with an e-reader.

    Reply
  11. I like fonts as much as the next girl, maybe more even, but I’m a font girl with bifocals and allergies. I’ll take e-ink over sneezing and squinting everyday and twice on Sunday.
    Altho, at the moment, I can’t buy much. (Thank you, Big Pubs! ) There is always my e-library and my actual library (they have lots of e-books)
    Have you seen the typeface meant to conserve ink? Blown up it’s full of holes, ‘normal’ size it reads pretty cleanly.

    Reply
  12. I like fonts as much as the next girl, maybe more even, but I’m a font girl with bifocals and allergies. I’ll take e-ink over sneezing and squinting everyday and twice on Sunday.
    Altho, at the moment, I can’t buy much. (Thank you, Big Pubs! ) There is always my e-library and my actual library (they have lots of e-books)
    Have you seen the typeface meant to conserve ink? Blown up it’s full of holes, ‘normal’ size it reads pretty cleanly.

    Reply
  13. I like fonts as much as the next girl, maybe more even, but I’m a font girl with bifocals and allergies. I’ll take e-ink over sneezing and squinting everyday and twice on Sunday.
    Altho, at the moment, I can’t buy much. (Thank you, Big Pubs! ) There is always my e-library and my actual library (they have lots of e-books)
    Have you seen the typeface meant to conserve ink? Blown up it’s full of holes, ‘normal’ size it reads pretty cleanly.

    Reply
  14. I like fonts as much as the next girl, maybe more even, but I’m a font girl with bifocals and allergies. I’ll take e-ink over sneezing and squinting everyday and twice on Sunday.
    Altho, at the moment, I can’t buy much. (Thank you, Big Pubs! ) There is always my e-library and my actual library (they have lots of e-books)
    Have you seen the typeface meant to conserve ink? Blown up it’s full of holes, ‘normal’ size it reads pretty cleanly.

    Reply
  15. I like fonts as much as the next girl, maybe more even, but I’m a font girl with bifocals and allergies. I’ll take e-ink over sneezing and squinting everyday and twice on Sunday.
    Altho, at the moment, I can’t buy much. (Thank you, Big Pubs! ) There is always my e-library and my actual library (they have lots of e-books)
    Have you seen the typeface meant to conserve ink? Blown up it’s full of holes, ‘normal’ size it reads pretty cleanly.

    Reply
  16. Kim, glad you enjoyed a quik spin through letters. I didn’t really do the topic justice as there are so many variations within each category, but hopefully it got people thinking.
    I like “old” types for historicals too, as long as they are not too dense or complicated. the old black letter types like the one used in very early printed books (think Gutenberg Bible) are a little hard to read,

    Reply
  17. Kim, glad you enjoyed a quik spin through letters. I didn’t really do the topic justice as there are so many variations within each category, but hopefully it got people thinking.
    I like “old” types for historicals too, as long as they are not too dense or complicated. the old black letter types like the one used in very early printed books (think Gutenberg Bible) are a little hard to read,

    Reply
  18. Kim, glad you enjoyed a quik spin through letters. I didn’t really do the topic justice as there are so many variations within each category, but hopefully it got people thinking.
    I like “old” types for historicals too, as long as they are not too dense or complicated. the old black letter types like the one used in very early printed books (think Gutenberg Bible) are a little hard to read,

    Reply
  19. Kim, glad you enjoyed a quik spin through letters. I didn’t really do the topic justice as there are so many variations within each category, but hopefully it got people thinking.
    I like “old” types for historicals too, as long as they are not too dense or complicated. the old black letter types like the one used in very early printed books (think Gutenberg Bible) are a little hard to read,

    Reply
  20. Kim, glad you enjoyed a quik spin through letters. I didn’t really do the topic justice as there are so many variations within each category, but hopefully it got people thinking.
    I like “old” types for historicals too, as long as they are not too dense or complicated. the old black letter types like the one used in very early printed books (think Gutenberg Bible) are a little hard to read,

    Reply
  21. Liz M, it’s great that you have the option of e-books. As I said, I am not against them at all, and while I don’t yet have a Kindle or reading device, I plan to get one soon for the convenience factor when traveling. It’s good to see they solve other practical problems too. But I must say, I am so glad that I’m not allergic to paper and ink!

    Reply
  22. Liz M, it’s great that you have the option of e-books. As I said, I am not against them at all, and while I don’t yet have a Kindle or reading device, I plan to get one soon for the convenience factor when traveling. It’s good to see they solve other practical problems too. But I must say, I am so glad that I’m not allergic to paper and ink!

    Reply
  23. Liz M, it’s great that you have the option of e-books. As I said, I am not against them at all, and while I don’t yet have a Kindle or reading device, I plan to get one soon for the convenience factor when traveling. It’s good to see they solve other practical problems too. But I must say, I am so glad that I’m not allergic to paper and ink!

    Reply
  24. Liz M, it’s great that you have the option of e-books. As I said, I am not against them at all, and while I don’t yet have a Kindle or reading device, I plan to get one soon for the convenience factor when traveling. It’s good to see they solve other practical problems too. But I must say, I am so glad that I’m not allergic to paper and ink!

    Reply
  25. Liz M, it’s great that you have the option of e-books. As I said, I am not against them at all, and while I don’t yet have a Kindle or reading device, I plan to get one soon for the convenience factor when traveling. It’s good to see they solve other practical problems too. But I must say, I am so glad that I’m not allergic to paper and ink!

    Reply
  26. So that’s what a serif is! I’ve seen the gazillion fonts available on Microsoft Word, but I never tried many of them out. I usually stick to Times New Roman and Courier New.
    As far as paper books go, I want something legible. I don’t care about the type size because I’ll put my glasses on.
    One paper book I read had multiple, long (pages long) flashbacks embedded into the story. Trouble is, the flashbacks were written entirely in italics. Talk about unreadable! I don’t know if anything can improve the readability of pages of italics, but magnifying them with an e-book certainly couldn’t hurt.
    As for e-books, let them come. I want the back list of authors I like, and many times they’re only available in e-format.

    Reply
  27. So that’s what a serif is! I’ve seen the gazillion fonts available on Microsoft Word, but I never tried many of them out. I usually stick to Times New Roman and Courier New.
    As far as paper books go, I want something legible. I don’t care about the type size because I’ll put my glasses on.
    One paper book I read had multiple, long (pages long) flashbacks embedded into the story. Trouble is, the flashbacks were written entirely in italics. Talk about unreadable! I don’t know if anything can improve the readability of pages of italics, but magnifying them with an e-book certainly couldn’t hurt.
    As for e-books, let them come. I want the back list of authors I like, and many times they’re only available in e-format.

    Reply
  28. So that’s what a serif is! I’ve seen the gazillion fonts available on Microsoft Word, but I never tried many of them out. I usually stick to Times New Roman and Courier New.
    As far as paper books go, I want something legible. I don’t care about the type size because I’ll put my glasses on.
    One paper book I read had multiple, long (pages long) flashbacks embedded into the story. Trouble is, the flashbacks were written entirely in italics. Talk about unreadable! I don’t know if anything can improve the readability of pages of italics, but magnifying them with an e-book certainly couldn’t hurt.
    As for e-books, let them come. I want the back list of authors I like, and many times they’re only available in e-format.

    Reply
  29. So that’s what a serif is! I’ve seen the gazillion fonts available on Microsoft Word, but I never tried many of them out. I usually stick to Times New Roman and Courier New.
    As far as paper books go, I want something legible. I don’t care about the type size because I’ll put my glasses on.
    One paper book I read had multiple, long (pages long) flashbacks embedded into the story. Trouble is, the flashbacks were written entirely in italics. Talk about unreadable! I don’t know if anything can improve the readability of pages of italics, but magnifying them with an e-book certainly couldn’t hurt.
    As for e-books, let them come. I want the back list of authors I like, and many times they’re only available in e-format.

    Reply
  30. So that’s what a serif is! I’ve seen the gazillion fonts available on Microsoft Word, but I never tried many of them out. I usually stick to Times New Roman and Courier New.
    As far as paper books go, I want something legible. I don’t care about the type size because I’ll put my glasses on.
    One paper book I read had multiple, long (pages long) flashbacks embedded into the story. Trouble is, the flashbacks were written entirely in italics. Talk about unreadable! I don’t know if anything can improve the readability of pages of italics, but magnifying them with an e-book certainly couldn’t hurt.
    As for e-books, let them come. I want the back list of authors I like, and many times they’re only available in e-format.

    Reply
  31. Linda, you are so right about italics. NOT a good style for reading!
    Studies have shown that serif types are better than sans serif for long texts. The tiny “wedges” help the eye form the letters. That’s why you won’t see many books set in Helvetica.
    Good point about backlists. That is definitely another point in favor of e-books.

    Reply
  32. Linda, you are so right about italics. NOT a good style for reading!
    Studies have shown that serif types are better than sans serif for long texts. The tiny “wedges” help the eye form the letters. That’s why you won’t see many books set in Helvetica.
    Good point about backlists. That is definitely another point in favor of e-books.

    Reply
  33. Linda, you are so right about italics. NOT a good style for reading!
    Studies have shown that serif types are better than sans serif for long texts. The tiny “wedges” help the eye form the letters. That’s why you won’t see many books set in Helvetica.
    Good point about backlists. That is definitely another point in favor of e-books.

    Reply
  34. Linda, you are so right about italics. NOT a good style for reading!
    Studies have shown that serif types are better than sans serif for long texts. The tiny “wedges” help the eye form the letters. That’s why you won’t see many books set in Helvetica.
    Good point about backlists. That is definitely another point in favor of e-books.

    Reply
  35. Linda, you are so right about italics. NOT a good style for reading!
    Studies have shown that serif types are better than sans serif for long texts. The tiny “wedges” help the eye form the letters. That’s why you won’t see many books set in Helvetica.
    Good point about backlists. That is definitely another point in favor of e-books.

    Reply
  36. I love fonts (I am a frustrated calligrapher — and can use my computer instead of a nib). I actually read the small notice in books that notes this was set in … We read by the shapes of the words, not really the letters so that is why serif is better. Here is a site that lets you turn your own handwriting into a computer font.
    http://www.fontcapture.com. Also the University of Wisconsin figured that if you used this Century Gothic font, you will use less ink.
    http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/university-thinks-the-right-font-could-help-save-the-earth/19415212/
    Happy writing.

    Reply
  37. I love fonts (I am a frustrated calligrapher — and can use my computer instead of a nib). I actually read the small notice in books that notes this was set in … We read by the shapes of the words, not really the letters so that is why serif is better. Here is a site that lets you turn your own handwriting into a computer font.
    http://www.fontcapture.com. Also the University of Wisconsin figured that if you used this Century Gothic font, you will use less ink.
    http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/university-thinks-the-right-font-could-help-save-the-earth/19415212/
    Happy writing.

    Reply
  38. I love fonts (I am a frustrated calligrapher — and can use my computer instead of a nib). I actually read the small notice in books that notes this was set in … We read by the shapes of the words, not really the letters so that is why serif is better. Here is a site that lets you turn your own handwriting into a computer font.
    http://www.fontcapture.com. Also the University of Wisconsin figured that if you used this Century Gothic font, you will use less ink.
    http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/university-thinks-the-right-font-could-help-save-the-earth/19415212/
    Happy writing.

    Reply
  39. I love fonts (I am a frustrated calligrapher — and can use my computer instead of a nib). I actually read the small notice in books that notes this was set in … We read by the shapes of the words, not really the letters so that is why serif is better. Here is a site that lets you turn your own handwriting into a computer font.
    http://www.fontcapture.com. Also the University of Wisconsin figured that if you used this Century Gothic font, you will use less ink.
    http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/university-thinks-the-right-font-could-help-save-the-earth/19415212/
    Happy writing.

    Reply
  40. I love fonts (I am a frustrated calligrapher — and can use my computer instead of a nib). I actually read the small notice in books that notes this was set in … We read by the shapes of the words, not really the letters so that is why serif is better. Here is a site that lets you turn your own handwriting into a computer font.
    http://www.fontcapture.com. Also the University of Wisconsin figured that if you used this Century Gothic font, you will use less ink.
    http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/university-thinks-the-right-font-could-help-save-the-earth/19415212/
    Happy writing.

    Reply
  41. How many can say that they’re not intrigued by the Jane Austen font? I adore it. Gives me a thrill every time I see it.
    I like that hardcover books do (or at least used to) have a little graf on the type and history of the font used. Font plays a big part in my appreciation of book cover design, too.
    Lyn S, thank you for that link to convert your own handwriting to a font. A total egoistical trip…that I’m seriously contemplating. 🙂

    Reply
  42. How many can say that they’re not intrigued by the Jane Austen font? I adore it. Gives me a thrill every time I see it.
    I like that hardcover books do (or at least used to) have a little graf on the type and history of the font used. Font plays a big part in my appreciation of book cover design, too.
    Lyn S, thank you for that link to convert your own handwriting to a font. A total egoistical trip…that I’m seriously contemplating. 🙂

    Reply
  43. How many can say that they’re not intrigued by the Jane Austen font? I adore it. Gives me a thrill every time I see it.
    I like that hardcover books do (or at least used to) have a little graf on the type and history of the font used. Font plays a big part in my appreciation of book cover design, too.
    Lyn S, thank you for that link to convert your own handwriting to a font. A total egoistical trip…that I’m seriously contemplating. 🙂

    Reply
  44. How many can say that they’re not intrigued by the Jane Austen font? I adore it. Gives me a thrill every time I see it.
    I like that hardcover books do (or at least used to) have a little graf on the type and history of the font used. Font plays a big part in my appreciation of book cover design, too.
    Lyn S, thank you for that link to convert your own handwriting to a font. A total egoistical trip…that I’m seriously contemplating. 🙂

    Reply
  45. How many can say that they’re not intrigued by the Jane Austen font? I adore it. Gives me a thrill every time I see it.
    I like that hardcover books do (or at least used to) have a little graf on the type and history of the font used. Font plays a big part in my appreciation of book cover design, too.
    Lyn S, thank you for that link to convert your own handwriting to a font. A total egoistical trip…that I’m seriously contemplating. 🙂

    Reply
  46. I don’t notice the type/font when I am reading unless it is really hard to read (fancy or italics). But, I am conscious of fonts when I type letters or make up worksheets for my students. Some kids don’t mind the different fonts, but others flip out when the font is anything other than plain, boring letters.

    Reply
  47. I don’t notice the type/font when I am reading unless it is really hard to read (fancy or italics). But, I am conscious of fonts when I type letters or make up worksheets for my students. Some kids don’t mind the different fonts, but others flip out when the font is anything other than plain, boring letters.

    Reply
  48. I don’t notice the type/font when I am reading unless it is really hard to read (fancy or italics). But, I am conscious of fonts when I type letters or make up worksheets for my students. Some kids don’t mind the different fonts, but others flip out when the font is anything other than plain, boring letters.

    Reply
  49. I don’t notice the type/font when I am reading unless it is really hard to read (fancy or italics). But, I am conscious of fonts when I type letters or make up worksheets for my students. Some kids don’t mind the different fonts, but others flip out when the font is anything other than plain, boring letters.

    Reply
  50. I don’t notice the type/font when I am reading unless it is really hard to read (fancy or italics). But, I am conscious of fonts when I type letters or make up worksheets for my students. Some kids don’t mind the different fonts, but others flip out when the font is anything other than plain, boring letters.

    Reply
  51. I’ve been conscious of fonts ever since my father brought home the very first Selectric typewriter and I could do lots of fancy types! I have a library of Heritage classics that describe why certain fonts were chosen to print each edition.
    But personally, I just like playing with them to see how many words I can squeeze on a page. “G”
    And depending on your e-reader, you can have covers and you can organize your books in any number of ways. I have no particular attachment to paper, especially since so many mmpbs these days are crammed into the crease and require breaking the spine to read. I’m not finding it difficult to go back and forth between print and e-book, depending on circumstance.

    Reply
  52. I’ve been conscious of fonts ever since my father brought home the very first Selectric typewriter and I could do lots of fancy types! I have a library of Heritage classics that describe why certain fonts were chosen to print each edition.
    But personally, I just like playing with them to see how many words I can squeeze on a page. “G”
    And depending on your e-reader, you can have covers and you can organize your books in any number of ways. I have no particular attachment to paper, especially since so many mmpbs these days are crammed into the crease and require breaking the spine to read. I’m not finding it difficult to go back and forth between print and e-book, depending on circumstance.

    Reply
  53. I’ve been conscious of fonts ever since my father brought home the very first Selectric typewriter and I could do lots of fancy types! I have a library of Heritage classics that describe why certain fonts were chosen to print each edition.
    But personally, I just like playing with them to see how many words I can squeeze on a page. “G”
    And depending on your e-reader, you can have covers and you can organize your books in any number of ways. I have no particular attachment to paper, especially since so many mmpbs these days are crammed into the crease and require breaking the spine to read. I’m not finding it difficult to go back and forth between print and e-book, depending on circumstance.

    Reply
  54. I’ve been conscious of fonts ever since my father brought home the very first Selectric typewriter and I could do lots of fancy types! I have a library of Heritage classics that describe why certain fonts were chosen to print each edition.
    But personally, I just like playing with them to see how many words I can squeeze on a page. “G”
    And depending on your e-reader, you can have covers and you can organize your books in any number of ways. I have no particular attachment to paper, especially since so many mmpbs these days are crammed into the crease and require breaking the spine to read. I’m not finding it difficult to go back and forth between print and e-book, depending on circumstance.

    Reply
  55. I’ve been conscious of fonts ever since my father brought home the very first Selectric typewriter and I could do lots of fancy types! I have a library of Heritage classics that describe why certain fonts were chosen to print each edition.
    But personally, I just like playing with them to see how many words I can squeeze on a page. “G”
    And depending on your e-reader, you can have covers and you can organize your books in any number of ways. I have no particular attachment to paper, especially since so many mmpbs these days are crammed into the crease and require breaking the spine to read. I’m not finding it difficult to go back and forth between print and e-book, depending on circumstance.

    Reply
  56. Keira, I love the little explanation of the fonts and their history that some books have. There really are some interesting stories behind some design, and good reason why they “fit” a certain work.
    And BTW, that page is called a colophon, for those of you who care about arcane book trivia.
    Wish they appeared more often!

    Reply
  57. Keira, I love the little explanation of the fonts and their history that some books have. There really are some interesting stories behind some design, and good reason why they “fit” a certain work.
    And BTW, that page is called a colophon, for those of you who care about arcane book trivia.
    Wish they appeared more often!

    Reply
  58. Keira, I love the little explanation of the fonts and their history that some books have. There really are some interesting stories behind some design, and good reason why they “fit” a certain work.
    And BTW, that page is called a colophon, for those of you who care about arcane book trivia.
    Wish they appeared more often!

    Reply
  59. Keira, I love the little explanation of the fonts and their history that some books have. There really are some interesting stories behind some design, and good reason why they “fit” a certain work.
    And BTW, that page is called a colophon, for those of you who care about arcane book trivia.
    Wish they appeared more often!

    Reply
  60. Keira, I love the little explanation of the fonts and their history that some books have. There really are some interesting stories behind some design, and good reason why they “fit” a certain work.
    And BTW, that page is called a colophon, for those of you who care about arcane book trivia.
    Wish they appeared more often!

    Reply
  61. Cara, this post is so fun! I’m a historian (as well as a novelist), and long ago the scent and texture of old books first drew me to studying history. When I studied paleography in grad school, I loved the documents I read that much more for the beauty and intricacy of the hands–medieval documents in this case. Now, that’s a step before the printing press, of course, but my fascination with the variety of written hands extends to typefaces as well. 🙂
    Reading is such a tactile experience to me. I long believed I would never want an electronic reader… until last night. Truly (your post is particularly timely to me). I was stranded in an airport returning home from a long journey during which I read an older Liz Carlyle Regency. I finished it just about when my plane ought to have been landing at home, but alas had not yet left the ground. At that moment, it is true, I would have sold every piece of my luggage, the gifts I bought for family and friends upon my journey, and my clothes and hair if necessary for the next book in Liz’s trilogy. An e-reader would have done the trick. And so I just may be sold. Not for every day use (there’s nothing like curling up in bed or the bath with a paperback), but surely for journeys.
    🙂

    Reply
  62. Cara, this post is so fun! I’m a historian (as well as a novelist), and long ago the scent and texture of old books first drew me to studying history. When I studied paleography in grad school, I loved the documents I read that much more for the beauty and intricacy of the hands–medieval documents in this case. Now, that’s a step before the printing press, of course, but my fascination with the variety of written hands extends to typefaces as well. 🙂
    Reading is such a tactile experience to me. I long believed I would never want an electronic reader… until last night. Truly (your post is particularly timely to me). I was stranded in an airport returning home from a long journey during which I read an older Liz Carlyle Regency. I finished it just about when my plane ought to have been landing at home, but alas had not yet left the ground. At that moment, it is true, I would have sold every piece of my luggage, the gifts I bought for family and friends upon my journey, and my clothes and hair if necessary for the next book in Liz’s trilogy. An e-reader would have done the trick. And so I just may be sold. Not for every day use (there’s nothing like curling up in bed or the bath with a paperback), but surely for journeys.
    🙂

    Reply
  63. Cara, this post is so fun! I’m a historian (as well as a novelist), and long ago the scent and texture of old books first drew me to studying history. When I studied paleography in grad school, I loved the documents I read that much more for the beauty and intricacy of the hands–medieval documents in this case. Now, that’s a step before the printing press, of course, but my fascination with the variety of written hands extends to typefaces as well. 🙂
    Reading is such a tactile experience to me. I long believed I would never want an electronic reader… until last night. Truly (your post is particularly timely to me). I was stranded in an airport returning home from a long journey during which I read an older Liz Carlyle Regency. I finished it just about when my plane ought to have been landing at home, but alas had not yet left the ground. At that moment, it is true, I would have sold every piece of my luggage, the gifts I bought for family and friends upon my journey, and my clothes and hair if necessary for the next book in Liz’s trilogy. An e-reader would have done the trick. And so I just may be sold. Not for every day use (there’s nothing like curling up in bed or the bath with a paperback), but surely for journeys.
    🙂

    Reply
  64. Cara, this post is so fun! I’m a historian (as well as a novelist), and long ago the scent and texture of old books first drew me to studying history. When I studied paleography in grad school, I loved the documents I read that much more for the beauty and intricacy of the hands–medieval documents in this case. Now, that’s a step before the printing press, of course, but my fascination with the variety of written hands extends to typefaces as well. 🙂
    Reading is such a tactile experience to me. I long believed I would never want an electronic reader… until last night. Truly (your post is particularly timely to me). I was stranded in an airport returning home from a long journey during which I read an older Liz Carlyle Regency. I finished it just about when my plane ought to have been landing at home, but alas had not yet left the ground. At that moment, it is true, I would have sold every piece of my luggage, the gifts I bought for family and friends upon my journey, and my clothes and hair if necessary for the next book in Liz’s trilogy. An e-reader would have done the trick. And so I just may be sold. Not for every day use (there’s nothing like curling up in bed or the bath with a paperback), but surely for journeys.
    🙂

    Reply
  65. Cara, this post is so fun! I’m a historian (as well as a novelist), and long ago the scent and texture of old books first drew me to studying history. When I studied paleography in grad school, I loved the documents I read that much more for the beauty and intricacy of the hands–medieval documents in this case. Now, that’s a step before the printing press, of course, but my fascination with the variety of written hands extends to typefaces as well. 🙂
    Reading is such a tactile experience to me. I long believed I would never want an electronic reader… until last night. Truly (your post is particularly timely to me). I was stranded in an airport returning home from a long journey during which I read an older Liz Carlyle Regency. I finished it just about when my plane ought to have been landing at home, but alas had not yet left the ground. At that moment, it is true, I would have sold every piece of my luggage, the gifts I bought for family and friends upon my journey, and my clothes and hair if necessary for the next book in Liz’s trilogy. An e-reader would have done the trick. And so I just may be sold. Not for every day use (there’s nothing like curling up in bed or the bath with a paperback), but surely for journeys.
    🙂

    Reply
  66. Katherine, thanks for sharing your story.(And BTW, love Liz Carlyle too!) That’s exactly the reason I am going to invest in an e-reader. Nothing but nothing will ever replace real books for me . . .I spent last week in the British Art Center at Yale examining an original copy of Pierce Egan’s “Life In London”, so I rest my case. But for a situation like yours, an e-reader would be a godsend.
    Hope you arrived home safe and sound!

    Reply
  67. Katherine, thanks for sharing your story.(And BTW, love Liz Carlyle too!) That’s exactly the reason I am going to invest in an e-reader. Nothing but nothing will ever replace real books for me . . .I spent last week in the British Art Center at Yale examining an original copy of Pierce Egan’s “Life In London”, so I rest my case. But for a situation like yours, an e-reader would be a godsend.
    Hope you arrived home safe and sound!

    Reply
  68. Katherine, thanks for sharing your story.(And BTW, love Liz Carlyle too!) That’s exactly the reason I am going to invest in an e-reader. Nothing but nothing will ever replace real books for me . . .I spent last week in the British Art Center at Yale examining an original copy of Pierce Egan’s “Life In London”, so I rest my case. But for a situation like yours, an e-reader would be a godsend.
    Hope you arrived home safe and sound!

    Reply
  69. Katherine, thanks for sharing your story.(And BTW, love Liz Carlyle too!) That’s exactly the reason I am going to invest in an e-reader. Nothing but nothing will ever replace real books for me . . .I spent last week in the British Art Center at Yale examining an original copy of Pierce Egan’s “Life In London”, so I rest my case. But for a situation like yours, an e-reader would be a godsend.
    Hope you arrived home safe and sound!

    Reply
  70. Katherine, thanks for sharing your story.(And BTW, love Liz Carlyle too!) That’s exactly the reason I am going to invest in an e-reader. Nothing but nothing will ever replace real books for me . . .I spent last week in the British Art Center at Yale examining an original copy of Pierce Egan’s “Life In London”, so I rest my case. But for a situation like yours, an e-reader would be a godsend.
    Hope you arrived home safe and sound!

    Reply
  71. I hear from a friend with arthritis in her hands that she loves her Kindle because, unlike a paperback, there’s no spine that she has to force open with her thumb – which hurts!
    I do notice typefaces and am picky about the ones I’ll use in my documents. The typeface has to be fast & easy to read. I loathe, loathe, loathe Arial because a capital I looks the same as a lower case L. I also hate the Bill Gates-mandated rule that all sentences shall only have one space between them rather than two; since I read phrase or sentence at a time, my brain wants that extra space as a cue.
    That said, even if my favorite authors were printed in the vilest typeface imaginable, I’d bitch about it, but I’d go on reading!

    Reply
  72. I hear from a friend with arthritis in her hands that she loves her Kindle because, unlike a paperback, there’s no spine that she has to force open with her thumb – which hurts!
    I do notice typefaces and am picky about the ones I’ll use in my documents. The typeface has to be fast & easy to read. I loathe, loathe, loathe Arial because a capital I looks the same as a lower case L. I also hate the Bill Gates-mandated rule that all sentences shall only have one space between them rather than two; since I read phrase or sentence at a time, my brain wants that extra space as a cue.
    That said, even if my favorite authors were printed in the vilest typeface imaginable, I’d bitch about it, but I’d go on reading!

    Reply
  73. I hear from a friend with arthritis in her hands that she loves her Kindle because, unlike a paperback, there’s no spine that she has to force open with her thumb – which hurts!
    I do notice typefaces and am picky about the ones I’ll use in my documents. The typeface has to be fast & easy to read. I loathe, loathe, loathe Arial because a capital I looks the same as a lower case L. I also hate the Bill Gates-mandated rule that all sentences shall only have one space between them rather than two; since I read phrase or sentence at a time, my brain wants that extra space as a cue.
    That said, even if my favorite authors were printed in the vilest typeface imaginable, I’d bitch about it, but I’d go on reading!

    Reply
  74. I hear from a friend with arthritis in her hands that she loves her Kindle because, unlike a paperback, there’s no spine that she has to force open with her thumb – which hurts!
    I do notice typefaces and am picky about the ones I’ll use in my documents. The typeface has to be fast & easy to read. I loathe, loathe, loathe Arial because a capital I looks the same as a lower case L. I also hate the Bill Gates-mandated rule that all sentences shall only have one space between them rather than two; since I read phrase or sentence at a time, my brain wants that extra space as a cue.
    That said, even if my favorite authors were printed in the vilest typeface imaginable, I’d bitch about it, but I’d go on reading!

    Reply
  75. I hear from a friend with arthritis in her hands that she loves her Kindle because, unlike a paperback, there’s no spine that she has to force open with her thumb – which hurts!
    I do notice typefaces and am picky about the ones I’ll use in my documents. The typeface has to be fast & easy to read. I loathe, loathe, loathe Arial because a capital I looks the same as a lower case L. I also hate the Bill Gates-mandated rule that all sentences shall only have one space between them rather than two; since I read phrase or sentence at a time, my brain wants that extra space as a cue.
    That said, even if my favorite authors were printed in the vilest typeface imaginable, I’d bitch about it, but I’d go on reading!

    Reply
  76. Janice, thanks for pointing out yet another good argument for a Kindle. Anything that makes reading easier is a good thing!
    I’m not a big fan of Arial because it is aesthethically unpleasing—I find it chunky and inelegant. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
    Like you, I would read no matter what how the letters were presented!

    Reply
  77. Janice, thanks for pointing out yet another good argument for a Kindle. Anything that makes reading easier is a good thing!
    I’m not a big fan of Arial because it is aesthethically unpleasing—I find it chunky and inelegant. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
    Like you, I would read no matter what how the letters were presented!

    Reply
  78. Janice, thanks for pointing out yet another good argument for a Kindle. Anything that makes reading easier is a good thing!
    I’m not a big fan of Arial because it is aesthethically unpleasing—I find it chunky and inelegant. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
    Like you, I would read no matter what how the letters were presented!

    Reply
  79. Janice, thanks for pointing out yet another good argument for a Kindle. Anything that makes reading easier is a good thing!
    I’m not a big fan of Arial because it is aesthethically unpleasing—I find it chunky and inelegant. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
    Like you, I would read no matter what how the letters were presented!

    Reply
  80. Janice, thanks for pointing out yet another good argument for a Kindle. Anything that makes reading easier is a good thing!
    I’m not a big fan of Arial because it is aesthethically unpleasing—I find it chunky and inelegant. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
    Like you, I would read no matter what how the letters were presented!

    Reply
  81. How nice to come across another Garamond fan, Cara! I used to work for the British Art and Antique magazine Apollo designing advertisements and I tried to sneak Garamond in whenever I could. I just loved that quirky capital T.

    Reply
  82. How nice to come across another Garamond fan, Cara! I used to work for the British Art and Antique magazine Apollo designing advertisements and I tried to sneak Garamond in whenever I could. I just loved that quirky capital T.

    Reply
  83. How nice to come across another Garamond fan, Cara! I used to work for the British Art and Antique magazine Apollo designing advertisements and I tried to sneak Garamond in whenever I could. I just loved that quirky capital T.

    Reply
  84. How nice to come across another Garamond fan, Cara! I used to work for the British Art and Antique magazine Apollo designing advertisements and I tried to sneak Garamond in whenever I could. I just loved that quirky capital T.

    Reply
  85. How nice to come across another Garamond fan, Cara! I used to work for the British Art and Antique magazine Apollo designing advertisements and I tried to sneak Garamond in whenever I could. I just loved that quirky capital T.

    Reply
  86. I picked up an old paperback recently and the print was too small to read without a magnifier. Then I wished for a Nook to download the book with larger print. Otherwise I love the feel of a real book in my hands.
    Cara/Andrea my win of To Sin With A Scoundrel arrived in yesterday’s mail. Thanks a lot! Another of my heroines died Sunday, Dorothy I. Height, age 98. All the major newspapers published lengthy obits.

    Reply
  87. I picked up an old paperback recently and the print was too small to read without a magnifier. Then I wished for a Nook to download the book with larger print. Otherwise I love the feel of a real book in my hands.
    Cara/Andrea my win of To Sin With A Scoundrel arrived in yesterday’s mail. Thanks a lot! Another of my heroines died Sunday, Dorothy I. Height, age 98. All the major newspapers published lengthy obits.

    Reply
  88. I picked up an old paperback recently and the print was too small to read without a magnifier. Then I wished for a Nook to download the book with larger print. Otherwise I love the feel of a real book in my hands.
    Cara/Andrea my win of To Sin With A Scoundrel arrived in yesterday’s mail. Thanks a lot! Another of my heroines died Sunday, Dorothy I. Height, age 98. All the major newspapers published lengthy obits.

    Reply
  89. I picked up an old paperback recently and the print was too small to read without a magnifier. Then I wished for a Nook to download the book with larger print. Otherwise I love the feel of a real book in my hands.
    Cara/Andrea my win of To Sin With A Scoundrel arrived in yesterday’s mail. Thanks a lot! Another of my heroines died Sunday, Dorothy I. Height, age 98. All the major newspapers published lengthy obits.

    Reply
  90. I picked up an old paperback recently and the print was too small to read without a magnifier. Then I wished for a Nook to download the book with larger print. Otherwise I love the feel of a real book in my hands.
    Cara/Andrea my win of To Sin With A Scoundrel arrived in yesterday’s mail. Thanks a lot! Another of my heroines died Sunday, Dorothy I. Height, age 98. All the major newspapers published lengthy obits.

    Reply
  91. I am not sold on the e-readers. I too prefer to have a book in my hand. The feel of the paper is special. Type faces do effect the reading. Some are easier to read. I like the elaborate styles of script, but wouldn’t want to read a whole book written in them.
    You can put a book on a shelf or in a box and leave it there for years. It will still be good to read later. What happens to all those books you download on you e-reader when it dies? Will it even be usable in 20, 30 years?

    Reply
  92. I am not sold on the e-readers. I too prefer to have a book in my hand. The feel of the paper is special. Type faces do effect the reading. Some are easier to read. I like the elaborate styles of script, but wouldn’t want to read a whole book written in them.
    You can put a book on a shelf or in a box and leave it there for years. It will still be good to read later. What happens to all those books you download on you e-reader when it dies? Will it even be usable in 20, 30 years?

    Reply
  93. I am not sold on the e-readers. I too prefer to have a book in my hand. The feel of the paper is special. Type faces do effect the reading. Some are easier to read. I like the elaborate styles of script, but wouldn’t want to read a whole book written in them.
    You can put a book on a shelf or in a box and leave it there for years. It will still be good to read later. What happens to all those books you download on you e-reader when it dies? Will it even be usable in 20, 30 years?

    Reply
  94. I am not sold on the e-readers. I too prefer to have a book in my hand. The feel of the paper is special. Type faces do effect the reading. Some are easier to read. I like the elaborate styles of script, but wouldn’t want to read a whole book written in them.
    You can put a book on a shelf or in a box and leave it there for years. It will still be good to read later. What happens to all those books you download on you e-reader when it dies? Will it even be usable in 20, 30 years?

    Reply
  95. I am not sold on the e-readers. I too prefer to have a book in my hand. The feel of the paper is special. Type faces do effect the reading. Some are easier to read. I like the elaborate styles of script, but wouldn’t want to read a whole book written in them.
    You can put a book on a shelf or in a box and leave it there for years. It will still be good to read later. What happens to all those books you download on you e-reader when it dies? Will it even be usable in 20, 30 years?

    Reply

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