Saturday, October 15, 2011

Just My Type is, well, just my type

Book 103: Just My Type by Simon Garfield

 If you have a favorite typeface -- and I do -- than Simon Garfield's Just My Type, subtitled A Book About Fonts, is the book for you.

If you don't have a favorite typeface, you might after reading Garfield's book. It's a fascinating look at how fonts are created, their importance in everything from branding products to signage and their recent proliferation due to the emergence of the home computer. 

No surprise that the brilliant Steve Jobs and his first Macintosh computer make a cameo appearance in the introduction. That Macintosh, loaded with a choice of fonts, "was the beginning of something," Garfield writes, "a seismic shift in our everyday relationship with letters and with type. An innovation that, within another decade or so, would place the word 'font' . . .  in the vocabulary of every computer user."

My favorite font is Palatino, a serif typeface designed by Herman Zapf. Release in 1948, Palatino is prized for its legibility and is one of the 10 most widely used serif typefaces. Zapf also later created Zapf Dingbats -- and who hasn't found a use that font?

Book 107: Stan Musial An American Life by George Vecsey

Stan Musial, one of the greatest ballplayers in the history of the game, deserves better than this disappointing biography by George Vecsey.

It feels as if Vecsey collected a few anecdotes, assembled them in chronological order and -- Voila! -- a biography of Musial.  

Yes, some of the anecdotes are entertaining. Very much so.  Baseball anecdotes have that attribute about them.  But this book simply doesn't compare with the fine biographies of Yogi Berra and Roger Maris that emerged last year.

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