Monday, October 01, 2012

Liberated from Goodwill and TWO (2!) Branch Libraries Today

These sorts of donations always mystify me:
they were all near each other on the shelf, and brand-spanking-new -- 

the covers had never been opened.
(All but Ella were less than $2 each...)

I have been trying to read this book since I was pregnant with Alexander.*
For Ander: the last in the Egypt-loving Theodosia series,
and his favorite type of folktales.

Taking a break from the Ramona series
(forewarned about the dated gender roles)

*...Kavalier and Clay is so many things I love:
  • a story about the birth of comic books
  • written by Michael Chabon (heart emoticon)
  • set in the 1930s and 40s
  • rife with magical and folkloric elements (Prague's Golem!)
  • steeped in Jewish culture
  • bonus!: a crash course in escape-artistry and lock-picking!
  • one of Dubbadad's favorite books ever
And yet I have never made it past the 5th chapter.

I get distracted and throw in a load of laundry.  

I (more likely) get distracted and pick up another book. 

Kavalier and Clay eventually gets buried in the pile on my bedside table.  I unearth it over and over and try and try again to get past the 5th chapter. 

But it's no good.

And then one day I turn to the last page of my hardcover copy and find a page containing one tiny paragraph under the all-caps header ABOUT THE TYPE.  It turns out that the brilliant Mr. Chabon (or his editor? book designer? all of them working together in some sort of evil font-head cabal?) had chosen a typeface for this edition that was designed in 1810 in Germany.  I'm fairly certain the thinking was that the characters of Joe Kevalier and Sammy Clay would have read books set in this 'Walbaum' font.  

According to the note at the back of the book, Walbaum's "openness and slight irregularities give it a human, romantic quality." 

My over-worked eyes have apparently disagreed with that assessment for the past 12 years.

I find Walbaum crowded and composed of too many serifs and thick vertical lines.  The font-size used in this printing is also ridiculously small for such a complicated typestyle.  And the paperback edition doesn't seem to be any easier on the eye.

So.  An unabridged audiobook.  

(I'm already on Chapter 6, and it's so so so gooood!)

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