the Magic of Discworld Hardbacks

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I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but if I had the chance to meet one person in the entire world -dead or undead- I would definitely choose to meet Terry Pratchett. His books are the stuff of magic, without actually containing an ounce of esoteric-ness. As many, much more articulate people, have expressed before- Terry Pratchett’s books are not just fantasy books. Far from it. They are a humorous, touching descriptions of the human condition. It makes fun of being human, yes, but it also shows our resilience and peculiarity as a species- the sort of things that make us who we are. It’s satirical and it’s thoughtful and even when it becomes deep, it does so in a natural, unobtrusive way that, much like the music played on the harp by the protagonist of Soul Music, resonates with something already in us.

That being said, his books are being reprinted in a hardcover edition that just makes me leap with joy and cry at the same time because they are unbelievably beautiful. I mean just look at them!! They are playful, colourful, soulful, and exciting.

They’re a few quid over the normal paperback copies, but they are much more durable and, in my humble opinion, a collecting opportunity. It also makes me wish there were some fully illustrated editions out there, either by Paul Kidby (who does the equally fun and visually entertaining paperbacks) or by someone new. I just want the Jim Kay treatment that Harry Potter received for the Discworld collection. Is that too much to ask for?

Also… if anyone out there knows of any illustrated editions out there, please let me know.

Also no.2: here is a link containing an interview with Joe McLaren, the brilliant illustrator behind the hardback covers.

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Let’s talk about type

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Has anyone picked up a book recently with the sole purpose of checking out the fonts?

No?

Just me then… Although, to my defense, this was not done as an eccentric spur of the moment thing. I was doing research. And let me tell you- staring at books, comparing font sizes and serifs, is not fun. To be honest, after the first half hour it sort of becomes a maddening attempt to grasp the ungraspable. The craziest bit still, is that it does make sense in a very Alice in Wonderland sort of way.

The font they pick in books not only has to carry the personality (or lack thereof) of the book, but if you have pictures/ illustrations, it also has to work and compliment them. Busy illustrations mean you need a quieter font to balance it out. If you don’t have any sort of visual aids there, then perhaps you need a font with a bit more oomph to it. However, even that depends on the personality of the book. And did I mention the whole serif/sans-serif thing? Apparently serif fonts are most used in published, physical books, especially in the body text, because they help the eye register the word faster. Choose a sans-serif font when you have a sentence stretching from page one to page 21, and you might as well beg your readers to stop right there and give up on the whole thing. But sans-serif is also considered to be more modern and therefore a lot of people might want to use them on the web. Am I going down the rabbit hole here? I am sorry. I haven’t even began on font sizes. But try staring at 5 serif fonts for 2 hours trying to decide which one you should use for your book and you might as well book yourself a permanent table at the nearest pancake house because you will need the cake to combat that mental breakdown you’re causing yourself.

At least that’s how I felt yesterday when I turned each font into a story and tried to pair it with my university project.

There are some pretty good articles out there talking about fonts and what you should use depending on the book. Really, very, terribly helpful! I’ll leave the links here because they are so much better than I at explaining the whole process. I still have no idea what I am doing. I did my best yesterday, but in the end, I think you have to go a bit with your gut as well. Especially when your eyes refuse to register defined shapes and forms.

I might expand more on the topic with examples from my uni project, but right now I am at work and I just wanted to make sure I wouldn’t lose these articles. I know.. I lead the most exciting of lives.

A list of great types

Picking your fonts when you are self-publishing

Understanding fonts and typography