Damn Sans-Serif

I went to Tunstall Library today to pick up a book I had ordered back in October, John Burnside’s Glister, at last the person had stopped renewing it!

I went to the reservations shelf and it was a Large Print edition. Even though I have very strong reading glasses I find large print almost impossible to read, so handed back. It was the only edition they have, I asked why, and they didn’t know. Damn. I suppose I will have to buy the book.

So why couldn’t I read it in large print? Well this one was printed using a sans serif font, which gets very tiring, there is no flow. I fully understand why sans serif is used and understand the need for people with poor sight or with difficulties reading for such fonts.

John Burnside has become a great favourite of mine. His books deal with difficult subjects, they live and breathe the landscapes they are set in, and his poetry writing means his prose has a sparse beauty suitable for his subject matter. A Summer of Drowning published last year was one of the highlights of my 2012 reading. Set in the awful wastes of 24 hour daylight which means sleep can become impossible, shapes can appear in the sea, in the forest, in the mind which you cannot know are real or just the twilit imagination. It is an interior book set in a vast exterior. There are ancient beliefs and stories which clash with the modern age. It is a great book and a great experience.

Today’s photograph is another gate in the backs, a clash of styles creating a whole. Taken at 11.30, overcast, chilly.

Image

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