Reading

I know my last post was about needing a break from reading and writing, and I stand by that, but the other day I was standing on the platform at the train station and really missed reading. It was as if I were somehow nostalgic about it, even though I really still read every day.

There was a guy standing next to me reading a book and something about the layout of the words on the page, the font, the colour of the paper, made me yearn for the experience of reading a book that looked like that. I didn’t want to read that particular book (I can’t even remember the title, it was obviously so important to me!), but it must have reminded me in some way of a book that I must have really enjoyed.

I love old books, like a lot of people. I love them for their smell, the slightly damp texture of their softened pages, the tiny text that sometimes bleeds a little, the beautiful fabric hard covers. But most of all I love them because they are someone else’s world. Someone else has lived through the experience of reading that book. Perhaps carrying it around with them, perhaps loving it, hating it, not even really remembering it. The characters and story world have formed a certain picture in their minds. The book might have moved them to tears or made them laugh.

But the man on the train platform was not reading an old book. The book was new, so it (probably) didn’t have that history. What it did have was a layout I’ve found common to new books coming out of small publishing houses. I’m not a typesetter, or a graphic designer, so I don’t know font names, but it’s a particular font, simple to look at but definitely computer-, rather than typewiter-generated. The page margins are wide. The spaces between lines are generous. Does anyone know the layout I mean?

I haven’t picked up a book yet this week. I’ve stuck to magazines. I think I’m trying to make myself really hungry for it. I’m sure this weekend at the National Young Writers’ Festival will help!

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