Saturday, January 28, 2012

Book Review - Just My Type by Simon Garfield

You'll never look at the printed word (or a Russell Crowe movie poster) in the same way again after reading Just My Type by Simon Garfield. 

This is a quirky and surprisingly fascinating read. 

Surprising because it's a book about the history of fonts. 

Yes, that's right. Fonts.

As in Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica, Comic Sans and the more than 100,000 fonts in existence today. 

It's a subject to which most of us would never give a second thought. 

But now that I've read this book I can't stop analysing the hundreds of fonts I encounter every day, from advertising, posters and signage right down to fonts used on television remote controls, the keyboard I am currently using* and this website**. 

In Just My Type, Garfield takes the reader on an illuminating and humorous journey through the world of fonts and the men and women who created them. 

If you read this book you will learn, among other things:
  • How calligraphy inspired technological revolution in the hands of Steve Jobs. 
  • Why Comic Sans is the world’s most hated font with an online movement dedicated to its eradication. 
  • How Ikea unwittingly created international uproar simply by changing the font in its catalogues. 
  • Why the Nazis outlawed the use of gothic script in Germany in 1941.
  • Which font helped Barack Obama win the 2008 US presidential election.
  • Why Arial is widely considered to be a copycat and a cheat.
  • Which is the most overused font in Hollywood.
  • Why some fonts endure while others fade into obscurity.
  • What your own choice of font says about you.
Stop and take a look around you. How many fonts can you see right now? 

*Helvetica Neue on the iPhone4 
**Arial for this post and Georgia for the heading 

Would you like to read this book? Buy it here online:

Book Depository US 
Book Depository UK 
Fishpond Australia 
Amazon US 
Amazon UK 

*Please note: You won't pay more if you purchase via these links, but they will give me a small referral fee (5%). 



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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Book Review - Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

Downton Abbey meets World War I and the Russian Revolution in Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants.  

Follett is one of my favourite historical fiction authors – if you enjoy historical fiction, you must read his international bestseller Pillars of the Earth and its sequel, World Without End

Fall of Giants is the first instalment of Follett’s Century trilogy, in which he plans to follow the lives of five families over 100 years. 

There’s Lord Fitzherbert and his sister Lady Maud, their housekeeper Ethel Williams and her brother coalminer Billy, German spy Walter von Ulrich, Amercian presidential advisor Gus Dewar and orphaned Russian brothers Grigori and Lev Peshkov. 

Follett takes us from the homes of the British aristocracy to the coal mines of Wales, from the battlefields of World War I to the frontline of the Russian Revolution, from the corridors of power to hunger on the streets. 

He covers life, love and politics, giving us an insight into tensions and changing dynamics between the aristocracy and working classes as well as the fight for women’s rights. 

Follett has undertaken meticulous research and attention to detail, giving the reader an insight into everyday life at the time – what people wore, how they spoke and etiquette of the day right down to the type of artillery used in war. 

Be warned – Fall of Giants is a hefty 850 pages and there is a lot of political manoeuvring and military strategy to keep track of. 

But Follett creates lovable (and not so likable) characters, sweeping the reader into their life stories as they navigate their way through the horror and politics of war. 

Would you like to read Fall of Giants by Ken Follett? 

Here’s where you can buy it online: 


Book Depository US  

Book Depository UK   

Fishpond Australia  

Amazon US 

Amazon UK 


*Please note: You won't pay any more if you buy this book via these links, but they will give me a small referral fee (5%). 


Thank you for being part of The Reading Experiment. Happy reading! 

Find The Reading Experiment on Facebook here and on Twitter here


If you enjoyed this review get email updates (it’s free)
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