22 February 2007

In praise of (pocket-size) books as companions

This delightful book is no bigger than my hand. Its type size is perfectly legible — 9 point, well leaded. It fits a pocket, as all magical companions should be able to.

It might not be good body armour, however. Is the breastplate size of current fiction and the vehicle-armor size of current non-fiction a reflection of the paranoia of our times?

What do you think about the size of books? Is small effete? Is super-size just right to go with the house and the car? Or, non-pejoratively, just right because it's more comfortable for what you want a book to be and do?

Where do you read, and how? How do you store your books, if you do?

As to type size and leading, should books be printed as if they're for the vision impaired; and if so, what do you think about newspapers and legal documents?

3 comments:

Jason Erik Lundberg said...

I love pocket-sized books. As long as the type is comfortably readable, I really dig being able to carry them around in a pocket. It's why I enjoy using Moleskine notebooks.

And lately, some my favorite books have been the smaller thinner trade paperback size. Novels or collections under 200 pages.

AliceB said...

Small is wonderful, except for my vision, which has not improved with age.

I'm happiest with a well bound soft cover: one that opens easily without breaking, where the left margin doesn't slip too close to the well, where the font is crisp, clear, and, yes, not too small. I appreciate white space--it gives me the feeling that the book can breathe.

I read in waiting rooms, in the car (although only when immobile--I'm prone to motion sickness), before concerts, after dinner, while eating breakfast, before getting ready for bed. My favorite spot is our couch, next to a lamp.

As for storage--well, wherever they fit... We have more books than shelf space, and so any nook or corner in our house may hold a book, or two, or more.

Alice

Faren said...

Trade paperbacks seem easiest for me, but since I mainly read advance galleys they're mostly like tps regardless of the final form. I've got a nice lounge chair where I read books, while the dining table is mostly for magazines and crossword puzzle books.

Storage? I ran out of space long ago, and now have both tottering heaps of hardcovers and ranks of cardboard boxes full of galleys (by year). I deeply envy the basement full of library-style shelving at Locus headquarters, AKA Charles' house!