On Beauty

I had coffee with an internet friend the other day for the first time and I asked her what she was reading. She immediately started talking about a book set in Texas that she had fallen completely in love with but couldn’t recommend because it was written for people from Texas. There was something that was impossible to translate for anyone else and to be honest I huffed and puffed – what’s so special about Texas I thought.

With that said I’ve been reading On Beauty by Zadie Smith this past week and I feel the same way. A large part of the novel is about England and the way characters feel pulled and pushed by the random magnetism of the place.

There were many moments where I had to stop reading because it was too much to find my thoughts and feelings about a place I should call home, but don’t and never will, bundled up in a book. And so On Beauty is this wonderfully painful novel for me which I don’t think I can recommend for the same reasons as my Texan friend and her book, unless of course you happen to be English and you’ve decided to live on the other side of the world and you feel horrendously guilty about it all and dread the thought of returning each and every time and yet somehow dread the thought of leaving once you’re there.

Anyway! I ramble. The reason why I bring it up is because the cover has this rather beautiful set of characters – I can’t quite tell whether they’re hand lettered or the work of an insanely dedicated and now entirely bankrupted type foundry. But they’re lovely all the same:


Actually my pal James Lindeman just informed me that indeed this is a typeface, aptly named Zadie and it was designed by A2-Type, a London based type foundry. The specimens sure are lovely, too:


Check out those two capital A variants! And the H! The H!