What makes a book a pleasure to hold and read? The content is very important of course; a story that flows and holds the reader's interest is paramount, however the spell created may be broken by jarring mistakes. "The Pied Piper's Poison", set in a refugee camp in immediate post-war Europe, is a well thought out story that uses a technique previously employed by Peter Ackroyd in his "The House of Dr Dee", namely having alternate chapters set in different time periods, 1648 and 1946 in this case, the two eventually crossing. The story mainly flows beautifully, however it has some glaring grammatical errors that detract from one's enjoyment of the book. Editors, do your job properly. PD thinks that knowing grammar should be a prerequisite for being an editor.
The enjoyment of a book also depends on its look and feel. This includes the type and quality of paper. PD prefers a matte paper of good weight. Deckle edges are also nice.
The type matters, as does a clear layout. A touch of color, such as a red highlight in the print, adds something. Compare these two versions of the same book:
Finally, the binding. Clothbound books (hardback) are nicer than paperbacks.
Putting all of these things together into a fine edition significantly increases the cost of production, however this adds a lot to the experience of holding and reading a book.
Stationery update: While on the topic of adding pleasure to things, Field Notes Brand has done it again. As you are aware, Field Notes Brand notebooks are amongst PD's favorites (see PD's review here: GHOST_URL/review-field-notes-brand-notebooks). For the summer 2016 limited edition, FNB has taken the humble reporter's notebook and created a stylish version.
The back cover contains a pocket with a newspaper-style story from the 1803 US presidential election, written by journalist John Dickerson, who also helped FNB with the design of the notebook.
You can order it from FNB while stocks last:
Note: photographs are from the relevant websites and are the copyright of the respective owners.
Note: PD does not get sponsored by any company and chooses to write about products that catch his eye while on the prowl, without the makers' knowledge. That way he remains impartial.
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