A stellar book month, from start to finish. Lucky me! You can't go wrong with any of these.
Just My Type: A Book About Fonts, by Simon Garfield
Highly recommend. I am a font junkie, the kind of weirdo that checks out the title pages of books to see if they list the font used and agonizes for hours on what particular font best expresses the concept of "Lenten Family Bowling" (yes, there is such an event) for our church newsletter. Even as font-crazy as I am, I couldn't believe that a book about fonts could be quite as entertaining as this one is, from start to finish. This book did a masterful job of explaining the particulars of an item that affects every facet of our everyday life, yet is scarcely noticed, when it is doing its job properly. I especially loved the stories behind various individual fonts, but I am not sure that I will ever be able to use Gill Sans again.
Fraud: Essays, by David Rakoff
Highly recommend. My introduction to David Rakoff was via his contributions to "This American Life," one of my favorite radio programs. I was saddened to hear of his recent death due to his second bout with cancer, on an hour-long remembrance program. This is his first book of essays. He is frequently compared with David Sedaris, his friend and mentor, but I don't think the comparison is a valid one. Rakoff's voice, while laced with humor, is darker and deeper than Sedaris's. His use of language and description is so well-crafted that I found myself re-reading entire paragraphs to savor his talent. Given my recent state of mind, the title (and recurring theme) of feeling like a fraud was particularly resonant, but I hope he came to terms with the feeling before his untimely death.
The Passing Bells, by Phillip Rock
Highly recommend. This book caught my eye with the byline "Before Downton Abbey, there was Abington Pryory..." This book (first in a trilogy) was written in 1978, and the comparisons to Downton Abbey, goes even deeper than the similarity in names: matching number of syllables, traditionally places that housed women who had joined holy orders.... Makes you go "hmmmmm." This book focuses largely on the events of World War I and the effect on one extended family of landed gentry. More "upstairs" than "downstairs," the book does a good job of explaining the effect of the war on every day life and the soldiers who fought it. I have already ordered the next book in the series.