Friday, 5 August 2011

Web muster

From McSweeneys - Young people are reading more than you; maybe its because the YA market is booming:

Between 1995 and 1997, the number of young adult titles published per year fell dramatically, dropping from 5,000 to just over 3,000, according to R.R. Bowker’s Publishers Weekly. In 2009, there were over 30,000.

From the New York Review of Books blog - goodbye Helvetica, hello Optima (only the piece is much more serious and eloquent than I'm making it sound)

Optima is the anti-Helvetica. Zapf designed it in the early 1950s, around the same time that Helvetica was taking shape, but he had a completely different and far more profound sense of what a typeface ought to be. Instead of being mathematically perfect and untethered to a particular time or place, Optima embodies a subtle understanding of history. It is nominally a sans-serif, but its lines swell subtly toward their endpoints, with the result that they suggest classical serifs without actually having them. Zapf based the letterforms on carvings he found on Italian renaissance grave stones, and their overall shape and proportions unmistakably derive from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. But their sleek lines suggest the aerodynamic curves of modern technology, and the whole design could only have been invented in the mid-twentieth century.

And in the Guardian, Martin Creed's piece for the Edinburgh festival - "a work of art so perfectly integrated into the world that you feel a bit of a fool for making a fuss over it." (Does anyone else wish the Guardian put in more pictures?)


Robyn said...

I've always been puzzled by the name "young adults". I started patronising the YA section of the Hamilton Public Library when I was about 9, and I don't ever remember seeing any youthful adults in there. It seemed more like "older children" or "young teens". I guess it's a label that avoids the Seussian world of "children" and plays to the perpetual desire for children to be treated like cooler, older kids.

Courtney Johnston said...

I recently read a comment by someone who described YA books as being a coming-of-age story told in under 300 pages. I'm not sure where that leaves Twilight or the combined 4,176 pages of Harry Potter.

YA seems really to be a label used by the professionals (writers, critics, booksellers and librarians) rather the readers themselves. Librarians, for example, slide and dice books with precision - to the point where there's picture books, and 'sophisticated picture books'. The first time I heard that phrase I imagined a whole bunch of stick figures dressed in Prada and suffering from ennui.