Friday, November 9, 2012

Thing I Don't Understand #7*: Complaints About Small Type in Books

I hear nothing but praise for large type and damning of small type in books.

At the book club, I showed my Collectors Library edition of Jane Eyre,delighting in the small format, someone dismissed me with, "Oh you still can read small type."

As if I haven't heard this one before and she couldn't see the glasses on my face.

Then this morning I read someone who said, "I couldn't read the small type. Must be my aged eyes."

My question: is this not the modern age? Have we not got reading glasses? Why the complaints?

As someone who has worn glasses since the 4th grade for nearsightedness and whose eyes have aged in the expected manner so that I now have some farsightedness, I wear trifocals (smoothed over so y'all can't tell ... ha!)

Man up, get some reading glasses and stop forcing those of us who do to lug around gigantic books with monstrous type of the sort that used to be featured only in the Dick and Jane stories for tykes.

(I'm talking about the "average" here, not the unusual exception condition ... so we need not go there.)

* Numbered in no particular order except that I'm sure there are six other things I don't understand more often than this. Be glad I didn't drag you through those questions so early in the day! :-)


  1. I have a collection of cute and quirky reading glasses scattered all over the house. If I am going to have to put on reading glasses, I am going to make a statement when I do. Not sure what the statement is, but I am making one I am sure.

  2. I've got a PDF review copy of a novel that is too small to read on my Kobo. It's just not possible to read this text for more than a minute, and because it's a PDF, the line breaks don't shift around if you increase the size of the text.

    Therefore I'd have to scroll down halfway down every page in order to read this book. Sorry, no-can-do. Or rather, no-will-do. I can read it on my husband's iPad when he's not using it.

    I've never seen type that small in a printed novel, btw. After reading my Norton Anthology in college, I don't get people griping about printed type. Type that's too big is hard for me to read, ironically. ;-)

  3. Another reason why I now prefer ebooks. I can set the font size and style to whatever I want and not have to use reading glasses.

  4. I'm with you! And I HATE it when a book I want to read is only available in large print. Far more annoying to be turning the page every other paragraph!

  5. I'm reading Brothers K right now in what's probably eight-point type. I'm all right, as long as my contacts aren't in. It's 600 pages as it is, so I think the publisher made the right call.

  6. Julie, you're making a spectacle (sorry...) of yourself with this one. My childhood myopia has deteriorated into something-else-opia, even with brand-new glasses. I think you're being short-sighted (oops...), and lacking a sense of vision (cough...). I do wish you could see (wheeze...) what others must suffer -- THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV with a big ol' Sherlock Holmes lens.

    - Mack in Kirbyville

  7. Mack, you're delightful!

    Julie, how apropos that you posted this now. I got a new prescription and glasses last year, but on Monday I found myself squinting to see the ingredients list in a lipstick. My lips were stinging. I still couldn't read everything in that little circle. Made in China was in really small font and the ingredients were even tinier.

    So I tossed the lipstick. And while I was out getting a new tube, I bought a page magnifier. I need one for painting details with a two-hair brush, but other than that, I see well enough. I'll probably end up with bifocals next year.

    Glasses, magnifiers, etc. - all lovely tools.