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Lovely photos, poor copy
on 26 December 2012
Overall, this is a lovely book with some fantastic photos and interviews with frame-builders at all stages of their craft, some just starting out and others with 60 years experience. The bicycles are a delight to look at, with some radical new designs alongside more traditional frames.
However, the thing which mars this book for me is the poorly-written copy and some typographical errors which detract from the "quality feel" one might expect. Given that it is a book about craftsmanship, a phrase like "Robin's bikes literally speak for themselves" seems like sloppy (or non-existent) editing. Talking bicycles, whatever next! There are several places where sentences are ended with a spurious full stop ("wasn't talking to you!". and "could you help me?".) which is such a basic error. It's also quite basic that an ellipsis ... is not followed by a full-stop - you get one or the other, not both! Also, the use of em-dashes, en-dashes and hyphens is very inconsistent.
If you admire fine typography, this book goes part of the way but again is marred by errors like underlining text (a big no-no in print) and layout errors like
"freshly welded S
& S couplers"
which might have come out better as "freshly-welded S&S couplers," at least keeping the S&S bit together for ease of reading. Non-existent paragraph leading and/or indentation means it's often quite tricky to find the start of a paragraph, and the typefaces for the headings and pull-quotes are a bit tricky to read as well.
These might seem like "niggles" but for a book at this price and quality, it makes the book less pleasurable and more difficult to read. Given the quality of the photos, I'm left with a book which is almost beautiful, about one of my favourite subjects, but ultimately is unsatisfactory.