Last week, Freight Books read…

Waterlog by Roger DeakinWaterlog, by Roger Deakin (Vintage). This book was an inspiration for me, and proved a delicious escape for a city-bound country boy. Waterlog is exactly that, a collection of diary entries concerned with swims undertaken by Deakin, from rivers to open-air lidos, to seas and lochs and sea lochs, to his moat.

He writes with such delight at the feel of water that is not chlorinated, of the shrill tremor of elation at plunging into cold water of being alone in the Fairy Pools or riding river rapids with a choice few friends, that acts like a siren’s song, though in this case luring you away from the rocks and in to deeper water. Continue reading

Last week, Freight Books read…

never let me goNever Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro (Faber & Faber). This was quite a provocative and haunting story to get my head around. It is the kind of book that you finish and then immediately badger all of your close friends and family to read so that you can talk to them about it because you can’t possibly keep all of your thoughts to yourself. It raises some interesting questions about human nature and morality in a contorted world where science has progressed further than in reality. Kazuo Ishiguro imagines a dystopian setting in England, almost identical to the England that we know, but with some very important differences that change the lives of the characters in the book – for good and bad, depending on who they are. Continue reading

A year lost to the Rougon-Macquarts

In 2010 I read a novel by Émile Zola titled Nana, and loved it. It was funny, interesting in it’s detail (I found out, for instance, about Parmentier, through the most throw-away of comments) and just an all-round good read.

Nana, by Emile ZolaI knew of Zola through his standalone classic, Thérèse Raquin, and through his involvement in the Dreyfus Affair, but had never heard of any of his other work. To be honest, I didn’t think there was any to think about.

Emile Zola - the man himselfNana was in fact just one of a twenty-volume collection of realist novels called the Rougon-Macquart series. I spent the following year tracking down every decent translation from this series. They comprise, in my opinion, of some of the best writing I have ever experienced, and yet are pretty much unknown. In a small way, I am trying to rectify that, whilst being as brief as possible. If you’re fed up with the waffle, scroll ever downwards to very short summaries of the books easily available in English. Continue reading

Last week, Freight Books read…

The Hearing Trumpet The Hearing Trumpet, by Leonora Carrington (Penguin Modern Classics). This was a funny little read. Written by the surrealist artist Leonora Carrington (who was once rescued from a Spanish asylum by her old nanny in a submarine) it is the story of ninety-two year old Marian Leatherby, who lives in the back room of her son’s house with her two cats and red hen. How she got to be in Mexico we never find out, but she longs to be rescued and taken to Lapland instead. Continue reading

Just Our Type

Every month Freight aims to give you a preview of one of our designer’s favourite fonts. This month David Benjamin brings you…

5 HelveticaHelvetica
Max Miedinger (with Eduard Hoffmann)
Haas Type Foundry, 1957


In 1956 Swiss type designer Max Miedinger was commissioned by Eduard Hoffmann to design a new sans-serif typeface for the Haas Type Foundry.

Hoffmann wanted a typeface that would be able to compete commercially with Akzidenz-Grotesk (Berthold Type Foundry). From an earlier typeface, Schelter Grotesk, Miedinger developed a neutral and highly legible typeface ideal for application to signage.

2 Helvetica SignageIn 1957, the release of ‘Neue Haas Grotesk’ was an immediate success, making its first appearance at the Swiss print and graphic arts trade show, ‘Graphic 57’. Continue reading