Right-reading (adj): Having the proper orientation (used in printing)

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“Words, as is well known, are the great foes of reality.”
-- Joseph Conrad


Tom Christensen
("xensen") . tom [at] rightreading.com

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1616: The plan

1616 - table of contents spread

I’m designing and typesetting my book as well as writing it. I requested this assignment from my publishers, and I’m glad they agreed. I felt that I know the book best, and I have the skills, so why not? The exception is the cover — I suggested they get a different designer to do that. I felt a fresh take might be beneficial there.

The publisher accepted the book on the basis of the preface, prologue, first two chapters, and a part of the third. That means I still have about 5/8ths or more of the book still to write. Above is the table of contents spread as it stands now. The trim size, which I suggested, is 7.25 x 10 inches. I didn’t want it to be so big that it seemed like an art book, but I wanted it to be bigger than the standard significant trade title, which is often around 6 x 9 or 6.25 x 9.25. There are a lot of images in my book, and a lot of material in the form of sidenotes (a favorite element, which I am also using extensively in the Bali catalogue I’m currently designing for the Asian Art Museum).

The image is a detail for a manuscript of the Razmnama (from 1616–1617). The Razmnama is a Persian translation of the Mahabharata, one of the great Hindu epics. I am trying to get a good diversity of different cultures represented in the book, since it represents a very global view of the year 1616. (I’m doing maps as globes from different perspectives — more on that later.)

Here’s the current TOC text close up. We’ll see how this changes a year from now when the final pages have to be delivered. The typeface is Garamond Premier Pro, my current favorite.

1616 - table of contents chapter by chapter


Comment from Jane Vandenburgh
Time: August 11, 2010, 8:36 pm

I’m so excited about this book, Tom. My book group is reading Don Quixote, everyone wants to be reading this as well– can’t wait! SO happy you’re doing this & I’m just thrilled that Counterpoint’s the publisher.

Comment from India
Time: August 11, 2010, 9:08 pm

Looks lovely. And I can’t wait to read it! It sounds so interesting.

Comment from Nicole
Time: August 11, 2010, 10:24 pm

I’ve been talking about Garamond a lot lately–I’m working on a text-based bookmark using a straight-up Garamond but in varying sizes. Good to see that typeface getting some much-needed love.

Comment from xensen
Time: August 12, 2010, 8:44 pm

You are all very kind.

Comment from C.M. Mayo
Time: August 23, 2010, 11:05 am

Gorgeous. What splendid fun to be able to design one’s own book!

Comment from reading
Time: October 13, 2010, 11:56 pm

Most people aren’t even aware that it exists, but if you see bad typesetting, you’ll know something is “off” about the publication you’re reading.

Pingback from blog.rightreading.com » 1616: the plan, revised
Time: February 8, 2011, 8:07 pm

[…] the last time I talked about this I’ve revised my plan a little. At that time I was planning six chapters (once it was more […]

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