Right Reading

concept to publication

Month: May 2007

Companion Sites Roundup

Here’s what’s been happening at my companion sites:

Frisco Vista

Buried Mirror

How to Get a Book Published

how to get a book published

Over at Google Blogoscoped they’ve been talking about Google results for the query “how to get a …” Seems the things people appear to want are a passport, a six pack, a girl (or guy), and a book published.

Well, I can’t help much with the six pack, the girl, or the passport. But “how to get a book published” yields 54,100,000 results. And guess who’s number 1?

how to publish search results

Department of headlines that require no comment

“Polling Shows No One Dislikes the French More Than Americans, Except for the French”

Paint it Black

In the New York Review of Magazines (whatever that is), designer Roger Black “critiques” (makes a few random comments about) the typefaces of several magazines.

Unless I’m misreading him, he seems to associate Bembo with nineteenth-century typography, which seems odd. He thinks Caslon is bland (by coincidence, the article was written by Archie Bland). He thinks Hoefler is “over-informed” and compares it to trance music.

This is fun stuff to talk about, but is there anything actually useful here?

hobbit house

hobbit houseThis handsome structure was built by architect Peter Archer for a client who collects Tolkien.

According to finehomebuilding.com, “‘I came back my client and said, “I’m not going to make this look like Hollywood,”‘ Archer recalled, choosing to focus instead on a finely-crafted structure embodying a sense of history and tradition.”

More photos and story here.

Scene of the crime

poor carol

Victim and perp: broken ankle and the dirty mango what done it.

When Carol told the person at the hospital that she broke her ankle slipping on a mango on the sidewalk outside the Asian Art Museum the hospital person said “Well, that’s random.”

nasty mango

How many book reviews do we need?

Marginal Revolution has an interesting discussion of the role of newspaper book reviews. Several people say they just want “the bottom line — buy it, read it, skip it, or burn it.”

Why would you want that? Why would you want to abdicate your own judgment to someone else’s? (“Oh, the book reviewer said I should read this one, guess I’d better buy it. But that one I’m supposed to skip, even though it sounds interesting.”)

All I care about is getting some idea what the book is like. I’ve known a lot of reviewers, and there are very few whose opinions I have a compelling need to know.

Kathleen Parker: America’s Death March to Illiteracy
New York Times:
Are Book Reviewers Out of Print?

Evolving web style

I don’t know if I’m getting better at making websites, but certainly my philosophy has evolved. For buried mirror I’ve gone with a very spare look. I’m no longer putting in social bookmark and rss links like most of the seos use, for example. The only social bookmarking sites that seem to get used much (for my pages) are delicious and stumbleupon, and I figure most people know how to tag a page to those sites without being prompted.

I’m using an image map for navigation. Is that a good idea? I’m trying to keep the navigation to eight items (counting “home” and “contact”), and the nav words are too general to be of any use for search engines anyway. Since the image repeats on all (most? I made a sidebar style page in case the nav image is incompatible with body images) pages, it doesn’t slow the pages down once it’s cached (it’s about 35K, which doesn’t seem too bad).

On my computer the buried mirror pages are loading really fast, and I’m pleased with how this is progressing. Still some page moving to do (some pages are still referring to right reading), and I will need to strengthen the content …

“The Hand of Time” seems a good way to start.

Maybe what I’ll do is every fortnight or so make a link roundup of the main new additions to the satellite sites. That is, if I have the energy to keep juggling these sites without dropping a ball.

I can’t wait to get to the end of this post!

snappy walkerIt won’t come as a huge surprise to many people to learn that people are walking 10 percent faster than they were a decade ago. Where have things especially speeded up? Well, in Singapore people are walking 20-30 percent faster than they used to, and Singaporeans count as the world’s fastest walkers, according to a newly released study by Richard Wiseman. (Second-fastest, surprisingly, was Copenhagen. See all the results here.)

A previous study found that “as people move faster they become less likely to help others, and also tend to have higher rates of coronary heart disease.”

(The image is from Merida, and it’s cheating — they don’t walk fast there.)


burried mirror

I’ve spun off the Maya portion of this site to a new domain, www.buriedmirror.com. The name alludes to the ancient Mesoamerican practice of including mirrors in burial sites. There’s still a lot of moving of files to do, but eventually this will enable me to collect all my Mesoamerican material on one dedicated site.

Previously I had splintered off my San Francisciana to my site www.friscovista.com. That site does not receive as much traffic as this one (but I haven’t really worked at getting links yet). But I like the way it is accumulating a comparatively coherent body of material.

It raises the question of dedicated sites versus those where anything goes (like this one). When I ran my publishing company, Mercury House, I tried to be a traditional generalist house. Of course, while no book publishing is easy, niche publishing is easier than generalist publishing because it’s easier to establish an identity and it’s easier to define and reach a specific market segment.

Some bloggers invoke the 80/20 rule (for example, Google Blogoscoped, whose tagline is “80% Google”). The idea is that if 80 percent of your posts are on one topic the other 20 percent can be on whatever. There’s probably something to it. But — although this site tends to feature book- and print-related topics such as writing, translation, publishing, printing, art and photography, graphic design, and typography — I intend to keep it free-wheeling, not worrying about sticking to a particular topic.

Frisco Vista
main: www.friscovista.com
blog: www.friscovista.com/news/
feed: feeds.feedburner.com/friscovista

Buried Mirror
blog: www.buriedmirror.com/latest/
feed: hburiedmirror.rightreading.com/latest/wp-rss.php

presidential candidates tag clouds


Interesting. Republicans here, Democrats here. Via Vark.

Sorry posting has been slow. I’m about to break out another site, announcement soon.

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