Right Reading

concept to publication

Month: January 2010

A tip for authors

News that Sarah Palin’s political action committee has bought more than $63,000 worth of Going Rogue shows that the ex-governor knows how to manage her books. Going Rogue retails for $28.99. If the books were bought at full retail price and author got a 15 percent royalty off the retail price, that means that 15 percent of the $63,000, or $9,450, ended up in Palin’s own pocket.

The books were used by the PAC to mail copies to potential donors, so that more money could be raised, presumably to purchase more books, which could be then sent to more donors . . . and so on. All the while increasing the book’s sales rank in the marketplace.

Every author should have a PAC!

Wikipedia is marvelously comic

This strikes me as quintessential Wikipedia. I love that someone thought that a reader interested in the Russian tsar Boris Gudunov (1551-1605) would want to know about a character in the animated cartoon Bullwinkle, and that a moderator would challenge this information with a request for a citation. Wonderful!

A play on the name Boris Gudunov was Boris Badenov, an antagonist of Rocky and Bullwinkle.[citation needed]

On the loss of vitality in writing

When the ancients wrote books they were trying to get at reality and transmit spirit. But all they could convey was a general idea, in order to help lead people to the truth. Much of their spirit, their energy, their words and laughter and actions, could not be captured.

When modern generations write books they ape the form of the ancients. To show how clever they are they add false analyses and additions. And so they get farther and father from the truth.

–Wang Yangming, 1471-1529

Motorized paraglider

I don’t know what you call this — it appears to be some form of motorized paragliding. There were a couple of guys taking off from Anna Maria Island when we were there in Florida during the biting cold spell this January.

Whatever it is, like jet skiiing, off-road biking, and similar activities it’s probably fun to do but seems a little noisy for the context.

The video was taken with a Kodak EIS camera that my sister gave me. It shoots high-res videos, is slim enough to fit in your shirt pocket, and includes a built-in usb connection.

BTW, if a youtube video does not appear to be high-definition you can force the issue by appending &fmt=6 &fmt=18 or &fmt=22 after the url. But I think that soon most or all high-res videos will have an option at the bottom to simply select high definition. (Or, you can go to your youtube account page and tell it to always show high definition.)

Friday roundup | Duly quoted

“Every separation is a link.” — Simone Weil

Duly quoted

  • “The district is already beleaguered by homicides, sideshows, illegal dumping and other issues. Residents should not have to endure art parties as well.” — East Oakland city councilman Larry Reid, quoted by Carolyn Jones, San Francisco Chronicle

35 handbound books

This great video documents the process of making the books over two months at the Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY.

Stanford Professional Publishing Course Closes

After 32 years, the Stanford Professional Publishing Course has permanently closed. The decision reflects the constraints of the economic recession, but it may also signal a general retreat from a commitment to print publishing in the context of today’s online world.

I took the course in 1978 or thereabouts — I think it was the second year it was offered. I was working on my dissertation in comparative literature at the time. At the conclusion of the course I noticed an ad for a marketing copywriter with Jossey-Bass Publishers. I applied for the job and got it. I didn’t work at Jossey-Bass for long, but I did pick up the basics of book publishing and copyediting. The following year I began working as an editor for North Point Press, and I have worked in publishing ever since Thanks, SPPC, for derailing my academic career!

One could argue that with print publishing undergoing its current painful redefinition the course is needed now more than it was then. It looks like Martin Levin will be exploring new possibilities.

Mailbag: Objections to the claim of Asian influence on European printing

I received the following comments from a reader named Glenn Beard, who presents objections to my suggestion that East Asian printing with movable metal type could have influenced the development of similar printing during the European Renaissance. If you read my article you will see that it does not depend on direct European contact with Korea because the vast Mongol empire connected West Asia and East Asia and provided efficient cultural transmission to from Korea to Turkey, which had abundant contact with Europe. The invention of paper traveled a similar route from China to the West. I discuss this process in some detail. As for the specifics of the manufacture, I think this is a better argument, but we should distinguish between technology as a concept and the specifics of its implementation — besides cast bronze type East Asians also experimented with baked clay type cast in iron forms and with tin type (the latter referenced in a document from 1313). The director of the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz has called the possibility of Asian influence on German printing an open question.

Mr. Beard writes:

I read your article on Korean printing, and I would like to point out that evidence strongly points out for an independent development of metal moveable type by Gutenberg. Both the type of metal Gutenberg used and the method of manufacturing the type are vastly different from the Korean method. Had the Korean inspired Gutenberg, then his metal type should have first been made of bronze like Korean type, but that is not the case. There is no evidence that bronze moveable metal type was ever used in Europe.

Also the way the moveable type was made was totally different. Gutenberg used a hard steel punch to form molds in metal plates, while the Korean used wooden punches to form molds in sand. The methods are quite different. Plus, there is the issue of both the distance and short amount of time. Korea, unlike China, was not a country that Europeans had a lot of contact with or trade with at that time. There is no indication that Europeans were traveling around Korea at that time either, or that there were any Europeans who could speak Korean. Also, Gutenberg was a craftsman in the middle of Europe, and was very unlikely to have been in contact with anyone who had contacts with the Far East. There is no evidence that he had any dealings with scholars, merchants who traveled to China, or anyone else who would have been in a position to learn the art from Korea or China. All evidence strongly points to an independent invention by Gutenberg, and the simple fact that Koreans happen to invent a form of metal moveable type slightly earlier is no support for the idea of his having learned about metal type from the Koreans when compared to all the contrary facts.

What’s your type?

what's your type?

The latest iteration of this hoary shtick comes to us via Pentagram. To play along, use the password CHARACTER.

Lhasa de Sela

The great Montreal-based singer Lhasa de Sela died January 1 of breast cancer at the age of thirty-seven. Lhasa was born to an American mother and Mexican father in a small town in the Catskill Mountains. As a child in the U.S. and Mexico she lived the life of a nomad in a converted school bus (she had nine siblings), and as an adult she continued to travel widely, living for a time in Marseilles. Life, she said, is “a road constantly changing and, being on it, you change too.” Her music is trilingual, freely mixing English, Spanish, and French. I love it.

These are the lyrics of “Con Toda Palabra,” the song performed in the video above.

Con toda palabra
Con toda sonrisa
Con toda mirada
Con toda carici

Me acerco al agua
Bebiendo tu beso
La luz de tu cara
La luz de tu cuerpo

Es ruego el quererte
Es canto de mudo
Mirada de ciego
Secreto desnudo

Me entrego a tus brazos
Con miedo y con calma
Y un ruego en la boca
Y un ruego en el alma

Con toda palabra
Con toda sonrisa
Con toda mirada
Con toda caricia

Me acerco al fuego
Que todo lo quema
La luz de tu cara
La luz de tu cuerpo

Es ruego el quererte
Es canto de mudo
Mirada de ciego
Secreto desnudo

Me entrego a tus brazos
Con miedo y con calma
Y un ruego en la boca
Y un ruego en el alma

Here’s a quick, rough English translation

With every word
With every smile
With every glance
With every caress

I come to the water
Drinking your kiss
The light of your face
The light of your body

Loving you is a prayer
The song of the mute
The gaze of the blind
Secret nakedness

I surrender to your arms
Fearfully, calmly,
A prayer in my mouth
A plea in my soul

With every word
With every smile
With every glance
With every caress

I come to the fire
That burns everything
The light of your face
The light of your body

Loving you is a prayer
The song of the mute
The gaze of the blind
Secret nakedness

I surrender to your arms
Fearfully, calmly,
A prayer in my mouth
A plea in my soul

Lhasa, you will be missed.

Back

My nomadism is concluded for the moment, and I will resume more regular blogging tomorrow morning.

Some rights reserved 2018 Right Reading. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons (attribution, noncommercial, no derivs: 3.0) License (US), although some of the work this blog incorporates may be separately licensed. Text and images by Thomas Christensen unless otherwise noted. For print permissions or other inquiries please request via rightreading.com/contact.htm.