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

Today is Saturday, August 23, 2014 1:21 pm (U.S. central time).

Topics


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

Subscribe (RSS)

rss feed button





Subscribe to my e-mail newsletter


Search This Blog



12 Recent Posts

Most posts appear early weekday mornings.


 

Some Popular Pages

1 How to Get a Book Published
2 Persian Ceramics
3 Chinese Jade
4 Creative barcodes from Japan
5 Taoism and the Arts of China
6 The digital divide
7 New graphic design 8 Gutenberg and Asia
9 The Yi jing
10 Glossary of Book Publishing Terms
11 Books for Writers
12 Famous Last Words
13 On Julio Cortazar
14 On Lewis Caroll's Sylvie and Bruno
15 Daybook: September
16 The Making of Masters of Bamboo


Some popular blog posts, 2006-2008

Who knows the way? Johnny Cash!

Paris under water

This photo is one of a series of dark, atmospheric photos by Arnaud Labgraph showing the Seine at high water.

Photography is one of the diverse interests of this mainly book publishing-related blog, but I have been largely inactive for a while as I have been at work on nonvirtual projects. I hope to get back to more regular blogging now — we shall see — and what better way than with a post drawn from my colleague Jason Jose’s Faith Is Torment blog?

Tom Kristensen

tom kristensen, haervaerk (havoc)

Maybonne returned recently from a trip to Europe, which included a swing through northern Germany and Denmark. While there she took a few pictures of Christensen-related books and signage, including this shelf featuring the best-known title of Tom Kristensen (1893-1974).

I’ve long had some interest in Kristensen, and not just because of the similarity of our names. I first encountered him in Richard Ellman’s biography of James Joyce. (Apparently Ellman got some of his facts wrong about Joyce and Kristensen, who did a review of the bio.) Kristensen’s book Haervaerk (“Havoc,” shown in the photo) was influenced by Joyce and introduced some of his literary strategies to Denmark. The two men met, and Joyce was interested in Kristensen’s work, which centered around the city of Copenhagen much as Joyce’s centered around Dublin. Haervaerk, which was published in 1930 traces a journalist’s intentional journey of self-ruination.  The book was translated into English by Carl Malmberg as Havoc and published by the University of Wisconsin Press.

There is a good brief appreciation of Haervaerk by Marie (who has a master’s degree in Comparative Literature and Theatre Studies, and is employed as a dramaturge at a chamber opera house in Copenhagen) at the blog “At the Lighthouse.”

 

 

Password strength

“Through twenty years of effort, we’ve successfully trained everyone to use passwords that are hard for humans to remember, but easy for computers to guess.”

how to make strong passwords using phrases
Click image to view full size at xkcd site.

How well do you see color?

color challenge

I proof color professionally in my job as a museum publications specialist, and I feel like I’m pretty good at it. So I was pleased to get the confirmation of a perfect score in this interesting color test. Give it a try!

 

Uncle Drew

I know it’s Pepsi, but Uncle Drew is still awesome.

Friday Roundup: Links for May 11

“Every separation is a link.” — Simone Weil

Lots of questions today:

Duly quoted (Mother’s Day weekend edition):

  • “Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother’s love is not.”  – James Joyce
  • “Mothers are all slightly insane.” — J.D. Salinger
  • “I believe that always, or almost always, in all childhoods and in all the lives that follow them, the mother represents madness. Our mothers always remain the strangest, craziest people we’ve ever met.” – Marguerite Duras
  • “David Stern should get with the mothers of the NBA and let the moms decide what the dress code should be. I asked my mother if I could wear a chain, and she told me yeah.” – Shaquille O’Neal

Bravo, Walters!

llama, chamay culture, earthenware, 1000-1470

llama, chamay culture, earthenware, 1000-1470

The Walters Art Museum has donated some 19,000 images of works from their collections to Wikimedia. They are among the museums — another is the Getty — who reject the spurious claim of some institutions that they can control the copyright on works that are hundreds of years old. In 2006 they removed admission fees. In 2011 they made 20,000 images available on their website through a Creative Commons license. I endorse this attitude, which promotes the free exchange of ideas and furthers the institution’s educational mission in a dramatic and effective way.

*

via artdaily.org

Kansas City Public Library

Kansas City Public Library

Nice. I’m guessing not many patrons have difficulty finding the library.

 

(via viahouse.com)

 

Friday roundup: links for May 4

“Every separation is a link.” — Simone Weil

Duly Quoted

  • “I think many men are much more familiar with the failed policies than a lot of other people, as well as the general public.”
    – Herman Cain, explaining the political gender gap

Font Shop plug-in

The Font Shop plug-in allows trying before buying. According to the FS webpage, “The FontShop Plugin Beta allows designers and other type enthusiasts to try out FontShop fonts directly inside Adobe® Photoshop® CS5 and CS5.5. You can preview any of the over 150,000 FontShop fonts for free, in the context of your own artwork. This is a great new way to find the perfect typographic fit for your project.”

Cats as typefaces

cats as fonts

Gotta say, this is purrty well done. More like this over at Bombi(llo).

A manuscript of geometric solids

geometric solid from Codex Guelf 74. 1, via Bibliodyssey

This curious image, shamelessly copied from Peacay’s excellent Bibliodyssey, is one of several similar images from a 36-page manuscript said to date from the sixteenth century. The provenance and attribution of this work are a bit mysterious. There was great interest in regular geometric solids during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, as it was thought that in them was hidden God’s secret design for the universe. Such thinking derived from the ancient lineage of Pythagoreanism.

One researcher who explored this direction in depth, as described in my 1616: The World in Motion, was Johannes Kepler, who in the early seventeenth century produced this somewhat similar diagram of a “cosmic cup” in which all of the regular solids are embedded together (Kepler persuaded the eastern Habsburg emperor Rudolf to commission royal metal workers to construct such a cup, though the efforts came to nothing):

kepler: planetary solids

 

The image reproduced at Bibliodyssey is curious for its lack of context and its early date. As a philosophical/mathematical model it is much less rigorous than Kepler’s version and seems as much the result of private symbolism as of mathematics. Some of the images from the manuscript have something of the quality of origami, which is certainly out of the mainstream even of esoterica, so to speak. I would hazard the guess that the author of this work might have been a forerunner of Rosicrucianism (notice the three-dimensional cross in the center of the image, which has some of the vocabulary of alchemy). If I can learn more about the manuscript I will share what I find out.

Different covers for books by male and female writers?

male-female-book-covers

Meg Wolitzer raised the issue at the New York Times. Emily Temple at Flavorwire followed up with a sampling of book covers. These authors focus on supposed typographical differences between books by male and female authors. From the Flavorwire sample it looks to me like color and tone might be at least as significant. Is this just random? What do you think?

 

1616 review recap

scribe by rizi-yi-abbasiSome highlights (well, hey, the topic interests me):

Cleveland Plain Dealer (March 29, 2012)
“Thomas Christensen’s 1616 is a delight, an adventure, a reading and visual treat of the first order. Once you hold it in your hands, and the sumptuous, well-chosen illustrations fall open, its $35 pricetag will seem like a bargain.”

Maclean’s Magazine
 (Canada; April 2, 2012 issue)
” Where Christensen shines … is in his tales of individuals incongruently ricocheting around this newly opened world.”

East Bay Express
 (March 21, 2012)
” A swashbuckling, stargazing, witchcrafty, ’round-the-world-in-three-hundred-plus-pages historical adventure disguised as an art book, 1616: The World in Motion is simply dazzling.”

San Jose Mercury News (March 3, 2012)
“This thoughtful, beautifully illustrated book examines the key events in art, science, war and politics, as well as mass migrations, new modes of trade and women’s emerging roles.

ForeWord Magazine (Spring 2012 issue)
A “fresh, deeply researched and thoughtfully composed window back in time.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review, December 12, 2011; also named one of PW‘s top ten history books for the season)
“A stunning overview of the nascent modern world through a thematic exploration of the year 1616.”

Kirkus Reviews (November 15, 2011)
” Well-researched and entertaining … a unique reading experience.”

Barney Rosset

barney rosset

RIP Barnet Lee Rosset, Jr. (May 28, 1922–February 21, 2012), publisher of Grove Press and Evergreen Review.

1616 landing page updated

1616 landing page

Earlier I talked about creating a landing page for my book 1616. At that time I just put together a quick image map with hot spots for links. But this meant the text was an image, which meant it was neither very editable nor very googleable. In addition, I thought the middle column was a bit too thin and the type too small. So I’ve redone the page as CSS. I’ve also included a new link to an e-mail newsletter that I intend to send out every couple of months or so. You can sign up for it here.

If anything on the landing page seems amiss please let me know.

Google on Google

a google privacy e-mail appearing in my gmail spam folder

You find some funny things in your gmail spam folder sometimes. Google seems to think this e-mail is spam.

Living in the material world

An advance copy of 1616 arrived this week. I gather only a couple of copies were air shipped from the printer (R.R. Donnelley) in China, so it was kind of my publisher, Counterpoint, to send one to me. The bulk shipment should be here in a few weeks, and the book should hit stores in the second half of February.

Counterpoint went to more expense and trouble on the production of this book than I expected, beginning with color throughout, which was a little surprising as this is a book intended for the trade and not a museum catalogue or art book per se. The book has nice chocolate-colored boards and a red and yellow headband. The 7¼ x 10 in. trim size makes it a little bigger than a standard trade book (often 5½ x 8½ or 6 x 9) but not so big as books intended mainly for the art market (which are often 9 x 12 or larger).

1616, full book

The front cover and spine are stamped with gold stamping (a little washed out here by my flash).

spine of 1616

There are colored ensheets front and back. The image is a pair of Japanese screens (one shown above the other one) from the period covered in the book. Together these happen to fit the dimensions of the book perfectly, and they represent some of the best geographical knowledge of the time.

1616 endsheets

The book is well bound with sewn bindings so that it lies flat when opened.

1616, spread with Galileo image

All things considered, the art is nicely produced on 128 gsm matte paper with good opacity.

1616, spread with Avercamp image

All in all, a nice piece of work, and for now attractively priced at $35.

1616, spread with Francken image

Errorist alert

sign showing errorist alert levels

I made this little sign for my office. I thought it might come in handy.

This marker goes with it:

marker showing today's threat level