You People Are the Best

I’ve been floored by the positive response to my academic valentines this week. Honestly, that you are finding them amusing makes me pleased as punch. Thanks for making this Valentine’s Day exceptionally...

New Valentines for Academics

New academic valentines have been added for 2015! Find them, and last year’s, here. Happy Valentine’s Day, colleagues! UPDATE: By popular suggestion, new valentines have been...

Great Minds and All That—Harvard University Press, Tweed Editing, and Futura

I feel pretty good about Tweed’s graphic design when I see resonances between it and Harvard University Press books! If we compare the promotional banner for the new translation of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century and Tweed’s header design, it looks like they both use some form of the typeface Futura, outlined and in a very similar color palette (right down to the background hue, which I have not altered but blends almost seamlessly into my site’s default color scheme). I don’t know whether this means my taste is standard issue or whether it signifies a timeless aesthetic, but the coincidence is fun. I do know that I could take some tips from the press in terms of negative space and complementary type weights. And here’s another great-minds-think-alike situation involving Tweed and HUP. Like this most recent similarity, that previous graphic kinship involves the typeface Futura (or a close variant). Do check out Piketty’s book; I’m sure it’s...

Research Dreams Come True: A Personal Note

This spring, my main squeeze, Rich, completed a course of study in economics. He now has four degrees to my mere three. To celebrate, he had the idea that we should take a trip—something significant but eminently feasible. He suggested Iceland, somewhere that he had already visited briefly and that I had long dreamed of exploring. I can’t pinpoint the earliest spark of my Icelandic fascination (perhaps it began with Björk, whose Debut album became a favorite of mine in the early nineties). But I do know when I first took a disciplined look at the small island nation. In my freshman year of high school, my honors world-history class required an in-depth investigation of a country, any country. I picked Iceland. I remember being nervous that one of my classmates would choose it before I could, but when my number was drawn from the hat, the tiny Nordic nation was still available. The research required was deeper than I’d done before. My sources went beyond encyclopedias; I remember using LexisNexis and microfiche at the library. I ended up citing the Los Angeles Times, the Economist, OECD documents, and Ms. magazine. According to the original WordPerfect files my father miraculously dug up for me, the resulting paper was 30 pages in length, plus appendices that included images and, I recall, Icelandic currency. It must have been my first “multichapter” work, with each of eight chapters homing in on a different issue facing Iceland at the time. Bringing the paper along with me on the trip we took last month brought everything full circle. It was oddly moving to introduce my almost-twenty-year-old attempt at scholarship...

Tweed Editing Profiled in UPPERCASE Magazine

It’s all very happenstance, but a series of events led to UPPERCASE magazine devoting a two-page spread to me and my work with Tweed. UPPERCASE is “a magazine for the creative and curious.” While its focus is not academics, scholarship fits that tagline pretty perfectly, wouldn’t you say? The piece’s headline, “Lady Luck,” reflects the curious circumstances that led them to feature me. (I won a lifetime subscription, totally by chance.) But the deck—in academic parlance, we might call it a subtitle—really gives me a kick: “Academic Editor by Day, Word Scout by Night.” With or without the thematic sash I made, I guess “Word Scout” must henceforth be my superhero name. (Any ideas for a catchphrase? “Forget cookie time, it’s book-y time”? “Be prepared . . . with reams of reading material”? “Wherever there’s print media, I’ll be there”? “Book this!”?) Erin Bacon, the writer of the piece, quotes me sharing why I do what I do: “It’s important to me that academic writing has at least the potential of engaging with broader culture. The field of my own research is scriptures and cultures, so I suppose it’s obvious that I have a fascination with the printed page and how humans create meaning through text.” The good folks at UPPERCASE have given me a discount to share with you all: the code contributor17 will get you $10 off a subscription or renewal. Don’t think of this as you might a subscription to (now defunct) Newsweek or Us Weekly, where half the pages are advertisements from companies who have paid handsomely for your attention. No, this is like receiving...