Books

Books are my life. It’s a simple, straightforward, encompassing statement, and a true one. I learned to read at the age of two and haven’t stopped. Books have always been important to me and my love of them is central to who I am. They actually matter to me on a spiritual level. Cogito, ergo sum; lego, ergo sum Don.

Nothing centers me like curling up, legs under me, in a comfy chair in a quiet room, with a book. While I’ll read anything, I prefer genre stuff or nonfiction. By “genre” I mean fantasy, science fiction, and horror. I’m an avid role-playing gamer and I read my RPG rulebooks cover to cover. I love comic books and graphic novels in the above genres (or even more creative cross-genre comics). Of course, I also read genre novels as well.

My nonfiction reading tends toward the subjects I studied in college and grad school — linguistics, anthropology, psychology, and Asian studies — with healthy doses of other subjects thrown in for variety. I read mostly academic/scholarly books and trade books written for an educated audience (à la those published by Basic Books or W. W. Norton).

If you’re interested in what I’m reading at any given time or the contents of my personal library, you can find me on a number of book-related networking sites. I’m on LibraryThing, Goodreads, Shelfari, and The Reading Room.

My love of books (and my brother’s suggestion) led to my career in book publishing. I work for Waveland Press, a small college-textbook publisher. As at any small company, I’m forced to wear a lot of hats, but the two listed on my business cards are “editor” and “production manager.” Most of my editorial duties these days are acquisitions. I don’t do much copyediting or even hands-on developmental editing anymore. I oversee the development of our overall lists in a number of disciplines, the largest being geology and forestry/wildlife. I’m also responsible for agriculture/animal science more generally as well as geography and oceanography, not to mention individual acquisition projects in other disciplines. I’ve actually developed quite a fondness for all these subjects and my lack of background in them results in learning lots of new things with every project.

While my card says “manager,” it should say “production department,” as I’m the sole production guy for the company. Being involved in production has given me an appreciation for physical books that I didn’t have before. Any time I pick up a book now, I look over its craftsmanship, its binding, its paper. It’s opened a new dimension to how I experience a book. I didn’t enter book publishing to work production, but I’m very grateful I’ve had the experience. (Plus, every book we publish has to cross my desk. It’s pretty exciting being the gateway through which new books enter “the system.”)


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