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brianmartin

Gurglings of a Putrid Stream

Thoughts on books and other assorted topics.

See also:  http://goppf.wikidot.com/swstart

My name:  Brian Martin

Five Thoughts (on Book Formatting)

1. Start on Page 1. I mean, of course, that the first page of the story should start on Page 1. Front matter can be numbered with Roman numerals or, for all I care, with negative numbers counting up to one. But the story should start on Page 1. I like to be able to look at the last page of a book and know how many pages there are, without then having to consult the first page and subtract 9 (or whatever).

2. Chapters should start on right-hand pages, and chapters should never flow one into the next on the same page. Granted, the accuracy of the total page count increases as the empty space between chapters is reduced, but I find that I enjoy being able to jump ahead, as it were, when chapters don't fill all the available page-space. Makes me feel like I'm making more progress.

3. Chapter titles should be at the top of every right hand page. The book title may appear on the left, but honestly, though I frequently forget the title of a chapter while I'm reading, I don't believe I have ever forgotten the title of the book I am reading. Even if I did, it's much simpler to flip to the book's cover than to page back to the beginning of the chapter.

4. Inner margins should be wide enough so you don't have to break the damn spine to read the book. Making them equal to the outer margins may satisfy some weird urge for symmetry, but it really makes no sense in a bound book, where curved space becomes a factor.

5. Introductions should become Afterwords, especially "scholarly" introductions. Not all introductions reveal more than I think they should about the book, but enough of them do that I almost never read the Introduction (if I read it at all; it depends) until after I've read the book.  They should be put at the back.