I am in a book group that doesn't read books over 250 pages. That's why we call it the Short Attention Span Book Club (SASBC). The group was started in 2012 by my friend Will Jones. We have been meeting every month since then and I have read over 50 books, which is probably 45 more books than i would have read on my own. Will is a former English teacher who loves literature. He started us off with a two-column list of possible books to read. We have expanded the list since then. One column of the list is classics and the other is contemporary titles. (Our current list is below). Some of the books have actually been longer than 250 pages, but not by much.
Mine is. Or, at least it looks like it is. There is an old adage in business, "If a financial report is too long and too complicated, it could be that someone is trying to hide something." I don't know if anyone is hiding anything, but my royalty statements are very long, complicated, and difficult to understand. For example, below is an illustration of one type of entry where they subtracted $3,750 in royalties with no explanation, other than "adjustment." (Just imagine the CEO of a publishing company getting a pay check with a deduction of $3,750 with no explanation.) :
This happens over 10 times on the statement. There are so many entries like this that I don't know where to start asking questions. But I know something is wrong precisely because there is no explanation. They know where this entry comes from, but they are not sharing it with me. Why not?
I have always thought that mathematics was a colorful, exciting discipline to study, and I want this reflected in the materials we publish at XYZ Textbooks. Our new Algebra: A Combined Course 2/e is our best example yet. The cover art, and the opening art in each chapter, is from the artist Tracy Taylor. I have knows Tracy for years and I have always admired her beautiful, colorful paintings. So, I asked her if she would be willing to create some art for this book and, happily, she was very receptive to the idea. She came into the office and we explained the themes we were developing for each chapter of the book. She went back to her studio and created a painting for each chapter, specific to the theme in the chapter introduction. It was an amazing and enjoyable process, and I am extremely happy with the results.
We will be in San Diego at the AMATYC conference this month, so come by the booth and take a look at our new book, and Tracy's art. I know you will like what you see.
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