Making a Book: Mindful Wandering

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been working on typesetting a new book: Rebecca J. Romsdahl’s Mindful Wandering: Nature and Global Travel through the Eyes of a Farmgirl Scientist. The book is scheduled to appear in time for the holidays and is really great. It will be available as a free download and a print-on-demand paperback from The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota

The author describes the book this way (and I like this back of the cover blurb!):

Mindful Wandering is an inspiring blend of memoir, travelogue, and environmental manifesto. As a translational ecologist, Rebecca Romsdahl is trained to ask critical questions about how we can improve our human relationships with the natural world for a sustainable, resilient future. As a farmgirl, she learned how to observe nature and life through the changing seasons. In this collection of essays spanning two decades, Romsdahl weaves these ideas together as she travels our changing world. From a Minnesota farm to the mountains of Peru and the edge of the Sahara Desert, she explores strategies for sustainability and resilience, and advocates that we (especially those of us privileged enough to travel) must expand our mindful considerations to include all the other inhabitants of this beautiful Earth. Romsdahl practices, and preaches, mindful wandering to reduce her impacts on the natural environment, and to encourage us all to be better global citizens. She implores us, through the eyes of a farmgirl scientist, to ask soul-searching questions: How do we reconnect with the local, seasonal rhythms of life, while learning how to care about the whole Earth as our home?

The book is typeset and I’m pretty happy with the results. The text is set in Janson with the chapter title in Baskerville. The fonts are pretty conservative, but this is kind of the look that I was going for. The author and I decided to use a grey background for the image on the facing page of the chapter breaks to make these a bit more visible. I then shaded the chapter number (and season, which coincides with a theme in the book) to link the two facing pages together a bit. 

Mindful DRAFT FULL 2 pdf 2021 11 02 05 47 58

I tried to also keep the spacing between lines very comfortable and combined the spacing with a pretty large font (12 pt!) to make the book a comfortable read.

Mindful DRAFT FULL 2 pdf 2021 11 02 05 54 04

I also used little ears of wheat as a section divider. They’re just a bit oversized, which I found endearing!

The book’s cover has been a bit more of a challenge. I wanted the cover to be pretty conservative, The author provided some great images, all of which showed the author in the context of her landscape. I picked one that had a nice vertical aspect to it and space for the title. 

At first, I tried to use a blue filter to create a kind of ethereal landscape, but my expert panel of reviewers said that it made the cover look a bit uninviting. 

Mindful CoverDraft 1 SCREEN

At first, I wasn’t so sure, but I think that they’re probably right. They also suggested that I increase the size of the title and maybe use a warmer filter that would both make the book feel more welcoming and bring out the author’s blue jacket more. 

Trim View 2021 10 30 13 12 29

I’m not sure that this will be the final version of the cover, but I think it’s getting close. I love how the filter which is warm and brown brings out the gradient in the sky.

More on this book as it wends its way through the final stages of production soon!

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