The site takes its name from a lucky coincidence of interests:
- Contemporary world fiction (narratives of characters local to different places)
- Typeface design and typography (the design and use of printed characters)
- Voice (whether spoken or printed, the presentation of character through style in language)
- Community (the local ties that bind us)
- Travel (discovering the character of other places)
- Cognitive science (the neural and developmental origins of our character)
- Eccentrics, oddballs, and misunderstood geniuses (in other words, local characters)
- Puzzles (...nope, that doesn't fit the schema: it's a puzzle!)
Since I'm a translator, writer, and editor, my major focus will be on fiction, translation, and book publishing worldwide. A number of other excellent blogs and web journals already focus on these topics; I'll play nicely and support them as I work to develop my own niche, but Local Character will definitely range into areas those resources don't touch. Exactly what "Local Character" ends up meaning will depend on your encouragement, responses, and participation.
As Local Character (both company and website) develops, this blog will continue to be its center. Here I will review books (and occasional work in other media), report and comment on news and developments, and link to other sources, both web and print. Over the next few months, I'll fill out the links and the rest of the site design, mostly silently as I figure out what works and what doesn't.
Blog posts should be more regular. Some upcoming posts I have in mind include book reviews:
- Gert Jonke, The System of Vienna
- Stanislas Dehaene, Reading in the Brain
- Machado de Assis, A Chapter of Hats (tr. John Gledson)
- Margarita Karapanou, Rien ne va plus (tr. Karen Emmerich)
- Alda Merini, Love Lessons (tr. Susan Stewart)
- Mike Walsh, Futuretainment
I'll also be reporting what I learn about the exciting Future of Reading conference coming up next June at RIT—I know they'll be looking at reading at all scales, from neurons and letter shapes to books and publishing.
I'm excited to get this venture off the ground, and I look forward to seeing how Local Character develops. Thanks for joining me!