The Nygren System of Literary Genius, Vook, and other Matters

Quick quick catch-up here on non-beer related matters:

Last week, I mentioned David Nygren's self-described nutty idea --- using Excel to create a novel. Thousands of people have since downloaded his program.

And now, the New Yorker, that magazine beloved of the glitterliterati (which would not, ahem, be me) everywhere, mentions it. Although as David notes in a tweet, woulda been nice if they'd mentioned his name!

I can see it coming soon to a "bookstore" near you: A collection of short stories composed using the Nygren Method of Literary Genius.

In other news, yesterday the New York Times ran a story about a new e-publishing venture, If you're interested in the future of the printed word (and if you read this blog regularly, you know that I am), take a look. It's an interesting idea, and I suspect sometime in the next two years it, or something similar, will begin to bear (profitable) fruit.

As I noted a few weeks ago, it's clear that the notion of the "book" is changing, and that soon (very soon!) a "book" will contain various  digitized, embedded components of the kind being explored in the Vook project. I have to point out, however, that the Times article, like most of its ilk, focuses on fiction.

To which I say: WHY this obsessive focus on "books" as mainly fiction? In the U.S., 85% of the books published are non-fiction. You do the math: only 15% are fiction.

As I noted in that earlier blog entry, I'm intrigued the possibilities of non-fiction of the sort I write containing digital links to, say, Wikipedia or other external sources. Indeed, I can think of many ways in which an e-book is more suited to non-fiction than to fiction. (

Although there is a huge drawback to non-fiction in an electronic form, and I plan to explore that soon in one of my "Historian At Work" entries.)

Okay, enough of this Monday rambling. Need to get back to my chapter-in-progress (being created, I might add, by the Ogle System of Slog and Shuffle, rather than the Nygren System of Literary Genius.)