Stieg Larsson was having fun with the Millennium “trilogy”

October 22nd, 2011 by Zirk van den Berg § 0 comments § permalink

It was a few years after everyone else had read the Millennium trilogy and halfway through the second book that I realised author Stieg Larsson was having us on. The books about Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist are elaborate jokes.

If Wikipedia can be believed, Stieg Larsson had only considered publishing these manuscripts shortly before his death, when he was already deep into the fourth book of what is now, weirdly, marketed as a “trilogy”. The author’s otherwise puzzling hesitance to publish makes sense if you » Read the rest of this entry «

Thoughts on Frankfurt

October 20th, 2011 by Anna von Veh § 0 comments § permalink

I spent a wonderful week in Frankfurt. It started off with my presentation (Improvising Madly: Agile Workflows and Integrated Digital Strategy) at the Tools of Change Conference on the Tuesday and ended with a perfect day on the Friday exploring the Museum of Modern Art, the cafes next to the River Main, and walking along the river bank under a beautiful crisp, blue sky.

The TOC conference was great, although I didn’t get to see many of the presentations due to the four tracks running at the same time. The keynote speakers were inspiring, and I most enjoyed the 5-minute ignite sessions and the conversation between Brian O’Leary and Alistair Horne, moderated by Sheila Bounford. I met many interesting people, including Sanders Kleinfeld from O’Reilly who confirmed for me yet again that the tech world needs more Philosophy and Arts graduates (I’m biased); my LinkedIn friend, Bill Kasdorf; and Helmut von Berg, of Klopotek, who organises an annual Publishers’ Forum in Berlin. Kat Meyer, the conference chair, was a wonder and managed everything with apparent ease, although I know that belied the incredible effort and work behind the scenes.

My thanks in particular go to Brian O’Leary who joined me for my presentation when my co-presenter, Mike, due to unforseen circumstances, wasn’t able to make it to Frankfurt. Brian, as everyone knows, is a considerate, thoughtful and wonderfully intelligent speaker on all aspects of content strategy and more.

In the days in between TOC and my last day, I visited the Frankfurt Book Fair, which was a wonder to behold. Once again, I met inspiring people working at the frontiers of digital publishing, and had great conversations. I stopped by the New Zealand stand and had such a rush of love when I saw that little patch of home.

It is good to be back, jetlag hardly made an appearance, and I’m good to go!

Revisiting genre giants Elmore Leonard and Henning Mankell

October 16th, 2011 by Zirk van den Berg § 0 comments § permalink

In the last two weeks, I revisited two of my favourite crime writers and learned a thing or two – not all of it positive.

Both of these authors have long reached the stage where their names dwarf the actual book titles on the covers. This, more than any printed claim, is the sure sign that an author is successful. So, kids, dreaming of publishing a book isn’t the ticket any more – » Read the rest of this entry «

How long must a book be to be a book?

October 9th, 2011 by Zirk van den Berg § 0 comments § permalink

Why are books that should be 60 pages long so often 600 pages long, asks author Sam Harris in a recent article. He did so only in passing while building another argument, but it’s a matter worth some consideration.

Harris’s answer is that publishers need the books longer, so they can sell them for more. The suggestion is that there is some practicality about book production that makes it economically attractive to have longer books. But what happens to this justification when you’re dealing with ebooks? And should works of art really be shoehorned into specific preset formats?

The latter question forms the premise of a little known  » Read the rest of this entry «

Off to Frankfurt and an update

October 4th, 2011 by Anna von Veh § 0 comments § permalink

I am delighted to have been invited to co-present a session on agile workflows and integrated digital strategy at O’Reilly’s Tools of Change Conference in Frankfurt. Here is a link to an interview with my co-presenter, Mike McNamara, and me that was published today on O’Reilly radar: The agile upside of XML.

I’m working at a software company for the next few months, so my blog posts are likely to be few and far between for a while. Zirk will continue to post his literary musings, and his latest novel, No-Brainer, which is being designed by Sarah at Book Design, will be available from Amazon soon. Update to follow.


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