Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Ever hear of a VOOK?

Check out the "Bright Ideas" column in Sunday's New York Times. A mad scientist named Bradley Inman is "...starting Vook, a platform for e-books that will combine text, video and social networking."

The mind reels! (Special note here: I've been listening to P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster series in the car for the past few weeks and am really into English prep school terms.)

I may be betraying my age and station, but this one is, as Bertie Wooster says, "A bit thick!" I'm trying to figure out how this is going to work. Let's take a popular book we all know and love and turn it into a vook:

Title: Angela's Ashes

OK, we're enjoying the adventures of this downtrodden Irish family when we get to the part about them staying overnight in a stone hovel that is absolutely teeming with lice. (Insert video here of family jumping around whacking at lice, and screaming and scratching wildly.) Now it's time to visit our "social network" to comment on this scene.

Kae says: Eeeeww! How gross!

Jon says: For god's sake, grow up! This is a tense piece of literary stuff here!

Ellen says: Well, I agree with Kae, it IS gross. Why don't they just f***ing leave?

Kae says: Those poor children! (Video close-up of lice crawling on mattress)

Jon says: I'm outta here!

Ellen says: Oh, yuck. IMO, this is lame. Later.

Kae goes back to reading? Watching more lice video? Looking for more folks on the social network to commiserate with about lice-borne diseases?

Forgive me, but I can't get my head around it yet!

The nice part is, if vook takes off, they'll still need stories. They'll still need authors and they'll still need agents!


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

I don't know if I'm ready for a VOOK. See, I'm a bit of a coward and my cowardly mind prefers books. With a book, I control the visual factor (and skim when I can't.) Books respect personal space.

Crawling lice? I'll just take yer word for it. No need for the video. If I have to see it, I'll start itching.

Darn these new-fangled contraptions.