British actor-cum-Twitter hero Stephen Fry releases his memoirs today and, in an overture to his improbably huge Web fanbase, it's got an app that harnesses the visual language of the Internet to transform how we read.
MyFry, designed by the UK's Stefanie Posavec, turns The Fry Chronicles into an interactive infographic of sorts, complete with tags, hyperlinks — the works. Like the Web, the format makes it easy to both search for themes and peruse text helter skelter.
Everything's organized around a pie chart-like table of contents (up top). Stories are grouped into colors and tagged, and you browse by rolling your finger around the wheel. Tap the pie slices to read individual stories or tap, hold, then release to call up a list of tags. That way you can read everything about "comedy," ?Cellar Tape? etc.
It's a clever and beautiful way to rejigger the reading experience for people who are used to reading online, instead of just aping the look and feel of print. That said, it wouldn't work for most books. As we pointed out last week, the only way to consume Shakespeare (or any standard play or novel for that matter) is to read it front to back; splitting it up into parts, which an infographic necessarily does, kills the linear narrative.
But with The Fry Chronicles, the whole conceit is a series of loosely related anecdotes so, as Fry himself points out, it can be read backward, forward, upside-down, inside-out — however.