The Blog as a Book
The proof copy I ordered to check that everything looked OK.
A good while ago some reader suggested that I should publish this blog as a book for people who want to actually read through the whole thing in sequence. And it's not a bad idea, because finding the beginning and then stepping through it, skipping the stuff that's not about farmhouse ale, is a little awkward. But back then I didn't really have time for it, so I didn't do it.
Last summer I started on a new book that I have high hopes for, but I've been struggling hard to get it right. And I found that I wasn't really able to work on it while at the same time working full time, so what progress I've made was made during my holidays. That's not really been a very satisfactory state of affairs, neither for me nor for my family.
Then, earlier this year, I made a list of the books I could start on right now, as alternatives to the one I wasn't making much progress on. When I found that in addition to that one there were four others I could, or perhaps even should, be starting on, I thought to myself: well, at this pace that's going to take a decade or more. And the list had more books after that, which would soon be ready to start.
That feeling of frustration at not making progress on all these projects just grew and grew until I couldn't stand it any longer. So I did the only logical thing: I quit my job.
Mølstertunet museum in Voss. From the last trip I made before the pandemic stopped everything.
The prospect of soon having no income except for book royalties and what I make on giving talks and writing articles rather concentrated my mind. Suddenly the idea of self-publishing the blog as a book seemed like it was worth the time.
So ... here it is. You can buy it from here.
It starts with the very first blog post I wrote about farmhouse ale, based on nothing more than reading a book. The next blog post is about me going to Vilnius and being really confused. Then I got to taste a Norwegian farmhouse ale. Reading the blog this way you get to follow in my footsteps as I got sucked into this obsession that's now taken me to the point where I have a list of books I need to write that's so long I hardly know where to start.
This book was produced by writing a converter which parsed the blog posts and converted them to LaTeX. Then I used that to produce the PDF for the paper version. I wrote another converter to produce epub format for the ebook version. Both were published using Lulu.com. I investigated the various options and found that this would produce the cheapest paper version with this many pages (204), and also give me the highest royalties. Particularly if people buy directly from Lulu.com.
Now it's out there, and I can go back to that list of books that need writing.
As I wrote last year I quit my job as a software engineer to have more time for writing books and doing research, even though I suspected that economically that might be a less than optimal decision
Read | 2022-05-10 13:05
Johann Renner - 2021-06-19 17:24:12
Wow! That sounds like a big decision Lars! I mean quitting the IT job and focusing on beer and brewing writing. Congratulations and best of luck!
Nick - 2021-06-19 23:09:06
Lars, just ordered your new book. Thank you for pursuing your quest and what a fine rabbit hole it is! Now that you've quit your day job to write, welcome to the land of the free and the home of the brave! N.
Lars Marius Garshol - 2021-06-20 10:39:11
Thank you, Nick. That's much appreciated. :)
Steve - 2021-06-21 00:49:22
I have ordered a copy partly because of your work, partly because of your dedication but mostly because you were really gracious to answer a question about yeast I sent years back.
Keep up the good work!
Nick - 2021-07-18 23:48:12
Lars, I just finished reading the blog book. To have your voyage of discovery in series is invaluable. I began to read your blog because I am searching for the wort that first became whisky, especially the Island whiskies like Laphroig and Lagavulan on Isla. Your work has been a learning treasure trove of just the right aged and geographically relevant topics. The topic and mapping couldn’t be better!
One comment on “Keptinis, Lithuanian Baked Beer” 2015-04-20. Drooping Brome, Barley and Oats ought not to come as a surprise to anyone farming without herbicides. Cleaning ground for a clean barley crop is an arduous task and sometimes requires a three year rotation and summer fallow. If you have to grow your grain summer and winter, the health of the soil will be expressed by the companions volunteering in the sown grain crop. Some bromes have a hard seed the size of oats, which also invade cereal crops. Perhaps the question is not why brew with barley, brome and oats? Perhaps the problem was that there was no practical way to get the brome and oats out of the barley? Please publish your 2016 - 2021 blogs. As a collection, bound, on paper the Rabbit Hole is transformed into a true tool! Thanks! All the Best, Nick
Lars Marius Garshol - 2021-07-19 09:38:33
@Johann, Steve: Thank you both.
@Nick: Thank you, that's nice to hear!
I agree it's no surprise that farmers in the old days found brome in their grain, but the description makes it sound like the keptinis was made from mostly brome. Literally the translation says "Main part was brome, with additive of barley and oats."
I guess it's possible they sorted the grain by throwing, and one part had mostly brome. I don't really know.
Since you ask I'll publish at least one more volume, but I'll wait a while before I do it. That volume will cover basically as much as I can get into roughly 200 pages. Thanks!
Nick Charles - 2021-07-20 15:38:58
Lars, One year I had a field that volunteered 100% brome! Farming is a great randomizing machine! Whoever said,”if life gives you lemons make lemonade” must have borrowed the saying from the farm wife who said to her husband, ” Don’t worry my good man, even if your crop is mostly brome, I’ll make a great beer for you!” Thank you in advance for the next installment of your “Farmhouse Ale Quest”. All the Best, Nick
Lars Marius Garshol - 2021-07-20 17:59:40
@Nick: That could be the explanation, I guess. I know Norwegian farmers sowed sedge (oats+barley), but sometimes harvested only barley. Basically because the weather made the barley outcompete the oats, I guess.
Nick Charles - 2021-08-08 19:06:41
You've hit the nail on the head. Farming generates the rabbit hole and brewing is the rabbit going down!
Karsten V - 2021-08-19 20:47:33
Hi! I am looking forward to the books you are planning on writing!
Do you have any idea on when the book will be available on Kindle?
Lars Marius - 2021-08-19 21:50:26
@Karsten: Thank you! :)
I fixed a technical problem with the epub files yesterday and sent it off again. The Lulu documentation says it can take "up to 8 weeks", but getting the paper book through was much faster than that. I'm guessing maybe 1-2 weeks?
Karsten V - 2021-08-20 07:40:51
@Lars Marius Fantastic :)
Lars Marius - 2021-09-06 15:56:09
Since the ebook still hasn't arrived on Amazon I tried changing a few more things that might be causing problems, and uploaded it again just now. I hope it works this time.