Monday, June 11, 2007

Reading the classics via email - a little more structure

Often in modern life it is easy to be distracted from good intentions by interesting things not of much worth. Reading is one of the activities I try to do more. The Common Room posted this morning Reading on the Installment Plan.

"Daily Lit sends books in installments via e-mail. DailyLit currently offers over 250 classic public domain titles that can be subscribed to and read in their entirety for free. Popular titles include 'The Art of War' by Sun Tzu and 'Pride and Prejudice' by Jane Austen Readers can choose how often and at what time they want the e-mails sent to them (e.g. every weekday at 6:30am). Books on DailyLit can be read any place that a reader receives e-mail, including on a PDA, Blackberry, Trio, etc. Each installment of a book can be read in under 5 minutes, and if a reader is done with a particular installment, a reader can receive the next installment immediately in his/her e-mail Inbox. DailyLit has recently added forums where readers can discuss their favorite books and authors."

By getting a small selection of a classic book via email it is easier for some people to read a book they have been meaing to read for a long time. You can do this on your lunch break, between commercials, or some other odd moment.

They have Anna Karenina. This reminded me of an account about Teddy Roosevelt that David McCullough gave at a commencement speech:

". . . Once upon a time in the dead of winter in Dakota territory, with the temperature well below zero, young Theodore Roosevelt took off in a makeshift boat, accompanied by two of his ranch hands, down-stream on the Little Missouri River in chase of a couple of thieves who had stolen his prized row boat. After days on the river, he caught up and got the draw on them with his trusty Winchester, at which point they surrendered. Then, after finding a man with a team and a wagon, Roosevelt set off again to haul the thieves cross-country to justice. He left the ranch hands behind to tend to the boat, and walked alone behind the wagon, his rifle at the ready. They were headed across the snow covered wastes of the Bad Lands to the rail head at Dickinson, and Roosevelt walked the whole way, 40 miles. It was an astonishing feat, what might be called a defining moment in that eventful life. But what makes it especially memorable is that during that time, he managed to read all of Anna Karenina."

Then David said: "I often think of that when I hear people say they haven't time to read."

It is important that we make time to read good books. Good books have a postive effect on our minds. I've been meaning to read The Art of War by Sun Tzu for a long time. I'll try out Daily Lit by first reading it.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great idea for those of us in a habitually busy world. I personally read Pride and Prejudice first in about the eighth grade and loved it so much that I eventually read all of Austen's works.

On a simimar note, I now read Jane Austen fan fiction in short installments. The short one chapter at a time format, keeps me coming back for more while giving time for reflection in between readings.

Thanks for the tip, there are several other classics I will be reading this way soon!