As an English major in college, I was often assigned tons of classics to read. Although not my typical fare, I didn’t mind reading them (with a few exceptions). I noticed though that once I graduated, I never had that inclination to read older books. The guilt of being an English major who didn’t read Dickens, Tolstoy, etc. would assail me occasionally, but I had come to grips with the fact that I was never going to crack open Great Expectations for fun. And then I discovered the Serial app.
Now, if you’ve been utilizing one of my other new app obsessions, Litsy, then you’ve undoubtedly heard of Serial by now. It’s where I first heard about it, and I first brushed it off. I mean truly, I had decided I was just fine despite never having read The Tennant of Wildfell Hall. But then everyone kept raving about it, so I eventually decided to give it a shot, and now I am hooked!
If you haven’t heard of Serial, it’s pretty simple. They have a large database of older books (I believe the guideline is the original publication date must have been over one hundred years ago at least). You choose what title(s) you want to read and every day you receive an issue. The issues are usually about 6-15 minutes in reading time. You can set what time each day you want your issues delivered. I have mine delivered at 8 A.M. and usually read them once I drop my 4 year old off at school.
Currently I am reading Anna Karenina and The Jungle. Anna Karenina is one of those books I had always wanted to read. I owned a copy. I had the best of intentions. But man that book is big! So when I signed up for Serial it was the obvious choice. I will say, in hindsight I wish I had chosen a shorter book to start with. 159 issues is A LOT. I calculated that it would take me over five months to read the entire book if I only read one issue per day (side note: for a nominal price, you can buy the full app, which gives you a few bonus features, the most notable being that you can read ahead if you don’t want to stop at one issue per day). At this rate, I am 78% of the way through, and I started it in July.
I had told myself from the beginning that I would only read one book on Serial at a time. The reasoning behind this was because I always have a print book and ebook going at once, so adding one Serial in already seemed like plenty. And that has worked for me the past few months. But then I read Accursed last week, by Joyce Carol Oates, and one of the characters in it was young Upton Sinclair. The Jungle was referenced incessantly and I was intrigued. Mind you, I have never had the desire to read The Jungle before. I have a long list of books on Serial I want to read and this one was nowhere to be found. But just like that, I had added another book. And what do you know–as much as I am ambivalent about Anna Karenina (Levin, you bore me to tears), The Jungle has me completely rapt. I can’t wait to read my issue every day. Go figure. But seriously, I will not add a third book. I repeat, I will not add a third book.
I am anxious to hear from other Serial fans. What have you loved? What have you loathed?