Undisputed fact I just made up: The more time we spend online, the dumber and more myopic we get.
Hacker Noah Litvin set out to combat that observable phenomenon with DailyPag.es, an app that works a lot like an online book club.
The app is a simple, email-based system that delivers a chpater of a book to your inbox every so often. Sign yourself into the Art of War group, for example, and you’ll get periodical deliveries of Sun Tzu’s classic manual on martial (or business) competition.
Anyone is free to join in the readings, and you can do so without a complicated login process. Just provide your email address to start getting the book of your choosing delivered to you.
If you’ve got a particular selection you want to read through alone or with a group, you can fairly easily add the text to the site. For example, I’ve been meaning to reread Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. I added the 24 poems in the first “book” of the volume and designated that one be emailed each day.
Litvin has been using Project Gutenberg files for common domain books to populate the site, and other users are adding texts, as well.
“I’m currently wrapping up my senior year at St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD, known for ‘The Great Books Program’,” Litvin said in an email conversation with VentureBeat.
“Reading has become a very big part of my life (especially over the last four years), but as my freelance work picks up, I can definitely understand how difficult it can be for someone in the workplace to find time and motivation to sit down and read.”
The app itself is a free side project that Litvin built in a weekend. Although he’s spent a few hours here and there polishing rough edges and squashing bugs, he said he doesn’t have any plans to release a paid version of the app.
“Many people treat their inboxes as to-do lists (including myself),” Litvin said. “If a chapter is waiting in my inbox, it can serve as a welcome break from my day-to-day activities.”
We like the simplicity of the app. It comes without the now-ubiquitous ties to “sharing” and social media networks, and it invites the individual to pursue intellectual growth without egotistically trumpeting that growth around the web.
We can see the tool being extremely useful for casual book groups, for university study groups (or professors who wish to assign extracurricular texts), or for digitally absorbed person who just needs a gentle reminder to read for refreshment and enlightenment, not just the news of the day.
Image courtesy of Helder Almeida, Shutterstock