01/01/2024 · Michael Schmitt · permalink
Adapted from "Tower of Babel" by M. C. Escher, 1928
Happy Public Domain Day! With 2024 comes a new collection of works entering the US public domain published in 1928. Many of these are now available in Serial Reader including works from Virginia Woolf, Agatha Christie, Robert Frost, Radclyffe Hall, and others.
A list of highlights is below and you can find the full list of new books in Serial Reader in the "New to the Public Domain" collection. For more on works entering the public domain, check out Duke Law's excellent article.
01/27/2023 · Michael Schmitt · permalink
Today marks seven years since the 1.0 release of Serial Reader arrived in the App Store.
Back then it was hardly more than a polished version of a prototype I had used to read My Antonia on iPhone 6 during my train commutes into Chicago in late 2015. A few weeks later, Apple promoted it on the home page of the App Store -- which was so much simpler back then -- and suddenly a personal hobby became, well, a more serious hobby that a lot of people seemed to enjoy. (A few days after that, I learned one the earliest adopters was actor Debra Messing 😳 life is wild.)
Since then I've changed jobs, changed homes, got married, had a daughter, and long since stopped commuting into work -- but I'm still reading some great classic literature (and some not so classic literature) in daily bite-sized bits on my phone (now an iPhone 13 Mini). I hope you are, too.
By the way, seven years is 2,555 days. If you had set aside 20 minutes a day for each of those days, you could have:
I've got some fun plans for Serial Reader including a new major version update that I hope to release this year. Hopefully the next seven years are even better than the first. Thanks for reading! -Michael
New Books Enter the Public Domain for 2023: To the Lighthouse, Sherlock Holmes, Poirot, Death of the Archbishop & more
12/31/2022 · Michael Schmitt · permalink
Adapted from Hirayama Fireworks and Yokoi Fireworks advertisements, circa 1880
Happy 2023! As has become tradition, sees another collection of classic books entering the US public domain. This year, works published in 1927 are now freely available including titles from Virginia Woolf, Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, Willa Cather, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner and more.
Many are now available to read in Serial Reader! A list of highlights is below and you can find the full list of new books in Serial Reader in the "New to the Public Domain" collection. For more on works entering the public domain, check out Duke Law's excellent article.
12/18/2022 · Michael Schmitt · permalink
With a new year upon us, many folks' thoughts turn to resolutions on how to make next year better than the last. It's common to see such resolutions involve reading more books, the "eat your vegetables / exercise more" segment of media. Plus these commonly focus on reading more classic books, which not unfairly have a reputation for being daunting, dull, inscrutable, impenetrable. Not surprisingly, resolutions have a reported 9-12% success rate.
If you're looking to read more in 2023 but feel a little daunted, I've got some simple advice that will help you read more books than you'd expect: set aside 15-20 minutes a day to read.
That's it! Doesn't sound like much, but that time adds up.
Don't believe me? I've built an interactive reading list builder you can use to schedule out your 2023 reading plan to see for yourself. It uses Serial Reader's library of classic books, which are divided into daily issues designed to be read in 15-20 minutes. You can even save and share your list!
Here's an example list I created with 17 of the most popular classic books including The Great Gatsby, Moby Dick, Pride and Prejudice, Frankenstein, and more! Or here's another focused on sleuths & mysteries (12 titles). Or sci-fi & utopian fiction by women (18 titles). Or philosophical titles (19 titles). Or gothic romances (12 titles). And finally, my own personal reading schedule for 2023 (10 titles including Middlemarch which has also intimidated me). There's an option in each to duplicate & edit the list, or create your own from scratch!
Serial Reader for iOS and Android could be a great way to start building this habit. It delivers a 15-20 minute segment of classic books (or your own books if you have an EPUB handy!) every day. But you need not use a special app for this goal! All you need is a book and the timer and reminder apps on your phone. Standard Ebooks and Libby are excellent resources for finding free books, in addition to the venerable Project Gutenberg.
I'd also highly recommend keeping track of how many days you read 15-20 minutes, both to keep yourself on track and to have a record to look back on. Just jotting an entry in a notebook or notes app is all you need. Seeing your past success can really help motivate you!
Hope everyone has a wonderful 2023 - happy reading! - Michael
04/19/2022 · Michael Schmitt · permalink
Serial Reader's latest update for iOS (4.07) brings a new integration option and easier ways to browse book issues.
First up, you can now link Serial Reader to your Readwise account! Simply paste in your Readwise account details and all the highlights and notes you create in Serial Reader will be automatically synced over to Readwise. Readwise is an excellent resource for not only collecting quotes from everything you read but also learning from those passages. Check it out! (Support for adding your Readwise account to Serial Reader on Android is coming shortly.)
Serial Reader also now offers new options when viewing "All Issues" - previously you could only sort issues first to last or last to first. Now you can also jump to the latest unread issue (useful for those exceedingly long tomes) as well as search all available issues.
The update includes a bunch of other minor design improvements, as well as new options for disabling your Goodreads integration and deleting your Serial Reader cloud sync account.
Hope you enjoy it! As always, please consider leaving a review of Serial Reader in the App Store - it really helps others discover the app. Thanks and happy reading!
12/30/2021 · Michael Schmitt · permalink
Happy 2022! As has become tradition, today marks another treasure trove of books entering the US public domain. This year, works published in 1926 are now freely available including works from Ernest Hemingway, Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle and William Faulkner.
Many are now available to read in Serial Reader with more to come in the weeks ahead! A list of highlights is below and you can find the full list of new books in Serial Reader in the "New to the Public Domain" collection.
06/05/2021 · Michael Schmitt · permalink
Whew, it's been a while! After a break for rest and family, I've been adding more books to Serial Reader.
Previously I tried to highlight new books on a weekly basis but that cadence got away from me, so going forward I'm going to try a monthly blog post that I'll update as new books arrive. The latest titles from June 2021 are listed below, including Rabindranath Tagore's autobiography, an eerie prediction of the Titantic's sinking, Helen Keller's autobiography, P.T. Barnum's exploration of "humbugs," and more.
01/01/2021 · Michael Schmitt · permalink
Happy 2021! Today all works published in 1925 enter the US public domain and many are now available to read in Serial Reader!
It was an impressive year for literature -- an article from the BBC even suggests "1925 may well be literature’s greatest year" -- with famous titles like The Great Gatsby, Mrs. Dalloway, The New Negro, and An American Tragedy, as well as works from Agatha Christie, Ernest Hemingway, Willa Cather, P.G. Wodehouse, Aldous Huxley, and more.
The themes and focal points from 1925's literature certainly resonate in 2021: conflict brought on by differences in race, social, and economic classes, questions on the attainability of the American dream, the complexity of medical care and new technology. "The literature reflected both a booming economy, whose fruits were unevenly distributed, and the lingering upheaval and tragedy of World War I," writes Jennifer Jenkins, Director of Duke's Center for the Study of the Public Domain. "The culture of the time reflected all of those contradictory tendencies."
"These books weren’t just original, even revolutionary, creations," wrote Jane Ciabattari for the BBC. "They were helping to establish the very idea of modernity, to make sense of the times."
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Jazz Age story of lavish Long Island parties, a young mysterious millionaire, and the woman he loved. Arguably one of the greatest novels ever written, exploring themes of decadence, idealism, and the American dream.
"It has almost the status of a holy work, and it’s seen as embodying all kinds of things about American values and society... one of those remarkable literary works that seems to adapt to its times." - James L. W. West III
Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf
Over the course of a single day, Clarissa Dalloway prepares for a high-society party and is struck with memories of the past. Considered Woolf's greatest novel.
"A remarkably expansive and an irreducibly strange book. Nothing you might read in a plot summary prepares you for the multitudes it contains" - Jenny Offill in The New Yorker
The New Negro - Edited by Alain Locke
An anthology of fiction, poetry, and essays on African and African-American art and literature, including W.E.B. du Bois, Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, and Zora Neale Hurston. Considered to be the definitive text of the Harlem Renaissance.
"Locke became a 'mid-wife to a generation of young writers,' as he labeled himself, a catalyst for a revolution in thinking called the New Negro. The deeper truth was that he, Alain Locke, was also the New Negro, for he embodied all of its contradictions as well as its promise. Rather than lamenting his situation, his marginality, his quiet suffering, he would take what his society and his culture had given him and make something revolutionary out of it." - Jeffrey C. Stewart
An American Tragedy - Theodore Dreiser
Ambitious Clyde Griffiths stumbles through romance and tragedy, struggling with taking responsibility. Based on an actual criminal case, it stands as a harsh commentary on the dark side of the American dream.
"Dreiser builds an extraordinarily detailed portrait of early twentieth-century America, its religious and sexual hypocrisies, its economic pressures, its political corruption and journalistic exploitation... Dreiser elevates the most mundane aspects of what he observes into emotionally charged, often harrowing symbols." - Thomas P. Riggio
Manhattan Transfer - John Dos Passos
Painting an "expressionistic picture of New York" from the Gilded Age to the Jazz Age, Dos Passos examines the lives of wealthy power brokers and struggling immigrants. Described as "the best modern book about New York."
"The rapid-transit, discontinuous narrative brilliantly captures the pace of the city, the sense of brief, promiscuous contact with other lives. The metallically impersonal narrative voice carries the hard-edged din of the city at the same time that it keeps us at a distance from the residents... an intriguing narrative experiment, and a fascinating portrait of the great American city in the early years of the century" - Jay McInerney
Arrowsmith - Sinclair Lewis
Described as the first "scientific" novel, Lewis follows the life of Martin Arrowsmith through the turbulence of his professional and romantic lives, satirizing those who pursue science for fortune at the expense of truth.
"From medical practice to public health and scientific discovery, from the unbridled ambitions of medical students and doctors to the complexities of delivering medical care in a diverse nation like the United States, 'Arrowsmith' delivers with humor and brio a slate of important lessons for everyone concerned about 21st century health care." - Dr. Howard Markel
More 1925 Works Now Available
12/05/2020 · Michael Schmitt · permalink
The holiday season is upon us! And as usual, Christmas is approaching faster the more things you have to do before the big day. You can easily squeeze in some reading during the holidays though with many classics short enough to finish before Christmas - even if you're reading in just 20 minutes a day.
Here are some of the best Christmas stories available from Serial Reader, including classics from Charles Dickens, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Washington Irving, Louisa May Alcott, and more:
Find more great Christmas books in the Christmas collection in Serial Reader.
12/03/2020 · Michael Schmitt · permalink
Long list of new books available in Serial Reader to announce, including works from Oscar Wilde, John Stuart Mill, Louisa May Alcott, Jack London, E.M. Forster, Clark Ashton Smith and more. Selections also include the adventures of Zorro, horrible plagues, outer space mysteries, and murderous gargoyles.