Be Bored By Henry James on a Daily Basis for Like a Year

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Ben Cunningham of Taxing Tennessee sends along word of a great service: DailyLit, which breaks down famous novels (all in the public domain) and sends them to reader in short, daily email snippets.

So, for example, the two volumes of Henry James' The Portrait of a Lady are broken down into 264 emails, each delivered like a steaming pile of overly ornate syntax directly into your inbox. Note to pranksters: the service sends out a validation email, so don't think you can torment your enemies by signing them up for Flatland or War and Peace, to name two of the dozens of titles available.

Go here for titles and more info. And then get ready for the inevitable cell phone version that is surely being worked on right now.

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  1. Flatland is one of the great classics. You must have not been a math major.

  2. “Theory of the Leisure Class” sent to me in 187 parts for the next 38 weeks.

    This may be the best day of my life.

  3. fish, ya beat me to it. hey, abbotttttt…..

    anyhoo, it’s already available in toto online:

    http://www.geom.uiuc.edu/~banchoff/Flatland/

  4. I subscribed for Common Sense.

  5. I have to ask, what would you all sign your enemies up for, if it were possible? I’d send my first boss Moby Dick. Over and over and over.

  6. Sweet. “On the Decay of the Art of Lying”.

  7. This is pretty cool. I might actually be able to read a book at work now under the guise of checking my email.

    The only thing I would recommend is that there should be an option to get the next part of a text without having to wait whatever time increment you initially signed up for. I think I might lose interest (and probably forget the story) if I had to read a paragraph a day over the course of a year, much less a week.

    Of course, if I signed up, it would just be another mailing list for me to ignore. As of today, I have a few thousand word-a-day emails that I still need to open and read.

  8. Flatland is one of the great classics. You must have not been a math major.

    Flatland is pretty cool. It’s also pretty short. But you don’t have to be a math matjor. I was Information Science…which does have a lot of math but not as much as engineering and math do.

  9. Karen,

    Das Kapital.

  10. Smacky,

    On waiting for the next e-mail: they thought of that. You can a) ask for the first e-mail immediately when you sign up, and b) ask for the next e-mail to be sent immediately by clicking on a link at the bottom of the current e-mail.

    Re: Flatland. Agreed, I think it’s a very cool book and I wasn’t a math major. Err…well, actually, I *did* minor in math. 😉

  11. Color me unimpressed. I just got the first installment of Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex, and (in Outlook at any rate) it displays as one big glob of text; no paragraph breaks.

  12. http://www.geom.uiuc.edu/~banchoff/Flatland/

    Cool! I have “Flatterland” – I didn’t get very far into it but I still want to check out the original.

  13. Karen,

    Definitely Moby Dick, followed by Remembrance Of Things Past, and if that doesn’t kill him, Finnegans Wake.

  14. I was a math major, and I wasn’t all that taken with Flatland (although I still have a copy). You should try Lakatos’s Proofs and Refutations if you want something to chew on.

  15. the first installment of Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex, and (in Outlook at any rate) it displays as one big glob of text; no paragraph breaks.

    No pix? Wouldn’t bother.

  16. Outlook is for sinners. I didn’t have it in for Outlook until I recently made the mistake of “upgrading” to Outlook 2003. Now my system is bogged down in Microsludge. At home, I’m a Thunderbird user, which works without much trouble.

    If the service really is to blame, that’s too bad. However, it may just be some cross-platform bugs that they need to work out, because I think only a complete idiot would bother e-mailing unformatted blocks of text.

  17. Flatland/

    Cool! I have “Flatterland” – I didn’t get very far into it but I still want to check out the original.

    That’s the one I signed up for! And I’ve already received my first e-mail:

    “You’re really quite handsome in your own way, but your intelligence tends to intimidate people — it’s a shame, really, that your genius does not get nearly the full recognition it deserves.”

    Oh wait — that was Flatteryland.

  18. DailyLit? Free.
    The Federalist Papers in my email every day? Priceless.

  19. The thoughtn of receiving James’ The Beast In THe Jungle at work is too depressing to comprehend.

    Anyway, I went with Beyond Good And Evil. I am the uberemployee!

  20. I have to ask, what would you all sign your enemies up for, if it were possible? I’d send my first boss Moby Dick. Over and over and over.

    Karen, it’s not on the list of available titles, but I would like to send Beowulf.

    Now, I understand that a few years ago a really good translation came out. But I want to send the version I had to read in high school. And again in college. Maybe I’d enjoy it now, but I remember the immortal words of Woody Allen: “Just don’t sign up for any course where they make you read Beowulf.

    I still remember a conversation I had with a guy in my HS sophomore homeroom class.

    BRIAN: What’s that book? Beowulf? Is it any good?

    STEVO: Actually, it kind of sucks.

    BRIAN: What’s it about?

    STEVO: It’s about this guy who fights monsters.

    BRIAN: Really? A guy who fights monsters? That sounds like it would be pretty cool, if it’s about a guy who fights monsters.

    STEVO: Well, they managed to make it suck.

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