Get Your “Daily Dose” of Literature in 5 to 20 Minutes

How do you get your daily dose of literature? Life is hectic in 2008. Is it during your installations of “eyes past print w/voice support?” If you answered “yes” to that, what if I could show you a new and very cool way to deliver that little instructional gem? is really… well, I just don’t know about this one as of yet, but I am interested.

Don’t you honestly find yourself busier and busier all the time? Does it seem that you rarely have more than 5 to 20 minutes to read something you want to… and much of this is even taken up by e-mail, etc?

I have found this to be a problem personally. One solution I have found is to simply buy the Audiobook. Yes, I even try to find books that I must purchase for a grad class online if possible. This way, I can be reading one while the other sits in the memory of my iPod (which is directly connected to my car’s stereo). Now, when I am driving to one appointment or from another errand, I get 5 to 20 minutes of the book I am exploring.

While this is different enough to be frustrating at times -and I wouldn’t recommend it for just any genre- I am becoming a huge fan. Why? It is simple, really. I find that quite often that the ten-minute dose of wisdom I get from the book (right now: a re-read of “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell) is more than enough to inspire pretty deep thought and reflection throughout the day. It usually seems to hold me over until the next on-the-fly listening session.

Now don’t rush to label my multitasking, “continuous partial attention.” Don’t imagine a world where I am unable to sit and engage text and think deeply for long periods of time. Please do not think that these behaviors have rendered me unfit for a long Sunday afternoon read. Right now, I just do not have the luxury of much uninterrupted time. The only time I am allowed that kind of focus on one text… is usually when I am team-reading titles such as this one with my darling little girl.

So how does “” fit in here? As a very new user, I am betting this is a similar affair. The way it works is that you get a daily dose (referred to as an installment) of any book you are signed up for, but by e-mail! (public domain books are free, btw) Apparently, if you find yourself with more time to read than the one installment provides at that time, you can click on a continue button to deliver the very next text in sequence.

When you sign up for the book, you see how many installments the book contains, and then you get to choose how often you want those e-mails delivered to your inbox. You can choose the exact time the installments are to be delivered as well as whether you would like them daily, on weekdays only, weekends only, etc. My personal test of the service was to sign up for Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. This sizable volume will come direct to my inbox in a total of 423 installments. A shot of my first installment is here:

screenshot of e-mail from \

Upon receiving my first daily dose, I returned to the settings area of my account to adjust the “advanced” level of my subscription. I asked for “longer” installments and hit “resend” for a new version of my first dose. That instantly cut the total number of e-mails I will receive for Leaves of Grass to just over 210.

Leaves of Grass \

Apparently, (for the tech savvy) you can also choose to receive your updates via RSS to read within your aggregator instead of e-mail. Think about other possibilities… now that your book has been converted to text, it would be a just a few clicks to drop it into a few PowerPoint slides for use during EPP at the beginning of each class period. In fact, I thought I would try just that today.

This would likely save some serious paper volume here at Benton. Of course that strategy wouldn’t allow text markup like a paper copy would, but it is an option. Teachers create varying worlds within their classrooms and this is a tool that seems powerful enough to work with nearly all of them in some way.

Check it out, it is free to register. Find me there. Download a book. Give it a try. Get your daily dose of literature- and then come back here and tell us all about how it went.

screetshot of \

Sean Nash

Biology teacher in the great state of Kansas. Back at it in the classroom after a 30-year career in Missouri. Former District Curriculum Administrator, Instructional Technology Coordinator, and Instructional Coach. Biology instructor since 1993. Find more about my passions and my work at


  1. Just yesterday, when we spoke about “building that library,” I was also talking about building a library of tools like this. This is wonderful. What we need now: a wiki set up to organize and hold these tools for us specifically at Benton.

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