Sunday, February 25, 2007

To: Lisa Simpson

Ever since December 1992, I've wondered about the novel Ethan Frome. During that month, an episode of The Simpsons aired, in which Lisa is presented with a gift of this Edith Wharton novel. "Finally a copy of Ethan Frome to call my own!" she says. I had no idea what the joke was, although I'm pretty sure that I still laughed. (I learned recently that the enormous tome Lisa received is actually only about 100 pages long. So, if that was indeed the joke, then possibly only American Literature majors caught it.)

I decided to read the book as my trial of the DailyLit web service. The creators describe it thusly:
We got the idea for DailyLit after the New York Times serialized a few classic works in special supplements a few summers ago. We wound up reading books that we had always meant to simply by virtue of making them part of our daily routine of reading the newspaper. The only thing we do more consistenly than read the paper is read email. Bingo!
I received sections of the novel daily through email. It was an interesting experience. At first, it felt odd reading a book via Google Mail, but I quickly got used to it. I discovered that the novel is in fact a romance, and although I don't go out of my way to pick up romance novels, I got caught up in the writing and in the setting. An odd twist at the end of the book was a bit anticlimactic for me, but I enjoyed the experience overall.

I'd recommend the book (as well as DailyLit) to any power web users out there who may feel like they're letting their literariness slip. I'm currently reading Cory Doctorow's Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom using the service and am quite enjoying it. (You typically cannot read such recent works using DailyLit, but Doctorow ensured this novel was published under a Creative Commons license.)

There's a weak Simpsons thread in this post, so I'll take the opportunity to include here a trailer to the upcoming movie:

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

I like your title. :)