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Showcase: DailyLit

Stephanie at So many Books has been using DailyLit, which I only heard of through her. Several of her readers say they prefer a book in the hand, mostly because the instalment was too short: they just couldn’t wait!

I decided to go for Anna Karenina. But when the confirmatory email came through, I got the option to order the first episode straight away, which I felt compelled to do. Though the intro to AK is so often quoted

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way

I forgot how funny the first few paragraphs were.

Experiencing such a small dose of Tolstoy it is obviously not going to suit many ardent readers. But there is something to be said for having to wait. Let the small, enjoyable dollop stew for 24 hours. Build up the anticipation for the next part. Spend some time reading around the book and author while waiting. In any case you read so much about so many things, the next episode will be there before you know it. (Actually, in advanced settings you can chose from three size settings to get more per email or even get the next episode straight away…). Let’s face it, this is for people who are meant to be working, trawling through the emails first thing in the morning.


For an inexperienced writer puzzling over which narrative voice to use, the first part of Anna Karenina could be as a reminder to how an intimate tone can created from the limited omniscient point of view. No need to be Tolstoy to see setting off in the first person can end up with too much of the author in the narrator.

I mentioned alter ego in the last post. There has been a study of avatars and their authors in gaming, called Alter Ego, which may have something to offer to the perennial questions about the author insinuating himself/herself in his/her own fiction.

Here are two over-views of Philip Roth’s oeuvre from on alter ego {1} {2}.

November 6, 2007 - Posted by | alter ego, fiction, First lines, literary persona, Literature, narrative style, Novel, Novelist, Openings, Writing | , ,


  1. There is something to be said for anticipation, isn’t there? I’m reading Henry James’ Aspern Papers now through dailylit and am liking it very much.

    Comment by Stefanie | November 7, 2007 | Reply

  2. Hi Steph,

    Yes, I get something from the waiting. In any case, you can mull over, savour the bit you have read, maybe re-read it again. I have to admit, having the option to increase the daily dose, I have opted for it, and I see you can order up the next episode when you want, which sort of defeats the object…

    There is another side to this: when the book is a duty call, part of the canon one feels bound to tackle, then bite-size chunks may be the way forward. There is also the chance to discuss the piece you have read (maybe in tandem with a friend, bit like the paired reading they do at school but a a distance) at the end of the day.

    Most of us have many books on the go at the same time, so it a way of slipping another one in, without compromising too much on the ones already started.

    Can you think of anything else? 🙂

    Well, it’s on with Karenina:

    Stepan Arkadyevitch was a truthful man in his relations with himself. He was incapable of deceiving himself and persuading himself that he repented of his conduct. He could not at this date repent of the fact that he, a handsome, susceptible man of thirty-four, was not in love with his wife, the mother of five living and two dead children, and only a year younger than himself. All he repented of was that he had not succeeded better in hiding it from his wife. But he felt all the difficulty of his position and was sorry for his wife, his children, and himself……

    Comment by adferoafferro | November 7, 2007 | Reply

  3. I think you covered everything quite nicely uless you want to include that it can save you from utter boredom at work 🙂

    Comment by Stefanie | November 8, 2007 | Reply

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