Read, absorb and experience!
For those who already love to read, there is no need for new fads or enticements to get you to pick up a book and drown in a sea of words that take you to places far away. For the rest, we need a bit of a boost to bring our interest to a level that gets us to open that first page. Bringing books to life on the big screen and on our sets at home has helped to spark interest in the original form of the stories we watch. But imagine the possibilities when you marry the different sensory forms of entertainment into one, how that story comes to life and envelopes the reader into a new world.
That is precisely what has been done in For the Term of His Natural Life. This novel, which tells a story over 130 years old and has been since made into a mini-series, has now leapt over the walls of static literature to make a book interactive. We’ve seen all those fun books made for kids that stimulate multiple senses as the child flips through pages – there are textures to touch, sounds to hear and words to sound out. For the big kids, this novel in app form transcends the pages of its original form of publication to capture its audience not only with words, but also with images, videos and documents, bringing life to the story.
The entire book has been condensed to about 300 pages, through which you read, absorb and experience. The story is of a man wrongly convicted of murder, his suffering at the hands of incarceration, his struggle to overcome this and to move forward. This is a fictional story based on non-fictional information of the time. As you read, you can dive deeper into the content by viewing actual prison documents, viewing clips of what may have happened, and reading footnotes that provide details. Not only do you learn of the character and his life; but also, you learn of the times and how prisoners were treated, how life was at that time, and a bit of history. Imagine, all of that in the palm of your hand as you swipe your finger across your iPad!
The app also offers an easy way to navigate the book by organizing the novel into chapters and providing an image gallery that also includes maps. You can go back to sections of the novel you wish to revisit should you come upon text that confuses you or you want to refresh on what happened earlier in the story. With so many senses singing, you are practically a part of the story.
I am not sure if there really is a downside to this app except for maybe the inability to use your imagination to insightfully create your own images as you read. This is one part of reading I do so love as it allows for me to make the book my own by creating my own characters as I would see them, and create my own settings as I would picture them.
However, as an entertainment form, this app is a refreshing change to games, quizzes and social media. I like that you can go to it, read some more and really experience so much of what is happening as you read. So often, we read novels and sidetrack in wonderment as to what a referred artifact would have looked like. Now, you can in this app!