Every morning around 6 am I get a special email. Courtesy of The Telegraph: an online novel by Alexander McCall Smith. It is reminiscent of the old serial novels. One chapter a day. Just enough to keep you engaged and hanging on for the next installment. No cheating and reading further ahead. No reading on and on until you fall asleep and disrupting the flow of the story by an inopportune stop. The chapter ends and you wait...
I consider it my bedtime story. The most fun part is that you can even have the chapters read to you by Andrew Sachs - he who was Manuel in Fawlty Towers.
And if you haven't experienced any of Alexander McCall Smiths' books, I am here to tell you he is a delightful read.
The first serial, The Corduroy Mansions began a year ago and ran for 100 chapters. This story, The Dog Who Came In From The Cold, is book two and has been running since September. You can find the story here.
Novel serialisations are an old art form, probably best and most famously done by Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens. And last week, I heard that there is an online publication of Wilkie Collins' A Woman In White. Celebrating its 150th anniversary, it is being reproduced in its original form every week. The story first appeared as a serial in a Charles Dickens' periodical and is available to read in its "original tightly compact form of 19th century typography" or, much easier on the eyes, as a pdf that can be delivered right to your inbox every Monday. It will take until August 22, 2010 to reach the end of the gripping tale.
We are already up to Chapter Three, but you can catch up quickly by going here
and you can subscribe by emailing Paul Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org
AND there is MORE!
You can even follow tweets of Wilkie's life as his novel was being published during 1859-1860!
How much fun is that? Well, what are you waiting for? You have to get reading.