One of the things I get to do during the summer and semester breaks is read for fun. It’s not that I’m otherwise reading deprived, but rather than this time of year I have time to read non-work related stuff. And I love it. Since my husband gave me an iPad last year, reading for fun has become an adventure.
One of my favorite “reading” apps is Zite. They company calls it “a personalized magazine that gets smarter as you use it,” and that’s an apt description. The app delivers all sorts of news, articles, blogs, and videos in various categories you select. As you access material, you have an opportunity to give it a thumbs up or thumbs down rating and the app learns what you like to read (I also remember reading somewhere that the app records how long you spend reading something too), then it delivers more content that’s similar to what you like. You can also share what you’re reading on Twitter and Facebook, and save articles in Read it Later and Instapaper (I prefer the latter).
Earlier this year, I wrote about how the iPad was beginning to change the way I read for fun. Then I was someone “who is slowly making her way into the e-book environment; now I feel like a much more experienced user. I might even be called a consumer digital media. I read on my iPad everyday now and while much of what I read is work related, I make time for fun stuff too.
Another app I really like is FlipBoard. It’s another “smart” magazine app that’s designed to collect the content of social networks and other websites and present them in magazine format. On the iPad and iPhone, you can “flip” through your feeds like you used to flip through the pages of a magazine. I get some stuff of FlipBoard that I also get via Zite, but I get enough different material to make it worthwhile to use both apps. One of the things I particularly like about FlipBoard is that it collects stuff from news sources as well as social networks and websites.
I also use Stanza, an app that allows the user to purchase books from various partner stores, or choose free classics and recent original works available from Project Gutenberg, Feedbooks, and many other sources. This app also allows uses to store and categorize books in its organizer, and has a “File Sharing” feature that makes it possible to drag and drop files from your computer (Mac or PC).
Other “reading” apps I use include Reeder, Feedly, FeeddlerPro, Flud News, and NewsDesk. I use Reeder everyday now that Google Reader has been redesigned and more often than not, scrolling through my feeds doesn’t automatically remove them from my notifications. The others I use less often, but that less about the quality of the apps and more about the fact that I can’t be reading all the time. Come to think of it, though, reading all the time would be my dream job.