Recommended by Book Riot, I decided to try out a new reading app called Rooster that delivers bite-sized pieces of literature straight to my smartphone. After downloading it on trial for a week, I have so far found that it is a good concept catered to fit into the busy schedules of modern people but there are still many teething problems to iron out.
What Rooster essentially does is every month the team would pair two books, one classic and one contemporary, for its readers, a concept that is gaining popularity given a wide range of subscription packages promising unique selections are popping up everywhere from beauty related to organic food products. For the month of April, Rooster recommends “The Mind-Body Problem” by Rebecca Newberger Goldstein and “The Kreutzer Sonata” by Leo Tolstoy, both revolving around themes of matrimonial harmony and sexual desires.
To make reading less daunting, Rooster breaks the book down into digestible installments that could be finished in 10 to 15 minutes and allows readers to customize the day and time they prefer to receive the installments, which I thought was a pretty neat function. Below is a screenshot of my settings:But soon I realized that whenever a new installment is delivered, I will be automatically logged out of my account and the app will reset itself back to the default settings. In other words, even if I left off at page five of installment seven, a new delivery will bring me back to page one all over again. This also happens when I clear running apps on my phone or leave my phone inactive for a period of time. Coupled with the lack of a bookmarking tool, it becomes terribly frustrating for the lack of a good way to keep track of my progress that leaves me with clueless moments of flipping through chapter after chapter in search for the last page I last stopped at.
Out of the two stories, I found myself focusing mainly on the Tolstoy classic, which was a surprise for me given my previous miserable attempt at ploughing through “Anna Karenina.” Even though “The Kreutzer Sonata” is a much lesser known Tolstoy work, it turned out to be pretty enjoyable with his controversial and dim views of marriage and child bearing, which was expressed through the main character Pozdnyshev, a man who indulged in excesses and debauchery, as he narrated his unfortunate relationship with his wife.
“The great majority look upon this journey to the church as a condition necessary to the possession of a certain woman. Think then of the supreme significance which material details must take on. Is it not a sort of sale, in which a maiden is given over to a debauche, the sale being surrounded with the most agreeable details?”
Rooster’s book selections are no doubt delectable but the interface to switch between the books leaves much to be desired. Every attempt to change my read will be prompted with the message below:
Furthermore, there are other features I wished would be included in the app:
– Social media sharing function so that I can share particular text and quotes on my Twitter and Goodreads account instantly
– Search (CTRL + F) function so that I could look up paragraphs using keywords
– Highlight function so that I can keep a record of memorable quotes for future reference, a nifty tool particularly as a book blogger
I would imagine Rooster as a great app for people who are trying to read more but are finding it difficult to develop a consistent habit. It will soon be available at a monthly rate of $4.99 at the iTunes Store.
Disclaimer: I have not been contacted or sponsored by the Rooster team for this post. This review is entirely based on my personal experiences.