Now, you can add a little dose of culture to your feed. The New York Public Library has collaborated with advertising agency Mother to create "Insta Novels" – a very literal interpretation of Instagram Stories.
This is a fun (and free!) way to read (and watch) classic works of literature from Franz Kafka's surrealist masterpiece The Metamorphosis to Charlotte Perkins Gilman's thought-provoking novella The Yellow Wallpaper, an example of 19th-century feminist literature.
All you have to do is head to the New York Public Library's Instagram account (@nypl).
The design is simple and user-friendly. Tap right for the next page, left for the previous page, and press gently on the screen to stay where you are. (Be warned: if you lift your thumb up from the screen, the story will automatically turn to the next page.) They've even added in a handy thumb guide, so you don't have to worry about your digits obstructing the words.
Not only does the project offer free access to many of the greats wherever you happen to be – provided you have WiFi, of course, it does so with stunning illustrations and animations drawn by Instagram's top designers. The Metamorphosis will be illustrated by a production company called Buck Design (@buck_design), while César Pelizer (@cesarpelizer), an animation director and illustrator based in London, will be in charge of animations for The Yellow Wallpaper. Both of these stories will be available sometime in the coming weeks.
"This project is directly in line with the Library’s mission to make the world’s knowledge accessible to all," Carrie Welch, the New York Public Library’s Chief of External Relations, said in a statement.
“It’s appropriate that one of the works we’re using is The Metamorphosis, because in collaboration with Mother, we are completely transforming the way people look at this popular social media platform, and reimagining the way people access the classics.”
Right now, you can find the second section of Lewis Carroll's trippy adventure story Alice In Wonderland on Instagram, with some super cool animations from self-described visual thinker and seeker Magoz (@magoz) to boot. If you've missed the first part, don't worry. The "highlights" feature at the top allows you to catch up with older Insta Novels, essentially creating "a digital bookshelf".
For even more free books to lose yourself in, the New York Public Library has an e-reader app called SimplyE, which allows you to skim through thousands of pieces of classic literature in the public domain – including Pride and Prejudice, Frankenstein, and The Picture of Dorian Gray. (Also available online here.)