Tech, Now + Beyond

10 apps that’ll make English class a little easier

So we found 10 apps that perfectly combine the good stuff from literature and technology.

I wrote my first article on literary apps the other day, covering a literary-historical app called Summer of Darkness which aims to recreate as realistically as possible the conditions and events of the summer of 1816, which spawned the writing of Frankenstein and many other classic works. That got me thinking about the topic of literary apps. I love reading and literature, and spend tons of time around technology as a writer myself, but had never really explored the intersection of the two. So, with a little research, here are some other literary apps that look interesting and useful for learning about all different types and facets of literature.

1. Jack Kerouac On The Road, $9.99

iTunes screenshot

If you’ve ever done a paper or project on a literary work that involves looking at the history and literary criticism of the work, you know that it often involves having to look up, bookmark or check out multiple sources. It’s normally a hassle, but this app, which focuses on one novel, but pulls in Kerouac’s journal entries, drafts and material from other writers, along with the original text, would make it a lot easier.

2. Literary Termsfree

Google Play Store

If you’re looking to learn more about literary study rather than any particular author or work, this app provides common literary terms, their definitions defined in a simple way, and examples.

3. Audiblefree

Google Play Store

When we picture literature, we picture physical books, and most often old ones. But the reality is that for auditory learners it might be easiest to take in literature in a way that is entirely different, but still just as valid. If you’re one of those people who takes things in best when you can listen to them, Audible might be the perfect app for you. The listening program has hundreds of thousands of books, and lets students earn badges for the time that they have spent listening.

4. American Poetry, $1.99

iTunes Store

Poetry is an entire other side of literature, and there are tons of apps that deal exclusively with poetry. As the name suggests, American Poetry deals with poets from this country. But guys, there are 5,000 poems, and 50 of the most famous poets represented here. Another handy feature of the database is that it is easily searchable, so you can find that poet you have to read for class, or have just have wanted to read forever.

5. Project Gutenbergfree

Goodreads review

Speaking of collections of books, Project Gutenberg has set out to collect all of the books that have ever been published outside of copyright, or have been around for longer than their copyright period and are now in the public domain. Although the idea of really old literature can conjure up images of something unreadable, everything on the app is digitized and proofread. And it’s all free!

6. Swipespearefree, (although plays other than Romeo and Juliet must be bought)

iTunes

Shakespeare is one of the most widely-known and widely-studied writers out there. But if you still get lost in the Bard’s works at times, this handy app lets you swipe back and forth between the Shakespearean English and a modern translation.

7. Poetry Everywherefree

iTunes

This app also focuses on poetry, but has a specific focus on contemporary poetry. Unlike other poetry apps, which focus on the written aspect of poetry, this app focuses on videos of contemporary poets reading their own works.

8. 3D Classic Literature Collection, $0.99

iTunes

This quirky little app is similar to Project Gutenberg in that it provides access to the literary classics. What sets it apart from other apps is that it makes the virtual pages look as if they’re old, and incorporates soft noises for the turning of pages and even the creaking of old books as they shift… It’s basically a literature app for anyone who really would prefer not to use a literature app.

9. English Literaturefree

Google Play Store

Okay, the title on this one is vague, but it makes a lot more sense once you understand what it’s all about. Unlike other apps, which focus on the literary works themselves, this app focuses on the overall trajectory of English Literature, introducing you to some of the greatest names in the canon.

10. Frankenstein, $3.99

Educational Appstore

As you can probably tell from the title, this app focuses again on a single work of classic literature. Like the first app in this list, the electronic version of the book is also augmented, but this time, instead of augmenting the book with literary criticism and scholarly material, the app’s creators decided to animate the key scenes of the book, allowing readers to help Frankenstein through the events of the book.