It's hard not to spend hours on Instagram—we've all been sucked into a 3 AM hole of lazily scrolling or letting Instagram stories slide by with some passive taps, rolling through pictures and videos that pique our interest, regardless of where they come from.
The New York Public Library—which has nearly 200,000 followers on Instagram—is planning to use that impulse for good. It's rolling out a new project through Instagram stories that hopes to revitalize interest in classic works of literature by turning them into immersive "Insta Novels."
The hope is that the custom illustrations and animated covers—created in collaboration with the creative agency Mother—will encourage readers to check out the NYPL's e-book offerings. The novels and novellas will be uploaded in full to Instagram and archived, turning the NYPL's Instagram highlights section into a digital bookshelf. Like any Instagram story, you hold your thumb to keep the page still in order to read it, and lift your thumb to turn the page. And if you let the story run on its own you're rewarded with a flip-book animation.
But even if you don't end up reading a word of the actual books, the art itself is stunning, as you can see from the Insta story version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which comes out this week:
These illustrations are the work of the artist Magoz, who told me over email, "The story itself is a big source of inspiration… It fits very well with my work: surrealism, scenes that break the logic, disproportion, morphings, and unexpected events."
To get into the mindset, Magoz listened to "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane while working on the project. His goal with this work was, he wrote me, "to transmit the never-ending curiosity of Alice and the wonders waiting for her as a reward for being brave and open-minded."
In the coming months, NYPL will add novella The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka illustrated by César Pelizer (@cesarpelizer) and the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman illustrated by Buck (@buck_design). Here's a preview: