Eucalyptus

iPhone application produced by Things Made Out of Other Things.

I have a tendency to hibernate through January. The weather is miserable, and post-holiday lethargy sets it, and all my neuroses and fanatic streaks come out to play. Last year I spent an inordinate amount of time killing zombies in Fallout 3, and this year, well, this year I spent an inordinate amount of time killing darkspawn in Dragon Age: Origins (I’m not proud). But I’ve burnt out on that game and now I’m indulging in another realm of dorkiness: I’m obsessed with the Eucalyptus app on my iPhone.

Eucalyptus is not a game; it’s e-reader software that allows you to search and download from the vast archives of Project Gutenberg. Thousands upon thousands of books—virtually any title you can think of with an expired copyright—are available for free within seconds, and Eucalyptus keeps everything tidy, organizing by author or title and showing at a glance how far you’ve paged through the virtual books. The program is elegant and intuitive and, best of all, readable. The size of the text can be adjusted, the “pages” turn with fluid grace, and on a crowded train, it’s easier to pull out a palm-sized phone than a six-by-nine hardcover. I’ve become so attached to Eucalyptus that it’s no longer reserved for commutes and queues; I’ll curl up in bed to read from my phone, which is, I admit, kind of weird.