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Ebooks: Sources and Recommendations


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[see also the Kindle and other e-readers thread]

I have owned and used a Kindle for a while now, and I thought I would put together a little hodgepodge of links and notes for the benefit of anyone who may be interested. I post this here and not in the Kindle thread because my comments mostly pertain to the subject of ebooks, not to the readers themselves. Although I have used only the Kindle (hence the Kindle-centricity of my sources), many of these links should be useful to owners of other devices.

Essential links

  • Inkmesh. A very useful ebook search engine. Lets you restrict your search to free ebooks.
  • The Kindle Store. When I look for a particular ebook I almost always check Amazon's offerings, even though free books can usually be found at multiple sites. For one thing, you don't have to manually transfer books to the Kindle as Amazon sends them to it automagically. But the main reason I like to use Amazon's copies is because Amazon collects online--here--whatever you highlight and annotate on your Kindle. It's handy to have my notes and quotations all in one place online, where they may be easily copied. But as far as I know Amazon only does this with books you procure from Amazon, not with books you get elsewhere.
  • Manybooks.net. A very large repository of free ebooks in a multiplicity of formats. Many of these are derived from Project Gutenberg's editions. I use this site all the time.
  • Project Gutenberg. The one and only.
  • Mobileread Forums. A large community-driven collection of free ebooks in various formats. A lot of material here that you might not find elsewhere. For instance, you can find handy omnibus collections of various authors from Arthur Conan Doyle to Earl Derr Biggers.

Other ebook sources

Software

  • Calibre. Terrific ebook management software. Convert an ebook from one format to another. I used Calibre to produce a handy, easily-browseable and navigable collection of Samuel Johnson's Rambler essays, as well as an edition of Thomas Traherne's Centuries.
  • Kindelabra. A nice tool for managing your Kindle Collections. Useful if you have a lot of books you want to organize relatively painlessly.

A few ebook recommendations

  • The incomparable Saki. Thanks to the advent of ebooks, the impossibly wonderful tales of Saki are swiftly procurable. Saki is the Shakespeare of sardonic bemusement. Witty and cruel and unforgettable.
  • Stephen Leacock. Author of many great literary parodies and zany stories. On the downside, his humor is sometimes dated and frankly befuddling from today's perspective. But I will always cherish Leacock's Nonsense Novels, which is a great, quick read.
  • Stoner, Butcher's Crossing, and Augustus by John Williams. Three remarkable, remarkably varied novels by this neglected, supremely gifted American writer.
  • The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson. This is the perfect sort of book to read on the Kindle. A splendid, funny adventure story.
  • Various classic nature books. From the likes of Gilbert White, Thoreau, and so on.
  • G. K. Chesterton. Amazon also has 29 of his books in a single collection for $0.89, if you don't wish to bother downloading these titles individually.
  • Hilaire Belloc. A wide variety of Belloc's works are available as free ebooks. I can personally vouch for Hills and the Sea, On Nothing and Kindred Subjects, On Something, and The Path to Rome.
  • P. G. Wodehouse. And another Amazon omnibus. These collections are very handy, but in practice they can be difficult to navigate. Also, due to their size they may take a little longer to flip between pages than the individual titles.

Edited by du Garbandier
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[see also the Kindle and other e-readers thread]

I have owned and used a Kindle for a while now, and I thought I would put together a little hodgepodge of links and notes for the benefit of anyone who may be interested. I post this here and not in the Kindle thread because my comments mostly pertain to the subject of ebooks, not to the readers themselves. Although I have used only the Kindle (hence the Kindle-centricity of my sources), many of these links should be useful to owners of other devices.

Essential links

  • Inkmesh. A very useful ebook search engine. Lets you restrict your search to free ebooks.
  • The Kindle Store. When I look for a particular ebook I almost always check Amazon's offerings, even though free books can usually be found at multiple sites. For one thing, you don't have to manually transfer books to the Kindle as Amazon sends them to it automagically. But the main reason I like to use Amazon's copies is because Amazon collects online--here--whatever you highlight and annotate on your Kindle. It's handy to have my notes and quotations all in one place online, where they may be easily copied. But as far as I know Amazon only does this with books you procure from Amazon, not with books you get elsewhere.
  • Manybooks.net. A very large repository of free ebooks in a multiplicity of formats. Many of these are derived from Project Gutenberg's editions. I use this site all the time.
  • Project Gutenberg. The one and only.
  • Mobileread Forums. A large community-driven collection of free ebooks in various formats. A lot of material here that you might not find elsewhere. For instance, you can find handy omnibus collections of various authors from Arthur Conan Doyle to Earl Derr Biggers.

Other ebook sources

Software

  • Calibre. Terrific ebook management software. Convert an ebook from one format to another. I used Calibre to produce a handy, easily-browseable and navigable collection of Samuel Johnson's Rambler essays, as well as an edition of Thomas Traherne's Centuries.
  • Kindelabra. A nice tool for managing your Kindle Collections. Useful if you have a lot of books you want to organize relatively painlessly.

A few ebook recommendations

  • The incomparable Saki. Thanks to the advent of ebooks, the impossibly wonderful tales of Saki are swiftly procurable. Saki is the Shakespeare of sardonic bemusement. Witty and cruel and unforgettable.
  • Stephen Leacock. Author of many great literary parodies and zany stories. On the downside, his humor is sometimes dated and frankly befuddling from today's perspective. But I will always cherish Leacock's Nonsense Novels, which is a great, quick read.
  • Stoner, Butcher's Crossing, and Augustus by John Williams. Three remarkable, remarkably varied novels by this neglected, supremely gifted American writer.
  • The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson. This is the perfect sort of book to read on the Kindle. A splendid, funny adventure story.
  • Various classic nature books. From the likes of Gilbert White, Thoreau, and so on.
  • G. K. Chesterton. Amazon also has 29 of his books in a single collection for $0.89, if you don't wish to bother downloading these titles individually.
  • Hilaire Belloc. A wide variety of Belloc's works are available as free ebooks. I can personally vouch for Hills and the Sea, On Nothing and Kindred Subjects, On Something, and The Path to Rome.
  • P. G. Wodehouse. And another Amazon omnibus. These collections are very handy, but in practice they can be difficult to navigate. Also, due to their size they may take a little longer to flip between pages than the individual titles.

Thank you, thank you. This is incredibly helpful.

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  • 2 years later...

Yes, thanks. I'm going through A&F looking for posts about Stoner, which is available today only as a $1.99 ebook. I'm going to pick that one up for my Nook.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have a folder of Gutenberg Ebooks on my PC that's about 2 GBs total. That place is beautiful.


 

The Internet Archive. This is a massive, cluttered site, unwieldy and, to say the least, not ideally searchable or navigable. Yet it is truly loaded with books unavailable elsewhere, free or otherwise. Where else can you find classic oddities as The Biography of a New York Hotel Scrub, Little Pedlington and the Pedlingtonians, Ralph Keeler's Vagabond Adventures, and Studies in the Art of Rat-Catching? You will often find multiple versions of a single work, scanned from different libraries. And in my experience a lot of these versions are simply unreadable textually--thus if you find something you want, you may be forced to go with the PDF download, if your reader supports PDF.

 

I haven't actually tried there for Ebooks yet. My attention has been focused...elsewhere. Guess I should give that grouchy glutton of the Internet a shot.

Did George Clinton ever get a permit for the Mothership, or did he get Snoop Dogg to fetch one two decades late?

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  • 3 weeks later...

FWIW, Philip Sandifer--about whom I've been talking so much lately that even strangers have started rolling their eyes--is having a year-end sale. Details at his website. On sale are: all four volumes of his TARDIS Eruditorium series (the first edition of the Hartnell volume is free); his book on Wonder Woman; and the available chapters of his series on Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. These last have serious formatting issues, it seems, but they're interesting (and, of course, the Eruditorium is very good).

 

FWIW, I picked up the last two Moore/Morrison chapters, and it seems that the .MOBI files offered at Smashwords aren't compatible with the Kindle--even though they purport to be. So. Not sure what's up with that. Downloading them as .rtf and using the "send to Kindle" function converted them into a usable file-type.

Edited by NBooth
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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

 

Lewis's professional work is so much richer than his popular theology, and I say that as someone who will defend the latter against most of the charges usually brought against it.

 

Totally agreed.

 

 

Good to hear. I soured on Lewis a while back, but I'm curious [and, now, excited] to see what his professional work looks like.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I recently was able to pick up a physical copy of Lewis's Studies In Medieval and Renaissance Literature for $1. He discusses the broader themes in the works of Dante, Malory, Spenser, and Milton as well as a close reading - it's great. Although, one caveat I've heard levelled against Lewis's critical work (although I can't remember where or who I heard it from) is that he didn't use definitive or well translated editions of books for his close reading, he'd just use whatever paperback he found. So apparently his close readings and scholarship of translated works, such as Dante's, aren't very accurate. Of course, I've no idea whether or not this accusation is true.

 

More on topic though, there's a new place to find free ebooks, most of them recent ones: Noisetrade Books. It works just like regular Noisetrade does for music: the content is free in exchange for email and zip code, with an option to tip.

 

Unfortunately, there is a lot of garbage - self published romance and fantasy novels, etc. But there are a few worthwhile finds, and once the site picks up steam might attract some more established authors. So far the only ones I recognize are a few titles from writing bloggers like Jeff Goins and Joe Bunting, and a 50 page excerpt of Andrew Peterson's first fantasy novel: On the Edge of the Sea of Darkness

 

"What's prayer? It's shooting shafts in the dark." -- Frederick Buechner, Godric

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  • 10 months later...

Not sure where else to park this, but I think this should be of interest to a lot of A&Fers: "Thousands of early English books released online to public by Bodleian Libraries and partners"
 

"More than 25,000 early English texts from 1473-1700 have been released online to members of the public as part of a collaborative initiative led by the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries and the University of Michigan Library."

"What's prayer? It's shooting shafts in the dark." -- Frederick Buechner, Godric

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  • 3 weeks later...

Richard Price:

 

As for the last book I put down without finishing, that would be 85 percent of the books I try to read online. The iPad has given me literary A.D.H.D. It’s just too easy to sit there after too much coffee and buy six books in six minutes, then wind up restlessly flitting from book to book in my e-library like a hyperactive loon.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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