Wednesday Links 2-24-10

Halloween Reading

Happy Halloween boys and ghouls. Here’s some quick suggestions for spooky reads:

airmontfrankensteinFrankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

This is one of my favorite books of all time. It’s not like anything you’d expect from seeing Karloff flicks, rather it’s steeped in pathos and haunting characterization. Read my mini-review here, and download a free copy here.


poeThe Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe.

He’s the master. Enough said about that. Download for free.



Pretty much anything written by H.P. Lovecraft


He’s a lesser know master, but a master nonetheless. I’m especially in favor of “The Call of Chutlhu” and “Herbert West: Reanimator.” Some of his work is public domain as well.


dracula_book_cover_1902_doubleday_89Dracula by Bram Stoker

Another great book eclipsed by offshoot Hollywood and pop culture iterations. This book is original and great and old enough to be free.


Night Shift by Stephen King


He’s gotten a little redundant in recent years, but I had to include Stephen King on this list.  I happen to love some of the stories included in this collection, however I almost chose Pet Sematary instead, and you can’t go wrong with that choice either.


scary_stories1Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Swartz

Remember these books from the Scholastic book fairs? They provide a nice collection of spooky tales and lore. The real draw though is the incredible, creepy illustrations. They seriously gave me nightmares when I was little. Read online.

Wednesday Links 10-14-2009

Another Wednesday, another round of links.

  • Disney’s got an ebook service up and running, so you can read all the Pooh Bear and Hanna Montana ebooks you want for $90 a year. Penguin and Eggmont have signed a deal with EA to bring children’s books to Nintendo’s DS handheld. Wynken de Worde has a nice piece up about the building wave of ebooks. This book’s cover art is hilarious, as is the existence of this toy.

Columbus Day Reading

Happy Columbus Day, everybody.

For those of you who actually have the day off and some spare time to read, here’s some suggested literature about ethnocentrism, colonialism, and genocide:


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REVIEW: The Book of Wonder

Book-of-WonderAuthor: Lord Dunsany

Public Domain, 1912

Best ebook deal: free

Filed under Literary, Fantasy, Short Stories

C4 Ratings.....out of 10
Language..... 7
Entertainment..... 7
Depth..... 6

It’s always great when a book turns out to be nothing at all what you were expecting, and all the better for it. I’d never heard of Lord Dunsany (aka Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany) before, but apparently he’s a big deal in fantasy. This collection is ecclectic and creative, with stories that delve into many wonderous locales and involve a wide spectrum of characters and situations. Though there are centaurs and man-eating gibbelins and fantastical locales such as The City of Never, the fantasy Dunsany presents is not of the sword and sorcery variety I expected to encounter.
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iPhone Readers: Eucalyptus

So after hearing all the hype, I bit the bullet and payed $9.99 to download Eucalyptus. And after reading through a book on it, I have to admit it’s worth the relatively steep price. If only you could import books, rather than be limited to Project Gutenberg’s (admittedly vast) library, it’d be the best reader app available for the iPhone.

The presentation is top notch. Texts are far more readable in Eucalyptus than in the other reader apps I’ve tried. On top of this everything is well organized, intuitive and easy to navigate. They’ve included plenty of animations and graphical touches that give the package a decidedly professional flair. This does wonders negating the fears of buyer’s remorse I had when I first agreed to spend $10.
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July Highlights from the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog

Each month I try and sort out some of the more accessible and interesting entries on the SEPW to share with readers interested in issues such as library digitization, open access, and electronic journals. You can check out my previous entries here.

This month I’ve got just a few quick items to share. First, I’ll draw attention to “Creating the Mark Twain Project Online” by Lisa Schiff. The MTPO is a neat little project I had never before heard of. Its aim is to make free to the public a wealth of the great author’s personal documents and correspondence by “providing access to more than 2,300 complete texts, over 28,000 records of other known items, and almost 100 facsimile images.”

The case study linked to above isn’t about Mark Twain itself, though it will provide an interesting bit of reading for those interested in digital archiving and techie site creation stuff. Readers interested in getting into the Twain papers made available by this ambitious project should check out the Mark Twain Project directly.
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iPhone Readers: Classics2Go

Classics2Go is a very similar app to Classics. It does some things better, and some not as well. Both apps are good for those who want inexpensive libraries of cleaned up classic books in a preloaded package on their iPhone or iPod. You wouldn’t want both though, as they draw from the same pool of public domain titles and offer similar packages.

Classics2Go has a bigger library (currently 47 to Classics’s 23). The cover art isn’t quite as nice as that of Classics, as all the art looks similar and slightly amateurish, though it’s still a welcome feature. Rather than a rearrangable bookshelf, Classics2Go features two rows: a sliding, navigable bottom row containing all the available titles, as well as an upper My Books row that allows you to set aside books for easier access. The touch detection is a little off for this, which can be momentarily annoying.
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Patriotic Reading for the Fourth of July

Happy fourth of July (weekend). With all the barbecues, fireworks, and beers to be had over the next few days, you might not be looking at much reading time. But if you can steal away a few hours with a books, here are some suggestions to get you in the American spirit (the  world-underdog, don’t tread on me spirit, not the Sean Hannity twisted, dark-heart, imperialist entitlement spirit).


Johnny Tremain, by Esther Forbes 1943

Remember this one? You probably read it in 5th grade. It’s a great depiction of Revolutionary Boston, and the book takes its readers through all the major historical factors: the Boston Tea Party, the Sons of Liberty, Paul Revere’s famous ride, etc. Johnny had been a silversmith apprentice, but in a (sort of) accident his thumb and fingers are fused and he becomes a social outcast. This positioning gives Johnny a nice vantage point for objectively watching the many characters in Boston (some now legendary) as war looms and sides must be taken. Johnny Tremain is a kid’s book to be sure, so more mature readers should consider reading this book for nostalgia’s sake more so than stimulation.

But don’t forget, he’s deformed! In the words of the oft-wise Bart Simpson in my favorite ever episode, “Whacking Day”: “Deformed! Why didn’t you say so? They should call this book Johnny Deformed.”
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Profiles in eBookery: Creative Commons

Copyright law is dastardly business, with more nickel-and-diming and squabbling over percentages than most people probably gather. The music and film industries have gone batshit with copyright law since the rise of the internet, as evidenced by all the tricky take down notices and bogus fair use violation actions taken against YouTubers and bloggers every day.

Imagine if everyone who contributed to the ingredients of a can of soup had a different stake in the overall profit of the can, then on top of that, the percentages paid out to the pea farmers and noodle makers changed depending on what side of the ocean the soup was purchased on. Same farmer; same soup. Once the soup gets old, and the farmers are dead no one can really claim the money anymore (unless they stick a new label on it and add a dash of salt). Books, more so than canned goods, have a tremendous shelf life.
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