by brenton crozier
Many of my yoke (book nerds) can’t get the same satisfaction out of the new digital book devices as the good ol’ fashioned experience of having volume in hand. It’s great technology, but there is a relationship that develops between book and reader that crosses all empirical senses, even taste if you’re feeling frisky. There is simply something enchanting about the way a book smells, the way it loses original shape from being left on the porch all privy to the elements and dog-eared to keep your place and of course there is that special thing about the way it feels going from page to page.
It’s actually quite similar to a romantic relationship. Initial attraction to the concept and cover, peaks and valleys in storyline, then abandonment after you are done with it and it’s lost its original shape. Some people remain friends and courteously give it a place on their shelf, occasionally stopping to give it a thumb through and reference their favorite parts. Some end things a little more heartlessly, selling or trading the book, maybe even re-gifting it. I’m a space on my shelf kind of guy, I always have trouble severing these things.
Anyhow, I’ve resisted the technology and have only used the internet as a means to purchase books . . . until recently. There are a number of fantastic websites for novice and ravenous readers alike, from sites that provide complete texts and free audio book downloads to sites that help perpetuate literature discussion and book lists if you’re needing some inspiration in your book selection.
Find thousands on novels, poems and stories, all completely free on Read Print. They currently have the full texts of more than 8,000 books. From Aesop to Emile Zola, it’s all here and in easy-to-read format. No long download times or anything of the sort. Choose your author, select from their offered works and then go chapter by chapter reading to your heart’s content. Read Print provides a cost effective (see free) alternative to purchasing books, gives you the flexibility to comfortably lounge in your favorite coffeehouse with only a laptop in hand and is a fantastic alternative to mindless web surfing when you zone out at work. On to Chapter 2 of Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll!
The selection is limited, but what are you complaining about? It’s free! Free Classic Audio Books offers a number of celebrated classics for free consumption. Titles like Heart of Darkness and The Jungle are available in both mp3 and m4b formats, so that you can listen in your car on your iPod or wherever you feel like getting freaky with the classics.
Tackle some of the most formative works ever written with the The Foundation Access List. It starts with the ancient classic and takes you through those books considered masterpieces of the 20th century, discussing the ideas that played a seminal role in shaping civilization. You probably won’t find Dean Koontz, but this site provides you with the full texts of some of the most transformative works ever written. Yeah, it’s a bit heavy, but how else were you going to spend your break? Can you really stand to read Perez Hilton any longer?
Again, free is the magic word. Search through more that 24,000 eBooks to download to your PDA, iPhone or eBook reader. Many Books offers the ability to download in several format from PDF to PalmDoc, Sony Reader and everything in between.
Start the hippest book club on the block with help from Book Muse. You’ll find discussion sparking questions, commentaries, author bios and tips for club leaders. One of the really cool aspects is that information is provided for readers of all ages.