If it was good enough for Ted Roosevelt, it's good enough for me
August 14, 2012 8:56 PM   Subscribe

Classicly is a curated collection of pre-1923 books in Kindle format, ranging from haughty epics to intellectual fiction, without taking away from the no-brow everyman's novel and even some timeless non-fiction. A great way to sort your way through their impressive inventory is their annotated collections, but there's enough serendipity going around in the main page that you get around to books you even forgot you wanted to read.
posted by syntaxfree (14 comments total) 66 users marked this as a favorite
Or you could just google the book title + pdf and pirate a modern book in, oh, several seconds. The biggest hassle actually when the book you want is only availible as part of a 5gb torrent and you have to download the whole thing. But because of that, one batch file and there's a good chance that any future book you might want to read is already on your harddrive, if you can find it.
posted by Chekhovian at 9:18 PM on August 14, 2012

This is quite useful for textual comparison, as well as reviewing different translations when I'm too lazy to go out to the library. Thank you!
posted by donquixote at 9:21 PM on August 14, 2012

Project Gutenberg has plenty of material in HTML, PDF and plaintext formats, but some of us either carry Kindles in our pockets or plainly enjoy the free Kindle reader for PC/Mac/iOS/Android. One thing I love about reading Kindle ebooks on my Macbook is that I'm not constrained by the A4 page format -- rather, pages are recompiled to fit on my screen on the spot.

Actually, I got so used to the Kindle reader on both PC and Mac that I went and bought the cheapest Kindle reader they made

Anyway, I kept buying these classics in cheap pocket editions at newsstands and using up lots of valuable meatspace real estate, only to leave them half-read or give them up. It's good to have them as a guilt-free resource, one that you can resort to when your thoughts happen to be inclined towards these things.
posted by syntaxfree at 9:34 PM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

I tried to use this, since I thought the format of the site looked a lot more user friendly than Project Gutenberg, but found that the search feature is really lacking. I downloaded "The Jungle" and wanted to see if they also had the Sylvia novels. I punched "Upton Sinclair" into the search on the site and got no hits, not even for "The Jungle". I searched/browsed for a few more things and found a lot wanting in the actual finding of books. Then some kind of "app error" occurred. I think it has potential, but lots to work out still.
posted by peacrow at 9:54 PM on August 14, 2012

All Gutenberg is available in Mobi (Kindle). Calibre will convert any format to Mobi. Like peacrow I wasn't too impressed with the breadth of selection. Trying to learn more about this site. It appears to be run by a company called Spreadsong. They make a free app for free Kindle books with advertising. Or pay $2 and no adds.
posted by stbalbach at 10:46 PM on August 14, 2012

Really the hallmark of an actually useable new public domain e-book repository should be: does it carry other books than I can get at Gutenberg? Or have they just slapped together their own shitty ereader and put some badly designed covers on Gutenberg etexts and called it a day?
posted by MartinWisse at 11:08 PM on August 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

I don't mind a repository which has the same Gutenberg texts. What I would love is something which would skip the well-worn classics and concentrate on the more obscure works. What I've always wanted is a blog reviewing the books and authors few of us have heard of, especially something that concentrated on weird and unusual fiction.
posted by honestcoyote at 11:17 PM on August 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is quite useful for textual comparison

Interesting: what kinds of textual comparison are you doing? On opening one text (Paradise Lost) I couldn't see any information whatsoever on where the text comes from. Project Gutenberg, presumably? The absence of any provenance renders it problematic for doing any kind of historical text-comparison, or even figuring out which edition (or editions, or other sources) it's based on. They have Frankenstein, cool: 1818 or 1831 edition? The differences are not small.
posted by GeorgeBickham at 11:38 PM on August 14, 2012

Gutenberg is a wonderful jumble. The problem with "curated" selections is that they tend to go for the obvious or cater to students.

I bought my kindle because I wanted to read out of print mystery and adventure novels which were part of Fernando Pessoa's private library - he wished to be known as a "detection" novel writer, a genre which he prized greatly. Can't get a more interesting curator than that.

Most times you won't find great literature but browsing dead writer's libraries and looking up the books on Gutenberg is a great way to get a feel for an era.
posted by Marauding Ennui at 1:27 AM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

I don't see why someone would try to make money off an ad-supported Kindle file reader when Amazon offers free-as-in-sunshine readers for all the major PC and mobile platforms.
posted by syntaxfree at 4:03 AM on August 15, 2012

Great site. Thanks!

I downloaded Agatha's first novel and am enjoying.
posted by noaccident at 6:04 AM on August 15, 2012

"Ted Roosevelt"? Are you referring to the president's son?

Aside from that quibble, interesting site—thanks for posting it.
posted by languagehat at 8:33 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

I keep trying to read a bunch of these downloaded from various sources, but so many old books, even some as recent as the 40s, are so anachronistic that they are nearly impossible to slog through.

I'm too old for reading to be a chore, and my tastes are too modern these days.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:23 AM on August 15, 2012

> so many old books, even some as recent as the 40s, are so anachronistic that they are nearly impossible to slog through.

I thought you meant Old English like Beowulf or even early Modern English like Shakespeare until you mentioned "even some as recent as the 40s." What do you mean by anachronistic?
posted by desuetude at 5:09 PM on August 15, 2012

« Older Why are Americans so…   |   "The latest victim of the tumor has been my facial... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments