Meaty Reads
March 14, 2003 2:17 AM   Subscribe

It was winter -- that is, about the second week in November --and great gusts were rattling at the windows... So begins Sheridan LeFanu's Uncle Silas, one of the good, meaty reads proposed by your friendly Litrix editor. Ah books... [More inside]
posted by MiguelCardoso (11 comments total)
Here are ten tantalizing first lines from their enormously pleasing collection:

1. Mr. Sherlock Holmes, who was usually very late in the mornings, save upon those not infrequent occasions when he was up all night, was seated at the breakfast table.

2. "Olive will come down in about ten minutes; she told me to tell you that. About ten; that is exactly like Olive. Neither five nor fifteen, and yet not ten exactly, but either nine or eleven."

3. On an evening in the latter part of May a middle-aged man was walking homeward from Shaston to the village of Marlott, in the adjoining Vale of Blakemore or Blackmoor. The pair of legs that carried him were rickety, and there was a bias in his gait which inclined him somewhat to the left of a straight line.

4. Buck did not read the newspapers, or he would have known that trouble was brewing, not alone for himself, but for every tide-water dog, strong of muscle and with warm, long hair, from Puget Sound to San Diego.

5. Madam, I sit down to give you an undeniable proof of my considering your desires as indispensable orders.

6. At Paris, just after dark one gusty evening in the autumn of 18--, I was enjoying the twofold luxury of meditation and a meerschaum, in company with my friend C. Auguste Dupin, in his little back library, or book-closet, au troisieme, No. 33, Rue Dunot, Faubourg St. Germain.

7. The pale Usher- threadbare in coat, heart, body, and brain; I see him now. He was ever dusting his old lexicons and grammars, with a queer handkerchief, mockingly embellished with all the gay flags of all the known nations of the world. He loved to dust his old grammars; it somehow mildly reminded him of his mortality.

8. There were four of us--George, and William Samuel Harris, and myself, and Montmorency. We were sitting in my room, smoking, and talking about how bad we were--bad from a medical point of view I mean, of course.

9. It was a Sunday evening in October, and in common with many other young ladies of her class, Katharine Hilbery was pouring out tea.

10. This could have occurred nowhere but in England, where men and sea interpenetrate, so to speak -- the sea entering into the life of most men, and the men knowing something or everything about the sea, in the way of amusement, of travel, or of bread-winning.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 2:18 AM on March 14, 2003

ooh, nice! A fantastic resource, if I'll ever have the gumption to actually print out an entire book to read, if only bit-by-bit. (Please don't think I'm nuts; it's not so easy or inexpensive to get books in English where I am.)

However, I'll have to take issue with your "first lines" from Moby Dick, which are from the Etymology preface. Everybody knows that the true immortal first words of M.B. are "Call me Ishmael."!
posted by taz at 3:22 AM on March 14, 2003

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him.

Whoops, wrong thread.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:23 AM on March 14, 2003

Another free book (plus presidential addresses & more) site.
posted by biffa at 3:28 AM on March 14, 2003

If you like Uncle Silas, there are a few collections of short stories by LeFanu:
  • Best Ghost Stories of J.S. Lefanu
  • Green Tea and Other Ghost Stories
From Amazon

I'd reccomend the former since it contains Carmilla, one of the finest Vampire stories out there.
posted by Icky at 6:10 AM on March 14, 2003

You will be surprised what you can find on P2P networks! It's not only music, you know! There is also The Literature Network and t e x t z . c o m

When it comes to reading book on the computer screen, experiment with font size and type and use the full screen mode. Try it at Baen Free Library.
posted by MzB at 6:12 AM on March 14, 2003

Also, the collection at Blackmask deserves mention for those not already in the know - not only hundreds of titles but also formatted for Palm, PDF, E-books etc.
posted by vacapinta at 7:21 AM on March 14, 2003

MzB: The Literature Network is great. But I don't know about
1. and any of its contents or services ("txtz") may not be accessed, browsed, copied, downloaded or otherwise used ("abcd") unless you agree that digital rights equal corporate piracy and that intellectual property equals legalized theft.

2. txtz may not be abcd without prior written permission by or unless being granted a temporary or permanent membership of the research or residency programs.
WTF? First, I am not subscribing to the idea that 'intellectual property equals legalized theft'. Second, if they believe that, then what the hell are they doing demanding written permission to access their stuff?

Sorry, but they sound like idiots.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 8:32 AM on March 14, 2003

also, #bookz on Undernet has a ton of stuff
posted by signal at 8:47 AM on March 14, 2003

Slithy_Tove: I suspect that is more rhetorical than legal.
posted by subgenius at 11:21 AM on March 14, 2003

My friend hates Uncle Silas with a passion.

He just can't seem to shake the book; his car was broken into and several items were stolen, including several books. Uncle Silas was not one of them, which means that the thieves actually sorted through the books and rejected it!

So of course I've been buying copies from used bookstores and sneaking them onto my friend's bookshelf.
posted by JDC8 at 5:10 PM on March 15, 2003

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