Last week during a late night Goggle search I stumbled upon Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page. I had heard about this project years ago, but never got around to visiting the site. I don’t know why—procrastination, I suppose. Had I really understood the breath and depth of the project, I would have overcome all and any obstacles to visit this fantastic collection a whole lot sooner.
In any case, that night I felt as if struck by lightening; here in one place were my two favorite things in the world combined: books and free. Hands trembling with excitement, I explored the catalogues–staying up till the wee hours of the morning.
According to the site, there are over 27,000 books in the Project Gutenberg On-line Book Catalog, but over 100,000 titles are available. Language collections with more than 50 books include: Chinese, Dutch, English, Esperanto, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Latin, Portuguese, Spanish and Tagalog. The list of languages with a total of less than fifty books per language is so extensive that it would probably fill this page.
All the books are in the public domain; therefore, you will not find the latest blockbuster. Some of the books are classics and some less well known, but for a literature lover like me this site is the find of a lifetime. There just is not enough time to read and savor everything I found.
The volunteers who run Project Gutenberg invite you to join them. They also solicit donations to keep the project growing, but you do not need to donate to download a book. All books are free for the taking.
While browsing through the on-line catalogue I discovered that in addition to the written word, some offerings are recordings. Could this this get any better? Very quickly I found audio books to keep me company on my next road trip to Manhattan.
You will find information on the e-books in: Gutenberg: The Audio Books Project. One final note, pun entirely intended–for those of you who are musicians take a look at Gutenberg: The Sheet Music Project; you may find something irresistible. Wow! I’ll need to dust off the piano.
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