Thursday 13: 13 Books to read online

Today’s Thursday 13 is about books you can read online for free. I chose 13 that I think are worth looking into for some reason or other. But of course, there are thousands out there. I had a look at googlebooks for the first time now and find it quite good. Of course everybody is up in arms about it what with world domination and knowledge monopoly and all (something I can’t quite see, since the knowledge is still out there like it was before). Anyway, I like it. You can actually search the books, search by keywords, find related books and websites, read popular passages, reviews and so on.

1. The castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole because it was the first Gothic novel.

2. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka because the first sentence was voted to be one of the most beautiful German sentences to start a story. In fact the sentence came in second after Günther Grass’ first sentence of “The Flounder” (which in my opinion isn’t a good sentence at all. Sorry, I don’t know the English translation of it. If somebody happens to own the book, please let me know). I must admit though that Kafka’s sentence loses some of its flow and beauty in translation.

3. The awful German language by Mark Twain because it tells you everything you need to know about our beautiful language. Not. But at least it’s funny.

4. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle because Sherlock Holmes is great and this is his longest story.

5. Persuasion by Jane Austen because it seems to get overlooked often in favour of Pride & Prejudice and the others.

6. Beauty and the Beast by Jeanne Marie Le Prince de Beaumont because it is such a lovely fairytale.

7. Bulfinch’s Mythology because it tells you all you want to know about old myths.

8. The Picture of Dorian Gray because it is Oscar Wilde.

9. Fortune-Telling by Cards by P. R. S. Foli because you never know when this knowledge might come in handy.

10. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence because it was controversial when published, and that is always good.

11. The Diamond as big as the Ritz by F. Scott Fitzgerald because it is one of Fitzgerald’s best known stories.

12. The Lesser Key of Solomon because it sounds as if once you read this you’re prepared for Dan Brown’s new book. It’s called the “lesser” key because undoubtedly it wasn’t nearly as successful as Brown’s new book will be. I’m probably wrong here on the usefulness of it since Aleister Crowley was one of the translators of this book. And he’s not really considered mainstream.

13. Short stories of Saki because they are wonderful.


Here you can find more TT participants.

13 Comments Write a comment

  1. I expect we will see a lot more of this as more books come out of copyright year by year. Th eonly one in you rlist that I have read is The Hound Of The Baskervilles, but I’ve always wanted to have a go at Lady Chatterley. As recently as 1960 there was a move to ban it by the We-don’t-like-it-so-you-can’t-read it brigade.


  2. This is the BEST TT today – because I’ve been desperate for something to read! I’m in a new town and haven’t found my second hand book stores and the new book stores are 15 miles away! Woohoo, Thank you!

    I took the day off from posting to blogs – I have 9 and frankly I was uninspired so I handed it over to my Yorkipoo Pixel and here’s what she came up with:
    Hi, I’m Pixel. My TT is 13 things doggies like.


  3. A good useful list. I’ll have to check some of these out when I get time (embarrassingly I’ve never read any of them). Quite interested to read that Kafka’s first line works better in the original German, because even in English it works quite well and is fairly famous (although looking at Wikipedia, which goes into quite a bit of detail on the translation, I see you’re completely correct).

    aneerietapestry’s latest blog post..Self-Referential, Moi?


  4. Thank you everybody for stopping by.

    Nicholas, don’t know what the fuss is all about with Lady Chatterley. I read it years ago and didn’t think it was so hot.

    Jen, I don’t read online either. I prefer ebooks that I can read on my sony. But I think for research purposes this is great. You don’t have to download and skim whole books if you can have a look online and search through them.

    Mark, I haven’t read all those books either. I don’t think I’d ever read that Crowley, he gives me the creeps. I added him because I really don’t like Dan Brown and the book title was similar (at least until recently).
    Thanks for pointing me to wikipedia, I wasn’t aware they even had a short article about stuff being lost in translation. What they say is exactly what Mark Twain (and everybody else who learns German) is complaining about. That, before you reach the end of the sentence, you never know whether you will be caressed or kicked . A cunning way to make people listen to you without drifting off before you finish.

    Milan, I thought the same thing before I got my sony reader. I love paper, love turning pages, etc. Now I love my reader and take it with me everywhere.


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