Six Unusal Free eBooks On My Reading List

The Sony eBook ReaderThe thing about blogging is that it tends to steal bits of your time away from daily activities, if you let it. And I’ve been letting it run rampant. Happily though, in my situation, it seems to mostly be cannibalizing my TV time, which is wasted time anyway. But unfortunately it has also been sneaking bites out of my reading time.

Now that my wife has read all the things she’s interested in reading on my Sony Reader (meaning I can use it again), I plan to reclaim some of that time. As an incentive to get myself reading again, I’ve picked a list of the most random, intriguing and off-the-wall books I could find for free on ManyBooks.

Here, more or less in the order I’ve found them, are my selections:

Trapped by Malays by George Manville Fenn – From what I can gather, this is a turn of the (last) century English colonial adventure story that takes place on the Malay peninsula (probably somewhere in modern day Malaysia). News and stories about Malaysia are few and far between where I live now, and I always make a point to check out anything I come across relating to my wife’s home. (I always have to chuckle whenever I hear the word “Malays”, it sounds just like “malaise“. It’s an almost irresistible call for a witty pun. Almost. :) )

The Practical Distiller by Samuel McHarry – As the subtitle to the books says, it’s “An Introduction To Making Whiskey, Gin, Brandy, Spirits, &c. &c. of Better Quality, and in Larger Quantities, than Produced by the Present Mode of Distilling, from the Produce of the United States.” Sounds like a must read for anybody interested in making a bit of moonshine or bathtub gin! This will be especially interesting to me because my friends took me on a tour of an Oregon distillery as part of my recent all-day bachelor party. (Eat your heart out, I got to try a little somethin’ right from the still! “Mmmm… this tastes like blindness!” :D )

King Solomon’s Mines and Allan Quatermain by H. Rider Haggard – These are the books that inspired the Allan Quatermain character in the truly unfortunate movie The League of Extraordinary Gentleman. If one thing positive can be said for that movie, it forever locked Sean Connery in my head as Allan Quatermain, which can only help make these books more fun to read.

The Hacker’s Dictionary by Eric S. Raymond – This is the youngest book on this list, being a mere 15 years old (1992) as of this writing. It also has the chance of being a book that is impossible to read in the conventional sense, if it truly is a dictionary. However, I’m gonna take a stab at it, and I may just fire up the movie Hackers (1995) to get me in the mood. (The most up to date version of this book can also be found online here, under the name The Jargon File).

The Confessions of an English Opium-Eater by Thomas De Quincey – All I can say is that it’s hard to pass up a title like that. Based on the excerpt listed with it, it could be a pompous, insufferable read. If it is, I hope it will so bad that its actually makes a good, but unitentional, comedy. Based on the wikipedia page dedicated to the book, it was considered both “taboo” during its Victoria era context, due at least in part to the description of Mr. De Quincey’s opium trips in great detail. Perhaps it will be a pretentious R-rated Alice in Wonderland?

If any of these sound interesting to you, check ‘em out. Maybe we can compare notes later. And if you do enjoy them, consider making a small donation to ManyBooks. I plan to. They really provide an awesome service to eBooks fans. Happy reading!

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7 Comments

  1. sulz said,

    May 17, 2007 at 10:21 pm

    i’m glad i saw this, it’s nice to see stories set in malaysia on the web. there are more and more fiction set in malaysia nowadays which gained international recognition, though, the two recent ones being the rice mother by rani manicka and the harmony silk factory by tash aw. they sound more exotic than this place really is!

    http://sulz.daria.be

  2. Brian said,

    May 17, 2007 at 10:59 pm

    Hi Sulz,

    Thanks for the comment!

    Oh I don’t know about that, I spent a couple of years in Malaysia and I think its a lot more exotic than say, Atlanta, Georgia or Portland, Oregon. You guys have impressive temples and mosques, wild monkeys, Rambutan and fun tropical islands like Pangkor Laut. Of course, I’m biased, since I’ve spent the majority of my life in the U.S. :)

  3. sca1lywag said,

    May 19, 2007 at 5:20 am

    “malaise” lol.. how about “malice”? :P

    hmm manybooks.net.. cool site!

  4. Brian said,

    May 19, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    Hmmm… “Malice” I could probably work that into a comment about some of the Malaysian taxi drivers I had to deal with back in the day. :)

  5. sulz said,

    May 19, 2007 at 10:00 pm

    it’s the grass is greener on the other side perception. ;)

    sadly the taxi drivers are just as bad, if not worse.

  6. Brian said,

    May 20, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    :lol: I’m always in search of greener pastures, probably has a lot to do with my choice of occupation and the associated travel

  7. June 30, 2007 at 1:04 am

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