Ben Crowder

Blog: #classics

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Links #21


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Two quick thoughts on reading:

Over the last few years I’ve wanted to get back into reading classics (“back into” referring to high school and college lit classes), but…it’s a struggle. I’ve DNFed pretty much all the classic novels I’ve tried to read — Oliver Twist, Madame Bovary, War & Peace, and Scaramouche, among others. What I suspect is probably at fault here: my fiction tastes skew heavily toward genre (primarily sf&f with occasional forays into mystery and thrillers), with realistic/literary fiction (basically all those aforementioned classics falling into this category) usually boring me out of my mind. Not entirely sure what to do about it yet, other than to try reading something like Dracula to see if the same thing happens.

Also, from the flip side of the coin: I’ve been reading a fair amount of more contemporary sf&f lately (the last several years) and goodness, there’s a lot of great fantasy and science fiction being published these days.


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Reading goals for 2015

I recently came across a post about reading goals that got me itching to go and do likewise. I’ve had numeric goals in the past — read X books this year — but I’ve realized I’m less interested in the total number of books read and more interested in the types of books I read. (It’s also a grudging acknowledgement that this mortal life is finite and there’s no way I’ll be able to read all the books I want to. Such a sad thought. But there are massive libraries in heaven, right? I’m banking on that.)

Here, then, are my reading goals for 2015:

  • Read more books I wouldn’t ordinarily be interested in. Basically, expand my horizons, both in fiction and nonfiction.
  • Read more science fiction and fantasy classics. I did read the Foundation books in 2012–2013, but most of the time I tend to read newer stuff. (I guess I did also read The Stars My Destination earlier this year. I didn’t like it at all.)
  • Read more literary classics. Specifically, I want to read at least War and Peace and Dante’s Divine Comedy, and hopefully the Dostoevsky novels I haven’t yet read. Yes, I know, this isn’t the first time I’ve made a goal to read War and Peace. But this is the first year I’m going to actually do it, so help me. (I’ve read enough 1000-page epic fantasy novels by now that I can handle the length just fine.)
  • Read more nonfiction. Specifically, more history and biography. I’ve been reading more nonfiction this past year (Rubicon, Lies My Teacher Told Me, Food Rules, Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn, Stuff Matters, etc.) and it’s been quite enjoyable. Right now I’m reading and loving Edmund Morris’s Rise of Roosevelt, the first of a three-volume biography of Theodore Roosevelt, and Blake Harris’s Console Wars, a history of Nintendo and Sega in the 1990s.

Any of you have reading goals or happen to be reading something particularly interesting?


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Jane Eyre EPUB/Kindle

Today’s release: Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë, available in EPUB and Kindle formats. It’s been a favorite of mine since the first time I read it years ago, and I’ve wanted to make a nice ebook edition of it for a while now. Enjoy.

(If you’re wondering why I make my own editions of books that already have plenty of ebook editions available, it’s mainly because bookmaking is fun. And I don’t really like the other freely available ebook editions of Jane Eyre.)


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Catiline Orations ePub (Latin)

I’ve been in a bit of a Latin mood lately, so here is a short ebook of Cicero’s Catiline Orations in the original Latin, available in both EPUB and Kindle formats.


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Don Quijote ePub (Spanish)

Today’s book release: Don Quijote en español. It’s available in both EPUB and Kindle formats.


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Crime & Punishment EPUB (Russian)

My second book release for today is Преступление и наказание (Crime & Punishment). This is an EPUB edition of Dostovesky’s novel (which I love) in the original Russian.

This marks my first attempt at creating an EPUB from a text in a non-Roman script (Cyrillic), and I was pleasantly surprised at how well it all went. I should note that Stanza displays the book just fine, but I haven’t yet tested it in iBooks.

I designed the cover in Photoshop. There’s a higher resolution version available on Flickr.

And no, I don’t read Russian. Yet.


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