Interlude: A Christmas Present

So, here is a Christmas present for you, a set of the Great Books for the first year.  I am travelling and don’t have my complete set with me, and began looking for electronic texts of some of the books. Librivox has the first year reading list with links to online versions of the text. So, if you want to follow along, you can always go here. (I am still on the Acts of the Apostles.)

http://wiki.librivox.org/index.php/Great_Books_of_the_Western_World_Year_One

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One thought on “Interlude: A Christmas Present

  1. Thanks for the link, I can make some use of that. I am in Afghanistan, where there is a paucity of reading material. I compensate by storing material to my thumbdrive. My library is so small and lightweight, a pat-down search can’t reveal it. A computer screen is only good for light reading, though, so I often print and bind these books myself. (Somewhere at Kandahar Airfield is a homemade copy of “History of the Peloponnesian War,” complete with maps and an index.)

    The site you’ve shared with us has a lot of links to the Gutenberg Project. I find GP frustrating. “Wealth of Nations,” for example, is around 1,000 pages when printed. GP publishes this entire book on one webpage. This is impractical. I need it in a format like Word or a PDF document so that I can print from it selectively; I don’t have the capacity to print 1,000 pages all at one go, especially when I need to print double-sided. Also, a good index is valuable, and if it were in Word I could generate one.

    Of course, I could cut and paste the book into Word. But then there are problems with the sections of the work– Smith divided it into books and chapters. I may be printing this just for my own use, but I still want each chapter to begin on the recto of a leaf; let me at least try to print something that others in the future might find and appreciate. Unfortunately, in GP it is impossible to locate and format the chapter breaks without reading through the entire document. Also, GP sets up their line breaks in a way that does not cross over well into Word.

    For short works these problems are not serious, and I have essays by Cicero that I think I got from GP. For long works, though, it just isn’t helpful. Wikipedia has a classic site that is set up well; they break up long works like Peloponnesian War into its constituent sections, and this is a lot more manageable. Bartleby.com is also good, but they don’t seem to be adding books any more. Neither of those sites has offerings anywhere near as extensive as Gutenberg, unfortunately.

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