Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Nook eReader: Make Room for the Library of Alexandria

Where have I been all week? Wellllll.....Devin and Sandy gave me a Nook for Mother's Day. Oh my!

Here was a gift I didn't know I wanted until I got it! I had been thinking I might "have" to buy an eReader to read some of the new indie work out there, self-published by writers who offer eBooks only.

The connection I had not yet made, though, is that despite a lifetime of avid, eclectic reading, there are still so many great books I have not read.

Among my favorite genres are exploration and true adventure. Many of these books were previously available only in expensive originals, or in hard-to-find reprints. Most of my reading in the subject has been serendipitous as a result. With my Nook, suddenly hundreds of truly good books can be at my fingertips, for free!

After downloading a Bible,  I searched the Barnes and Noble Nook site for "Exploration", sorted by "Price, Lowest First" (to bring up the free books), started with "A", and the first book I downloaded was a gem previously unknown: "A Handy Guide for Beggars", published in 1918 by Vachel Lindsay.

In school, I was exposed only to Lindsay's Jazz Poetry. I did not know he had written his own version of the Great American Road Saga. Like Travels With Charley or A Walk Across AmericaA Handy Guide for Beggars records his impressions of the people who sheltered and fed him as he walked around the United States in the opening decade of the 20th century, paying his way with chapbooks and spontaneous lectures.

Among my favorite stories in the book are "House of the Loom" and the beautiful "Lady Iron Heels".  Politically correct? No. Incomplete? Maybe, but far less judgmental - and far more human - than most 60s anthropologists. Naive? Only the bored think that naive is a bad thing. I'll take naive over global sophisticates every day.

Arctic exploration fascinates me, probably because I shiver at 70 degrees. Peter Fruechen's books are favorites. When my grandson did a research paper on Matthew Henson this year, I gave him some Henson memorabilia I had collected: one of the cigarette trading cards printed in 1912 to honor Henson's achievement when he accompanied Peary in the race to reach the North Pole, and a school library book from 1957 that had a whole chapter on Henson.  Now, thanks to my little Nook, it is easy to read Matthew Henson's own 1912 book "A Negro Explorer at the North Pole".
Still in the "A's", I've added "Australia Twice Traversed" by Ernest Giles, 1880; "A Summer in Alaska" by Frederick Schwatka, 1893;  "An explorer's adventures in Tibet" by Henry Savage Landor, 1897; "Across the Everglades: A Canoe Journey of Exploration" by Hugh Willoughby, 1898, and "A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains" by Isabella Lucy Bird, 1879.  

When going through the list to download a book, be sure to scroll or page through to get to the free version - sometimes Barnes and Noble will mix in "for sale" versions that require payment.

I am still learning to use it, and still prefer to read an actual printed book when I can, but the e-reader is lightweight, and easy to carry in my purse. Sandy said she loves hers when traveling. I can see why - when I used to fly, I often carried 4 or 5 books in one of my carry-on bags, but today's weight and volume restrictions, that is no longer practical.

Reading free volumes on the Nook is like having a lending library next door that is open 24 hours a day. This is definitely a place where technology has its perks.

Heh! While I waited for Blogger to wake up from its Sunday afternoon nap so I could post this, I saw a similar post at "Mostly Cajun, All American and Opinionated". I'm guessing the time is not far distant when even the most passionate reader will no longer argue with the interior decorator over "merchandising" the book shelves!


  1. Apparently, great minds think alike!

    Good post!


  2. I am so glad you like your NOOK, I had no idea there were FREE books.... As much as you and I talk about all the books we love and reading I can not believe we didn't get it for you sooner. I was so hesitate myself to give up the smell and feel of a good book, but as you mentioned traveling has forced me to conform to the technology of eBooks... Ok it is one piece of technology I am thankful was created! Luv you!

  3. Thanks MC!

    Oh Sandy there is a whole world of free books out there! You may have created a monster LOL! And apparently the NOOK is the best version because it can play the main formats. In Mostly Cajun's blog post that I linked above, he links to Project Gutenberg which are all free, and one of his commenters linked to Arthur's Classic Novels, which has the "Top 10" novels for each year from 1900 on up. I just have to learn how to download them, and organize them.



Related Posts with Thumbnails