My Favorite Free eBooks

September 21, 2010

Monopoly Community Chest card Amazon Kindle Free ebook parody


I asked my girlfriend which free ebooks were her favorite. She gave me a list of over 20, and revealed a special truth about Amazon’s 100 best-selling free eBooks.

It’s not just a list, it’s an experience…

                        *                        *                        *

It’s a great amalgam of the entire book world, a shifting, shimmering set of 100 choices for blissful escape. Unlike the Kindle Top 100, which is a list of the current best sellers, Amazon’s list of Top 100 Free ebooks ranges all over time.

Right now, the science fiction choices seem to have mostly dropped off. Several of the free Star Wars books had been on the list for several months, but now they’ve been replaced, mostly by classics. I LOVE this! These books are being read again because of the Kindle! I would never have purchased a copy of The Count of Monte Cristo, but when I found it on the list of free books, boom! I’m transported to France in 1825.

There are excellent reasons why these books are classics, and why we’re required to read them when we’re in high school. Yet I’m also really enjoying reading them as an adult. My grown-up perspective brings intricacies of the books up to the surface, though they were lost when I was 15. (And not just the intriguing lesbian lover subplot in “The Count of Monte Cristo.” I’m finding may other nuances which increase my reading pleasure.)

So much is on the list. There’s classics that turn out to be anything but boring, like Dracula, Treasure Island, Moby Dick, and several Jane Austen titles. They’re mixed in with some historic books, like The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin, and sometimes even tempoarily-free self help titles like “So What? How to Communicate What Really Matters to Your Audience” and How to Speak and Write Correctly. (Bless you, Joseph Devlin for putting this up for free!).

Tucked in are some surprisingly current free books, like Cybill Shephard’s autobiography (“Cybill Disobedience”) and recently, the Deepak Chopra book Buddah: With Bonus Materials. (And there’s also the ever-present porn with suggestive titles like Compromising Positions, Slow Hands, and Irresistible Forces.) I’m encouraged to see Through The Looking Glass, Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know, and Aesop’s Fables, which gives me hope that even in the age of the Kindle, parents are still reading to their children. And, most inexplicably, Edgar Allan Poe’s Complete Poetical Works. I’m a poetry lover, but it surprises me that this book has been on the Kindle Top 100 Free consistently all year.

Maybe the goth, vampire and zombie contingents are into E.A. Poe’s poetry?

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