Ten best books from Project Gutenberg
September 1, 2004 11:41 PM   Subscribe

What are the ten best books available from Project Gutenberg?

One rule: if someone's listed one of yours, pick another!
posted by mwhybark to Writing & Language (18 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
(Not answering your question, sorry, but you might like this site as well.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:47 AM on September 2, 2004

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Problems of Philosophy by Earl Bertrand Arthur William 3rd Russell

There are two I like. I don't care for reading off the screen too much though.
posted by ed\26h at 3:38 AM on September 2, 2004

The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Pilgrim's Progress blah blah blah by John Bunyan

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll Charles Dodgson

Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, if you want to bawl like a sissy
I wonder why they don't have Finnegan's Wake.
posted by Hypharse at 4:59 AM on September 2, 2004 [1 favorite]

For some fine 17th Century prose: The Anatomy of Melancholy by 'Democritus Jr.' (Robert Burton); Religio Medici, Hydriotaphia, and the Letter to a Friend by Sir Thomas Browne; Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes.
posted by misteraitch at 6:01 AM on September 2, 2004 [1 favorite]

Orwell's 1984, from Gutenberg Australia (where the copyright expired a little earlier)
posted by mecran01 at 6:31 AM on September 2, 2004

Hypharse - I don't think anyone wants to type out Finnegan's Wake. :P
posted by brownpau at 7:02 AM on September 2, 2004

say now - International Gutenbergs!

Neat stuff, keep it coming!
posted by mwhybark at 7:34 AM on September 2, 2004

Also, I chased down a bunch of Wodehouse on ManyBooks, recently, to read on my ancient Palm.
posted by mwhybark at 7:44 AM on September 2, 2004


Eagerly watched
Hygelac's kinsman his cursed foe,
how he would fare in fell attack.
Not that the monster was minded to pause!
Straightway he seized a sleeping warrior
for the first, and tore him fiercely asunder,
the bone-frame bit, drank blood in streams,
swallowed him piecemeal: swiftly thus
the lifeless corse was clear devoured,
e'en feet and hands.

posted by caddis at 7:51 AM on September 2, 2004

I love hearing my speech software mangle a Southern accent.
Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain.
posted by teg at 7:54 AM on September 2, 2004

A lot of Gutenberg has the musty smell of library books nobody's touched in half a century, but I find it's usually interesting to check out the books written by "anonymous" or "unknown" - they have three different translations of the Thousand and One Nights (the third being the overly florid Sir Richard Burton version); various Bible versions; Babylonian and Assyrian literature (a lot of their translations have been superseded by more recent scholarship, but many are still readable); check out Beowulf, Confucius, the Mabinogion, the Nibelungenlied or the Dhammapada.
posted by zadcat at 8:33 AM on September 2, 2004 [1 favorite]

Three Men in a Boat

the musty smell of library books nobody's touched in half a century
You say that as though it were necessarily a negative. There's bound to be lots of crap, but also there are neglected gems; popularity and fashion are no guarantee of quality.

posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 2:30 PM on September 2, 2004

You say that as though it were necessarily a negative.

No, just a fact. A lot of the books are out of fashion but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Incidentally, I love Three Men in a Boat - in that vein I notice there's a mess of stories by Saki and a growing list of P.G. Wodehouse titles that are falling into the public domain as well.
posted by zadcat at 2:47 PM on September 2, 2004 [1 favorite]

I just noticed they have Flatland: a romance of many dimensions.

And brownpau, you're probably right. I didn't stop to think that actual people were typing these in. I just figured they were done by.. I don't know.. magic robots. The FAQ set me straight though.
posted by Hypharse at 5:43 PM on September 2, 2004

Joyce didn't die till 1941. His stuff's still in copyright (though it was public domain for a few years in the '90's), and his heirs are jerks.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 6:18 PM on September 2, 2004

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