Thursday, March 09, 2006

Free eBooks from Manybooks - Lifehacker

Lifehacker scores another one: Free eBooks from Manybooks

Web site offers a huge list of free eBooks for your electronic device.

Most of the books listed on Manybooks are from Project Gutenberg, however there are several benefits to using Manybooks over Project Gutenberg. For one, Manybooks has a much cleaner and nicer interface for browsing the eBook library than Project GutenbergĂ‚’s homepage. But the really cool part about Manybooks is that they offer the eBooks downloaded in many different formats, from large print PDF and eReader to Palm Doc and iPod Notes.
Now, this is really serendipitous on so many levels. Just last night I visited the Project Gutenberg site for the first time in years. They were so far ahead of their time in the early days of the web — they are still ahead. I wanted to see what had happened to them, and if they had undergone any radical transformations.

They have not. They are still blissfully pure to themselves. And carrying on their inexorable labor of love. Bless them. Or give cash.

So along comes this Lifehacker post, pointing to the kind of transformed presence I half expected to find at Gutenberg. So it is literally all good. Project Gutenberg continues unadulterated. Manybooks follows in their wake with what looks to be a great service that leverages and amplifies Gutenberg's work.

Just to make it real, I browsed the collection and rediscovered a work that literally changed my life. I don't often have a chance to cop to being a transcendentalist. But I am. I usually call myself a pantheist cuz… well… people sort of know what that means. It's current enough that there is a context they can place "pantheist" in. Not pagan. Nosssiree. No covens for me. No new-age nights in the woods. Nope. But the oversoul is close enough to pantheism that I'm OK with the label. But the truth is that I spent a formative year of my high school life in a sort of Emerson induced rapture.

So allow me to quote from a copy of Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Self Reliance", as published in the book, "Essays"
Man is timid and apologetic; he is no longer upright; he dares not say "I think," "I am," but quotes some saint or sage. He is ashamed before the blade of grass or the blowing rose. These roses under my window make no reference to former roses or to better ones; they are for what they are; they exist with God to-day. There is no time to them. There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence. Before a leaf-bud has burst, its whole life acts; in the full-blown flower there is no more; in the leafless root there is no less. Its nature is satisfied, and it satisfies nature, in all moments alike. But man postpones, or remembers; he does not live in the present, but with a reverted eye laments the past, or, heedless of the riches that surround him, stands on tiptoe to foresee the future. He cannot be happy and strong until he too lives with nature in the present, above time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the morsel of Ralph Waldo! He is very tasty, as always.

(And the irony of quoting somebody who laments excessive quotation is cute, too!)