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Great eBooks And Where To Find Them

 bookshelf

I know I’ve been continuing my gaming blogging series (which I hope everyone is enjoying reading as much as I am enjoying writing it!) but being a bit of a googler as well, I decided to look into eBooks and how easy they are to access online.

I will say firstly that it can be a bit of a hunt to find good ones that work on a computer, but once you find them, they’re brilliant! I found a webpage showing lots of different websites that could be used to access legally free eBooks.  Ebooks are great for visually impaired people and anyone who struggles to hold or turn the page of a paper book. So let’s crack on with my Top 5 All-Time Favourite Online Reads.

1. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

This is one of my childhood books that my Mum introduced me to and I still absolutely love. The language might be a bit old-fashioned for some readers but stick with it as it’s a lovely story. The basic plot of the story is that four sisters, Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth are waiting for their father to return home from the war. The novel covers the adventures they get up to during this time. The best character was and still is tomboy Jo. I’d go as far as to say she’s probably my all-time favourite literary character – she is so different from the other girls in the novel as Jo is feisty, independent and refuses to be called a ‘lady’ which I think is brilliant! In terms of access, I found the book very easy to find and you don’t even have to download books – they are available in online format which is brilliant. This means that you can either enlarge the text on your computer screen, as I did, read it on the screen without any adaptations, or you can use a speech software such as JAWS, as JAWS works with all webpages on Windows Internet Browsers. It also means you don’t need to physically hold a book and turn its pages.

2. The Railway Children, E.Nesbit

This is another childhood favourite and it is still as brilliant as ever from reading the first chapter over again! Again, some of the language can be quite old-fashioned but it is very well written. The story is about three children: Roberta (Bobby), Peter and Phyllis who go to live near a railway after their father is called away on ‘business’ – but it later transpires that this ‘business’ is something else entirely. In terms of access, again personally I find it easier to read books when they are in an online format as when I’ve tried to use PDF readers and such I find them difficult to download. I tried some books on other websites before finding these and found them difficult to use so the fact that this is online is brilliant and it can be accessed in the same ways as above. In addition, these books only need one click per chapter so both of the first two are accessible to everyone which is important. The link above takes you to the first chapter of the story.

3. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

I had to read this as part of the English component of my degree course at University. I will say that the book is very long and in parts I think what is said in twenty pages could be said in one! Having said that though, stick with it as it’s a great example of historical glamour – the balls were always amazing parts of the story! I also loved the main character, Elizabeth as she is very tenacious. I love the way that she is so adamant about having nothing to do with Mr Darcy in the beginning of the story – she openly shuns him at one of the balls, but you’ll have to read the story to find out what happens next! While this is not as lively of a read as the two other books I’ve written about, it is a good book to curl up with on a Sunday afternoon for a chapter or two at a time. Access, again, is online which is brilliant. The link I’ve given here takes you straight to the first chapter. I found it very easy to enlarge the text so that I could read it (using the ctrl +mouse scroller/arrow keys) but this depends on which computer you are using as on Macs the enlargement options are different. You can use JAWS on it too and there’s only a click for each chapter.

4. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett

I know it seems like I am including a lot of children’s and classic books in this list but these are the ones which I have found to be the most accessible. The Secret Garden is another childhood favourite, which is about Mary, a young girl who is sent away to stay with her Uncle Craven after her parents die in an earthquake. When staying at Craven Manor she meets new friends and also unlocks the door to a secret garden which leads to an unexpected run of events. I know that a lot of these books are aimed at children but I think they are good adult reading too.

5. Sonnets From The Portuguese, Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Although this isn’t a book, it is included in the online literature list which I’ve used to find all this cool online reading (see the link at the bottom of the page if you want to check out the list in its entirety). I studied this collection of poems during my degree course and particularly enjoyed the one that it features at the outset of the biography of Browning’s life on this website. The poem begins:’ How do I love thee?/Let me count thee ways.’ Barrett-Browning, wife of Robert Browning, is a great poet and it is really good that you can access it so easily online. Just as another quick recommendation, “My Last Duchess” is one of my all-time favourite poems and it’s by E.B. Browning’s husband, Robert Browning. That can be found very easily online too and it’s brilliant, in case you wanted to get an idea of Elizabeth’s husband’s work.

The End

So, to finish off my list, there were some books that I would have liked to have included but can only be found as paid-for ebooks from sites like Amazon. Having said this though, I’m really pleased I’ve found some of the classics to re-familiarise myself with and have enjoyed finding accessible versions of these for all readers.

It’s also worth remembering that there are alternatives to the online reading options that I’ve given here. There are various eReaders and apps which you can use. There is the Kindle which is an eReader and arguably one of the most popular – I have one myself and think they’re great. There is also software that you can download that allows you to read eBooks on your computer, such as Amazon Kindle – you can download the app and read Kindle books on your computer without even owning a Kindle eReading device. More information can be found here: http://www.aidis.org/item/page-turners-the-alternative.html

If you’re asking which book I’d recommend, it would have to be Little Women, just because of Jo and how brilliant she is as Louisa May Alcott’s character. She is my favourite heroine in British literature.

Remember to comment below on your experiences of online reading or online eReaders. Do you use them? How do you access them? Do they help you in any way? Get in touch and tell us about it!

Until next time, happy reading!

Link to eBook list: http://www.thinkinghumanity.com/2014/07/free-books-100-legal-sites-to-download-literature.html

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