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It wasn't so long ago that living room bookshelves bordering fireplaces were filled with new books. Some were from subscription services, like the thin Time-Life series, a set of encyclopedias, Reader's Digest, and leather-bound classics that arrived monthly to adorn our shelves with classy bindings. Sadly, over time, these largely unread works found their way to old bookstores or worse, in spite of the high cost of initial purchase. They were simply too unwieldy to carry from one place to another.

Today, books are no longer part of the furniture for most of us. However, a significant collection of these packets of information and entertainment can be assembled now that so many are available in digital format, many of which are absolutely free. Storage of these texts is simply a process of copying them onto a thumb drive, or better yet, a micro SSD card the size of a fingernail.

One motivation to accumulate this vast and incredible library, aside from that pesky collector instinct is to, well, protect this 2,000 years of mankind's data...to be our own historical depository. No matter if the internet suffers a hiccup, a collapse, or special interest screws tighten, this library is available offline for expanding minds.

This writer has been collecting eBooks, eLectures, eMagazines, and movies over the last 20 years through free sources, such as gutenberg.org, archive.org, and even scanning books from my own collection. Virtually anyone these days can assemble the equivalent of a small public library on this tiny chip, in very little time. To keep track, one may want to start a spreadsheet documenting their accumulation. (I also use the Dewey Decimal System used by libraries worldwide to organize what is where.)

To help those of you just getting started in the world of book collecting, I've included links below to 40 texts on various topics, all available for free on archive.org. I can only warn you that once you get started, it's difficult to stop!

Continue to explore the web for the words from civilizations past and present. It's an important venture--and a joy to read from on quiet afternoons.

 
General Reference Works
             
Britannica Concise Encyclopedia   Britannica Almanac 2010   Webster's New World Dictionary   Roget's Thesaurus
Britannica Concise Encyclopedia   Britannica Almanac 2010   Webster's New World Dictionary   Roget's Thesaurus
Synonyms & Antonyms
 
The Classics
             
  David Copperfield    
Robinson Crusoe   David Copperfield   The Count of Monte Cristo   Moby Dick
 
     
Complete Sherlock Holmes   Little Women   Tom Sawyer   Grimm's Fairy Tales
 
Medical Reference Books
             
     
Illustrated Medical Dictionary   Clinical Anatomy   First Aid Manual   Netter's Sports Medicine
             
Do-It-Yourself Reference Books
             
     
Popular Mechanics DIY Encyclopedia   Organic Gardening for Dummies   Home Maintenance for Dummies   Woodworking - Finishing Carpentry
             
Basic Language Skills Texts
             
     
German for Dummies   Arabic for Dummies   Spanish for Dummies   English Grammar for Dummies
             
Science Books
             
     
Life: The Science of Biology   An Introduction to Astronomy   Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs   Handbook of Medicinal Herbs
             
History Texts
             
     
How It Works - Incredible History   Atlas of World History   Roman Empire   World War II
             
Assorted Texts of General Interest
             
     
Mastering the Art of French Cooking   National Geographic February 2016   Illustrated Encyclopedia of Warfare   Fashion for Dummies
             
     
Popular Mechanics Complete Car Care   PC Magazine - October 2016   Fine Cooking - November 2005   Popular Mechanics - October 2009
 
 
 
   
 

         
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