Friday, October 27, 2006

AUDIO: Mercury Theatre on Air

The Mercury Theatre/Campbell's Playhouse was an old-time radio show from the 1930's which had dramatizations of famous novels such as The Thirty-Nine Steps, Dracula, Treasure Island, The Pickwick Papers, Around the World in 80 Days and Les Miserables. This site has a brief history of the show, as well as many episodes available for download via direct link and bittorrent.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

E-BOOK: E-Books Post-1930

As a follow-up to my previous posts about Peter Boxall's best books list, I thought I would take a stab at seeing what's out there post-1930. These modern works would fall automatically under copyright but for their author making them available otherwise, either by choosing to give up the copyright and release the work into the public domain, or more commonly, by the author using a Creative Commons license to allow the work to gain readership while still maintaining certain rights over it. Additionally, works released by the government are often in the public domain at publication in spite of the release date.

All of this is a bit of a long-winded preamble, I suppose. But anyway, here is my *very* subjective guide to the post-1930 e-book world. I have limited myself to works listed at both for the simplicty and variety of a central hunting ground, and because they make the works available in so many formats for easy downloading. I have not read every title here, but rather have collected here the ones which I have either enjoyed already, or for which a preview piqued my interest. In no particular order:


Saturday, October 21, 2006

MUSIC: Five Fun Songs

Here are five great tunes I've been meaning to post for awhile, from various sources. Enjoy these songs! I am running a little low on music right now and am in major search mode for new stuff. Feel free to send any tips my way...

From Jamendo:
From Internet Archive:
From CC Mixter:
From CC Hits:

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

MUSIC: The Lone 15 Megs Refugee

15 Megs has apparently shut down. I'm not sure why, and I am quite disappointed. I blogged about them twice already, and found a lot of great songs there. I did a search on the artists whose work I featured, and out of nearly a dozen, there was just one lone refugee who a) had a website b) had the song on the website and c) had it marked properly as being licensed under a Creative Commons license. There were two more who had commercial sites that either did not feature the song(s) in question or featured them, but did not have them marked as Commons-friendly.

I'll leave the posts up in case you want to go hunting for any of these musicians yourself, but be aware that the links in my posts will no longer take you anywhere. In the meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this tune from our lone Commons refugee. It's actually one of my favourites and I am glad it survived the massacre at 15 Megs. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you:

Deshead, I Meant to Remember

Great song, Deshead. I'll be keeping an eye on your site!

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ROUND-UP: Books to Read Before You Die

A few days ago, I started posting a list of public domain titles based on Peter Boxall's book 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. This book presented a list of essential titles in veery time period up to the present day, and has been reprinted minus the commentary elsewhere on the net. My version of the list is dramatically shorter than the original 1001 entries, for reasons I blogged about earlier, related to availability of the works in question. But what is out there remains an impressive collection of titles. In total, my version of Boxall's list contains 234 entries, broken down as follows:
Of the works listed, I have read slightly less than half of them. Several, I added to my "to read" list after glancing through them during the compilation of the list. The only authors on the list whose works I have read in their entirety are Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the Bronte sisters (Wuthering Heights is my sentimental first classic, and one of my all-time favourite books).

I don't agree with all of Boxall's choices (especially some of the more recent titles, where there is less established canon and it becomes more subjective) but I had fun reviewing his choices and discovering new titles. I hope you enjoy exploring some of the works on this list.

I have a lot more to post on e-books. It is an area of the blog I want to do more writing on. I want to post some reading guides (some are on my website if you're not sure what I mean; there are certain authors whom it really pays to read in a certain order) and I want to post some of the reading lists from college courses in literature which I have taken (or which are available on-line). And we haven't gone near poetry, which is a serious oversight on my part. I am a poery classicist; I like the rhyming stuff, and there is little that interests me post Victorian era, so all of my favourites are freely available on-line. So much to read, so little time!

I'll be back tomorrow with some more music stuff. In the meanwhile, feel free to bookmark this post for the complete index to the "Books You Must Read Before You Die" posts.

E-BOOK: Books to Read Before You Die, Part 4

Here we go :) Today's post covers the 1900's, the last century of the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list which I will cover (because this blog only deals with public domain works which are available on-line for free, the 21st century in its "print version only and still under copyright" glory is not eligible). Stay tuned for a complete round-up of all the posts, and some stats on the titles I posted. Firstly, the previous installments:
Now, Part 4: The 1900's
  1. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
  2. Animal Farm, George Orwell
  3. Coming Up for Air, George Orwell
  4. The Years, Virginia Woolf
  5. Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
  6. Keep the Aspidistra Flying, George Orwell
  7. At the Mountains of Madness, H.P. Lovecraft
  8. Burmese Days, George Orwell
  9. Tender is the Night, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  10. The Waves, Virginia Woolf
  11. Her Privates We, Frederic Manning
  12. Look Homeward, Angel, Thomas Wolfe
  13. Orlando, Virginia Woolf
  14. Lady Chatterley’s Lover, D.H. Lawrence
  15. Remembrance of Things Past, Marcel Proust
  16. To The Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
  17. The Plumed Serpent, D.H. Lawrence
  18. Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf
  19. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  20. The Trial, Franz Kafka
  21. The Professor’s House, Willa Cather
  22. The Garden Party, Katherine Mansfield
  23. The Enormous Room, E.E. Cummings
  24. Jacob’s Room, Virginia Woolf
  25. Siddhartha, Herman Hesse
  26. The Glimpses of the Moon, Edith Wharton
  27. Life and Death of Harriett Frean, May Sinclair
  28. Aaron’s Rod, D.H. Lawrence
  29. Babbitt, Sinclair Lewis
  30. Ulysses, James Joyce
  31. The Fox, D.H. Lawrence
  32. Crome Yellow, Aldous Huxley
  33. The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton
  34. Main Street, Sinclair Lewis
  35. Women in Love, D.H. Lawrence
  36. Night and Day, Virginia Woolf
  37. The Shadow Line, Joseph Conrad
  38. Summer, Edith Wharton
  39. Bunner Sisters, Edith Wharton
  40. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce
  41. Under Fire, Henri Barbusse
  42. Rashomon, Akutagawa Ryunosuke
  43. The Good Soldier, Ford Madox Ford
  44. The Voyage Out, Virginia Woolf
  45. Of Human Bondage, William Somerset Maugham
  46. The Rainbow, D.H. Lawrence
  47. The Thirty-Nine Steps, John Buchan
  48. Tarzan of the Apes, Edgar Rice Burroughs
  49. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
  50. Sons and Lovers, D.H. Lawrence
  51. Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton
  52. Howards End, E.M. Forster
  53. Three Lives, Gertrude Stein
  54. Martin Eden, Jack London
  55. Tono-Bungay, H.G. Wells
  56. The Inferno, Henri Barbusse
  57. A Room With a View, E.M. Forster
  58. The Iron Heel, Jack London
  59. The Old Wives’ Tale, Arnold Bennett
  60. The House on the Borderland, William Hope Hodgson
  61. Mother, Maxim Gorky
  62. The Secret Agent, Joseph Conrad
  63. The Jungle, Upton Sinclair
  64. The Forsyte Sage, John Galsworthy
  65. The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton
  66. Where Angels Fear to Tread, E.M. Forster
  67. Nostromo, Joseph Conrad
  68. The Golden Bowl, Henry James
  69. The Ambassadors, Henry James
  70. The Riddle of the Sands, Erskine Childers
  71. The Wings of the Dove, Henry James
  72. Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
  73. The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  74. Kim, Rudyard Kipling
  75. Sister Carrie, Theodore Dreiser
  76. Lord Jim, Joseph Conrad

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Monday, October 16, 2006

ADMIN: A Few Remarks

I have had a few comments, both on the blog and privately, regarding the "Books to Read Before You Die" series. So, in no particular order:

1) The source of the list is a critical work by Peter Boxall, in which he sets out 1001 essential books and comments on the reasons behind each choice. If you are curious as to why a particular work did (or did not) make the list, the book goes into further detail about this.

2) I have glanced at the book on occasion, but not read it completely (it is quite lengthy). My source for the list I posted is a Listology post, although I understand the list has been posted elsewhere on the net as well.

3) There are a number of reasons why my list is a lot shorter than the one by Boxall. He goes right up to the present day, so a large chunk of the works are not in the public domain. And some of the works are not available on-line at all: either because they are obscure, fairly minor in the author's oeuvre, or because they are not written in English.

4) The list is not sorted by author. The list I found seems to use Boxall's original order, which is reverse chronologically by publication date.

5) I am, as always, linking to a Project Gutenberg mirror instead of Project Gutenberg directly, because this site allows the user to specify the format for download. And if I may plug for a second, Many Books has some other cool features like thematic reading lists and user reviews.

6) Some of the links, especially for more "recent" works, are for works made available at Project Gutenberg of Australia. Australia and many other Commonwealth countries (including the one in which I live) have slightly different copyright laws than the (imho unduly) more restrictive USA, hence the availability of certain titles at their website rather than at Gutenberg proper.

7) The last part of the list should go up tomorrow, I hope. For sure by Wednesday though :) I had a lot of fun going through it and plan to post some mroe once I've read a few of the titles that piqued my interest :) I also will for sure be posting more Gutenberg texts on this blog, often. I have college reading lists I can post, and I have not even touched the poetry stuff yet...don't worry, there is plenty more e-book love to share!

8) Finally, a quick reminder re. my contest for Creative Commons licensed Hannukah music. Only one entry so far. I hope to get at least five. All you music makers out there, you know what you have to do...:)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

E-BOOK: Books to Read Before You Die, Part 3

This one took forever to compile :) Firstly, the previous posts in this series:
Now, onto today's entry: the 1800's
  1. The Awakening, Kate Chopin
  2. The Turn of the Screw, Henry James
  3. The War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells
  4. The Invisible Man, H.G. Wells
  5. What Maisie Knew, Henry James
  6. Dracula, Bram Stoker
  7. Quo Vadis, Henryk Sienkiewicz
  8. The Island of Dr. Moreau, H.G. Wells
  9. The Time Machine, H.G. Wells
  10. Effi Briest, Theodore Fontane
  11. Jude the Obscure, Thomas Hardy
  12. The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  13. Born in Exile, George Gissing
  14. Diary of a Nobody, George & Weedon Grossmith
  15. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  16. News from Nowhere, William Morris
  17. New Grub Street, George Gissing
  18. Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
  19. The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
  20. The Kreutzer Sonata, Leo Tolstoy
  21. Hunger, Knut Hamsun
  22. The Master of Ballantrae, Robert Louis Stevenson
  23. The Woodlanders, Thomas Hardy
  24. She, H. Rider Haggard
  25. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson
  26. The Mayor of Casterbridge, Thomas Hardy
  27. Kidnapped, Robert Louis Stevenson
  28. King Solomon’s Mines, H. Rider Haggard
  29. Germinal, Émile Zola
  30. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
  31. Marius the Epicurean, Walter Pater
  32. Against the Grain, Joris-Karl Huysmans
  33. A Woman’s Life, Guy de Maupassant
  34. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
  35. The Portrait of a Lady, Henry James
  36. Ben-Hur, Lew Wallace
  37. Nana, Émile Zola
  38. The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky
  39. Return of the Native, Thomas Hardy
  40. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
  41. Virgin Soil, Ivan Turgenev
  42. Daniel Deronda, George Eliot
  43. The Hand of Ethelberta, Thomas Hardy
  44. Far from the Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
  45. Around the World in Eighty Days, Jules Verne
  46. The Devils, Fyodor Dostoevsky
  47. Erewhon, Samuel Butler
  48. Middlemarch, George Eliot
  49. Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There, Lewis Carroll
  50. He Knew He Was Right, Anthony Trollope
  51. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
  52. Phineas Finn, Anthony Trollope
  53. The Idiot, Fyodor Dostoevsky
  54. The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins
  55. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
  56. Thérèse Raquin, Émile Zola
  57. The Last Chronicle of Barset, Anthony Trollope
  58. Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Jules Verne
  59. Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky
  60. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
  61. Our Mutual Friend, Charles Dickens
  62. Uncle Silas, Sheridan Le Fanu
  63. Notes from the Underground, Fyodor Dostoevsky
  64. The Water-Babies, Charles Kingsley
  65. Les Misérables, Victor Hugo
  66. Silas Marner, George Eliot
  67. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
  68. On the Eve, Ivan Turgenev
  69. Castle Richmond, Anthony Trollope
  70. The Mill on the Floss, George Eliot
  71. The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins
  72. The Marble Faun, Nathaniel Hawthorne
  73. A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
  74. Adam Bede, George Eliot
  75. Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
  76. North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell
  77. Hard Times, Charles Dickens
  78. Walden, Henry David Thoreau
  79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
  80. Villette, Charlotte Brontë
  81. Cranford, Elizabeth Gaskell
  82. Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life Among the Lonely, Harriet Beecher Stowe
  83. The Blithedale Romance, Nathaniel Hawthorne
  84. The House of the Seven Gables, Nathaniel Hawthorne
  85. Moby-Dick, Herman Melville
  86. The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
  87. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
  88. Mary Barton, Elizabeth Gaskell
  89. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Brontë
  90. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
  91. Agnes Grey, Anne Brontë
  92. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
  93. Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray
  94. The Count of Monte-Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
  95. The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas
  96. The Purloined Letter, Edgar Allan Poe
  97. Martin Chuzzlewit, Charles Dickens
  98. The Pit and the Pendulum, Edgar Allan Poe
  99. Lost Illusions, Honoré de Balzac
  100. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
  101. Dead Souls, Nikolay Gogol
  102. The Fall of the House of Usher, Edgar Allan Poe
  103. The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Charles Dickens
  104. Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
  105. Le Père Goriot, Honoré de Balzac
  106. Eugénie Grandet, Honoré de Balzac
  107. Last of the Mohicans, James Fenimore Cooper
  108. The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, James Hogg
  109. The Monastery, Sir Walter Scott
  110. Ivanhoe, Sir Walter Scott
  111. Frankenstein, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
  112. Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen
  113. Persuasion, Jane Austen
  114. Rob Roy, Sir Walter Scott
  115. Emma, Jane Austen
  116. Mansfield Park, Jane Austen
  117. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
  118. The Absentee, Maria Edgeworth
  119. Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen
  120. Castle Rackrent, Maria Edgeworth

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

E-BOOK: Books to Read Before You Die, Part 2

First up, a quick reminder about my contest. Only one entry so far. You can win stuff. Seriously. Now, the e-book madness continues. Check out yesterday's entry for everything Pre-1700.

2. The 1700's
  1. The Monk, M.G. Lewis
  2. The Mysteries of Udolpho, Ann Radcliffe
  3. The Interesting Narrative, Olaudah Equiano
  4. The Adventures of Caleb Williams, William Godwin
  5. Cecilia, Fanny Burney
  6. Confessions, Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  7. Evelina, Fanny Burney
  8. The Sorrows of Young Werther, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  9. Humphrey Clinker, Tobias George Smollett
  10. The Man of Feeling, Henry Mackenzie
  11. A Sentimental Journey, Laurence Sterne
  12. Tristram Shandy, Laurence Sterne
  13. The Vicar of Wakefield, Oliver Goldsmith
  14. The Castle of Otranto, Horace Walpole
  15. Émile; or, On Education, Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  16. Rasselas, Samuel Johnson
  17. Candide, Voltaire
  18. Amelia, Henry Fielding
  19. Peregrine Pickle, Tobias George Smollett
  20. Fanny Hill, John Cleland
  21. Tom Jones, Henry Fielding
  22. Roderick Random, Tobias George Smollett
  23. Clarissa, Samuel Richardson
  24. Pamela, Samuel Richardson
  25. Joseph Andrews, Henry Fielding
  26. A Modest Proposal, Jonathan Swift
  27. Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift
  28. Moll Flanders, Daniel Defoe
  29. Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe
  30. A Tale of a Tub, Jonathan Swift

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

E-BOOK: Books to Read Before You Die, Part 1

Someone on Listology posted a complete list of all the books featured in the book 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die edited by Peter Boxall. It spans literary history right up to the present day, and presents a list of the essential titles in each time period. Obviously, there is a certain amount of subjectivity in such a project, and I may not agree with all the choices. But it's a wonderful starting point! I'll be leaving off any titles for which I can't find a public domain text on the net, but other than that, I'll be sticking to Boxall's list.

1. Pre-1700
  1. Oroonoko, Aphra Behn
  2. The Princess of Clèves, Comtesse de La Fayette
  3. The Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan
  4. Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
  5. Gargantua and Pantagruel, Françoise Rabelais
  6. The Thousand and One Nights, Anonymous
  7. The Golden Ass, Lucius Apuleius
  8. Aesop’s Fables, Aesopus

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Monday, October 09, 2006

ANNOUNCEMENT: This Blog's First Contest!

The holiday season is shortly commencing, and all you lucky msuicphiles out there have a plethora of Christmas choices. Hannukah songs? Shame, that. Herewith, the first contest this blog has offered. I want some good Hannukah music---nothing treacly, perferebly something pop-ish and catchy and even a little ironic (see: Chiron Beta Prime by Jonathan Coulton) for a good example). I'll judge all entries and award the winner a prize. Full details below; feel free to spread this news hither and thither to any blog you know. I would love to see a lot of great Hannukah music out there.

Contest: The Great Commons Hannukahfest 2006 sponsored by The Best Media in Life is Free

Eligibility: Open to anyone, anywhere in the world. Multiple entries are permitted.

Prize: One first place winner will receive a free Commons-licensed cd, title a surprise for now---but the cd has bonus goodies to die for

Entry procedure: Write and record a Hannukah-themed song. Release it onto the net under a Creative Commons license. Send me an email with the title, author's name and email, and URL to the song ( will host it for you if you haven't got a website).

Deadline: Please have all entries sent in by December 1, 2006. I will judge the contest at that time and announce the winner on this blog once s/he has been notified. I will also post a complete list of all entries, for the enjoyment of the masses.

Happy holidays, everyone. Now, go dazzle me with your amazing Hannukah music. And please, spread the word. You can win free stuff! Seriously.

Friday, October 06, 2006

ROUND-UP: Posts from September

To start with, here are the previous round-ups:

Now, onto September :)




Wednesday, October 04, 2006

ARTIST: Jonathan Coulton (Take Two)

I know I have blogged about this guy before :) Today is an appropriate day to do it again as he has just reached the end of his "Thing a Week" project, where he wrote and released to the internet one song a week for an entire year. There were some misses among such a quantity of music, but some real hits too: Chiron Beta Prime remains the best Christmas song ever, and my little brother really liked The Presidents which features one line about every single one of them. I actually tried to write my own Canadian lyrics for that one, which I planned to email Mr. Coulton, , but I got stuck when Mckenzie King got re-elected yet again and I couldn't think of a way to work in a rhyme about how he used to talk to his dead mother. Our guys can get re-elected as many times as they want to, and twenty years on uninterrupted Trudeau makes for a very dull song :)

Coulton finishes his year-long project with this comment: "And while the standard rich and famous contract continues to elude me, in the ways that really matter I am filthy, stinking rich." I don't know why he doesn't have a contract either. This guy is awesome. You can finish his Thing a Week year with his awesome cover of Queen's We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions. Rock on indeed, my friend. You are one of my Creative Commons favourites, and you prove the system works. I celebrated the end of your Thing a Week with a donation!

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Monday, October 02, 2006

ARTIST: John Jackson

I have blogged about a John Jackson song once before, but finally had some time this week to sit down and listen to the rest of the album at Magnatune. I really like this guy. If you've enjoyed the work of Creative Commons staples like Josh Woodward, Jonathan Coulton and Scott Andrew, this guy will be right up your alley.

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