Things To Do On Vacation: Free eBooks

Week One: Things That Work In Airplane Mode

So you're in college. Winter break is coming soon. You slog through your fall exams, sleep for 24 hours straight, then throw all the things you think you'll need into a single giant duffel bag and transport yourself across the city/state/country to wherever it is your parents live. They'll feed you and let you do laundry for free, which is great, but now you're 400 miles from the rest of your stuff, and your relatives can't keep you occupied every waking hour of your day. What to do?

I'm here to help.

First, you have to get to where you're going. This is often a long, tedious process that involves traveling through the arse-end of nowhere on a bus or train, getting stuck in endless traffic in a car, or being seven miles above all the cell towers in a little metal tube where they get mad if you turn your Bluetooth on. So this first week of the 2018 Advent Calendar is going to be things that can be downloaded and used when you are stuck somewhere with no usable internets.

Link numero uno is Project Gutenberg. The QR code to the left goes directly to their mobile site, for your convenience. Project Gutenberg started in 1971 and is now the oldest and largest repository for public domain ebooks on the entire internet. If you happen to live around Cambridge, MA, you may already be familiar with them; the bus kiosks around MIT sometimes have big QR codes plastered on the sides, so you can point your phone at them and sit there reading Frankenstein while you wait for your ride to show up. The books are in plaintext or HTML format, and can easily be saved to your device just by using Save As... from your browser menu, or the Download icon on the address bar.

PG, like the internet, is based in the US, and so their idea of public domain generally adheres to US law, which at the date of this posting means any printed work published prior to 1923 is fair game. On January 1, 2019, the first of many annoying bullshit extensions will finally run out, putting printed works from 1923 up for grabs.


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