The Typesetters, the Proofreaders, and the Scribes

Very interesting post by WebRover, a volunteer at Distributed Proofreaders.

Hot off the Press

scribeAt Distributed Proofreaders, we are all volunteers. We are under no time pressure to proof a certain number of pages, lines or characters. When we check out a page, we can take our careful time to complete it.

We can choose a character-dense page of mind-numbing lists of soldier’s names, ship’s crews, or index pages. We are free to select character-light pages of poetry, children’s tales or plays. Of course these come with their own challenges such as punctuation, dialogue with matching quotes or stage directions. We can pick technical manuals with footnotes, history with side notes, or  science with Latin biology names. We can switch back and forth to chip away at a tedious book interspersed with pages from a comedy or travelogue.

Every so often though, I stop and think about the original typesetters.

They didn’t get to pick their subject material, their deadline or their quota. They…

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A Gentleman of France by Stanley Weyman

A Gentleman of France
Being the Memoirs of Gaston de Bonne Sieur de Marsac
by Stanley Weyman

GentFrance

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FirstChapFirstPara

First Chapter/First Paragraph/Tuesday Intros is hosted by Bibliophile By The Sea. To play along, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you’re reading or thinking about reading soon.

The death of the Prince of Conde, which occurred in the spring of 1588, by depriving me of my only patron, reduced me to such straits that the winter of that year, which saw the King of Navarre come to spend his Christmas at St. Jean d’Angely, saw also the nadir of my fortunes. I did not know at this time–I may confess it to-day without shame–wither to turn for a gold crown or a new scabbard, and neither had nor discerned any hope of employment. The peace lately patched up at Blois between the King of France and the League persuaded many of the Huguenots that their final ruin was at hand; but it could not fill their exhausted treasury or enable them to put fresh troops into the field.

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TeaserTuesdaysADailyRhythm

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jenn of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can participate. If you’re new to Teaser Tuesdays, the details are at Jenn’s A Daily Rhythm or on my Tuesday Memes Page.

I think, as we sat our horses in the rain, the holly-bush not being large enough to shelter us all, we were as sorry a band as ever set out to rescue a lady; nor was it without pain that I looked round and saw myself reduced to command such people. There was scarcely one whole unpatched garment among us, and three of my squires had but a spur apiece.

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From the Stanley J. Weyman site:

Admired by renowned authors such as Stevenson, Wilde, and Rafael Sabatini, Stanley John Weyman is today a forgotten literary giant of the late 19th century. While for years his best-selling historical romances enchanted thousands of readers, today his books are mostly neglected.

One of his most well known novels was A Gentleman of France, which describes the “grand climacteric of a man’s life”.  Forty-year-old M. de Marsac is in the process of losing his finances and gentleman status. He has been forced to groom his own horse by cover of night and faces ridicule because of his tattered appearance when he goes before the court of Henry of Navarre seeking a commission. . . . . A silent film in 1921 was based on the novel.

For lovers of historical novels, A Gentleman of France (1893) is available free at Project Gutenberg in numerous formats. I’ve heard it described as The Three Musketeers without the tedious bits.

2016 Reading Challenges – Classics and Genre

I’ll be participating in two Reading Challenges at the Goodreads group RMFAO in 2016.

 

RMFAO 2016 Classics Challenge

2016Classics2

I’m signing up for the top level of the Classics Catchup again this year:

Level 5: Professor – 12 or more books

This is a casual approach with a cut-off date of 1940 and everyone chooses their own books; there is no set list.

 

2016Genre2

It’s back and with a new and improved version including twenty-four genres!

In this favorite Challenge, a different genre is offered monthly. For 2016 there were be two genres from which to choose each month. Books may be chosen from either or, for the ambitious, both. Participants make their own choices and many books cross genres to make it even easier.

Here is the monthly line-up for 2016.

January: Science-Fiction + New Adult
February: Mystery-Thriller + Speculative-Fiction
March: Romance + Literary Fiction
April: Young Adult + Apocalyptic-Post Apocalyptic
May: Classics + Steampunk
June: Non-Fiction + Mythological/Regional
July: Dystopian + Graphic Novels
August: Contemporary + Historical
September: Humour + Retellings (Mythological or Fairytales)
October: Horror + Paranormal
November: Fantasy + Gothic
December: Action + Adventure

Join us if you dare!

Just click on the link at the top.

 

The Octopus by Frank Norris

The Octopus
A Story of California
by Frank Norris

TheOctopus1

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First Chapter/First Paragraph/Tuesday Intros is hosted by Bibliophile By The Sea. To play along, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you’re reading or thinking about reading soon.

Just after passing Caraher’s saloon, on the County Road that ran south from Bonneville, and that divided the Broderson ranch from that of Los Muertos, Presley was suddenly aware of the faint and prolonged blowing of a steam whistle that he knew must come from the railroad shops near the depot at Bonneville. In starting out from the ranch house that morning, he had forgotten his watch, and was now perplexed to know whether the whistle was blowing for twelve or for one o’clock. He hoped the former. Early that morning he had decided to make a long excursion through the neighbouring country, partly on foot and partly on his bicycle, and now noon was come already, and as yet he had hardly started. As he was leaving the house after breakfast, Mrs. Derrick had asked him to go for the mail at Bonneville, and he had not been able to refuse.

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TeaserTuesdaysADailyRhythm

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jenn of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can participate. If you’re new to Teaser Tuesdays, the details are at Jenn’s A Daily Rhythm or on my Tuesday Memes Page.

When Presley reached Annixter’s ranch house, he found young Annixter himself stretched in his hammock behind the mosquito-bar on the front porch, reading “David Copperfield,” and gorging himself with dried prunes.

Annixter–after the two had exchanged greetings–complained of terrific colics all the preceding night.

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The Octopus is the current group read (through January 2) at the 19th Century Literature group. It is available in numerous formats from Project Gutenberg and in audio from LibriVox. Visit Becky’s Books for extras (historical information and related photos).

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What are you currently reading?

Sylvestre Bonnard, Bibliophile

CrimeSBFrontispieceLrger

I like to look out of my window at the Seine and its quays on those soft grey mornings which give such an infinite tenderness of tint to everything. I have seen that azure sky which flings so luminous a calm over the Bay of Naples. But our Parisian sky is more animated, more kindly, more spiritual. It smiles, threatens, caresses–takes an aspect of melancholy or a look of merriment like a human gaze. At this moment it is pouring down a very gentle light on the men and beasts of the city as they accomplish their daily tasks. . . . .

The dealers in second-hand books put their boxes on the parapet. These good retailers of Mind, who are always in the open air, with blouses loose to the breeze, have become so weatherbeaten by the wind, the rain, the frost, the snow, the fog, and the great sun, that they end by looking very much like the old statues of cathedrals. They are all friends of mine, and I scarcely ever pass by their boxes without picking out of one of them some old book which I had always been in need of up to that very moment, without any suspicion of the fact on my part.

Then on my return home I have to endure the outcries of my housekeeper, who accuses me of bursting all my pockets and filling the house with waste paper to attract the rats. Therese is wise about that, and it is because she is wise that I do not listen to her; for in spite of my tranquil mien, I have always preferred the folly of the passions to the wisdom of indifference. But just because my own passions are not of that sort which burst out with violence to devastate and kill, the common mind is not aware of their existence. Nevertheless, I am greatly moved by them at times, and it has more than once been my fate to lose my sleep for the sake of a few pages written by some forgotten monk or printed by some humble apprentice of Peter Schaeffer. And if these fierce enthusiasms are slowly being quenched in me, it is only because I am being slowly quenched myself. Our passions are ourselves. My old books are Me. I am just as old and thumb-worn as they are.

The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard by Anatole France

Teaser Tuesdays – February 10, 2015

BookCandleTT

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Anyone can participate.

If you’re new to Teaser Tuesdays, the details are at MizB’s Should Be Reading or on my Teaser Tuesdays Page.

The hunt is on for scholar Sylvestre Bonnard in this classic French novel from 1881. A member of the Académie Française, France (Jacques Anatole François Thibault) was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1921.

The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard
by Anatole France

CrimeRomanianCover

“And why,” I asked myself, “why should I have learned that this precious book exists, if I am never to possess it–never even to see it? I would go to seek it in the burning heart of Africa, or in the icy regions of the Pole if I knew it were there.

I’m reading the English translation from Project Gutenberg (free here), but was fascinated by the Romanian cover shown above.

Also see Sylvestre Bonnard, Bibliophile.

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What are you reading now? Do you have a TT to share with us? Please leave a comment with your link on MizB’s Teaser Tuesday post or below. If you don’t have a blog, you can share your Teaser here in the comment section instead.

SWYK! (Share What You Know) – Free eBooks

swyk

SWYK! (Share What You Know) is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. This meme asks you to share 3 tips on one of the topics below, OR 3 tips on a different topic that you know well and feel others would benefit from!

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One of the topics this week is Where to find eBooks online. I’ll be mentioning sites for free eBooks, most of which are in public domain. What a boon for lovers of classic literature.

The first place I always check is Project Gutenberg. I even use their recent additions page as my home page. The main link is for the United States site. If you are in another country, you can check here for further information. Project Gutenberg books are no longer limited to plain text, but are available in a variety of formats to fit any reader or mobile device.

The Online Books Page headed by John Mark Ockerbloom is a resource I check frequently. Mary Mark Ockerbloom brings us A Celebration of Women Writers.

A third option is ManyBooks.

There are too many more to list, but this highlights the largest and user-friendly ones I’ve found.

CharlieBrownRead

Why stop here? As an added bonus, AUDIO BOOKS are available. If you enjoy listening to books, don’t miss exploring LibriVox.

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What are your favorite sites for free eBooks? Do you have any other sites to share with us?

Teaser Tuesdays – January 6, 2015

ParisFogSnowTT

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Anyone can participate.

If you’re new to Teaser Tuesdays, the details are at MizB’s Should Be Reading or on my Teaser Tuesdays Page.

My TT this week is from Fantômas which is the January group read at the French Literature group. I was surprised to discover that this is the first of a forty-three book series. (Eleven of these were written only by Marcel Allain after the death of his collaborator, Pierre Souvestre.) Although I’m reading an English translation, the original French cover is shown below.

Fantômas
by Pierre Souvestre and Marcel Allain

fantomas

That he is a living person is certain and undeniable, yet he is impossible to catch or to identify. He is nowhere and everywhere at once, his shadow hovers above the strangest mysteries, and his traces are found near the most inexplicable crimes, and yet—-

The Village Voice wrote: “As thrilling to read now as it was when first published in 1915, Fantômas is not a puzzle but an intoxicant.” More on the Fantômas phenomenon can be found at this site. fantomascover2

An English translation by Cranstoun Metcalfe is available free as an ebook and an audio book.

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What are you reading now? Do you have a TT to share with us?

Please leave a comment with your link on MizB’s Teaser Tuesday post or below. If you don’t have a blog, you can share your Teaser here in the comment section instead.

Public Domain Day 2015: Ending our own enclosures

GlobeBook

Thank you to John Mark Ockerbloom and The Online Books Page!

AntiquePile

Everybody's Libraries

It’s the start of the new year, which, as many of my readers know, marks another Public Domain Day, when a year’s worth of creative work becomes free for anyone to use in many countries.

In countries where copyrights have been extended to life plus 70 years, works by people like Piet Mondrian, Edith Durham, Glenn Miller, and Ethel Lina White enter the public domain.  In countries that have resisted ongoing efforts to extend copyrights past life + 50 years, 2015 sees works by people like Flannery O’Connor, E. J. Pratt, Ian Fleming, Rachel Carson, and T. H. White enter the public domain. And in the US, once again no published works enter the public domain due to an ongoing freeze in copyright expirations (though some well-known works might have if we still had the copyright laws in effect when they were…

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Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880)

Gustave-Flaubert

Gustave Flaubert was born in Rouen on December 12, 1821. I’ve read several of his books including the one which is probably the best known, Madame Bovary. A number of years ago the French Literature group held an informal poll in which we listed our twenty favorite works by French authors. Madame Bovary was the only book which was included on everyone’s list. The English translation by Eleanor Marx-Aveling is available free in a choice of formats at Project Gutenberg or in audio from LibriVox.

MadameBovary