Honoré de Balzac – August 18, 1850

MonkBW

Honoré de Balzac died on this date in 1850.

Victor Hugo’s The Death of Balzac can be read on the collaborative blog La Comedie Humaine. If you are a fan of Balzac’s books, explore the site for other items of interest. If you’re looking for something in particular and can’t find it, leave a comment about it. One of us might know.

I could not name my favorite book by Balzac. A Top Ten list would be possible, although it probably changes from year to year. Le Père Goriot definitely makes any list and is always my sentimental favorite. It was the first Balzac book I read and the one which started me on the journey of reading the complete Comedie Humaine and more.

All of Balzac’s Comedie Humaine, plays and a few more items are available as free eBooks at Project Gutenberg.

Friday Finds – August 1, 2014

Headpiece -FFFriday Finds is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading to showcase books you recently found and added to your TBR (to be read) list. It doesn’t matter whether you found them free online, borrowed them from a library or purchased them. Anything works.

 

My find this week was recommended to me by Wanda. It will be a group read at 19thCenturyLit beginning October 12. Everyone is invited to participate.

Cloister

The Cloister and the Hearth
by Charles Reade

A beautifully illustrated edition can be downloaded free at Project Gutenberg.

Share your Friday Finds with us! Please leave a comment with the link to your own Friday Finds post on MizB’s blog or here. If you don’t have a blog, you may share your finds in a comment here anyway. We’d love to know what you found this week.

 

Friday Finds – July 11, 2014

SnoopyHappy

 

Friday Finds is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading to showcase books you recently found and added to your TBR (to be read) list. It doesn’t matter whether you found them free online, borrowed them from a library or purchased them somewhere. Anything works.

 

This is my first week to participate in Friday Finds. I would like to thank MizB for hosting this and other memes.

I have one this week:

FloodZola

The Flood, a novella by Émile Zola

The Flood can be downloaded free in numerous formats from Project Gutenberg and as an audio book from LibriVox. Published in 1880, the French title is L’Inondation.

 

Share your Friday Finds with us! Please leave a comment with the link to your own Friday Finds post on MizB’s blog or here. If you don’t have a blog, you may share your finds in a comment here anyway. We’d love to know what you found this week.

Honoré de Balzac – May 20, 1799

 

BalzacLabeled

Today is the anniversary of the birth of an author whose works have given me much pleasure over the years, Honoré de Balzac.

I first discovered Balzac around 1977 when a neighbor loaned me her much-used paperback copy of Le Père Goriot. The book was literally falling apart. It was only held together with a rubber band. Yet, my neighbor wanted it returned after I read it. I suspected this meant it was a great read. I was not disappointed.

MGoriot

So began my quest to read more books by this author in the days before online searches. Eventually I was given a complete set as a birthday present by a wonderful person who means the world to me. It is the Saintsbury edition largely translated by Ellen Marriage. Working from this set and with John in New Zealand using the Katherine Prescott Wormeley translations, we made the entire Human Comedy plus five plays available at Project Gutenberg in time for the 200th anniversary of Balzac’s birth.

A number of years ago the small Yahoo group devoted to Balzac read the complete Human Comedy. The discussions can be found in the archives. The La Comedie Humaine blog was started by Lisa and with the aid of Pamela and others, summaries for all the stories and other information are now available to all.

 

Public Domain Day 2014: The fight for the public domain is on now

Everybody's Libraries

New Years’ Day is upon us again, and with it, the return of Public Domain Day, which I’m happy to see has become a regular celebration in many places over the last few years.  (I’ve observed it here since 2008.)  In Europe, the Open Knowledge Foundation gives us a “class picture” of authors who died in 1943, and whose works are now entering the public domain there and in other “life+70 years” countries.  Meanwhile, countries that still hold to the Berne Convention’s “life+50 years” copyright term, including Canada, Japan, and New Zealand, and many others, get the works of authors who died in 1963.  (The Open Knowledge Foundation also has highlights for those countries, where Narnia/Brave-New-World/purloined-plums crossover fanfic is now completely legal.)  And Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain laments that, for the 16th straight year, the US gets no more published works…

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50,000 online book and serial catalog records released as CC0

This was one of the first and the best resource I found for locating etexts and I still use it.

Everybody's Libraries

What a difference a few years can make.  A few years ago, folks in the library world (myself included) were arguing about whether it was a good idea to let other people copy and build on their catalog records.  Whether or not libraries could or should reuse and redistribute records from WorldCat, for example, was up in the air.  Some of us were starting to take small steps towards putting catalog records under open licenses.  For instance, I licensed the catalog records I created for The Online Books Page under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license some years back.  At the time, that was farther than many library projects were willing to go.

By now, though, there’s been a definite shift towards wider and more common opening up of bibliographic records.  Large libraries like the German National Library and Harvard have released millions of the MARC records into the public domain. …

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