Tuesday 26 March 2013

Find free books online - and more

A column I ran recently including good sources for ebooks online - plus some cool sources for music too - enjoy!

HANDS up if you got a shiny new tablet computer or a Kindle for Christmas.
Hmm, let's see... one, two, three, four... ok, I'm stopping counting, I see
a forest of hands.
So now that you've got them, what can you do with them? Let's give a few pointers.

Project Gutenberg
Ebooks, ebooks and more ebooks. Project Gutenberg has been creating and
distributing free ebooks for years now – all fully legal and above board.
Lots of these will be out-of-copyright books from years gone by. Some
genuine classics, some just old. But a quick look at their top 100 list
shows Les Miserables propelled to the top as the movie hits the cinemas,
while there are also delights such as the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,
Pride and Prejudice, Beowulf and Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis. There's even
the Kama Sutra at number 7 – well, the advantage of ebooks is no one can
frown at the cover while you're reading! Personally, I noticed A Princess of
Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs on the list, so skip on down to the next
website while I just click download...

Free Booksy
Less comprehensive than the vast Project Gutenberg, but containing many a
more modern book is http://www.freebooksy.com. Nicely categorised, it's easy
to find free thrillers, romances, mysteries, fantasy, books for children and
young adults, even cookbooks or travel books. Well worth a look, but I find
it useful more for dabbling with new or lesser-known authors than looking
for a guaranteed hit. New is no bad thing, mind you!

On to music – and a smashing little website called www.blogotheque.net. A
French website that's also available in English, I'm throwing down a
challenge to someone to create a Bahamian version. The website features a
host of artist in small, intimate little performances of their work. From
well-known artists such as Gil Scott Heron or the Jon Spencer Blues
Explosion and Jessie Ware through to performers you've never heard of, all
captured on camera up close and personal. It's a great way to showcase the
music over the showbiz. There's also something magical about the level
playing field, where famous musicians are captured in exactly the same
fashion as the up-and-comers. Well worth a look.

From listening to music to creating music and the brilliant, brilliant
Otomata site. This is an online music sequencer. You simply position sliders
on the screen, hit play and start to create music as the sliders bounce up
and down the screen. You can redirect sliders horizontally instead and watch
as they collide with their vertical partners, changing the shapes on the
screen and the sound of the music at the same time. Mystifyingly beautiful
at times, and you can even record your piece. It is also available on
iPhone/iPod/iPad. There is also a link to a reddit page full of compositions
by people far more talented than I! Visit
http://www.earslap.com/projectslab/otomata for more.

Sometimes when you see a weather forecast, you think to yourself you might
as well just look out your window. Well, Yowindow takes that and runs with
it. It shows the world outside a virtual window and, as you push the slider
at the top along, the sun, clouds, moon and weather changes move through the
sky in a virtual animation. It's quite the most picturesque forecast I've
seen – although the screenshot I've included with this column shows rain for
today! Sorry about that.

* Got any suggestions for websites to feature in future columns? Send your
tips to @chippychatty on Twitter.

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