Archive for April 2011

Free Classics: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Every Friday, Marilyn Knapp Litt, who blogs at ClassicKindle.com, brings us her recommendation of a free classic book to discover (or rediscover) on Kindle. Find more of Marilyn’s recommendations at her blog, ClassicKindle.com, a guide to the best free and inexpensive classic literature for the Kindle. You can also get Marilyn’s blog on Kindle and I recommend that you “Like” the Classic Kindle Facebook page as well so you don’t miss anything. Here’s Marilyn’s post:

I recently saw Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl in a bookstore and realized it must be available free online, which it is. It is also available for 9.99 to the unwary! Doing some research, I found it is one of the few slave narratives by a woman and apparently is a very vivid and honest account – ahead of its time in its frankness.

This book is part memoir and part explanation of what slave life is like.

Here is an account from Harriet’s slave life:

Little attention was paid to the slaves’ meals in Dr. Flint’s house. If they could catch a bit of food while it was going, well and good. I gave myself no trouble on that score, for on my various errands I passed my grandmother’s house, where there was always something to spare for me. I was frequently threatened with punishment if I stopped there; and my grandmother, to avoid detaining me, often stood at the gate with something for my breakfast or dinner. I was indebted to her for all my comforts, spiritual or temporal.

It was her labor that supplied my scanty wardrobe. I have a vivid recollection of the linsey-woolsey dress given me every winter by Mrs. Flint. How I hated it! It was one of the badges of slavery.

While my grandmother was thus helping to support me from her hard earnings, the three hundred dollars she had lent her mistress were never repaid. When her mistress died, her son-in-law, Dr. Flint, was appointed executor. When grandmother applied to him for payment, he said the estate was insolvent, and the law prohibited payment. It did not, however, prohibit him from retaining the silver candelabra, which had been purchased with that money. I presume they will be handed down in the family, from generation to generation.

My grandmother’s mistress had always promised her that, at her death, she should be free; and it was said that in her will she made good the promise. But when the estate was settled, Dr. Flint told the faithful old servant that, under existing circumstances, it was necessary she should be sold.”

Here is a bit of the frankness, which is her attempt to educate on the realities of life for slaves and slaveholders:

The slaveholder’s sons are, of course, vitiated, even while boys, by the unclean influences every where around them. Nor do the master’s daughters always escape. Severe retributions sometimes come upon him for the wrongs he does to the daughters of the slaves. The white daughters early hear their parents quarrelling about some female slave. Their curiosity is excited, and they soon learn the cause. They are attended by the young slave girls whom their father has corrupted; and they hear such talk as should never meet youthful ears, or any other ears. They know that the woman slaves are subject to their father’s authority in all things; and in some cases they exercise the same authority over the men slaves. I have myself seen the master of such a household whose head was bowed down in shame; for it was known in the neighborhood that his daughter had selected one of the meanest slaves on his plantation to be the father of his first grandchild. She did not make her advances to her equals, nor even to her father’s more intelligent servants. She selected the most brutalized, over whom her authority could be exercised with less fear of exposure. Her father, half frantic with rage, sought to revenge himself on the offending black man; but his daughter, foreseeing the storm that would arise, had given him free papers, and sent him out of the state.

In such cases the infant is smothered, or sent where it is never seen by any who know its history. But if the white parent is the father, instead of the mother, the offspring are unblushingly reared for the market. If they are girls, I have indicated plainly enough what will be their inevitable destiny.

During this sesquicentennial of the Civil War, as we mark the anniversaries of the battles, we are lucky to be able to travel back in time and hear from a rare voice that was not silenced.

Download your free copy of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl here >>

The Vampire’s Warden Debuts at Number 6 in the BookLending.com 25 Most Wanted

The Vampire’s Warden, first book in the Undead in Brown County series, and a BookLending.com ebook of the day, made its debut at #6 in our list of the most-requested books last week.

It was a flash in the moonlight, a blur of motion like I’d never witnessed before. No human had the capacity to move like that. When I found myself face-to-face with him there in the meadow, I knew without a doubt that the journal was authentic. I knew that my grandfather hadn’t been crazy at all. Because a foot away from me stood a vampire.

Sarah Brightman reads her grandfather’s journal in stunned disbelief. What was once her grandfather’s responsibility has passed to her father and now to her. She has become the Warden. Her life will never be the same.The Vampire’s Warden

The BookLending.com 25 Most Wanted

Week of April 18

1. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

2. Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins

3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

4. Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins

5. The Underland Chronicles: Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

6. The Vampire’s Warden (Undead in Brown County #1) by S.J. Wright

7. Diary of a Mad Fat Girl by Stephanie McAfee

8. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

9. Wiccan, A Witchy Young Adult Paranormal Romance by M. Leighton

10. For the Love of Dogs by Suzanne Woods Fisher

11. Shattered Silence — The Untold Story of a Serial Killer’s Daughter by Melissa G. Moore

12. Desiring The Highlander by Michele Sinclair

13. Switched (Trylle Trilogy, Book 1) by Amanda Hocking

14. The Bride And The Buccaneer by Darlene Marshall

15. Ascend (Trylle Trilogy, #3) by Amanda Hocking

16. Lies I Told My Children by Karen McQuestion

17. Playing Dirty by Kiki Swinson

18. Saving Rachel (a Donovan Creed Crime Novel) by John Locke

19. The Color of Heaven by Julianne MacLean, E.V. Mitchell

20. The View from Here by Rachel Howzell

21. Not What She Seems by Victorine E. Lieske

22. Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

23. Lethal People (a Donovan Creed Novel) by John Locke

24. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

25. Medical Error by Richard Mabry

Free Classic Fiction: Oliver Twist

Today’s post is the first in our new weekly feature, Free Classic Fiction. Every Friday, Marilyn, who blogs at ClassicKindle.com, will bring us her recommendation of a free classic book to discover (or rediscover) on Kindle. Find more of Marilyn’s recommendations at her blog, ClassicKindle.com, a guide to the best free and inexpensive classic literature for the Kindle. You can also get Marilyn’s blog on Kindle and I recommend that you “Like” the Classic Kindle Facebook page as well so that you don’t miss a post. Here’s Marilyn’s post:

Oliver Twist - Free Kindle ClassicsOliver Twist, I believe, has attained a lighter image in recent decades. It may be the musical, “Oliver!,” has influenced the popular perception of the novel, so that it is now seen as a story about homeless boys larking about and picking pockets.

This was not the story by Charles Dickens that I read and could not put down for fear of what Bill Sikes might do to Oliver and Nancy! That part of the story was more gothic than Victorian and the dog’s behavior still haunts me. This was really my young introduction to violence against women; which was not a staple of television in those black & white days.

So pick up Oliver Twist and be prepared to be charmed by the Artful Dodger and to puzzle over whether Fagin is a sympathetic or an anti-Semitic portrayal, or whether he might even be a pedophile. It is the literary game within a game these days for this novel.

But if you read the book as I do, Bill and his brutality are as frightening as Hannibal Lecter. You may think this is overstatement, but some things that scared you as a child stick with you!

‘Dogs are not generally apt to revenge injuries inflicted upon them by their masters; but Mr. Sikes’s dog, having faults of temper in common with his owner, and labouring, perhaps at this moment, under a powerful sense of injury, made no more ado but at once fixed his teeth in one of the half-boots. Having given it a hearty shake, he retired, growling, under a form; just escaping the pewter measure which Mr. Sikes levelled at his head.

“You would, would you?” said Sikes, seizing the poker in one hand, and deliberately opening with the other a large clasp knife, which he drew from his pocket. “Come here, you born devil! Come here! D’ye hear?”’

I would like to say “Hello and thank you!” to the readers of the “BookLending.com Newsletter.” When I am not reading free classic books, I am borrowing and lending books via my Kindle, thanks to BookLending.com.

Download Oliver Twist for free here >>