Archive for March 2012

Free Classics: Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Every Friday, Marilyn Knapp Litt, who blogs at, brings us her recommendation of a free classic book to discover (or rediscover) on Kindle. Find more of Marilyn’s recommendations at her blog,, 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:

Moby Dick is a novel by Herman Melville from 1851. It is a great book, but not an easy book. You can see why in this extract. Melville had been a whaler and he was trying to minutely recreate that way of life; but as the passage continues, you see the narrative moves on with an accident and attempted rescue. (You will have to download the book to find out what happens. I never disclose the plot!)

“Nimble as a cat, Tashtego mounts aloft; and without altering his erect posture, runs straight out upon the overhanging mainyard-arm, to the part where it exactly projects over the hoisted Tun. He has carried with him a light tackle called a whip, consisting of only two parts, travelling through a single-sheaved block. Securing this block, so that it hangs down from the yard-arm, he swings one end of the rope, till it is caught and firmly held by a hand on deck. Then, hand-over-hand, down the other part, the Indian drops through the air, till dexterously he lands on the summit of the head. There—still high elevated above the rest of the company, to whom he vivaciously cries—he seems some Turkish Muezzin calling the good people to prayers from the top of a tower. A short-handled sharp spade being sent up to him, he diligently searches for the proper place to begin breaking into the Tun. In this business he proceeds very heedfully, like a treasure-hunter in some old house, sounding the walls to find where the gold is masoned in. By the time this cautious search is over, a stout iron-bound bucket, precisely like a well-bucket, has been attached to one end of the whip; while the other end, being stretched across the deck, is there held by two or three alert hands. These last now hoist the bucket within grasp of the Indian, to whom another person has reached up a very long pole. Inserting this pole into the bucket, Tashtego downward guides the bucket into the Tun, till it entirely disappears; then giving the word to the seamen at the whip, up comes the bucket again, all bubbling like a dairy-maid’s pail of new milk. Carefully lowered from its height, the full-freighted vessel is caught by an appointed hand, and quickly emptied into a large tub. Then remounting aloft, it again goes through the same round until the deep cistern will yield no more. Towards the end, Tashtego has to ram his long pole harder and harder, and deeper and deeper into the Tun, until some twenty feet of the pole have gone down.

Now, the people of the Pequod had been baling some time in this way; several tubs had been filled with the fragrant sperm; when all at once a queer accident happened. Whether it was that Tashtego, that wild Indian, was so heedless and reckless as to let go for a moment his one-handed hold on the great cabled tackles suspending the head; or whether the place where he stood was so treacherous and oozy; or whether the Evil One himself would have it to fall out so, without stating his particular reasons; how it was exactly, there is no telling now; but, on a sudden, as the eightieth or ninetieth bucket came suckingly up—my God! poor Tashtego—like the twin reciprocating bucket in a veritable well, dropped head-foremost down into this great Tun of Heidelburgh, and with a horrible oily gurgling, went clean out of sight!

“Man overboard!” cried Daggoo, who amid the general consternation first came to his senses. “Swing the bucket this way!” and putting one foot into it, so as the better to secure his slippery hand-hold on the whip itself, the hoisters ran him high up to the top of the head, almost before Tashtego could have reached its interior bottom. Meantime, there was a terrible tumult. Looking over the side, they saw the before lifeless head throbbing and heaving just below the surface of the sea, as if that moment seized with some momentous idea; whereas it was only the poor Indian unconsciously revealing by those struggles the perilous depth to which he had sunk.”

And next time you drink a Starbuck’s, lift it in homage to Melville. His character lent his name to the franchise.

“The chief mate of the Pequod was Starbuck, a native of Nantucket, and a Quaker by descent. He was a long, earnest man, and though born on an icy coast, seemed well adapted to endure hot latitudes, his flesh being hard as twice-baked biscuit. Transported to the Indies, his live blood would not spoil like bottled ale. He must have been born in some time of general drought and famine, or upon one of those fast days for which his state is famous.”

There is something Dickensian about that description . . .

Whether this book was rescued by post-World War I acclaim by the literary establishment or by the popularity of silent movie adaptations, one thing is certain – a top candidate for the Great American Novel was almost forgotten. After publication, it was largely ignored for almost a hundred years. If Moby-Dick is on your “to read” list, don’t neglect it any longer!

Click here to get your free copy of Moby Dick by Herman Melville >>>

Most Wanted: Week Ending March 25

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

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

3. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

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

5. Someone Else’s Fairytale by E.M. Tippetts

6. The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1) by Rick Riordan

7. Ketchup is a Vegetable: And Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves by Robin O’Bryant

8. The Vow: The True Events that Inspired the Movie by Krickitt Carpenter, Kim Carpenter

9. Vampire Dawn (Vampire for Hire #5) by J.R. Rain

10. Two Halves by Marta Szemik

11. Growing Up Amish by Ira Wagler

12. Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle) by Christopher Paolini

13. True Honor (Uncommon Heroes) by Dee Henderson

14. Phone Kitten by Marika Christian

15. Tiger (New Species, Book Seven) by Laurann Dohner

16. When I Found You by Catherine Ryan Hyde

17. His Good Opinion: A Mr. Darcy Novel by Nancy Kelley

18. The Marriage Bargain (Marriage to a Billionaire) by Jennifer Probst

19. The Maze Runner (Maze Runner Trilogy, Book 1) by James Dashner

20. Looking For Trouble by Erin Kern

21. Redemption by Karen Kingsbury and Gary Smalley

22. My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler

23. Airel (The Airel Saga, Book 1) by Aaron Patterson and Chris White

24. The Billionaire’s Dance (Billionaire Bachelors – Book Two) by Melody Anne

25. Nearly Departed in Deadwood (Deadwood Mystery Series #1) Ann Charles

Free Classics: A Princess of Mars

Every Friday, Marilyn Knapp Litt, who blogs at, brings us her recommendation of a free classic book to discover (or rediscover) on Kindle. Find more of Marilyn’s recommendations at her blog,, 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:

A Princess of Mars” is a 1917 novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs about John Carter. If this all sounds familiar, and you are not familiar with early pulp fiction, then perhaps you have seen an ad for the new film, “John Carter.”
It is always nice when you can get the book free and the movie has just come out! (You can’t do that with “The Hunger Games.”)

My name is John Carter; I am better known as Captain Jack Carter of Virginia. At the close of the Civil War I found myself possessed of several hundred thousand dollars (Confederate) and a captain’s commission in the cavalry arm of an army which no longer existed; the servant of a state which had vanished with the hopes of the South. Masterless, penniless, and with my only means of livelihood, fighting, gone, I determined to work my way to the southwest and attempt to retrieve my fallen fortunes in a search for gold.

But as luck would have it, he ends up on Mars . . .

I opened my eyes upon a strange and weird landscape. I knew that I was on Mars; not once did I question either my sanity or my wakefulness. I was not asleep, no need for pinching here; my inner consciousness told me as plainly that I was upon Mars as your conscious mind tells you that you are upon Earth. You do not question the fact; neither did I.

Well, novels are about suspending disbelief, aren’t they?
You may snicker, but the John Carter of Mars series has had its fans ever since the first story was published in 1912. This is the first book of the series.


Click here to get your free copy of A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs >>>