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Welcome to the Book Blog

This is Book Blog, a weblog by Spreadsong about literature, classic authors, ereading, and our mobile apps, Free Books and Free Audiobooks, for iPhone and iPad.

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While reading the Edgar Allan Poe bio I stumbled across some sweet facts about the man - one of America’s most celebrated short story and poetry writers. Though he’s one of the American Greats, Poe never seemed to do anything right at first. Here we have 10 Awesome facts about Poe as a young man:

Edgar Allan Poe’s parents were both actors - This may seem cool now, but in 1812 it was a low class profession. Both parents died when Edgar was a baby, leaving him in the foster care of the Allan family.

Poe studied in England as a child - Perhaps it was due to his English blood, but Edgar got along abroad with his classmates, excelled at school and was pretty happy. It was only in the States that he got into trouble.

Poe was an athletic young man - Though he may look like a wispy poet, as a youth Edgar was a keen runner, a good boxer, and a solid swimmer: one annectode has him swimming the James River in Virginia 6 miles in the blazing June heat, against the [Click to continue...]

Since the very first version of Free Books, we’ve wanted to add reviews and bookmark syncing. With this update, we’re well on our way!

Reviews

We’ve added ratings right smack dab in the middle of the reader menu. Tap a star, boom, you’ve left a rating. And, after leaving a rating, we prompt you to leave a written review.

Already we’re seeing ratings and reviews pour in- given a few months, we’ll be able to have a fantastic sort-by-rating option while browsing.

Registration

Right now registration is just for reviews. But, very soon, we’re going to be putting out bookmark sync. Download a book on iPad, read a few pages, fire up your iPhone, boom! Your new book’s right there, complete with bookmarks, highlights, and notes.

We’re also working on letting you access your collection online, via Classicly’s HTML5 reader. And, eventually, uploading your own PDFs by drag and drop! All on the horizon, and all powered by the ne registration system.

Revamp

Since the huge 2.0 redesign we’ve noticed a lot of things we wanted to change. So, we changed them! The top toolbar buttons are now much, much easier to tap. The reader fits in better with the rest of the app. The whole app is a bit brighter. And, naturally enough, we now have a big green button to Download and Read.

Check it out!

If you’ve already downloaded the app, just check the ‘Updates’ tab of the App Store. Haven’t gotten it yet? What are you waiting for ;) Click here to download Free Books for iPhone. [Click to continue...]

Samuel Clemens, aka, Mark Twain, was obsessed with technology. He once famously said, “Name the greatest of all inventors… Accidents.” But whatever was going on around him was no accident.

The Industrial Revolution was in full tilt. He bought, used, championed, invested in, and lost money on all kinds of marvels of the 19th and early 20th century. Mark Twain was the king of early adopters.

Invention Fail

Mark Twain was a big fan of the fountain pen, which at first was a total mess. It spread ink all over your paper as often as it worked right, and was the butt of many jokes.

Twain disliked suspenders, [Click to continue...]

10 Awesome Facts about Charles Dickens by Tyler on May 25, 2011

10 Awesome Facts about Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens, the most popular English novelist of the Victorian era, was an interesting, if rather odd character. Facts about Charles Dickens include many personality quirks which are bound to fascinate fans of this literary legend.

“What the…!?”

The phrase “What the Dickens” has nothing to do with Charles Dickens.

This phrase, which is used to mean “a lot” - as in ‘that hurt like the dickens’ - is a euphemism for the word devil. It might have come from the word ‘devilkins.’ Shakespeare used it in The Merry Wives of Windsor, 1600: “I cannot tell what the dickens his name is my husband had him of.”

Dickens named many of his children after his favorite authors. Among his 10 children were Alfred Tennyson Dickens, Henry Fielding Dickens, and Edward Bulwer Lytton Dickens. He then gave them all nicknames:

  • Charles Jr., “Charley”
  • Mary, “Mamie”
  • Kate, “Lucifer Box”
  • Walter, “Young Skull”
  • Francis, “Chickenstalker”
  • Alfred, “Sampson Brass,” or “Skittles”
  • Sydney, “The Ocean Spectre,” or “The Admiral”
  • Henry, “Mr. H”
  • Dora, (Died in infancy)
  • Edward, “Plorn”

Charles Dickens’s own nickname was [Click to continue...]

The Long Wondrous Life of Mark Twain by Tyler on May 16, 2011

Unless you were raised in a cave, you’ve heard someone quote Mark Twain. Folks have been using his quips and quotes like a condiment for over 100 years, peppering speeches and blog entries with his humorous witticisms. Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain - the “father of American literature” - lived as vividly and adventurously as any of the characters he wrote into fiction. So get ready for some awesome facts about his Mark Twain, peppered with quotes!

Holy Halley’s

Clemens was born during the weeks that Halley’s Comet made its migration across the skies in 1835 [Click to continue...]

By the Name of Twain by Tyler on May 13, 2011

If you were born Samuel Langhorn Clemens, you too might change your name to Mark Twain. It's fitting that the manner in which Samuel Clemens, the "father of American literature," became Mark Twain is actually a widely held fiction. In his earlier days, before he adopted Twain as his nom de plume, Clemens used a few others.

Until 1863 he signed several imaginative sketches Josh, (maybe like "just joshing"), while for another series of humorous letters he used Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass. [Click to continue...]

So you just got a new iPad or a Kindle, and now you'd love to find some romance books online for free? If you're a real lover of romantic fiction, then there's no better place to start than the classics! One of the first and best works of romance is Murasaki Shikibu's epic masterpiece the Tale of Genji, a highly-acclaimed work of Japanese literature. Another oldie but goodie is Samuel Richardson's book Pamela, about a poor yet beautiful 15 year old hand maiden whose master tries to seduce her. [Click to continue...]

When it comes to searching for top-notch free books online to read, one good method is to seek out a popular book list. The Observer, a British sunday newspaper that's been around since 1791, published on its blog The 100 Greatest Novels of All Time.

This list was compiled by submissions from its readers, so it will obviously reflect the age, education, and inclinations of the English reading public. But hey, the English did invent the language after all, so they deserve a certain privilege. Out of the 100 novels on The Observer list, 44 are free books online to read - anytime, anywhere. [Click to continue...]

You love to read great works of literature, but sometimes you just can’t settle on a book to read. One great place to find free books to read online is with a list of the 20th century’s greatest works of fiction! In 1998, The Modern Library published its famous “100 Best” list, a collection of the crowning achievements of English language fiction from the last century.

This list was generated by a poll of more than 400,000 avid readers. Of the 100 “Best” books, 27 are free [Click to continue...]