[Forgotten Gems] Free e-books Edition: Confessions of an English Opium-Eater by Thomas De Quincey

Confessions of an English Opium-Eater by Thomas De Quincey

Cover of the Second Edition of Confessions of an English Opium Eater, 1823

Cover of the Second Edition of Confessions of an English Opium Eater, 1823

[Book Nerd Links] Interesting Reads for a Lazy Sunday

[Forgotten Gems] Free e-books Edition: Eminent Victorians and Queen Victoria by Lytton Strachey

Eminent Victorians by Lytton Strachey

Queen Victoria by Lytton Strachey

Princess Victoria aged Four by Stephen Poyntz Denning, 1823

Princess Victoria aged Four by Stephen Poyntz Denning, 1823.

Some of My Favourite Literary Biographies, Part One

I own a sizable collection of literary biographies. These are some of my favourites:

  • Auden by Richard Davenport-Hines
  • The Secret Life of Aphra Behn by Janet Todd
  • Louise Bogan A Portrait by Elizabeth Frank
  • Truman Capote by George Plimpton
  • Secrets of the Flesh A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman
  • My Wars Are Laid Away in Books The Life of Emily Dickinson by Alfred Habegger
  • Herself, Defined H.D. and Her World by Barbara Guest
  • George Eliot A Life by Rosemary Ashton

Do you have a favourite?

[Forgotten Gems] Free e-books Edition: Reminiscences of Tolstoy, by His Son

There are many amazing, often obscure works of literature available as free e-books: small slices of earthly and intellectual paradise waiting to be uncovered. Finding dusty old gems can take a bit of work and patience, but this exercise is my kind of fun. I thought it would be nice to share my discoveries with you on a regular basis. First up:

Reminiscences of Tolstoy, by His Son by Graf Ilia Lvovich Tolstoi [Project Gutenberg]

Leo's son Ilia as an old man

Leo’s son Ilia as an older man.

[A Holiday Shopping Spree for the Bookworm] Bonus Stop: Journal of the Month


I’ve been saving this gem for last, and boy was it worth the wait! Journal of the Month is a subscription service-a literary Birchbox, if you will. Each month, you or your lucky gift recipient will receive a new (and surprise!) copy of a participating  journal. What a fabulous and thoughtful treasure for the writer in your life. There are six available plans.


Fuel for My Jetpack, Mead for My Dragon

Modern Mechanix & Inventions

I love looking back at our old future.

Maybe it’s just nostalgia talking, but I liked seeing the Things to Come back before they came. I mean, we’re basically living in the future as we speak.  We’ve got it all – space ships, space stations, robots on Mars, handheld communicators that can put us in contact with anyone in the world, instant food, everything.  We even have flying cars, especially if you drive them off of someplace really high.

The problem with our current future is that it’s so unimpressive looking.  Ever notice how the iPhone looks like a bar of soap that’s got two more showers left in it?  Sure, its practical, fits in your pocket, and doesn’t require nuclear energy to play music or make a call – but man does it look dull!

I long for the days of our fun future, the inaccurate and impractical version with big, silvery pipes and unnecessary buttons and single levers that control everything.

And so it was with great pleasure that I came across a little gem from history called Modern Mechanix & Inventions.

Modern Mechanix & Inventions began life in 1928, seeking to make its name amidst the science and technology publications biz at the time.  Chock full of DIY projects and the car reviews of Tom McCahill, the magazine held its own until 2001, changing its title a couple of times during its run.

There are a number of places on the ’net to find archives with pictures of the covers, most being mixed in with other classic publications.  I wouldn’t be writing about it now if a friend hadn’t made mention about it on facebook (props to MarcosBnPinto!).  The visions presented in some of the mag’s more fantastic covers are the stuff that fueled the rockets of the imagination in the days before we exorcised the Man in the Moon.

I genuinely enjoy seeing stuff like this. It’s great food for fantasy, storytelling, or getting ideas for running a role playing game.  I’m always on the lookout for more retro-future artwork, so if you can suggest any, I’d be glad to take a look at it.  Drop us a line!

For a look at a number of these beautiful covers, visit Marcos’s tumblr here.

[Resources] Starlight Echoes

 Starlight Echoes-A music, writing & art group* is an open, highly interactive community on Facebook. Whether you are a new or untried artist looking for a safe, supportive and encouraging community or a professional interested in expanding your network or widening your platform, you will find a warm reception. Artists, writers and musicians from around the world post their work. Taken as a whole the offerings are impressive; viewed individually, they are stunningly varied. It’s heartening to see strangers, united only by a common passion for creativity, be so open and eager to welcome the art of others. It is never easy to put yourself out there; it requires an emotional nudity and brazen nerve that never entirely resolves itself. If you are in need of a critique of your work, then you will have to look elsewhere. There are plenty of forums for that. Starlight Echoes is a place where positivity reigns; it is inclusive and inspiring. Who can’t use a little of that in their lives?

*FYI-This is NOT my Facebook group. It was started and is administered by a lovely, spirited woman named Angela Muchmore.