Blackfeet Tales of Glacier National Park by James W. Schultz (1916)

It is easy to be skeptical of old books that attempt to represent a minority culture. No worries here. The author gets out of the way and records the stories as spoken by the Blackfeet people. My favorite character in these stories is known as Old Man, or the dawn. He is a former god who has fallen from grace and is usually portrayed as a bumbling old fool. Many of the funniest stories, which made me literally laugh out loud, feature him as the protagonist. The other running theme throughout the whole book is of white people renaming mountains, lakes and waterfalls that the Blackfeet named generations ago. At one point, the author tells the tribe that the white people renamed those two mountains pointing away from camp to indicate two great heights. Everyone grumbles and one man gets indignant. Those mountains are named after our great chiefs. Are they now named after distinguished presidents or decorated generals? The author is forced to admit that he does not know of the white men in whose honor those mountains have been renamed in the most unintentionally funny moment of the book.

As the title suggests this is a collection of Blackfeet tales featuring happy, sad and funny stories. In each story you get a glimpse of the customs and ambitions of the Blackfeet people. From stories of adventure detailing raids of enemy camps to stories of heartbreaking betrayal each story is gripping and makes you want to read more. Smell the smoke of the campfire and read Blackfeet Tales of Glacier National Park.

 

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/43399

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/blackfeet-tales-of-glacier-national-park-by-james-w-schultz/

Advertisements

Murder in the Gunroom by H. Beam Piper (1953)

As an American who didn’t grow up with guns in the house most of my exposure to guns has been through stories. Movies, television shows, books and articles portray guns as dangerous weapons. The obvious leap in logic suggests that gun owners must also be dangerous people. This is clearly a fallacy but a hard one to overcome nonetheless. Modern media is filled with stories of gun accidents and shootings which naturally force the reader to question: what is at fault? Handguns and automatics used in wars and combat can easily be blamed for these deaths and injuries but blaming all collectors of dangerous things is foolish and leaves little room for nuance. This book gives a good look inside the minds of multiple gun collectors and enthusiasts as a backdrop to a compelling murder mystery. If I were the NRA, I would recommend this book to help people comprehend some motivations for gun ownership.

Lane Flemming’s accidental death was always suspicious. The idea that this old gun collector would accidentally shoot himself was silly at best. A samurai doesn’t accidentally wound himself with his sword because he is trained in the safe handling of the weapon. The same is true for the gun owner. Private detective and amateur gun collector Colonel Jefferson Davis Rand is hired to appraise Flemming’s gun collection and sell it to the highest bidder. As Jeff attempts to catalog the weapons, he gets dragged into the mystery. How did Lane Flemming really die and where are the missing guns from his collection? Put on your bulletproof vest and read Murder in the Gunroom.

 

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/17866

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/murder-in-the-gunroom-by-h-beam-piper/

Toppleton’s Client: Or A Spirit in Exile by John Kendrick Bangs (1893)

The prolific humor writer strikes again. This is Bangs at his finest and I don’t want to spoil the ending. If I could write good fiction, this is the style I’d adopt. The 1900 bizarre humor style suits me perfectly. It is a shame that its all but disappeared from the world of literature nowadays. Or maybe it hasn’t. I’ll admit I haven’t looked that hard.

Hopkins Toppleton Jr. is not a great legal mind like his father but he does retain the same name as that great lawyer. The legal firm his father helped create wants to retain the prestige associated with the Toppleton name despite the recent death of Hopkins Toppleton Sr. Therefore, they hire his idiot son, Toppleton Jr., and immediately send him off to England. In order to not disgrace the firm, he is given two rules. Go on vacation regularly and never ever get a client. Both rules are quickly broken. Take off your reading glasses and meet Toppleton’s Client.

 

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/34171

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/toppletons-client-by-john-kendrick-bangs/

Molly Brown’s Senior Days by Nell Speed (1913)

Every time I enter a busy cafe or coffee shop I feel tired. Somehow the atmosphere puts me in sympathy with the employees and I feel as if I opened the store and have been working without a break for hours. The smell of coffee grounds and pastries can also be stifling not to mention the busy customers in need of a fix. My mind is slowly yielding on this point. Maybe creating a menu and trying out recipes would be exciting. Maybe by meeting new people constantly I would look forward to each day with newfound enthusiasm. Madeleine Petit and Judith Blount recount their summer spent running a tea room so they can afford to attend college. The change in Judith still astounds me. Going from rich and entitled to focused and humble is extremely difficult. Plus, Ms. Petit has always been the busy bee I aspire to be.

The queens girls arrive back for their final year to learn some bad news. Professor Green overworked himself during the summer and has ended up ill in the hospital. Molly takes this news extremely hard. She has always looked up to Professor Green and she takes it even harder when she eventually learns that he worked to pay off debts incurred in buying her families apple orchard. This purchase gave Molly the money to continue attending college. Judy, the friend whisperer, makes friends with another destructive person and the rest of the queens girls feel like its a rerun. Will Judy’s new friend get her in trouble or will she realize her error before it’s too late? And who is the campus ghost that is frightening those who stay out late? Go back to school with Molly Brown’s Senior Days.

 

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/24903

Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey (1912)

Listen to your grandparents. They know what’s good for you; at least they know what’s good for me. Gramps recommended this old book saying that it was something he’d read as a kid and I loved it. Growing up he’d always wanted to be a cowboy. In my eyes, he wasn’t that far off working during his teenage years at his uncle’s farm. Riding horses was part of the job but that is still a ways from the stereotypical cowboy lifestyle. Freedom, horses, guns and the unbroken wilderness. Those four ideas typify the cowboy experience. Personally I wouldn’t have the stomach for that life. Give me an office job where I don’t have to watch out for rustlers, three meals a day and a home with a nice, comfy bed.

Jane Withersteen is in trouble with the Mormon leaders of her little village. They are frustrated at her continued generosity towards outsiders. Around here most outsiders are ignored because they don’t abide by Mormon teachings. In retaliation a group of Mormon elders threaten to beat up Jane’s Gentile friend Bern Venters. Before he is dragged into the desert, an infamous Mormon killer named Lassiter shows up and saves Bern’s life. This angers the village elders resulting in a regular watch of Jane’s house and danger for her cattle. What are the village leaders planning? What will happen to the Riders of the Purple Sage?

 

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1300

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/riders-of-the-purple-sage-by-zane-grey/

Molly Brown’s Junior Days by Nell Speed (1912)

Reading this series I’ve come to the conclusion, once again, that honesty and straightforwardness is the best policy. Numerous misunderstanding appear because some student assumes that they know all without asking. I’ll try in the future to give people the benefit of the doubt. Everyone should have the opportunity to explain themselves. I wonder how long this resolution will last. My resolutions are fickle.

Another exciting year away at college in Wellington. Molly, Nance, Judy and the rest of the Queens girls move into the Quadrangle leading to a string of dramatic and sweet moments. A mix up between these three almost results in their expulsion from the college. It gets so serious that the school president personally comes over to their dorm. A bunch of new students arrive and I found Minerva Higgins especially amusing. Minerva is a precocious freshman from a small town where she was the top honors student. She arrives on campus with a big ego that won’t stand down to anything. The upperclassman try to cut Minerva down to size but it still takes most of her freshman year for her to learn her lesson. Last but not least Judith Blount finally listens to Kendrick. Sit down, be humble. Madeleine Petit becomes her best friend and teaches her the advantages of hard work. Pack up your books and take the early train to Molly Brown’s Junior Days.

 

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/36717

China and the Chinese by Herbert Allen Giles (1902)

When I initially saw the title of this book, I almost passed it by. Every book from a hundred years ago in which a European scholar explains some foreign culture is likely to be offensive. It is easy to see a group of people acting differently from yourself and assume that they are inferior. This is an ignorant habit but a common one especially when this was written. Inside this book, which is really a collection of speeches, the author does an amazing job of bucking that trend. He spends a large portion of the book defending the Chinese people and batting down the irresponsible slander spread about them. I specifically enjoyed the section on the Chinese language.

In this book you will find a collection of six lectures on China given by Herbert Allen Giles at Columbia University, New York in 1902. Herbert Allen Giles touches on the language, government, religion, and literature of the Chinese. The book is compact and dense with factual information. It may be dry for the uninterested but will be enjoyable to the inquiring mind. If you already have an interest in history and Chinese culture, I suggest you check out China and the Chinese.

 

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/china-and-the-chinese-by-herbert-allen-giles/

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/18021