History of Julius Caesar by Jacob Abbott (1849)

I’ll admit that I didn’t have high hopes for this book. Instead, I expected it to be dry and overly academic. After a few chapters, this book really becomes exciting. Julius led a very active and dangerous life filled with many adventures so excitement should have been no surprise. Previously ignorant of Julius Caesar’s life, I enjoyed learning the meaning to common phrases like “the Ides of March” and “crossing the Rubicon”. Its funny how language retains meaning while losing its origin. Also, the political institutions in Rome during his reign look so absurd by today’s standards. Deadly squabbling all those years ago in Rome make our current political atmosphere seem boring and mundane by comparison.

Julius Caesar slowly rose to power. He first had to prove intellectual importance by training to be a great orator. Then, he showed his military prowess by quelling Roman foes and invading unknown lands. Finally, he was forced to show his political might by winning election to higher and higher offices in Rome. His flaws along the way become striking even with an author who is clearly on his soft side. The man was single minded and vicious. Learn the ways of a powerful man by reading the History of Julius Caesar.

 

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/11688

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/history-of-julius-caesar-by-jacob-abbott/

 

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Clue of the Silken Ladder by Mildred A. Wirt (1941)

Every time I read another book in this series I envy Penny’s courage and quick thinking more and more. If only I had those qualities as a teenager… oh well! I was surprised to find that I had some previous experience with this mystery. The discussion of fake mediums and spiritualists is a topic I’ve explored in my own plodding way. Usually the discussion of spiritualism glosses over the methods and focuses on those being duped. People who believe in the frauds are frequently described as stupid in a very demeaning way. That’s not quite fair. This novel accurately describes both the mechanics that manifest “spirit phenomena” and the psychology that makes an individual susceptible to these scams. To me the psychology is most fascinating. Belief usually manifests not from stupidity but from desperation. Those most likely to visit mediums are people who have recently experienced death in the family. Factoring in their emotionally difficult state, the closure temptingly offered by mediums can be hard to turn down. Curious readers will find many old and dusty volumes happily expose the methods used by fake mediums at the time this book was published.

Mrs. Weems, the Parker’s housekeeper, receives happy news in the mail. A distant cousin has died leaving her a fortune of $6,000. Dreams of a vacation to the Grand Canyon seem finally realized. On the other hand, a medium performing a seance at friends house informs Mrs. Weems that her cousin would rather she invest in safe securities than go traveling out west. Mrs. Weems finds herself caught between the Parkers and the medium. Should she believe the medium who knew so many things about her cousin or instead believe the skeptical Parker family? Penny is suspicious of the medium and decides to investigate. The whole case might rest on the Clue of the Silken Ladder.

 

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/the-clue-of-the-silken-ladder-by-mildred-a-wirt-benson/

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/34591

Strange Case of Dr. Jekell and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (1886)

I don’t know why I’m surprised when I love a classic. I should probably expect it. This small book was big time resulting in the phrase-“jekell and hyde” meaning a person with varying moral character. The moral separation of self is a concept I don’t believe in personally. The good, the bad and the ugly must be accepted as parts of yourself. Maybe that is an excuse I use after some new inexplicable evil committed at my hands. All in all I find it puzzling people can define themselves according to their best qualities instead of a smattering of good and evil. That would seem the difference between painting entirely with one color and using the entire color palette.

In this book, you meet the friends and acquaintances of one Dr. Henry Jekell who has been acting strangely of late. He has been keeping dangerous friends and staying out at odd hours. What could compel him to change his habits in this way? Two of Dr. Jekell’s oldest friends find themselves wrapped up in this dark mystery. Ponder the ways of good and evil by reading the Strange Case of Dr. Jekell and Mr. Hyde.

 

free audiobook: https://librivox.org/the-strange-case-of-dr-jekyll-and-mr-hyde-by-robert-louis-stevenson-2

free ebook: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/43

 

A Diary of a Nobody by George Grossmith and Weedon Grossmith (1892)

My unabashed love for this little book will be hard to explain. The book itself is a lowkey slice-of-life novel based in the 1890’s written as a diary. Each chapter collects almost a weeks worth of entries in the dull life of Charles Pooter. We hear about his many awkward moments and wait patiently for his rare, polite anger. Attempting to read this monotonous comedy in one sitting will just create an excess of snores. A chapter or two a day will make you crack a smile. In other words, consume this diary like an IV instead of shot.

Charles Pooter and his wife Caroline live a quiet homely life in the suburb of Holloway. They don’t worry about the world’s big problems. Instead, they might play dominoes in the evening after a simple dinner. Or he may complain about his job as a city clerk. Or they may worry of the future of their son, Lupin. In between these everyday occurrences, little coincidences will make you smile. Start your own journal after reading A Diary of a Nobody.

 

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/the-diary-of-a-nobody-by-george-weedon-grossmith

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1026

 

The Clock Strikes Thirteen by Mildred A. Wirt (1942)

Penny Parker and her friends are fun to be around. She gets into trouble, trouble and more trouble. Reading about quick witted teenage sleuths is always a level of wish fulfillment for me. I wanted for a few years to be a similar adventurous detective and fantasized constantly about my exploits. This series scratches that itch perfectly.

This time we find Penny tugged into a complex case by the most innocent of means. Driving home at midnight she hears the clock chime thirteen times. Amused by the oddity Penny asks her father if he’s heard the odd number. Instead of confirmation, he laughs at the silly pronouncement. Penny is adamant and goes out of her way to prove her dad wrong. In the process, the Parker family bumps into a criminal ring and searches for answers. Eat some melon and listen until The Clock Strikes Thirteen.

 

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/34403

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/the-clock-strikes-thirteen-by-mildred-a-wirt-benson/