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/

 

The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allen Poe (1841)

After much unreasonable waiting, I’ve finally absorbed one of the first modern detective stories. The murderous adventure and analytical characters hold up quite well through all these years. What a different place the world was in 1841? How Poe came up with this murder is beyond me? The ending still comes out of left field. If you enjoyed this story, take a look inside The Confessions of Arsene Lupin for a fitting tribute.

C. Auguste Dupin is a man possessing great analytical skill. Through small clues and conjecture he can almost read minds. In the time honored tradition you follow this quick thinking french man as he attempts to solve The Murders in the Rue Morgue.

 

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/the-murders-in-the-rue-morgue-by-edgar-allen-poe/

Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life by Herman Melville (1846)

This book seems unusual for the time when it was written. Inside the author writes scathingly of missionaries destructive influence on the Polynesian islands. Tales of woe and toil are contrasted with the happy carefree life the natives of Nuku Hiva regularly enjoy. While I don’t believe in the existence of tropical paradise, a book describing the negative results of western influence was refreshing. The story alternates between perilous action and soothing scenery resulting in a pleasant island vacation. Don’t believe everything written in these pages. Typee is confirmed to be a half-truthful collection of autobiographical adventure and fictional ramblings.

Two unhappy sailors are marooned upon an unending voyage. The captain knowing that supplies are running low decides to land at Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas Islands. These two melancholy seamen seize there chance to escape from the tiresome and monotonous whaling journey. On a rainy day, they sneak away from their comrades and scale the mountains. Over these mountains, the two men find adventure and the cannibal tribe of Typee. Jump into the wilderness by reading Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life.

 

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/typee-by-herman-melville/

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1900

Rock Crystal by Adalbert Stifter (1845)

Step inside an enchanting, cinematic winter tale. This short story follows two children on Christmas Eve as they travel to grandma’s house. They hike through the beautifully lush mountains for a delicious dinner and a little holiday surprise. Grab a candy cane, warm up the hot cocoa, and read Rock Crystal.

 

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/rock-crystal-by-adalbert-stifter/