More about Pixie by Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey (1903)

Feeling alone in the world can be a depression spiral. Being with one of three surviving family members while sick with an illness that leaves you bedridden would be difficult for anyone. It is even harder if you are young and away from the home of your childhood with an Aunt who is a stickler for rules and really no fun to be around. When we are young time seems to slip more quickly through our hands. The young feel more strongly that they are missing out and work themselves into a fever with worry. Being ill must be more difficult for the young nowadays; they feel as though they are missing out on experiences that their friends tell them about, that they read in books, and that they see on social media. As we age we learn that time always plods along at the same pace; you can neither speed it up nor slow it down. The elderly at least have memories of full vibrant mischievous youth with which to comfort themselves. Don’t worry! Pixie isn’t sick. It’s a new friend, Sylvia.

Four years later the entire O’Shaugnessy family is tucked away in a small house, though still slightly beyond their means, in the London suburbs. The entire family lives here except for Esmeralda who is back at Knock Castle with her new husband still enjoying his riches. She finds many amusing and extravagant uses for the overflowing money. Pixie is still in France practicing the language and learning the customs from that dear French teacher she met in school. But the rest of the family is tucked into this small London suburb. Across the street, they meet Sylvia, a crippled girl of 21 years, who is still recovering from illness. Soon after their first meeting, Bridgie starts to treat Sylvia as part of the family and her companionship takes away the pitiful loneliness from that young sick woman’s life. Bridgie entertains Sylvia by telling many hilarious family stories. Now Sylvia wants to know More About Pixie.

 

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/21122

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Pixie O’Shaugnessy by Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey (1902)

When we are kids our parents tell us that physical beauty is not what’s most important. More important is inner beauty. We all nod along and say that we understand. But do we really understand? Do we really judge people on how they act and what they do instead of their clothes and face?  I know I’ve judged people wrongly based upon their appearance. Its hard for me to separate the physical appearance from someones personality. It must be interesting traveling through the world without sight because one must “see” people in a completely different light. All that superficial stuff is out the window and you can only judge people on what they do, what they say, and how they say it. I’d like to think I’d come out ahead if people couldn’t see me before they made their first impression. But who knows? Maybe my appearance and personality are equally off-putting.

Pixie is the youngest daughter of six children and is the baby, the favorite. Yet she isn’t beautiful like her older siblings. In fact she is a sort of ugly duckling. Her nose is a small speck while her huge mouth crowds out all other features. She has something much more important: charm. People move towards her, follow her, respect her almost immediately. It isn’t an ancient Irish ritual nor is she a sorceress; she is humble, honest, and fun to be around which attracts her peers and her elders to her side. At the moment, Pixie is about to go off to school, the first in her family to get the opportunity. On her death bed Pixie’s mother implored the family to give her baby the opportunity of higher education. Off Pixie goes to a boarding school in London away from her dear Irish castle. Be ready for the mischief of Pixie O’Shaugnessy.

 

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/21101

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/pixie-oshaughnessy-by-mrs-george-de-horne-vaizey/

The Sorceress of the Strand by L. T. Meade and Robert Eustace (1902)

The fun one has trailing the greatest crime solvers through the pages of countless detective novels is nothing compared to following a bold, fearless super villain. Someone who captures the imagination with simple motives of greed and the lack of scruples needed to obtain that wealth no matter the cost. Human happiness is unimportant. Human life is merely a means to an end. Wether it be a precious stone, an antique or astounding piles of cash the entrancing villain holds nothing back. Each time they strike for the heart. This direct attitude towards achieving sinister goals is attractive but frequently leads to criminals capture in the end.

Madam Sara is an unusual woman. Though she looks no older than 25 she is rumored to have been a bridesmaid at a wedding over 30 years ago. Though she appears beautiful and stylish her hands are tied up in unscrupulous deals and illegal trades. She may be the greatest criminal mind of her generation. The only things stopping her are the minds of two men. One a wise medical examiner who works frequently to untie the thorniest criminal problems in England. The other a man of high standing with a business research agency in London. He can learn about most peoples affairs instantly but Madam Sara is a more difficult and careful opponent. You will believe in magic after meeting The Sorceress of the Strand.

 

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/the-sorceress-of-the-strand-by-l-t-meade-and-robert-eustace/

 

Uncle William: The Man Who Was Shif’less by Jennette Lee (1906)

The current rapid pace of technological change has created the idea that human beings are also evolving to be faster and more efficient. That is unfortunately not the case. Most human beings are stuck living and learning at the same slow pace at which humans have always learned. Collectively we can make discoveries more quickly but individually we are still stuck in the slow lane. Keep in mind that those discoveries will not occur more rapidly because human beings are able to think more quickly or multitask better than previously. Instead advancement in human ideas has largely picked up because the speed of information has increased dramatically. International communication is near instantaneous and machines make testing new ideas much easier. Audiences can read books sooner allowing them to comment and expand upon ideas with greater speed. Keep in mind that humans are still slow thinkers. It’s best not to rush because the rushed get stressed and may not even beat the tortoise to the finish line.

Uncle William is a funny old sailor living in the sparsely populated region of Nova Scotia called Arichat. He lives with his cat, Juno overlooking the formidable Atlantic Ocean, and is neighbors with his lifelong friend Andy. He is not a wealthy man nor is his life easy though he makes it seem so. He is shif’less eschewing work and toil until necessary moving through life slowly but surely. His major fault, as Andy would attest to, is that he helps others too willingly without obvious hope of reward or profit. At the moment, he and his cat are not alone in the tiny, cozy shack by the seas he calls home. Perched on high rocks overlooking the ocean this little house is a temporary refuge for another younger man. A much different man it would be hard to find. Hailing from New York City and specializing in painting, one can’t call oneself a professional until ones been paid, one might assume Alan Woodworth has nothing in common with the old sailor other than a lack of funds. The young man enjoys the sea and the weather painting and sailing alongside Uncle William in the day and enjoying fresh chowder every supper. The eve before returning to New York the Alan ignores Andy’s advice and sails out into calm seas with evil looking clouds. Hours later Andy and Uncle William are obliged to save the struggling painter from a colossal storm. The painter lives another day but Uncle William’s boat dies in the process. What will the poor old sailor and the poor young painter do about the boat? Don’t worry about Uncle William: The Man is Shif’less.

 

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/4634

The Shadow of the Rope by E.W. Hornung (1906)

“I’ll have what he’s having,” shouts a boisterous, heavyset man with a jolly face wearing an old fashioned three piece at the Mystery Authors Club. The declaration brings the eyes of the room towards a small table with short bespectacled man hunched alone over a small table alternatively wolfing down food and scribbling furiously on a yellow legal pad. Three empty dishes lie on the other side of the table surrounded by five yellow crumpled pieces of paper. Unfazed or unaware of the attention the author continues his crude dinner writing ritual. End scene. I’m one of those people who always assumes everyone in a niche field knows everyone else. In the case of mystery authors I imagine a sort of old fashioned English club that every great mystery author frequents regularly. The man at the table in this case is E.W. Hornung rushing towards the deadline of his new mystery novel.

Rachel Minchin was born to a poor family in Australia and she worked humble jobs later gaining berth to England as a Lady’s companion. On the voyage, she and Mr. Minchin, a forty year old mining expert, fall in love and quickly get married. The new marriage bliss doesn’t last as Rachel realizes that her husband is a much different in London than on a boat. Mr. Minchin is murdered the night before Rachel planned upon leaving him. The police and the public convict Rachel immediately in the court of public opinion. After a weeklong trial, Rachel is declared not guilty to the disgust of the attentive public. Alone at night without means or wiles to procure bread and bed Rachel is helped by a stranger who’d watched the trial. The next day, the rich stranger J.B. Steele proposes a marriage of convenience where neither must discuss their past. In desperation to shed public scrutiny and the Minchin name Rachel accepts and moves to Steele’s English country house. The stereotype of the English country village with its gossiping locals and scrutiny of outsiders make the pairs secrets ever more fragile. Rachel is a sympathetic bewildered character and J.B. Steele is a gruff man full of mystery. The question of who really murdered her late husband permeates the tale. Not sliding cleanly into popular whodunnit or detective novel cliches E.W. Hornung creates a compelling mystery full of brutal dead ends, shocking revelations and believable cast of characters. Sit in the dark and read The Shadow of the Rope.

 

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/12590

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/the-shadow-of-the-rope-by-e-w-hornung/

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

The Story of My Life by Helen Keller (1903)

This book was as refreshing as a trip to the beach after months cramped in a tiny office tapping repetitively on the keyboard. In Helen Keller I find the kindred spirit of an avid reader. She saw the world through raised type on the printed page and found books intoxicating. Through books you can go almost anywhere. Another point of interest is her negative experience with copyright and the fallacy of human memory. I have always believed, as she does, that every thought in my mind could be a regurgitation of someone else’s beliefs or opinions that I absorbed at some earlier date. The inability to fully trust ones own memories can be disconcerting. Someday in the distant future human beings might be capable of relinquishing ownership of ideas and instead focus on applying those ideas. Just a thought.

Helen Keller narrates her life as she grows from a child to a young woman. This fascinating journey bridges the difficulties of living without sight and hearing. Losing these two senses before the age of two she forgets all about how the world looked and sounded. For the next four years she communicates with her family using rudimentary signs and continues her happy childhood. At the age of seven, Helen meets her teacher for the first time. Anne Sullivan goes on to teach Helen how to read, write and communicate with others. This flash of insight ignites the great intellect of Helen Keller. See the world through her eyes by reading The Story of My Life.

 

free ebook download: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2397

free audiobook download: https://librivox.org/the-story-of-my-life-by-helen-keller-2/