If you’re looking to learn about life, the universe and everything, the best place to start is by reading books from around the world and across time periods. Of course, the cost of purchasing books can be a deterrent for some of the most ravenous readers.
Solution: Free Books
Here’s a list that should offer a solution for your book craving–with the added benefit of being free books (at the time of listing). These free Kindle books are classics (they’ve survived the test of time), but they are also wonderful stories. I think you’ll find that they’re well-worth the read!
This multi-generational novel is one of the most famous Gothic love stories, with ghostly apparitions thrown in. Heathcliff is the Byronic hero, taken in by the Earnshaw family (he falls in love with Catherine, his adoptive sister, and he vows revenge when she marries Edgar Linton). This 19th-century work is a perfect representation of Gothic literature, with the dark and foreboding Moors for a backdrop landscape and unruly passions that are not tempered by extreme tragedy.
This novel could be seen as a page that Charles Dickens took from history, as he explores the French Revolution in fictional form. Although this book is not one of his longest novels (nor is it usually considered his best), it is often studied in literature and history classrooms (in college and high school). The novel depicts human nature and the mob mentality, with the unavoidable realities of the innocents caught up in the fray. In true dramatic form, there's also courage and sacrifice.
Oscar Wilde's famous novel explores one of the most basic of human fears, while offering a fictional solution. Dorian Gray avoids the ravages of time and the aging process. Instead his portrait ages for him, and Dorian hides the picture in the attic. What would you do to stop the passage of time, to guarantee that you could stay the same age?
It's one of the most famous epic novels to be created in American literature. It's the story of an ego-maniacal sea captain, Ahab, and his madcap efforts to find and destroy that famous white whale. This mammoth read manages to throw in everything about the experience of whaling, the battle of man against nature, and the struggle to survive against all odds. Ahab comes down to us as a man who is larger than life (a Kind Lear, Oedipus, or Othello), but the tragedy is also very real.
Great Expectations is usually considered one of the greatest novels by Charles Dickens. It also contains autobiographical tidbits, which help us gain a better understanding of the life and experiences of the author. It's Pip's coming-of-age story (bildungsroman), his coming into all of those "great expectations," with love, career and everything else he most hopes to accomplish and be. This version is abridged.
Little Women is one of the most memorable classic novels from my earliest reading adventures... It's the story of a writer, Jo (Josephine), and her sisters. Intermingled with comic plays, love, friendship, and growing up, Louisa May Alcott offers up hardship, sacrifice, loss, and death. And, this novel is just the start of a series of books, which allows us to follow the next part of the unfolding story of Jo's life and adventures/misadventures
Mark Twain creates an adventure for all of us... There's an impish boy, Tom Sawyer, full of those trickster qualities that make any young character unforgettable. Sawyer also has his band of fellow pirates, as well as the love of his life, Becky Thatcher. So, with the mystery, touch of young love, the wild-boyish adventures, and the unavoidable ending, we've got the making of a classic that is a favorite of boys and girls alike (and one that can transcend time and space, to be enjoyed by readers of all ages and situations).
Treasure Island is one of the greatest adventure stories. Robert Louis Stevenson offers up a barrage of imagery and tidbits: a treasure map, seafaring tales, long-lost treasures, and the tantalizing call of a future free of hardship. Follow along in Jim's adventure, on his voyage toward unknown dangers and beyond. This novel is often considered the perfect classic for boys, but it's got something for nearly every reader who has a taste for far-flung adventures.
Pride and Prejudice is sometimes considered Jane Austen's greatest novel. It's a novel of manners, centering as it does around the revolving interactions between Darcy and Lizzy. The novel is fraught with misunderstanding, misdirection, and the horrid side-effects of class warfare. The Bennett clan comes off as crude or gray versions of high-society ladies, which reinforces the views of the high-society snobs. In the end, love conquers all...
Which free books would you add to this list?