rediscovering autobiographies

palm IIIxe

“There is properly no history; only biography”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

These days I have intense wish to read biographies and autobiographies. And I really wish to read about that golden period of history – XIX century. Impressionists were painting in France, and Henry David Thoreau went to the woods to write his diary there. Serbian inventor Michael Pupin went to USA and wrote to me very dear Pulitzer winning autobiography From Immigrant to Inventor, in which he portrays the true american spirit, and when you read that book you see how America was great country comparing to Europe then. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote his immortal Essays, and believe me I am spending nights in reading his collected works, and I stand in awe in front of his language (I still don’t get it how could he wrote like that!) Who can write in such fiery words if not that philosopher poet from Boston, who wrote Self-Reliance – essay that became solid inspiration and foundation of my system of values. And there are poems of Emily Dickinson. And of course, we cannot avoid Nikola Tesla serbian poet-scientist who gave the world alternating currents. Many many interesting people were born in XIX century.

Now I know that books are expensive, and one is not always in mood to go to the library too. But that is why project Gutenberg is there. You can find ove 20000 free e-books there, and there is always top list of 100 books and authors if you are not sure what to read (I never paid too much attention to that top list so far, but it is nice to know it exists). Good thing is that Gutenberg library offers books in Plucker format, which is suitable for reading on your Palm device. I have prehistoric model, Palm IIIxe, with grey display and 8 MB of memory, but truth to be told, I like to read books on it. And I don’t like to read books on the computer screen (I do it only when I have to). Now I entered word biography in searchbox on Gutenberg site, and it gives me 90 results back (you can try to type memoirs too). So there will be a lot of good (and free reading) for me in next period.

If you have Palm but do not have Plucker, you can download it from here. From the list I chose autobiography of actress Sarah Bernhardt. I was reading first few chapters this morning, and I was very immersed in the story. And so far, I really enjoy reading it a lot. So I will provide link for it here:

My Double Life – The Memoirs of Sarah Bernhardt

If you know some good biography or autobiography that you have read and enjoyed it, kindly recommend it in comments please.

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6 Responses to “rediscovering autobiographies”

  1. uneromaineaparis Says:

    Hello Dejan! try this “Vita” of Vittorio Alfieri. He’s an italian author of XVIII century, and this is his autobiography, it’s charming to read. (don’t know if there’s an english translation though….) :-)

  2. adorablay Says:

    Project Gutenberg is awesome, I have used it many of times. I read the War of the Worlds before the movie came out just because it was such a classic. I have read a few autobiography’s this year and one of my favorites was Sex with Kings. This book was all about 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge. It was very interesting and crazy with all the things that happened back then that I was never aware of. Well good luck in your reading. Another I am reading is Stolen Voices that documented children’s journals from all the wars from WWI to Iraq, and it’s excellent but sad.

  3. dreams.corner Says:

    Thank you for recommendations! I will keep you informed also about interesting books I find on Gutenberg or elsewhere in the future :) I just hope Barbara will teach me some Italian so that I can read her recommendations (btw, I found Pirandello on Gutenberg in Italian, I remember you recommended reading him for sake of learning the language)

  4. adorablay Says:

    I love reading and books so that would be great… it’s my second favorite hobby (1st is photography).

  5. Michèle Says:

    Project Gutenberg is excellent…

    Re the night photography…I just set a shutter speed on my camera and see what happens. It has to be quite slow at night to record enough light. I might also have to use manual focus. I can afford to experiment as I use a digital SLR which means I can take lots of shots and only use the ones I like.

  6. dreams.corner Says:

    Thanks, Michelle, I will try to experiment too – but using non-digital camera makes it more expensive :) But I agree, no preparation – no success.

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