General, free, digital reading material recommendations?

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General, free, digital reading material recommendations?

Postby Garbeld » Sun Jun 08, 2014 2:18 am UTC

I recently acquired a very small laptop, in order to get computery stuff done away from home (such as during my bus rides home from work, which are regularly longer than an hour and a half).

So, when I'm too tired to be drawing or coding, I figure I might as well be reading.

My main issue is in finding free, conveniently downloadable materials in appropriate formats (I won't even touch *.pdf; *.html is the preferred, but seems fairly uncommon for free ebooks), but beyond that, I'm pretty terrible about decision paralysis - seeing a list of a few thousand books, as on Project Gutenburg, makes me lock up and end up not getting anything, and I'm hoping that receiving specific recommendations from others will help. I figure the xkcd forums is as good as any.

As for what I'm looking for, pretty much anything, really.
If I had to try to choose a most narrow category of desired materials, I'd have to say basic (late middle school to early college) textbooks on various sciences and math, since I'm painfully rusty or completely ignorant of a lot of basic math and science.
That said, I'm not really about to rule any subject out entirely - classic literature, amusing modern fiction, biographies, how-tos, encyclopaedias, whatever. Not to say I've finished all (or even most) of them, but recently, from my local library I've checked out several Nebula Award science fiction anthologies, some Terry Pratchett stuff, Language (the Edward Sapir book), an introduction to/history of information theory, Graphics Gems 3(?), Just For Fun (Linus Torvalds autobiography), a couple books about video game concept art and illustration, off the top of my head.

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Re: General, free, digital reading material recommendations?

Postby FierceContinent » Sun Jun 08, 2014 10:13 am UTC

The greatest Science Hero is almost certainly Norman Borlaug. His selectively bred crops have saved many, many people from starvation.
Just to be clear, the number of lives Norman Borlaug is credited with saving is in the BILLIONS.

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Re: General, free, digital reading material recommendations?

Postby EMTP » Mon Jun 09, 2014 5:38 am UTC

Sci-fi has a history that's worth exploring.

Try Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea, The Time Machine, or Frankenstein.
"Reasonable – that is, human – men will always be capable of compromise, but men who have dehumanized themselves by becoming the blind worshipers of an idea or an ideal are fanatics whose devotion to abstractions makes them the enemies of life."
-- Alan Watts, "The Way of Zen"

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Re: General, free, digital reading material recommendations?

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Jun 09, 2014 2:44 pm UTC

Maybe work your way through one of these 100 books to read before you die lists?

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