includes details of ebooks placed online during
August 2008

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News and Reviews

Historical "Faction"

Recently we have posted a few historical novels by
Marjorie Bowen
Helen Simpson

These authors write of notable personalities of the past in a way which makes it easy to understand them and the times in which they lived.

Both authors are very accomplished writers. Bowen's first novel, "The Viper of Milan" drew praise from English author Graham Greene who wrote "I think it was Miss Bowen's apparent zest that made me want to write. One could not read her without believing that to write was to live and enjoy."

Bowen's subjects include Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots; and Emma (Lady Hamilton) and Lord Nelson

Simpson was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction for "Boomerang", which the Wikipedia article on her describes as "a long rambling novel beginning in Paris at the end of the eighteenth century, wandering all over the world, including Australia, and ending in the trenches in France during the 1914-18 war." Historical characters treated in her other works include Henry VIII (a forthcoming title at PGA); Mary and Philip II of Spain; and Sophia Dorothea of Hanover

Wikipedia has an interesting article on historical novels at The works of many authors are mentioned. And, (hang it, I WILL start this sentence with a conjunction) Project Gutenberg in the US has an ebook written in 1902, "Best Historical Novels and Tales" by Jonathan Nield The Anchorage Public Library has a page "HISTORICAL FICTION: An annotated list of historical novels for children and teens" at Many of the titles mentioned seem to be modern works about past times.

Banned Books

The Online Books Page, a wonderful online resource which catalogues more than 30,000 ebooks available on the internet has a page on "banned books" at This is a very interesting article, long and detailed, so I won't repeat it here, except to quote the first sentence:

"Welcome to this special exhibit of books that have been the objects of censorship or censorship attempts. The books featured here, ranging from "Ulysses" to "Little Red Riding Hood" have been selected from the indexes of The Online Books Page.

I have had my share of email from people wanting me to remove ebooks from the PGA site, including Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" to Katherine Mayo's "Mother India." I can only tell the correspondents that I don't play the part of censor.

I noticed, when looking at the ebook of "Mother India" that it could do with some reformatting. It has page numbers and we usually don't retain page numbers in our ebooks. I will place it on my "to-do" list and give it some attention some time.

Another ebook which at one time needed some reformatting is "Ulysses" by James Joyce, mentioned above in the quotation from the Banned Books article at the Online Books Page. I, myself, placed this ebook at Project Gutenberg (US) some years ago, after finding an online copy at a web site which no longer exists. The ebook file needed quite a bit of work, to meet PG's formatting standards, and I must confess that I became "burned out" with it and just sent it along to PG in a less than perfect state. I told myself that it was preferable for the book to be available rather than not.

Coincidentally, only a few weeks ago I had need to refer to that ebook of "Ulysses" to check a quotation. I noticed that a great deal of work had been done on it by one or more volunteers. A html version, complete with words italicised, as in the original, is now available. Furthermore, the text version, which originally represented italicised words in upper case, has been reformatted to represent italicised words between underscores, as is the present practice at Project Gutenberg. One is reluctant to mention volunteers by name, but David Widger is one volunteer who has done amazing work at PG (see /widger/home.html and it is he who has recently done a final check and renumbered it and posted the book to the updated file directory system at PG. This checking and renumbering is an ongoing process. (See

This is a diversion from the subject of banned books. However, the Online Books Page article covers the topic comprehensively. It is worthwhile, I believe, to provide an insight into what goes on behind the scenes at PGA and PG. The ebooks don't magically appear. They are produced and maintained by a dedicated group of (mostly anonymous) volunteers. As Eric Gibson said, in The Wall Street Journal, "Anonymity is the truest expression of altruism."

First Paragraphs

Here are the first paragraphs from two works at PGA. They might whet your appetite to read the ebooks.

* * *

A swirl of wet leaves from the night-hidden trees decorating the little station beat against the closed doors of the carriages. The porter hurried along holding his blear-eyed lantern to the different windows, and calling the name of the township in language peculiar to porters. There was only one ticket to collect.

--Bush Studies by Barbara Baynton

* * * * *

There was once a South Sea Island supercargo named Denison who had a Kanaka father and mother. This was when Denison was a young man. His father's name was Kusis; his mother's Tulpé. Also, he had several brown-skinned, lithe-limbed, and big-eyed brothers and sisters, who made much of their new white brother, and petted and caressed and wept over him as if he were an ailing child of six instead of a tough young fellow of two-and-twenty who had nothing wrong with him but a stove-in rib and a heart that ached for home, which made him cross and fretful.

--Pacific Tales by Louis Becke

Last month's postings

A list of all the books we provide is available from
Check there to see if there are other works by the authors listed below


Aug 2008 Poetical Works, James Thomson (1700-1748)         [] 1677A or .zip
Aug 2008 The Twister, Edgar Wallace                        [] 1676A .zip
Aug 2008 A Man's Life, Arthur Henry Adams                  [] 1675A .zip
Aug 2008 She Faded into Air, Ethel Lina White              [] 1674A .zip
Aug 2008 Collected Ghost Stories, M R James                [] 1673A .zip
(A Project Gutenberg Australia compilation)
Aug 2008 A Shilling for Candles, Josephine Tey             [] 1672A .zip
Aug 2008 Tommy Cornstalk, J H M Abbott                     [] 1671A .zip
Aug 2008 Fiction Fields of Australia, Frederick Sinnett    [] 1670A .zip
Aug 2008 The Pet, Ellis Parker Butler                      [] 1669A .zip
Aug 2008 The Iron Grip, Edgar Wallace                      [] 1668A .zip
Aug 2008 The Spectre Bride, William Harrison Ainsworth     [] 1667A .zip
Aug 2008 Flat 2, Edgar Wallace                             [] 1666A .zip
Aug 2008 Saraband for Dead Lovers, Helen Simpson           [] 1665A .zip
Aug 2008 Et in Sempiternum Pereant, Charles Williams       [] 1664A .zip
Aug 2008 The Story of Mary Ancel,Wm Makepeace Thackeray    [] 1663A .zip
Aug 2008 The Woman on the Beast, Helen Simpson             [] 1662A .zip
Aug 2008 The Man of Science, Jerome K Jerome               [] 1661A .zip
Aug 2008 When the Gangs Came to London, Edgar Wallace      [] 1660A .zip
Aug 2008 The Judge's House, Bram Stoker                    [] 1659A .zip
Aug 2008 Again the Ringer, Edgar Wallace                   [] 1658A .zip
Aug 2008 To be Taken with a Grain of Salt, Charles Dickens [] 1657A .zip
Aug 2008 The Drift Fence, Zane Grey                        [] 1656A .zip

Other Information

Newsletter Editor: Colin Choat.

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a treasure-trove of literature
treasure-trove n. treasure found hidden with no evidence of ownership.