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Read It: Free Books

July 25, 2007, 12:00 am
Get your read on, online.

It takes commitment and time to finish Swann's Way or the novels of Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Luckily, Daily Lit takes care of both. Log on, enter an e-mail address and pick a book-most are classics in the public domain, although a few are newer books with Creative Commons licences-and choose how often a bite-sized nugget of literature shows up. Viola! That's it. You'll read five minutes of Proust a day and before you know it you'll be through all 206 installments.

For those more aurally inclined, LibriVox offers volunteer-read audio books available for download. Though the idea of the everyman struggling through pronunciation of those difficult Russian names in War and Peace is a valid concern, the volunteers have self-selected themselves well and do a great job reading books that they've obviously read before. Unfortunately, the site's search function doesn't allow for easy browsing by category. But perusing the tens of thousands of books online or in progress is a great reminder of everything you've ever wanted to read but just didn't have the time for.

After finishing a good book sometimes a reader just wants to pass it on. Book Crossing is an online community of book lovers that spans the globe. Readers place special labels with a registration number-printed from the Web site-onto books before "releasing" them. The registration numbers offer the finders of these beloved books a chance to trace their origin and weigh in on the criticism. There's also an opportunity to track down books that have been released through the site's "go hunting" function. So far, only a few books are up for grabs in Santa Fe, but Albuquerque seems to be into the trend with 111 books in various locations around the city as of press time.


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