Recently I took advantage of an opportunity to download twenty-five literary classics to my Nook for a whopping ninety-nine cents. Many of them are books I’ve read before and have copies of on my bookshelves, but they’re also books I tend to reread, so having them available on the Nook means if I ever get stranded somewhere–a waiting room, a vacation, a restaurant–and finish a book, I have options of old favorites on standby. There were also some I’ve never read, like Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island, so many of those will be fun to discover for the first time.

Among those books that I had read was Baroness Emmuska Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel. I first received this when I was eleven in one of the Reader’s Digest Condensed Books our minister gave me. I remember that I loved it as a kid. How could I not love a book with characters with names like Armand St. Just, Citoyen Chauvelin, or Lord Stowmarries?

Since I’d read only the abridged version, it was enjoyable to experience the full novel as an adult. Well, except for the gross guillotine parts. (Ha. Parts. See what I did there?)

Also in this childhood collection: my second version of Tom Sawyer. The Good Earth bored the shit out of me–maybe I should try that one again? I’m sure Robin Hood was fun, too, though it didn’t make the same impression on me as The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Missing from the Nook and such a good part of a child’s reading experience: the illustrations.

I don’t know how I missed this information as a kid, because it says right in the introduction to the novel, that there were several more books about the adventures of the master of disguise and his League of the Scarlet Pimpernel. Or maybe I didn’t miss it, but that was when I was in the school where I could only get one book a week from the library, and there were others higher up my list that I wanted to read.

According to Wikipedia, the Scarlet Pimpernel helped inspire such characters as Zorro and Batman. They do share a sartorial choice: capes!


14 thoughts on “Classics”

    1. And this was .99 for all twenty-five! Austen, Alcott, Bronte, Francis Hodgson, Thomas Hardy, Hawthorne, DH Lawrence, Willa Cather–many good ones.

    2. However, I did once download a free version of Anna Karenina which was unreadable because of all the mistakes. I deleted it. That’s one of the hazards of the free and cheap versions–you don’t know where they were input from, so there can be errors. Still, it’s a handy way to have some of your best loved books at your fingertips when you’re away from your home and unable to get to a library or bookstore (as an insomniac, this saves me).

  1. Zorro … sigh …. how I love him. The Scarlet Pumpernickel, Hottie Zorro aka Don Diego de la Vega ( is there a sexier name? I think not! ) and Batman are all superheros and are allowed to wear capes. Zorro is especially dashing in his.

    Also when reading French Revolution stories, it’s best to skim over the gory parts, so you don’t lose your head about it. BA DA BOOM … I still side with the peasants, even if they are revolting … BA DA BOOM.

    Thank you, thank you… I’ll be commenting nightly – don’t forget to tip your blogger!

  2. I am shocked…..shocked that you have never read Anne of Green Gables and the rest of that series. BEST STORY EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And the movies are equally great although as a “reader” I doubt you will agree with that 🙂 A story about a girl who is smart, independent, WRITER, teacher, WRITER……can’t believe you have never read them. Just shocked.

    1. I never even heard of those books until I was an adult. The first one was the first book I read after I downloaded the twenty-five–so see, I’m making up for my deficiency!

  3. A SENIOR DISCOUNT ON DEATH, by Nora Charles
    THE STOLEN VENUS, by Darrell Schweitzer
    REAR VIEW MURDER, by Carla Coupe
    THUBWAY THAM’S INTHULT, by Johnston McCulley
    THE IDES OF MARCH, by E.W. Hornung
    PINPRICK, by Skadi meic Beorh
    THE RED HERRING, by William Hope Hodgson
    DRAGON BONES, by Jacqueline Seewald
    THE GOLDEN SLIPPER, by Anna Katherine Green
    KALI, by Eric Taylor
    DRIVEN TO DISTRACTION, by Marcia Talley
    THE BLUE CROSS, by G.K. Chesterton
    THE WORST NOEL, by Barb Goffman
    MR. CLACKWORTHY’S POT OF GOLD, by Christopher B. Booth
    THE MONKEY GOD, by Seabury Quinn
    WEDDING KNIFE, by Elaine Viets
    THE MAD DETECTIVE, by John D. Swain
    SECURITY BLANKET, by Toni L.P. Kelner
    A CROOK WITHOUT HONOR, by Johnston McCulley
    ANCHORS AWAY, by C. Ellett Logan
    WAYS OF DARKNESS, by E.S. Pladwell

      1. I’ll start on them as soon as I finish Julie Smith’s New Orleans Mourning. Most of the stories were originally printed in the pulp mystery magazines from 1905 to 2010. So it will be interesting to see the evolution of the mystery story over 100 years. I probably read the Chesterton when I was in high school, and I always wanted to read something by Sax Rohmer (Fu Manchu).

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