Download Marc Andreessen’s Influential Blog (“Pmarca”) as a Free eBook

Marc_Andreessen_(1)

Image by Joi, via Wikimedia Commons

For years Marc Andreessen--the entrepreneur best known for launching Mosaic and later Netscape--ran a popular blog called "Pmarca" (apparently short for "Private Marc Andreessen”) where he dispensed wisdom on startups, business, investing and beyond. If you've worked in startups, especially in Silicon Valley, you probably followed "Pmarca" fairly religiously.

Like so many others, Andreessen eventually took down his blog and began "tweetstorming" on Twitter--all while serving on the boards of Facebook, eBay, and HP, and running his now influential VC firm, Andreessen Horowitz. Before "Pmarca" could fade completely into oblivion, fans asked Andreessen to preserve the blog for posterity. And that he did. You can now download an archive of "Pmarca" as a free ebook. Available in three formats (ePub, Mobi, and PDF), the archived version can be read in pretty much the blog's original format. Start your downloads here.

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18 Stories & Novels by Neil Gaiman Online: Free Texts & Readings by Neil Himself

Neil Gaiman might just be the most beloved fantasy author out there. He writes weird, twisted, exhilarating tales about hidden realities and the bizarre, fanciful creatures that live in them. His works, like Sandman, Fragile Things and American Gods, are pure escapism and a blast to read. No doubt, that's the major reason why the author has developed such a rabid fan base.

But perhaps another reason is that he is simply more available than most writers. Sure, other authors, like J. K. Rowling for instance, might have inspired an entire generation with her Harry Potter series but she prefers to keep a certain remove from her readership. Though she has a Twitter account, she uses it sparingly.

Gaiman, on the other hand, is seemingly always on Twitter - he has, as of this writing, tweeted at least nine times in the past 24 hours, interacting with fans, publishers and the press. This is the guy who once reportedly signed 75,000 copies of his book The Ocean at the End of the Lane, after all.

He has also posted a lot of his work for free up on the internet. Below is a list of Gaiman's work that you can read, see or hear online. Many are read by Neil himself. If you know of any missing texts, please let us know and we'll get them added to our list ASAP.

Above you can find videos of Gaiman reading the first chapter of his book Coraline, and also the story "The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury."

Audio & Video
Text

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Jonathan Crow is a Los Angeles-based writer and filmmaker whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hollywood Reporter, and other publications. You can follow him at @jonccrow. And check out his blog Veeptopus, featuring lots of pictures of vice presidents with octopuses on their heads.  The Veeptopus store is here.

Creative Commons Launches Its First-Ever Kickstarter Campaign to Write a Book About Open Business Models

At Creative Commons, a lot of the work we do to support the commons is in the background. We write and steward copyright licenses that help fuel the open web. We help push through open policies at the government, university, and foundation level to increase access to academic, scientific, cultural and other types of content. We fight for sensible copyright reform. All of this work is important, and we’re going to continue to do it.

But we also want to try our hand at something more visible. Our plan is to spend the next year collaboratively researching and writing a book about business models that involve Creative Commons licensing. Even our funding strategy for this project is public-facing and collaborative. Last week we launched our first-ever Kickstarter to raise money for the project, and we hope you’ll become a part of it all by making a pledge at any amount.

Crowdfunding this project is a way to kick off the project in an open and visible way, and to gather support and excitement for our work. But it is also a way to get first-hand experience with a business model that involves Creative Commons. As we raise funds to support the development of a book we will ultimately give away for free under a CC license, we are a case study for our own book. We’re off to a strong start and we’re learning as we go.

And we’re going to do it entirely in the open. We’ve started a Medium publication called “Made with Creative Commons” to use as our digital whiteboard. Throughout the year, we’ll be writing there about the things we learn, the questions we have, the problems we face. We’re hoping to make the research and writing process as collaborative as possible. Kickstarter backers can also become co-creators of the book to receive early drafts of our writing as we go and provide input to help shape the book.

We’re really excited about this ambitious project. Creating and sharing is what CC is all about, and as we do it, we’re hoping to reveal strategies that other creators and businesses can use for their own work. We hope you’ll join us!

--Sarah Hinchliff Pearson is Senior Counsel at Creative Commons.

Commuters Can Download Free eBooks of Russian Classics While Riding the Moscow Metro

Dostoyevskaya

Image by Zigurds Zakis

They say that Mussolini's brand of fascism made Italy's trains run on time. Meanwhile, it looks like Communists and Post-Communist autocrats made the morning subway ride in Russia something of a cultural experience.

As you can see below, the Soviets designed the Moscow subway stations as underground palaces, adorned with "high ceilings, stained glass, mosaics and chandeliers." (Check out a gallery of photos here.) In more recent times, city planners opened the Dostoyevskaya subway station, a more austere station where you can see black and white mosaics of scenes from Fyodor Dostoevsky's novels -- Crime and Punishment, The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov. Somewhat controversially, the mosaics depict fairly violent scenes. On one wall, The Independent writes, "Raskolnikov from Crime and Punishment brandishes an axe over the elderly pawnbroker Alyona Ivanovna and her sister, his murder victims in the novel. Near by, a character from Demons holds a pistol to his temple." Nothing like confronting murder and suicide on the morning commute.

If these gloomy scenes don't sound familiar, don't fret. Late last year, the Moscow subway system launched a pilot where Moscow subway commuters, carrying smartphones and tablets, can download over 100 classic Russian works, for free. As they shuttle from one station to another, riding on subway cars equipped with free wifi, straphangers can read texts by Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Pushkin, Bulgakov, Lermontov, Gogol and more. Perhaps that takes the sting out of the soaring inflation.

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Download the Major Works of Jane Austen as Free eBooks & Audio Books

Jane_Austen

Why does Jane Austen feel so much like our contemporary? Is it the way she has been appropriated by popular culture, turned into a vampish, modern consumer icon in adaptations like From Prada to Nada, Clueless, and Bridget Jones’ Diary? Do these candy-colored updates of Austen truly represent the spirit of the late 18th/early 19th century novelist’s world? Or do we gravitate toward Austen because of nostalgia for a simpler, almost pre-industrial time, when—as in the rather reactionary world of Downton Abbey—the comings and goings in a single household constituted an entire human society?

Why not both? As the writers and artists in the video above from the Morgan Library assert, Austen, like Shakespeare, is a writer for every age. “The Divine Jane” as the title dubs her, had an insight into human behavior that transcends the particulars of her historical moment. But of course, the context of Austen’s fiction—a time of great English country houses and an emerging class-consciousness based on rapidly changing social arrangements—is no mere backdrop. Like Shakespeare, we need to understand Austen on her own terms as much as we enjoy her wit transposed into our own.

The Morgan Library’s “A Woman’s Wit” exhibit, moved online since its debut in the physical space in 2009, offers an excellent collection of resources for scholars and lay readers to discover Austen’s world through her correspondence and manuscripts. You’ll also find there drawings by Austen and her contemporaries and commentary from a number of twentieth century writers inspired by her work. Much of the Austen-mania of the past several years treats the novelist as a more-or-less postmodern ironist—“hotter,” wrote Martin Amis in 1996, “than Quentin Tarantino.” That she has become such fodder for films, both good and frankly terrible, can obscure her obsession with language, one represented by her novels, of course, as well as by her letters—so lively and immediate so as to have inspired a “Perfect Love Letter” competition among Austen enthusiasts.

As for the novels, well, there really is no substitute. Dressing Austen up in Prada and Gucci and recasting her bumbling suitors and impish heroines as mall-savvy teenage Americans has—one hopes—been done enough. Let not Austen’s appeal to our age eclipse the rich, fine-grained observations she made of hers. Whether you’re new to Austen or a lifelong reader, her work is always available, as she intended it to be experienced, on the page—or, er… the screen… thanks to internet publishing and organizations like Project Gutenberg, Librivox and the University of Adelaide’s eBook library. At the links below, you can find all of Austen’s major works in various eBook and audio formats.

So by all means, enjoy the modern classic Clueless, that hilarious rendition of Austen’s Emma. And by all means, read Emma, and Pride and Prejudice, and Mansfield Park, and… well, you get the idea….

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Washington, DC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Free eBook: Freud’s Couch, Scott’s Buttocks, Brontë’s Grave

Freud's Couch

Worth a quick note: Every month, The University of Chicago Press makes available a free ebook, which you can read online. This month's pick is Freud's Couch, Scott's Buttocks, Brontë's Grave, by the University of Cambridge Classics professor Simon Goldhill, who doubles as the director of the Cambridge Victorian Studies group. The press describes the book as follows:

If you have toured the home of a famed writer, seen the desk at which they worked, or visited their grave, you are a literary pilgrim, partaking in a form of tourism first popular in the Victorian era. In our free e-book for March, Freud’s Couch, Scott’s Buttocks, Brontë’s Grave, Simon Goldhill makes a pilgrimage to Sir Walter Scott’s baronial mansion, Wordsworth’s cottage in the Lake District, the Brontë parsonage, Shakespeare’s birthplace, and Freud’s office in Hampstead. He gamely negotiates distractions ranging from broken bicycles to a flock of giggling Japanese schoolgirls, as he tries to discern what our forebears were looking for at these sites, as well as what they have to say to the modern pilgrim. Take your literary pilgrimage in our free e-book, Freud’s Couch, Scott’s Buttocks, Brontë’s Grave.

The book, which got a warm review in The Wall Street Journal, can be accessed via The U. Chicago site.  Countless more free ebooks (downloadable ones!) can be found in our collection, 800 Free eBooks for iPad, Kindle & Other Devices.

Dan Colman is the founder/editor of Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus and share intelligent media with your friends. Or better yet, sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox.

Read the Lost Sherlock Holmes Story That Was Just Discovered in an Attic in Scotland

sherlock_holmes_in_public-domain

In November, we presented for you a quick way to download The Complete Sherlock Holmes -- not knowing that, a few months later, a lost Sherlock Holmes story, seemingly attributed to Arthur Conan Doyle, would be discovered in an attic in Scotland.

The story, The Guardian writes, was "part of a pamphlet printed in 1903 to raise money to restore a bridge in the Scottish border town of Selkirk." Discovered by the historian Walter Elliot, the tale entitled "Sherlock Holmes: Discovering the Border Burghs and, By Deduction, the Brig Bazaar" can be read below, thanks to Vulture.

In 2013, a US judge ruled that Sherlock Holmes stories now belonged in the public domain. The same would appear to hold true for this happily discovered, 1300-word story. You can find more Sherlock Holmes stories in our collection of Free eBooks.

"Sherlock Holmes: Discovering the Border Burghs and, By Deduction, the Brig Bazaar"

We've had enough of old romancists and the men of travel" said the Editor, as he blue-pencilled his copy, and made arrangements for the great Saturday edition of the Bazaar Book. "We want something up-to-date. Why not have a word from 'Sherlock Holmes?'"

Editors have only to speak and it is done, at least, they think so. "Sherlock Holmes!" As well talk of interviewing the Man in the Moon. But it does not do to tell Editors all that you think. I had no objections whatever, I assured the Editor, to buttonhole "Sherlock Holmes," but to do so I should have to go to London.

"London!" scornfully sniffed the Great Man. "And you profess to be a journalist? Have you never heard of the telegraph, the telephone, or the phonograh? Go to London! And are you not aware that all journalists are supposed to be qualified members of the Institute of Fiction, and to be qualified to make use of the Faculty of Imagination? By the use of the latter men have been interviewed, who were hundreds of miles away; some have been 'interviewed' without either knowledge or consent. See that you have a topical article ready for the press for Saturday. Good day."

I was dismissed and had to find copy by hook or by crook. Well, the Faculty of Imagination might be worth a trial.

The familiar house in Sloan Street met my bewildered gaze. The door was shut, the blinds drawn. I entered; doors are no barrier to one who uses the Faculty of Imagination. The soft light from an electric bulb flooded the room. "Sherlock Holmes" sits by the side of the table; Dr Watson is on his feet about to leave for the night. Sherlock Holmes, as has lately been shown by a prominent journal, is a pronounced Free Trader. Dr. Watson is a mild Protectionist, who would take his gruelling behind a Martello tower, as Lord Goschen wittily put it, but not "lying down!" The twain had just finished a stiff argument on Fiscal policy. Holmes loq—

"And when shall I see you again, Watson? The inquiry into the 'Mysteries of the Secret Cabinet' will be continued in Edinburgh on Saturday. Do you mind a run down to Scotland? You would get some capital data which you might turn to good account later."

"I am very sorry," replied Dr Watson, "I should have liked to have gone with you, but a prior engagement prevents me. I will, however, have the pleasure of being in kindly Scottish company that day. I, also, am going to Scotland."

"Ah! Then you are going to the Border country at that time?"

"How do you know that?"

"My dear Watson, it's all a matter of deduction."

"Will you explain?"

"Well, when a man becomes absorbed in a certain theme, the murder will out some day. In many discussions you and I have on the fiscal question from time to time I have not failed to notice that you have taken up an attitude antagonistic to a certain school of thought, and on several occasions you have commented on the passing of "so-called' reforms, as you describe them, which you say were not the result of a spontaneous movement from or by the people, but solely due to the pressure of the Manchester School of politicians appealing to the mob. One of these allusions you made a peculiar reference to 'Huz an' Mainchester' who had 'turned the world upside down.' The word 'Huz' stuck to me, but after consulting many authors without learning anything as to the source of the word, I one day in reading a provincial paper noticed the same expression, which the writer said was descriptive of the way Hawick people looked at the progress of Reform. 'Huz an' Mainchester' led the way. So, thought I, Watson has a knowledge of Hawick. I was still further confirmed in this idea by hearing you in several absent moments crooning a weird song of the Norwegian God Thor. Again I made enquires, and writing to a friend in the South country I procured a copy of 'Teribus.' So, I reasoned, so — there's something in the air! What attraction has Hawick for Watson?"

"Wonderful," Watson said, "and —"

"Yes, and when you characterised the action of the German Government in seeking to hamper Canadian trade by raising her tariff wall against her, as a case of 'Sour Plums,' and again in a drawing room asked a mutual lady friend to sing you that fine old song, 'Braw, braw lads,' I was curious enough to look up the old ballad, and finding it had reference to a small town near to Hawick, I began to see a ray of daylight. Hawick had a place in your mind; likewise so had Galashiels — so much was apparent. The question to be decided was why?"

"So far so good. And—"

"Later still the plot deepened. Why, when I was retailing to you the steps that led up to the arrest of the Norwood builder by the impression of his thumb, I found a very great surprise that you were not listening at all to my reasoning, but were lilting a very sweet - a very sweet tune, Watson - 'The Flowers of the Forest;' then I in turn consulted an authority on the subject, and found that that lovely if tragic song had a special reference to Selkirk. And you remember, Watson, how very enthusiastic you grew all of a sudden on the subject of Common-Ridings, and how much you studied the history of James IV., with special reference to Flodden Field. All these things speak, Watson, to the orderly brain of a thinker. Hawick, Galashiels, and Selkirk. What did the combination mean? I felt I must solve the problem, Watson; so that night when you left me, after we had discussed the "Tragedy of a Divided House," I ordered in a ton of tobacco, wrapped my cloak about me, and spent the night in thought. When you came round in the morning the problem was solved. I could not on the accumulative evidence but come to the conclusion that you contemplated another Parliamentary contest. Watson, you have the Border Burghs in your eye!"

"In my heart, Holmes," said Watson.

"And where do you travel to on Saturday, Watson?"

"I am going to Selkirk; I have an engagement there to open a Bazaar."

"Is it in aide of a Bridge, Watson?"

"Yes,' replied Watson in surprise; "but how do you know? I have never mentioned the matter to you."

"By word, no; but by your action you have revealed the bent of your mind."

"Impossible!"

"Let me explain. A week ago you came round to my rooms and asked for a look at 'Macaulay's Lays of Ancient Rome.' (You know I admire Macaulay's works, and have a full set.) That volume, after a casual look at, you took with you. When you returned it a day or two later I noticed it was marked with a slip of paper at the 'Lay of Horatius,' and I detected a faint pencil mark on the slip noting that the closing stanza was very appropriate. As you know, Watson, the lay is all descriptive of the keeping of a bridge. Let me remind you how nicely you would perorate —

When the goodman mends his armour
And trims his helmet's plume,
When the goodwife's shuttle merrily
Goes flashing through the loom,
With weeping and with laughter.
Still the story told —
How well Horatius kept the bridge,
In the brave days of old.

Could I, being mortal, help thinking you were bent on some such exploit yourself?"

"Very true!"

"Well, goodbye, Watson; shall be glad of your company after Saturday. Remember Horatius' words when you go to Border Burghs: 'How can man die better than facing fearful odds.' But there, these words are only illustrations. Safe journey, and success to the Brig!"

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