14 Free Books By Literary Late Bloomers

by Debra Eve | @DebraEve

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

You can find free public domain works all over the Internet. Many people don’t realize that you don’t need a Kindle or ebook reader to enjoy them.

I find Kindle For PC the most enjoyable way to read on a screen. You can download it here. And of course, Apple has its iBook format, available through iTunes.

The following works  (with free Kindle links) were written by six late bloomers I’ve profiled:

1: Tales From Mother Goose by Charles Perrault (1628-1703) – Perrault compiled these folk tales from oral tradition at age 69, after he retired from civil service.

2: Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) — The modern FranklinCovey planning system takes inspiration from Franklin’s self-improvement program. He started his autobiography at age 65.

3 & 4: A Journey To The Center Of The Earth and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under  The Sea by Jules Verne (1828-1905) — Verne failed at writing plays and trading stocks before turning to his fabulous tales at age 35.

5 & 6: Dracula and Dracula’s Guest by Bram Stoker (1847-1912) — Published when Stoker was 50, Dracula needs no introduction. Stoker’s widow posthumously published Dracula’s Guest, a collection of short stories. It contains some real gems, including the title tale, a “deleted scene” from the famous novel.

7 & 8: Tarzan Of The Apes and The Land That Time Forgot by Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950) — Burroughs was a failed entrepreneur before he (like Verne) turned to adventure writing at age 35.

9: The Age Of Innocence by Edith Wharton (1862-1937) — In 1921, Wharton became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for this novel, published when she was 58. She first started writing twenty years earlier.

These are works by literary late bloomers I’ve not yet profiled:

10: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616) — Cervantes was a  tax collector, soldier and slave before he wrote what some consider the first modern novel at age 58.

11: The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (1659-1731) — Defoe was wine merchant, tax collector and spy before he wrote this classic adventure story at age 60.

12: The Awakening and Selected Short Stories by Kate Chopin (1851-1904) — Chopin began writing when she was 41, but was too far ahead of her time. Although The Awakening was never actually banned, it was censored for bucking social norms and depicting female sexuality.

13: Heart Of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) — Coppola’s used Heart Of Darkness (which Conrad wrote at age 42) as the basis for Apocalypse Now.

14: The Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932) — Although Grahame wrote short stories in his 20s, he took a hiatus from writing to become a father and penned his classic children’s tale at age 49. He based Mr. Toad on Alastair, his headstrong little boy.

I recently read somewhere that most people whom own a Kindle have a TBR (to be read) list a year long. Looks like I just added a few months to that statistic!

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Angela Artemis/Poweredbyintuition

Elle,
Fabulous list of free ebooks! Thank you.
I also thank you for the Kindle for PC program. I just downloaded it.
Now all I need to do is make time to read!
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Debra Eve

Thanks, Angela! Glad you found the Kindle for PC link useful. I know what you mean about time to read. My Kindle is completely overloaded right now!

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Brian Cormack Carr

What a terrific list, thanks so much for sharing! I shared your post on Ian Fleming with several clients on the “late bloomer” path, and they all said they found it a much-needed inspiration…

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Debra Eve

Thanks! So glad to be of service, Brian.

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The Agent Apsley

Separately, I’ve blogged about two works / writers in the ‘unprofiled’ part of the list:

1. No. 10, despite Jorge Luis Borges’ nice little piece / essay (in the collection Labyrinths) about Cervantes and what it was to be Cervantes, because I am not ashamed to admit that I never finished Don Q. – the uixote is, roughly, the unread part

2. No. 13, because I can see neither what the fuss about Heart of Darkness / Conrad generally is, nor find, I boldly confess, any fascination for That Film

Heresies ‘r’ Us

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Debra Eve

Agent Apsley — absolutely loved your pieces on Cervantes and Conrad. With some writers with past eras, we recognize the greatness but don’t necessarily relate to them. Others are simply timeless. I remember when I first read Dumas’ Three Musketeers. I expected archaic language, but was stunned by how modern it read.

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Barbara McDowell Whitt

Debra, this is a very thorough list of some of the classics that can be read on Kindle for PC. Thank you for also including the information about the authors.

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Debra Eve

You’re welcome, Barbara! It was a joy to put together. I find it astonishing how many classics are available free now. In fact, it’s time for an update, since I’ve found many more.

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Kate MacNicol

This is wonderful! All these fabulous authors and all Later Bloomers. You give me hope Debra.

So many great books here. I had no idea Edith Wharton was 58 when she wrote The Age of Innocence. The Buccaneers is one of my favorites and I have not read The Age of Innocence. I’m going to change that in just a few minutes. LOL Thanks!
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Debra Eve

My pleasure, Kate. One day I’ll do a really comprehensive list!
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