A library at your fingertips: The best free Kindle books

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Action and Adventure

‘Count of Monte Cristo’ by Alexandre Dumas

Monte Cover

They say revenge is a dish best served cold and Dumas’ story of the false imprisonment and lustful vengeance of Edmond Dantes is one of the coldest. Wrongfully imprisoned by his best friend and various conspirators, Dantes vows to escape the confines of Château d’If, unearth the treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and reclaim what was once his. It’s one of Dumas’ most famous works alongside The Three Musketeers, and for once, I actually enjoy the 2002 movie that goes with it.

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‘Treasure Island’ by Robert Louis Stevenson

T Island Book

Stevenson’s classic is described as “buccaneers and buried gold,” but that’s not all it is. Yes, it helped set the bar for iconic pirate stereotypes — treasure maps marked with the letter “X”, tropical islands, etc. — but it’s characters like Long John Silver that add a level of complexity and moral depth to an otherwise straightforward children’s tale. Plus, it’s filled with historical allusions and wry, moral commentary that should entertain adults and young audiences alike.

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‘Call of the Wild’ by Jack London

Call of the Wild Book

It’s hard to argue Call of the Wild isn’t Jack London’s magnum opus. Based on London’s experiences as prospector in the Klondike, it follows a St. Bernard-Scotch Collie named Buck who is stolen, sold, and forced to survive as a sled dog in the harsh realities of the Arctic. It’s an endearing story, awash with themes of moral good doing and loyalty, and filled with London’s incredibly descriptive accounts of the terrain during the bustling gold rush of the late 1800s.

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‘Ulysses’ by James Joyce

best free books for kindle book vignette ulysses

As one of the most significant works of modernist literature, Ulysses focuses on the life of a young Irishman named Leopold Bloom. The novel is divided into three books and 18 sections, and Bloom’s journey loosely resembles that of Homer’s Odysseus. Ulysses, is an exploration of the daily life of Bloom, his city and those who interact with him.  The novel can be difficult at times, but its awkward pacing, excellent storytelling, and often dry humor makes it an excellent read.

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‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ by Mark Twain

Sawyer Book

Huckleberry Finn gets a lot of hype, but it’s the prequel the helped set the stage for later acts. It carries a somber notes amid the air of Twain’s iconic humor and English vernacular, accounting the tale of a young boy growing up on the Mississippi and the various escapades he encountered doing so. Although it often revels in the innocence of childhood and bittersweet nostalgia, it’s still teeming with adult themes and the harsh realities of slavery, starvation, and murder.

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‘Robinson Crusoe’ by Daniel Defoe

Rob Photo

We will probably never know the inspiration for Defoe’s classic castaway tale, but it has certainly inspired an abundance of film adaptations and literary spinoffs. The main character, Robinson Crusoe, becomes stranded on a desert island following a intense storm at sea, equipped with no more than a pipe, a knife, and an inch of tobacco. Needless to say, 24 years pass before he confronts anyone, and when he does, it’s certainly not with open arms.

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‘Moonfleet’ by John Meade Falkner

Moonfleet Photo

Falkner’s most renowned novel is nothing short of gripping, which is likely the reason it was staple of children’s literature until the ’70s. It parallels Treasure Island in many ways, notably the coming-of-age theme and quest for treasure, but it’s centered around the coast of Dorset, England and focuses on young boy who takes up with band of smugglers after discovering their secret. Be forewarned, backgammon references run amok.

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