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An Excursion to the Lakes in Westmoreland and Cumberland, August 1773

An Excursion to the Lakes in Westmoreland and Cumberland, August 1773 by William Hutchinson

An Excursion to the Lakes in Westmoreland and Cumberland, August 1773 by William Hutchinson

In the summer of 1773, lawyer and antiquarian William Hutchinson set out from his home in County Durham on a tour of the English Lake District. Accompanied by his brother, George Allan, he travelled by horseback from Bowes to Penrith and Keswick, down through Grasmere and Ambleside to Kendal, and back via Kirkby Stephen to County Durham. When he returned home he wrote what may be the first guidebook to the Lakes. Written in a pre-Romantic era when English writers were just beginning to discover the delights of the scenic view, Hutchinson’s account vividly describes a district that would soon be the haunt of literary giants such as Wordsworth, Southey, Matthew Arnold and Harriett Martineau.

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The Port of Missing Men

The Port of Missing Men by Meredith Nicholson

The Port of Missing Men by Meredith Nicholson

Shirley Claiborne is fascinated by the tall handsome man named John Armitage who seemed to follow her and her brother, Captain Claiborne, as they traveled around Europe. Count von Stroebel had urged Armitage to do something for Austria. Now von Stroebel was dead – cut down by an assassin’s bullet – and Jules Chauvenet is one step closer to seeing the corrupt and worthless Francis ascend to the throne. When Shirley and Captain Claiborne sail for their home in Washington D.C., Armitage follows them. Monsieur Chauvenet also follows, but is he following Shirley or the mysterious John Armitage? And just who is John Armitage?

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The Book of the Ocean

The Book of the Ocean by Ernest Ingersoll

The Book of the Ocean by Ernest Ingersoll

The Book of the Ocean is precisely what its title promises. It contains a rather broad overview of all topics connected to the ocean, such as its geography and the history of the exploration of the oceans. Besides the oceans themselves, the book contains several chapters on the different aspects of seafaring: building ships and seafaring, war ships, merchant ships and voyages, piracy, and yachting.

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A Short History of England

A Short History of England by G. K. Chesterton

A Short History of England by G. K. Chesterton

“But it is especially in the matter of the Middle Ages that the popular histories trample upon the popular traditions. In this respect there is an almost comic contrast between the general information provided about England in the last two or three centuries, in which its present industrial system was being built up, and the general information given about the preceding centuries, which we call broadly mediaeval. “

As this quotation taken from the Introduction clearly shows, he is no mere pedant reciting dry dates and locations, but a profound thinker flooding new light onto those modern “myths” that have filled our histories. He is a master of paradox, and the technique of reducing his opponents arguments to the logical absurdity they have inherent in them. He often turns them upside down. All of which makes his work both a sound subject for reflection and highly entertaining all the while it remains permanently timely.

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The Backwoods of Canada

The Backwoods of Canada by Catherine Parr Traill

The Backwoods of Canada by Catherine Parr Traill

The writer is as earnest in recommending ladies who belong to the higher class of settlers to cultivate all the mental resources of a superior education, as she is to induce them to discard all irrational and artificial wants and mere useless pursuits. She would willingly direct their attention to the natural history and botany of this new country, in which they will find a never-failing source of amusement and instruction, at once enlightening and elevating the mind, and serving to fill up the void left by the absence of those lighter feminine accomplishments, the practice of which are necessarily superseded by imperative domestic duties. To the person who is capable of looking abroad into the beauties of nature, and adoring the Creator through his glorious works, are opened stores of unmixed pleasure, which will not permit her to be dull or unhappy in the loneliest part of our Western Wilderness. The writer of these pages speaks from experience, and would be pleased to find that the simple sources from which she has herself drawn pleasure, have cheered the solitude of future female sojourners in the backwoods of Canada. (Summary from book introduction)

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North Lancashire

North Lancashire by John Edward Marr

North Lancashire by John Edward Marr

Cambridge County Geographies was a 75 volume series covering the counties of England, Scotland and Wales. Separate volumes were produced for Lancashire north and south of the River Ribble. J. E. Marr’s volume on North Lancashire covers a geographically diverse region, including Furness and the Lake District west of Lake Windermere that now spans Lancashire and Cumbria. As much a history, guidebook and gazetteer as it is a geography, Marr’s volume paints a rich and in places idyllic picture of the northern parts of the county in the years before the first world war.

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The City That Was

The City That Was by Will Irwin

The City That Was by Will Irwin

As all but Martians know (and who knows, perhaps even they), the city of San Francisco, California, was destroyed by massive earthquake and unquenchable fire in April, 1906. Will Irwin was a sometime San Franciscan who was then living in New York. He wrote a piece for the newspaper The Sun on April 21st, remembering and describing he city that was no more. He called it The City That Was. Four years later he returned to San Francisco and, amazed at the rebuilding, wrote a second piece for The San Francisco Call which he entitled The City That Is. The first endeavor became famous and was frequently reprinted; it made the reputation of Irwin as a reporter.

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The Ten Books on Architecture

The Ten Books on Architecture by Vitruvius Pollio

The Ten Books on Architecture by Vitruvius Pollio

On Architecture is a treatise on architecture written by the Roman architect Vitruvius and dedicated to his patron, the emperor Caesar Augustus as a guide for building projects. The work is one of the most important sources of modern knowledge of Roman building methods as well as the planning and design of structures, both large (aqueducts, buildings, baths, harbours) and small (machines, measuring devices, instruments). He is also the prime source of the famous story of Archimedes and his bath-time discovery. (Summary from Wikipedia)

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Down South, or Yacht Adventures in Florida

Down South, or Yacht Adventures in Florida by Oliver Optic

Down South, or Yacht Adventures in Florida by Oliver Optic

“Down South” is the fifth and last volume but one of the “Great Western Series.” The action of the story is confined entirely to Florida; and this fact may seem to belie the title of the Series. But the young yachtsman still maintains his hold upon the scenes of his earlier life in Michigan, and his letters come regularly from that State. If he were old enough to vote, he could do so only in Michigan; and therefore he has not lost his right to claim a residence there during his temporary sojourn in the South. Besides, half his ship’s company are Western boys, who carry with them from “The Great Western” family of States whatever influence they possess in their wanderings through other sections of the grand American Union.

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The Upas Tree, A Christmas Story For All the Year

The Upas Tree, A Christmas Story For All the Year by Florence L. Barclay

The Upas Tree, A Christmas Story For All the Year by Florence L. Barclay

Ronald West has a brilliant idea for his next novel, but to do it right, he wants to spend the next six months tramping around central Africa to experience the setting first hand. His wife Helen fully supports his trip, but for the first time in their marriage, she refuses to go along herself. Ronnie is disappointed at her reticence, but plows ahead, planning to be back in England by Christmas. But when Ronnie returns, something is seriously the matter which threatens to make his reunion with Helen, and their Christmas together, anything but merry.

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