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TUAW reader braintrust: Filling up your iBookShelf


Let's face it. iBook offerings are, at least for the moment, pretty limited. They're also on the slightly pricey side for anyone who emptied their piggy bank on a new iPad. Even those public libraries that offer ePub lending aren't set up to make those titles available for iPad reading. You generally need special Mac or Windows software, and there's DRM aplenty.

That having been said, there are many great readable books out there for the asking. The problem is, as with nearly all free options, a very low signal-to-noise ratio. Sure, you can download one of the top Project Gutenberg titles, but those top twenty lists tend to be uninspiring. Getting a peer recommendation for a truly excellent read is often a lot better indication of whether you'll like a book or not than popularity charts.

That's why we thought we'd open up this post to your free ePub recommendations. Our TUAW reader pool is full of passionate book enthusiasts. We'll get the ball rolling with a few of our suggestions and then we invite you to chime in in the comments with yours. Don't forget to say why you're recommending the book and who it might be a good match for, taste-wise.

Let's help each other to find some quality iBooks. And don't forget: Just because a book isn't already in ePub format, there's no reason that it can't be converted using a tool like Stanza or Calibre!

Parnassus on Wheels is a warm, delightful novel about a woman who buys a traveling bookstore and the adventures she encounters. Its full of fun for anyone who loves books and practical homespun self-reliance.
Recommended for: Readers who like chick-lit
The Egg and I tells the nearly-real story of Betty MacDonald's days as a child bride and chicken rancher. This hilarious comedy is the source of the "Ma and Pa Kettle" characters you may have heard of.
Recommended for: Readers, especially women, who like humorous first person memoirs.
Wizards Bane wonders what would happen if a computer geek got transported to a world of magic. Could you create a programming language for spell casting? It's a solid but silly fantasy that's fun to read.
Recommended for: Computer geeks.
Sheepfarmer's Daughter demonstrates what happens when classic fantasy meets an author with a military background. There are elves and gnomes -- but also patrols, cold weather, wet socks and a heavy dose of realism.
Recommended for: Readers who like fantasy, military lit, or both
Five Children and It is one of E. Nesbit's many amazing fantasy books for children. It's full of that "sense of wonder" that so many children's books strive for and never achieve. If you like this one, you'll want to try some of her other titles as well!
Recommended for: Children and former children
Magic Pudding offers a classic tale of silliness and mayhem among the Koalas. Make sure you download the illustrated version of this children's book!
Recommended for: Fans of Pooh who want to range beyond A. A. Milne. Good for story time with younger readers.
Marvelous Land of Oz proves that the Oz story doesn't end with the Wizard of Oz movie. I loved these books as a kid, both the Baum ones and the later ones by Ruth Plumly Thompson.
Recommended for: Fans of the original book Wizard of Oz even more than the movie
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