By Arvind Dilawar

Colorized photograph of a German airship (via Project Gutenberg)

Classic, fascinating and downright strange titles recently added to the free digital library.

Each month dozens of free digitized books are added to Project Gutenberg’s library, which now includes more than 45,000 documents. Available in HTML, PDF, EPUB, MOBI and other formats, these titles are easy to access on any device, but sorting through the lot for the gems can be a bit of a slog. Never fear, though, we’re here to help. These are some of best recent additions to Project Gutenberg’s library:

Trinity test blast at 10 seconds (via Project Gutenberg)

Photos and Maps of Trinity (Atomic Test) Site by United States Army

Trinity was the first nuclear weapon detonated by the United States Army on July 16, 1945 at what is now the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Declared a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the range naturally has its own public affairs office, which published a brochure for the site in 1995. The compendium Photos and Maps of Trinity (Atomic Test) Site appears to be meant to complement that brochure and includes shots of the atomic bomb (referred to as the “gadget”), the basecamp and notable historical figures, like physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer and Manhattan Project Director Leslie Groves. Fun stuff!

Colorized photograph of British field artillery at the Battle of the Marne, 1914 (via Project Gutenberg)

Souvenir Album of the Great European War with Pictorial Map of the Battlegrounds by The Osborne Company

Released at the start of World War I in 1914, this collection is comprised of color reproductions of newspaper photographs picturing various European nations’ regiments. Though it includes statistics on each nation’s geography, population and fighting forces, it generally reads like a promotional flyer for a prizefight — proving that even publishers can be war-profiteers.

Baudelaire: His Prose and Poetry Edited by T. R. Smith (via Project Gutenberg)

Baudelaire: His Prose and Poetry Edited by T. R. Smith

This 1919 anthology of Charles Baudelaire’s work features his most famous poems, The Flowers of Evil, along with notes found following his death. These include poetic drafts and journal entries from the last days of his life. But wait, there’s more Baudelaire to come!

Charles Baudelaire: His Life by Theophile Gautier (via Project Gutenberg)

Charles Baudelaire: His Life by Theophile Gautier

This 1915 biography by fellow French poet Gautier plumbs further into Baudelaire’s life. Gautier, who knew the writer personally, covers their friendship, Baudelaire’s life and death, and his work. The book also includes a selection of poetry (some of it overlapping with Smith’s anthology, though by a different translator), Baudelaire’s correspondence (including with Flaubert!) and an essay on his influence on modern poetry. Talk about a Baudelaire binge.

Balzac by Edgar Evertson Saltus (via Project Gutenberg)

Balzac by Edgar Evertson Saltus

In case you haven’t had enough Frenchmen (And who ever has?!), this biography of Honore de Balzac should fill you up. Penned by an American author in 1884, Balzac moves from the French writer’s birth to his death, covering his major works, like The Human Comedy, without too many detours into literary analysis along the way.

Know of any other classic, fascinating or downright strange additions to the Project Gutenberg library in the last few months? Tell us all about it in the comments below!

Arvind Dilawar is senior editor of The Airship. Follow him on Twitter: @ArvSux

KEEP READING: More Free Reads