The Gutenberg Project is opening a treasure store of obscure old books locked away, until now, in ancient libraries. I like to dip into it and come up with tiny gems like this topical one: the great 18th century historian Edward Gibbon describing the end of his obscure career as a student at Oxford:
From my childhood I had been fond of religious disputation: my poor aunt has been often puzzled by the mysteries which she strove to believe; nor had the elastic spring been totally broken by the weight of the atmosphere of Oxford. The blind activity of idleness urged me to advance without armour into the dangerous mazes of controversy; and at the age of sixteen, I bewildered myself in the errors of the church of Rome.
Memoirs of my life and writings