Pride and Prejudice, first published on 28 January 1813, is the most famous of Jane Austen's novels. It is one of the first romantic comedies in the history of the novel and its opening is one of the most famous lines in English literature —"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."
Pride and Prejudice is the most famous of Jane Austen’s novels, and its opening is one of the most famous lines in English literature - “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Its manuscript was first written between 1796 and 1797, and was initially called First Impressions, but was never published under that title. Following revisions it was published on 28 January 1813 by the same Mr. Egerton of the Military Library, Whitehall, who had brought out Sense and Sensibility. Like both its predecessor and Northanger Abbey, it was written at Steventon Rectory.
Doyle, Arthur Conan, Sir
A collection of twelve short stories featuring Conan Doyle's legendary detective, originally published as single stories in Strand Magazine and subsequently collected into a single volume.
There is not always a crime committed nor a culprit to find, and when there is, Holmes does not invariably get his man. However, his extraordinary powers of deduction generally solve the mystery, often to the discomfiture of the official police force. Holmes is a man of many facets, and I do not share the common perception of Holmes as cold and humourless: his sense of fun can be sparkling, and there are moments of rare pathos.
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft
Mary Shelley's 1818 novel presents the Faustian story of a man who aspires to create life out of death, with disastrous results. The novel is constructed as a series of first-person narratives, delivered by Captain Robert Walton, Victor Frankenstein, and his Creature, which makes it perfect for a dramatic reading.
The novel tells of a young man named Dorian Gray, the subject of a painting by artist Basil Hallward. Basil is impressed by Dorian's beauty and becomes infatuated with him, believing his beauty is responsible for a new mode in his art. Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, a friend of Basil's, and becomes enthralled by Lord Henry's world view. Espousing a new hedonism, Lord Henry suggests the only things worth pursuing in life are beauty and fulfillment of the senses. Realizing that one day his beauty will fade, Dorian expresses his desire to sell his soul to ensure the portrait Basil has painted would age rather than himself. Dorian's wish is fulfilled, plunging him into debauched acts. The portrait serves as a reminder of the effect each act has upon his soul, with each sin displayed as a disfigurement of his form, or through a sign of aging. This reading uses the 20-chapter 1891 version of Wilde's novel.
The Picture of Dorian Gray is the only published novel by Oscar Wilde, appearing as the lead story in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine on 20 June 1890, printed as the July 1890 issue of this magazine. Wilde later revised this edition, making several alterations, and adding new chapters; the amended version was published by Ward, Lock, and Company in April 1891. The novel tells of a young man named Dorian Gray, the subject of a painting by artist Basil Hallward. Basil is impressed by Dorian's beauty and becomes infatuated with him, believing his beauty is responsible for a new mode in his art. Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, a friend of Basil's, and becomes enthralled by Lord Henry's world view. Espousing a new hedonism, Lord Henry suggests the only things worth pursuing in life are beauty and fulfillment of the senses. Realizing that one day his beauty will fade, Dorian (whimsically) expresses a desire to sell his soul to ensure the portrait Basil has painted would age rather than himself. Dorian's wish is fulfilled, plunging him into debauched acts. The portrait serves as a reminder of the effect each act has upon his soul, with each sin displayed as a disfigurement of his form, or through a sign of aging. The Picture of Dorian Gray is considered a work of classic gothic fiction with a strong Faustian theme.
A Tale of Two Cities (1859) is a novel by Charles Dickens, set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. With well over 200 million copies sold, it is among the most famous works of fiction.
The novel depicts the plight of the French peasantry demoralized by the French aristocracy in the years leading up to the revolution, the corresponding brutality demonstrated by the revolutionaries toward the former aristocrats in the early years of the revolution, and many unflattering social parallels with life in London during the same time period. It follows the lives of several protagonists through these events. The most notable are Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton. Darnay is a French once-aristocrat who falls victim to the indiscriminate wrath of the revolution despite his virtuous nature, and Carton is a dissipated British barrister who endeavours to redeem his ill-spent life out of his unrequited love for Darnay's wife, Lucie Manette.
Crime and Punishment focuses on the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, an impoverished St. Petersburg student who formulates and executes a plan to kill a hated, unscrupulous pawnbroker for her money, thereby solving his financial problems and at the same time, he argues, ridding the world of evil. Crime and Punishment is considered by many as the first of Dostoevsky's cycle of great novels, which would culminate with his last completed work, The Brothers Karamazov, shortly before his death.
This classic tale tells of an orphan, Pip, who through a series of strange circumstances first finds a trade as a blacksmith's apprentice and then learns that he has "great expectations" of a future inheritance from an anonymous benefactor. He soon learns to live the profligate life of a gentleman as he gradually sheds his associations with the gentle souls of his past, Joe (the blacksmith) and Biddy (a level-headed young lady). He throws his money at improving the prospects of his roommate and friend Herbert and his heart at an "ice princess" whose heart will never respond. But then an escaped convict from his distant past comes calling, and all Pip's hopes dissolve.
Great Expectations is written in the first person and is virtually a fictional autobiography of “Pip” from his childhood, through often painful experiences, to adulthood. It charts his progress as he moves from the Kent marshes - his social status radically changed having gained an unknown benefactor - to busy commercial London. The book is richly populated with a variety of extraordinary characters many of whom, unbeknownst to them, have lives that are inextricably linked to the others. It is all there, love, hate, passion, humour, rejection, duplicity, betrayal, a whole gamut of emotions and human strengths and weaknesses . This is one of Dickens most fascinating, and disturbing novels.
Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm
Children's and Household Tales (German: Kinder- und Hausmärchen) is a collection of German origin fairy tales first published in 1812 by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, the Brothers Grimm. The collection is commonly known today as Grimms' Fairy Tales.
Stevenson, Robert Louis
After hearing Mr. Enfield's account of a distressing event involving Edward Hyde, the heir of his friend, Henry Jekyll, John Utterson is convinced that Jekyll's relationship with Hyde is built on something sinister. Utterson's concern for his friend is not unfounded but the reasons aren't quite what he, at first, believes.
Several years before the events of the novel, Anne Elliott fell in love with a young and handsome but poor naval officer. She was persuaded by her friends and family to refuse him when he asked her to marry him. Now she meets him again...
"All the privilege I claim for my own sex ... is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone." In persuasion, her last novel, Austen explores the theme of postponed but enduring love, delayed by class boundaries and excessive pride. Anne Elliot, the story's aged (27 year old) heroine, suffers from a decision that was forced upon her several years ago—to break off a relationship with Capn. Frederick Wentworth, the man she deeply loved. As Austen examines the causes and consequences of this action, she sketches for us the social complexities of being part of the upper-middle-class in England at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
Montgomery, Lucy Maud
Red-haired Anne Shirley, the orphan girl mistakenly sent to live with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, has been one of the world's most beloved characters since the publication of Anne of Green Gables in 1908. In this dramatic reading, readers tell the story of Anne's adventures as she grows up on Prince Edward Island.
Alcott, Louisa May
Louisa May Alcott's beloved 1868 novel is about the four March girls - Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy - who are growing up in Massachusetts during the Civil War. As the novel opens, their father is away at war, and the girls are struggling to be good and to reconcile themselves to their relative poverty. Each has her trials to deal with, and they are encouraged by their loving mother, and by their friendship with their neighbor, Theodore "Laurie" Laurence.
Baum, L. Frank
The timeless story of the Wizard Of Oz. Follow Dorothy as she leaves Kansas for Oz on a cyclone. She meets many strange, and wonderful people and creatures along the way. Enjoy it again with your children and family.
A Christmas Carol is a novella by English author Charles Dickens first published by Chapman and Hall on 17 December 1843. The story tells of sour and stingy Ebenezer Scrooge's ideological, ethical, and emotional transformation after the supernatural visits of Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. The novella met with instant success and critical acclaim.
The tale begins on a Christmas Eve exactly seven years after the death of Ebenezer Scrooge's business partner. Scrooge has no place in his life for kindness, compassion, charity or benevolence. He hates Christmas, calling it "humbug", refuses his nephew Fred's dinner invitation, and rudely turns away two gentlemen who seek a donation from him to provide a Christmas dinner for the Poor...
Doyle, Arthur Conan, Sir
The Hound of the Baskervilles is the third of four crime novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle featuring the detective Sherlock Holmes. Originally serialised in The Strand Magazine from August 1901 to April 1902, it is set largely on Dartmoor in Devon in England's West Country and tells the story of an attempted murder inspired by the legend of a fearsome, diabolical hound.
The Grand Inquisitor is a parable told by Ivan to Alyosha in Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel The Brothers Karamazov (1879–1880). Ivan and Alyosha are brothers; Ivan questions the possibility of a personal, benevolent God and Alyosha is a novice monk. The Grand Inquisitor is an important part of the novel and one of the best-known passages in modern literature because of its ideas about human nature and freedom, and because of its fundamental ambiguity. In the tale, Christ comes back to earth in Seville at the time of the Inquisition. He performs a number of miracles (echoing miracles from the Gospels). The people recognize him and adore him, but he is arrested by Inquisition leaders and sentenced to be burnt to death the next day. The Grand Inquisitor visits him in his cell to tell him that the Church no longer needs him. The main portion of the text is the Inquisitor explaining to Jesus why his return would interfere with the mission of the church.
A Doll's House, written two years after The Pillars of Society, was the first of Ibsen's plays to create a sensation and is now perhaps his most famous play, and required reading in many secondary schools and universities. The play was highly controversial when first published, as it is sharply critical of 19th Century marriage norms. It follows the formula of well-made play up until the final act, when it breaks convention by ending with a discussion, not an unravelling. It is often called the first true feminist play, although Ibsen denied this.
Emma is a comic novel by Jane Austen, first published in 1816, about the perils of misconstrued romance. The main character, Emma Woodhouse, is described in the opening paragraph as "handsome, clever, and rich" but is also rather spoiled. Prior to starting the novel, Austen wrote, "I am going to take a heroine whom no-one but myself will much like."
Emma, by Jane Austen, is a novel about youthful hubris and the perils of misconstrued romance. As in her other novels, Austen explores the concerns and difficulties of genteel women living in Georgian-Regency England; she also creates a lively comedy of manners.Before she began the novel, Austen wrote, "I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like." In the very first sentence she introduces the title character as "Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich." Emma, however, is also spoiled, headstrong, and self-satisfied; she greatly overestimates her own matchmaking abilities; she is blind to the dangers of meddling in other people's lives, and her imagination often leads her astray.
Jane Austen famously described Emma Woodhouse, the title character of her 1815 novel, as "a heroine whom no-one but myself will much like." Yet generations of readers have loved Emma, as much for her blunders as for her wit and vivacity. Emma, "handsome, clever, and rich," has nothing else to do but try to pair off her friends, and she consistently mis-reads the relationships and situations around her as much as she mis-reads her own heart. The novel features a wonderful cast of characters, including Emma's hypochondriac father, the odiously prideful Mrs. Elton, the mysterious and reserved Jane Fairfax, and Miss Bates, who never stops talking.
Emma, by Jane Austen, is a novel about youthful hubris and the perils of misconstrued romance. As in her other novels, Austen explores the concerns and difficulties of genteel women living in Georgian-Regency England; she also creates a lively comedy of manners among her characters.
Before she began the novel, Austen wrote, "I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like." In the very first sentence she introduces the title character as "Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich." Emma, however, is also rather spoiled, headstrong, and self-satisfied; she greatly overestimates her own matchmaking abilities; she is blind to the dangers of meddling in other people's lives, and her imagination and perceptions often lead her astray. (Adapted from Wikipedia)
This is volume 3 of 5. -- An ex-convict breaks parole and starts a new life as a righteous man, but is pursued by a police inspector. Along the way, the ex-convict joins a revolution, adopts a daughter, and beats people up. Hooray.
This is volume 4 of 5. -- An ex-convict breaks parole and starts a new life as a righteous man, but is pursued by a police inspector. Along the way, the ex-convict joins a revolution, adopts a daughter, and beats people up. Hooray.
This is volume 5 of 5. -- An ex-convict breaks parole and starts a new life as a righteous man, but is pursued by a police inspector. Along the way, the ex-convict joins a revolution, adopts a daughter, and beats people up. Hooray.
An ex-convict breaks parole and starts a new life as a righteous man, but is pursued by a police inspector. Along the way, the ex-convict joins a revolution, adopts a daughter, and beats people up. Hooray.
An ex-convict breaks parole and starts a new life as a righteous man, but is pursued by a police inspector. Along the way, the ex-convict joins a revolution, adopts a daughter, and beats people up. Hooray.
"David Copperfield" or "The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery" was first published in 1850. Like all except five of his works, it originally appeared in serial form. Many elements within the novel follow events in Dickens' own life, and it is probably the most autobiographical of all of his novels. It is also Dickens' "favorite child."
The story is told almost entirely from the point of view of the first person narrator, David Copperfield himself, and was the first Dickens novel to be written as such a narration.The story deals with the life of David Copperfield from childhood to maturity.David's father had died six months before he was born, and seven years later, his mother remarries but David and his step-father don’t get on and he is sent to boarding school.As Divid settles into life we are taken along with him and meet a dazzling array of characters,some of whom we will never forget and some of whom we won't want to remember!
Masterful short stories about life in Dublin at the turn of the century, by James Joyce.
This is the classic story of Mowgli, the young boy raised by wolves in India: his escapades and adventures with his dear friends Bagheera the panther and Baloo the bear, his capture by the Monkey-People, his attempt at reintegration into human society, and his ultimate triumph over his avowed enemy the tiger Shere Khan. Included in the book is the story of the brave white seal, Kotick, and the tenacious young mongoose, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi who battled through the night to protect his human family from a pair of sly and viscous cobras. Packed with adventure and Jungle Law wisdom, this book has pervaded popular culture as the basis of many film and stage adaptations, including the popular Disney movie.
When Mr Henry Dashwood dies, with his estate entailed to his son and grandson, his wife and three daughters are left in reduced circumstances. In their new home at Barton Cottage, the two older sisters, Elinor and Marianne, experience both romance and heartache. Will they find true love?
The story is about Elinor and Marianne, two daughters of Mr Dashwood by his second wife. They have a younger sister, Margaret, and an older half-brother named John. When their father dies, the family estate passes to John, and the Dashwood women are left in reduced circumstances. The novel follows the Dashwood sisters to their new home, a cottage on a distant relative's property, where they experience both romance and heartbreak. The contrast between the sisters' characters is eventually resolved as they each find love and lasting happiness. Through the events in the novel, Elinor and Marianne encounter the sense and sensibility of life and love. In this dramatic reading, Volunteers lend their voices to bring Jane Austen's classic story to life.
Doyle, Arthur Conan, Sir
A Study in Scarlet is a detective mystery novel written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which was first published in 1887. It is the first story to feature the character of Sherlock Holmes, who would later become one of the most famous literary detective characters, with long-lasting interest and appeal. The book's title derives from a speech given by Holmes to his companion Doctor Watson on the nature of his work, in which he describes the story's murder investigation as his "study in scarlet": "There’s the scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it."
Buck is living a happy life in California until he is sold to pay a gambling debt. Taken to the Klondike to become a sled dog, Buck must toughen up and learn the harsher rules of survival in the North. One of the first of these is how to deal with being harnessed in the same team as a dog that wants to kill him.
Large, strong and smart, Buck toughens to his new life. But even the toughest dog can be worn down by constant work, and after 3,000 miles of pulling sleds, Buck nears the end of his rope.
Cast away as no longer useful, Buck is acquired by greenhorns whose inexperience nearly kills him, but after being saved by John Thornton, he at last finds a man he can love.
Then on a remote gold-hunting expedition, Buck hears a call emanating from the woods and speaking to the wild heart of his distant ancestors. The lure of it almost balances the great love he bears for Thornton, but events take him away from his old life... and into legend.
Around the World in Eighty Days (French: Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours) is a classic adventure novel by the French writer Jules Verne, first published in 1873. In the story, Phileas Fogg of London and his newly employed French valet Passepartout attempt to circumnavigate the world in 80 days on a £20,000 wager set by his friends at the Reform Club
Siddhartha is one of the great philosophical novels. Profoundly insightful, it is also a beautifully written story that begins as Siddhartha, son of an Indian Brahman, leaves his family and begins a lifelong journey towards Enlightenment. On the way he faces the entire range of human experience and emotion: he lives with ascetics, meets Gotama the Buddha, learns the art of love from Kamala the courtesan, and is transformed by the simple philosophy of the ferryman Vasudeva whose wisdom comes not from learned teachings but from observing the River. Herman Hesse (1877-1962) was a German-Swiss novelist, poet, and painter. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1946.
Jerome, Jerome K.
Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), published in 1889, is a humorous account by Jerome K. Jerome of a boating holiday on the Thames between Kingston and Oxford.
The book was initially intended to be a serious travel guide, with accounts of local history along the route, but the humorous elements took over to the point where the serious and somewhat sentimental passages seem a distraction to the comic novel. One of the most praised things about Three Men in a Boat is how undated it appears to modern readers — the jokes seem fresh and witty even today.
Burnett, Frances Hodgson
When Mary Lennox, who has been brought up in India in a spoiled manner, is orphaned she has to move to Yorkshire, England, to live with her uncle in Misselthwaite Manor. Here she is treated much differently than she was in India - she is able to make friends with children her own age, one of these being her sickly cousin, Colin Craven
Published in book form in April 1857, the novel focuses on a doctor's wife, Emma Bovary, who has adulterous affairs and lives beyond her means in order to escape the banalities and emptiness of provincial life. Though the basic plot is rather simple, even archetypal, the novel's true art lies in its details and hidden patterns. Flaubert was notoriously perfectionist about his writing and claimed to always be searching for le mot juste (the right word)".
The stories, first published in 1902, are fantastic accounts of how various natural phenomena came about. The original editions of Just So Stories were illustrated with woodcuts by Kipling himself. Read along online and see the illustrations at mainlesson.com. Each story is accompanied by a poem, in a somewhat ballad style. Many of the stories are addressed to "Best Beloved" (they were first written for Kipling's eldest daughter, Josephine, who had died during an outbreak of influenza in 1899), and throughout they use a comically elevated style inspired by the formal speech of India, full of long and improbable-sounding words, some of them made up. As a result, it is a delight to read them aloud, and easy to memorise passages from them.
Kenneth Grahame wrote a classic children’s tale in 1908 - he penned The Wind in the Willows. He wrote of the English countryside and the beauty of it, but more than that, he showed how even the most commonplace can be extraordinary and rare. Wind in the Willows is a tale of friendship, of adventure, of foolishness and wisdom, of travel and change as well as peace and predictability; but most of all, it is a story of friendship - friendship that crosses species, ages, and professions. We all could do far worse than remember in this changing world that what changes least is that which is most true.
Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented is a novel by Thomas Hardy. It initially appeared in a censored and serialised version, published by the British illustrated newspaper The Graphic in 1891, then in book form in three volumes in 1891, and as a single volume in 1892. Though now considered a major 19th-century English novel, even Hardy's fictional masterpiece, Tess of the d'Urbervilles received mixed reviews when it first appeared, in part because it challenged the sexual morals of late Victorian England. Tess was portrayed as a fighter not only for her rights, but also for the rights of others.
Miss Frances, the youngest Ward sister, "married, in the common phrase, to disoblige her family, and by fixing on a lieutenant of marines, without education, fortune, or connexions, did it very thoroughly. She could hardly have made a more untoward choice." Some years later, pregnant with her ninth child, Mrs. Price appeals to her family, namely to her eldest sister and her husband, Sir Thomas Bertram, for help with her over-large family. Sir Thomas provides assistance in helping his nephews into lines of work suitable to their education, and takes his eldest niece, Fanny Price, then ten years old, into his home to raise with his own children. It is Fanny's story we follow in Mansfield Park.
The extraordinary child-adult Prince Myshkin, confined for several years in a Swiss sanatorium suffering from severe epilepsy, returns to Russia to claim his inheritance and to find a place in healthy human society.
The teeming St Petersburg community he enters is far from receptive to an innocent like himself, despite some early successes and relentless pursuit by grotesque fortune-hunters. His naive gaucheries give rise to extreme reactions among his new acquaintance, ranging from anguished protectiveness to mockery and contempt.
But even before reaching the city, during the memorable train journey that opens the novel, he has encountered the demonic Rogozhin, the son of a wealthy merchant who is in thrall to the equally doomed Natasha Filippovna: beautiful, capricious and destructively neurotic, she joins with the two weirdly contrasted men in a spiralling dance of death...
The Chancery Court had jurisdiction over all matters of equity, including administration of estates, the guardianship of orphans, and disputed property disbursement. In Dickens’ time, some cases could take years to be settled, changing the lives of those involved.
Esther Summerson, a young woman raised in a tough and unloving atmosphere, is unexpectedly requested to be a companion to two teenage orphans, Richard Carstone and Ada Clare, for whom the court has appointed as guardian, John Jarndyce. They take up residence at Mr. Jarndyce’s home, Bleak House. The story of their lives and fortunes is the main thrust of the novel, and is related at times through the eyes of Esther, whose gentle point of view gives the reader a different and more intimate perspective.
This book tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.