In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain creates an entertaining adventure of Middle America in the 1800's - afloat on a raft on the Mississippi River. Huck escapes his civilized life when he arranges his own "murder" and turns back into the backwoods, downriver yokel he started as, and in the process springing a slave, Jim, from bondage.
Huck and Jim experience life as a series of tableaus as the river sweeps them through small towns on their way South. At each stop, Huck engages his talent for mixing fact with bald-faced lies to endlessly get himself out of situations... and of course, putting him into others!
Much has been written about the statement Twain is making about slavery in this book, but it's really secondary to the story. The facts of how black people were treated in this period give Huck and Jim their license for life on the run. Modern listeners will be intrigued by the unencumbered life of the pair; they make do with coffee, fish from the river, and little else (but of course, when they do need something extra, they don't mind helping themselves to it without recourse to money!)
Huck and Jim have run-ins with desperados and family feuds and even manage to get run down by a steamboat. The adventures ratchet up when they are joined on the raft by a self-proclaimed "duke" and a "king" - shysters both, who spend their time in figuring how to fleece the public in the little river towns. And when Jim is captured and threatened with being sent back into slavery, Huck enlists his old buddy Tom Sawyer in a frenzied, desperate, and terribly funny rescue.
I had to clip a lot of laughing from this recording at Twain's sly, catch-'em-when-they're-not-looking humor, but you can feel free to enjoy some good belly laughs at this crew of lovable rapscallions!
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 Jane Austen's classic comic romance, in which the five Bennett sisters try to find that most elusive creature: a single man in possession of a large fortune. Sparks fly when sweet, pretty Jane meets their new neighbor, Mr. Bingley, but her sister Elizabeth is most offended by his haughty friend, Mr. Darcy. This is Austen at the height of her powers: the ironic narration, hilariously drawn supporting characters, and romantic suspense make this her most enduringly popular novel.
Doyle, Arthur Conan, Sir
Dr. Watson chronicles here some of the more interesting detective cases that he and his good friend, Mr. Sherlock Holmes, have encountered during their association. We see the cases unfold as he does, scratch our heads as does he while the evidence is collected, and then marvel at the impeccable observations, remarkable insight, and doggedness which Holmes displays as he teases apart the tangled clues.
Packaged as twelve distinct cases, by the end of this book your own senses of observation and deductive reasoning should be improved. It's easy to see why this book became a model for detective yarns!
Still one of the most radical novels of the 20th Century, James Joyce's Ulysses is considered to have ushered in the era of the modern novel. Loosely based on Homer's Odyssey, the book follows Leopold Bloom and a number of other characters through an ordinary day, twenty four hours, in Dublin, on June 16, 1904. The text is dense and difficult, but perfectly suited to an oral reading, filled with language tricks, puns and jokes, stream of consciousness, and bawdiness.
NOTE: Because of the nature of this project, there was a bending of usual LibriVox procedures: pub-like background noise was encouraged, as well as group readings; and no editing was required, so in places there may be some accidental variation from the original text ... Listener be warned! (Summary by Hugh McGuire)
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.
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.
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 visitations of Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Yet to Come.
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.
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.
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.
Charlotte Bronte's classic novel Jane Eyre is narrated by the title character, an orphan who survives neglect and abuse to become a governess at the remote Thornfield Hall. She finds a kindred spirit in her employer, the mysterious and brooding Mr. Rochester, but he hides a terrible secret that threatens their chances of happiness.
Jane Eyre is not your typical romance. It is a story of a woman who struggles with a world in which she doesn't quite fit. Once finished with her schooling, and with no family that really cares of her she strikes out on her own as a governess. Jane Eyre searches for love, someone to care for her, and someone to care for, and finds it in unexpected places.
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.
Shipwrecked and castaway, Daniel DeFoe’s hard-luck character is still the standard for “growing where you’re planted.” Captured by pirates, he makes his break in a small boat and undergoes desperate adventures before winning his way back to civilization. But Crusoe proves willing to chance his luck a second time when, after sweating his way to prosperity as a planter in Brazil, he undertakes a voyage that isn’t needful… and is marooned on a small island off South America.
Crusoe shows the value of single-minded labor as he pursues ways to feed, shelter, and clothe himself. His ardent wish is to escape his island – why is it that the only people who come there are cannibals? But he spends more than two decades in isolation before acquiring a sidekick – the man Friday you’ve probably heard of. And who would guess his way to salvation would depend on leading a last-ditch fight against a shipful of mutineers?
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)
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.
Masterful short stories about life in Dublin at the turn of the century, by James Joyce.
Emily Brontë's only novel, published in 1847 under the pseudonym Ellis Bell, tells the tale of the all-encompassing and passionate, yet thwarted, love between Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, and how this unresolved passion eventually destroys them and many around them.
Now considered a classic of English literature, Wuthering Heights met with mixed reviews by critics when it first appeared, with many horrified by the stark depictions of mental and physical cruelty. Though Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre was originally considered the best of the Brontë sisters' works, many subsequent critics of Wuthering Heights argued that its originality and achievement made it superior.
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. (Summary by J. Hall)
Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen's first published novel, focuses on the lives and loves of two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. The sensible Elinor and the sensitive Marianne both fall for men whose affections are otherwise engaged. The novel includes a wonderful cast of colorful supporting characters, as well as Austen's trademark dry wit and ironic narration.
The Brothers Karamazov is the final novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky, and is generally considered the culmination of his life's work. The book portrays a parricide in which each of a murdered man's sons share a varying degree of complicity. The Brothers Karamazov is a passionate philosophical novel that explores deep into the ethical debates of God, free will, and morality. It is a spiritual drama of moral struggles concerning faith, doubt, reason, and modern Russia. Since its publication, it has been acclaimed all over the world by thinkers as diverse as Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein, and Pope Benedict XVI as one of the supreme achievements in literature.
(Summary by Wikipedia)
This book tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.