The Adventures of Tom Sawyer audiobook by Mark Twain (1835-1910) The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (published 1876) is a very well-known and popular story concerning American youth. Mark Twain's lively tale of the scrapes and adventures of boyhood is set in St. Petersburg, Missouri, where Tom Sawyer and his friend Huckleberry Finn have the kinds of adventures many boys can imagine: racing bugs during class, impressing girls, especially Becky Thatcher, with fights and stunts in the schoolyard, getting Read more [...]
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn audiobook by Mark Twain (1835-1910) The book is noted for its colorful description of people and places along the Mississippi River, and its sober and often scathing look at entrenched attitudes, particularly racism. The drifting journey of Huck and his friend Jim, a runaway slave, down the Mississippi River on their raft may be one of the most enduring images of escape and freedom in all of American literature. The book has been popular with young readers Read more [...]
Walden audiobook by Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) Walden by Henry David Thoreau is one of the best-known non-fiction books written by an American. Published in 1854, it details Thoreau's life for two years, two months, and two days around the shores of Walden Pond. Walden is neither a novel nor a true autobiography, but a social critique of the Western World, with each chapter heralding some aspect of humanity that needed to be either renounced or praised. Along with his critique of the civilized Read more [...]
Gulliver's Travels audiobook by Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) Gulliver's Travels (1726, amended 1735), officially Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, is a novel by Jonathan Swift that is both a satire on human nature and a parody of the "travellers' tales" literary sub-genre. It is widely considered Swift's magnum opus and is his most celebrated work, as well as one of the indisputable classics of English literature. (Summary from Wikipedia)     Gulliver's Travels First Read more [...]
Uncle Tom's Cabin audiobook by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) Among the most "banned" books in the United States, Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly is a novel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe which treats slavery as a central theme. Stowe was a Connecticut-born teacher at the Hartford Female Academy and an active abolitionist. The novel is believed to have had a profound effect on the North's view of slavery. In fact, when he met Harriet Beecher Stowe, President Lincoln is Read more [...]
The Black Arrow; a Tale of Two Roses by Robert Louis Stevenson The Black Arrow tells the story of Richard (Dick) Shelton during the Wars of the Roses: how he becomes a knight, rescues his lady Joanna Sedley, and obtains justice for the murder of his father, Sir Harry Shelton. Outlaws in Tunstall Forest organized by Ellis Duckworth, whose weapon and calling card is a black arrow, cause Dick to suspect that his guardian Sir Daniel Brackley and his retainers are responsible for his father's murder. Read more [...]
Treasure Island audiobook by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) A mysterious map, pirates, and pieces of eight! When young Jim Hawkins finds a map to pirates' gold he starts on an adventure that takes him from his English village to a desert island with the murderous Black Dog, half-mad Ben Gunn, and (of course) Long John Silver. Arr Jim lad! R.L. Stevenson (1850-1894) was born in Scotland and travelled extensively in California and the south Pacific. (Summary by Adrian Praetzellis)   Treasure Read more [...]
All's Well That Ends Well audiobook by William Shakespeare (1564-1616) Despite its optimistic title, Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well has often been considered a "problem play." Ostensibly a comedy, the play also has fairy tale elements, as it focuses on Helena, a virtuous orphan, who loves Bertram, the haughty son of her protectress, the Countess of Rousillon. When Bertram, desperate for adventure, leaves Rousillon to serve in the King's army, Helena pursues him. (Summary by Elizabeth Read more [...]
Black Beauty audiobook by Anna Sewell Black Beauty is a fictional autobiographical memoir told by a horse, who recounts many tales, both of cruelty and kindness. The title page of the first edition states that it was "Translated from the Original Equine by Anna Sewell." It was composed in the last years of her life, during which she was confined to her house as an invalid. After its publication in 1877, Sewell lived just long enough to see her first and only novel become an immediate bestseller, Read more [...]
Rob Roy audiobook by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) Rob Roy is a historical novel by Walter Scott. It is narrated by Frank Osbaldistone, the son of an English merchant who travels first to the North of England, and subsequently to the Scottish Highlands to collect a debt stolen from his father. On the way he encounters the larger-than-life title character of Rob Roy MacGregor. Though Rob Roy is not the lead character (in fact the narrative does not move to Scotland until half way through the book) Read more [...]
Ivanhoe audiobook by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) Follows the fortunes of the son of a noble Saxon family in Norman England as he woos his lady, disobeys his father, and is loved by another. Set in late 12C England and in Palestine with Richard C?ur-de-Lion at the Crusades, it's another ripping historical yarn by Scott (summary by annise)   Ivanhoe Scenes from the Illustrated London News ofArthur Sullivan's operatic adaptation. Author(s) Sir Walter Scott Country United Read more [...]
Moby Dick, or the Whale audiobook by Herman Melville (1819-1891) Few things, even in literature, can really be said to be unique — but Moby Dick is truly unlike anything written before or since. The novel is nominally about the obsessive hunt by the crazed Captain Ahab of the book's eponymous white whale. But interspersed in that story are digressions, paradoxes, philosophical riffs on whaling and life, and a display of techniques so advanced for its time that some have referred to the 1851 Read more [...]
White Fang audiobook by Jack London (1876-1916) When White Fang is birthed in a cave to a wolf sire and a wolf/dog halfbreed dam, he is heir to two traditions. At first he is content to explore and learn laws of the Wild. But then his mother is caught and held by old memories of a past relationship with Man, and White Fang follows her into service with the Indians. Life among sled dogs is hardly less cruel and dangerous than living in the Wild, but brutality notches upward when his drunken master Read more [...]
The Call of the Wild audiobook by Jack London 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 Read more [...]
Sons and Lovers audiobook by D. H. Lawrence (1885 -- 1930) Published in 1913. This intimate portrait of a coal-miner's family fastens on each member in turn: Walter Morel, the collier; Gertrude, his wife; and the children: William, Annie, Arthur, and Paul. When Mrs. Morel begins to be estranged from her husband because of his poor financial sense and his drinking habits, she comes to inhabit the lives of her children -- most particularly, her sons. She is determined that they will grow to Read more [...]
The Turn of the Screw audiobook by Henry James (1843 - 1916) Henry James' classic ghost story comprises the written testimony of a young governess, charged with looking after two small children at an isolated country estate, who believes they are being haunted. As the story progresses, the governess' increasingly frenetic narration provokes the question: is she insane, or are the ghosts real? (Summary by Elizabeth Klett)   The Turn of the Screw Title page of the original Read more [...]
The Hunchback of Notre Dame audiobook by Victor Hugo (1802-1885) Translated by Isabel Florence Hapgood (1851-1928) One of the great literary tragedies of all time, The Hunchback of Notre Dame features some of the most well-known characters in all of fiction - Quasimodo, the hideously deformed bellringer of Notre-Dame de Paris, his master the evil priest Claude Frollo, and Esmeralda, the beautiful gypsy condemned for a crime she did not commit. (Summary by Mark Nelson)   The Hunchback Read more [...]
The Scarlet Letter audiobook by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) The story begins in seventeenth-century Salem, Massachusetts, then a Puritan settlement. A young woman, Hester Prynne, is led from the town prison with her infant daughter, Pearl, in her arms and the scarlet letter "A" on her breast. The scarlet letter "A" represents the act of adultery that she has committed; it is to be a symbol of her sin for all to see. She will not reveal her lover's identity, however, and the scarlet letter, Read more [...]
Tess of the d'Urbervilles audiobook by Thomas Hardy One of the greatest English tragic novels, TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES (1891) is the story of a "pure woman" who is victimized both by conventional morality and its antithesis. Born near Dorchester, Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) set most of his stories in the region between Berkshire and Dorset in the fictional county of Wessex. He was a controversial writer whose work often showed the result of flouting the rigid Victorian moral code — his novel Read more [...]
Under the Greenwood Tree audiobook by Thomas Hardy (1840 -- 1928) This novel is subtitled The Mellstock Quire, A Rural Painting of the Dutch School. The Quire is the group of musicians who accompany the hymns at the local church and we follow the fortunes of one member, Dick Dewy, who falls in love with the new school mistress, Fancy Day. Another element of the book is the battle between the traditional musicians of the Quire and the local vicar, Parson Maybold, who installs a church organ. This Read more [...]