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By: Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

Book cover Vera; or the Nihilists

Vera; or, The Nihilists is a play by Oscar Wilde. It is a melodramatic tragedy set in Russia and is loosely based on the story of Vera Zasulich. It was the first play that Wilde wrote. It was produced in the United Kingdom in 1880, and in New York in 1882, but it was not a success and folded in both cities. It is nowadays rarely revived.

By: Herman Melville (1819-1891)

Moby Dick by Herman Melville Moby Dick

“Call me Ishmael” is one of the most famous opening lines in American literature. With these words, opens one of the strangest and most gripping stories ever written about the sea and sea-faring. Moby Dick by Herman Melville is today considered one of the greatest novels written in America but paradoxically, it was a miserable failure when it first made its debut in 1851. Entitled Moby Dick or The Whale the book finally got its due after the author's death and is now regarded as a classic portrayal of mania and fatal obsession...

Typee by Herman Melville Typee

A whaling ship stops at a remote Polynesian island. The crew aboard is exhausted after a grueling six-month voyage in which they suffered ill-treatment and drudgery. Two men decide to abandon ship and hide on the island, living off the fruit of the land, until they can get on board a more conducive ship. However, to their consternation they discover that part of the island paradise is peopled by a savage and cannibalistic tribe called the Typees. As destiny would have it, they fall into the hands of the very people they dread...

Bartleby, the Scrivener by Herman Melville Bartleby, the Scrivener

Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street is a novella by the American novelist Herman Melville (1819–1891). It first appeared anonymously in two parts in the November and December 1853 editions of Putnam's Magazine, and was reprinted with minor textual alterations in his The Piazza Tales in 1856.

Benito Cereno by Herman Melville Benito Cereno

On an island off the coast of Chile, Captain Amaso Delano, sailing an American sealer, sees the San Dominick, a Spanish slave ship, in obvious distress. Capt. Delano boards the San Dominick, providing needed supplies, and tries to learn from her aloof and disturbed captain, Benito Cereno, the story of how this ship came to be where she is. Dealing with racism, the slave trade, madness, the tension between representation and reality, and featuring at least one unreliable narrator, Melville's novella has both captivated and frustrated critics for decades.

Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas by Herman Melville Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas

Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas is Herman Melville's sequel to Typee, and, as such, was also autobiographical. After leaving Nuku Hiva, the main character ships aboard a whaling vessel which makes its way to Tahiti, after which there is a mutiny and the majority of the crew are imprisoned on Tahiti. The book follows the actions of the narrator as he explores Tahiti and remarks on their customs and way of life.Many sources incorrectly assert that Omoo is based on Melville's stay in the Marquesas. The novel is, in fact, exclusively based on his experiences in the Society Islands.

The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade by Herman Melville The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade

The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade was the last major novel by Herman Melville, the American writer and author of Moby-Dick. Published on April 1, 1857 (presumably the exact day of the novel's setting), The Confidence-Man was Melville's tenth major work in eleven years. The novel portrays a Canterbury Tales-style group of steamboat passengers whose interlocking stories are told as they travel down the Mississippi River toward New Orleans. The novel is written as cultural satire, allegory, and metaphysical treatise, dealing with themes of sincerity, identity, morality, religiosity, economic materialism, irony, and cynicism...

White Jacket, or The World in a Man-of-War by Herman Melville White Jacket, or The World in a Man-of-War

This is a tale based on Melville's experiences aboard the USS United States from 1843 to 1844. It comments on the harsh and brutal realities of service in the US Navy at that time, but beyond this the narrator has created for the reader graphic symbols for class distinction, segregation and slavery aboard this microcosm of the world, the USS Neversink. (Introduction by James K. White)

Book cover The Encantadas, Or Enchanted Isles

The Encantadas or Enchanted Isles is a novella by American author Herman Melville. First published in Putnam's Magazine in 1854, it consists of ten philosophical "Sketches" on the Encantadas, or Galápagos Islands. It was collected in The Piazza Tales in 1856. The Encantadas was to become the most critically successful of that collection. All of the stories are replete with symbolism reinforcing the cruelty of life on the Encantadas. (Introduction excerpted from Wikipedia)

Book cover Redburn: His First Voyage

Melville wrote of some of his earliest experiences at sea in the story of Wellingborough Redburn, a wet-behind-the-ears youngster whose head was filled with dreams of foreign travel and adventure. In Redburn, the protagonist enlists for a stint as a seaman aboard Highlander, a merchant ship running between New York and London. As with many of Melville's works, this one is as much about class and race as it is about the sea.

By: G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

The Man Who was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton The Man Who was Thursday

Two poets in a London park at sunset, debating on the attributes of poetry and whether it's really a metaphor for anarchy. A group that meets in secret, planning to overthrow the world order. Disguises and deceptions, ideals and ideology. A medley of themes and genres makes this a great read for anyone who's a fan of Chesterton and his iconic Father Brown. The Man Who Was Thursday includes Chesterton's favorite theme of Christianity with touches of delightful humor to enliven the twists and turns that abound throughout the book...

The Man Who Knew Too Much by G. K. Chesterton The Man Who Knew Too Much

Robbery, murder and treason. Strange happenings in quiet English villages. A book critic who happens to find a corpse with its head crushed, an Irish freedom fighter framed for a crime, the disappearance of a valuable coin, a strange dispute over a property claim and a host of other intriguing situations make up the contents of G K Chesterton's collection of short stories The Man Who Knew Too Much. For fans of Chesterton's immortal clerical sleuth, Father Brown, these stories are equally delightful and intricately wrought...

The Innocence of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton The Innocence of Father Brown

A Chief of Police hosts a dinner party for an American millionaire wishing to will his entire fortune to the Church of France. Jewels that have been stolen and recovered so many times that they're known colloquially by thieves as The Flying Stars. A murder committed by an invisible man. These and many others are the mysteries that are presented to the lovable, bumbling, stumpy Man of God, Father Brown. The Innocence of Father Brown, by G.K. Chesterton is a collection of eleven stories which marks the debut of this most unusual detective...

The Wisdom of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton The Wisdom of Father Brown

The Wisdom of Father Brown explores many characters and fascinating themes such as the following. An eminent criminologist is persuaded by the mild yet persistent Father Brown to sort out a family matter. Also, a Tuscan poet fancies himself as the King of Thieves. A famous French philosopher and atheist holds the key to a new invention called “Noiseless Powder.” A corpse is discovered in a dark passage backstage at London's Adelphi Theater. Finally there is Psychometric testing of criminals in Chicago...

A Short History of England by G. K. Chesterton A Short History of England

Gilbert Keith Chesterton was a prolific writer on many topics. His views of history were always from the standpoint of men and their interactions, and it may fairly be said he saw all of history as a battle between civilization and barbarism. So it has always been, and that remains true even today.“But it is especially in the matter of the Middle Ages that the popular histories trample upon the popular traditions. In this respect there is an almost comic contrast between the general information...

Heretics by G. K. Chesterton Heretics

The Author Gilbert Keith Chesterton was born in London, England on the 29th of May, 1874. Though he considered himself a mere “rollicking journalist,” he was actually a prolific and gifted writer in virtually every area of literature. A man of strong opinions and enormously talented at defending them, his exuberant personality nevertheless allowed him to maintain warm friendships with people–such as George Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells–with whom he vehemently disagreed. Chesterton had no difficulty standing up for what he believed...

Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton Orthodoxy

Orthodoxy is a book that has become a classic of Christian apologetics. In the book's preface Chesterton states the purpose is to "attempt an explanation, not of whether the Christian faith can be believed, but of how he personally has come to believe it." In it, Chesterton presents an original view of the Christian religion. He sees it as the answer to natural human needs, the "answer to a riddle" in his own words, and not simply as an arbitrary truth received from somewhere outside the boundaries of human experience.

The Club of Queer Trades by G. K. Chesterton The Club of Queer Trades

A collection of six wonderfully quirky detective stories, featuring the ‘mystic’ former judge Basil Grant. Each story reveals a practitioner of an entirely new profession, and member of the Club of Queer Trades.

Charles Dickens by G. K. Chesterton Charles Dickens

G. K. Chesterton was a great admirer of Charles Dickens, and wrote a noted critique of Dickens’ works expressing his opinion in his own inimitable style.

What's Wrong With the World by G. K. Chesterton What's Wrong With the World

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874–1936) has been called the “prince of paradox.” Time magazine observed of his writing style: “Whenever possible Chesterton made his points with popular sayings, proverbs, allegories—first carefully turning them inside out.” His prolific and diverse output included journalism, philosophy, poetry, biography, Christian apologetics, fantasy and detective fiction. The title of Chesteron’s 1910 collection of essays was inspired by a title given to him two years earlier by The Times newspaper, which had asked a number of authors to write on the topic: “What’s wrong with the world?”...

Eugenics and Other Evils by G. K. Chesterton Eugenics and Other Evils

Most Eugenists are Euphemists. I mean merely that short words startle them, while long words soothe them. And they are utterly incapable of translating the one into the other, however obviously they mean the same thing. Say to them “The persuasive and even coercive powers of the citizen should enable him to make sure that the burden of longevity in the previous generation does not become disproportionate and intolerable, especially to the females”; say this to them and they will sway slightly to and fro like babies sent to sleep in cradles. Say to them “Murder your mother,” and they sit up quite suddenly. Yet the two sentences, in cold logic, are exactly the same.”

Miscellaneous Essays by G. K. Chesterton Miscellaneous Essays

These nine files are miscellaneous short essays or stories from G. K. Chesterton. They were chosen for not only their brevity but also for being shining exemplars of Chesterton’s wit and whimsy. A fun but powerful introduction into the mind of the man that is G. K. Chesterton.

The Ballad of the White Horse by G. K. Chesterton The Ballad of the White Horse

An English epic poem that follows the exploits of Alfred the Great in his defense of Christian civilization in England from the heathen nihilism of the North. Following a string of defeats at the hands of the invading Danes, a vision from heaven in the river island of Athelney fills Alfred with joy and hope. Though it gives no promise of victory in the coming struggle, it inspires him to rally his chieftains for a last stand against the invading hordes. His adventures lead throughout the country...

Alarms and Discursions by G. K. Chesterton Alarms and Discursions

Gilbert Keith Chesterton was an influential English writer of the early 20th century. His prolific and diverse output included journalism, philosophy, poetry, biography, Christian apologetics, fantasy, and detective fiction. Chesterton has been called the “prince of paradox.” He wrote in an off-hand, whimsical prose studded with startling formulations. Chesterton wrote about 4000 essays on various subjects, and “Ararms and Discursions is one of his collections.

The Napoleon of Notting Hill by G. K. Chesterton The Napoleon of Notting Hill

While the novel is humorous (one instance has the King sitting on top of an omnibus and speaking to it as to a horse: “Forward, my beauty, my Arab,” he said, patting the omnibus encouragingly, “fleetest of all thy bounding tribe”), it is also an adventure story: Chesterton is not afraid to let blood be drawn in his battles, fought with sword and halberd in the London streets, and Wayne thinks up a few ingenious strategies; and, finally, the novel is philosophical, considering the value of one man’s actions and the virtue of respect for one’s enemies.

What I Saw in America by G. K. Chesterton What I Saw in America

“Let me begin my American impressions with two impressions I had before I went to America. One was an incident and the other an idea; and when taken together they illustrate the attitude I mean. The first principle is that nobody should be ashamed of thinking a thing funny because it is foreign; the second is that he should be ashamed of thinking it wrong because it is funny.” (Gilbert Keith Chesterton)

The New Jerusalem by G. K. Chesterton The New Jerusalem

“On the road to Cairo one may see twenty groups exactly like that of the Holy Family in the pictures of the Flight into Egypt; with only one difference. The man is riding on the ass.” “The real mistake of the Muslims is something much more modern in its application than any particular passing persecution of Christians as such. It lay in the very fact that they did think they had a simpler and saner sort of Christianity, as do many modern Christians. They thought it could be made universal merely by being made uninteresting...

The Crimes of England by G. K. Chesterton The Crimes of England

“Second, when telling such lies as may seem necessary to your international standing, do not tell the lies to the people who know the truth. Do not tell the Eskimos that snow is bright green; nor tell the negroes in Africa that the sun never shines in that Dark Continent. Rather tell the Eskimos that the sun never shines in Africa; and then, turning to the tropical Africans, see if they will believe that snow is green. Similarly, the course indicated for you is to slander the Russians to the English and the English to the Russians; and there are hundreds of good old reliable slanders which can still be used against both of them...

The Ball and the Cross by G. K. Chesterton The Ball and the Cross

The Ball and the Cross is G. K. Chesterton's third novel. In the introduction Martin Gardner notes that it is a "mixture of fantasy, farce and theology." Gardner continues: "Evan MacIan is a tall, dark-haired, blue-eyed Scottish Highlander and a devout Roman Catholic.... James Turnbull is a short, red-haired, gray-eyed Scottish Lowlander and a devout but naive atheist.... The two meet when MacIan smashes the window of the street office where Turnbull publishes an atheist journal. This act of rage occurs when MacIan sees posted on the shop's window a sheet that blasphemes the Virgin Mary, presumably implying she was an adulteress who gave birth to an illegitimate Jesus...

George Bernard Shaw by G. K. Chesterton George Bernard Shaw

Chesterton and Shaw were famous friends and enjoyed their arguments and discussions. Although rarely in agreement, they both maintained good-will towards and respect for each other. However, in his writing, Chesterton expressed himself very plainly on where they differed and why. In Heretics he writes of Shaw: “After belabouring a great many people for a great many years for being unprogressive, Mr. Shaw has discovered, with characteristic sense, that it is very doubtful whether any existing human being with two legs can be progressive at all...

Manalive by G. K. Chesterton Manalive

The flying blast struck London just where it scales the northern heights, terrace above terrace, as precipitous as Edinburgh. It was round about this place that some poet, probably drunk, looked up astonished at all those streets gone skywards, and (thinking vaguely of glaciers and roped mountaineers) gave it the name of Swiss Cottage, which it has never been able to shake off. At some stage of those heights a terrace of tall gray houses, mostly empty and almost as desolate as the Grampians, curved...

The Defendant by G. K. Chesterton The Defendant

A collection of reprinted articles on a wide-range of subject, all in the unique style of G. K. Chesterton. Using wit, paradox, and good humor he “defends” a series of seeming harmless things that need no defense, and in so doing he exposes many of the broken assumptions and dogmatic notions of secular humanism and other trends of his age and of ours.


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