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By: Irvin S. Cobb (1876-1944)

One Third Off by Irvin S. Cobb One Third Off

Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb (June 23, 1876–March 11, 1944) was an American author, humorist, and columnist who lived in New York and wrote over 60 books and 300 short stories. Cobb has been described as “having a round shape, bushy eyebrows, full lips, and a triple chin. He always had a cigar in his mouth.” This book is a hilarious account of Cobb’s attempts at weight-loss.

J. Poindexter, Colored by Irvin S. Cobb J. Poindexter, Colored

This comic novel relates the first-person adventures in New York City of Jefferson Poindexter, personal assistant to Cobb's famous Judge Priest, while the judge is vacationing abroad. (Introduction by Grant Hurlock)

By: Alfred Noyes (1880-1958)

Book cover Drake

Alfred Noyes, in the blank-verse epic "Drake", fictionalizes the historical Francis Drake, who, during the reign of Elizabeth I of England, sailed (and plundered) on the Spanish Main and beyond.

By: Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921)

Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution by Peter Kropotkin Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution

Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution is a book by Peter Kropotkin on the subject of mutual aid, written while he was living in exile in England. It was first published by William Heinemann in London in October 1902. The individual chapters had originally been published in 1890-96 as a series of essays in the British monthly literary magazine, Nineteenth Century. Written partly in response to Social Darwinism and in particular to Thomas H. Huxley’s Nineteenth Century essay, The Struggle for Existence, Kropotkin’s book drew on his experiences in scientific expeditions in Siberia to illustrate the phenomenon of cooperation...

The Conquest of bread by Peter Kropotkin The Conquest of bread

In this work, Kropotkin points out what he considers to be the fallacies of the economic systems of feudalism and capitalism, and how he believes they create poverty and scarcity while promoting privilege. He goes on to propose a more decentralised economic system based on mutual aid and voluntary cooperation, asserting that the tendencies for this kind of organisation already exist, both in evolution and in human society.

By: William Dean Howells (1837-1920)

My Mark Twain by William Dean Howells My Mark Twain

William Dean Howells (1837-1920) became fast friends with Mark Twain from the moment in 1869 when Twain strode into the office of The Atlantic Monthly in Boston to thank Howells, then its assistant editor, for his favorable review of Innocents Abroad. When Howells became editor a few years later, The Atlantic Monthly began serializing many of Twain’s works, among them his non-fiction masterpiece, Life on the Mississippi. In My Mark Twain, Howells pens a literary memoir that includes such fascinating scenes as their meetings with former president Ulysses Grant who was then writing the classic autobiography that Twain would underwrite in the largest publishing deal until that time...

Five O'Clock Tea by William Dean Howells Five O'Clock Tea

A light-hearted romantic comedy in twelve short scenes, set during a tea party in the home of Mrs. Amy Somers, a widow who is courted by the ingenuous and delightful Mr. Willis Campbell.

Indian Summer by William Dean Howells Indian Summer

In his novel Indian Summer, William Dean Howells presents a mellow but realistic story that has the complete feel of that delightful time of the year, although the plot actually spans several seasons. The Indian summer aspect applies to a sophisticated gentleman, Theodore Colville, who has just entered his middle years as he returns to a scene, Florence, Italy, that played an important part in his early manhood. It was here twenty years earlier that he first fell in love, seemingly successfully until a sudden and harsh rejection...

A Little Swiss Sojurn by William Dean Howells A Little Swiss Sojurn

A charming brief account of a two months' autumnal stay on the shores of the Lake of Geneva. Howells, who was there with his family traveling from England to Italy, has a sharp eye not only for scenery and architecture, but for people and customs, both Swiss and foreign.

Book cover Christmas Every Day and Other Stories Told for Children

Five short delightful stories for children, told in the voice of "the papa" to "the girl" and "the boy." William Dean Howells (March 1, 1837 – May 11, 1920) was an American realist author and literary critic. Nicknamed "The Dean of American Letters", he was particularly known for his tenure as editor of the Atlantic Monthly as well as his own prolific writings, including the Christmas story "Christmas Every Day" and the novel The Rise of Silas Lapham. (Reader’s Note for story 3: A pony engine is a small locomotive for switching cars from one track to another.)

Book cover Annie Kilburn

After 11 years in Rome, Annie Kilburn returns home to the US after the death of her father. But the home she knew is dramatically changed in many ways. She starts to work with sick children, and finds herself attached to them, and to the minister who helps her, Mr. Peck.

Book cover Hazard of New Fortunes

Howell’s novel is set in New York of the late nineteenth century, a city familiar to readers of Edith Wharton and Henry James. Basil March, a businessman from Boston of a literary bent, moves with his family to New York to edit a new journal founded by an acquaintance. Its financial support, however, comes from a Mr. Dryfoos, a Pennsylvania Dutch farmer suddenly become millionaire by the discovery of natural gas on his property, and now living in New York with his family in a style he hopes will befit his new wealth...

Book cover Coast of Bohemia

William Dean Howells is at his iconoclastic best in this exploration of bourgeois values, particularly in the clash between respectable society and the dubious bohemian world of Art and Poetry. Cornelia Saunders has everything going for her in her middle-class world: comfort, good looks, attentive young men. She seems willing to risk it all for the sake of what might be an artistic Gift, venturing with great trepidation to put her foot over the line into Bohemia to see if it might be the thing for her. Skewering the conventions of sentimental literature as usual, Howells keeps the reader guessing to the end as to the fate of Cornelia and her Gift.

By: Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913)

Is Mars Habitable? by Alfred Russel Wallace Is Mars Habitable?

In 1907 Wallace wrote the short book Is Mars Habitable? to criticize the claims made by Percival Lowell that there were Martian canals built by intelligent beings. Wallace did months of research, consulted various experts, and produced his own scientific analysis of the Martian climate and atmospheric conditions. Among other things Wallace pointed out that spectroscopic analysis had shown no signs of water vapor in the Martian atmosphere, that Lowell’s analysis of Mars’ climate was seriously flawed and badly overestimated the surface temperature, and that low atmospheric pressure would make liquid water, let alone a planet girding irrigation system, impossible.

By: Brooks Adams (1848-1927)

The Theory of Social Revolutions by Brooks Adams The Theory of Social Revolutions

Brooks Adams (1848- 1927), was an American historian and a critic of capitalism. He believed that commercial civilizations rise and fall in predictable cycles. First, masses of people draw together in large population centers and engage in commercial activities. As their desire for wealth grows, they discard spiritual and creative values. Their greed leads to distrust and dishonesty, and eventually the society crumbles. In The Law of Civilisation and Decay (1895), Adams noted that as new population centers emerged in the west, centers of world trade shifted from Constantinople to Venice to Amsterdam to London...

By: Fanny Dickerson Bergen (1846-1924)

Current Superstitions by Fanny Dickerson Bergen Current Superstitions

No matter how enlightened, chances are you’ve been raised around superstitious lore of one kind or another. Fanny Dickerson Bergen was one of the original researchers of North American oral traditions relating to such key life events and experiences as babyhood and childhood, marriage, wishes and dreams, luck, warts and cures, death omens and mortuary customs, and “such truck,” as Huck Finn would say. You’ll be surprised at how many of these old saws you’ll know. Here’s a quote from...

By: Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)

Rootabaga Stories by Carl Sandburg Rootabaga Stories

Carl Sandburg is beloved by generations of children for his Rootabaga Stories and Rootabaga Pigeons (which is not in the public domain), a series of whimsical, sometimes melancholy stories he originally created for his own daughters. The Rootabaga Stories were born of Sandburg’s desire for “American fairy tales” to match American childhood. He felt that the European stories involving royalty and knights were inappropriate, and so populated his stories with animals, skyscrapers, trains, corn fairies, and other colorful characters.

Cornhuskers by Carl Sandburg Cornhuskers

Carl Sandburg’s collection of 103 poems that earned a Pulitzer Prize Special Letters Award in 1919.

By: Dale Carnegie (1888-1955)

The Art of Public Speaking by Dale Carnegie The Art of Public Speaking

A great start to shaking off public speaking jitters, socializing and mastering the art of small talk. The principles of public speaking written by Dale Carnegie decades ago in this book are timeless. They are just as effective in working a crowd in today’s society as they were back then. He delves into ways of commanding and charming an audience with the right energy, tone of voice, pitch, pronunciation and vocabulary. Armed with the principles highlighted in this book, you can do more than convey a message to a group of people, you can move them...

By: Ernest Bramah (1868-1942)

Four Max Carrados Detective Stories by Ernest Bramah Four Max Carrados Detective Stories

Ernest Bramah is mainly known for his ‘Kai Lung’ books – Dorothy L Sayers often used quotes from them for her chapter headings. In his lifetime however he was equally well known for his detective stories. Since Sherlock Holmes we have had French detectives, Belgian detectives, aristocratic detectives, royal detectives, ecclesiastical detectives, drunken detectives and even a (very) few quite normal happily married detectives. Max Carrados was however probably the first blind detective.

Max Carrados by Ernest Bramah Max Carrados

Max Carrados is a blind detective who has developed his own remaining senses to a superior level and who has enlisted the superior observations skills of his butler to fill in for any deficiency of his own. His visual deficiency is no obstacle to solving the most difficult cases. As with some better known sleuths, Mr. Carrados' feats amaze, entertain and satisfy.

Book cover Wallet of Kai Lung

The Wallet of Kai Lung is a collection of fantasy stories by Ernest Bramah, all but the last of which feature Kai Lung, an itinerant story-teller of ancient China. The collection's importance in the history of fantasy literature was recognized by the anthologization of two of its tales in the celebrated Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series.

By: Mary Godolphin (1781-1864)

Robinson Crusoe in Words of One Syllable by Mary Godolphin Robinson Crusoe in Words of One Syllable

Mary Godolphin was the pseudonym of Lucy Aikin who undertook translating great literature into single-syllable words so that young readers could enjoy plots that were considerably more interesting than, say, the McGuffey readers of the 1880’s or the “Dick and Jane” primers of the 1950s (still around today as “decodable readers” in elementary schools). She produced this volume based on Daniel Defoe’s most famous work, considered by many to be the first English novel (1719). She also rendered Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress and Wyss’ Swiss Family Robinson, which she translated as well.

By: Elizabeth E. Lea (1793-1858)

Domestic Cookery, Useful Receipts, and Hints to Young Housekeepers by Elizabeth E. Lea Domestic Cookery, Useful Receipts, and Hints to Young Housekeepers

The compiler of [this book] having entered early in life upon a train of duties, was frequently embarrassed by her ignorance of domestic affairs. For, whilst receipt books for elegant preparations were often seen, those connected with the ordinary, but far more useful part of household duties, were not easily procured; thus situated, she applied to persons of experience, and embodied the information collected in a book, to which, since years have matured her judgment, she has added much that is the result of her own experiments...

By: Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

Book cover Case of Wagner / Nietzsche Contra Wagner / Selected Aphorisms

A collection of three of Nietzsche's writings concerning the music of Wagner. In particular, he relates Wagner's music as degenerate, unrefined and unintelligent and relates it to a gradually degenerating German culture and society. The translator provides a detailed introduction.

By: Francis Pharcellus Church (1839-1906)

Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus by Francis Pharcellus Church Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus

“Is There A Santa Claus?” was the headline that appeared over an editorial in the September 21, 1897 edition of the New York Sun. The editorial, which included the response of “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus,” has become an indelible part of popular Christmas lore in the United States.

By: Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953)

The French Revolution by Hilaire Belloc The French Revolution

“It is, for that matter, self-evident that if one community decides in one fashion, another, also sovereign, in the opposite fashion, both cannot be right. Reasoning men have also protested, and justly, against the conception that what a majority in numbers, or even (what is more compelling still) a unanimity of decision in a community may order, may not only be wrong but may be something which that community has no authority to order since, though it possesses a civil and temporal authority, it acts against that ultimate authority which is its own consciousness of right...

The Servile State by Hilaire Belloc The Servile State

A clear boundary exists between the servile and the non-servile condition of labour, and the conditions upon either side of that boundary utterly differ one from another, Where there is compulsion applicable by positive law to men of a certain status, such compulsion enforced in the last resort by the powers at the disposal of the State, there is the institution of Slavery; and if that institution be sufficiently expanded the whole State may be said to repose upon a servile basis, and is a Servile State. (Hilaire Belloc)

Europe and the Faith by Hilaire Belloc Europe and the Faith

The Catholic brings to history (when I say "history" in these pages I mean the history of Christendom) self-knowledge. As a man in the confessional accuses himself of what he knows to be true and what other people cannot judge, so a Catholic, talking of the united European civilization, when he blames it, blames it for motives and for acts which are his own. He himself could have done those things in person. He is not relatively right in his blame, he is absolutely right. As a man can testify to his own motive so can the Catholic testify to unjust, irrelevant, or ignorant conceptions of the European story; for he knows why and how it proceeded...

First and Last by Hilaire Belloc First and Last

“When a man weighs anchor in a little ship or a large one he does a jolly thing! He cuts himself off and he starts for freedom and for the chance of things. He pulls the jib a-weather, he leans to her slowly pulling round, he sees the wind getting into the mainsail, and he feels that she feels the helm. He has her on a slant of the wind, and he makes out between the harbour piers.” (quotation from Hilaire Belloc)

On Something by Hilaire Belloc On Something

“Now that story is a symbol, and tells the truth. We see some one thing in this world, and suddenly it becomes particular and sacramental; a woman and a child, a man at evening, a troop of soldiers; we hear notes of music, we smell the smell that went with a passed time, or we discover after the long night a shaft of light upon the tops of the hills at morning: there is a resurrection, and we are refreshed and renewed.” – Hilaire Belloc

On Nothing & Kindred Subjects by Hilaire Belloc On Nothing & Kindred Subjects

“I knew a man once, Maurice, who was at Oxford for three years, and after that went down with no degree. At College, while his friends were seeking for Truth in funny brown German Philosophies, Sham Religions, stinking bottles and identical equations, he was lying on his back in Eynsham meadows thinking of Nothing, and got the Truth by this parallel road of his much more quickly than did they by theirs; for the asses are still seeking, mildly disputing, and, in a cultivated manner, following the...


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