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By: Walter Besant (1836-1901)

The History of London by Walter Besant The History of London

Walter Besant was a novelist and historian, and his topographical and historical writings, ranging from prehistoric times to the nineteenth century, were probably best known through the detailed 10-volume Survey of London published after his death. This earlier single volume covers, in less depth, the whole period from prehistory until the 19th century. The book appears originally to have been written for boys, and, indeed, the chapters are called “Lessons”. However, it is a very readable history and provides a fascinating insight into both London’s past and the government of the City at the time the book was written (1894).

The Art of Fiction by Walter Besant The Art of Fiction

A lecture on the art of fiction, given by the English critic Walter Besant on April 25, 1884, and an answer to the lecture by American writer Henry James in the same year.

By: Thomas Carlyle

Early Kings of Norway by Thomas Carlyle Early Kings of Norway

“The Icelanders, in their long winter, had a great habit of writing; and were, and still are, excellent in penmanship. It is to this fact, that any little history there is of the Norse Kings and their old tragedies, crimes and heroisms, is almost all due. The Icelanders, it seems, not only made beautiful letters on their paper or parchment, but were laudably observant and desirous of accuracy; and have left us such a collection of narratives (Sagas, literally “Says”) as, for quantity and quality, is unexampled among rude nations...

By: Nagarjuna

She-rab Dong-bu (The Tree of Wisdom) by Nagarjuna She-rab Dong-bu (The Tree of Wisdom)

The She-rab Dong-bu (Tree of Wisdom) is a metrical translation in Tibetan of a Sanscrit ethical work entitled Prajnya Danda, written by Nagarjuna who flourished in the fourth century of the Buddhist era (about 100 B.C.), The Tibetan version was probably made about the 11th century of our era but the exact date has not been determined. It is included in the Ten-gyur, ངོ་ section, volume གོ་, beginning at leaf 165. The Tibetan translator describes it as the second volume but I cannot say whether the remainder of the work has been preserved in Tibetan – the Sanscrit original is apparently lost.

By: General Sir John Miller Adye (1819-1900)

Indian Frontier Policy, an Historical Sketch by General Sir John Miller Adye Indian Frontier Policy, an Historical Sketch

“The subject of our policy on the North-West frontier of India is one of great importance, as affecting the general welfare of our Eastern Empire, and is specially interesting at the present time, when military operations on a considerable scale are being conducted against a combination of the independent tribes along the frontier. It must be understood that the present condition of affairs is no mere sudden outbreak on the part of our turbulent neighbours. Its causes lie far deeper, and are the consequences of events in bygone years”. (From the author’s Preface, 1897).

By: Leander Stillwell (1843-1934)

The Story of a Common Soldier of Army Life in the Civil War, 1861-1865 by Leander Stillwell The Story of a Common Soldier of Army Life in the Civil War, 1861-1865

Leander Stillwell was an 18-year-old Illinois farm boy, living with his family in a log cabin, when the U.S. Civil War broke out. Stillwell felt a duty “to help save the Nation;” but, as with many other young men, his Patriotism was tinged with bravura: “the idea of staying at home and turning over senseless clods on the farm with the cannon thundering so close at hand . . . was simply intolerable.” Stillwell volunteered for the 61st Illinois Infantry in January 1861. His youthful enthusiasm for the soldier’s life was soon tempered at Shiloh, where he first “saw a gun fired in anger,” and “saw a man die a violent death...

By: Saint Patrick (d. 461 or 493)

Collected Works of Saint Patrick by Saint Patrick Collected Works of Saint Patrick

St. Patrick’s Breastplate – This prayer is attributed to St. Patrick and his diciples. It is written with some celtic pagan elements, but is definitely a Christian prayer asking God for protection through daily life. A Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus – Patrick writes this letter to excommunicate the soldiers of Coroticus’ army who pillaged villages in Ireland and forced many Christian converts into slavery. Confession – A short autobiography by St. Patrick who tells of being abducted...

By: Roald Amundsen (1872-1928)

The South Pole; an account of the Norwegian Antarctic expedition in the Fram, 1910-12 by Roald Amundsen The South Pole; an account of the Norwegian Antarctic expedition in the Fram, 1910-12

In contrast to Scott’s South Pole expedition, Amundsen’s expedition benefited from good equipment, appropriate clothing, and a fundamentally different primary task (Amundsen did no surveying on his route south and is known to have taken only two photographs) Amundsen had a better understanding of dogs and their handling, and he used of skis more effectively. He pioneered an entirely new route to the Pole and they returned. In Amundsen’s own words: “Victory awaits him who has everything in order — luck, people call it...

By: U. Waldo Cutler

Stories of King Arthur and His Knights by U. Waldo Cutler Stories of King Arthur and His Knights

Stories of King Arthur and His Knights. Retold from Malory’s “Morte dArthur”.

By: E.E. “Doc” Smith (1890-1965)

Triplanetary by E.E. “Doc” Smith Triplanetary

“Doc” E.E. Smith pretty much invented the space opera genre, and Triplanetary is a good and well-known example. Physics, time, and politics never stand in the way of a plot that gallops ahead without letup. Having earned a PhD in chemical engineering, it’s understandable that the heroes of Smith’s story are all scientists. He didn’t want to be constrained by the limits of known science, however, so in his hands the electromagnetic spectrum becomes a raw material to be molded into ever-more amazing and lethal forms, and the speed of light is no bar to traveling through the interstellar void...

By: Donald McGibney

32 Caliber by Donald McGibney 32 Caliber

The recent interest that's being generated in the pulp fiction writers of the 1920s has lead to many of the books of that genre being resurrected and read once again. For modern-day readers, these represent what are now called “airport-lounge reads” and ideal for those few hours that you have to kill waiting in an airport or railway station, while traveling or on holiday, when you don't want anything too heavy to weigh you down! Pulp fiction, so called because the books were generally printed on cheaper paper made from recycled wood pulp, had certain characteristics...

By: Thomas Wentworth Higginson

Army Life in a Black Regiment by Thomas Wentworth Higginson Army Life in a Black Regiment

These pages record some of the adventures of the First South Carolina Volunteers, the first slave regiment mustered into the service of the United States during the late civil war. It was, indeed, the first colored regiment of any kind so mustered, except a portion of the troops raised by Major-General Butler at New Orleans. These scarcely belonged to the same class, however, being recruited from the free colored population of that city, a comparatively self-reliant and educated race. (From the text)

By: Thomas Wentworth Higginson (1823-1911)

Book cover Tales of the Enchanted Islands of the Atlantic

The sea has always been, by the mystery of its horizon, the fury of its storms, and the variableness of the atmosphere above it, the foreordained land of romance. In all ages and with all sea-going races there has always been something especially fascinating about an island amid the ocean. It's very existence has for all explorers an air of magic. The order of the tales in the present work follows roughly the order of development, giving first the legends which kept near the European shore, and then those which, like St...

By: Booker T. Washington (1856-1915)

Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington Up From Slavery

Up From Slavery is the 1901 autobiography of Booker T. Washington detailing his slow and steady rise from a slave child during the Civil War, to the difficulties and obstacles he overcame to get an education at the new Hampton University, to his work establishing vocational schools—most notably the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama—to help black people and other disadvantaged minorities learn useful, marketable skills and work to pull themselves, as a race, up by the bootstraps. He reflects on the generosity of both teachers and philanthropists who helped in educating blacks and native Americans...

By: Sarah Cory Rippey

The Goody-Naughty Book by Sarah Cory Rippey The Goody-Naughty Book

The Goody-Naughty Book was originally published as two books back to back. Opening the book from one end, the reader experiences “The Goody Side” where the children are polite and thoughtful. However, turning the book over and beginning from the other side, one reads “The Naughty Side” where the children are lazy and irritable. These short, moral stories teach children the proper way to behave and that there are consequences if they don’t.

By: Ethel C. Pedley (1859-1898)

Dot and the Kangaroo by Ethel C. Pedley Dot and the Kangaroo

Dot and the Kangaroo, written in 1899, is a children’s book by Ethel C. Pedley about a little girl named Dot who gets lost in the Australian outback and is eventually befriended by a kangaroo and several other marsupials.

By: C. J. Dennis (1876-1938)

The Glugs of Gosh by C. J. Dennis The Glugs of Gosh

First published in 1917, The Glugs of Gosh satirizes Australian life at the start of the twentieth century – but the absurdities it catalogs seem just as prevalent at the start of the twenty-first. The foolishness of kings, the arrogance of the elite, the gullibility of crowds, the pride of the self-righteous, the unthinking following of tradition – all find themselves the targets of C. J. Dennis’ biting wit.

The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke by C. J. Dennis The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke

The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke is a verse novel by Australian novelist and poet C. J. Dennis. The book sold over 60,000 copies in nine editions within the first year, and is probably one of the highest selling verse novels ever published in Australia.The novel tells the story of Bill, a larrikin of the Little Lonsdale Street Push, who is introduced to a young woman by the name of Doreen. The book chronicles their courtship and marriage, detailing Bill’s transformation from a violence-prone gang member to a contented husband and father. C.J. Dennis went on to publish three sequels to this novel: The Moods of Ginger Mick (1916), Doreen (1917) and Rose of Spadgers (1924)

By: James Edward Austen-Leigh (1798-1874)

Memoir of Jane Austen by James Edward Austen-Leigh Memoir of Jane Austen

“The Memoir of my Aunt, Jane Austen, has been received with more favour than I had ventured to expect. The notices taken of it in the periodical press, as well as letters addressed to me by many with whom I am not personally acquainted, show that an unabated interest is still taken in every particular that can be told about her. I am thus encouraged not only to offer a Second Edition of the Memoir, but also to enlarge it with some additional matter which I might have scrupled to intrude on the public if they had not thus seemed to call for it...

By: Luis Vaz de Camões (1524-1580)

The Lusiads by Luis Vaz de Camões The Lusiads

The Lusiads (Os Lusíadas) is a Portuguese epic poem, written in the 16th century by Luis Vaz de Camões. The poem tells the tale of the Portuguese discoveries in the 15th and 16th centuries, specially the voyage to India by Vasco da Gama. Modelled after the classic epic tradition, Camões' Lusiads are considered not only the first literary text in Modern Portuguese, but also a national epic of the same level as Vergil's Aeneid. In the 19th century, Sir Richard Francis Burton translated Camões' Lusiads, in what he considered "the most pleasing literary labour of his life".

By: John Burroughs (1837-1921)

Squirrels and other Fur-Bearers by John Burroughs Squirrels and other Fur-Bearers

Squirrels and other Fur-Bearers, a collection of essays by American naturalist and essayist, John Burroughs, provides fascinating insight into the daily life of small woodland creatures. Included in these essays are Burrough’s personal observations of squirrels, rabbits, mink, and chipmunks, as well as numerous other small mammals. Highly recommended for anyone, both young and old, with an interest in nature and wildlife!

John James Audubon by John Burroughs John James Audubon

Audubon’s life naturally divides itself into three periods: his youth, which was on the whole a gay and happy one, and which lasted till the time of his marriage at the age of twenty-eight; his business career which followed, lasting ten or more years, and consisting mainly in getting rid of the fortune his father had left him; and his career as an ornithologist which, though attended with great hardships and privations, brought him much happiness and, long before the end, substantial pecuniary rewards.

Nature Near Home and Other Papers by John Burroughs Nature Near Home and Other Papers

Nature Near Home is one of many books on natural history by John Burroughs. It is full of simple observations about rural scenes and charming stories about animals, plants, and even people! Burroughs loves the creatures around him and derives great pleasure from his walks and studies in nature’s scenes.

Book cover Birds and Bees, Sharp Eyes, and Other Papers

Probably no other American writer has a greater sympathy with, and a keener enjoyment of, country life in all its phases—farming, camping, fishing, walking—than has John Burroughs. His books are redolent of the soil, and have such "freshness and primal sweetness," that we need not be told that the pleasure he gets from his walks and excursions is by no means over when he steps inside his doors again. As he tells us on more than one occasion, he finds he can get much more out of his outdoor experiences by thinking them over, and writing them out afterwards...

Book cover Bird Stories from Burroughs

What a better way to learn about birds than to read this delightful collection of interesting bird stories! John Burroughs was a nature essayist. These creative, observation- and emotion-driven stories about birds (largely from the Northeastern states), have been gathered together into a single volume from all his various works. Every chapter follows one species of birds, and the chapters have been arranged chronologically according to the time of the bird's arrival during the year. This collection has lovely illustrations of the birds by Louis Agassiz Fuertes, and some stories also have poems to go along with them.

By: Allan Fea (1860-1956)

Secret Chambers and Hiding Places by Allan Fea Secret Chambers and Hiding Places

“Secret Chambers and Hiding Places” is a collection of concealments and their uses, almost all within England, although a very few passages and chambers in continental Europe are mentioned, Jacobite hidey holes in Scotland, while the final chapter of the book covers Bonnie Prince Charlie’s wanderings around Scotland, among caves and other hiding places. Most chapters are devoted to historical events; such as the the seventeenth century persecution of roman catholics (with many large houses having specially constructed “priests’ holes”), or various unpopular monarchs and their hiding places...

By: Erskine Childers (1870-1922)

The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers The Riddle of the Sands

Containing many realistic details based on Childers’ own sailing trips along the German North Sea coast, the book is the retelling of a yachting expedition in the early 20th century combined with an adventurous spy story. It was one of the early invasion novels which predicted war with Germany and called for British preparedness. The plot involves the uncovering of secret German preparations for an invasion of the United Kingdom. It is often called the first modern spy novel, although others are as well, it was certainly very influential in the genre and for its time...

By: Ada Cambridge (1844-1926)

Sisters by Ada Cambridge Sisters

Ada Cambridge (November 21, 1844 – July 19, 1926), later known as Ada Cross, was an English born Australian writer. While she gained recognition as Australia’s first woman poet of note, her longer term reputation rests on her novels. Overall she wrote more than twenty-five works of fiction, three volumes of poetry and two autobiographical works.[1] Many of her novels were serialised in Australian newspapers, and were never published in book form. The story pans over three – four decades revolving the four Pennycuick sisters.

By: Eva March Tappan (1854-1930)

Heroes of the Middle Ages by Eva March Tappan Heroes of the Middle Ages

“The object of this book is to bring together stories of the most important movements in the history of Europe during the Middle Ages, and to make familiar the names of the most important figures in those scenes. I have endeavoured to weave a tapestry in which, with due colour, may be traced the history of the rise and fall of the various nationalities and the circumstances and mode of life of each—in short, to give the young reader an approximation to the background for the study of his country’s history which a wide reading gives to a man.”

Makers of Many Things by Eva March Tappan Makers of Many Things

How are friction matches made? How do rags and trees become paper? Who makes the dishes on our tables? Published in 1916, this children's book explains the origins of everyday items in an entertaining and informative way. There are plenty of illustrations, so please feel free to read along.

When Knights Were Bold by Eva March Tappan When Knights Were Bold

This book is in no degree an attempt to relate the involved and intricate history of the Middle Ages. Its plan is, rather, to present pictures of the manner of life and habits of thought of the people who lived between the eighth and fifteenth centuries. Our writings and our everyday conversation are full of their phrases and of allusions to their ideas. Many of our thoughts and feelings and instincts, of our very follies and superstitions, have descended to us from them. To become better acquainted with them is to explain ourselves.

By: Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895)

Has a Frog a Soul? by Thomas Henry Huxley Has a Frog a Soul?

Thomas Huxley, known as “Darwin’s Bulldog” for his championing and development of Darwinism, was perhaps the most important Victorian biologist after Darwin himself. This speech to the Metaphysical Society in 1870 is one of Huxley’s best known texts outside the sphere of his specialism, and remains read today by students of philosophy. In it, Huxley argues from the results of vivisection to metaphysics.


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