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By: Joseph Conrad (1857-1924)

Book cover Under Western Eyes

Under Western Eyes (1911) is a novel by Joseph Conrad. The novel takes place in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Geneva, Switzerland, and is viewed as Conrad's response to the themes explored in Crime and Punishment, Conrad being reputed to have detested Dostoevsky. It is also, some say, Conrad's response to his own early life; his father was a famous revolutionary imprisoned by the Russians, but, instead of following in his father's footsteps, at the age of sixteen Conrad left his native land forever...

Book cover Shadow-Line

Dedicated to the author's son who was wounded in World War 1, The Shadow-Line is a short novel based at sea by Joseph Conrad; it is one of his later works, being written from February to December 1915. It was first published in 1916 as a serial and in book form in 1917. The novella depicts the development of a young man upon taking a captaincy in the Orient, with the shadow line of the title representing the threshold of this development. The novella is notable for its dual narrative structure. The full, subtitled title of the novel is The Shadow-Line, A Confession, which immediately alerts the reader to the retrospective nature of the novella...

Book cover Almayer's Folly

A European businessman and his Malayan wife have a daughter, Nina. A Malayan prince comes to do trade with the businessman and falls in love with the daughter. Conflict arises when other influences cause distrust in the business partnership and the daughter runs off to be with the prince.

By: Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896)

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom’s Cabin is one of the most controversial novels of the last century, with it’s sentimental portrayal of the anti-slavery movement in the USA. Written in 1852, the novel instantly rose to fame and split Americans up and down the country. Stowe was a passionate abolitionist and was inspired to write Uncle Tom when she spent time in Cincinnati in the early part of the 18th century. She met many slaves who had escaped from Kentucky and was touched by the friendships she built. It was with this sentiment that the novel was born and the deep empathy Stowe had for slaves is evident throughout...

Book cover Oldtown Fireside Stories

A sequel to Oldtown Folks, featuring some of the same characters, these are 15 charming short stories told by ole' Sam Lawson to entertain Horace and Bill, two impressionable, curious and clever young boys of Oldtown (a fictional 1850's New England village), during evenings gathered around the hearth, or roaming with Sam around the countryside. Stowe faithfully and masterfully captures many of the colloquial expressions, superstitions, beliefs, customs and habits of the period that have almost completely faded from modern American culture, as well as conveying many truths about the human condition that haven't changed a bit. ~

By: Jacob Abbott

Queen Elizabeth by Jacob Abbott Queen Elizabeth

The history of a woman who rose above and beyond tragedy, grief and personal loss to become one of the most powerful figures in sixteenth century Europe is wonderfully told in this biography Queen Elizabeth, by Jacob Abbott. Beginning with the tragic circumstances of Elizabeth's mother, the lovely and doomed Anne Boleyn's execution and Henry VIII's dissolution of the English Catholic Church, the story of Elizabeth's rise to power is reflective of the England's domination of world politics as well...

William the Conqueror by Jacob Abbott William the Conqueror

There are certain names which are familiar, as names, to all mankind; and every person who seeks for any degree of mental cultivation, feels desirous of informing himself of the leading outlines of their history, that he may know, in brief, what it was in their characters or their doings which has given them so widely-extended a fame. Consequently, great historical names alone are selected; and it has been the writer’s aim to present the prominent and leading traits in their characters, and all the important events in their lives, in a bold and free manner, and yet in the plain and simple language which is so obviously required in works which aim at permanent and practical usefulness...

Margaret of Anjou by Jacob Abbott Margaret of Anjou

Margaret of Anjou, wife of England’s Henry VI, played a key role in launching the storied War of the Roses – the 30-year civil conflict fuelled by the Lancasters and the Yorks, each vying for the British throne in the 15th century. (Summary by Cathy Barratt.)

By: Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875)

Andersen's Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen Andersen's Fairy Tales

The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Snow Queen, The Real Princess and a host of other wonderful tales which form so much a part of childhood are part of Andersen's Fairy Tales, by Hans Christian Andersen. This volume contains eighteen selected stories. Some of them are old familiar friends, while others maybe new to some readers, but all of them equally enchanting and enthralling. Today, these stories are known almost everywhere in the world and have been translated into hundreds of languages...

Hans Christian Andersen: Fairytales and Short Stories Volume 1, 1835 to 1842 by Hans Christian Andersen Hans Christian Andersen: Fairytales and Short Stories Volume 1, 1835 to 1842

A collection of some of Hans Christian Andersen's works. He is a Danish author and poet most famous for his fairy tales.

By: F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)

This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald This Side of Paradise

A romantic and witty novel that has weathered time to remain one of America’s classic pieces. In the shadows of the great Gatsby is another brilliant novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This book is evidence to Fitzgerald’s literal genius because it was written by the author in his twenties to mirror his experiences at the time. It paints a picture of what it was like to be a young man or woman in the 20th century and in the wake of the First World War. The book is set on a foundation of socialist principles...

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

A life lived backwards, with events happening in reverse order forms the strange and unexpected framework of one of F Scott Fitzgerald's rare short stories. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was published in Collier's in 1927 and the idea came to Fitzgerald apparently from a quote of Mark Twain's in which he regretted that the best part of life came at the beginning and the worst at the end. Fitzgerald's concept of using this notion and turning the normal sequence of life on its head resulted in this delightful, thought provoking fantasy tale...

Selected Short Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald Selected Short Stories

A shy and dowdy country girl, Berenice feels socially inept beside her vivacious and sophisticated cousin, Marjorie. But Marjorie decides to groom her and when Berenice turns out better than she expected, Marjorie is delighted, till Berenice catches the eye of one of Marjorie's own faithful admirers. Will Berenice remain the timid and diffident country girl, or will her newfound success give her courage? Lois, a young girl engaged to be married, suddenly becomes unsure about the relationship with her fiancé Howard...

The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald The Beautiful and Damned

An idle, extravagant young man is the heir presumptive of his wealthy grandfather, an industrial tycoon. His wife, divinely beautiful and utterly selfish, believes that nothing is more powerful than her own beauty. Together, this couple represents what Fitzgerald famously portrayed as the lost generation of the Jazz Age in several of his novels. In The Beautiful and The Damned, F Scott Fitzgerald explores the trivial and shallow lives of the well-heeled inheritors of the American Dream the second or third generation that can afford to live on the fortunes that their forbears worked so hard to accumulate...

The Offshore Pirate by F. Scott Fitzgerald The Offshore Pirate

This is a long short story in 6 parts from Fitzgerald’s 1920 short story collection, Flappers and Philosophers. It predates the screwball movie comedies of the 1930’s in that it features a determined young heiress trying to get what she wants out of life.

Bernice Bobs Her Hair by F. Scott Fitzgerald Bernice Bobs Her Hair

Pretty but socially clueless Bernice lets her know-it-all cousin push her around, but eventually, something's gotta give! (Introduction by BellonaTimes)

By: Emma Orczy (1865-1947)

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emma Orczy The Scarlet Pimpernel

The Scarlet Pimpernel narrates the story of a rich English baronet who rescues French aristocrats facing the guillotine. He also taunted his enemies after each rescue by leaving behind a card that has a small flower on it – the scarlet pimpernel. It is a brilliant adventure story set at the time of the French Revolution. The plot is fantastic and rarely lets the readers pause for breath as it oscillates between London society and the dark night in Coastal France. The story follows a beautiful Countess who escapes from Paris as a committee there was making arrangements to send her to the guillotine...

By: Baroness Emmuska Orczy (1865-1947)

El Dorado by Baroness Emmuska Orczy El Dorado

If you've read and loved the exciting classic The Scarlet Pimpernel then you'd probably be delighted to follow the further adventures of the dashing Sir Percy Blakeney. El Dorado by Baronness “Emmuska” Orczy depicts the intrepid swordsman and escape artist in the role of savior of the French royal family. Published in 1913, El Dorado was the fourth in the Pimpernel series of eleven books, numerous short stories and other related writings about her famous British adventurer. However, Orczy did not always follow a strict chronological sequence while publishing the novels and hence, there is plenty of overlap between the time frames of the stories...

The Elusive Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy The Elusive Pimpernel

First Published in 1908, The Elusive Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy is the 4th book in the classic adventure series about the Scarlet Pimpernel.

Castles in the Air by Baroness Emmuska Orczy Castles in the Air

Baroness Emma Orczy (full name: Emma (”Emmuska”) Magdolna Rozália Mária Jozefa Borbála Orczy de Orczi) (September 23, 1865 – November 12, 1947) was a British novelist, playwright and artist of Hungarian noble origin. She was most notable for her series of novels featuring the Scarlet Pimpernel. Castles in the Air, a short novel or perhaps more like a collection of short stories with memories of a French rogue in the early 19th century Paris, was published in 1921 and about it I quote from the foreword: In very truth my good friend Ratichon is an unblushing liar, thief, a forger–anything you will; his vanity is past belief, his scruples are non-existent...

By: Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

Walking by Henry David Thoreau Walking

This was originally a lecture given by Thoreau in 1851 at the Concord lyceum titled “The Wild” . He revised it before his death and it was included as part of the June 1862 edition of Atlantic Monthly. This essay appears, on the surface, to be simply expounding the qualities of Nature and man’s place therein. Through this medium he not only touches those subjects, but with the implications of such a respect for nature, or lack thereof.

By: Anna Sewell

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell Black Beauty

This unique tale is narrated by a lovely, gentle horse named Black Beauty and has remained a children's classic since it was first published in 1877. It earned eternal name and fame for its author Anna Sewell, an invalid who died within a few months of publication. According to current estimates, it has sold more than fifty million copies world wide, been translated into many languages and delighted generations of children. The original title page reads: Black Beauty: Translated from the original Equine by Anna Sewell and this gives the reader an instant glimpse into what the book will be about...

BLACK BEAUTY - Young Folks Edition by Anna Sewell BLACK BEAUTY - Young Folks Edition

The same beloved story of the adventures and misadventures and of a young horse that we all know and love, but rewritten by the author for young people with much shorter chapters. All of the pathos, tenderness and fun are still there, just written for a younger audience. While forthrightly teaching animal welfare, it also teaches how to treat people with kindness, sympathy, and respect.

By: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851)

Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Frankenstein

A precursor to gothic literature and science fiction genres, Frankenstein is a novel fuming with imagination as it depicts a well known horror story. Shelly’s gothic fiction is written in epistolary form as a means of correspondence between the failed writer Robert Walton and his sister, while he is away on a dangerous expedition in search of fame. Some major themes explored in the gothic classic are the fallibility of ambition and knowledge, revenge, prejudice, isolation, and the imperfections of society...

The Last Man by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley The Last Man

The Last Man is an early post-apocalyptic science fiction novel by Mary Shelley, which was first published in 1826. The book tells of a future world that has been ravaged by a plague. The plague gradually kills off all people. Lionel Verney, central character, son of a nobleman who gambled himself into poverty, finds himself immune after being attacked by an infected “negro,” and copes with a civilization that is gradually dying out around him.

Mathilda by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Mathilda

The finished draft of a short novel by Mary Shelley. Its adult theme, concerning a father’s incestuous love for his daughter and its consequences, meant that the manuscript was suppressed by Shelley’s own father, and not published until 1959, more than a hundred years after her death. Summary by Cori Samuel

By: Henry James (1843-1916)

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James The Turn of the Screw

Christmas Eve. Guests round a fireside begin telling each other ghost stories. One of them relates a true incident involving the governess of his little nephew and niece. Strange events begin to take place, involving the housekeeper, a stranger who prowls round the grounds, a mysterious woman dressed in black and an unknown misdemeanor committed by the little nephew. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James was published in 1893 and it remains one of the best-known and admired works of this great American writer...

The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James The Portrait of a Lady

Regarded as one of James’ finest works, The Portrait of a Lady revolves around the life and the development of Isabel Archer as she embarks on a scrupulous journey of self-discovery, forced to choose between her individual freedom and the preset conventions of society. Moreover, the novel explores themes of existentialism, objectification of women, wealth, suffering, and the conflict between individual longing and social conformity. Set in the second half of the 19th century, the novel opens with the introduction of Isabel Archer, a naive young woman from Albany, New York...

Washington Square by Henry James Washington Square

First appearing as a serial in Cornhill Magazine in 1880, Washington Square focuses on the strained relationship between father and daughter, which is instigated as a result of opposing personalities, viewpoints, and lack of affection. At the same time, James presents an insidious father, who would rather sacrifice his daughter’s happiness and condemn her to a lifetime of misery, simply to prove the accuracy of his prediction. Essentially a tragicomedy, the novel focuses on themes including family, deception, cruelty, manipulation, and opposed principles...

Daisy Miller: A Study in Two Parts by Henry James Daisy Miller: A Study in Two Parts

Daisy Miller is an 1878 novella by Henry James. It portrays the confused courtship of the eponymous American girl by Winterbourne, a compatriot of hers with much more sophistication. His pursuit of her is hampered by her own flirtatiousness, which is frowned upon by the other expatriates they meet in Switzerland and Italy. Her lack of understanding of the social mores of the society she so desperately wishes to enter ultimately leads to tragedy.

An International Episode by Henry James An International Episode

Two men visting the US from London meet a pair of charming women who return the visit the following year in London. Romantic intrigues, miscommunication and cultural faux pas abound in this short but delightful novel.

The Europeans by Henry James The Europeans

The Europeans: A sketch is a short novel by Henry James, published in 1878. It is essentially a comedy contrasting the behaviour and attitudes of two visitors from Europe with those of their relatives living in the ‘new’ world of New England. The novel first appeared as a serial in The Atlantic Monthly for July-October, 1878. James made numerous minor revisions for the first book publication.


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