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By: Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893)

Ball-of-Fat by Guy de Maupassant Ball-of-Fat

The first significant published short story of French author Guy de Maupassant, and generally acknowledged as his greatest work, “Ball-of-Fat” (French title: Boule de Suif) is the touching story of an interrupted coach ride from Rouen to Le Havre during which occurs the corruption of a principled prostitute by immoral and hypocritical members of the upper class. The story is set during the occupation of Rouen at the time of the Franco-Prussian War.

Book cover Bel Ami, or The History of a Scoundrel

“He had faith in his good fortune, in that power of attraction which he felt within him - a power so irresistible that all women yielded to it.”Though firmly set in 1880s Paris, Maupassant's gripping story of an amoral journalist on the make could, with only slight modifications of detail, be updated to the 1960s, to the Reagan-Thatcher years, or maybe to the present day. Anti-hero Georges Duroy is a down-at-heel ex-soldier of no particular talent. Good-looking but somewhat lacking in self-confidence, he discovers an ability to control and exploit women - whereupon his career in journalism takes off, fuelled by the corruption of colleagues and government arrivistes...

Boule de Suif by Guy de Maupassant Boule de Suif

Boule de Suif (1880) is a short story by the late-19th century French writer Guy de Maupassant. It is arguably his most famous short story, and is the title story for his collection on the Franco-Prussian War, entitled "Boule de Suif et Autres Contes de la Guerre" ("Boule de Suif and Other Stories of the War"). John Ford said that his film Stagecoach was in many ways a western rewrite of Boule de Suif.

By: Joseph E. Badger, Jr (1848-1909)

The Lost City by Joseph E. Badger, Jr The Lost City

Bruno and Waldo Gillespie are orphaned brothers living with the extremely eccentric Professor Phaeton Featherwit. One day they set off in one of the professor’s machines to investigate a tornado at close range and accidentally get sucked into it! They are then transported by the tornado and find themselves in a barren, uncharted wasteland wherein lies a city– a long lost Aztec city! Find out what happens next to the brothers and the professor in this harrowing and exhilarating adventure!

By: William James (1842-1910)

The Moral Equivalent of War by William James The Moral Equivalent of War

The Moral Equivalent of War, the last public utterance of William James, is significant as expressing the opinions of a practical psychologist on a question of growing popular interest. For the past fifteen years the movement for promoting international peace has been enlisting the support of organizations and individuals the world over. That this is a question on which much may be said for the opposition, James, though a pacificist, admits with his usual fair-mindedness, pointing out that militarism...

By: W. S. Gilbert (1836-1911)

The Bab Ballads by W. S. Gilbert The Bab Ballads

The Bab Ballads are a collection of light verse by W. S. Gilbert, illustrated with his own comic drawings. Gilbert wrote the Ballads before he became famous for his comic opera librettos with Arthur Sullivan. In writing the Bab Ballads, Gilbert developed his unique “topsy-turvy” style, where the humour was derived by setting up a ridiculous premise and working out its logical consequences, however absurd. The Ballads also reveal Gilbert’s cynical and satirical approach to humour. They became famous on their own, as well as being a source for plot elements, characters and songs that Gilbert would recycle in the Gilbert and Sullivan operas...

By: Keith Laumer (1925-1993)

Greylorn by Keith Laumer Greylorn

Earth is threatened with destruction by a deadly alien plague. The planet’s only hope: Get help from the long-lost Omega Colony, somewhere in space. The fate of the Earth is in the hands of Lieutenant Commander Greylorn in charge of the search for Omega, and every decision he will make during Man’s first contact with an alien race…

Book cover Gambler's World & The Yillian Way

Here are two stores starring the always unconventional Terrestrial Diplomat, Retief. As a diplomat, Retief does not always follow procedure. Well the truth is that he almost never follows procedure but somehow his wit and strength manage to salvage most situations from the bumbling of his superiors. His sardonic approach to inter galactic negotiations in these two stories is a delight to hear. Despite everything, he manages to save the day and come out on top.

By: Fergus Hume (1859-1932)

The Secret Passage by Fergus Hume The Secret Passage

Excellent murder mystery. On September 9, 1905, the NY Times Saturday Review of Books described this book as follows: “That painstakingly ingenious person, Fergus Hume, has devised another of his hide-and-seek, jack-o’-lantern murder mysteries. It begins with a queer and rich old woman found stabbed to death in her chair and not a clue to the murderer. Then so many clues turn up that even the story-book detective is bewildered. Then nearly everybody turns out to be somebody else under an alias, and all the clues lead nowhere…”

The Mystery of a Hansom Cab by Fergus Hume The Mystery of a Hansom Cab

“The following report appeared in the Argus newspaper of Saturday, the 28th July, 18– “Truth is said to be stranger than fiction, and certainly the extraordinary murder which took place in Melbourne on Thursday night, or rather Friday morning, goes a long way towards verifying this saying. A crime has been committed by an unknown assassin, within a short distance of the principal streets of this great city, and is surrounded by an impenetrable mystery. … “On the twenty-seventh day of July, at the hour of twenty minutes to two o’clock in the morning, a hansom cab drove up to the police station in Grey Street, St...

Madame Midas by Fergus Hume Madame Midas

Madame Midas is a murder mystery, In the early days of Australia, when the gold fever was at its height. Fergus Hume was born in England, the second son of Dr James Hume. At the age of three his father emigrated with his family to Dunedin, New Zealand. He was admitted to the New Zealand bar in 1885. Shortly after graduation he left for Melbourne, Australia where he obtained a post as a barristers’ clerk. He began writing plays, but found it impossible to persuade the managers of the Melbourne theatres to accept or even read them...

The Silent House by Fergus Hume The Silent House

A mystery about a “locked door” murder committed in a house that has a reputation for being haunted. In the first half of the book, the murderer appears to be easy to figure out. The second half of the book, however, is filled with plot twists and mistaken identities and thus complicates the mystery much more.

Book cover Bishop's Secret

By: P. G. Wodehouse (1881-1975)

The Girl on the Boat by P. G. Wodehouse The Girl on the Boat

Also published as "Three Men and a Maid". The maid of the title is red-haired, dog-loving Wilhelmina "Billie" Bennet, and the three men are Bream Mortimer, a long-time friend and admirer of Billie, Eustace Hignett, a lily-livered poet who is engaged to Billie at the opening of the tale, and Sam Marlowe, Eustace's dashing cousin, who falls for Billie at first sight. All four find themselves on an ocean liner headed for England together, along with a capable young woman called Jane Hubbard who is smitten with Eustace, and typically Wodehousian romantic shenanigans ensue. (Introduction by wikipedia)

Book cover Little Nugget

Mrs Nesta Ford, in her London hotel room, reveals to her new friend Lord Mountry that she hopes to take her son Ogden on a yachting trip proposed by Mountry, despite her ex-husband having won custody of the boy. As Mountry leaves, Cynthia Drassilis arrives with Ogden, whom she has led away from his father's country house. Mrs Ford rewards Cynthia, but soon Mr Ford's secretary, a Mr Minnick, arrives to recover the stolen child. Cynthia tries to bribe his colleague, Mrs Sheridan, but to no avail, as she believes Nesta's influence has spoiled the boy...

By: Joseph Jacobs (1854-1916)

Book cover Indian Fairy Tales

This book is a fine collection of Indian fairy tales, some are folklore, some are from the Jataka tales, and some from panchatantra.

By: Frank Pinkerton

Dyke Darrel the Railroad Detective by Frank Pinkerton Dyke Darrel the Railroad Detective

Dyke Darrel investigates an audacious train robbery that included the murder of a friend, and embarks on a man-hunt. High Victorian serial melodrama at its best!

Won by Crime by Frank Pinkerton Won by Crime

Originally included with the published edition of Dyke Darell, this is an unrelated novella. Portuguese Viceroy to Goa, Don Garcia brought his daughter and nephew to the wild island. Adventure and melodrama ensue!

By: Theodore Dreiser (1871-1945)

Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser Sister Carrie

Published in 1900, Sister Carrie follows its protagonist, Carrie, as she resolutely makes her way through the bustling city of Chicago in the hope of achieving her ultimate goal of a securing a better and more glamorous life for herself. Effectively illustrating his reputation as one of America’s greatest naturalists, Dreiser deviates from the established norms and moral values present in the Victorian era, and instead focuses his attention on accurately portraying the basic instincts that influence human behavior...

The Financier by Theodore Dreiser The Financier

In Philadelphia, Frank Cowperwood, whose father is a banker, makes his first money by buying cheap soaps on the market and selling it back with profit to a grocer. Later, he gets a job in Henry Waterman & Company, and leaves it for Tighe & Company. He also marries an affluent widow, in spite of his young age. Over the years, he starts embezzling municipal funds. In 1871, the Great Chicago Fire redounds to a stock market crash, prompting him to be bankrupt and exposed. Although he attempts to browbeat his way out of being sentenced to jail by intimidating Mr Stener, politicians from the Republican Party use their influence to use him as a scapegoat for their own corrupt practices...

Jennie Gerhardt by Theodore Dreiser Jennie Gerhardt

This is a story of an innocent, caring, beautiful young girl from and extremely poor family who throughout her life is drawn into affairs with two different men from a much higher social class. How members of her family, the family of one of the wealthy men, and society in general react to her situation is the basis of this story.

By: Zitkala-Sa (1876-1938)

Old Indian Legends by Zitkala-Sa Old Indian Legends

Fourteen Old Indian Legends by Native American ( Dakota ) Author Zitkala-Sa. These Legends feature the exploits of Iktomi the Native American Trickster god.

By: Robert Ervin Howard (1906-1936)

Red Shadows by Robert Ervin Howard Red Shadows

Red Shadows is the first of a series of stories featuring Howard’s puritan avenger, Solomon Kane. Kane tracks his prey over land and sea, enters the jungles of Africa, and even faces dark Gods and evil magic — all to avenge a woman he’d never met before.

By: Augusta Huiell Seaman (1879-1950)

The Dragon's Secret by Augusta Huiell Seaman The Dragon's Secret

Sixteen year old Leslie Crane has come to the New Jersey shore as a companion to ailing Aunt Marcia, whose doctor has sent her there for a some quiet rest and recuperation. While the beach is lovely in October, Leslie quickly finds herself getting lonely with no one her own age to talk to. Little does she realize that she will not only soon make a new friend, but that they will both end up in the midst of a puzzling mystery centered around the closed up bungalow next door. Augusta Huiell Seaman is the author of over 40 historical fiction and mystery novels for older children most of which are currently out of print. The Dragon’s Secret was originally published in 1921.

The Mystery at Number Six by Augusta Huiell Seaman The Mystery at Number Six

A mysterious girl, a mysterious pool, and a mysterious businessman combine to send two Florida teens to adventureland in this pre-Nancy Drew tale for young people

The Slipper Point Mystery by Augusta Huiell Seaman The Slipper Point Mystery

When fourteen year old Sally Carter decides to share the secret she has discovered on Slipper Point with her new friend Doris Craig, she couldn’t possibly imagine where the solution to this intriguing mystery will lead them! Augusta Huiell Seaman is the author of over 40 historical fiction and mystery novels for older children most of which are currently out of print. The Slipper Point Mystery was originally published in 1919.

The Boarded Up House by Augusta Huiell Seaman The Boarded Up House

What is the secret of the old boarded up house? And what is the answer to the mystery of the long lost letter that is found in it? Best friends Joyce and Cynthia - along with their dog "Goliath", are determined to find out in this pre-Nancy Drew juvenile mystery for girls.Augusta Huiell Seaman was the author of over 40 historical fiction and mystery novels for older children.

By: Sir Stephen King-Hall

Diary of a U-boat Commander by Sir Stephen King-Hall Diary of a U-boat Commander

The infamous U boats deployed by Germany in the two World Wars have spawned several works of fiction and non-fiction. These deadly vessels were not just efficient and lethal killing machines, but they were also used very effectively in economic blockades. They were positioned primarily to obstruct the conveyance of fuel, food and other essential supplies which the enemy needed to sustain the war effort. In the Diary of a U Boat Commander, the author, Stephen King-Hall draws upon his vast personal experiences as a naval officer in World War I...

By: Lucretia P. Hale (1820-1900)

The Peterkin Papers by Lucretia P. Hale The Peterkin Papers

The Peterkin Papers is a book-length collection of humorous stories by Lucretia Peabody Hale, and is her best-known work. The Peterkins are a lovable but comically inept family with ingenuity, logic, resourcefulness, and energy—but not common sense. Many chapters show the family trying to solve some problem in a roundabout way, failing, and eventually being rescued by “the wise old lady from Philadelphia,” who cuts the Gordian knot with an effective but prosaic solution. The charm of the story is not in the plot, but in the telling, building up layers of complication, and the affectionate fun poked at the not-quite-cartoonish characters...

By: Robert Bridges

Eros and Psyche by Robert Bridges Eros and Psyche

Bridges’ Eros and Psyche retells the Eros (= Cupid) and Psyche myth first recorded by Lucius Apuleius in his book The Golden Ass. The poem is divided into twelve cantos – one for each of the twelve months of the year – which gives the poem a certain, almost “pastoral” feel. The number of stanzas in each canto equals the number of days in that month: so the first canto March has 31 stanzas, the second canto April has 30 stanzas, and so on. Each stanza is a septet (ie comprises exactly seven lines) which follow the same end-rhyming schema of a-b-a-b-c-c-b.

By: Yei Theodora Ozaki

Japanese Fairy Tales by Yei Theodora Ozaki Japanese Fairy Tales

Many of us are familiar with Grimm's Fairy Tales, or children's stories from France, England, China, India and Germany, but are less aware of similar folk tales and children's stories from Japan. Japanese Fairy Tales by Yei Theodora Ozaki captures the exotic flavor, traditions and customs of this ancient land. Published in 1903 entitled the Japanese Fairy Book, the title was changed in the 1908 edition to Japanese Fairy Tales. Theodora Ozaki was the daughter of a wealthy Japanese aristocrat Baron Ozaki, the first Japanese man to study in the West, and his wife, an American schoolteacher's daughter...

By: M.L. Nesbitt

Book cover Grammar-Land

In this charming 1877 book of grammar instruction for children, we are introduced to the nine parts of speech and learn about the rules that govern them in Grammar-Land."Judge Grammar is far mightier than any Fairy Queen, for he rules over real kings and queens down here in Matter-of-fact-land. Our kings and queens have all to obey Judge Grammar’s laws, or else they would talk what is called bad grammar; and then, even their own subjects would laugh at them, and would say: “Poor things!They are funny fellows, these nine Parts-of-Speech...


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