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By: Elizabeth von Arnim (1866-1941)

The Pastor's Wife by Elizabeth von Arnim The Pastor's Wife

Written by an author born in Australia, grew up in England, married in Germany, and then flew to the United States. A tale about a young woman, freed up from the bonds of her family life, to wonder all around in search of all things feminist. The story seems somewhat autobiographical, surrounded in disillusionment and humor. Written on the eve of World War I and just back from married life in Germany.

Elizabeth and her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim Elizabeth and her German Garden

Elizabeth and Her German Garden is a novel by Elizabeth von Arnim, first published in 1898; it was very popular and frequently reprinted during the early years of the 20th century. The story is a year's diary written by the protagonist Elizabeth about her experiences learning gardening and interacting with her friends. It includes commentary on the beauty of nature and on society, but is primarily humorous due to Elizabeth's frequent mistakes and her idiosyncratic outlook on life. She looked down upon the frivolous fashions of her time writing "I believe all needlework and dressmaking is of the devil, designed to keep women from study...

Benefactress by Elizabeth von Arnim Benefactress

Anna Estcourt, twenty-five and beautiful, is the penniless ward of her distant brother and his exasperating wife. Turning down all offers of marriage, scornful at the thought of leaning on a man for help and comfort, she thinks only of the independence which seems an impossible dream. But out of the blue Uncle Joachim, her mother's brother, leaves her a handsome property in Germany. Her longed for independence is within her grasp, and though it's a rocky beginning with the locals, she loves her new home...

By: Terry Carr (1937-1987)

Warlord of Kor by Terry Carr Warlord of Kor

Warlord of Kor was originally published in 1963 as half of an Ace Double, selected by legendary editor Donald A. Wollheim. It is an interplanetary adventure, as humans probe the mysteries of the planet Hirlaj and the few remaining aliens who live there. Terry Carr never really shone as a writer, though he did write some remarkably thoughtful stories. However, his talents as an editor and anthologist were important and undeniable, and he brought many good writers and authors into science fiction and fantasy...

By: Edna Ferber (1885-1968)

Fanny Herself by Edna Ferber Fanny Herself

Fanny Herself is the story of Fanny Brandeis, a sensitive, young Jewish girl coming of age in the Midwest at the turn of the 20th century. It is generally considered to have been based on Ferber’s own experiences growing up in Appleton, Wisconsin. Fanny’s inner struggle between her compassionate, artistic side and her desire for financial independence as a successful young businesswoman is the recurring theme of the novel. Ferber’s engaging style of writing will quickly draw you into her story...

Dawn O'Hara, The Girl Who Laughed by Edna Ferber Dawn O'Hara, The Girl Who Laughed

Dawn O’Hara, the Girl Who Laughed was Edna Ferber’s first novel. Dawn, a newspaperwoman working in New York, finds herself back home in Michigan on doctor’s orders. Years of living in boarding-houses and working to pay for the care of her brilliant but mentally ill husband, Peter Orme, have taken their toll. At twenty-eight, Dawn feels like an old woman with no future. But, the loving care of her sister Norah and her family along with the attentions of the handsome German doctor, Ernst Von Gerhard, slowly bring Dawn back to life...

Book cover Buttered Side Down

"And so," the story writers used to say, "they lived happily ever after." Um-m-m—maybe. After the glamour had worn off, and the glass slippers were worn out, did the Prince never find Cinderella's manner redolent of the kitchen hearth; and was it never necessary that he remind her to be more careful of her finger-nails and grammar? After Puss in Boots had won wealth and a wife for his young master did not that gentleman often fume with chagrin because the neighbors, perhaps, refused to call on the lady of the former poor miller's son? It is a great risk to take with one's book-children...

Roast Beef, Medium by Edna Ferber Roast Beef, Medium

This book follows the adventures of Emma McChesney, a smart and savvy divorced mother who travels the Midwest as a sales representative for a large skirt and petticoat manufacturer. Her many adventures with people, (including predatory salesmen and hotel clerks), are funny and poignant. She is hardworking and able to outsell the slickest of the men salesmen. She has learned to focus on her work and her seventeen-year-old son, Jock. Experience has taught her that it is usually best to stick to roast beef, medium and not get stomach ache with fancy sauces and exotic dishes...

Personality Plus by Edna Ferber Personality Plus

Personality Plus is an early novel by American author Edna Ferber. Originally published in 1914, Personality Plus is the second of three volumes chronicling the travels and events in the life of Emma McChesney. Ferber achieved her first successes with a series of stories centering around this character, a stylish and intelligent divorced mother who rises rapidly in business. (

Emma McChesney and Company by Edna Ferber Emma McChesney and Company

This is the final volume in the trilogy following the smart, stylish, divorced and independent businesswoman Emma McChesney in her career from stenographer, then drummer (traveling salesman) to owner of her own company. (The first was Roast Beef, Medium and the second Personality Plus). Edna Ferber first gained success with these stories and later went on to write Show Boat, Giant and other well known books. First published in 1915, Emma's son, Jock, has moved to Chicago with his new wife. Emma decides to sell in South America and proves she has not lost her magic touch...

By: Edwin F. Benson (1867-1940)

Queen Lucia by Edwin F. Benson Queen Lucia

E. F. Benson (1867-1940) was born at Wellington College in Berkshire, where his father, who later went on to become the Archbishop of Canterbury, was the first Headmaster. He wrote 105 books in all. Queen Lucia (first published in 1920) was the first of Benson’s ‘Mapp and Lucia’ novels of which there were six. This first book is a comedy of manners based in the provincial village of Riseholme, where Emmeline Lucas (the Queen Lucia of the title) presides over the social and artistic universe of the gullible residents...

Miss Mapp by Edwin F. Benson Miss Mapp

E. F. Benson’s Mapp and Lucia series, consists of six novels and three short stories. The novels are: Queen Lucia, Lucia in London, Miss Mapp (including the short story The Male Impersonator), Mapp and Lucia, Lucia’s Progress (published as The Worshipful Lucia in the U.S.) and Trouble for Lucia. Most of these works are set in the fictional village of “Tilling”, which is based on the village of Rye, Sussex, England. “Mallards”, the house with the garden room inhabited by Miss Mapp, and later by Lucia, is based on Lamb House, Benson’s own home in Rye. Earlier, the house was the Sussex home of writer Henry James.

By: George Sand (1804-1876)

The Devil's Pool by George Sand The Devil's Pool

George Sand (the pen name of Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin 1804-1876) is famous for flaunting the conventions of behavour expected of women of her standing in France at the time and for her numerous romantic liaisons including her long standing affair with Frédéric Chopin. The Devil’s Pool (published in 1846 as La Mare au Diable) is one of several short pastoral novels drawn from her childhood experiences in the rural French region of Berri. It tells the story of a young widower, Germain, who, at the insistence of his father-in-law, sets out to remarry so that he will have someone to help raise his three young children. Summary written by the reader.

By: Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm (1785-1863; 1786-1859)

Snowdrop and Other Tales by Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm Snowdrop and Other Tales

Many of these tales were published in English in 1909, the Brothers Grimm tales in this book were published separately in 1920 with illustrations by Arthur Rackham (1867-1939).

By: Anna Maynard Barbour (d. 1941)

That Mainwaring Affair by Anna Maynard Barbour That Mainwaring Affair

As wealthy financier, Hugh Mainwaring dictates his last will and testament to his private secretary, it would be impossible for him to imagine the shocking chain of events that he is about to set into motion. This best-selling mystery novel was first published in 1901 and remains an entertaining mix of detective work, courtroom drama and family intrigue.

At the Time Appointed by Anna Maynard Barbour At the Time Appointed

"Those who remember that excellent detective story, That Mainwaring Affair will expect to find plenty of mystery and exciting incidents in A. Maynard Barbour's latest novel, called At the Time Appointed, and they will realize their expectations.The author has a certain way of forecasting events and making people utter prophetic words, all bound to find their fulfillment somewhere before the last chapter is ended, that is eminently characteristic of one who delights in the knitting and raveling of the intricate plots which are a prime necessity in a detective story...

By: Ethel Sybil Turner

Seven Little Australians by Ethel Sybil Turner Seven Little Australians

This is the story of seven incorrigible children living near Sydney in the 1880’s with their military-man father, and a stepmother who is scarcely older than the oldest child of the family. A favourite amongst generations of children for over a century, this story tells of the cheeky exploits of Meg, Pip, Judy, Bunty, Nell, Baby, and The General (who is the real baby of the family), as well as providing a fascinating insight into Australian family life in a bygone era.

By: Henry Fielding (1707-1754)

The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling by Henry Fielding The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling

Tom Jones is considered one of the first prose works describable as a novel. The novel is divided into 18 smaller books. Tom Jones is a foundling discovered on the property of a very kind, wealthy landowner, Squire Allworthy. Tom grows into a vigorous and lusty, yet honest and kind-hearted, youth. He develops affection for his neighbor’s daughter, Sophia Western. On one hand, their love reflects the romantic comedy genre popular in 18th-century Britain. However, Tom’s status as a bastard causes Sophia’s father and Allworthy to oppose their love; this criticism of class friction in society acted as a biting social commentary...

Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding Joseph Andrews

Joseph Andrews ... was the first published full-length novel of the English author and magistrate Henry Fielding, and indeed among the first novels in the English language. Published in 1742 and defined by Fielding as a ‘comic romance,’ it is the story of a good-natured footman's adventures on the road home from London with his friend and mentor, the absent-minded parson Abraham Adams.

Book cover Journey from this World to the Next

The narrator dies in the first sentence. Through relating his travels in the afterlife, Henry Fielding, author of Tom Jones and Joseph Andrews, gently satirizes life here on earth.

The History of the Life of the Late Mr. Jonathan Wild the Great by Henry Fielding The History of the Life of the Late Mr. Jonathan Wild the Great

This novel is sometimes thought of as [Fielding's] first because he almost certainly began composing it before he wrote Shamela and Joseph Andrews. It is a satire of Walpole that draws a parallel between Walpole and Jonathan Wild, the infamous gang leader and highwayman. He implicitly compares the Whig party in Parliament with a gang of thieves being run by Walpole, whose constant desire to be a “Great Man” (a common epithet for Walpole) should culminate only in the antithesis of greatness: being hanged.

Book cover An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews

An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews, or simply Shamela, as it is more commonly known, is a satirical novel written by Henry Fielding and first published in April 1741 under the name of Mr. Conny Keyber. Fielding never owned to writing the work, but it is widely considered to be his. It is a direct attack on the then-popular novel Pamela (November 1740) by Fielding's contemporary and rival Samuel Richardson and is composed, like Pamela, in epistolary form. Shamela is written as a shocking revelation of the true events which took place in the life of Pamela Andrews, the main heroine of Pamela...

By: Elizabeth Prentiss (1818-1878)

Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss Stepping Heavenward

"How dreadfully old I am getting! Sixteen!" Thus begins the lifelong diary of young Katherine as she pours out her hopes, dreams, and spiritual journey on the pages of her dear, old journal. Whimsical and charming Katherine is engagingly candid about her character flaws and her desire to know God. As you listen to her share her heart through these journal entries, you will be amazed and delighted by the depth of her character and the womanly wisdom and godliness she develops over the years. From the agonies of being a teenager to the delicate balancing act between being a wife/mother/daughter/neighbor, it is easy to relate to Katherine's triumphs and trials whether you are 16 or 60...

Aunt Jane's Hero by Elizabeth Prentiss Aunt Jane's Hero

Aunt Jane is a good and loving woman, important to everyone except herself, always willing to give good advice. Her "hero", Horace, is far different: in the beginning of the story, he is a good but a little unthoughtful youth. But at the end, his unthoughtfulness is replaced by his love to god. Beside aunt Jane and her "hero", there is quite a large cast of other unforgettable characters who show us a lot of important things. (Summary by Stav Nisser.)

By: Thomas de Quincey (1785-1859)

Miscellaneous Essays by Thomas de Quincey Miscellaneous Essays

The Hunter Thompson of the 19th Century, de Quincey is best known for his Confessions of an English Opium Eater (an activity shared with his hero, Samuel Coleridge, much to Wordsworth’s dismay). However, de Quincey’s literary genius is best captured in his essays, and, according to Wikipedia: His immediate influence extended to Edgar Allan Poe, Fitz Hugh Ludlow and Charles Baudelaire, but even major 20th century writers such as Jorge Luis Borges admired and claimed to be partly influenced by his work.

By: W. W. Jacobs (1863-1943)

The Monkey's Paw by W. W. Jacobs The Monkey's Paw

An eerie supernatural story, The Monkey's Paw follows the White family as they come to realize that nothing in life comes without a price or at the simple push of a button. First published in 1902, the short story powerfully suggests that one should not interfere with the course of nature, as cheating fate can result in unforeseen consequences that leave one with more than they bargained for. Set in England, the tale opens on a dark and stormy night inside Laburnam Villa, home to Mr. and Mrs...

By: Selma Lagerlöf (1858-1940)

The Wonderful Adventures of Nils by Selma Lagerlöf The Wonderful Adventures of Nils

Selma Lagerlöf was born in Vaermland, Sweden, in 1858 and enjoyed a long and very successful career as a writer, receiving the Nobel-Price in Literature in 1909. She died in Vaermland in 1940. The Wonderful Adventures of Nils (Orig. Nils Holgerssons underbara resa genom Sverige) is a famous work of fiction by Selma Lagerlöf, published in two parts in 1906 and 1907. The background for publication was a commission from the National Teachers Association in 1902 to write a geography reader for the public schools...

Invisible Links by Selma Lagerlöf Invisible Links

Selma Lagerlöf was born in Vaermland, Sweden, in 1858 and enjoyed a long and very successful career as a writer, receiving the Nobel-Price in Literature in 1909. She died in Vaermland in 1940. Invisible Links (Osynliga länkar) is a collection of short stories with an underlying theme about the links that influence and guide people’s actions and lives. It was first published in 1894 and the English translation in 1895. The stories are often set in Lagerlöf’s Vaermland, but they also depict legends and history of Sweden, and some have connections to other works by Lagerlöf. Invisible Links is a good introduction to the writings of Selma Lagerlöf.

The Story of Gösta Berling by Selma Lagerlöf The Story of Gösta Berling

The Story of Gösta Berling" was published in Sweden in 1894 and immediately brought its author into prominence.The tales are founded on actual occurrences and depict the life in the province of Värmland at the beginning of the 19th Century century. Värmland is a lonely tract in the southern part of Sweden, and has retained many of its old customs, while mining is the principal industry of its sparse population. It consists of great stretches of forest, sloping down to long, narrow lakes, connected by rivers.Miss Lagerlöf has grown up in the midst of the wild legends of her country, and, deeply imbued with their spirit, interprets them with a living force all her own.

Book cover The Emperor of Portugallia

Selma Lagerlöf was born in Vaermland, Sweden, in 1858 and enjoyed a long and very successful career as a writer, receiving the Nobel-Price in Literature in 1909. She died in Vaermland in 1940. The Emperor of Portugallia was first Published 1914 in Sweden, and 1916 in English, translated by Velma Swanston Howard. The Story i set in Vaermland around 1860 or 1870. In the centre is Jan of Ruffluck Croft. He loves his daughter more than anything, but when she moves to Stockholm and never sends a word home about her doings, he sinks into a dream-world where she is a noble Empress of Portugallia...

By: Alexander Pope

An Essay on Criticism by Alexander Pope An Essay on Criticism

An Essay on Criticism was the first major poem written by the English writer Alexander Pope (1688-1744). However, despite the title, the poem is not as much an original analysis as it is a compilation of Pope’s various literary opinions. A reading of the poem makes it clear that he is addressing not so much the ingenuous reader as the intending writer. It is written in a type of rhyming verse called heroic couplets.

By: Sholem Aleichem (1859-1916)

Jewish Children (Yudishe Kinder) by Sholem Aleichem Jewish Children (Yudishe Kinder)

Although written from a child’s perspective, this is not a kids book but a series of funny, poignant, and sometimes disturbing stories about life in a late 19th-century Russian-Jewish village — the world of my grandparents. Sholem Rabinovich (1859-1916) was born in Pereiaslav, Ukraine and later immigrated to New York. His short stories about Tevye and his daughters were freely adapted into the musical FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. Rabinovich’s will contained the following injunction: “Let my name be recalled with laughter or not at all.” His translator, Hannah Berman, was Irish of Lithuanian descent.Some of these stories may be too intense for younger children.

By: William Morris (1834 — 1896)

The Wood Beyond the World by William Morris The Wood Beyond the World

MANUAL OF SURGERY, OXFORD MEDICAL PUBLICATIONSBY ALEXIS THOMSON, F.R.C.S.Ed.PREFACE TO SIXTH EDITION Much has happened since this Manual was last revised, and many surgical lessons have been learned in the hard school of war. Some may yet have to be unlearned, and others have but little bearing on the problems presented to the civilian surgeon. Save in its broadest principles, the surgery of warfare is a thing apart from the general surgery of civil life, and the exhaustive literature now available on every aspect of it makes it unnecessary that it should receive detailed consideration in a manual for students...

Völsungasaga by William Morris Völsungasaga

The 13th century Icelandic Völsungasaga is usually read by people studying the Poetic Edda or Wagner’s Ring – which obscures the fact it is a much better story than practically everything derived from it. A riddle-telling dragon, a broken sword, a hooded mysterious wanderer – cannibalism, incest, mutilation, and sensitive hearts. This is R-rated Tolkien – and the unashamedly archaic Magnússon-Morris translation is up for the adventure.Passages spoken in Old Norse are taken from the edition of Sophus Bugge, Berlin, 1891.

News From Nowhere by William Morris News From Nowhere

News from Nowhere (1890) is a classic work combining utopian socialism and soft science fiction written by the artist, designer and socialist pioneer William Morris. In the book, the narrator, William Guest, falls asleep after returning from a meeting of the Socialist League and awakes to find himself in a future society based on common ownership and democratic control of the means of production. In this society there is no private property, no big cities, no authority, no monetary system, no divorce, no courts, no prisons, and no class systems...

Book cover The Well at the World's End, Book 1: The Road unto Love

The Well at World's End is thought to be one of the first examples of an entirely fictional fantasy world, and has greatly influenced later fantasy writers such as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. The book follows the travels of Ralph, a prince of a tiny country, as he disobeys his fathers wishes and runs away from home to adventure in the world, and seek out the fabled Well at World's End, said to grant eternal youth to those who drink from it.

The House of the Wolfings by William Morris The House of the Wolfings

William Morris (1834-1896) was a writer, illustrator and medievalist from the Romantic period and associated with other renowned authors of the time such as Dante Rossetti. His fascination with ancient Germanic and Norse people dominated his writings, the first to be set in an entirely invented fantasy world and which helped to establish the fantasy genre. The House of Wolfings (1890), some argue, is a demonstration of Morris' socialism as the society described, though not an utopia, is clan-based, elects leaders and makes decisions in clan tribal meetings...

By: Grace Livingston Hill (1865-1947)

Book cover The Best Man

Cyril Gordon, a young and handsome secret service agent is running from pursuers who desperately want the information he holds. He hides out from them in a church, and then finds himself married to a woman he’s never seen before. A sweet and sometimes, funny, romance, with several exciting chases.

The Enchanted Barn by Grace Livingston Hill The Enchanted Barn

The Hollisters, a bright, spirited, wholesome family, are compelled to move into the country. After many efforts to secure a home, Shirley, eldest of the Hollisters, contrives a way out by renting a magnificent old stone barn at a ridiculously low price, transforming it into a house. The owner of the barn is not an ordinary landlord, as you will see, for he is a young man with fine ideals, and he is not content with establishing Shirley and her family in the quaintly beautiful old place, but makes the world a much happier place to live in for all of them.

A Little Servant by Grace Livingston Hill A Little Servant

A short story of a little girl who is Jesus’ servant and how she won the heart of an unbelieving gardener.

Cloudy Jewel by Grace Livingston Hill Cloudy Jewel

Julia Cloud, the oldest--and most responsible--child of her family, helped raise her four siblings due to their mother's long-time illness and father's death. After faithfully nursing two ill brothers (who died), she then cared for her invalid mother for many years. When Julia's mother passes on, her only surviving sibling Ellen fully expects--and nearly demands--that her spinster sister come live with her family. But to earn her keep, Julia must be their live-in housekeeper and babysitter for Ellen's four children. But Julia's college-age niece and nephew arrive unexpectedly from California and offer Aunt Cloudy Jewel a surprise opportunity she never expected in her wildest dreams.

Book cover Marcia Schuyler

A compelling love triangle. Marcia is young & sweet. Her older sister Kate is vain & selfish. Marcia deeply admires the man that Kate is to marry: handsome & respected David Spafford. But on the eve of the wedding, Kate elopes with another man. Marcia is there when the note is found...the note that effectively breaks David's heart. Out of pity for his situation, Marcia offers to take Kate's place, in order to save David from humiliation. She grows in love for him, all the while aware that he's still grieving for his lost Kate. What will happen when Kate returns, fully intending to get David back? Will Marcia have the strength to fight for the man she now loves?

The Girl from Montana by Grace Livingston Hill The Girl from Montana

Young Elizabeth, left orphaned by an evildoer who murders her last brother, flees Montana on horseback to find her remaining relatives in the East. Her social and spiritual journey leads her through harrowing encounters, struggles between good and evil, romance and, ultimately, love and fortune. Classic Grace Livingston Hill. (Introduction by Gail Mattern)

By: Ernest William Hornung (1866-1921)

The Amateur Cracksman by Ernest William Hornung The Amateur Cracksman

“I’d tasted blood, and it was all over with me. Why should I work when I could steal? Why settle down to some humdrum uncongenial billet, when excitement, romance, danger and a decent living were all going begging together” – A. J. Raffles, The Ides of March.

By: William Clark Russell (1844-1911)

Abandoned by William Clark Russell Abandoned

As she walks up the aisle to her waiting husband, a young bride undergoes a sudden change of heart. She goes through the marriage ceremony in a daze, but refuses to talk to her new husband, a seafaring man. Her family is stunned and bewildered. After the ceremony, the bride stays shut in her bedroom. The bewildered groom departs in despair. The next day, the family receives news that the groom has been mortally injured in an accident. The bride rushes to his side on board a ship. When she enters his cabin, instead of a bedridden invalid, she finds him sitting strong and hearty at his desk...

The Frozen Pirate by William Clark Russell The Frozen Pirate

Sailing adventure with storms, icebergs, shipwrecks, treasure, and the reawakening of a pirate frozen in suspended animation for nearly fifty years

By: Irvin S. Cobb (1876-1944)

Cobb's Anatomy by Irvin S. Cobb Cobb's Anatomy

Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb was born on June 23, 1876. At seventeen years of age, he began writing for the Paducah Daily News, his hometown paper. At nineteen he became the managing editor; up to that point, our nation’s youngest. He worked as a columnist, a humorist and an author. But ‘horror,’ and ’short stories,’ are not why he is remembered. He is remembered because he was, and still is, funny. And although he is now dead–he died March 11, 1944–this work “Cobb’s Anatomy,” among others, has left an indelible mark upon mankind: a smile.

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: William Dean Howells (1837-1920)

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...

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: 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.

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.


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