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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: 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

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...

This, That, and the Other by Hilaire Belloc This, That, and the Other

“When Fame comes upon a man well before death then must he most particularly beware of it, for is it then most dangerous. Neither must he, having achieved it, relax effort nor (a much greater peril) think he has done his work because some Fame now attaches thereto.” -- Hilaire Belloc

On Anything by Hilaire Belloc On Anything

"Long before I knew that the speech of men was misused by them and that they lied in the hearing of the gods perpetually in those early days through which all men have passed, during which one believes what one is told, an old and crusty woman of great wealth, to whom I was describing what I intended to do with life (which in those days seemed to me of infinite duration), said to me, ( You are building castles in Spain.' I was too much in awe of this woman not on account of the wealth, but on account...

By: L. Frank Baum (1856-1919)

Aunt Jane's Nieces at Work by L. Frank Baum Aunt Jane's Nieces at Work

The novel carries forward the continuing story of the three cousins Louise Merrick, Beth De Graf, and Patsy Doyle, and their circle. The title is somewhat misleading; it could more accurately have been called Aunt Jane's Nieces in Politics. (Uncle John Merrick tells his nieces that politics is "work," which yields the title.)The story begins three days after the end of the previous book, Aunt Jane's Nieces at Millville; the freckled and red-haired Patsy still sports a sunburn from her summer in the Adirondacks...

Book cover Aunt Jane's Nieces Out West

After visiting Louise, Arthur and Toodlums at their ranch in Southern California, Beth and Patsy, together with Uncle John, decide to spend the winter at an hotel in the little village of Hollywood, where they get drawn into the new motion picture industry. New friends, adventures and mysteries await.

Book cover Policeman Bluejay

This is another "TWINKLE TALE" from Mr. Baum (written under the pen name Laura Bancroft) and celebrates the further adventures of Twinkle and Chubbins as they magically become child-larks and live the exciting, and often dangerous, life of birds in the forest.

Book cover Aunt Jane's Nieces In The Red Cross

The 10th and final book in the series for adolescent girls sees two of the three cousins react to atrocities in World War I by volunteering in the Red Cross. Written under the pseudonym of Edith Van Dyne, this is the 1915 version, which reflects United States' neutrality. A later version, published in 1918, differed significantly to reflect changes in the position of the United States.

Book cover Aunt Jane's Nieces In Society

Written under pseudonym of Edith Van Dyne. The story continues the adventures of three cousins, Louise, Patsy and Beth,with their debuts in society and the appearance of suitors, one of whom is rejected and kidnaps Louise.

Book cover Aunt Jane's Nieces In Society

Written under pseudonym of Edith Van Dyne. The story continues the adventures of three cousins, Louise, Patsy and Beth,with their debuts in society and the appearance of suitors, one of whom is rejected and kidnaps Louise.

Book cover Aunt Jane's Nieces And Uncle John

Aunt Jane's Nieces and Uncle John picks up the continuing story of the three cousins Patsy Doyle, Beth De Graf, and Louise Merrick, and their family; the plot of the book begins three days after the wedding of Louise and her fiancé Arthur Weldon, the event that concluded the sixth book in the series, Aunt Jane's Nieces in Society. Uncle John hires a touring car and the party makes a tour of the South West, visiting New Mexico and Arizona.

Book cover Aunt Jane's Nieces on Vacation

Aunt Jane's Nieces on Vacation is a juvenile novel for girls, written by L. Frank Baum. It is the seventh in the ten volumes in the Aunt Jane's Nieces series, and carries forward the continuing story of the three cousins Lousie Merrick Weldon, Patsy Doyle, and Elizabeth De Graf. Like all the books in the series, it was issued under Baum's "Edith Van Dyne" pseudonym.

By: Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899)

Lectures of Col. R. G. Ingersoll by Robert Green Ingersoll Lectures of Col. R. G. Ingersoll

Colonel Robert Green Ingersoll (1833–1899) was a Civil War veteran, American political leader and orator during the Golden Age of Freethought, noted for his defense of atheism. This book is the first of two volumes collecting Ingersoll’s speeches.

By: E. E. Smith (1895-1965)

Spacehounds of IPC by E. E. Smith Spacehounds of IPC

When the Inter-Planetary Corporation's (IPC) crack liner “IPV Arcturus” took off on a routine flight to Mars, it turned out to be the beginning of a unexpected and long voyage. There had been too many reports of errors in ship's flight positions from the Check Stations and brilliant physicist Dr. Percival (“Steve”) Stevens is aboard the Arcturus on a fact-finding mission to find out what's really happening, and hopefully save the honor of the brave pilots of the space-liner Arcturus from the desk-jockeys' in the Check Stations implications of imprecision - the nastiest insult you could cast at a ships pilot...

Book cover Skylark Three

This is a sequel to The Skylark of Space. The novel concerns Richard Seaton and his allies who have encounters with aliens while fighting DuQuesne and the Fenachrone..

Book cover The Skylark of Space

The Skylark of Space is one of the earliest novels of interstellar travel and is considered a classic of pulp science fiction. Originally serialized in 1928 in the magazine Amazing Stories it is often categorized as the first literary space opera, complete with protagonists perfect in mind, body, and spirit, who fight against villains of absolute evil.

By: R. Austin Freeman (1862-1943)

The Eye of Osiris by R. Austin Freeman The Eye of Osiris

The Eye of Osiris is an early example from the Dr. Thorndyke series of detective stories written by R. Austin Freeman. In these stories, the author drew on his extensive medical and scientific knowledge for his main character, a medico-legal expert who relies on forensic evidence and logical deduction in solving cases. In this case, Thorndyke steps in to investigate the disappearance of one John Bellingham, an English gentleman and amateur Egyptologist, who has vanished under very mysterious circumstances...

Book cover The Mystery of 31 New Inn

Jeffrey Blackmore suspiciously made two wills, both deceptively alike, but still, in a cunning way, completely different. John Thorndyke, equally cunning and smart, smells something fishy. With stylish cool and logic, he leads the story up to its marvelous and fully credible climax.

The Red Thumb Mark by R. Austin Freeman The Red Thumb Mark

Missing diamonds, untouched safe, two blood smeared thumb prints and a mysterious Mr X. If these are present, Dr Thorndyke must be there too. Will he be able to solve this case?The Red Thumb Mark is the first novel of Freeman’s best-selling Thorndyke series.

The Uttermost Farthing by R. Austin Freeman The Uttermost Farthing

Humphrey Challoner is a solitary old man who spent a lifetime collecting for his private museum, primarily mammals exhibiting osteological abnormalities but also 24 articulated human skeletons without any apparent defect. His friend, Dr. Wharton, is puzzled by the collection, but he humors Challoner's eccentricities and tends to him in his final illness. When Wharton inherits the collection on Challoner's death, the dark mystery that ties the collection together is finally revealed.

By: Bret Harte (1837-1902)

Selected Stories by Bret Harte Selected Stories

Bret Harte (1837–1902) was an American author and poet, best remembered for his accounts of pioneering life in California.

Book cover Mrs. Skagg's Husbands and Other Stories

A collection of short stories set in the American West at the end of the 19th century.

By: William Harrison Ainsworth (1805-1882)

Rookwood by William Harrison Ainsworth Rookwood

A rich and complex Gothic-Romance centring on the murky deeds of an ancient family. It is a wonderfully atmospheric piece that combines narrative, poetry, song, and descriptive writing to great effect. The character of Dick Turpin that we know today – the dashing highwaymen and unmatched horseman – can be said to stem directly from this novel, as the most famous part of the book (often published on its own in the past), Turpin’s Ride To York, is devoted to him. Although seemingly little known to a modern audience, Ainsworth’s ‘Rookwood’ gave the world the image of the highwayman with which we are all so familiar.

Windsor Castle, Book 1 by William Harrison Ainsworth Windsor Castle, Book 1

Book 1 - Ann Boleyn. The focus of the novels is on the events surrounding Henry VIII's replacing Catherine of Aragon with Anne Boleyn as his wife. During Henry's pursuit of Boleyn, the novel describes other couples, including the Earl of Surrey and Lady Elizabeth Fitzgerald, a match Henry does not support. However, some of the individuals oppose Henry and his desires for Boleyn, including Thomas Wyat who wants her for himself and Cardinal Wolsey, who uses his own daughter, Mabel Lyndwood, to lure Henry away from Boleyn...

By: Samuel Butler (1835-1902)

Erewhon by Samuel Butler Erewhon

Erewhon, or Over the Range is a novel by Samuel Butler, published anonymously in 1872. The title is also the name of a country, supposedly discovered by the protagonist. In the novel, it is not revealed in which part of the world Erewhon is, but it is clear that it is a fictional country. Butler meant the title to be read as the word Nowhere backwards, even though the letters “h” and “w” are transposed. It is likely that he did this to protect himself from accusations of being unpatriotic, although Erewhon is obviously a satire of Victorian society.

The Way of All Flesh by Samuel Butler The Way of All Flesh

The Way of All Flesh (1903) is a semi-autobiographical novel by Samuel Butler which attacks Victorian-era hypocrisy. Written between 1873 and 1884, it traces four generations of the Pontifex family. It represents the diminishment of religious outlook from a Calvinistic approach, which is presented as harsh. Butler dared not publish it during his lifetime, but when it was published it was accepted as part of the general revulsion against Victorianism.

By: Richard D. Blackmore

Lorna Doone, a Romance of Exmoor by Richard D. Blackmore Lorna Doone, a Romance of Exmoor

“If anybody cares to read a simple tale told simply” … thus opens Lorna Doone, one of the best love stories ever written. The novel has inspired at least ten movies and mini-series. “John (in West Country dialect this is pronounced Jan) Ridd is the son of a respectable farmer who was murdered in cold blood by a member of the notorious Doone clan, a once-noble family now living in the isolated Doone Valley. Battling his desire for revenge, John also grows into a respectable farmer and continues to take good care of his mother and two sisters...

Erema by Richard D. Blackmore Erema

A few years before the great Civil War, a young English woman and her father, having left the security of their wagon train, are lost in the unforgiving Californian desert, looking in vain for the landmark that marks the short-cut across those last western mountains which would lead them to the home of an old friend. George Castlewood gives all the water and rations he has to his daughter, Erema, and dies just a short distance from help. Rescued by kind Sampson “Uncle Sam” Gundry, the family friend they had been seeking, Erema lives for a time at his saw mill...

By: Georgette Heyer

The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer The Black Moth

Jack Carstares, oldest son of the Earl Wyncham, has been disgraced by his brother. Gone for six years, living the life a highwayman he meets the woman he will fall in love with. Saving her from being kidnapped by a dastardly blackguard he is injured and must stay with her family until he is able to return to his life…will she discovery his true identity? Will he be able to leave her when the time comes? Mystery and humor follow this intriguing cast of characters until the very end. (Summary by Terra Mendoza)

By: Arthur Machen (1863-1947)

The White People by Arthur Machen The White People

Literary critics see Arthur Machen’s works as a significant part of the late Victorian revival of the gothic novel and the decadent movement of the 1890s, bearing direct comparison to the themes found in contemporary works like Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. The White People is a highly influential horror story of a young girl’s discovery of ancient magic. It was written in the late 1890s as part of a longer unfinished novel, some sketches from which went into his book Ornaments in Jade. Fans of supernatural fiction often cite this story as a classic in the genre.

By: Varous

Ancient Greek Philosopher-Scientists by Varous Ancient Greek Philosopher-Scientists

The Pre-Socratic Greek philosophers, that is, the philosopher-scientists who lived before or contemporaneously to Socrates, were the first men in the Western world to establish a line of inquiry regarding the natural phenomena that rejected the traditional religious explanations and searched for rational explanations. Even though they do not form a school of thought, they can be considered the fathers of philosophy and many other sciences as we have them now. None of their works is extant, so, in this collection, we present the textual fragments, when existing, of ten Pre-Socratic philosopher-scientists, and quotations and testimonials about them left by later authors...

By: Ernest William Hornung

Dead Men Tell No Tales by Ernest William Hornung Dead Men Tell No Tales

Ernest William Hornung (June 7, 1866 – March 22, 1921) was an English author. Hornung was the third son of John Peter Hornung, a Hungarian, and was born in Middlesbrough. He was educated at Uppingham during some of the later years of its great headmaster, Edward Thring. He spent most of his life in England and France, but in 1884 left for Australia and stayed for two years where he working as a tutor at Mossgiel station. Although his Australian experience had been so short, it coloured most of his literary work from A Bride from the Bush published in 1899, to Old Offenders and a few Old Scores, which appeared after his death...

By: Richard Jefferies (1848-1887)

After London, or Wild England by Richard Jefferies After London, or Wild England

First published in 1885, After London, or Wild England is considered to be one of the earliest instances of post-apocalyptic fiction, describing the effects of an unspecified catastrophe that dramatically changes the face of England and its population. Divided into two parts, the first depicts the fall of civilization, as society reverts to its more primitive roots, while the second part is set years after the apocalyptic event and examines the evident changes in both natural scenery and social structure...

By: Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823)

The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe The Mysteries of Udolpho

Considered a change agent in early Gothic romance; oft-referenced in later literary works or paid homage to by such authors as Jane Austen (influential novel ready by her heroine, Catherine Morland, in Northanger Abbey); Edgar Allen Poe (borrowed plot elements for the short story The Oval Portrait); and Sir Walter Scott. In The Mysteries of Udolpho, one of the most famous and popular gothic novels of the eighteenth century, Ann Radcliffe took a new tack from her predecessors and portrayed her heroine’s inner life, creating an atmosphere thick with fear, and providing a gripping plot that continues to thrill readers today...

A Sicilian Romance by Ann Radcliffe A Sicilian Romance

A Sicilian Romance is a Gothic novel by Ann Radcliffe. It was her second published work, and was first published anonymously in 1790. The plot concerns the turbulent history of the fallen aristocrats of the house of Mazzini, on the northern shore of Sicily, as related by a tourist who becomes intrigued by the stories of a monk he meets in the ruins of their doomed castle. The introduction to the 'Worlds Classics' edition notes that in this novel "Ann Radcliffe began to forge the unique mixture of the psychology of terror and poetic description that would make her the great exemplar of the Gothic novel, and the idol of the Romantics"...

By: George B. Grinnell

Blackfeet Indian Stories by George B. Grinnell Blackfeet Indian Stories

The Blackfeet were hunters, travelling from place to place on foot. They used implements of stone, wood, or bone, wore clothing made of skins, and lived in tents covered by hides. Dogs, their only tame animals, were used as beasts of burden to carry small packs and drag light loads. The stories here told come down to us from very ancient times. Grandfathers have told them to their grandchildren, and these again to their grandchildren, and so from mouth to mouth, through many generations, they have reached our time. (Sibella Denton)

By: Anne Brontë (1820-1849)

Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë Agnes Grey

Agnes Grey is the daughter of a minister, whose family comes to financial ruin. Desperate to earn money to care for herself, she takes one of the few jobs allowed to respectable women in the early Victorian era, as a governess to the children of the wealthy. In working with two different families, the Bloomfields and the Murrays, she comes to learn about the troubles that face a young woman who must try to rein in unruly, spoiled children for a living, and about the ability of wealth and status to destroy social values. After her father's death, Agnes opens a small school with her mother and finds happiness with a man who loves her for herself.

By: Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798)

The Memoirs of Jacques Casanova by Giacomo Casanova The Memoirs of Jacques Casanova

This is the first of five volumes. – Giacomo Casanova (1725 in Venice – 1798 in Dux, Bohemia, now Duchcov, Czech Republic) was a famous Venetian adventurer, writer, and womanizer. He used charm, guile, threats, intimidation, and aggression, when necessary, to conquer women, sometimes leaving behind children or debt. In his autobiography Histoire de ma vie (Story of My Life), regarded as one of the most authentic sources of the customs and norms of European social life during the 18th century, he mentions 122 women with whom he had sex...

By: Robert Bloch

This Crowded Earth by Robert Bloch This Crowded Earth

Robert Bloch was a prolific writer in many genres. As a young man he was encouraged by his mentor H. P. Lovecraft, and was a close friend of Stanley G. Weinbaum. Besides hundreds of short stories and novels he wrote a number of television and film scripts including several for the original Star Trek. In 1959 Bloch wrote the novel Psycho which Alfred Hitchcock adapted to film a year later. He received the Hugo Award, the World Fantasy Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and he is a past president of the Mystery Writers of America. Published in Amazing Stories in 1958, This Crowded Earth is a thriller set on an overpopulated Earth of the future.

By: Mark Phillips (Randall Garrett and Laurence M. Janifer)

Brain Twister by Mark Phillips (Randall Garrett and Laurence M. Janifer) Brain Twister

“Mark Phillips” is, or are, two writers: Randall Garrett and Laurence M. Janifer. Their joint pen-name, derived from their middle names (Philip and Mark), was coined soon after their original meeting, at a science-fiction convention. Both men were drunk at the time, which explains a good deal, and only one has ever sobered up. A matter for constant contention between the collaborators is which one. Originally published as That Sweet Little Old Lady, Brain Twister follows the adventures of FBI agent Kenneth J...

By: Elliott O’Donnell (1872—1965)

Animal Ghosts by Elliott O’Donnell Animal Ghosts

Summary: This is a collection of ghost stories in which the antagonists are various animals. Divided up into chapters of ghost sightings by each group of animals, you will hear of hauntings by dogs, cats, birds, jungle animals, etc. (Summary by Allyson Hester)

By: Robert Barr (1850-1912)

The Triumphs of Eugene Valmont by Robert Barr The Triumphs of Eugene Valmont

Short stories by a colleague of Jerome K. Jerome, and friend of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Barr probably wrote the first parody of Sherlock Holmes (included in this collection). He co-edited “The Idler” with Jerome. [written by Czechchris]

A Prince of Good Fellows by Robert Barr A Prince of Good Fellows

Robert Barr (1849 - 1912) was a Scottish Journalist, editor, humorist and author. A Prince of Good Fellows was published in 1902, and is a series of Historical Fiction stories about the young James V, King of Scots (1512 – 1542). The chapters are full of humor and adventure and portrays a young King who is both wise and adventurous.

By: Henry Kuttner (1915—1958)

The Creature from Beyond Infinity by Henry Kuttner The Creature from Beyond Infinity

A lone space traveler arrives on Earth seeking a new planet to colonize, his own world dead. At the same time a mysterious plague has infected Earth that will wipe out all life. Can a lone scientist stop the plague and save the world? Or will the alien find himself on another doomed planet?

The Ego Machine by Henry Kuttner The Ego Machine

Celebrated playwright Nicholas Martin didn’t read the small print in his Hollywood options contract. Now he’s facing five years of servitude to a conceited director named Raoul St. Cyr, who’s taken a thoughtful play about Portuguese fishermen and added dancing mermaids. When it seems the plot has changed to include a robot from the future Nicholas looses all hope, but this robot may be just what he needs to win his freedom. – The Ego Machine was first published in the May, 1952 issue of Space Science Fiction magazine.

By: Samuel B. Allison

An American Robinson Crusoe by Samuel B. Allison An American Robinson Crusoe

An American Robinson Crusoe is a short version of the original story. An indolent, rebellious teen goes on a marine voyage against his parents’ wishes. The ship (and all of its crew) is lost in a storm, but Robinson makes it to a deserted island. He has no tools, no weapons, but he lives for over 28 years on the island. He befriends many animals on the island and after over 20 years living solo, he is joined by a young “savage” who becomes his constant companion. The transformation from the young, lazy teen to a self-sustaining, incredibly knowledgeable adult is one of the major themes in the story.

By: Lucy Clifford (1846-1929)

Anyhow Stories: Moral and Otherwise by Lucy Clifford Anyhow Stories: Moral and Otherwise

A collection of stories and poems for children by British novelist, journalist, and playwright Lucy Lane Clifford, better known during her lifetime as Mrs W.K. Clifford. She was famous with her mathematician husband for Sunday salons which attracted both scientists and literati. She was born in 1846 and died in 1929. Summary by Val Grimm

By: Emily Neville (1919-1997)

It's Like This, Cat by Emily Neville It's Like This, Cat

This novel won the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1964. This delightful story revolves around a 14 year old boy, Dave and his adopted cat, called just "Cat", who turns his ordinary everyday life into an exciting roller-coaster ride.

By: Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865)

Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell Cranford

Cranford is the best-known novel of the 19th century English writer Elizabeth Gaskell. It was first published in 1851 as a serial in the magazine Household Words, which was edited by Charles Dickens.

Sylvia's Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell Sylvia's Lovers

The novel begins in the 1790s in the coastal town of Monkshaven. Sylvia Robson lives with her parents on a farm, and is loved by her rather dull Quaker cousin Philip. She, however, meets and falls in love with Charlie Kinraid, a sailor on a whaling vessel, and they become engaged, although few people know of the engagement. But Charlie gets press-ganged and have to leave without a word.

By: Gertrude Knevels (1881-1962)

The Wonderful Bed by Gertrude Knevels The Wonderful Bed

Three children sent to stay the night with their Aunt Jane find themselves sharing an enormous bed. So enormous is it, that when they make a tent of the bedsheets and crawl in, they never make it to the foot of the bed, crawling instead into a dreamworld of caves and pirates and adventures.

By: Robert Michael Ballantyne (1825-1894)

The Coral Island - A Tale of the Pacific Ocean by Robert Michael Ballantyne The Coral Island - A Tale of the Pacific Ocean

Ralph Rover is a traveler at heart, and has always dreamed of shipping out to the South Seas islands. He finally convinces his aging parents to let him go and find his way in the world. But the islands that Ralph finds are not as idyllic as in his dreams. Shipwrecked on a large, uninhabited island, Ralph and his fellow survivors, Jim and Peterkin, discover a world of hostile natives and villainous pirates. Danger, high adventure, and wonders of the sea greet them at every turn. When all seems lost, they find help from an unexpected source.

By: Peter Abelard

The Love Letters of Abelard and Heloise by Peter Abelard The Love Letters of Abelard and Heloise

Heloise was a strong-willed and gifted woman who was fluent in Latin, Greek and Hebrew, and came from a lower social standing than Abelard. At age 19, and living under her uncle Fulbert’s roof, Heloise fell in love with Abelard, who she was studying under. Not only did they have a clandestine affair of a sexual nature, they had a child, Astrolabe, out of wedlock. Discovered by the Fulbert (who was a Church official), Abelard was assaulted by a hired thug and castrated, and Heloise entered a convent...

The Story of My Misfortunes by Peter Abelard The Story of My Misfortunes

Autobiographies from remote historical periods can be especially fascinating. Modes of self-presentation vary greatly across the centuries, as of course does the very concept of Self. Peter Abelard, the medieval philosopher and composer, here gives a concise but vivid survey of his notoriously calamitous life. The work is couched in the form of a letter to an afflicted friend. Abelard’s abrasively competitive, often arrogant personality emerges at once in the brief Foreword, where he informs his correspondent: “(I)n comparing your sorrows with mine, you may discover that yours are in truth nought.. and so shall you come to bear them the more easily.”

By: W. Somerset Maugham (1847-1965)

Rain by W. Somerset Maugham Rain

Rain charts the moral disintegration of a missionary attempting to convert a Pacific island prostitute named Sadie Thompson. (Introduction by an excerpt from Wikipedia)

By: Christopher Morley (1890-1957)

The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley The Haunted Bookshop

Roger Mifflin is the somewhat eccentric proprietor of The Haunted Bookshop, a second-hand bookstore in Brooklyn that is “haunted by the ghosts of all great literature.” Beginning with the arrival of a young advertising man and the mysterious disappearance of a certain volume from the shelves of the bookshop, a lively and often humorous tale of intrigue unfolds, generously sprinkled with liberal doses of Roger’s unique philosophy on literature and book selling.

Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley Parnassus on Wheels

Parnassus on Wheels is about a fictional traveling book-selling business. The original owner of the business, Roger Mifflin, sells it to 39-year-old Helen McGill, who is tired of taking care of her ailing older brother, Andrew.

Book cover Mince Pie

Mince Pie is a compilation of humorous sketches, poetry, and essays written by Christopher Morley. Morley sets the tone in the preface: "If one asks what excuse there can be for prolonging the existence of these trifles, my answer is that there is no excuse. But a copy on the bedside shelf may possibly pave the way to easy slumber. Only a mind "debauched by learning" (in Doctor Johnson's phrase) will scrutinize them too anxiously."


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