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By: Laurence Sterne (1713-1768)

A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy by Laurence Sterne A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy

After the bizarre textual antics of “Tristram Shandy”, this book would seem to require a literary health warning. Sure enough, it opens in mid-conversation upon a subject never explained; meanders after a fashion through a hundred pages, then fizzles out in mid-sentence – so, a plotless novel lacking a beginning, a middle or an end. Let us say: an exercise in the infinitely comic. “There is not a secret so aiding to the progress of sociality, as to get master of this short hand, and to be quick in rendering the several turns of looks and limbs with all their inflections and delineations, into plain words...

By: Edwin Abbott Abbott (1838-1926)

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott Abbott Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions

If you've never heard the term “Mathematical Fiction” before, Edwin Abbott Abbott's 1884 novella, Flatland can certainly enlighten you! Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions was published in 1884 and since then, it has been discovered and re-discovered by succeeding generations who have been delighted by its unique view of society and people. The plot opens with a description of the fictional Flatland. The narrator calls himself “Square” and asks readers to “Imagine a vast sheet of paper on which straight Lines, Squares, Triangles, Pentagons, Hexagons and other figures, instead of remaining fixed in their places, move freely about...

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

The Clicking of Cuthbert by P. G. Wodehouse The Clicking of Cuthbert

The first of two books that he wrote on golfing themes, The Clicking of Cuthbert by PG Wodehouse sparkles with typical Wodehousian wit, humor and general goofiness! An avid golfer himself, Wodehouse published the ten stories in this volume in 1922. In 1924, an American edition titled Golf Without Tears was published. Since then it has enjoyed undimmed popularity among both Wodehouse fans and golfing enthusiasts. Nine of the stories contained in this book are narrated by the Oldest Member, a character who has become a cult figure among Wodehouse fans...

The Intrusion of Jimmy by P. G. Wodehouse The Intrusion of Jimmy

The action begins with playboy bachelor Jimmy Pitt in New York; having fallen in love on a transatlantic liner, he befriends a small-time burglar and breaks into a police captain's house as a result of a bet. The cast of characters head to England, and from there on it is a typically Wodehousian romantic farce, set at the stately Dreever Castle, overflowing with imposters, detectives, crooks, scheming lovers and conniving aunts.

Jill the Reckless by P. G. Wodehouse Jill the Reckless

Jill had money, Jill was engaged to be married to Sir Derek Underhill. Suddenly Jill becomes penniless, and she is no longer engaged. With a smile, in which there is just a tinge of recklessness, she refuses to be beaten and turns to face the world. Instead she goes to New York and becomes a member of the chorus of "The Rose of America," and Mr. Wodehouse is enabled to lift the curtain of the musical comedy world. There is laughter and drama in _Jill the Reckless_, and the action never flags from the moment that Freddie Rooke confesses that he has had a hectic night, down to the point where Wally says briefly "Let 'em," which is page 313...

The Coming of Bill by P. G. Wodehouse The Coming of Bill

The Coming of Bill tells the story of Kirk Winfield, his marriage to Ruth, and their child called Bill. Bill's upbringing is threatened by the interference of Ruth's busybody writer aunt, Mrs Lora Delane Porter.

By: Eugene Field (1850-1895)

Love-Songs of Childhood by Eugene Field Love-Songs of Childhood

If you've heard and loved that delightful nursery rhyme/lullaby, Wynken Blynken and Nod you'd certainly enjoy browsing through its creator Eugene Field's Love Songs of Childhood. The volume contains some forty or more poems for children, which are ideal for read aloud sessions with young folks. Parents will certainly enjoy reading them too. Most of these poems have been set to music and are ideal for family sing-alongs too. Eugene Field was a gifted humorist as well as being a talented children's writer...

By: John Kendrick Bangs (1862-1922)

Alice in Blunderland: an Iridescent Dream by John Kendrick Bangs Alice in Blunderland: an Iridescent Dream

John Kendrick Bangs (May 27, 1862 – January 21, 1922) was an American author and satirist, and the creator of modern Bangasian Fantasy, the school of fantasy writing that sets the plot wholly or partially in the afterlife. (Wikipedia)Plot summary: J K Bangs has taken Alice from Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” and lets her on a boring day travel with the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, the Cheshire Cat and the other of Carroll’s familiar characters to Blunderland. The story is a well written Satire, a witty, humorous tale of adventure and city politics, a tale of Alice in a land where nothing is as it should be. (Summary by Lars Rolander)

The Idiot by John Kendrick Bangs The Idiot

The Idiot is anything but, yet his fellow boarders at Mrs. Smithers-Pedagog’s home for single gentlemen see him as such. His brand of creative thought is dismissed as foolishness yet it continues to get under their skin, because when you’re beneath contempt you can say what you please. – This is the first of John Kendrick Bangs' “Idiot” books and was published by Harper and Brothers in 1895.

The Autobiography of Methuselah by John Kendrick Bangs The Autobiography of Methuselah

A satirical look at early biblical events from the point of view of someone who was there to witness most of them: the oldest man in recorded history.

Ghosts I Have Met and Some Others by John Kendrick Bangs Ghosts I Have Met and Some Others

New York-born John Kendrick Bangs was associate editor and then editor of Life and Harper magazines, eventually finding his way into the Humour department. Here he began to write his own satire and humour. Ghosts I Have Met and Some Others is a delightfully humourous collection of short tales relating encounters with ghosts.

Coffee and Repartee by John Kendrick Bangs Coffee and Repartee

First released in 1893, Coffee And Repartee is a collection of breakfast chats at a gentlemans boarding house run by a Mrs. Smithers. Here these fellows repeatedly face questions and proclamations by an inhabitant they call The Idiot. The discussions sound friendly under pretense, but are really sly battles of ribald wit and cunning charm, as well as rather offensive remarks during a time period considered by many to favour a height of refined etiquette. The Idiot spars well, but will the other residents get the better of him?

Mr Munchausen by John Kendrick Bangs Mr Munchausen

The author has discovered for us in this volume the present stopping place of that famous raconteur of dear comic memory, the late Hieronymous Carl Friederich, sometime Baron Munchausen, and he transmits to us some further adventures of this traveler and veracious relator of merry tales. There are about a dozen of these tales, and, judging by Mr. Bangs' recital of them, the Baron's adventures on this mundane sphere were no more exciting than those he has encountered since taking the ferry across the Styx...

Book cover Over The Plum Pudding

Great Caesar’s ghost and shades of A Christmas Carol! Stories – some ghostly, some Christmas, some humorous, some all three -- twelve of them by a master story teller and humorist of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Book cover Enchanted Typewriter

The Enchanted Typewriter is a collection of short stories by the American author John Kendrick Bangs, written in 1899 in the style that has become known as Bangsian fantasy. Bangs attributes many of the stories to the late (and invisible) James Boswell, who has become an editor for a newspaper in Hades, and who communicates with the author by means of an old typewriter. The fantasy stories in this book are part of the author's Hades series, named for the stories' setting.

Genial Idiot by John Kendrick Bangs Genial Idiot

John Kendrick Bangs once again takes us on a journey with the loveable, but somewhat self-opinionated and irritating Mr Idiot.

Book cover Jack and the Check Book

Bangs is in top form in his version of this small collection of timeless fairy tales. If you don't immediately recognize Jack and the Check Book, Puss, the Promoter, and the Golden Fleece, don't worry, you soon will.

Toppleton's Client by John Kendrick Bangs Toppleton's Client

A pre-eminent legal firm gets far more than it bargained for when it hires the son of its late senior partner, Hopkins Toppleton, Sr., simply to retain the illustrious family name on the company masthead. Knowing Jr. is a loose cannon, their strategy is to pack him off to the UK to head up a European branch of the firm - a branch they have no intention of sending work. The unwitting Hopkins Toppleton, Jr. is, however, determined to make his mark.

By: Edward Lear (1812-1888)

A Book of Nonsense by Edward Lear A Book of Nonsense

In 1846 Lear published A Book of Nonsense, a volume of limericks that went through three editions and helped popularize the form. This book contains 112 of these funny, imaginative verses that have been well loved by many generations of children (and adults). (

Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany and Alphabets by Edward Lear Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany and Alphabets

A selection of nonsense poems, songs (not sung!), stories, and miscellaneous strangeness. The work includes the "Owl and the Pussycat" and a recipe for Amblongus Pie, which begins "Take 4 pounds (say 4½ pounds) of fresh ablongusses and put them in a small pipkin."Edward Lear was an English writer, poet, cat-lover, and illustrator (his watercolours are beautiful). This recording celebrates the 200th anniversary of Lear's birth.

By: George Barr McCutcheon (1866-1928)

Brewster's Millions by George Barr McCutcheon Brewster's Millions

He hosts an all expenses paid luxury cruise to Europe for fifty guests and showers them with expensive gifts. When he's mugged in a dark alley, he insists that the thugs also take the $300 stashed away in his back pocket. He flies into a rage whenever one of his employees suggests cutting costs. Every time he places a bet, he wins, causing him even more despair! In Brewster's Millions by George Barr McCutcheon, a classic riches-to-rags tale, Montgomery Brewster is bound by the terms of an eccentric uncle's will to spend one million dollars completely within a year so that he can lay claim to an even bigger fortune...

Book cover Yollop

Mr. Crittenden Yollop makes friends with the man who came to burglarize his home and sets out to help him return to where he really wants to be...prison. This humorous satire takes a somewhat different look at prisons, criminals, the law and reformers.

By: Israel Zangwill (1864-1926)

The King of Schnorrers by Israel Zangwill The King of Schnorrers

Manasseh da Costa is a schnorrer (beggar) who lives on the charitable contributions of the Jews of late 18th-century London. But Manasseh is far from being a humble panhandler for, as every schnorrer knows, supporting the poor is a commandment from God (a mitzvah) not just a favour. And as the descendant of Portuguese Jews who had lived in England for many generations, Manasseh is the social superior of those newly arrived from Eastern Europe (called ‘Tedesco’), even his wealthy patron Joseph Grobstock...

By: Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906)

Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen Hedda Gabler

Hedda Gabler is a play first published in 1890 by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. In it, Hedda Gabler, daughter of an aristocratic General, has just returned from her honeymoon with George Tesman, an aspiring young academic, reliable but not brilliant, who has combined research with their honeymoon. The reappearance of Tesman’s academic rival, Eilert Lovborg, throws their lives into disarray.

By: Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)

Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley Crome Yellow

A shy, introverted young poet. A weekend in a magnificent English country house. A beautiful young lady whom the poet is secretly in love with. An assorted group of guests with varied interests, motives, ambitions and aspirations, and the complex web of history and events that connect all of them. Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley was his first book, published in 1921, when he was just 27 years old. It is typical of many books written during this period by writers like Thomas Love Peacock and Somerset Maugham, centered round a country mansion and the quaint, British tradition of being invited to spend a weekend with a group of people whom one may or may not know...

By: Robert Benchley (1889-1945)

Love Conquers All by Robert Benchley Love Conquers All

Sixty-three essays on a variety of topics as wide apart as Family Life in America, Opera Synopses, Bigamy, International Finance and many more, Love Conquers All by Robert Benchley strangely enough does not touch upon romance at all! However, these delightful notes provide hours of browsing pleasure for young and old readers alike. Robert Benchley was a well-known humorist and newspaper columnist, radio and television presenter, actor, scriptwriter and broadcaster. He is also credited with creating the first ever television entertainment show and one of his iconic short films, How to Sleep won an Academy Award in 1936...

By: John Habberton

Helen's Babies by John Habberton Helen's Babies

Harry Burton, salesman of white-goods, bachelor of twenty-eight leads a charmed existence. A letter from his sister, Helen changes his life forever. She and her husband have been invited for a holiday but they can't find anyone to baby-sit their two toddlers, five-year-old Budge and three-year-old Toddie. Ever the gallant helpful, Harry steps in, foreseeing nothing but a relaxed vacation with lots of books to read and thinks baby-sitting's a breeze. But destiny has other plans. Harry has long adored a lovely lady from afar and hopes to convince her that he is marriage material by displaying his nurturing side...

By: L. A. Abbott (1813-??)

Seven Wives and Seven Prisons by L. A. Abbott Seven Wives and Seven Prisons

This work the author claims is indeed a true story of how he happened to be married seven times to seven different women and the rollicking, hilarious events that led (or stumbled) to the marriages and the ah–disassembling/failing/failures of each said marriage which happened oftentimes to land him in prison. The summarist finds the work a very tongue-in-cheek diatribe/lament/account of his obsessive zeal in ‘marrying the right one’, but is also the mirthful chronicle of said author’s very unconventional adventures.

By: H. G. Wells (1866-1946)

Book cover Love and Mr Lewisham

The teaching profession, science and politics in late 19th century England. H.G.Wells’ humorous early novel, drawing on his own life, shows how these – as well as involvement in spiritualism – have to compete with love.

Book cover Sea Lady

By: Booth Tarkington

Seventeen by Booth Tarkington Seventeen

A Tale of Youth and Summer Time and the Baxter Family Especially William

Gentle Julia by Booth Tarkington Gentle Julia

Penrod for girls in the form of Florence, the bratty younger cousin of luminous Julia Atwater, enlivens this romantic comedy set in Tarkington's Indiana of the early 20th Century.

Penrod by Booth Tarkington Penrod

Join Penrod Schofield and his wistful dog Duke, in a hilarious romp through turn of the century Indianapolis, chronicling his life, loves, and mostly the trouble he gets into.

Penrod and Sam by Booth Tarkington Penrod and Sam

Follow more of the hilarious life of the boy Penrod Schofield, his friends Sam Williams, Herman, Verman, Georgie, Maurice, and the love of his life, Marjorie Jones.

By: Gideon Wurdz (b. 1875)

The Foolish Dictionary by Gideon Wurdz The Foolish Dictionary

“The Foolish Dictionary” was written by “Gideon Wurdz” and was published in 1904. According to the beginning of the book, it is “An exhausting work of reference to un-certain English words, their origin, meaning, legitimate and illegitimate use…” This a a short but amusing dictionary which “redefines” words in some interesting ways. Funny and sometimes bizarre observations are sprinkled throughout. In keeping with the policy to read, rather than attempt to rewrite, books – even those with offensive content – nothing has been omitted...

By: Alphonse Daudet (1840-1897)

Tartarin of Tarascon by Alphonse Daudet Tartarin of Tarascon

It tells the burlesque adventures of Tartarin, a local hero of Tarascon, a small town in southern France, whose invented adventures and reputation as a swashbuckler finally force him to travel to a very prosaic Algiers in search of lions. Instead of finding a romantic, mysterious Oriental fantasy land, he finds a sordid world suspended between Europe and the Middle East. And worst of all, there are no lions left.

By: Irwin S. Cobb (1876-1944)

Europe Revised by Irwin S. Cobb Europe Revised

Irwin Cobb’s humorous Europe Revised is a travelogue and comedy almost in the style of Mark Twain. The dedication says it best, “To My Small DaughterWho bade me shed a tear at the tomb of Napoleon, which I was very glad to do, because when I got there my feet certainly were hurting me.”

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: 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: Frederick Marryat (1792-1848)

Book cover Snarleyyow

This is a quite amusing nautical tale of the British Navy of the around the year 1700. While, as with much early 'humor', it is somewhat heavy-handed, the sympathies of the author are clear and good, and cruelty is often averted by good fortune or background characters. First published under the title 'The Dog Fiend', the primary characters are an evil captain of a cutter and his dog. The dog seems indestructible, as is the poor cabin boy who is the butt of the captain's ill humor, and who often is chewed on by the dog...

By: Edna Ferber (1885-1968)

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...

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: 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...

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: 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)

Five O'Clock Tea by William Dean Howells Five O'Clock Tea

A light-hearted romantic comedy in twelve short scenes, set during a tea party in the home of Mrs. Amy Somers, a widow who is courted by the ingenuous and delightful Mr. Willis Campbell.

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: 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: 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: 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]

Book cover In a Steamer Chair and Other Stories

Thirteen short stories by one of the most famous writers in his day. Robert Barr was a British Canadian short story writer and novelist, born in Glasgow, Scotland. In London of the 1890s Barr became a more prolific author - publishing a book a year - and was familiar with many of the best selling authors of his day, including Bret Harte and Stephen Crane. Most of his literary output was of the crime genre, then quite in vogue. When Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories were becoming well known,...

By: Christopher Morley (1890-1957)

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."

By: Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol

Dead Souls by Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol Dead Souls

Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol, Russian writer, was first published in 1842, and is one of the most prominent works of 19th-century Russian literature. Gogol himself saw it as an “epic poem in prose”, and within the book as a “novel in verse”. Despite supposedly completing the trilogy’s second part, Gogol destroyed it shortly before his death. Although the novel ends in mid-sentence (like Sterne’s Sentimental Journey), it is usually regarded as complete in the extant form. In Russia before the emancipation of the serfs in 1861, landowners were entitled to own serfs to farm their land...

By: Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935)

Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman Herland

Herland is a utopian novel from 1915, written by feminist Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The book describes an isolated society comprised entirely of Aryan women who reproduce via parthenogenesis (asexual reproduction). The result is an ideal social order, free of war, conflict and domination. It first appeared as a serial in Perkin’s monthly magazine Forerunner.

By: Peter Newell (1862-1924)

The Slant Book by Peter Newell The Slant Book

The Slant Book is literally the shape of a parallelogram, with the spine of the book running down one side. When opened, facing pages form a “V” shape. All the pictures on the slanted recto pages show a way-too-precocious infant in a carriage [the "go-cart" of yesteryear] racing downhill who has somehow gotten away from his nanny, gleefully creating havoc all along the way! The facing verso pages contain two stanzas of commentary on the charming –if alarming!– illustrations. This book pioneered the “special format” children’s literature of today, such as pop-up books or cutout books like Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar...

The Rocket Book by Peter Newell The Rocket Book

The Rocket Book begins when the son of a building superintendent sets a match to a rocket he discovered in the basement. Suddenly, the rocket blasts its way up through apartment after apartment in a high-rise, disrupting and transforming the humdrum goings-on of twenty families till it is finally stopped cold by something in the attic. An elliptical hole is punched in each of the book’s pages and illustrations to signify where the rocket passed through every apartment! As in all of Newell’s books, the verse on the verso-page provides commentary on the recto-page illustration...

By: Irwin Leslie Gordon (1888-1954)

Who Was Who: 5000 BC – 1914 by Irwin Leslie Gordon Who Was Who: 5000 BC – 1914

A short, humorous biography of famous people from 5000 BC to 1914. — S. McGaughey From the Introduction, “The editor begs leave to inform the public that only persons who can produce proper evidence of their demise will be admitted to Who Was Who. Press Agent notices or complimentary comments are absolutely excluded, and those offering to pay for the insertion of names will be prosecuted. As persons become eligible they will be included without solicitation, while the pages will be expurgated of others should good luck warrant.”

By: Robert Williams Wood (1868-1955)

How to Tell the Birds from the Flowers by Robert Williams Wood How to Tell the Birds from the Flowers

How do you tell apart a parrot from a carrot? A plover from a clover? A bay from a jay? Although there are several ways of differentiating, R. W. Wood’s use of pun and rhyme is one of the most entertaining!

By: Albert Bigelow Pain

The Boys' Life of Mark Twain by Albert Bigelow Pain The Boys' Life of Mark Twain

Albert Bigelow Paine was Samuel Langhorne Clemens’ (Mark Twain’s) biographer. He lived with Twain, collecting ideas and material for a biography, for a few years before Twain’s death in 1910. Six years later Paine published this “story of a man who made the world laugh and love him.” For those who have read or listened to Mark Twain’s works, Paine’s work is an invaluable resource to better understand Twain, the stories behind his stories and his life with those he loved and with whom he worked.

By: Earl Derr Biggers (1884-1933)

Book cover Seven Keys to Baldpate

Dime-store novelist William Magee has gone to Baldpate Inn to do a little soul-searching in an attempt to write a serious work. Thinking he will be alone and uninterrupted, Magee arrives at the inn in the dead of winter. But he discovers that there are six other keys to Baldpate Inn, and the holders of those keys enliven his stay with bribery, shootings and plenty of mystery.

By: George Pope Morris (1802-1864)

Book cover Will Nobody Marry Me?

In addition to his publishing and editorial work, Morris was popular as a poet and songwriter; especially well-known was his poem-turned-song "Woodman, Spare that Tree!" His songs in particular were popular enough that Graham's Magazine in Philadelphia promised Morris $50, sight unseen, for any work he wanted to publish in the periodical.

By: Edward Ormondroyd

David and the Phoenix by Edward Ormondroyd David and the Phoenix

David knew that one should be prepared for anything when one climbs a mountain, but he never dreamed what he would find that June morning on the mountain ledge. There stood an enormous bird, with a head like an eagle, a neck like a swan, and a scarlet crest. The most astonishing thing was that the bird had an open book on the ground and was reading from it! This was David’s first sight of the fabulous Phoenix and the beginning of a pleasant and profitable partnership. The Phoenix found a great...

By: Gerard Nolst Trenité

The Chaos by Gerard Nolst Trenité The Chaos

“The Chaos” is a poem which demonstrates the irregularity of English spelling and pronunciation, written by Gerard Nolst Trenité (1870-1946), also known under the pseudonym Charivarius. It first appeared in an appendix to the author’s 1920 textbook Drop Your Foreign Accent: engelsche uitspraakoefeningen.

By: Tobias Smollett

The Expedition of Humphry Clinker by Tobias Smollett The Expedition of Humphry Clinker

The Expedition of Humphry Clinker was the last of the picaresque novels of Tobias Smollett, and is considered by many to be his best and funniest work. Published in London on 17 June 1771, it is an epistolary novel, presented in the form of letters written by six different characters: Matthew Bramble, a Welsh Squire; his sister Tabitha; their niece and nephew, Jery and Lydia Melford; Tabitha’s maid Winifred Jenkins; and Lydia’s suitor, Wilson. Much of the comedy arises from differences in the descriptions of the same events by different participants...

By: Richard Harding Davis (1864-1916)

The Princess Aline by Richard Harding Davis The Princess Aline

Morton Carlton, an easy-going, rich young artist, has never taken the concepts of love and marriage all that seriously -- until by accident a copy of an English illustrated paper falls into his hands, which contains a photograph of the young Princess Aline of Hohenwald. Instantly, Carlton is captivated by the princess, and decides that he must meet her. But how to get close to a princess, who lives in a small German duchy well protected by guards and etiquette? Carlton decides to travel to Europe and try his luck...

My Buried Treasure by Richard Harding Davis My Buried Treasure

"This is a true story of a search for buried treasure. The only part that is not true is the name of the man with whom I searched for the treasure. Unless I keep his name out of it he will not let me write the story, and, as it was his expedition and as my share of the treasure is only what I can make by writing the story, I must write as he dictates. I think the story should be told, because our experience was unique, and might be of benefit to others. And, besides, I need the money." (From the text)

By: James Stephens

Book cover There is a Tavern in the Town

The soul of Irish wit is captured in this unique tale of a barstool philosopher, the concluding story from 'Here Are Ladies' by James Stephens. (Introduction by iremonger)

By: Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)

Book cover Kashtanka

"Kashtanka," a shaggy-dog story penned by Anton Chekhov in seven parts and first published in 1887, relates the experiences of its eponymous heroine, a fox-faced, reddish dachshund-mix, whose name means 'little chestnut.' After her detestation of music causes her to become separated from the carpenter with whose family she had been living, Kashtanka finds herself taken up by an unusual vaudevillian and goes to live among an assortment of other intelligent animals, each of whom is observed with the characteristic empathy and humor that stamp Chekhov's work.

By: Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1927)

Second Thoughts Of An Idle Fellow by Jerome K. Jerome Second Thoughts Of An Idle Fellow

A second volume of humorous essays on various subjects, following the success of Idle thoughts Of An Idle Fellow.

Diary of a Pilgrimage by Jerome K. Jerome Diary of a Pilgrimage

A possibly fictionalised account by the comic novelist Jerome K. Jerome of a trip to Germany that he undertook with a friend in order to see the famous Passion Play at Oberammergau. The journey takes in London, Dover, Ostend, Cologne, Munich, Oberau, Oberammergau and then back to London via Heidelberg. As one might expect from the author of 'Three Men in a Boat', much goes wrong along the way, including seasickness, strange food, stranger beds, misleading guidebooks, bewildering train timetables, and numerous cultural and linguistic misunderstandings.

By: P. T. Barnum (1810-1891)

The Humbugs of the World by P. T. Barnum The Humbugs of the World

P. T. Barnum exposes some of the chief humbugs of the world with his usual entertaining style. He looks at medicine and quacks, ghosts, witchcraft, religious humbugs, money manias, adventurers, personal reminiscences, and much more.

By: Carolyn Wells (1862-1942)

The Jingle Book by Carolyn Wells The Jingle Book

A collection of silly poetry and limericks for children.

By: Daisy Ashford (1881-1972)

The Young Visiters, or Mr. Salteena's Plan by Daisy Ashford The Young Visiters, or Mr. Salteena's Plan

The Young Visiters is a comic romance novella that parodies upper class society of late Victorian England. Social climber Alfred Salteena introduces his young lady friend Ethel to a genuine gentleman named Bernard and, to his irritation, they hit it off. But Bernard helps Alfred in his plan to become a gentleman, which, Alfred hopes, will help him win back Ethel.

By: Ring Lardner (1885-1933)

Gullible's Travels, Etc. by Ring Lardner Gullible's Travels, Etc.

Humorous stories of social climbing in America's "classless" society.

By: Dorothy Quigley

What Dress Makes of Us by Dorothy Quigley What Dress Makes of Us

A wickedly funny book of advice on women’s dress. However old, fat or plain you are, Dorothy Quigley will tell you what not to wear.

By: Helen Rowland (1875-1950)

A Guide to Men: Being Encore Reflections of a Bachelor Girl by Helen Rowland A Guide to Men: Being Encore Reflections of a Bachelor Girl

A series of occasionally witty one-liners, poems and considerations on the subject of Men, Women and their Conjunction. By turns tender, bland, sexist (in both directions!) and funny.

By: Henry W. Lucy (1845-1924)

Faces and Places by Henry W. Lucy Faces and Places

Faces and Places is a collection of articles on nineteenth century travel, events and personalities by the British journalist Henry Lucy, who wrote for the Daily News, a London newspaper. His open letter To Those About to Become Journalists rings as true today as when it was written.The first article, “Fred” Burnaby, includes a lively account of a balloon trip, while Night and Day on the Cars in Canada and Easter on Les Avants relate Lucy’s experiences of rail travel at that time. Other travel tales (A Night on a Mountain, Mosquitoes and Monaco, and Oysters and Arcachon) provide an insight into the Victorian Englishman’s attitude to Europe...

By: Thomas Love Peacock

Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Love Peacock Nightmare Abbey

Deep in the fens of the British coast sits the gloomy mansion that goes by the name Nightmare Abbey. It is inhabited by persons of very low opinion of the human race, and in fact they pride themselves in the depths of their detestation. Others of its denizens believe the ultimate exercise and product of the human mind ought to be chaos. Now let the young master of the house get snared by the wiles of a beautiful young lady. And for good measure, toss in another beautiful young lady. Now Scythrop...

By: Max Beerbohm (1872-1956)

Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm Zuleika Dobson

‘A wickedly funny 1911 satire on undergraduate life in Edwardian Oxford’ in which the entire student body of Oxford university including the young, handsome aristocrat the Duke of Dorset falls hopelessly in love with Zuleika who is visiting her grandfather, the warden of Judas college, and ultimately commit mass suicide at the end of ‘Eights Week’

By: Max Beerbohm (1872-1956)

Book cover Seven Men

In order to liven up the literary history of Great Britain in the 1890s (as if Oscar Wilde, Stevenson, Kipling, Hardy, etc., were not lively enough) Max Beerbohm wrote short biographies of six imaginary writers. Though their works of course no longer exist, he leaves the impression that the literary world is really none the poorer. It is, of course, the six men themselves (Beerbohm himself is the seventh man of the title) who are worth our attention. ( Nicholas Clifford) Note that the Gutenberg edition of Seven Men is incomplete, but the missing sections may be found separately James Pethel http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/759 E.V. Laider http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/761

Book cover Happy Hypocrite: A Fairy Tale For Tired Men

Sir Henry Maximilian "Max" Beerbohm was an English essayist, parodist, and caricaturist. The Happy Hypocrite: A Fairy Tale for Tired Men is a short story with moral implications. Beerbohm's tale is a lighter, more humorous version of Oscar Wilde's classic tale of moral degeneration, The Picture of Dorian Gray. The Happy Hypocrite tells the story of a man who deceives a woman with a mask in order to marry her.

By: Alfred Elwes (1819-1888)

The Adventures of a Dog, and a Good Dog Too by Alfred Elwes The Adventures of a Dog, and a Good Dog Too

This fictional work is written in 1st person by the dog himself. It's a cute story of the adventures in the life of a noble dog who is appropriately named, Job. The canine society in which he lives is an interesting parallel to human society.

By: Edward Phillips Oppenheim (1866-1946)

An Amiable Charlatan by Edward Phillips Oppenheim An Amiable Charlatan

An Englishman is enjoying his dinner at Stephano's, at which he is a regular diner. A man enters quickly, sits at his table, starts eating his food, and hands him a packet underneath the table! So begins Paul Walmsley's acquaintance - and adventures - with American adventurer Joseph H. Parker and his lovely daughter, Eve. (Intro by TriciaG)Note that there is an alternate reading of section 8. Both are excellent renditions, so enjoy either or both of them.

By: Thornton W. Burgess (1874-1965)

The Adventures of Mr. Mocker by Thornton W. Burgess The Adventures of Mr. Mocker

When an innocent blue jay starts talking in his sleep, it’s up to him to find out what’s going on in this fun, naturalistic, Southern-style children’s story.

By: F. Anstey (1856-1934)

Vice Versa by F. Anstey Vice Versa

Set in Victorian times, the novel concerns business man Paul Bultitude and his son Dick. Dick is about to leave home for a boarding school which is ruled by the cane wielding headmaster Dr. Grimstone. Bultitude, seeing his son's fear of going to the school, foolishly says that schooldays are the best years of a boy's life, and how he wished that he was the one so doing. At this point, thanks to a handy magic stone brought by an uncle from India which grants the possessor one wish, they are now on even terms...

By: Anstey, F. (1856-1934)

The Black Poodle and Other Tales by Anstey, F. The Black Poodle and Other Tales

This is a collection of ten humorous short stories

By: F. Anstey (1856-1934)

Book cover Baboo Jabberjee, B.A.

Another delightful example of an English writer poking fun at his countrymen, or maybe all races' reactions to someone from a diferent background. A series of adventures of a well educated foreigner in London which originally appeared weekly in Punch, sometimes with illustrations, dealing with the difficulties of fully understanding a different culture. The hero's perfect English reminds one of a quote from "My Fair Lady" ..."His English is too good, he said, "that clearly indicates that he is Foreign. Whereas other people are instructed in their native language English people aren't."

Book cover Talking Horse And Other Stories

A collection of short stories by famed humorist and Punch magazine staff member, F. Anstey, pseudonym for Thomas Anstey Guthrie. They range from humorous and whimsical to haunting and thought-provoking.

Book cover Tinted Venus

When a young newly engaged man finds himself bound for an amusement garden with an old flame, not his fiancee, it is not surprising that he still feels some attraction for her. When they escape the heat of the dance floor to walk among the trees in the garden, it is not surprising that they should come upon a statue of a woman of uncommon beauty, with the smallest hands. When the young man attempts to demonstrate that his absent fiancee has hands even smaller than this immortalized stone woman, it is surprising when the engagement ring he is carrying fits easily on the stone finger, but does not easily come off...

Book cover In Brief Authority

Satiric comedy from 1915 about a nouveau riche British family and their nanny who get whisked off to Maerchenland ('the land of Fairy Tales') one evening in a car drawn by storks. The matron of the family, a thorough snob, is crowned Queen of the country by mistake. She is quick to accept her new position and is determined to introduce British social niceties in her realm. And this really is the land of Fairy Tales, with gnomes, giants, a dragon, magic, a fairy godmother and more. Trouble quickly starts to brew as the royal couple and their son introduce things like capitalism and golf...

By: Herbert George Jenkins (1876-1923)

Adventures of Bindle by Herbert George Jenkins Adventures of Bindle

Jenkins' most popular fictional creation was Mr. Joseph Bindle, who first appeared in a humorous novel in 1916 and in a number of sequels. In the preface to the books, T. P. O'Connor said that "Bindle is the greatest Cockney that has come into being through the medium of literature since Dickens wrote Pickwick Papers". The stories are based on the comedic drama of life at work, at home and all the adventures that take place along the way.

By: Barton Wood Currie

Officer 666 by Barton Wood Currie Officer 666

Bored with his life as a wealthy businessman's only son, Travers Gladwin learns of a plot by a renowned art burglar to rob his house, so rather than thwart the planned burglary, he borrows a police uniform from a friend and decides to confront the robber by posing as an officer. When the burglar arrives at the house, he tries to pass himself off as Travers Gladwin. From there, things only get more complicated, including the arrival of the burglar's girlfriend who believes that her beau is the wealthy man's son. Comical and timely, the book was made into a movie multiple times, each hugely successful.

By: Edward Streeter (1891-1976)

Dere Mable by Edward Streeter Dere Mable

Bill is in training camp, preparing to go off to World War I. This book is a collection of love letters written to his sweetheart, Mable. The letters are humorous, mis-spelled, and have many stories of life in an army camp – all from Bill’s unique perspective.

By: Oliver Wendell Holmes

The One-Hoss Shay by Oliver Wendell Holmes The One-Hoss Shay

This is a small collection of whimsical poems by the American physician and author Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. "The Deacon's Masterpiece" describes the "logical" outcome of building an object (in this case, a two-wheeled carriage called a shay) that has no weak points. The economic term "one hoss shay," referring to a certain model of depreciation, derives its name from this poem. "How the Old Horse Won the Bet" is a lighthearted look at a horse race. Finally, "The Broomstick Train" is a wonderfully Halloween-y explanation of how an electric tram really works.


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