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By: Robert C. Benchley (1889-1945)

Book cover Of All Things

A collection of amusing essays satirizing serious consideration of topics including natural history, social etiquette, or indeed, civilized behavior (especially of the upper classes).

By: George Fullerton Evans (-1963)

Book cover College Freshman's Don't Book

A short, humorous guide of what not to do in your first year of college.

By: Harriet Lummis Smith

Book cover Peggy Raymond's Way (or Blossom Time At Friendly Terrace)

In this fifth and (as far as is known) final volume of Peggy Raymond and her Friendly Terrace entourage, we find the Girls winding down from the Great War, and pursuing more domestic and mischievous pursuits. Finishing up college and preparing for Peggy and Grahame's wedding, Ruth, Amy and Priscilla look toward their own opportunities of future relationships and potential marriages. As Harriet Lummis Smith is so good at, it is a neat blend of continuity toward the known characters and charming introductions of the new.

By: Lawton Mackall (1888-1968)

Book cover Bizarre

A series of essays offering a humorous look at commonplace items and occurrences.

By: Rupert Hughes (1872-1956)

Book cover Excuse Me! (Dramatic Reading)

What happens when a mix of lovers get stuck together on a coast-to-coast train? Mainly hilarity. There is every kind of couple imaginable. One serviceman and his bride-to-be are trying desperately to get married but can't find a clergyman to perform the rites. They don't know that right in their midst is a preacher disguised as a man of the world so he and his wife can enjoy a carefree vacation. Then there is a drunk mourning his separation from the wife who just happens to be on the same train. There is even a confirmed bachelor who discovers that a confirmed spinster is his long-lost love from years ago...

By: John Rae (1882-1963)

Book cover New Adventures of Alice (version 2 Dramatic Reading)

After reading and re-reading the book many time as a boy and wishing that Lewis Carroll would have written another Alice In Wonderland Book, John Rae began imagining what that girl would have gotten up to if he had done so. Telling these stories to his children over the years, where they were enthusiastically received, he finally decided to share them with the world. And here they are! The New Adventures of Alice

By: Earl Derr Biggers (1884-1933)

Book cover Love Insurance

A young man came to Lloyds of London. He knew they took out policies on unusual risks... And what he wanted was love insurance. What follows is a comic novel, by the creator of the Chinese detective - Charlie Chan!

By: Frederic Stewart Isham (1866-1922)

Book cover Nothing But the Truth

A young man, finding himself unexpectedly impecunious, attempts to improve his fortunes by wagering that he can speak nothing but the absolute truth for three weeks. He soon learns, however, that telling only the unvarnished truth can have surprising consequences. This 1914 novel of love, mystery, and misunderstandings, with amusing characters and plot twists, was adapted as a Broadway play in 1916, followed by six motion pictures: in 1920 and 1929; in 1931 separately in Spanish, French and German; and in 1941 starring Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard. Frederic S. Isham was a writer of short stories, novels and plays. (Lee Smalley)

By: Ellis Parker Butler (1869-1937)

Book cover That Pup

A puppy, unanounced and unordered, arrives in a crate at Mr. Murchison's house. Humorous events follow.

By: Israel Zangwill (1864-1926)

Book cover Grotesques and Fantasies

A set of often funny, sometimes tragic stories by Israel Zangwill. Most famous for his scathingly accurate portrayals of the Jewish ghetto, these stories have a wider stage, poking fun at social conventions and society itself, both high and low. The real and the fantastic collide to produce a world uniquely Zangwill's.These are the tales of figures as diverse as a pantomime dragon, an excellent butler, a man living his life in the wrong order and a Jewish maiden who knows exactly what she is worth...

By: Ellis Parker Butler (1869-1937)

Book cover Adventures of a Suburbanite

Why is the neighbor so obsessed with his car? Where can we find a good gardener? Should we have a Santa Claus at our Christmas party? Yes, this is suburbia... much the same today as it was in 1911.

By: Henry james (1843-1916)

Book cover Third Person

The Third Person is an amusing spoof on spooking. The 'ghostly man about the house' in whom two increasingly competitive maiden ladies come to take a proprietary interest is as unlikely to inspire terror as the wraith in one of James's earliest tales. The anticlimactic crisis may need a footnote for younger readers: a Tauchnitz was an unauthorized continental paperback edition of a british or american book which, purely for copyright reasons, was not supposed to be brought back to England. To think of this as smuggling certainly placed, for James's contemporaries, the crimes of the ghostly third person in a hilarious perspective.

By: Edith Nesbit (1858-1924)

Book cover Lark

"The Lark" has all the charm and freshness which have made Miss Nesbit's former novels so justly popular, and yet the story ts entirely new and original. Two girls, Jane and Lucilla, are led by Jane's guardian to entertain high hopes. The fortune, however, which Jane was to have inherited, has been lost by unlucky speculations, and the two girls have to set about earning their own livings. They experience many adventures and ups and downs of fortune before they meet with the two men who ensure their happiness and prosperity. A delightful story, well worth reading.

By: F. Anstey (1856-1934)

Book cover Voces Populi

F. Anstey was the nom de plume of Thomas Anstey Guthrie, a Londoner who was trained for the bar but found success as a writer of humorous pieces for Punch and humorous novels. Voces Populi, a collection of his Punch pieces, is considered to be among his best works. He treats an array of situations from the charlatan conjuror to a row over a lady's large, obstructive hat at the music hall.

By: Edgar Saltus (1855-1921)

Book cover Mr. Incoul's Misadventure

Saltus has been compared to Oscar Wilde for wit and language. His novels are entertaining, yet philosophical, exposing the vagaries of human nature. The publishers promoted Mr. Incoul's Misadventure thus: "A novel which is sure to be condemned by every one who prefers platitude to paradox, or tea and toast to truffles and red pepper."

By: F. Anstey (1856-1934)

Book cover Mr. Punch's Model Music-hall Songs & Dramas

F. Anstey was the nom de plume of Thomas Anstey Guthrie, a Londoner who was trained for the bar but found success as a writer of humorous pieces for Punch and humorous novels. Mr. Punch's Model Music Hall is a collection of humorous pieces written for Punch, divided into songs and dramas. In his usual fashion, Mr. Anstey captured the tone of his times and then exaggerated whatever was already absurd to entertain and give pointed commentary at the same time.

By: Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)

Book cover Brittains Ida or Venus and Anchises

While hunting, the boy Anchises stumbles upon Venus's forest retreat and is so kindly entertained by the goddess that he becomes the proud father of Aeneas, the hero of Vergil's Aeneid. The poem is an epyllion like Marlowe's "Hero and Leander" and Shakespeare's "Venus and Adonis," a short erotic poem with a mythological subject. The style is Spenserian, the stanzas rhyming ababbccc. When Brittain's Ida was published in 1628, the publisher ascribed it to Edmund Spenser. However, in 1926 Ethel Seaton discovered and published Fletcher's original manuscript, whose opening stanzas make clear that this is the work of Fletcher, who entitled it "Venus and Anchises."

By: Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin (1826-1889)

Book cover Family of Noblemen

Meet the Golovliovs, the ultimate dysfunctional family. In the difficult transition years before and after the liberation of Russia’s serfs, the Golovliovs are a gentry family ill-equipped to face the adaptations necessary in the new social order. Petty, back-biting, greedy, rigid, ignorant, and cruel, their personalities are captured in the array of nicknames they themselves give each other: The Hag, Little Judas, Simple Simon, Pavel the Sneak, the Orphans, the Blood-Sucker. They hate each other ferociously and utterly despise the peasants around them, who are gradually awakening to the potentialities of their new freedoms...

By: Henry Murger (1832-1861)

Book cover Bohemians of the Latin Quarter

As much as any other work of literature, Henri Murger’s 1851 collection of witty sketches Scènes de la vie de bohème shaped the later romanticized image of the bohemian artist: independent, insouciant, exuberantly lustful, devoted to Art for Art’s sake no matter how cold and hungry the artist might be. Four young Parisian artists, Schaunard the composer, Marcel the painter, Rodolphe the poet, and Colline the philosopher, form an informal Bohemian alliance dedicated to Art and the joy of Life...

By: Louis Napoleon Parker (1852-1944)

Book cover Pomander Walk

Pomander Walk is a unique street in London, and in this humorous novel we meet the unusual residents. It was originally produced as a stage play and includes lively dialog.

By: S. Baring-Gould (1834-1924)

Book cover Pennycomequicks

The Pennycomequicks is the charming and witty story of a dysfunctional English family in the late 19th century, scattered to the winds, scarred and battered by human and Divine tragedy, struggling for sustenance of the material and / or immaterial kind.

By: George Livermore

Book cover Take it From Dad

Take It From Dad is a collection of letters written by a father to his son, Ted, at boarding school, away from home for the first time. In each letter "Dad" comments on some aspect of Ted's experience, attitude, or behavior, illustrating and driving home his point with an entertaining tale about human nature. This book is appropriate for all ages from adolescence on, and its lessons are as relevant today as when they were written. --Lee Smalley

By: William Combe (1742-1823)

Book cover Tour of Dr. Syntax in Search of the Picturesque

“To bury these, to christen those, And marry such fond folks who chose To change the tenor of their life And risk the matrimonial strife.” This was the humdrum life of Dr. Syntax before he set out on his bizarre and hilarious adventures, presented here in the form of satirical poem in 26 cantos. It’s a lot of fun!

By: Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Book cover More Newspaper Articles by Mark Twain

"More Newspaper Articles by Mark Twain" fills in the gaps left by the first collection of newspaper articles: "Newspaper Articles by Mark Twain" . The missing articles, collected by twainquotes.com, consist of works printed in the Muscatine Journal, the Keokuk Daily Post, the New York Sunday Mercury, the Golden Era, the Californian, The Daily Dramatic Chronicle, San Francisco Bulletin, the New York Herald and travel letters originally printed in the Chicago Daily tribune. The earliest articles first appeared in 1853...

By: Various

Book cover Little Masterpieces of American Wit and Humor Vol 2

Volume 2 of a ten volume collection of amusing tales, observations and anecdotes by America's greatest wordsmiths. This work includes selections by such household favorites as Ambrose Bierce, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Mark Twain and Bret Harte.

By: Henry Edward Warner (1876-)

Book cover That House I Bought; A Little Leaf From Life

This is a whimsical, entertaining, tongue in cheek narrative of the author’s purchase of a house, circa 1911.

By: Margaret O. Oliphant (1828-1897)

Book cover Miss Marjoribanks

One of the so-called "Chronicles of Carlingford", of which there were two short stories and five novels written from 1861 to 1876 by Margaret Oliphant Wilson Oliphant. The Chronicles originally appeared in the famous Blackwood's Magazine. Mrs. Oliphant wrote prolifically in her career, and many of her main characters were independent, resourceful women. In fact, Miss Marjoribanks has been occasionally cited as the successor to Jane Austen's Emma, albeit Miss Marjoribanks is more focused, less pliable and a decidedly more strategic thinker than dear Emma.

By: Stephen Leacock (1869-1944)

Book cover Essays and Literary Studies

A collection of wry looks at literature, education, and other social phenomena by Canadian humourist and economics professor, Stephen Leacock.

By: Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865)

Book cover Cranford (version 2)

Cranford is set in a small market town populated largely by a number of respectable ladies. It tells of their secrets and foibles, their gossip and their romances as they face the challenges of dealing with new inhabitants to their society and innovations to their settled existence. It was first published between 1851 and 1853 as episodes in Charles Dickens’ Journal Household Words. Appended to this recording is a short sequel, The Cage at Cranford, written ten years later and published in the journal All the Year Round...

By: Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Book cover Mark Twain's Journal Writings, Volume 1

Volume 1 contains these 12 essays: 1.) "Americans on a Visit to the Emperor of Russia." 2.) "The Austrian Edison keeping school again" 3.) "The Canvasser's tale." 4.) "The Czar's Soliloquy." 5.) "English as She is Taught." 6.) "Grasses in the South." 7.) "Hawaii." 8.) "A Helpless Situation." 9.) "How I Escaped being Killed in a Duel." 10.) "Important to Whom it may Concern." 11.) "The Austrian Edison Keeping School Again" 12.) "Jim's Investments, and King Sollermun."

By: Various

Book cover Tim Bobbin: A View of the Lancashire Dialect

A comic dialogue written in John Collier's idiosyncratic version of the 18th century South Lancashire dialect together with a collection of 19th century texts on Collier and his work. Egged on by Meary (Mary), Tummus (Thomas) recounts the series of misadventures that ensue when he makes a trip to Rochdale on an errand for his master. First published in 1746, the text grew over subsequent editions as Collier expanded the story, added a preface in which he berates publishers who had pirated his work, and inflated and amended his glossary...

By: Omar Khayyám (1048-1131)

Book cover Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (Le Gallienne) - Version 2

One of the greatest works of poetry in history, this lyric poem presents the deep feelings and emotions of the poet on subjects such as life, death, love, God and destiny.

By: George Wilbur Peck (1840-1916)

Book cover Sunbeams

George W. Peck was at times a writer, newspaper publisher and politician. Many of the Sunbeam essays had been published in Peck's paper, "The Sun", as amusing and often critical comments on social and political subjects, typically current in the beginning of the 1900's. Topics are often 'small town' United States, and Peck's gentle sarcasm or portrayals much resembles that of Twain. Listeners must be aware that the Spanish American War was a recent event, leading to the "Yankee" involvement in the Philippines...

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

Book cover Wodehouse in the Strand - Short Story Collection

This is a collection of P.G. Wodehouse's short stories published in The Strand from 1918 to 1922. (kirk202) Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, KBE (15 October 1881 – 14 February 1975) was an English humorist, whose body of work includes novels, short stories, plays, poems, song lyrics and numerous pieces of journalism. He enjoyed enormous popular success during a career that lasted more than seventy years, and his many writings continue to be widely read.

By: Ellis Parker Butler (1869-1937)

Book cover Ellis Parker Butler Short Story Collection, Vol 1

Ellis Parker Butler was an American author. He was the author of more than 30 books and more than 2,000 stories and essays. These are eight of his humorous short stories about life.

By: Bill Nye (1850-1896)

Book cover Guest at the Ludlow and Other Stories

Bill Nye was a respected journalist who also became known as a humorist. His short pieces range from a description of a visit to a friend residing in Ludlow prison, to “advice” to a son, to a wry commentary on his visits to Oakland, California. From real estate “investments” to accounts of less than ideal train passengers, Mr. Nye had his eye trained on the ironies of life, addressing them in the only sure way to preserve sanity, with humor.

By: Oliver Onions (1873-1961)

Book cover Compleat Bachelor

George Oliver Onions (1873 – 1961) was a British writer of story collections and over 40 novels…. Onions wrote detective fiction, social comedy, historical fiction and romance novels. This social comedy of late Victorian England is among his first published materials. Rollo Butterfield, the compleat bachelor, looks upon his family and friends with an affectionate, gently humorous eye.

By: Lawton Mackall (1888-1968)

Book cover Bizarre (version 2)

A series of humorous musings, short-length jokes, often concerning words and manners.

By: Ellis Parker Butler (1869-1937)

Book cover Perkins of Portland

Amusing tales showing the effectiveness of advertising some rather questionable products. Perkins and the narrator partner in promotions directed at a gullible and willing public. Unlike most tales of the kind, with moralistic endings where the 'sharps' come to grief, Perkins and Co. become wealthy and quite pleased with themselves.

By: Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919)

Book cover Six Bad Husbands and Six Unhappy Wives

This is a collection of six short stories, each of them illustrating that even a marriage which looks perfect from the outside can be sabotaged quite easily by the two people involved.

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

Book cover Food of the Gods, and How It Came to Earth (version 2)

Mr. Bensington and Professor Redwood have invented a substance that causes living things to grow - and grow - and grow! As their experiments progress, the substance quickly gets out of control and the fun begins as insects and plants receive the benefit of the Food of the Gods. Surely nobody would dream of feeding such a thing to a human child… would they? In this little-known science fiction satire, Wells takes potshots at every member of society: scientists, ministers, charitable heiresses, revolutionaries, and everyone in between. Yet in the end, Wells shows his faith both in humanity and its never-ceasing progress. - Summary by Catharine Eastman

By: Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Book cover Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Dramatic Reading)

In order to escape his cruel father, and led by a thirst for adventure, Huck Finn sets off down the Mississippi River with Jim, an escaped slave. But trouble is never far behind them, and their adventures are only beginning when they meet up with two men who claim to be a duke and a king! And that’s before Jim gets captured by none other than Tom Sawyer’s aunt and uncle… who mistake Huck for Tom. The hilarious adventures and scrapes of Huck, Jim, Tom, and others are brought to life in this dramatic reading...

By: John Kendrick Bangs (1862-1922)

Book cover Idiot at home

The Idiot returns along with Ms Idiot and their two children, Mollie and Tommy, move into their first house in suburbia. What follows are encounters with his companions from his boarding house days, Coffee and Repartee, along with new characters that inhabit suburbia with the unassailable logic of the Idiot and Mrs Idiot regarding various aspects of life in the suburbs, starting with why the knowledge of an egg beater is more important than that of Wagner. Which story is your favourite?

By: Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Book cover Mark Twain: The Complete Interviews

This collection of the 258 known, publicly-printed interviews of Mark Twain was compiled by Gary Scharnhorst and published by the University of Alabama Press. The interviews are in the Public Domain, and our thanks go to Gary Scharnhorst and the University of Alabama for making them available for this Public Domain audio recording. They were compiled in the University of Alabama Press book entitled "Mark Twain: The Complete Interviews" and are arranged, chronologically, from Twain's first authenticated interview in 1871, to his last interview in 1910...

By: Eliza Armstrong

Book cover Teacup Club (Dramatic Reading)

The Teacup Club is formed when Dorothy decides to found an intellectual club of her own - to teach her fiance a lesson! The club’s discussion topics includes Theosophy, Politics and Women in Legislature. The club’s unofficial topics include Emily’s new dress, man-flu and the great mystery of the missing chafing-dish. A witty drama and a comedy of manners, secrets and politics . - Summary by Elizabby Cast List: Cast Narrator: Beth Thomas Evelyn: Jennifer Fournier Emily: Leanne Yau Dorothy: KHand Frances: Beth Thomas Elise: Lydia Marion: Vicki Hibbins Catharine: Michele Eaton Edited by: Michele Eaton and linny Proof listeners: Michele Eaton, Beth Thomas

By: George Gibbs (1870-1942)

Book cover Madcap

Quote: "To the quiet Titine her mistress created an impression of bringing not only herself into the room, but also the violent horse and the whole of the out-of-doors besides." --Chapter 1 of Madcap. --In the same chapter, Hermia Challoner, this force of nature pitted against the nature of her social milieu, laughingly tells her maid, "Better die living--than be living dead." --And thus starts the beginning of an early 20th century quest for something beyond the bored and politely veiled cynicism of class and wealth; beyond oneself. --Add to that a little mischief, a bit of Puckish misdirection. And a bit of romance.

By: Steele Rudd (1868-1935)

Book cover Dad's Trip to Brisbane (from Our New Selection)

Chapters XV through XIX of "Our New Selection" "The wheat was in, and Dad decided to take a trip to Brisbane. For seven or eight years he had been thinking of that trip, but something or other always came to prevent his going. According to Dad himself, the farm would suffer if he went away for a month; there would be no one to look after it, no one to manage. According to us there would be no one to look on while the cows were being milked; no one to stand in the paddock all day while the hay was...

By: Walter Hamilton (1844-1899)

Book cover Parodies on Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade

This extract, taken from Parodies of the works of English and American Authors, vol 1, of parodies of Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade covers such topics as the Clergy, the Fairer Sex, Doctors, Engineers and many others. - Summary by Kim

By: Eleanor Hallowell Abbott (1872-1958)

Book cover Rainy Week (Dramatic Reading)

Join this couple in their annual house party where the “guests” becoming unknowing “actors” in their beach house play “Rainy Week” . “To be indeed absolutely explicit experience has proved, with an almost chemical accuracy, that, quite regardless of "age, sex, or previous condition of servitude," this particular combination of Romantic Passion, Psychic Austerity, Tragedy, Ambition, Poignancy, Innocence, And Irritation, cannot be housed together for even one Rainy Week without producing drama!” Cast Narrator/Mrs...

By: Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616)

Book cover Don Quixote, Vol. 1 (Ormsby Translation)

Don Quixote is a Spanish novel by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Published in two volumes, in 1605 and 1615, Don Quixote is considered the most influential work of literature from the Spanish Golden Age and the entire Spanish literary canon. As a founding work of modern Western literature and one of the earliest canonical novels, it regularly appears high on lists of the greatest works of fiction ever published.... The story follows the adventures of a hidalgo named Mr. Alonso Quixano who reads so many chivalric romances that he loses his sanity and decides to set out to revive chivalry, undo wrongs, and bring justice to the world, under the name Don Quixote de la Mancha...

By: Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881)

Book cover Crocodile

Ivan Matveich, the most ordinary person you might hope to meet, is swallowed alive by a crocodile at a sideshow. Finding life inside the belly of the beast quite comfortable, he makes a home for himself there. His disquisitions on the state of the world from inside the crocodile make him quite a name for himself; while all the while the discussion rages outside as to whether the beast is going to be cut open to release him or not, its value as a sideshow attraction having massively increased owing to the presence of the human voice buried inside it. One of Jorge Luis Borges' seven most favourite stories. - Summary by Tony Addison

By: Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876-1958)

Book cover Amazing Adventures of Letitia Carberry

Letitia, Aggie and Lizzie are at it again, solving mysteries, getting into scrapes. Is there no end to the antics of these three spinster ladies? A murder at a hospital, reuniting lovers, a mangy dog or does it have fleas? The hilarious and often perilous adventures of Letitia Carberry. - Summary by Sandra More stories at Tish: The Chronicle of Her Escapades and Excursions More Tish

By: Irving Bacheller (1859-1950)

Book cover Prodigal Village; A Christmas Tale

Small town life in early twentieth century New York state. This is a piquant parable of human nature. Bacheller's lightly humorous voice is evident throughout. Not all listeners will agree with the author's view of labor and management. - Summary by david wales

By: George Farquhar (1677-1707)

Book cover Sir Harry Wildair

This sequel to the Jubilee [The Constant Couple, or A Trip to the Jubilee] appeared at Drury Lane in 1701, and was almost as popular as its predecessor. The smartness of the dialogue, the witty comment upon the fashions of the hour, the movement of the story, the vice and flippancy exhibited by its chief character, all specially appealed to the audience before whom it was produced, and the comedy had a run of several nights. - Cast list: Sir Harry Wildair: Peter Tucker Banter, Beau, a younger...

By: Arthur Bingham Walkley (1855-1926)

Book cover Pastiche and Prejudice

Arthur Bingham Walkley was an exceedingly popular critic, working as a drama critic at The Times alone for no less than 26 years, and writing for several other newspapers and privately besides that. This book of pastiches was completed after he already had more than two decades of work as a theatre critic under his belt, and it draws some brilliant characterisations. Among the literary and historical figures found in the different pastiches are such illustrious figures as Aristotle and Shakespeare, but also more modern phenomena as movies are discussed, along with politicians and other famous persons of the time. - Summary by Carolin

By: Frank Gelett Burgess (1886-1951)

Book cover Maxims of Methuselah

Being the Advice given by the Patriarch in his Nine Hundred Sixty and Ninth Year to his Great Grandson at Shem's Coming of Age, in Regard to Women.The following is, so far as I know, the only authentic rendering into the English language of the three hundred and thirty parables attributed to Methuselah. . . . Of its origin, the book, although freely rendered into the idiom of the hour, still bears intrinsic evidence of having been compiled by one who had had extraordinary experience with women. The amorous expert will not find it hard to believe that 969 years would be none too short a time for any one man to have accumulated such a profound lore...

By: Nathan Dane Urner (1839-1893)

Book cover Never: A Handbook For The Uninitiated And Inexperienced Aspirants To Refined Society's Giddy Heights And Glittering Attainments

An 1883 tongue-in-cheek spoof of manners and mannerisms of “society”. ‘the “Open Sesame” to that jealously-guarded realm,—good society,—in which you aspire to circulate freely and shine with becoming luster…. And I, the author of this code of warnings, as truly say unto you, that a contemptuous disregard of the same will be likely to lead you into mortification and embarrassment, if not into being incontinently kicked out of doors…. It will be, in truth, a bosom companion in the happiest sense of the term, a mutely eloquent monitor of deportment, a still, small voice as to what is in good form and what is not.’ - Summary by Book Preface and david wales

By: George Gibbs (1870-1942)

Book cover Maker of Opportunities

When you're tired only because you're bored; and you're bored only because it seems like there's really nothing worth doing; and you're so, so wealthy that one would think opportunity should be knocking at your door every day... you sometimes just have to tell your closer friends how fatiguing the life of he who has everything really is.... And then; you find your calling!

By: Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Book cover Mark Twain's Speeches, Part 2

This collection of the 195 known, publicly-printed speeches of Mark Twain was compiled by Paul Fatout and published by the University of Iowa Press. The speeches are in the Public Domain, and our thanks go to the University of Iowa for making them available for this Public Domain audio recording. They were compiled in the University of Iowa Press book entitled "Mark Twain Speaking" and are arranged, chronologically, from Twain's first authenticated public speech in 1864, to his last speech, exactly 7 months before he died. Extensive analysis , notes, appendix and index are included in the printed work. - Summary by John Greenman

By: Arthur Wing Pinero (1855-1934)

Book cover Schoolmistress

The second of Pinero's farces, following the wildly successful The Magistrate, and likewise a hit. The Schoolmistress has a secret: "Think of the deception I am practising upon dear Vere! Think of the people who believe in the rigid austerity of Caroline Dyott, Principal of Volumnia College. Think of the precious confidence reposed in me by the parents and relations of twenty-seven innocent pupils. Give an average of eight and a half relations to each pupil; multiply eight and a half by twenty-seven and you approximate the number whose trust I betray this night!" The three acts are subtitled 1 - The Mystery, 2 - The Party, and 3 - The Nightmare...

By: Molière (1622-1673)

Book cover School for Husbands

In 1661 and 1662 Moliere presented the plays The School for Husbands and then The School for Wives. "The central situations of the two have much in common: the arbitrary and jealous lover to whom circumstances have given almost the authority of a husband: the simple ward rescued from physical constraint by the unfettered cunning of love." In between writing the two plays he got married. Listen to both and see if this comedic genius of the farce changed his attitude. - Summary by ToddHW and The Translator Cast...

Book cover School for Wives

In 1661 and 1662 Moliere presented the plays The School for Husbands and then The School for Wives . "The central situations of the two have much in common: the arbitrary and jealous lover to whom circumstances have given almost the authority of a husband: the simple ward rescued from physical constraint by the unfettered cunning of love." In between writing the two plays Moliere got married. Listen to both and see if this comedic genius of the farce changed his attitude. - Summary by ToddHW and...

Book cover Impromptu of Versailles

The setup here is that Moliere and his troupe have been sent for by the King to come perform at Versailles. But instead of the piece they had prepared, the King has just asked for an entirely new piece - to be ready later that same day! So all the action of the play takes place backstage as Moliere has to come up with a story and the troupe has to select and prepare roles in a mad panic. Many of the comments in the banter between actors concern personages from Moliere's time - we don't necessarily know them but the biting of the satire still comes clearly through...

By: Pedro Carolino (1788-1866)

Book cover English as She is Spoke

English as She is Spoke is a 19th century Portuguese-to-English phrasebook that has become a classic of absurdist humor, owing chiefly to the apparent fact that its writer had absolutely no knowledge of English. It is thought that for utterly obscure reasons its unknown author, Pedro Carolino, used a dictionary to translate Portuguese words to French, then a second dictionary to convert French to English, producing an incoherent but hilarious result. Mark Twain said of this book, "Nobody can add to the absurdity of this book, nobody can imitate it successfully, nobody can hope to produce its fellow; it is perfect." - Summary by J A Carter

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

Book cover Inimitable Jeeves

When either Bertie Wooster or his friends found themselves in the soup or in dangerous proximity to the tureen, the instinct of one and all was to turn to Jeeves - Bertie's Man. He understood human nature, especially that of gilded youth. It did not matter if the hope of an ancient house had fallen in love with a waitress, or if Bertie's cousins Claude and Eustace had been playing dido; Jeeves never failed. His was a sound brain. The only thing in which Jeeves failed, that is in his master's eyes, was that he could not always go the whole way with him in the matter of spats, socks and ties, particularly in the Spring - Jeeves was a purist...

By: Montague Glass (1877-1934)

Book cover Abe and Mawruss: Being Further Adventures of Potash and Perlmutter

Montague Glass was a lawyer who eventually abandoned the practice of law to write full time. He wrote a series of stories in the New York Post about a pair of popular characters in the predominantly Jewish garment trade. Many of the plots were derived from trade problems he saw as a lawyer. This is the second book of the collected stories; his Potash and Perlmutter stories were also made into stage plays and even movies that were very popular in their time. - Summary by ToddHW

By: Arthur Wing Pinero (1855-1934)

Book cover Dandy Dick

“Dandy Dick” was the third of the farces which Mr. Pinero wrote for the old Court Theatre—a series of plays which, besides giving playgoers a fresh source of laughter, and the English stage a new order of comic play, brought plentiful prosperity to the joint management of Mr. Arthur Cecil and the late Mr. John Clayton. - Summary by Cast list: The Very Reverend Augustin Jedd, DD, Dean of St Marvells: ToddHW Sir Tristram Mardon, Bart: Son of the Exiles Major Tarver, -th Hussars, quartered at Durnstone near St Marvells: Craig Franklin Mr...

By: Ingersoll Lockwood (1841-1918)

Book cover Baron Trump's Marvellous Underground Journey

The Little Baron Trump is a man of adventure. He and his dog Bulger have already braved many adventures together, but at the time our story opens, they are kind of dull at home, upset with the increasing familiarity of both two- and four legged neighbours. What to do? Luckily, an old manuscript of the learned Spaniard, Don Constantino Bartolomeo Strepholofidgeguaneriusfum, falls into his hands, and off he goes to a journey to the centre of the earth. This is a remarkable book from 1893, blending the tradition of the Münchhausen stories with more modern fantasy and science fiction. - Summary by Carolin

By: Anonymous

Book cover Life of Lazarillo de Tormes (Markham translation)

A whimsical collection of stories about a wandering street urchin, Lazarillo de Tormes is a classic of the Spanish Golden Age, even paid homage in Cervantes’ Don Quixote. Rendered homeless by the arrest of his father and poverty of his mother, the boy Lazarillo has no choice but to go out and find masters to serve. Unfortunately, each of his masters is worse than the one before, and in each case Lazarillo is cast upon his own wits in order to survive. Clever, hungry, and desperate, he always has a sharp eye for lessons on how to outwit the greedy and unscrupulous people who surround him...

By: G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

Book cover Tales of the Long Bow

These tales concern the doing of things recognized as impossible to do; impossible to believe; and, as the weary reader may well cry aloud, impossible to read about. Did the narrator merely say that they happened, without saying how they happened, they could easily be classified with the cow who jumped over the moon or the more introspective individual who jumped down his own throat. In short, they are all tall stories; and though tall stories may also be true stories, there is something in the very phrase appropriate to such a topsy-turvydom; for the logician will presumably class a tall story with a corpulent epigram or a long-legged essay.

By: Bruce Bairnsfather (1887-1959)

Book cover From Mud to Mufti: With Old Bill on all Fronts

This second volume of memories from the Great War by the celebrated war cartoonist and social observer, begins with Bairnsfather's recuperation from injuries suffered in the Second Battle of Ypres and ends with the Armistice. In this phase of his war activity, Bairnsfather is repeatedly hampered by his inability to fully recovery from his war wounds, and is eventually removed from combat service. This perceived disaster for his war career actually was a lucky break, because he was then attached to British Intelligence as an authorized war cartoonist--perhaps the only one of the war...

By: Geoffrey Chaucer

Book cover Chaucer Storybook

Geoffrey Chaucer's classic "Canterbury Tales" has here been rendered into clear and contemporary English prose. These classic stories are now available to those who would like to read them without struggling through Middle English poetry. The character and humour of The Wife of Bath and other larger-than-life people created by Chaucer are now accessible to a wider audience, including children. Please note that the original Canterbury Tales includes 24 stories, of which 11 are reproduced here. - Summary by Beth Thomas

By: John Cecil Clay (1875-1930)

Book cover Cupid's Cyclopedia

This 1910 short work is by the English-born American humorist, satirist, and illustrator Oliver Herford, aided by another caricaturist and illustrator, John Cecil Clay. Herford’s books were usually short and quite popular in their time. He is a master of the witty remark and joke, i.e., “Many are called but few get up” and “Only the young die good”. Cupid’s Cyclopedia is a jesting alphabetical list of words and their definitions dealing with the course of true love; the book closes with an essay on the same subject entitled “Amoria,” a tongue-in-cheek imaginative travelogue on “the most ancient and honorable country upon the earth’s surface...

By: Earl Derr Biggers (1884-1933)

Book cover Love Insurance (version 2)

On duty with Lloyds of London in NYC, young Richard Minot is sent to the St Augustine-ish town of San Marco to ensure that a wealthy young lady, Cynthia Meyrick marry his firm's client, Lord Harrowby. Then, in a meet-cute on a slow-moving train, Minot meets the very enticing Miss Meyrick and... reconsiders his duty. - Summary by Matt Pierard

By: T. W. H. Crosland

Book cover Egregious English

This 1903 book is a tongue-in-cheek send-up of English people and subjects. Within the humor , the listener may be surprised by some diamond-hard observations. The listener is also alerted to some attitudes of a different time that would not be acceptable in today's polite discourse. Here writing as “Angus McNeil”, a Scotsman, Crosland was a British author, poet, and journalist .

By: Brandon Thomas (1848-1914)

Book cover Charley's Aunt

The girlfriends are coming to visit the chaps at college, but of course they can't stay unless there is a proper chaperone. So what could be more reasonable that getting a friend from the Drama Club to dress up and pretend to be Charley's Aunt? Simple and sure to work! What could go wrong? Howsabout the real aunt arriving? This play has been revived and adapted numerous times including as films, a Broadway musical, and even an opera. - Summary by ToddHW Cast list: STEPHEN SPETTIGUE, Solicitor, Oxford: Foon COLONEL SIR FRANCIS CHESNEY, BART...

By: Steele Rudd (1868-1935)

Book cover Dave Brings Home A Wife (dramatic reading)

This is a self-contained story-arc over eight chapters from the pages of Steele Rudd's book "Back At Our Selection". The Synopsis: After being a shy bachelor for a number of years, Dave has finally got married. To a "Girl from Town" named "Lily White". When she first arrives at "Ruddville", she and Dave's sister Sarah get on wonderfully. But after some months, friction between the two young woman sets in, and Dave and Lily seek to have a separate house of their own on the extensive Rudd property...

By: Charles S. Brooks (1878-1934)

Book cover At The Sign of The Greedy Pig

"Sometimes, in a mood of Spanish castles, there flits across my fancy the vision of an ancient city on a hill-top, with lofty battlements thrust upward from the rock and towers that stand on tip-toe…. Our stage is the square of this ancient city, seen dimly in the night.... The time of our play is remote and I choose to think the world is flat, that comets are of evil prophecy and witches still ride on the windy moon...." Published in the same book as "Wappin' Wharf: A Frightful Comedy of Pirates", this story is subtitled "A Frightful Comedy of Beggars"...

By: Eden Phillpotts (1862-1960)

Book cover Human Boy Again

Published in 1908, this is a further collection of twelve humorous short stories about English school boys. The author wrote two other books in this series: The Human Boy and The Human Boy And The War . Eden Phillpotts was popular with the reading public and wrote prolifically novels, short stories, poetry, plays, and nonfiction. - Summary by David Wales

By: Forrest Crissey (1864-1943)

Book cover Tattlings of a Retired Politician

"The letters of Hon. William Bradley, Ex-Governor and former veteran of practical politics, written to his friend and protege Ned who is still busy 'carving a career back in the old state.'" This is a novel filled with humorous political anecdotes by the main character, the Honorable William Bradley, told for the benefit of his protege, Ned. It conveys a sense of the ironic and humorous side of politics in Washington and back in their home state.

By: C. J. Dennis (1876-1938)

Book cover Jim of the Hills - A Story in Rhyme

Jim, an axe-man for a sawmill, who is a hard-knuckled, two-fisted fighting man when he has to be, but is shy around women, longs to find a wife and settle down. Two women, one a mercenary widow of the country town, the other a classy city girl, both set their caps for Jim. Will true love triumph? Will Jim's dog ever get his dinner? Will Jim ever get his tongue untied? These and other questions are answered in this story in rhyme. - Summary by Son of the Exiles

By: Barry Pain (1864-1928)

Book cover Problem Club

The Problem Club is an infamous London Club which meets once a month to discuss a given problem. The problems have nothing to do with mathematics, but are social problems, in the broadest possible sense of the word. For instance, how does one manage to kiss ten young ladies on the cheek within the space of one hour without offending any of them? Would you be able to solve this problem? Watch the members of the Problem Club compete and find out how it is done. - Summary by Carolin

By: Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Book cover Diaries of Adam and Eve

Mark Twain wrote these two diaries, or rather as he insists, 'translated them from the original manuscripts', late in his writing career. The freshness, wonder and excitement of exploring a new world permeates Eve's thoughts as she takes great joy in her very existence and loves everything about it. To me this is obviously a posthumous love-letter to Twain's wife Olivia Langdon Clemens, or Livy, who died in June 1904, but others may disagree. Adam's diary is different and he comes across as a somewhat surly person who just wants to be alone and think his thoughts...

By: Frank Gelett Burgess (1886-1951)

Book cover Romance Of The Commonplace

Thirty four whimsical, tongue-in-cheek, and entertaining essays about not much in particular, published in 1902, by one of the most popular writers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The American Gelett Burgess was an artist, art critic, poet, author, and humorist. Nonsense verse was a specialty. - Summary by David Wales

By: John Peter Toohey (1879-1946)

Book cover Fresh Every Hour

This book is best described by its subtitle: “DETAILING the Adventures, Comic and Pathetic of one Jimmy Martin, Purveyor of Publicity, a Young Gentleman Possessing Sublime Nerve, Whimsical Imagination, Colossal Impudence, and, Withal the Heart of a Child.” Jimmy, press agent extraordinaire, conjures up outlandish and truth-stretching publicity stunts for an amusement park, theaters and performers, often with unexpected and amusing results. Despite his foibles, Jimmy presses on in pursuit of career success and of pretty Lolita Murphy of Cedar Rapids, Iowa...

By: Caroline Ticknor (1866-1937)

Book cover Hypocritical Romance, and Other Stories

This is a collection of twelve original and entertaining little romances. Literature is an important anchor that helps us understand society in the American Gilded Age in the late ninteenth century, and these stories allow us to understand the marriage market of the time. - Summary by Carolin"Miss Ticknor, well known as one of the most promising of the younger school of American writers, has never done better work than in the majority of these clever stories, written in a delightful comedy vein." - The Publisher

By: Eden Phillpotts (1862-1960)

Book cover Deal With The Devil

A Deal with the Devil is a classic tale with a humorous twist. We find that on the night preceeding his 100th birthday Grandpapa, a cantankerous yet loveable sort, has made a deal with the devil, which his granddaughter, in part, will pay. - Summary by Angelique G. Campbell

By: Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Book cover How To Tell A Story, and Other Essays (Version 2)

The complete collection of works using this title. Other versions, including the Project Gutenberg version, have been radically shortened. Mark Twain published several collections of his short stories and essays. This collection, like the others, dramatically demonstrates the eclectic nature of his work and the depth of his humanistic thinking. Each essay stands alone. Listeners will find many instances where modern times come to mind.

By: Edward S. Van Zile (1863-1931)

Book cover Perkins, the Fakeer: A Travesty on Reincarnation

As the title suggests we are treated to three humourous and curious psychical transpositions in the cases of "When Reginald was Caroline," "How Chopin came to Remsen," and "Clarissa's troublesome baby" . If you're looking for a break from more serious fare you can count on this one to amuse and entertain you. Summary by Celine Major.

By: Bill Nye (1850-1896)

Book cover Baled Hay: A Drier Book than Walt Whitman's ''Leaves o' Grass''

There can really be no excuse for this last book of trite and beautiful sayings. I do not attempt, in any way, to palliate this great wrong. I would not do so even if I had an idea what palliate meant. . . . I have taken great care to thoroughly eradicate anything that would have the appearance of poetry in this work, and there is not a thought or suggestion contained in it that would soil the most delicate fabric. Do not read it all at once, however, in order to see whether he married the girl or not. Take a little at a time, and it will cure gloom on the "similia simili-bus curanter" principle. - Summary by Bill Nye

By: Ralph Keeler (1840-1873)

Book cover Vagabond Adventures

Ralph Keeler failed as a novelist, but this autobiography reflects a life well-lived with humor and adventure. Keeler was in the same literary circle as satirist Bret Harte, novelist Charles Warren Stoddard, editor Thomas Bailey Aldrich, and essayist William Dean Howells. He so impressed Mark Twain that Twain wrote an essay about him called "Ralph Keeler". In 1873, on his way to Cuba, he reportedly was thrown overboard by a Spanish loyalist who objected to his backing of the revolutionary, anti-Spanish movement. - Summary by John Greenman

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

Book cover Bealby; A Holiday

Bealby is the comical story of the escapade of a thirteen-year-old boy when he rebels against his placement as a steward's-room boy in the great house of an estate named Shonts and flees—not, however, before thoroughly upsetting a weekend party where the nouveau riche couple renting Shonts is entertaining the Lord Chancellor. - Summary by Wikipedia

By: Don Marquis (1878-1937)

Book cover Old Soak, and Hail And Farewell

Published in 1921 , "Hail and Farewell" is a collection of poems in honour of alcohol, drunkenness, and all things related.In "The Old Soak", an old codger grumbles and connives to get alcohol in the age of Prohibition. Part is narrative, and part is installments from The Old Soak's papers. “I'm writing a diary. A diary of the past. A kind of gol-dinged autobiography of what me and Old King Booze done before he went into the grave and took one of my feet with him. In just a little while now there won't be any one in this here broad land of ours, speaking of it geographically, that knows what an old-fashioned barroom was like...

By: Hugh Walpole (1884-1941)

Book cover Jeremy And Hamlet: A Chronicle Of Certain Incidents In The Lives Of A Boy, A Dog, And A Country Town

Hamlet is Jeremy’s dog. This 1923 book is Hugh Walpole’s second volume in his Jeremy semi-autobiographical trilogy , Jeremy at Crale ), about a ten-year-old English boy. One commentator wrote this of the first book: “With affectionate humor, Mr. Walpole tells the story of Jeremy and his two sisters, Helen and Mary Cole, who grow up in Polchester, a quiet English Cathedral town…. Mr. Walpole has given his narrative a rare double appeal, for it not only recreates for the adult the illusion of his own happiest youth, but it unfolds for the child-reader a genuine and moving experience with real people and pleasant things...

By: Stuart Mason (1872-1927)

Book cover Oscar Wilde Calendar

A compendium of Oscar Wilde's wit, including some of his most famous epigrams as well as unpublished quotations supplied by his friends. The book is formatted as a calendar, with one saying for each day of the year, and was edited by Wildean scholar, Stuart Mason . - Summary by Rob Marland

By: Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Book cover Mark Twain's Travel Letters from 1891-92

This collection of Mark Twain travel letters was compiled by Barbara Schmidt for her website, TwainQuotes.com. According to his biographer, Albert Bigelow Paine, when Twain took his family to Europe in June of 1891, he left with the knowledge that the McClure Syndicate and W. M. Laffan of the New York Sun would pay him one thousand dollars each for six travel letters. Twain’s letters eventually appeared in numerous papers including the Chicago Sunday Tribune, Atlanta Constitution, Boston Globe in addition to the New York Sun...

By: Anthony Henderson Euwer (1877-1955)

Book cover Christopher Cricket on Cats

Humorous---and insightful---commentary on cats in prose and poetry. - Summary by KevinS

By: E. Phillips Oppenheim (1866-1946)

Book cover Curious Quest

A sweet, simple tale of how friendship and honesty triumph over money. The protagonist’s pun of a name—Ernest Bliss—foreshadows the plot in which this bored young millionaire transforms his indolent self and finds love. Typical of its era , this book contains a few antisemitic stereotypes. The story was made famous by the 1936 film The Amazing Quest of Ernest Bliss with Cary Grant and Mary Brian. E. Phillips Oppenheim , was born in London and wrote more than one hundred novels as well as many short stories and film adaptations, some under the name of Anthony Partridge. His 1941 autobiography, The Pool of Memory, is well worth reading.

By: Various

Book cover Anzac Book

A collection of prose, poetry, jokes, special orders, et cetera written by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps combatants of the Gallipoli Campaign . - Summary by KevinS

By: Stephen Leacock (1869-1944)

Book cover Garden Of Folly

A 1924 collection of essays by the celebrated Canadian humorist, popular in the first half of the twentieth century throughout the English speaking world. - Summary by david wales


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