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By: Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850)

Book cover Magic Skin

Something along the lines of Dorian Gray as part of the Comedies Humane Philosophique, this is Balzac's first successful novel. He even wrote "criticisms" of the writing himself in promotion of the book, in addition to hyping the work before it even came out. It is a criticism of materialism and French bourgeoisie as so many of his compiled works seek to be. Some same characters reappear.

Book cover Cousin Betty

Cousin Betty (La Cousine Bette), published in serial format in 1846, was one of the last and greatest of Balzac's works. It was part of his long novel collection titled La Comédie Humaine. Set in mid-19th-century France, it tells the story of a woman who resents her position as a "poor relation." As we follow her schemes to bring ruin upon the more privileged members of her family, we see a society in transition. The stability and idealism of the old order give way to a new bourgeois world in which virtue is strangled in the struggle for power and money...

Book cover Cousin Pons

Cousin Pons is one of the final works in Balzac's long novel series titled The Human Comedy. It was published in 1847, along with Cousin Betty, as one of a complementary pair of novels, collectively titled Poor Relations. While Cousin Betty tells the story of a bitter woman who seeks revenge on her wealthier relations, in Cousin Pons, Balzac turns to the story of an timid, innocent man who is exploited and victimized by the wealthier members of his extended family.Balzac offers probing character portraits and an indictment of greed and materialism in this detailed portrait of mid-19th-century French life...

Book cover Gobseck

Part of the La Comedie Humane and something of a sequence to Balzac's Father Goriot, the short book's title is the name of the pawn broker/money lender the father Goriot utilized to maintain his spoiled daughters in the luxury he had accustomed them to. This is a continuation of the tale of one of those daughters, Mme Restaud.

Book cover Firm of Nucingen

Part of the Comedie Humane and a "supplementary" tale to go with Father Goriot and Gobseck. Nucingen is the married family name of one of Father Goriot's daughters. "James Waring" is a pseudonym of Ellen Marriage (Balzac was considered sometimes too racy by the Victorian Age).

By: Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-420)

The City of God by Saint Augustine of Hippo The City of God

Rome having been stormed and sacked by the Goths under Alaric their king, the worshipers of false gods, or pagans, as we commonly call them, made an attempt to attribute this calamity to the Christian religion, and began to blaspheme the true God with even more than their wonted bitterness and acerbity. It was this which kindled my zeal for the house of God, and prompted me to undertake the defense of the city of God against the charges and misrepresentations of its assailants. This work was in my hands for several years, owing to the interruptions occasioned by many other affairs which had a prior claim on my attention, and which I could not defer...

Confessions by Saint Augustine of Hippo Confessions

Confessions (Latin: Confessiones) is the name of an autobiographical work, consisting of 13 books, by St. Augustine of Hippo, written between AD 397 and AD 398. Modern English translations of it are sometimes published under the title The Confessions of St. Augustine in order to distinguish the book from other books with similar titles, such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions.

The Enchiridion by Saint Augustine of Hippo The Enchiridion

The Enchiridion, Manual, or Handbook of Augustine of Hippo is alternatively titled, “Faith, Hope, and Love”. The Enchiridion is a compact treatise on Christian piety, written in response to a request by an otherwise unknown person, named Laurentis, shortly after the death of Saint Jerome in 420. It is intended as a model for Christian instruction or catechesis. – As the title indicates, the work is organized according to the three graces necessary for the Christian worship of God: Faith, Hope and Love...

By: William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863)

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray Vanity Fair

If you've enjoyed watching the 1998 BBC television miniseries, you'd probably want to renew your acquaintance with William Makepeace Thackeray's 1847 novel, Vanity Fair. However, if you're unfamiliar with what has been dubbed one of the Best 100 Books in English Literature, you certainly have a treat ahead. Miss Pinkerton's Academy in Chiswick Mall in London is where young ladies with ambitions of making a good marriage are sent by their socially aspiring middleclass parents. Two young ladies, Amelia Sedley and Rebecca (Becky) Sharpe are on their way home after completing their term at Miss Pinkerton's...

The History of Henry Esmond, Esq., A Colonel in the Service of Her Majesty Queen Anne by William Makepeace Thackeray The History of Henry Esmond, Esq., A Colonel in the Service of Her Majesty Queen Anne

A classic Victorian novel and a historical novel rolled into one! Read about court and army life during the reign of Queen Anne – a story of Catholic – Protestant intrigue, and the party which aspired to the restoration of Bonny Prince Charlie. And, a good love story as well.

The Book of Snobs by William Makepeace Thackeray The Book of Snobs

The necessity of a work on Snobs, demonstrated from History, and proved by felicitous illustrations:—I am the individual destined to write that work—My vocation is announced in terms of great eloquence—I show that the world has been gradually preparing itself for the WORK and the MAN—Snobs are to be studied like other objects of Natural Science, and are a part of the Beautiful (with a large B). They pervade all classes—Affecting instance of Colonel Snobley.

Book cover Rose And The Ring

Victorian social satire hiding in a set of children's fairy tales by the author of the classic "Vanity Fair"

Book cover Virginians

It tells the story of Henry Esmond's twin grandsons, George and Henry Warrington. Henry's romantic entanglements with an older woman lead up to his taking a commission in the British army and fighting under the command of General Wolfe at the capture of Quebec. On the outbreak of the American War of Independence he takes the revolutionary side. George, who is also a British officer, thereupon resigns his commission rather than take up arms against his brother.

By: Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

An exciting, compelling, and eerie ballad, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner focuses on the uncanny experiences of a sailor who has returned from a long sea voyage that has left him with a heavy burden to bear. Furthermore, the poem explores numerous themes including retribution, suffering, salvation, torment, nature, spirituality, and supernaturalism. The poem opens with the appearance of its mysterious protagonist, a skinny old man with a curious glittering eye, as he stops a young man who is on his way to attend a wedding...

By: William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

Book cover Lyrical Ballads (1798)

Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems is a collection of poems by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, first published in 1798 and generally considered to have marked the beginning of the English Romantic movement in literature. The immediate effect on critics was modest, but it became and remains a landmark, changing the course of English literature and poetry. Most of the poems in the 1798 edition were written by Wordsworth, with Coleridge contributing only four poems to the collection, including one of his most famous works, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"...

By: Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)

Book cover Answer to a Child's Question

LibriVox volunteers bring you 21 recordings of Answer to a Child's Question by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. This was the Weekly Poetry project for October 6, 2013.

By: Joseph Trienens (b. 1863)

The Handy Cyclopedia of Things Worth Knowing by Joseph Trienens The Handy Cyclopedia of Things Worth Knowing

Written in 1910, this “cyclopedia” is full of information that was quite useful at the time. A hundred years later, its text is more humorous than practical — although some advice never goes out of style.

By: Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?)

The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce The Devil's Dictionary

RESPECTABILITY, n. The offspring of a liaison between a bald head and a bank account. BEAUTY, n. The power by which a woman charms a lover and terrifies a husband. LITIGANT, n. A person about to give up his skin for the hope of retaining his bones. If these caustic definitions catch your fancy, you'd enjoy The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce. He was a columnist with the San Francisco News Letter, a weekly paper which was a business publication aimed at the corporate sector. However, it had a column entitled Town Crier which featured satirical asides and comments in a lighter vein...

Present at a Hanging and Other Ghost Stories by Ambrose Bierce Present at a Hanging and Other Ghost Stories

Ambrose Bierce (1842 – 1914?), satirist, critic, poet, short story writer and journalist. His fiction showed a clean economical style often sprinkled with subtle cynical comments on human behaviour. Nothing is known of his death, as he went missing while an observer with Pancho Villa’s army in 1913/14. (Summaries by Peter Yearsley)The Ways of Ghosts: Stories of encounters with the ghosts of the dead and dying. The spirits of the dead reach out to the living, to pass on a message or to pursue a killer...

The Parenticide Club by Ambrose Bierce The Parenticide Club

Ambrose Bierce (1842 – 1914?), best known as journalist, satirist and short story writer. Cynical in outlook, economical in style; Bierce vanished while an observer with Pancho Villa’s army. Four grotesque short stories about murder within the family, seen through the gently innocent eyes of family members … usually the murderer himself.My favorite murder (00:23)Oil of Dog (20:13)An Imperfect Conflagration (29:32)The Hypnotist (37:14)

Write it Right by Ambrose Bierce Write it Right

Witty, opinionated alphabetical examples of what Bierce considered poor (American) English and advice on alternatives – entertaining, thought-provoking, occasionally outdated but so interesting to see how style and taste have changed.

Can Such Things Be? by Ambrose Bierce Can Such Things Be?

24 short stories in fairly typical Bierce fashion - ghostly, spooky, to be read (or listened to) in the dark, perhaps with a light crackling fire burning dimly in the background. Stories of ghosts, apparitions, and strange, inexplicable occurrences are prevalent in these tales, some of which occur on or near Civil War fields of battle, some in country cottages, and some within urban areas. Can Such Things Be? implies and relates that anything is possible, at any time.

In the Midst of Life; Tales of Soldiers and Civilians by Ambrose Bierce In the Midst of Life; Tales of Soldiers and Civilians

These stories detail the lives of soldiers and civilians during the American Civil War. This is the 1909 edition. The 1909 edition omits six stories from the original 1891 edition; these six stories are added to this recording (from an undated English edition). The 1891 edition is entitled In The Midst Of Life; Tales Of Soldiers And Civilians. The Wikipedia entry for the book uses the title Tales of Soldiers and Civilians. Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (June 24, 1842 – after December 26, 1913) was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist and satirist...

Book cover Cynic Looks At Life

Civilization, Immortality, the Death Penalty, these are just a few of the essays enclosed in this collection, A Cynic Looks At Life. Written by Ambrose Bierce, these essays continue to be thought provoking, offering a valid outlook on life.

Book cover Interpretation

LibriVox volunteers bring you 8 recordings of An Interpretation by Ambrose Bierce. This was the Weekly Poetry project for September 22, 2013.

Book cover Cobwebs from an Empty Skull

Ambrose Bierce's collection of short parables, published under the pen name of Dod Grile, is similar to Aesop's Fables. This compilation is comprised of "Fables of Zambri, the Parsee," "Brief Seasons of Intellectual Dissipation" and the "Divers Tales," all of which were first serialized in the magazine "FUN." A great read for any lover of short stories or poetry with faraway lands, talking animals and supernatural occurrences!

By: George Grossmith (1847-1912)

The Diary of a Nobody by George Grossmith The Diary of a Nobody

Grossmith’s comic novel unveils the daily chronicles of the pompous and clumsy middle-aged clerk Charles Pooter, who has just moved to the London suburb of Holloway with his wife Carrie. Nonetheless, the family’s fresh start is not quite what they had in mind. Set in the late Victorian era, the diary accurately documents the manners, customs, trends and experiences of the time. First appearing in Punch magazine through the years 1888-89, The Diary of a Nobody was first published in book form in 1892 and has entertained readers ever since...

By: H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937)

Collected Public Domain Works of H. P. Lovecraft by H. P. Lovecraft Collected Public Domain Works of H. P. Lovecraft

H. P. Lovecraft’s name is synonymous with horror fiction. His major inspiration and invention was cosmic horror: the idea that life is incomprehensible to human minds and that the universe is fundamentally alien. This collection contains 24 Lovecraft works that are in the public domain.

By: Hendrik van Loon

The Story of Mankind by Hendrik van Loon The Story of Mankind

A book that won the Newberry Prize in 1921 for an Outstanding Contribution in Children's Literature, The Story of Mankind, by Hendrik van Loon is indeed a classic that has been enjoyed by generations of children and adults. The book is an engagingly written work, dedicated to the author Hendrik van Loon's two young son's Hansje and Willem. It was created to convey the history of the human race to young people in a way that was interesting, memorable and would spur them onto further research and reading into the subject...

By: Olive Green

How to Cook Fish by Olive Green How to Cook Fish

One hundred simple fish sauces. Sixty-five ways to cook mackerel. The Catching of Unshelled Fish. Twenty-seven ways to Cook Frogslegs. Now that should certainly make you reach for your apron and fish knife! How to Cook Fish by Olive Green is a vintage culinary classic, filled with simple, easy to follow recipes rendered in a terse, no nonsense style. There's none of this fiddling with scales, weights and measures. What you get is a mélange of interesting, unusual ways to cook seafood without worrying about lists of ingredients, timings, temperature or any of the conventions followed by traditional cookbooks...

By: Thomas Preskett Prest (1810-1859)

The Varney Vampyre by Thomas Preskett Prest The Varney Vampyre

This is volume 1 of 3. Originally published as a penny dreadful from 1845 until 1847, when it first appeared in book form, Varney the Vampyre is a forerunner to vampire stories such as Dracula, which it heavily influenced. Flora Bannersworth is attacked in her own room in the middle of the night, and although her attacker is seemingly shot dead, the body is nowhere to be found. The discovery of two small bite marks on Flora’s neck leads Mr Marchdale, an old friend of the family, to the conclusion that she was bitten by a vampire...

By: Joel Chandler Harris (1848-1908)

Uncle Remus by Joel Chandler Harris Uncle Remus

Bearing a striking resemblance to Aesop of Aesop's Fables fame, American author Joel Chandler Harris' Uncle Remus is also a former slave who loves to tell simple and pithy stories. Uncle Remus or to give it its original title, Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings was published in late 1880 and received instant acclaim. The book was reviewed in hundreds of journals and newspapers across the country, leading to its immense success, both critical and financial. “Remus” was originally a fictional character in a newspaper column...


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