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By: Susan Coolidge (1835-1905)

Book cover Verses

Susan Coolidge was the pen name of Sarah Chauncey Woolsey, who is best known for her What Katy Did series. This is the first of three volumes of her verse.

By: George Manville Fenn (1831-1909)

The Dark House by George Manville Fenn The Dark House

An extremely wealthy but reclusive man has died, leaving an eccentric will which hints at great riches hidden somewhere in the house. Most of the people at the reading of the will did not know the deceased in person, but had received kindnesses from him, for instance by the payment of school and university fees. The principal beneficiary, a great-nephew, also did not know him. The only two people who really knew him were the old lawyer who dealt with his affairs, and an old Indian servant. Yet when the will had been read, and they all went to where the treasure–gold, jewels and bank-notes–were supposed to be hidden, nothing could be found.

By: Philip K. Dick (1928-1982)

The Crystal Crypt & Beyond the Door by Philip K. Dick The Crystal Crypt & Beyond the Door

Two early science fiction stories by the wonderful craftsman, Philip K. Dick. In the Crystal Crypt, taken from the 1954 Planet Stories, the war between Mars and Terra is about to erupt and earth has only merchants and salesmen to fight; can they carry out their mission? Beyond the Door is a story that asks and answers the question: what lives beyond the door? And is it dangerous?

The Defenders by Philip K. Dick The Defenders

The terrible destruction of total nuclear war between the Western and Eastern Blocks has succeeded in sterilizing the surface of the earth. No living creature can now exist there and all humans on both sides, have fled to the hives built miles below the surface where they constantly work to produce the war materials necessary to carry on the battle. For 8 years now, the actual fighting between these super powers has been conducted by robots known as Ledeys since only they can sustain the terrible levels of radiation caused by the constant bombardment...

Book cover Beyond Lies the Wub & The Skull

Two stories in the inimitable Philip Dick style. What is a Wub? A 400 pound slovenly, fat, ungainly, drooling animal that looks like a cross between a walrus and an enormous hog? Well, yes that is pretty much what he looks like and for 50 cents, a good bargain no matter how he tastes. The hungry spaceship crew expect to find out. Of course the Wub may not entirely agree but it doesn't have much to say about it. The second story, The Skull, is a skilful mesh of time travel, unscrupulous governments, prisoners, and religion. With an assassin thrown in for good measure. Enjoy!

By: Ivan S. Turgenev (1818–1883)

Fathers and Sons by Ivan S. Turgenev Fathers and Sons

The fathers and children of the novel refers to the growing divide between the two generations of Russians, and the character Yevgeny Bazarov has been referred to as the “first Bolshevik”, for his nihilism and rejection of the old order. Turgenev wrote Fathers and Sons as a response to the growing cultural schism that he saw between liberals of the 1830s/1840s and the growing nihilist movement. Both the nihilists (the “sons”) and the 1830s liberals sought Western-based social change in Russia...

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

The War in the Air by H. G. Wells The War in the Air

War in the Air was written during a prolific time in H. G. Wells's writing career. Having withdrawn from British politics to spend more time on his own ideas, he published twelve books between 1901 and 1911, including this one. while many British citizens were surprised by the advent of World War I, Wells had already written prophetically about such a conflict. War in the Air predicted use of airplanes in modern war.

In the Days of the Comet by H. G. Wells In the Days of the Comet

William ("Willie") is a student living in the British town of Clayton. As a Socialist, he tries to move power from the upper class to the working class. Interestingly, in a fictitious confrontation Britain declares war on Germany. Willie falls in love with Nettie, but when she elopes with an upper-class man, Willie resolves to kill them both. Throughout the novel there is present in the sky a large comet which gives off a green glow. As Willie prepares to shoot the lovers, two battleships appear and begin shelling the coast, causing Willie to nearly lose his targets...

Tono-Bungay by H. G. Wells Tono-Bungay

Tono-Bungay is a realist semi-autobiographical novel. It is narrated by George Ponderevo, a science student who is drafted in to help with the promotion of Tono-Bungay, a harmful stimulant disguised as a miraculous cure-all, the creation of his uncle Edward. The quack remedy Tono-Bungay seems to have been based upon the patent medicines Carter's Little Liver Pills and Dr. Williams' Pink Pills for Pale People.... As the tonic prospers, George experiences a swift rise in social status, elevating him to riches and opportunities that he had never imagined, nor indeed desired...

Book cover Mr. Britling Sees It Through

"Mr. Britling Sees It Through" is H. G. Wells' attempt to make sense of World War I. It begins with a lighthearted account of an American visiting England for the first time, but the outbreak of war changes everything. Day by day and month by month, Wells chronicles the unfolding events and public reaction as witnessed by the inhabitants of one house in rural Essex. Each of the characters tries in a different way to keep their bearings in a world suddenly changed beyond recognition. This book was published in 1916 while the war was still in progress, so no clear resolution was possible...

Book cover Passionate Friends

H. G. Wells is best known for his science fiction, but some of his greatest works were in other genres. The Passionate Friends is a love story. It also is a story about dreams, despair, jealousy, sex, the struggle against social convention, the future of civilization, and much much more. It is written by a father to his son, "not indeed to the child you are now, but to the man you are going to be." He writes it so that one day, perhaps when he is dead, his grown son can read it and rediscover him as a friend and equal...

By: Thomas Bulfinch

The Age of Chivalry, or Legends of King Arthur by Thomas Bulfinch The Age of Chivalry, or Legends of King Arthur

Thomas Bulfinch (July 15, 1796 – May 27, 1867) explains the his work is “an attempt tell the stories of mythology in such a manner as to make them a source of amusement. We have endeavored to tell them correctly, according to the ancient authorities, so that when the reader finds them referred to he may not be at a loss to recognize the reference. Thus we hope to teach mythology not as a study, but as a relaxation from study; to give our work the charm of a story-book, yet by means of it to impart a knowledge of an important branch of education...

Book cover The Legends of Charlemagne

Bulfinch (July 15, 1796 - May 27, 1867) explains the his work is "an attempt tell the stories of mythology in such a manner as to make them a source of amusement. We have endeavored to tell them correctly, according to the ancient authorities, so that when the reader finds them referred to he may not be at a loss to recognize the reference. Thus we hope to teach mythology not as a study, but as a relaxation from study; to give our work the charm of a story-book, yet by means of it to impart a knowledge of an important branch of education...

By: Sax Rohmer (1883-1959)

Bat Wing by Sax Rohmer Bat Wing

Private detective Paul Harley investigates a mysterious case involving voodoo, vampirism, and macabre murder in the heart of London. The first book in the Paul Harley series, written by Sax Rohmer, author of The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu.

The Return of Dr. Fu-Manchu by Sax Rohmer The Return of Dr. Fu-Manchu

Burmese Commisioner Nayland Smith and his faithful friend Dr Petrie continue their fight against the evil genius of Dr Fu-Manchu when they seek to save the good doctor’s lost love and protect the British Empire from disaster when their malignant enemy returns to England.

The Hand of Fu-Manchu by Sax Rohmer The Hand of Fu-Manchu

Further adventures of Nayland Smith and Doctor Petrie as they continue their battles against the evil genius, Dr Fu-Manchu.

Book cover The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu

The first of the Fu-Manchu novels this story follows the two characters who are set against the machinations of the insidious doctor.

The Quest of the Sacred Slipper by Sax Rohmer The Quest of the Sacred Slipper

Cavanagh becomes involved in the adventurous search for a precious relic in the mysterious East. (Introduction by Laineyben)

By: Émile Zola (1840-1902)

L'Assommoir by Émile Zola L'Assommoir

Émile François Zola (French pronunciation: [emil zɔˈla]) (2 April 1840 – 29 September 1902) was an influential French writer, the most important exemplar of the literary school of naturalism. More than half of Zola’s novels were part of a set of twenty novels about a family under the Second Empire collectively known as Les Rougon-Macquart. L’Assommoir (1877) is the seventh novel in the series. Usually considered one of Zola’s masterpieces, the novel—a harsh and uncompromising study of alcoholism and poverty in the working-class districts of Paris—was a huge commercial success and established Zola’s fame and reputation throughout France and the world.

Therese Raquin by Émile Zola Therese Raquin

An unsatisfied wife kills her weak husband in order to carry on a sordid affair with another man. However, her selfish plans are spoiled when her husband continues to haunt her. This is often said to be Zola's first great novel.

The Flood, trans. by an unknown translator by Émile Zola The Flood, trans. by an unknown translator

A well-to-do French farm family is destroyed by a flood. The story, thrilling to the very end, is told from the point of view of the family’s 70-year-old patriarch. The story speaks of the helplessness of mankind in the face of the forces of nature.

By: Aphra Behn (1640-1689)

Book cover Rover (Part One)

By: Frank Stockton (1834-1902)

Rudder Grange by Frank Stockton Rudder Grange

This book presents a number of short, comedic sketches of a country life in middle America in the late 1800s. The hilarious twists and turns endear our adorable, naive married couple to the reader; and the orphan servant Pomona – dear, odd, funny Pomona! – is the focus of several of the stories. Imagine a honeymoon in a lunatic asylum, and you’ve got Rudder Grange!

By: Joseph Sheridan LeFanu (1814-1873)

Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan LeFanu Carmilla

Published in 1872, Carmilla is an early work in the vampire literature genre and is incidentally one of the most influential of its type. The gothic novella accounts the tale of Laura, a young woman who becomes susceptible to the friendship and seductive charms of the mysterious Carmilla. A gripping tale of coincidence, mystery, compulsion, dark romance, and deception, Le Fanu’s classic is regarded as having paved the way for modern takes on vampires. Narrated by Laura, the novel opens with a recount of her childhood, as she depicts growing up in a beautiful, yet solitary castle encompassed by a forest in Styria, Austria...

By: C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)

Spirits in Bondage: a cycle of lyrics by C. S. Lewis Spirits in Bondage: a cycle of lyrics

First published in 1919 under his pseudonym Clive Hamilton, Spirits in Bondage, is also the first published book by the notorious novelist C.S. Lewis. This early piece of work represents Lewis’ youth, as it was written at a time when the author had just returned from his military service in the First World War. In addition it differentiates itself from his other works, not just in terms of style, but also in themes due to his agnostic stand at the time. Written in the form of poetry, the piece is divided into three sections of poetry, each intended to be read in chronological order to gain complete access to its themes and ideas...

By: Booth Tarkington

Alice Adams by Booth Tarkington Alice Adams

A Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Alice Adams chronicles the attempts of a lower middle class American midwestern family at the turn of the 20th century to climb the social ladder. The eponymous heroine is at the heart of the story, a young woman who wants a better place in society and a better life. As Gerard Previn Meyer has stated, “Apart from being the contribution to social history its author conceived it to be, [Alice Adams] is something more, that something being what has attracted to it so large a public: its portrait of a (despite her faults) ‘lovable girl’.”

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.

The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington The Magnificent Ambersons

The Magnificent Ambersons is a 1918 novel by Booth Tarkington which won the 1919 Pulitzer Prize. It was the second novel in the Growth trilogy, which included The Turmoil (1915) and The Midlander (1923, retitled National Avenue in 1927). In 1942 Orson Welles directed a film version, also titled The Magnificent Ambersons.

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.

The Turmoil by Booth Tarkington The Turmoil

The Turmoil is the first novel in the ‘Growth’ trilogy, which also includes The Magnificent Ambersons (1918) and The Midlander (1923, retitled National Avenue in 1927). In 1942 Orson Welles directed a film version based on volume 2, also titled “The Magnificent Ambersons.” The trilogy traces the growth of the United States through the declining fortunes of three generations of the aristocratic Amberson family in a fictional Mid-Western town, between the end of the Civil War and the early part of the 20th century, a period of rapid industrialization and socio-economic change in America...


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