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By: Frank Norris (1870-1902)

Book cover McTeague

McTeague is a simple dentist who becomes infatuated with Trina, the cousin of his friend Marcus. Trina then buys a winning lottery ticket worth $5,000, and McTeague announces his plans to marry her. But their marriage quickly falls apart as greed consumes them both, and Marcus' jealousy toward McTeague boils over.

The Octopus by Frank Norris The Octopus

Frank Norris based his 1901 novel The Octopus (A Story of California) on the Mussel Slough Tragedy of 1880, a bloody conflict between ranchers and agents of the Southern Pacific Railroad. The central issue was over the ownership of the ranches, which the farmers had leased from the railroad nearly ten years earlier with intentions of eventually purchasing the land. Although originally priced at $2.50 to $5 per acre, the railroad eventually opened the land for sale at prices adjusted for land improvements; the railroad’s attempts to take possession of the land led the ranchers to defend themselves as depicted in the book.

By: William John Locke (1863-1930)

The Red Planet by William John Locke The Red Planet

Set during WWI in England, The Red Planet is a rich tale about the life in a little English town from the point of view of Major Duncan Meredyth, a disabled veteran of the Boer Wars. As he struggles to keep his life and the lives of those he cares for in harmony, he must also shelter a dark secret regarding one of the village's favorite sons.The Red Planet was the third bestselling novel in the United States for 1917.

Book cover Beloved Vagabond

The vagabond, Paragot, a truly eccentric bohemian and a wandering scholar with a mysterious past, adopts a London street urchin (whom he calls Asticot) by purchasing him from his mother for half a crown. Paragot leads Asticot on various adventures through 19th century Europe, eventually arriving in Paris. Here Paragot’s dark romantic past begins to catch up with him.

Book cover Morals of Marcus Ordeyne

Marcus Ordeyne is a middle aged bachelor schoolmaster who has inherited both money and a title and thus is able to lead a life of leisure. One day, he encounters a young girl in a London park who has escaped from a Turkish harem and has come to London for an arranged marriage; however, her rescuer has unexpectedly died, leaving her destitute. Not knowing what else to do, Sir Marcus takes her to his home – with unexpected consequences.

By: George Gissing

New Grub Street by George Gissing New Grub Street

The story deals with the literary world that Gissing himself had experienced. Its title refers to the London street, Grub Street, which in the 18th century became synomynous with hack literature; as an institution, Grub Street itself no longer existed in Gissing’s time. Its two central characters are a sharply contrasted pair of writers:Edwin Reardon, a novelist of some talent but limited commercial prospects, and a shy, cerebral man; and Jasper Milvain, a young journalist, hard-working and capable of generosity, but cynical and unscrupulous about writing and its purpose in the modern (i.e. late Victorian) world.

In the Year of Jubilee by George Gissing In the Year of Jubilee

The Jubilee marks the fiftieth year of the reign of Queen Victoria. Dickensian in its sweeping scope of London life, Jubilee depicts the harsh and disreputable conditions of lower-middle class life at the end of the 19th century. (Introduction by S. Kovalchik)

The Odd Women by George Gissing The Odd Women

George Gissing's 1893 novel takes on the 19th century "Woman Question" by looking at themes of feminism, marriage, and love. The novel raises these issues through the lives of several contrasting women: Mary Barfoot, a feminist philanthropist who helps train women for careers; her close friend Rhoda Nunn, who believes marriage is a disastrous choice for women; and Monica Madden, who starts out as one of their protegees but chooses to marry a seemingly kind older man. As Monica experiences the challenges of married life, Rhoda finds herself drawn to Mary's cousin, the charming but apparently profligate Everard.

The Paying Guest by George Gissing The Paying Guest

Clarence and Emmeline Mumford are in for a real treat when they take in the young, outspoken Miss Louise Derrick as their guest. Shedding a light on class struggles in the Victorian era, The Paying Guest offers a look at just what "proper society" expects.

Book cover Nether World

This sad social novel revolves around the problematic issue of money. Michael returns from Australia to London a rich man. However, he hides this fact from everybody and spends money only on the things he really needs. He contemplates leaving his money to his granddaughter Jane, under the condition that she donate at least most of it to charity. However, Jane is not sure she can do it. This novel tells much about working class life in 19th century London.

Book cover Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft

This novel consists of selections from the diary of an author, starting soon after his retirement and continuing until just before his death. There is very little in the way of plot, but a great deal of quiet musing about art, nature, society, and the things that make life worth living. Although this is a work of fiction, there are clear parallels between the narrator's life and Gissing's own life. This leads many commenters to view it as semi-autobiographical.

Book cover Unclassed

The Unclassed tells the story of two friends who are aspiring authors living in London in the late 19th century. Both of them fall in love. Both believe in social change but do not know how to bring it about. Both are sceptical about the values of their times. Both want respectability more then they would admit. This book, unlike many others of it's time, tells about working women, and includes honest descriptions of the slums of London.

Book cover Demos: A Story of English Socialism

"Richard Mutimer is delighted to inherit a large fortune. As a socialist, he means to use it well: he will open a factory in which workers would be treated well, he will advance his party's causes through his own wealth... At least, so he thinks. But reality may be far different. This novel raises more questions than answers. How much should money play in the marriage market, or can love have a prominent place? Can a man who gained power remain a socialist? This book is not only about political unrest...

Book cover Life's Morning

This is the story of a poor young lady Emily Hood who while working as a governess falls in love with Wilfrid Athel the son of her employer. They become engaged, however things do not run smoothly after a visit home to her parents and Emily has to make a heartbreaking choice.

By: Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

Book cover Delight in Disorder

Robert Herrick (baptised 24 August 1591 – buried 15 October 1674[1]) was a 17th-century English lyric poet and cleric. He is best known for his book of poems, Hesperides. Herrick never married, and none of his love-poems seem to connect directly with any one beloved woman. He loved the richness of sensuality and the variety of life, and this is shown vividly in such poems as Cherry-ripe, Delight in Disorder and Upon Julia’s Clothes.

Book cover Hag

A poem for Halloween by the 17th century English author Robert Herrick. His poems were not widely popular at the time they were published. His style was strongly influenced by Ben Jonson, by the classical Roman writers, and by the poems of the late Elizabethan era. This must have seemed quite old-fashioned to an audience whose tastes were tuned to the complexities of the metaphysical poets such as John Donne and Andrew Marvell. His works were rediscovered in the early nineteenth century, and have been regularly printed ever since.

By: Herbert George Jenkins (1876-1923)

Book cover Malcolm Sage, detective

A collection of short stories that chronicles the first year of the Malcolm Sage Detective Bureau.

By: Paul

Book cover The Sheridan Road Mystery

A shot rings out in the middle of the night in a quiet Chicago neighborhood. Patrolman Murphy is directed to an apartment where a man says the shot came from. The apartment is locked and apparently empty. Was there a murder here? And if so, where is the victim?

By: Stewart Edward White (1873-1946)

Conjuror's House, a Romance of the Free Forest by Stewart Edward White Conjuror's House, a Romance of the Free Forest

In the northern outreaches of the Canadian wilderness, it was understood that the Hudson Bay Company governed all trading, and one factor named Galen Albret took his position seriously. Free traders, or those who dared try to do their trading outside of the Company, found themselves having to face Galen Albret and his methods of dealing with them. One or two offenses he might tolerate, but for those who repeatedly refuse to acknowledge his warning out, he would send them on “La Longue Traverse” through the wilderness without supplies, and from which they seldom returned...

The Blazed Trail by Stewart Edward White The Blazed Trail

Stewart Edward White wrote fiction and non-fiction about adventure and travel, with an emphasis on natural history and outdoor living. White's books were popular at a time when America was losing its vanishing wilderness and many are based on his experiences in mining and lumber camps. The Blazed Trail is the story of early lumbermen in the northern woods of Michigan. The novel portrays the challenges faced by the workers focusing on one, Harry Thorpe, as he endeavors to be successful though completely unskilled when he enters the woods...

Arizona Nights by Stewart Edward White Arizona Nights

Arizona Nights is a collection of tales from the American West as told by those who took part in them.

Gold by Stewart Edward White Gold

This is a well written story of the California gold rush of 1849. Four friends decide they are going to go to California and get rich in the gold fields. Follow their adventures as they travel to California across the isthmus of Panama to San Francisco. In their search for gold they encounter hostile Indians, various desperadoes, and natural disasters. Did they strike it rich? Listen and find out.

Book cover Blazed Trail Stories and Stories Of The Wild Life

Thirteen short stories by a popular writer of the early 20th century (not to be confused with an earlier book Blazed Trail). White's books were popular at a time when America was losing its vanishing wilderness. He was a keen observer of the beauties of nature and human nature, yet could render them in a plain-spoken style. Based on his own experience, whether writing camping journals or Westerns, he included pithy and fun details about cabin-building, canoeing, logging, gold-hunting, and guns and fishing and hunting...

By: Leigh Brackett (1915-1978)

Black Amazon of Mars by Leigh Brackett Black Amazon of Mars

Carrying out the last wishes of a comrade, mercenary Eric John Stark takes on the task of returning a stolen talisman to a walled city near the Martian pole; a city that guards the mysterious Gates of Death. Now all he has to do is get past the brutal clans of Mekh and the shadowy Lord Ciaran to get to Kushat where they’ll probably attempt to kill him. All while he tries to hold on to a talisman that imprints ancient memories of the Gates in his mind. That’s not easy for a human raised by Mercurian aborigines...

By: Marcel Allain (1885-1969)

Fantômas by Marcel Allain Fantômas

Fantômas is the first of 32 novels penned from 1911 to 1913 by Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre. The title character is a ruthless thief and killer, a bloodthirsty successor to LeBlanc's Arsène Lupin. The first five novels were made into silent film serials. The character and the movies caught the eye of the French Surrealists who admired the primal violence of Fantômas, as well as his portrayal in the films, which are considered landmarks in French Cinema. In Fantômas, the Marquise de Langrune is savagely murdered and Inspector Juve, who is obsessed with capturing Fantômas, arrives to solve the murder.

Messengers of Evil by Marcel Allain Messengers of Evil

Fantômas was introduced a few years after Arsène Lupin, another well-known thief. But whereas Lupin draws the line at murder, Fantômas has no such qualms and is shown as a sociopath who enjoys killing in a sadistic fashion. He is totally ruthless, gives no mercy, and is loyal to none, not even his own children. He is a master of disguise, always appearing under an assumed identity, often that of a person whom he has murdered. Fantômas makes use of bizarre and improbable techniques in his crimes, such as plague-infested rats, giant snakes, and rooms that fill with sand...

By: Kathleen Norris

Mother by Kathleen Norris Mother

With seven children and a home to take care of, Margaret wondered how her Mother could be so happy living a life that seemed all drudgery. As Margaret has new experiences, she comes to realize that “her mother was not only the truest, the finest, the most generous woman she had ever known, but the happiest as well”.

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: Clara Reeve (1729-1807)

The Old English Baron by Clara Reeve The Old English Baron

The story follows the adventures of Sir Philip Harclay, who returns to medieval England to find that the castle seat and estate of his friend Lord Lovel have been usurped. A series of revelations, horrors and betrayals climax in a scene of single combat in which good battles evil for the return of the prize.

By: Robert Tressell

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

Clearly frustrated at the refusal of his contemporaries to recognise the iniquity of society, Tressell’s cast of hypocritical Christians, exploitative capitalists and corrupt councillors provide a backdrop for his main target — the workers who think that a better life is “not for the likes of them”. Hence the title of the book; Tressell paints the workers as “philanthropists” who throw themselves into back-breaking work for poverty wages in order to generate profit for their masters...

By: Charles W. Diffin (1884-1966)

Two Thousand Miles Below by Charles W. Diffin Two Thousand Miles Below

A science fiction novel that was originally produced in four parts in the publication: Astounding Stories in June, September, November 1932, January 1933. The main character is Dean Rawson, who plans on discovering a way of mining power from a dead volcano, but ends up discovering more than he bargained for.

By: Ralph Connor

The Man from Glengarry by Ralph Connor The Man from Glengarry

With international book sales in the millions, Ralph Connor was the best-known Canadian novelist of the first two decades of the Twentieth Century. The Man from Glengarry was his most popular and accomplished work. Immediately after its publication in 1901, the novel spent several months in the top ranks of the New York Times "Books in Demand" list.We follow the story of Ranald Macdonald, who is shaped by family and community in rural eastern Ontario in the early decades after Canadian confederation...


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