Showing 1–30 of 92 results

A Christmas Miscellany

A selection of eight short works, chapters, or poems about Christmas. - Summary by david wales

A Christmas Miscellany 2017

A selection of short works about Christmas. (Summary by david wales)

A Christmas Miscellany 2018

Sixteen Christmas stories or essays. (David Wales)

Aaron’s Rod

Flutist Aaron Sisson is caught up in the aftermath of WWI. A lost soul, he attempts to find himself in the comfort of bar-room talk and alcohol and a woman. Moving on, he spends time with a mining executive's relatives. But he finds the family a stuffy middle-class lot, bored with each other and themselves. He leaves his wife and children and strikes out for the open road. During a playing engagement at an opera performance, he reunites with the mining executive's family. Talk is of love and war, none of it very satisfying to anyone. At dinner with one of the women, Aaron reveals that he is indifferent to most things in life and just wants to be left alone. So it goes with this lost soul among lost souls. One wonders how he will ever find himself or happiness. - Summary by Bill Boerst

Aces Up

A crack American flying troop has been sent to France, where they await further instructions. They are concerned that their extensive talents will not be put to good use in the war. Major Cowan introduces Lt. McGee as the British instructor for the crew. It turns out the Brit is actually an American, born in the U.S., even though his parents were British. McGee and Larkin are flying partners. Out on a mission, McGee spots a small enemy plane in a searchlight, probably intent on dropping flares to mark targets for bombers. He drives in for the attack successfully, as the enemy plane zooms earthward in flames. During another flight to Epernay, a fellow pilot, Siddons, fades back to a previous stop. McGee and Larkin suspect Siddons of aiding the enemy. Von Herzmann is preparing German pilots to fight Americans. Larkin and McGee defeat the enemy and force a retreat. In another battle, McGee must crash-land, where he passes out due to injuries. He spends weeks recovering in a hospital. When he is discharged, he cannot find his squadron. After diligent searching, he shows up at his old base. At the end, it is revealed that Siddons is not at all what he was suspected of being--in fact, the opposite. (Bill Boerst)

Across The Years

These 18 wonderful short stories by Eleanor H. Porter, the author of Pollyanna, deal with those marvelous and maddeningly frustrating creatures: human beings. As always, Porter describes real people with sensitivity and an insight into all of their variety that makes you say "I knew someone just like that". She is able to capture the faded, but not quite extinguished, dreams of the elderly and the bright hopes of youth. The theme of this collection is how we humans deal with life and love throughout our lives, "Across the Years", no matter where we are or what era we live in. (Summary by phil chenevert)

Adeline Mowbray

Everybody makes mistakes, and everything has a price. This novel describes, according to its name, the life of Adeline Mowbray, full of everything: sorrow, happiness, falsehood, truth, kindness, and mistakes. This novel is an exploration of the human heart. Be prepared for a strong and enjoyable read. (Summary by Stav Nisser)

After Dark

William Kerby is in danger of losing his sight, which would hit him especially hard as he is a painter. Only rest can preserve it, but a man must eat, and so he and his wife Leah look for other ways to generate a small income. Having travelled a good deal and having heard all kinds of stories on those journeys, William dictates six short stories to his wife, hoping that publishing a book might tide them over.. - Summary by Carolin

Against The Grain, or Against Nature

?THE BOOK THAT DORIAN GRAY LOVED AND THAT INSPIRED OSCAR WILDE?. Such is the enticing epigraph of one early translation of Huysmans? cult novel of 1884, which is also routinely called the Bible of Decadence. Accurate descriptions, both, of this bizarre masterpiece which has reverberated ever since through high and popular culture. ?Against Nature? (or in this version ?Against The Grain?) explores to the furthest limit the life of the world-rejecting aesthete living a reclusive existence devoted entirely to artificial paradises of his own devising. This is no solemn tract, however: the book?s anti-hero Duc Jean Floressas Des Esseintes spectacularly fails to achieve his life?s work, as all his attempts to create worlds of perverse experience through synaesthesia and interior decoration prove ludicrously unsatisfying and injurious to health. An innocent tortoise also falls casualty to his theories, in the wonderful fifth chapter. This is probably a novel best savoured one chapter at a time, and not only because John Howard?s clunky translation makes indigestible listening. Those who can skip whole chunks without guilt would do well to avoid chapters 4, 7, 12 and 14. Revel, however, in the wonders of 5, 8, 9 and 11. Encounter the jewel-encrusted chelonian, the butch lady acrobat, the nightmarish orchids that cause the hero to exclaim ?All is Syphilis??Alas, this translation lacks a chapter, and two brief incidents are also suppressed on account of their sexual perversity. Enjoy what remains. (Summary by Martin Geeson)

Alcatraz

This is a story of a wild horse who many said could not be caught or broken, and the man who set out to prove them wrong. (Summary by Richard Kilmer)

Alexander’s Bridge (version 2)

Bartley Alexander is a construction engineer and world-renowned builder of bridges going through what's known today (but not in 1912) as a mid-life crisis. Although married to his wife Winifred, Bartley resumes his acquaintance with a former lover, Hilda Burgoyne, in London. The affair proves to gnaw at Bartley's sense of propriety and honor. (Summary by Wikipedia)

Almayer’s Folly

A European businessman and his Malayan wife have a daughter, Nina. A Malayan prince comes to do trade with the businessman and falls in love with the daughter. Conflict arises when other influences cause distrust in the business partnership and the daughter runs off to be with the prince. (Summary by Kristel Tretter)

Almayer’s Folly (version 2)

Almayer?s Folly is about a poor businessman who dreams of finding a hidden gold mine and becoming very wealthy. Kaspar Almayer is a white European. He agrees to marry a native Malayan captured by Captain Tom Lingard, his employer, believing the marriage will bring him riches even though he has no love for the woman. They have one daughter named Nina. Almayer relocates with his wife to Malaysian where he hopes to build a trading company and find gold mines. His hopeless daydreams of riches and splendor cause his native wife to loath him. Almayer, desperate, hopes to find his salvation in Dain Maroola, a Malayan prince, who arrives on the island one day. Maroola agrees to work with Almayer and Lakamba, the Rajah, to send an expedition in search of the gold mines. In fact, Maroola is interested only in Nina with whom he has fallen in love. They plan to secretly leave the island. I can?t tell you more, or I would spoil the story. (Summary by Tom Weiss)

Alonzo Fitz and Other Stories

A collection of Twain short stories including: The Loves Of Alonzo Fitz Clarence And Rosannah Ethelton On The Decay Of The Art Of Lying About Magnanimous-Incident Literature The Grateful Poodle The Benevolent Author The Grateful Husband Punch, Brothers, Punch The Great Revolution In Pitcairn The Canvasser's Tale An Encounter With An Interviewer Paris Notes Legend Of Sagenfeld, In Germany Speech On The Babies Speech On The Weather Concerning The American Language Rogers (Summary from Project Gutenberg)

American Women’s Literature, 1847 to 1922

This is a collection of 20 short stories and long-form poetry by American women writers. (Summary by BellonaTimes)

An American Robinson Crusoe

An American Robinson Crusoe is a short version of the original story. An indolent, rebellious teen goes on a marine voyage against his parents' wishes. The ship (and all of its crew) is lost in a storm, but Robinson makes it to a deserted island. He has no tools, no weapons, but he lives for over 28 years on the island. He befriends many animals on the island and after over 20 years living solo, he is joined by a young "savage" who becomes his constant companion. The transformation from the young, lazy teen to a self-sustaining, incredibly knowledgeable adult is one of the major themes in the story. (Summary by: Allyson Hester)

An Eye for an Eye

A short but typical Trollope romance in which a young nobleman is torn between love for an impoverished Irish girl and the expectations of his family that he will marry someone suitable for inheriting an Earldom - Summary by Anthony Ogus

Anna Karenina (Dole translation)

Two love stories are set against the backdrop of high society in Tsarist Russia. Anna awakes from a loveless marriage to find herself drawn irresistibly to the dashing cavalry officer, Count Vronsky. Levin struggles with self-esteem, and even flees to the country, before gaining courage to return and offer himself to the beautiful and pure Kitty. Through troubled courtships, reconciliations, marriage and the birth of each one?s first child, Anna and Levin experience joy and despair as they each struggle to find their place in the world and meaning for their lives. (Introduction by MaryAnn)

Black Heart and White Heart

Black Heart and White Heart, is a story of the courtship, trials and final union of a pair of Zulu lovers in the time of King Cetywayo. (Introduction by H. Rider Haggard)

Bladys of the Stewponey

The setting, geography and history of this story by Rev'd Sabine Baring-Gould, author of Onward Christian Soldiers and a number of other well-known hymns, are all accurate, or at least as accurate as local lore will allow. Kinver has long been a midlands beauty spot, and the UK National Trust own and open one of the rock-dwellings mentioned. The 'Stewponey' too was an inn until a year or two into the twenty-first century: http://www.blackcountrybugle.co.uk/News/Reminder-of-the-heyday-of-the-old-Stewponey-2.htm - the present reader having stopped there for a drink and a meal many times. The story, whether you call it a romance, a historical novel or a horror story - comprising as it does a young woman being offered as a prize in a bowling match, a wife-burning, highwaymen and buried treasure - is of course wholly fiction. (Introduction by AJM)

Bleak House

Bleak House is the ninth novel by Charles Dickens, published in 20 monthly parts between March 1852 and September 1853. It is widely held to be one of Dickens' finest and most complete novels, containing one of the most vast, complex and engaging arrays of minor characters and sub-plots in his entire canon. Dickens tells all of these both through the narrative of the novel's heroine, Esther Summerson, and as an omniscient narrator. Memorable characters include the menacing lawyer Tulkinghorn, the friendly but depressive John Jarndyce and the childish Harold Skimpole. The plot concerns a long-running legal dispute (Jarndyce and Jarndyce) which has far-reaching consequences for all involved. (Summary from Wikipedia)

Bleak House (version 3)

The Chancery Court had jurisdiction over all matters of equity, including administration of estates, the guardianship of orphans, and disputed property disbursement. In Dickens? time, some cases could take years to be settled, changing the lives of those involved. Esther Summerson, a young woman raised in a tough and unloving atmosphere, is unexpectedly requested to be a companion to two teenage orphans, Richard Carstone and Ada Clare, for whom the court has appointed as guardian, John Jarndyce. They take up residence at Mr. Jarndyce?s home, Bleak House. The story of their lives and fortunes is the main thrust of the novel, and is related at times through the eyes of Esther, whose gentle point of view gives the reader a different and more intimate perspective. Richard is sure his fortune is ?just around the corner? when the case of Jarndyce-v-Jarndyce, of which he and Ada will be beneficiaries, is settled. He tries his hand at a career or two, but he becomes obsessed with hastening the probate of the willed fortune he feels must soon be theirs. Further difficulties arise when he and Ada fall in love, while he, penniless, continues the quest to bring his case to justice. A scriber of legal documents dies, and from his death, questions arise which unearth secrets that the Jarndyce?s neighbour, Lady Dedlock, has kept hidden for years. Inspector Bucket enters the case, and begins investigating the disappearance of Lady Dedlock. In the dirt poor part of London comes a young boy called Joe who claims to ?know noffink? but who has witnessed something very important. Several other colorful characters are wound into the story. Nearly insane Miss Flite, who for years has attended court every day, with her little folder of documents, is ever hopeful of a settlement. Mr. Boythorn is a boisterous friend of Jarndyce who has a vendetta with Sir Leicester Dedlock. The Jellyby Family, invariably on the verge of a disaster, is neglected by their Mother who is obsessed with an overseas project. The Smallweed family is mean and avaricious ? squeezing money from poor clients. Mr. Skimpole is the childlike captivating friend of Mr. Jarndyce who sees no harm in living off everybody else. Mr. Guppy fawns after Esther, and plots to steal documents with his friend Weevle. Mr. Woodcourt is a gentle surgeon and family friend, who becomes a hero. Since the writing of Bleak House, the property laws of England were changed, and disbursements were thenceforth conducted in court with the object of swiftly coming to a settlement for the benefit of inheritors. (Summary by Mil Nicholson)

Coffee Break Collection 010 – War and Conflict

This is the tenth collection of our "coffee break" series, involving public domain works that are between 3 and 15 minutes in length. These are great for work/study breaks, commutes, workouts, or any time you'd like to hear a whole story and only have a few minutes to devote to listening. The theme for this collection is "war and conflict" - From battles to pub brawls to divorce, studying human conflict has produced some of the most powerful pieces of writing. Summary by Rosie

Coffee Break Collection 011 – Science

This is the eleventh collection of our "coffee break" series, involving public domain works that are between 3 and 15 minutes in length. These are great for study breaks, commutes, workouts, or any time you'd like to hear a whole story and only have a few minutes to devote to listening. The theme for this collection is Science - The fascination with research, discovery, and experimentation has contributed to humanity's greatest feats. - Summary by Rosie

Coffee Break Collection 012 – The Performing Arts

This is the twelfth collection of our "coffee break" series, involving public domain works that are between 3 and 15 minutes in length. These are great for study breaks, commutes, workouts, or any time you'd like to hear a whole story and only have a few minutes to devote to listening. The theme for this collection is "The Performing Arts", with works about theatre, music, dance, and film! Summary by Rosie.

Consequences

Set in late Victorian England, ?Consequences? follows the life of Alexandra Clare, a girl born into an upper class Catholic London family. Raised from birth for the privileged life of a wife and mother, Alexandra never quite fits in with her or her family?s expectations and fails at seemingly everything she tries ? school, the marriage market, family life.

Contending Forces

Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins, despite an impressive record of productivity and creativity as a novelist, playwright, short fiction writer, editor, actress, and singer, is an African-American woman writer who has essentially been consigned to the dustbins of American literary history. Though contemporary with Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Charles W. Chesnutt, and Paul Laurence Dunbar, Hopkins is only now beginning to receive the kind of critical attention that Harper has enjoyed for a slightly longer period and that Chesnutt and Dunbar have always had. Hopkins had work published in several genres, but her reputation today rests primarily upon Contending Forces: A Romance Illustrative of Negro Life North and South, the novel she published in 1900. (Introduction by Margaret)

Cousin Phillis

Cousin Phillis (1864) is a novel by Elizabeth Gaskell about Paul Manning, a youth of seventeen who moves to the country and befriends his mother's family and his second cousin Phillis Holman, who is confused by her own placement at the edge of adolescence. Most critics agree that Cousin Phillis is Gaskell's crowning achievement in the short novel. The story is uncomplicated; its virtues are in the manner of its development and telling. (Summary by Wikipedia)

Cranford

Cranford is the best-known novel of the 19th century English writer Elizabeth Gaskell. It was first published in 1851 as a serial in the magazine Household Words, which was edited by Charles Dickens. The fictional town of Cranford is closely modelled on Knutsford in Cheshire, which Mrs Gaskell knew well. The book has little in the way of plot and is more a series of episodes in the lives of Mary Smith and her friends, Miss Matty and Miss Deborah, two spinster sisters. The "major" event in the story is the return to Cranford of their long-lost brother, Peter, which in itself is only a minor portion of the work... (Summary by Wikipedia)

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. In a letter to Mrs. Gaskell, Charlotte Bronte wrote: ?Thank you for your letter, it was as pleasant as a quiet chat, as welcome as spring showers, as reviving as a friend?s visit; in short, it was very like a page of Cranford.?... Cranford is a genteel and humorous look at Victorian society by Elizabeth Gaskell, and is quite a change from her more gritty novels like Mary Barton or North and South. (Summary by Noel Badrian)