Summary: Jacky Faber is framed as passing confidential U.S. information to the British.....+
Jacky Faber is framed as passing confidential U.S. information to the British. Forced to flee Boston, she goes undercover as a governess for a prominent Puritan family. When outed by a nosy postmaster, she deserts the respectability of her position, dons a leotard and slippers, and poses as a Russian tightrope walker in a traveling circus. But the law soon catches up with her, and prospects do not look good. Through her many adventures, Jacky has always found the ingenuity to escape dire situations, but this time it looks like Puss in Boots has run out of lives... and her happily-ever-after will be cut short at the foot of the gallows.
Summary: Andy Carpenter isn’t sure what to think when he gets a mysterious phone call....+
Andy Carpenter isn’t sure what to think when he gets a mysterious phone call from a good friend, policeman Pete Stanton, asking him to drop everything, drive to an unfamiliar address, and bring his girlfriend, Laurie Collins. He certainly isn’t expecting to show up at a crime scene. But that’s exactly where he arrives—at the house where Pete has just discovered the body of ex-convict Danny Balfour. Upstairs are Danny’s now orphaned four-year-old son and basset hound. And that, Andy discovers, is why he and Laurie were called to the scene—Pete wants them to take care of the boy and the dog so they won’t get thrown into the “system.” This is already asking a lot, but soon Pete needs another big favor from Andy. Pete himself has come under suspicion for Danny’s murder, and he needs defense attorney Andy to represent him…and to find out what really happened in Danny's house that day.
Summary: Who could forget the pranks, the adventures, the sheer fun of Tom Sawyer? From....+
Who could forget the pranks, the adventures, the sheer fun of Tom Sawyer? From Tom’s sly trickery with the whitewashed fence to his and Becky Thatcher’s calamities in Bat Cave, the enjoyment never ends.
Just what did boys do in a small town during the mid-1800s, a time when there were no televisions, no arcades, and no videos? They whitewashed fences, floated down rivers, traded marbles, formed secret societies, smoked pipes, and, on occasion, managed to attend their own funerals. Yes, they may have been a bit mischievous, but as Aunt Polly said of Tom when she believed him to be dead, “He was the best-hearted boy that ever was.” Aunt Polly’s sentiments reveal one of Mark Twain’s cardinal philosophies: In this deceitful and infirm world, innocence can be found only in the heart of a boy.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a humorous and nostalgic book depicting the carefree days of boyhood in a small Midwestern town. The characters are based on Twain’s schoolmates and the town, Hannibal, Missouri, is where Twain grew up.
Summary: Huck Finn is an orphaned drifter who loves freedom more than respectability.....+
Huck Finn is an orphaned drifter who loves freedom more than respectability. He isn’t above lying and stealing, but he faces a battle with his conscience when he meets up with a runaway slave named Jim, who provides him with his first experiences of love, acceptance, and a sense of responsibility.
The title character of this famous novel tells his own story in a straightforward narrative laced with shrewd, sharp comments on human nature. The boy’s adventures along the Mississippi River provide a framework for a series of moral lessons, revelations of a corrupt society, and contrasts between innocence and hypocrisy. The colorful cast of characters--including the crafty grifters, the Duke and the King--help make this a memorable classic.
Summary: The artifact is a vast circular ribbon of matter, some 180 million miles across,....+
The artifact is a vast circular ribbon of matter, some 180 million miles across, with a sun at its center. Pierson’s puppeteers--strange, three-legged, two-headed aliens--discovered this “Ringworld” in a hitherto unexplored part of the galaxy. Curious about the immense structure, but frightened by the prospect of meeting the builders, they set about assembling a team to explore it:
Louis Wu, human--old and bored with having lived too fully for too many years, seeking an adventure, and all too capable of handling it.
Nessus, puppeteer--a trembling coward from a species with an inbuilt survival pattern of nonviolence. This particular puppeteer, however, is insane.
Speaker-to-Animals, kzin--large, orange-furred, and carnivorous. The kzin are one of the most savage life-forms known.
The party’s expedition, however, goes disastrously wrong when their ship crash-lands and its motley crew faces a daunting trek across thousands of miles of Ringworld territory.
Summary: This is a new reading of the thrilling account of one of the most astonishing....+
This is a new reading of the thrilling account of one of the most astonishing feats of exploration and human courage ever recorded.
In August of 1914, the British ship Endurance set sail for the South Atlantic. In October, 1915, still half a continent away from its intended base, the ship was trapped, then crushed in the ice. For five months, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men, drifting on ice packs, were castaways in one of the most savage regions of the world.
Lansing describes how the men survived a 1,000-mile voyage in an open boat across the stormiest ocean in the world and an overland trek through forbidding glaciers and mountains. The book recounts a harrowing adventure, but ultimately it is the nobility of these men and their indefatigable will that shines through.
Summary: On Midsummer’s Eve, Dan and Una enact A Midsummer Night’s Dream three times....+
On Midsummer’s Eve, Dan and Una enact A Midsummer Night’s Dream three times over--right under Pook’s Hill. That is how they meet Puck, “the oldest Old Thing in England,” and the last of the People of the Hills. Through Puck, they are introduced to the nearly forgotten pages of old England’s history and to characters that can illuminate their own historical predicaments.
The god Weland is freed from an unwanted heathen immortality by a novice monk, Hugh, who goes on to become a warrior and leader. The centurion, Parnesius, shows an insight that is absent from the higher echelons of the declining Roman Empire in cooperating with the Picts. Originally published in 1906, these ten stories and accompanying poems were intended for both adults and children.
Summary: He was born Temujin, the son of a khan, raised in a clan of hunters migrating....+
He was born Temujin, the son of a khan, raised in a clan of hunters migrating across the rugged steppe. Temujin’s young life was shaped by a series of brutal acts: the betrayal of his father by a neighboring tribe and the abandonment of his entire family, cruelly left to die on the harsh plain. But Temujin endured--and from that moment on, he was driven by a singular fury: to survive in the face of death, to kill before being killed, and to conquer enemies who could come without warning from beyond the horizon.
Through a series of courageous raids against the Tartars, Temujin’s legend grew--and so did the challenges he faced, from the machinations of a Chinese ambassador to the brutal abduction of his young wife, Borte. Blessed with ferocious courage, it was the young warrior’s ability to learn, to imagine, and to judge the hearts of others that propelled him to greater and greater power, until Temujin was chasing a vision: to unite many tribes into one, to make the earth tremble under the hoofbeats of a thousand warhorses, to subject unknown nations and even empires to his will.
Summary: The three novels that make up The Forsyte Saga chronicle the ebbing social....+
The three novels that make up The Forsyte Saga chronicle the ebbing social power of the commercial upper-middle class Forsyte family through three generations, beginning in Victorian London during the 1880s and ending in the early 1920s. Galsworthy's masterly narrative examines not only their fortunes but also the wider developments within society, particularly the changing position of women.
The Forsyte Saga is a sequence of novels comprising The Man of Property (1906), In Chancery (1920), and To Let (1921) with two interludes, "Indian Summer of a Forsyte" (1918) and "Awakening", published together in 1922.
The saga begins with Soames Forsyte, a successful solicitor who buys land at Robin Hill on which to build a house for his wife Irene and future family. Eventually, the Forsyte family begins to disintegrate when Timothy Forsyte, the last of the old generation, dies at the age of 100.
In these novels, John Galsworthy documented a departed way of life, that of the affluent middle class that ruled England before the 1914 war. The class is criticized on account of its possessiveness, but there is also nostalgia because Galsworthy, as a man born into the class, could also appreciate its virtues.
Originally published as five books between 1906 and 1921.
Summary: Red River to AppomattoxIn the third and final volume of this magnificent history,....+
Red River to Appomattox
In the third and final volume of this magnificent history, Shelby Foote brings to a close the story of four years of turmoil and strife that altered American life forever. Following the events of the war from 1862–1864, Foote discusses the strategies of both the North and the South and assesses the performance of the Union generals. The volume opens with the beginning of the two final, major confrontations of the war: Grant against Lee in Virginia, and Sherman pressing Johnston in North Georgia. In vivid narrative as seen from both sides, he tells of the climactic struggles, great and small, on and off the field of battle, that finally decided the fate of this nation.
This third volume in Shelby Foote’s comprehensive history is a must-listen for anyone interested in one of the bloodiest wars in America’s history.
Summary: Fredericksburg to MeridianThis second volume in Shelby Foote’s masterfully....+
Fredericksburg to Meridian
This second volume in Shelby Foote’s masterfully written history of the Civil War is dominated by the almost continual confrontation of great armies. The Army of the Potomac under Burnside attempts once again to take Richmond, resulting in the bloodbath at Fredericksburg.
Then Joe Hooker tries again, only to be repulsed at Chancellorsville as Stonewall Jackson turns his flank--a bitter victory for the South, paid for by the death of Lee’s foremost lieutenant. In the west, Grant’s seven relentless efforts against Vicksburg show Lincoln that he has at last found the killer-general, the man who can “face the arithmetic.” With Vicksburg finally under siege, Lee again invades the North. The three-day conflict at Gettysburg receives book-length attention in a masterly treatment of a key great battle, not as legend has it but as it really was, before it became distorted by controversy and overblown by remembered glory.
This second volume in Shelby Foote’s comprehensive history is a must-listen for anyone interested in one of the bloodiest wars in America’s history.
Summary: Fort Sumter to PerryvilleHere begins one of the most remarkable works of history....+
Fort Sumter to Perryville
Here begins one of the most remarkable works of history ever fashioned. All the great battles are here, of course, from Bull Run through Shiloh, the Seven Days Battles, and Antietam, but so are the smaller ones: Ball’s Bluff, Fort Donelson, Pea Ridge, Island Ten, New Orleans, and Monitor versus Merrimac.
The word “narrative” is the key to this extraordinary book’s incandescence and its truth. The story is told entirely from the point of view of the people involved in it. One learns not only what was happening on all fronts but also how the author discovered it during his years of exhaustive research.
This first volume in Shelby Foote’s comprehensive history is a must-listen for anyone interested in one of the bloodiest wars in America’s history.
Summary: Dashing young Edmond Dantès has everything: a fine reputation, an appointment....+
Dashing young Edmond Dantès has everything: a fine reputation, an appointment as captain of a ship, and the heart of a beautiful woman. But his perfect life is shattered when three jealous friends conspire to destroy him. Falsely accused of a political crime, Dantès is locked away for life in the infamous Chateau d'If prison. But it is there that Dantès learns of a vast hidden treasure. After fourteen years of hopeless imprisonment, Dantès makes his daring escape and follows his secret map to untold fortune. Disguised now as the mysterious and powerful Count of Monte Cristo, Dantès seeks out his enemies--and nothing will stand in the way of his just revenge.
Filled with thrilling episodes of betrayal, romance, and revenge, The Count of Monte Cristo is one of the greatest adventure stories ever written.
Summary: Willa Cather’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel tells of the making of a young....+
Willa Cather’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel tells of the making of a young American soldier.
Claude Wheeler, the sensitive, aspiring protagonist, resembles the youngest son of a peculiarly American fairy tale. His fortune is ready-made for him, but he refuses to settle for it. Alienated from his crass father and pious mother, all but rejected by a wife who reserves her ardor for missionary work, and dissatisfied with farming, Claude is an idealist without an ideal to cling to. It is only when his country enters the First World War that Claude finds the purpose he has been searching for all his life. His yearnings impel him toward a frontier wilder and more violent than the one tamed by his pioneer ancestors.
One of Ours is a canny and vital portrait of an American psyche at once skeptical and romantic, restless and heroic.
Summary: This is the book the CIA does not want you to read. For over sixty years, the....+
This is the book the CIA does not want you to read. For over sixty years, the CIA has maintained a formidable reputation in spite of its terrible record, never disclosing its blunders to the American public. It spun its own truth to the nation while reality lay buried in classified archives. Now, Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times reporter Tim Weiner offers a stunning indictment of the CIA, a deeply flawed organization that has never deserved America’s confidence.
Legacy of Ashes is based on more than fifty thousand documents, primarily from the archives of the CIA. Everything is on the record. There are no anonymous sources, no blind quotations. With shocking revelations that will make headlines, Tim Weiner gets at the truth and tells how the CIA’s failures have profoundly jeopardized our national security.
Summary: “I’ve struck it!” Mark Twain wrote in a 1904 letter to a friend. “And....+
“I’ve struck it!” Mark Twain wrote in a 1904 letter to a friend. “And I will give it away--to you. You will never know how much enjoyment you have lost until you get to dictating your autobiography.”
Thus, after dozens of false starts and hundreds of pages, Twain embarked on his “Final (and Right) Plan” for telling the story of his life. His innovative notion--to “talk only about the thing which interests you for the moment”--meant that his thoughts could range freely. The strict instruction that many of these texts remain unpublished for one hundred years meant that when they came out, he would be “dead, and unaware, and indifferent,” and that he was therefore free to speak his “whole frank mind.”
The year 2010 marked the one hundredth anniversary of Twain’s death. In celebration of this important milestone, here, for the first time, is Mark Twain’s uncensored autobiography, in its entirety, exactly as he left it. This major literary event offers the first of three volumes and presents Mark Twain’s authentic and unsuppressed voice, brimming with humor, ideas, and opinions, and speaking clearly from the grave, as he intended.
Summary: Elmer Gantry is the portrait of a silver-tongued evangelist who rises to power....+
Elmer Gantry is the portrait of a silver-tongued evangelist who rises to power within his church, yet lives a life of hypocrisy, sensuality, and ruthless self-indulgence.
The title character starts out as a greedy, shallow, philandering Baptist minister, turns to evangelism, and eventually becomes the leader of a large Methodist congregation. Throughout the novel, Gantry encounters fellow religious hypocrites. Although often exposed as a fraud, Gantry is never fully discredited.
When Elmer Gantry was first published in 1927, it created a public furor. Now it is considered a landmark in American literature and one of the most penetrating studies of hypocrisy in modern literature. The novel also represents the evangelistic activity of America in the 1920s and people’s attitudes toward it.
Summary: Kimball O’Hara is an Irish orphan, but he runs free in the streets of India.....+
Kimball O’Hara is an Irish orphan, but he runs free in the streets of India. As a boy, he shows self-reliance and resourcefulness, running errands for Mahbub Ali, who works for the British Secret Service. Kim also meets a Tibetan lama who is on a quest to be freed from the Wheel of Life and becomes his disciple. Together they have wonderful adventures on the exotically colorful Grand Trunk Road through the Indian countryside. Then Kim is pulled into the great game of British imperial espionage and becomes a member of the Secret Service, even capturing documents from the enemy spies. Yet Kim is greatly attached to the lama and begins to feel the conflicting pulls between a life of contemplation and one of action.
Kiplilng’s love for India and its people is evidient throughout this classic story, and its images and characters will stay with you long after you finish the final chapter.
Summary: A story filled with danger and excitement, Johnny Tremain tells of the turbulent,....+
A story filled with danger and excitement, Johnny Tremain tells of the turbulent, passionate times in Boston just before the Revolutionary War. Johnny, a young apprentice silversmith, is caught with Otis, Hancock, and John and Samuel Adams in the exciting operations and subterfuges leading up to the Boston Tea Party and the Battle of Lexington. As Johnny is forced into the role of a full-grown man in the face of his new country’s independence, he finds that his relations with those he loves changes for the better as well. Johnny Tremain is historical fiction at its best, portraying the living drama of Revolutionary Boston through the shrewd eyes of an observant boy.
Summary: One of the greatest works of fiction ever written, Crime and Punishment is....+
One of the greatest works of fiction ever written, Crime and Punishment is at once an intense psychological study, a terrifying murder mystery, and a fascinating detective thriller instilled with philosophical, religious, and social commentary.
Dostoevsky studies the psychological impact upon a desperate and impoverished student when he murders a despicable pawnbroker, transgressing moral law to ultimately “benefit humanity.” After killing the old woman, haunted by guilt and terror, the young man must decide whether to assuage his conscience by confessing or attempt to get away with the perfect crime.
Crime and Punishment takes the listener on a journey into the darkest recesses of the criminal and depraved mind and exposes the soul of a man possessed by both good and evil who cannot escape his own conscience.