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: Hector Monro, writing under the pseudonym of Saki, is justly renowned for his....+
Hector Monro, writing under the pseudonym of Saki, is justly renowned for his urbane and witty short stories. His eccentric characters, humorous dialogue, and engaging domestic situations all reveal a penetrating and sometimes disturbing insight into human nature. As a quixotic tour guide, Saki leads the reader from garden party to pig sty to political convention with the ease of one who is intimately familiar with the cares and foibles of the human condition, showing us this vista of life through the well-tempered lens of his gentle, British irony.
In this definitive collection of seventy short stories, we can browse and sightsee at our leisure, cross borders of fresh insight, admire and enjoy each whimsical tale as we journey through the imaginative landscape of a truly artful writer.
Summary: After a long and eventful life, Allan Karlsson ends up in a nursing home, believing....+
After a long and eventful life, Allan Karlsson ends up in a nursing home, believing it to be his last stop. The only problem is that he’s still in good health--and tomorrow is his hundredth birthday. A big celebration is in the works, but Allan really isn’t interested (and he’d like a bit more control over his vodka consumption). So he decides to escape.
He climbs out the window in his slippers and embarks on a hilarious and entirely unexpected journey, involving, among other surprises, a suitcase stuffed with cash, some unpleasant criminals, a friendly hot-dog stand operator, and an elephant.
Quirky and utterly unique, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared has charmed over two million people around the world.
Summary: In this mischievous yarn by Mark Twain, a Yankee mechanic named Hank Morgan....+
In this mischievous yarn by Mark Twain, a Yankee mechanic named Hank Morgan is knocked unconscious in a fight and awakens to find himself at Camelot in AD 528. Brought before the knights of the Round Table, he is condemned to death but saves himself by using his nineteenth-century scientific knowledge to pose as a powerful magician. After correctly predicting an eclipse, Hank is made minister to King Arthur, and goes on to counsel him on such matters as gunpowder, electricity, and industrial methods. But when he attempts to better the condition of the peasantry, he meets opposition from the church, knights, and sorcerers, and finds his efforts at enlightenment turned against him.
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court is both a rollicking romantic fantasy and a canny social satire that only one of America’s greatest writers could pen.
Summary: Theodore Gumbril, a mild young Oxford tutor, has become thoroughly dismayed....+
Theodore Gumbril, a mild young Oxford tutor, has become thoroughly dismayed by the formality of college life and the staid British institutions of learning. An impetuous need for celebration, even rebellion, possesses him. He and his bohemian companions embark on wild and daring “bacchanalian” adventures that steer them resolutely away from stifling conventions of behavior, charging them for the first time with an exuberant vitality and lust for life. A sardonic and outspoken novel, Antic Hay unfolds its polemical theme against the backdrop of London’s post-war nihilistic Bohemia. This is Huxley at his biting, brilliant best--a novel charged with excitement and loud with satiric laughter at conventional morality and stuffy people everywhere.
Summary: O. Henry wove several stories together into this highly episodic narrative,....+
O. Henry wove several stories together into this highly episodic narrative, taking his title and inspiration from Lewis Carroll’s poem “The Walrus and the Carpenter” in Alice in Wonderland.
The stories are set in the fictional country of Anchuria in Central America, a banana republic where larceny is rampant and revolution is lurking in every impoverished back alley. O. Henry offers a cutting satire of contemporary politics and prejudices. Nevertheless, an essential middle-class morality prevails, in which lovers are reunited, poverty obliterated, character rewarded, and sentiment satisfied.
Summary: Regarded as the first great masterpiece of Russian literature, Dead Souls mixes....+
Regarded as the first great masterpiece of Russian literature, Dead Souls mixes realism and symbolism for a vivid and highly original portrait of Russian life. Chichikov, a mysterious stranger, arrives in a provincial town with a bizarre but seductive proposition for local landowners. He proposes to buy the names of their serfs who have died but who are still registered on the census, saving their owners from paying tax on them. But what collateral will Chichikov receive for these “souls”? Full of larger-than-life Dickensian characters--rogues and scoundrels, landowners and serfs, conniving petty officials, and the wily antihero Chichikov--Dead Souls is a devastating comic satire on social hypocrisy.
Summary: Cranford is Elizabeth Gaskell’s gently comic picture of life and manners....+
Cranford is Elizabeth Gaskell’s gently comic picture of life and manners in an English country village during the 1830s. It describes the small adventures in the lives of two middle-aged sisters in reduced circumstances, Matilda and Deborah Jenkyns, who do their best to maintain their standards of propriety, decency, and kindness. At the center of the novel is Miss Matty, whose warm heart and tender ways compel affection and regard from everyone around her. Also revealed are the foibles and attributes of the pompous Mrs. Jamieson and her awesome butler, the genial Captain Brown, the loyal housemaid Martha, and others.
Using an intimate, gossipy voice that never turns sentimental, Gaskell skillfully conveys the old-fashioned habits, subtle class distinctions, and genteel poverty of the townspeople. Cranford is one of the author’s best-loved works.
Summary: A foundling of mysterious parentage, Tom Jones is brought up by the benevolent....+
A foundling of mysterious parentage, Tom Jones is brought up by the benevolent and wealthy Squire Allworthy as his own son. Tom falls in love with the beautiful and unattainable Sophia Western, a neighbor’s daughter, whose marriage has already been arranged. When Tom’s sexual misadventures around the countryside get him banished, he sets out to make his fortune and find his true identity. Against the vivid background of eighteenth-century London, Tom encounters passion, corruption, danger, and intrigue before finally claiming his fortune, legitimacy, and true love. Fielding’s bawdy, colorful, high-spirited novel paints human vices and virtues with unprecedented honesty and good humor, making Tom Jones as fresh and entertaining today as it was two hundred years ago.
Summary: This delightful tale of thwarted ambition and forbidden love follows the adventures....+
This delightful tale of thwarted ambition and forbidden love follows the adventures and fortunes of an endearing young rogue, Frank Softly. Originally appearing serialized in Household Words in 1859, the rogue is one of Collins’ most richly comic creations.
Propelled into society by his ever-hopeful father, Frank is introduced to a variety of professions in order to make his fortune. Not industrious by nature, Frank finds working life a challenge, and by his twenty-fifth birthday, he has failed in medicine, portrait-painting, caricaturing, and even forgery. Disenchanted with life, he despairs of ever finding something to commit to--until he meets Alicia Dulcifer and her inexplicably wealthy father.
Proffering his own take on picaresque storytelling--and with many a grain of truth for twentysomethings today--this is Wilkie Collins at his entertaining best.
Summary: Stuart's got problems.... It's raining. He's bored. And worst of all, he's....+
Stuart's got problems.... It's raining. He's bored. And worst of all, he's new in town. So he's got a lot to worry about. But what does a kid like Stuart need in order to have an adventure? A cape, of course.
Summary: Roger Mifflin is part pixie, part sage, part noble savage, and all God’s....+
Roger Mifflin is part pixie, part sage, part noble savage, and all God’s creature. With his traveling book wagon, named Parnassus, he moves through the New England countryside of 1915 on an itinerant mission of enlightenment. Mifflin’s delight in books and authors is infectious. With his singular philosophy and bright eyes, he comes to represent the heart and soul of the book world. But a certain spirited spinster, disgruntled with her life, may have a hand in changing all that. This roaring good adventure yarn is spiced with fiery roadside brawls, heroic escapes from death, the most groaning boards in the history of Yankee cookery, and a rare love story...not to mention a glimpse at a feminist perspective from the early 1900s.
Summary: A masterpiece of satire, this classic has entertained and enlightened readers....+
A masterpiece of satire, this classic has entertained and enlightened readers the world over with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life and foibles from the vantage point of Screwtape, a highly placed assistant to “Our Father Below.” At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, C. S. Lewis gives us the correspondence of the worldly-wise old devil to his nephew Wormwood, a novice demon in charge of securing the damnation of an ordinary young man.
Summary: The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (commonly known as The Pickwick....+
The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (commonly known as The Pickwick Papers) is the first novel by Charles Dickens. The book became the first real publishing phenomenon, with bootleg copies, theatrical performances, Sam Weller joke books, and other merchandise. Written for publication as a serial, The Pickwick Papers is a sequence of loosely-related adventures. The novel's main character, Mr. Samuel Pickwick, Esquire, is a kind and wealthy old gentleman, and the founder and perpetual president of the Pickwick Club. To extend his researches into the quaint and curious phenomena of life, he suggests that he and three other "Pickwickians" (Mr. Nathaniel Winkle, Mr. Augustus Snodgrass, and Mr. Tracy Tupman) should make journeys to remote places and report on their findings to the members of the club. Their travels throughout the English countryside provide the chief theme of the novel. Its main literary value and appeal is formed by its numerous memorable characters. Each character in The Pickwick Papers, as in many other Dickens novels, is drawn comically, often with exaggerated personalities. Alfred Jingle provides an aura of comic villainy. His misadventures repeatedly land the Pickwickians in trouble. These include Jingle's elopement with the spinster, Aunt Rachael of Dingley Dell manor, misadventures with Dr. Slammer, and others.
Summary: Who wants to move during high school? Certainly not Hailey Harper, whose father....+
Who wants to move during high school? Certainly not Hailey Harper, whose father has a new job in Los Angeles. Leaving New York is daunting enough, but it’s especially bad for Hailey, who’s always felt invisible at school. She’s pretty, she has friends, she likes art--but she isn’t in the popular crowd. As Hailey is packing for the move, she finds a journal belonging to her older sister, who’s away at college. The journal is called “How to Be a Hater.” Has Hailey found the Bible of coolness? Quite possibly. Armed with the journal and her sister’s hand-me-down skinny jeans and ballet flats, Hailey takes on a whole new persona for her first week at West Hollywood High, and she is quickly noticed by Skyler and her crew, the most popular girls at school. It doesn’t take long for Skyler to decide Hailey is an asset to the group, and it doesn’t take Hailey long to realize this group of girls is mean, mean, mean. She quickly sheds her hater persona and makes new friends, girls who are deemed unacceptable by Skyler. Soon Hailey and her group are plotting to dethrone Skyler and give her a taste of her own medicine. With the help of the journal and their own creativity, Hailey and her friends grow stronger. Skyler’s ex even falls for Hailey. But what she doesn’t bargain for is how good being a hater feels. Skyler deserves it, doesn’t she?
Summary: A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head. The green....+
A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head. The green earflaps, full of large ears and uncut hair and the fine bristles that grew in the ears themselves, stuck out on either side like turn signals indicating two directions at once. So enters one of the most memorable characters in recent American fiction. The hero of John Kennedy Toole’s incomparable, Pultizer Prize-winning comic classic is one Ignatius J. Reilly: “huge, obese, fractious, fastidious, a latter-day Gargantua, a Don Quixote of the French Quarter. His story bursts with wholly original characters, denizens of New Orleans’ lower depths, incredibly true-to-life dialogue, and the zaniest series of high and low comic adventures.” (Henry Kisor, Chicago Sun-Times)
Summary: Children will enjoy hearing Betty White, the popular television personality,....+
Children will enjoy hearing Betty White, the popular television personality, narrate these seven stories for a whole week of adventures. The stories in this collection will take children on seven enjoyably entertaining outings with the delightful Betty White as their companion. Included here are: “Day at the Aquarium,” “Day at the Farm,” “Day at the Library,” “Day at the Zoo,” “Day at Santa’s Workshop,” “Day at the City,” and “Day with Dad at the County Fair.”
Summary: Don Quixote dons rusty armor to become a knight-errant, roaming the world to....+
Don Quixote dons rusty armor to become a knight-errant, roaming the world to right wrongs. From his first encounter with a score of windmills to the night he takes a funeral procession to be a parade of monsters, Quixote manages nonetheless to experience moments of lucidity.
Summary: An irresistible novel brimming with wit, warmth, and Irish humor, about the....+
An irresistible novel brimming with wit, warmth, and Irish humor, about the married owners of a friendly tavern in Belfast and the intimate lives of the customers and employees who band together to save it from demolition. Jack Beaumont and his beautiful wife, Lily, are the owners of the tavern on Maple Street, a tiny Victorian pub they inherited from Jack's great-uncle Ernest. It's a quiet place, untouched by the modern world, and that's why the customers like it so much. But a property developer wants to demolish the tavern and build a shopping mall on Maple Street. Jack and Lily and their little home-away-from-home are suddenly plunged into the limelight, caught in a desperate struggle to save their business from the bulldozers-or, with the help of some new employees, to at least make as much money as possible during their last few months as landlord and landlady. In The Tavern on Maple Street, Sharon Owens delivers another delicious sparkler full of love, friendship, relationships, and the day-to-day lives of ordinary people, one that is sure to satisfy readers' insatiable appetite for her romantic and quirky Belfast tales. About the Author: A bestselling author in Ireland, Sharon Owens lives in Belfast. The Irish Independent described her writing as, “Maeve Binchy meets Joanna Trollope... Gives you a warm glow like a nice cup of tea.” About the Narrator: Caroline Winterson, an experienced narrator, has performed on stage, television and film in both the United States and Ireland. Her off-Broadway credits include Colleen Bawn, Maiden Voyages, Angel, Down The Flats, and Layboy of the Western World.