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American Literature

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Prsilla

Prsilla California Listener Since 2007

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A Peek at Dan Harlow's Bookshelf

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Dan Harlow's greatest hits:
  • The Pastures of Heaven

    "Golden, mythical America"

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    A funny thing happened to me as I was reading this book - I forgot that Steinbeck wasn't quite being literal. Yet the characters fell so alive, the valley seems like such a real place that you fall into its spell almost immediately. Not until the end when the tourists are looking down into the valley (much like how the book begins) do we feel how Las Pasturas del Cielo is a promised land and we are all still wandering around the dry California scrag like so many little American Moses'.

    I wonder how someone who has never lived in America would feel about this book? I've been reading a lot of novels from Russia and I always wonder what it is I'm missing because I am, in fact, unaware of all the nuance that a Russian author would take for granted of his Russian reader. And would a Russian not quite feel everything that an American would feel reading Steinbeck? The distance that separate us socially as a culture, our yearning for something new and to always be on the move, the easy calm mixed with religious firmness ... are these things unique to America?

    I don't know.

    I do know that Steinbeck writes about the inner yearning and nostalgia and dreams of Americans with an ease as gentle as the calm breeze of the valley of this book. He's writing about ideals, about something much more firm than a place in the ground - he's writing about us as a people in all our varied eccentricities, our hopes and our failures and above all, our idea of what we want our lives (and our country) to be about. Here in this book is a place where harsh politics and extremist religions are tempered with hard work, good neighbors and family. People are good, and though they may not always see eye to eye, they know how to work out their differences honorably.

    That's why Las Pasturas del Cielo isn't a real place, and that's why the tourists at the end can't seem to figure out that living in heaven is as simple as just walking out of the desert and into the valley. Life is complicated, life moves quickly, we grasp onto things that aren't really firm in hopes of finding happiness in things. And yet Las Pasturas del Cielo is still there, waiting, and hoping we will all get our acts together, put aside the things in life that aren't really that important, and just 'go home'.

    Steinbeck is writing about a very conservative ideal, but it's the American ideal. It's quaint, it's hard work, but it's full of a joy and a simplicity we wish we had more of.

    Anyway, this is a wonderful book but it's easy to forget what an artistic masterpiece this is because of its simple, idealist subject matter. Steinbeck very simply and vividly created an entire community full of living breathing people, he described the very minutest details of everyday people, and brings them to life with a uniquely American economy of words. And each story grows more mature as the book goes on, the themes a little darker, more bittersweet, but always hopeful.

    I suppose a lot of readers would find the book old-fashioned, its art antiquated and its subject matter far too conservative, but there for a book about a place that doesn't exist, there is something firm here that I can feel in my very soul that no postmodern expression could ever hope to capture. This is a book about how we could be as much as it is about how we are. It's about a place that has never existed but we wish existed. It's a book that everyone should read after taking a deep breath.

    I hope Steinbeck will soon enjoy a renaissance because too many school kids have been forced to read him when they're far too young to really get him and so think of his as some quaint American throwback. Yet there is real art here and it's a kind of art we could stand to have a little more of.

  • The Grapes of Wrath

    "Almost more relevant now than when it was written"

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    Replace farmers from Oklahoma with migrant workers from Mexico and I doubt you'd be able to tell that this novel was written back in 1939. And that's what really stuck me about this novel - how relevant it still is - in some ways even more now than then.

    The first similarity is economic. As I write this we are still either going through a 'great recession' or are slowly emerging from an economic downturn. The causes are different, of course, here in the novel it was bad farming techniques mixed with new technology that drove the farmers from their land. Today it's an over-saturated housing market - people banking all their futures on the bubble of hope that perhaps the value of their own home will increase enough for them to make a tidy profit. And just like land that's been worked too hard, people worked the housing market too hard and it collapsed. Banks came to take the farms in the novel and banks came to take the homes in our own time.

    And both examples were of people running as fast as they could just to stay a little ahead of disaster. The farmers grew crops that destroyed the soil because they had no choice - they couldn't compete with the new farms, the corporate farms and machine efficiency. A family can't compete with a fleet of harvesters and tractors - working the land by hand can't keep up with a tractor. And the same goes for the people with houses these days. Everybody borrowed on cheap credit from the bank to hopefully 'buy low' and then 'sell high', but when everyone does it then there isn't no value in any of it and it all falls apart and everyone still owes the banks. And all they wanted was a piece of a dream, a chance to stay afloat economically, to send their kids to a good college, to make the car payments, put food on the table.

    In the novel the Californian's hated the Oakies, called them lazy, called them animals, called them thieves; in today's world we call the homeowners who lost it all idiots, greedy, lazy. But we also hate the banks. Call the banks greedy, inhumane, a great machine that's too big to die and too big to fail and everybody has to keep feeding it because nobody is really too sure how to control it anymore.

    But there is one difference, and that's the work. When the people lost the value on their homes, when the banks realized that the amount of money in the economy was based on a weak speculation and that there was actually a lot less money than there really was, when that caused credit to dry up, and when that caused smaller businesses to close up because they couldn't run the businesses with no credit, which in turn caused people to lose their jobs, and that caused the economy to drag down deeper and created a vicious cycle that made it worse and worse - after all that, the people had nowhere to go because all the 'poor jobs', the type of work Steinbeck writes about in the novel had all been taken by the immigrants.

    And that cussed more issues. The poor American middle-class blamed the Mexican's and now militia patrol the borders to kick the Mexican's out or do worse things in the desert at night when nobody is looking. A man like Casey in the novel is no different than a immigrant getting killed by some militia border patrol.

    And that causes resentment on all sides and the center can't hold.

    And that's just the economic similarity between the novel and today's times. Politically it's the same too. A conservative will say the poor just gotta work, but the conservative will also be on the side of the businessman and when everyone needs work, the businessman can keep wages down and in turn keep the poor really poor. But that's supposed to be ok because the conservative will say the poor can take help from a charity or a church - but that's easy to tell someone else when it's not you having to beg and take charity, easy to tell another man to beg. But the conservative man is holding on by a thread as thin as can be too and he's causing his own demise because soon the corporation will put him out of work too, his job will be lost and he'll have to go begging and he won't be so mean and conservative anymore. He'll see the value of sticking by your fellow man instead of blaming him for his troubles.

    And that's what the book is about - about family, about sticking together, about helping, about not letting the fruit on the vine rot when others go in need. And that's why it's an even more radical novel today than when it was written because it 'smells' of Communism or of Socialism. And the conservative man doesn't want to hear about that, he doesn't want a union because union men are lazy and he doesn't want socialism because the government will tell him what to do and he doesn't want communism because he can take care of his own family.

    That is until he can't, then he'll be singing a different tune or he'll be turning on his own people like some of the people in the novel who turned against their own just to put food on the table; the great selfishness.

    That's the saddest thing about the book - how spot on Steinbeck was about human nature. And for as beautiful as the novel is, as well written as it is, nothing can compare to how true it is. And maybe that's the thing that makes people still so angry about it - that it reveals a truth we don't want to accept about ourselves, that deep down we know that they way we live, that the American dream is not working, that it never really worked and that we either side with the people who will toss us on the heap of irrelevance or we fight the powers that be. And maybe if we worried a little more about if their neighbor has enough in his bowl and a little less about if we have enough in our own then maybe things would be better.

    The novel is a microcosm of American, then and now. And that's quite an achievement because how many novels ring this true 75 years after they were written? And the novel is a damning indictment too, and that's why it still scares people.

    And that ending. What an ending too. It's both hopeful and sad. It's religious and it turns religion on it's head too. It's bleak and yet it's also comforting.

    Now I didn't realize it at first, but this is the third in a series of books I've been reading that deal explicitly with society - 'The Seven Pillars of Wisdom' talked about a people fighting for their independence in the deserts of Arabia, '100 Years of Solitude' about a village coping with modernity, and now this novel about a country having to find a new direction. And they are also about the poor, about people who have been taken advantage of by a government or an economy and have been cast aside. And that's been a struggle since man understood ownership and it will continue to be a struggle as long as some men side with the very forces that could steamroll everyone in the end.

    'Don't turn on your own kind', Tom says. Well I hope Tom is still somewhere out there keeping an eye on everyone, helping where he can, beat up and bloody but still fighting. The world needs more Tom's and more Ma's. Someone's gotta keep the family together.

    Anyway, brilliant novel. Pure genius.

  • Oil!

    "A book as flawed as the system it critiques"

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    There's no getting around the issue of talking about this book and not mentioning the film There Will Be Blood, so let's just get all that out of the way: they have very little in common and the film is far, far superior to the book.

    Anderson, who directed the film, has gone on the record saying he only really adapted about the first 150 pages of the novel before taking the story in his own, darker, more realistic direction. Anderson wisely focused his attention not on the son but on the oil baron father and not on the older brother Paul, but on the preacher boy Eli. Basically he fixes everything that is wrong with the book but manages to tell very much the same story but injects nuance and rejects the politics of Sinclair.

    And the politics really are the issue and date this book so terribly. We live in a post-communist world and so all the naive ideals of Bunny, all the agonizing contortions of Paul at the end -mimicking the holy-rollers with his own language (Russian) and "shivers" - has been proven to be no better than the capitalism they were fighting against. Communism fell apart because it was just as corrupt as capitalism - capitalism has lasted only because it's managed to "own" so much of the world.

    Yet how Sinclair couldn't see that another form of government was just as bad as any other, why he thought the Russians were onto some grand experiment destined to change the world for the better is just beyond me. Why he didn't apply a rational, critical analysis of the Russian system, or even the socialist system that he applies to capitalism is the one (and major) bit of laziness in an otherwise very well researched and thought out book.

    Sinclair does do a lot right in this book, however. He knows how the oil business works from the ground (literally) on up to the banks and on to Congress. He understands every handshake between oilman and banker, between every banker and political boss, between every political boss and campaigner, between every campaigner and newsman, between every newsman and socialite ... and so on. No relationship in capitalism is left unexplored and all the ugly, dirty warts are examined. And while the book is horribly outdated concerning communism, that's about the only thing out of place because nearly everything else he talks about here is a problem we still deal with in America.

    The biggest issue that hasn't changed since the book was written is the relationship between labor and management. Yes the Unions are nearly all gone thanks to the relationship between church and the republican party (a theme fully explored here in the book written 80 (yes, that's right, 80!) years ago. Yet people are still struggling to make a decent living at the hands of rich big business - today we call them the 1% and the protesters are occupying Wall Street.

    And I could go on about what hasn't changed but that brings up an interesting dilemma: things haven't really changed. The system is still pretty much the same and though it hasn't gotten any better, it really hasn't gotten any worse, either. While capitalist watched as communism rose and then fell, they kept on keeping on. Yes there is a helluva lot of inequity, a lot that isn't fair, a lot of good people who should be doing better, a lot of corruption, but it hasn't in the intervening 80 years fallen apart.

    Now I'm not apologizing for capitalism, but it is an interesting issue to think about nonetheless because of this book that goes into such detail, drills so far down into the problems, but actually works as a better history lesson looking back on how the world was compared to now than it does as a book trying to tell a story.

    And as a book, well, it's not that good. It gets off to a great start but it falls apart at just about the point Anderson stopped adapting it for his brilliant film about greed and at what cost greed takes on a man. First of all the characters are flimsy - they exist just to get to the next journalistic expose masquerading as fiction. Ross Sr., is a nice guy and is all-together too nice to have ever been a successful oilman who can ruthlessly "play the game". Bunny is so thin as to be transparent - he has no personality because Sinclair is too busy writing his as being objective long enough to become a good, pure, and honest socialist of the bright future for mankind and all civilization. Paul exists just for convenience sake and keeps showing up at just the right time to move the story along and teach us how terrible we are to the workers and the Russians.

    In fact, Sinclair does a disservice to very important issues by writing such a flimsy book full of preaching and slanted points of view. There Will Be Blood does a far better job of showing us how greed infects a man and ruins his soul and even if that isn't a financially satisfactory comeuppance, it's at least realistic and might actually make a very wealthy man rethink his own life in a more contemplative manner than this book which would just cause a wealthy man to dig into his trenches deeper and fight against the working man harder.

    But Sinclair wanted to bring to light EVERY issue and so the book had to suffer between laughable scenes so contrived and silly as to make you laugh between cringes and other scenes which are quite insightful and interesting. And I won't fault Sinclair for at least trying to uncover all the problems because he does expose everything wrong with our system of economics and politics, it's just too bad he couldn't have been more artful about it because he only manages to make the characters he sympathizes with look weak and foolish and naive. In short, he hurts the very cause he believes in and wants to fight for.

    This could have been a great book if he trusted his characters, if he didn't lead them around the plot by the nose, if he trusted we the audience to get through to the deeper meaning by digging between the lines. Yet he treats us as uneducated boobs who know no better than to fall for a swindler preacher and don't know any better to take care of ourselves under the thumb of a corporate oppressor.

    Yet there is a lot of good going on here in the ideas of the book. Just because it's bad art does not mean the ideas are all bad or what he exposes as corruption is false or invalid. Sinclair knew there was (and still is) great injustice and that our system is far from perfect. In a way his book is as flawed as our system.

James

James Springfield, MO, United States 02-25-12

New grandpa. Married 35 great years. Drink Batch 19,Tsing Tao, and Bohemia. Read Card, King, Hobb, Sawyer, Sci-Fi, Historical Fiction.

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  • "More Please"

    6 of 6 helpful votes

    I am extremely impatient and when listening to most books even if well written, I am anticipating the end shortly after the half way mark. This was one of those rare occasions, where I was sorry for it to end. This story is well thought out, very plausible, and though written in 1959, very accurate for today. The characters are well developed and interesting and seem true to life.

    I was hesitant to buy this, since it was written in 1959 and it was held to much the same hub bub as Earth Abides by George Stewart. While Earth Abides was alright, it was long and I got impatient with it. Audible had this on sale, so I took the chance. It was well worth full price and now I am interested if Pat Frank's other books are anywhere as good as this.

    The first half is mostly about the events that lead up to war. I believe anyone who likes military books, well enjoy this part especially. The U.S. is tricked into starting the war in an event that was surprising, yet I can see it happening today. The first half ends with the bombs falling, a very scary sight.

    The second half is after the bombs fall and how one town deals with it. The characters are very 1950's, but this adds to the charm of the book.

    Will Patton, the narrator, does an excellent job and adds to the pleasure of listening to the book. I have not read the book, but I got to believe this recording is better then reading the book. In the future if I see, Patton is narrating, it will help me decide to buy that recording.

    More

    Alas, Babylon

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Pat Frank
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3556)
    Performance
    (2566)
    Story
    (2567)

    This true modern masterpiece is built around the two fateful words that make up the title and herald the end - “Alas, Babylon.” When a nuclear holocaust ravages the United States, a thousand years of civilization are stripped away overnight, and tens of millions of people are killed instantly. But for one small town in Florida, miraculously spared, the struggle is just beginning, as men and women of all backgrounds join together to confront the darkness....

    Noe says: "Outstanding story of post-apocalyse."
  • 4.3 (4907 ratings)

    Atlas Shrugged

    • UNABRIDGED (63 hrs)
    • By Ayn Rand
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (4907)
    Performance
    (2900)
    Story
    (2907)

    In a scrap heap within an abandoned factory, the greatest invention in history lies dormant and unused. By what fatal error of judgment has its value gone unrecognized, its brilliant inventor punished rather than rewarded for his efforts? In defense of those greatest of human qualities that have made civilization possible, one man sets out to show what would happen to the world if all the heroes of innovation and industry went on strike.

    Mica says: "Hurt version decidedly superior"
  • 4.3 (3556 ratings)

    Alas, Babylon

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Pat Frank
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3556)
    Performance
    (2566)
    Story
    (2567)

    This true modern masterpiece is built around the two fateful words that make up the title and herald the end - “Alas, Babylon.” When a nuclear holocaust ravages the United States, a thousand years of civilization are stripped away overnight, and tens of millions of people are killed instantly. But for one small town in Florida, miraculously spared, the struggle is just beginning, as men and women of all backgrounds join together to confront the darkness....

    Noe says: "Outstanding story of post-apocalyse."
  • 4.6 (2768 ratings)

    Gone with the Wind

    • UNABRIDGED (49 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Margaret Mitchell
    • Narrated By Linda Stephens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2768)
    Performance
    (1768)
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    (1794)

    Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Literature, Margaret Mitchell's great novel of the South is one of the most popular books ever written. Within six months of its publication in 1936, Gone With the Wind had sold a million copies. To date, it has been translated into 25 languages, and more than 28 million copies have been sold. Here are the characters that have become symbols of passion and desire....

    dallas says: "not to miss audible experience"
  • 4.3 (2745 ratings)

    The Fountainhead

    • UNABRIDGED (32 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Ayn Rand
    • Narrated By Christopher Hurt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    (1463)
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    (1482)

    One of the 20th century's most challenging novels of ideas, The Fountainhead champions the cause of individualism through the story of a gifted young architect who defies the tyranny of conventional public opinion. The struggle for personal integrity in a world that values conformity above creativity is powerfully illustrated through three characters: Howard Roarke, a genius; Gail Wynand, a newspaper mogul and self-made millionaire; and Dominique Francon, a devastating beauty.

    Zachary says: "The Fountainhead"
  •  
  • 4.3 (2154 ratings)

    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: A Signature Performance by Elijah Wood

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Mark Twain
    • Narrated By Elijah Wood
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
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    (2154)
    Performance
    (1653)
    Story
    (1634)

    A Signature Performance: Elijah Wood becomes the first narrator to bring a youthful voice and energy to the story, perhaps making it the closest interpretation to Twain’s original intent.

    James says: "Worthy "signature" premiere"
  • 4.4 (1732 ratings)

    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By L. Frank Baum
    • Narrated By Anne Hathaway
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1732)
    Performance
    (1608)
    Story
    (1602)

    One of the best-known stories in American culture, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has stirred the imagination of young and old alike for over 100 years. Best Actress nominee Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married, Alice In Wonderland), fresh from filming one of this year’s most anticipated films, The Dark Knight Rises, lends her voice to this uniquely American fairy tale.

    JT says: "Anne Hathaway Shines Throughout This Audio Edition"
  • 4.3 (1688 ratings)

    The Good Earth

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Pearl S. Buck
    • Narrated By Anthony Heald
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1688)
    Performance
    (862)
    Story
    (874)

    This Pulitzer Prize-winning classic tells the poignant tale of a Chinese farmer and his family in old agrarian China. The humble Wang Lung glories in the soil he works, nurturing the land as it nurtures him and his family. Nearby, the nobles of the House of Hwang consider themselves above the land and its workers; but they will soon meet their own downfall. The working people riot, breaking into the homes of the rich and forcing them to flee. When Wang Lung shows mercy to one noble and is rewarded, he begins to rise in the world, even as the House of Hwang falls.

    Marv says: "a masterpiece!"
  • The Sun Also Rises

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Ernest Hemingway
    • Narrated By William Hurt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (846)
    Performance
    (501)
    Story
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    The Sun Also Rises is one of Ernest Hemingway's masterpieces and a classic example of his spare but powerful style. A poignant look at the disillusionment and angst of the post-World War I generation, the story introduces two of Hemingway's most unforgettable characters: Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley. Follow the flamboyant Brett and the hapless Jake as they journey from the wild nightlife of the 1920s Paris to the brutal bullfighting rings of Spain with a motley group of expatriates.

    Gerald says: "Bravo Papa!"
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: 50th Anniversary Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Ken Kesey, Robert Faggen (introduction)
    • Narrated By John C. Reilly
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (335)
    Performance
    (309)
    Story
    (304)

    Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time. Turning conventional notions of sanity and insanity on their heads, the novel tells the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her.

    Scott says: "Fantastic"
  • The Scarlet Letter

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Nathaniel Hawthorne
    • Narrated By Robert Bethune
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    In 1642, a pregnant Hester Prynne is found guilty of adultery, shunned by her neighbors, and forced to wear a scarlet letter 'A' on her dress. Meanwhile, Hester's husband - long thought to be lost at sea - has returned to Boston under the assumed name 'Roger Chillingworth' and plots to uncover her lover's identity. After her daughter Pearl is born, Hester is frequently visited by both Reverend Dimmesdale and Chillingworth, but always refuses to name her lover.

  • Hum, the Son of Buz

    • UNABRIDGED (15 mins)
    • By Harriet Beecher Stowe
    • Narrated By Glenn Hascall
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    A seaside summer visit allowed the narrator to encounter a very special bird. This delightful story brings a winged hero to life and allows us to care deeply for the things that "Hum" encounters. Welcome to a delightful vacation and the gentle observations made in an unhurried time. Narrated by Glenn Hascall.

  • Great American Authors Read from Their Works, Volume 2

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 14 mins)
    • By Nelson Algren, James Jones, John Updike, and others
    • Narrated By Nelson Algren, James Jones, John Updike, and others
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    Nelson Algren reading from The Man With the Golden Arm, James Jones reading from The Thin Red Line, John Updike reading “Lifeguard” from Pigeon Feathers and Other, Bernard Malamud reading from “The Mourners” from The Magic Barrre.

  • James Jones Reading from The Thin Red Line: Great American Authors Read from Their Works, Volume 2

    • ORIGINAL (23 mins)
    • By James Jones
    • Narrated By James Jones
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    James Jones, who served in combat in the Pacific in World War II, creates a scene of confusion and brutal devastation, as American soldiers struggle against an invincible enemy, and valiant young lives are destroyed.

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  • Moby Dick

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Herman Melville
    • Narrated By B. J. Harrison
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    In the dark depths of the bottomless sea dwells a white demon, taking shape as the Leviathan known as Moby Dick. One year ago, the malefic brute crunched off the leg of the ungodly Captain Ahab, who now swears revenge. So runs the epic tale of Moby Dick, the supernal work of Herman Melville. In this unabridged production, you will walk with the young sailor Ishmael through the fires of life on a whaling vessel.

  • Classic Tales of Hope and Courage: Selected Masterworks, Annotated for Modern Adventure Seekers

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs)
    • By Rudyard Kipling, Jack London, William Ernest Henley, and others
    • Narrated By Daniel H. Vimont
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    Let yourself be swept away by these classic tales of hope and courage!!

    - Classic tales (short stories and poems) of hope and courage from the 19th and 20th centuries

    Annotated for modern listeners

    The third entry in the Classic Tales series, joining "Classic Tales of Horror" and "Classic Tales of Christmas"

    For adventure fans of all ages, these stories are guaranteed to intrigue, delight, and sometimes take you by surprise!

  • The Wisdom of the Trail

    • UNABRIDGED (15 mins)
    • By Jack London
    • Narrated By Glenn Hascall
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    The conditions were harsh. Sitka Charley led the expedition in the cold and snow. If only his comrades were as dedicated to the task. The tail can be a dangerous place, and not just because animals may lurk nearby. Take the journey in this classic short story from Jack London. Narrated by Glenn Hascall.

  • The Yellow Wallpaper

    • UNABRIDGED (46 mins)
    • By Charlotte Perkins Gilman
    • Narrated By Linda Velwest
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    A new mother is brought by her doctor husband to a summer house to relax. He has determined that she suffers from a nervous condition. She is told to rest and she must have no intellectual or social stimulation. Her child and the house are taken care of by trusted others. She surreptitiously writes when no one is around. At first she is disturbed by the yellow wallpaper in the room she is staying in. when she requests another room, she is told that it is not good for her to have her whims attended to.