Booker T. Washington fought his way out of slavery to become an educator, statesman, political shaper, and proponent of the "do-it-yourself" idea. In his autobiography, he describes his early life as a slave on a Virginia plantation, his steady rise during the Civil War, his struggle for education, his schooling at the Hampton Institute, and his years as founder and president of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, which was devoted to helping minorities learn useful, marketable skills.
"The Best Self-Help Book You'll Ever Need"
Harper Lee’s Pulitzer prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep south - and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred, available now for the first time as a digital audiobook. One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than 40 languages, sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the 20th century by librarians across the country.
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic American novel of the Roaring Twenties is beloved by generations of readers and stands as his crowning work. This new audio edition, authorized by the Fitzgerald estate, is narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain). Gyllenhaal's performance is a faithful delivery in the voice of Nick Carraway, the Midwesterner turned New York bond salesman, who rents a small house next door to the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby....
"Simple, Beautiful, and Exquisitely Textured"
Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden. Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television "family."
"I'm Burnin', I'm Burnin' for You"
Doremus Jessup, a newspaper editor, is dismayed to find that many of the people he knows support presidential candidate Berzelius Windrip. The suspiciously fascist Windrip is offering to save the nation from sex, crime, welfare cheats, and a liberal press. But after Windrip wins the election, dissent soon becomes dangerous for Jessup. Windrip forcibly gains control of Congress and the Supreme Court and, with the aid of his personal paramilitary storm troopers, turns the United States into a totalitarian state.
"The Rise of American Authoritarianism"
Ralph Elllison's Invisible Man is a monumental novel, one that can well be called an epic of 20th-century African-American life. It is a strange story, in which many extraordinary things happen, some of them shocking and brutal, some of them pitiful and touching - yet always with elements of comedy and irony and burlesque that appear in unexpected places.
"A Classic that deserves Whispersync!"
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.
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.
"A true classic! 'Who is John Galt?'"
In the desolate, frozen northwest of Canada, a lone wolf fights a heroic daily fight for life in the wild. But after he is captured and cruelly abused by men, he becomes a force of pure rage. Only one man sees inside the killer to his intelligence and nobility. But can his kindness touch White Fang?
"Not just for my Kids or my Youth"
The most thorough statement of one of Emerson's recurrent themes, the need for each individual to avoid conformity and false consistency, and follow his or her own instincts and ideas. It is the source of one of Emerson's most famous quotations, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." This essay is a considered a watershed moment in which transcendentalism became a major cultural movement. An American classic.
"Don't buy this"
"He travels fastest who travels alone...but not after the frost has dropped below zero 50 degrees or more." (Yukon Code) Jack London’s best short story.
"never go alone in -50°"
Widely anthologized and the author's best-known work, The Most Dangerous Game features as its main character a big-game hunter from New York who falls off a yacht and swims to an isolated island in the Caribbean. There he is hunted by a Cossack aristocrat. The story is an inversion of the big-game hunting safaris in Africa and South America that were fashionable among wealthy Americans in the 1920s. Adapted many times to stage and screen. A thrilling listen!
Widely anthologized and the author's best-known work, The Most Dangerous Game features as its main character a big-game hunter from New York who falls off a yacht and swims to an isolated island in the Caribbean. There he is hunted by a Cossack aristocrat. The story is an inversion of the big-game hunting safaris in Africa and South America that were fashionable among wealthy Americans in the 1920s.
"OMFG NARRATOR SUCKS!"
Little Women, set in the 19th century follows the lives of four sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March as they live, learn, love, and grow as young pilgrims and blossom into fine little women. Based on the author's childhood, Little Women is one of the most beloved stories in American literature. It continues to touch listeners both young and old. Alcott takes you on a prolific journey which will make your heart swell, your soul laugh, and your heart ache as we experience the lives of the March sisters as they endure their lessons, scrapes, castles in the air, their romances, and more.
Jack London's masterpiece, tells the gripping tale of a dog named Buck who is wrenched out of his life of ease and luxury to become a sled dog in Alaska. Drawing on his wolf heritage, Buck must fight for survival in an alien environment.
While the powerlessness of the laboring class is a recurring theme in Steinbeck’s work of the late 1930s, he narrowed his focus when composing Of Mice and Men (1937), creating an intimate portrait of two men facing a world marked by petty tyranny, misunderstanding, jealousy, and callousness. But though the scope is narrow, the theme is universal: a friendship and shared dream that make an individual’s existence meaningful.
"Ignorance is Bliss"
"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is the most famous supernatural wild chase in all of literature. One of the best-known American short stories, this tale has been produced countless times for television and film. A Halloween classic!
At once naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck’s, The Grapes of Wrath is perhaps the most American of American classics. Although it follows the movement of thousands of men and women and the transformation of an entire nation during the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s, The Grapes of Wrath is also the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads, who are forced to travel west to the promised land of California.
"Wonderful Tale Punctuated with Loud Harmonic Licks"
"Amazing reading and writing."
The Old Man and the Sea is one of Hemingway's most enduring works. Told in language of great simplicity and power, it is the story of an old Cuban fisherman, down on his luck, and his supreme ordeal, a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Here Hemingway recasts, in strikingly contemporary style, the classic theme of courage in the face of defeat, of personal triumph won from loss.
"Truly a Classic"
Ardita Farnum is a beautiful but spoiled and rebellious young woman on a yachting trip to Florida with her uncle. On the verge of throwing her life away on a disreputable playboy, she is captured by pirates and becomes enamored with their captain. She wonders if she has she met her match.
Benediction tells the story of 19-year-old Lois, who spends an afternoon getting reacquainted with her 36-year-old brother, Keith who is training to become a Jesuit priest. It opens with Lois sending a telegram to her love interest, Howard, whom we never meet, but who is anxious whether she will end their relationship or continue it by meeting with him the next day.
The Cut Glass Bowl is the story of the beautiful but ill-fated Evelyn Piper, who succumbs to the power of a cut glass bowl - a wedding gift from a spurned former beau. It is a unique and powerful portrait depicting how frivolous choices can lead to deterioration and loss of all that one loves. It was written by F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1920 as a short story for Colliers magazine.
Sally Carrol Happer is a popular 19-year-old girl living in Tarleton, Georgia. She is bored with her life in Tarleton, and, much to the chagrin of her local friends, she becomes engaged to Harry Bellamy, who is from a northern town. She brushes off the concerns of her friends and describes that she needs something "more in her life" and to see "things happen on a big scale".
Bernice, a wealthy girl from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, visits her cousin Marjorie for the month of August. One night Bernice overhears Marjorie complain to her mother that Bernice is a drag on her social life. Bernice resigns herself to allow Marjorie to coach her on the fine arts of fashion, flirting, dancing, and conversation. But Bernice becomes more accomplished at these things than her cousin would have liked, attracting the attention of Marjorie's beau. A rivalry develops. There are irreversible consequences.
Brian Dalyrimple is a hero of WWI who comes home to realize that it's every man for himself. When he begins to understand the challenges of moving up the business ladder, he takes an unusual turn. Dalyrimple Goes Wrong is one of F. Scott Fitzgerald's most popular short stories and has been translated into multiple languages. It was written in 1920 for Colliers magazine.
Not long after the beginning of the 20th century, a woman has a dream about what she imagines the 21st century will bring. This utopian fiction piece was written by Winnifred Harper Cooley in 1902. Cooley is best known for her book The New Womanhood. Cooley's mother, Ida Husted Harper, was an author, a journalist, and a prominent figure in the United States' women's suffrage movement.
Back in the mid-1980s when I was teaching in Warren College at the University of California, San Diego, we were required to use Mark Twain's famous book, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, in our classes. However, we were cautioned beforehand that certain words that were in common usage in the 19th century (such as the n-word) were no longer acceptable either in speech or print today.
The adventures of Dorothy in the Land of Oz. Thanks in part to the 1939 MGM movie, it is one of the best-known stories in American popular culture.
Dark spruce forest frowned on either side the frozen waterway. The trees had been stripped by a recent wind of their white covering of frost, and they seemed to lean towards each other, black and ominous, in the fading light. A vast silence reigned over the land. The land itself was a desolation, lifeless, without movement, so lone and cold that the spirit of it was not even that of sadness.
"Great Narration, Great Novel!"
Henry, or the youth as Crane refers to him leaves his home a naïve boy with visions of grandeur and glory; yet he runs from his first battle only to later join the walking wounded as an imposter. He wished that he, too, had a wound, a red badge of courage. He falls in with men who will shortly die from their wounds. One, a spectral soldier with a terrible wound, turns out to be his friend Jim Conklin.
Award winning narrator Mike Vendetti reads Edgar Allan Poe's classic tale about a man taking fatal revenge on a friend who, he believes, has insulted him. Like several of Poe's stories, and in keeping with the 19th-century fascination with the subject, the narrative revolves around a person being buried alive - in this case, by immurement.
Day had broken cold and grey, exceedingly cold and grey, when the man turned aside from the main Yukon trail and climbed the high earth-bank, where a dim and little-travelled trail led eastward through the fat spruce timberland. It was a steep bank, and he paused for breath at the top, excusing the act to himself by looking at his watch. It was nine o'clock. There was no sun nor hint of sun, though there was not a cloud in the sky. It was a clear day, and yet there seemed an intangible pall over the face of things, a subtle gloom that made the day dark.
Francis Marion Crawford (1854-1909) was an American writer, born in Italy and educated in the United States. He also studied at the universities of Cambridge and Heidelberg. He was a prolific writer in many fields, but it was his novels that were most popular, commanding a large following. His stories of the macabre and supernatural are very highly regarded.
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) is renowned for his tales of the macabre and the supernatural. "William Wilson" is the disturbing story of a doppelganger and how he leads the eponymous narrator through a series of experiences that annoy, infuriate, and finally drive him to a violent reaction with a fatal conclusion.
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) is celebrated as a master of the gothic tale of the macabre and the supernatural, but he also wrote a number of humorous and satirical tales, seven of which are presented here.
A New York 'it' girl, Lily Bart is a beauty of slender means and costly tastes, sought after at all the high society parties in town. Her outstanding looks and charm make it a given that she will soon be married to a man of exceptional wealth and status. One by one, the multimillionaires she meets fall at her feet, but somehow Lily finds herself incapable of making a purely mercenary match and so finds herself caught up in a destructive tussle between her emotional and financial needs.
Inspired by events witnessed during her years as a court reporter in Iowa, Glaspell crafted a story in which two rural women deduce the details of a murder in which a housewife is accused of killing her husband. This nuanced tale revolves around the women's understanding the clues left amidst the "trifles" of the housewife's kitchen.
Buck did not read the newspapers, or he would have known that trouble was brewing, not alone for himself, but for every tide-water dog, strong of muscle and with warm, long hair, from Puget Sound to San Diego. Because men, groping in the Arctic darkness, had found a yellow metal, and because steamship and transportation companies were booming the find, thousands of men were rushing into the Northland.
Washington Square tells the poignant and gently comic story of Catherine Sloper, a sweet and unassuming young heiress, and her fortune-seeking suitor Morris Townsend. Set in New York City during the 1840s, the story follows Ms. Sloper's conflicts with her concerned father, who attempts to thwart Mr. Townsend, and her busybody aunt, who encourages the attachment. But amid all the duplicity and folly, Ms. Sloper slowly grows towards independence and maturity, and begins to make her own decisions.
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.
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....
During a train trip from Chicago to Texas in the late 1940s, A.W. Tozer began to write The Pursuit of God. He wrote all night, and when the train arrived at his destination, the rough draft was done. The depth of this book has made it an enduring favorite.
"Great classic book to include in your library!"
Set on the French Riviera in the late 1920s, Tender Is the Night is the tragic romance of the young actress Rosemary Hoyt and the stylish American couple Dick and Nicole Diver. A brilliant young psychiatrist at the time of his marriage, Dick is both husband and doctor to Nicole, whose wealth goads him into a lifestyle not his own, and whose growing strength highlights Dick's harrowing demise. A profound study of the romantic concept of character - lyrical, expansive, and hauntingly evocative.
"Was it all just the champagne"
In the secluded Dutch territory of Sleepy Hollow, nebbish schoolmaster Ichabod Crane competes with the town hero for the hand of Katrina Van Tassel, the 18-year-old daughter and sole child of a wealthy farmer. As Crane leaves a party at the Van Tassel's farm one autumn evening, he is pursued by the Headless Horseman, an apparition said to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper snuffed out by a stray cannonball.
"Treasures Of Jolly Autumn"
Bradbury's Mars is a place of hope, dreams, and metaphor - of crystal pillars and fossil seas - where a fine dust settles on the great, empty cities of a silently destroyed civilization. It is here the invaders have come to despoil and commercialize, to grow and to learn - first a trickle, then a torrent, rushing from a world with no future toward a promise of tomorrow. The Earthman conquers Mars...and then is conquered by it, lulled by dangerous lies of comfort and familiarity, and enchanted by the lingering glamour of an ancient, mysterious native race.
A carnival rolls in sometime after the midnight hour on a chill Midwestern October eve, ushering in Halloween a week before its time. A calliope's shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery.
"Brilliant language and awesome performance but ..."
Having inspired a classic film and Broadway play, The Caine Mutiny is Herman Wouk's boldly dramatic, brilliantly entertaining novel of life—and mutiny—on a Navy warship in the Pacific theater. It was immediately embraced upon its original publication as one of the first serious works of American fiction to grapple with the moral complexities and the human consequences of the Second World War. In the intervening half century, this gripping story has become a perennial favorite, selling millions throughout the world, and claiming the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
"Even Better than the Movie"
An Oprah's Book Club Selection regarded as one of Faulkner's greatest and most accessible novels, Light in August is a timeless and riveting story of determination, tragedy, and hope. In Faulkner's iconic Yoknapatawpha County, race, sex, and religion collide around three memorable characters searching desperately for human connection and their own identities.
"Perseverance in Face of Cruelty"
A Signature Performance: Oscar nominee and passionate vegan Casey Affleck highlights the more-relevant-than-ever issues of business ethics and food production in Upton Sinclair’s meatpacking industry bombshell.
"Caveat emptor: Powerful book, subpar narration"
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic American novel of the Roaring Twenties is beloved by generations of readers and stands as his crowning work. This new audio edition, authorized by the Fitzgerald estate, is narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain). Gyllenhaal's performance is a faithful delivery in the voice of Nick Carraway, the Midwesterner turned New York bond salesman, who rents a small house next door to the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby. There, he has a firsthand view of Gatsby’s lavish West Egg parties - and of his undying love....
"Just the right reading style"
Letters of a Woman Homesteader is a frontier classic by Elinore Pruitt Stewart, a widowed young mother who accepted an offer to assist with a ranch in Wyoming. In Stewart's delightful collection of letters, she describes her homesteading experiences to her former employer, Mrs. Coney.
"Every woman in the US should read this book."
American writer Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain has given us some literary gems with Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and his travel adventures in 19th-century Europe and to Australia and New Zealand. In How to Tell a Story and Other Essays, Twain discusses the telling of stories, rather than providing more stories.
"Does not disappoint! Very funny!"
Bellow evokes all the rich colour and exotic customs of a highly imaginary Africa in this comic novel about a middle-aged American millionaire who, seeking a new, more rewarding life, descends upon an African tribe. Henderson's awesome feats of strength and his unbridled passion for life earns him the admiration of the tribe - but it is his gift for making rain that turns him from mere hero into messiah.
"Amazing Book on Many Levels"
He is the Virginian-the first fully realized cowboy hero in American literature, a near-mythic figure whose idealized image has profoundly influenced our national consciousness. This enduring work of fiction marks the birth of a legend that lives with us still.
This is the autobiographical novel by Harriet Wilson, the first African-American to publish a novel in North America. Originally published in 1859, it was rediscovered in 1982.
"Finally a Truthful account of Northern Slavery"
Diamond Head, Hawaii, 1941. Pvt. Robert E. Lee Prewitt is a champion welterweight and a fine bugler. But when he refuses to join the company's boxing team, he gets "the treatment" that may break him or kill him. First Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden knows how to soldier better than almost anyone, yet he's risking his career to have an affair with the commanding officer's wife. Both Warden and Prewitt are bound by a common bond: the Army is their heart and blood...and, possibly, their death.
"Genius on Every Level"