George Orwell depicts a gray, totalitarian world dominated by Big Brother and its vast network of agents, including the Thought Police - a world in which news is manufactured according to the authorities' will and people live tepid lives by rote. Winston Smith, a hero with no heroic qualities, longs only for truth and decency. But living in a social system in which privacy does not exist and where those with unorthodox ideas are brainwashed or put to death, he knows there is no hope for him.
"Great Book, With an Amazing Narrator"
A Signature Performance: Four-time Emmy Award winner David Hyde Pierce delivers an air of lovable self-importance in his rendition of the classic social satire that remains as fresh today as the day it was published.
"Loved every minute"
Tess Durbeyfield has become one of the most famous female protagonists in 19th-century British literature. Betrayed by the two men in her life - Alec D’Urberville, her seducer/rapist and father of her fated child; and Angel, her intellectual and pious husband - Tess takes justice, and her own destiny, into her delicate hands. In telling her desperate and passionate story, Hardy brings Tess to life with an extraordinary vividness that makes her live in the heart of the reader long after the novel is concluded.
"Davina Porter Does It Again!"
The Fellowship of the Ring, the first volume in the trilogy, tells of the fateful power of the One Ring. It begins a magnificent tale of adventure that will plunge the members of the Fellowship of the Ring into a perilous quest and set the stage for the ultimate clash between the powers of good and evil.
"Perhaps my favorite narrator ever"
One of the most revered works in English literature, Great Expectations traces the coming of age of a young orphan, Pip, from a boy of shallow aspirations into a man of maturity. From the chilling opening confrontation with an escaped convict to the grand but eerily disheveled estate of bitter old Miss Havisham, all is not what it seems in Dickens’ dark tale of false illusions and thwarted desire.
The Two Towers is the second volume of J.R.R. Tolkien's epic saga, The Lord of the Rings. The Fellowship has been forced to split up. Frodo and Sam must continue alone towards Mount Doom, where the One Ring must be destroyed. Meanwhile, at Helm’s Deep and Isengard, the first great battles of the War of the Ring take shape. In this splendid, unabridged audio production of Tolkien’s great work, all the inhabitants of a magical universe - hobbits, elves, and wizards - spring to life. Rob Inglis’ narration has been praised as a masterpiece of audio.
"One Book to Rule Them all"
Like every other hobbit, Bilbo Baggins likes nothing better than a quiet evening in his snug hole in the ground, dining on a sumptuous dinner in front of a fire. But when a wandering wizard captivates him with tales of the unknown, Bilbo becomes restless. Soon he joins the wizard’s band of homeless dwarves in search of giant spiders, savage wolves, and other dangers. Bilbo quickly tires of the quest for adventure and longs for the security of his familiar home. But before he can return to his life of comfort, he must face the greatest threat of all.
"Quite a journey"
The Return of the King is the towering climax to J. R. R. Tolkien’s trilogy that tells the saga of the hobbits of Middle-earth and the great War of the Rings. In this concluding volume, Frodo and Sam make a terrible journey to the heart of the Land of the Shadow in a final reckoning with the power of Sauron. In addition to narrating the prose passages, Rob Inglis sings the trilogy’s songs and poems a capella, using melodies composed by Inglis and Claudia Howard, the Recorded Books studio director.
When Lenina and Bernard visit a savage reservation, we experience how Utopia can destroy humanity.
Cloning, feel-good drugs, anti-aging programs, and total social control through politics, programming, and media: has Aldous Huxley accurately predicted our future? With a storyteller's genius, he weaves these ethical controversies in a compelling narrative that dawns in the year 632 A.F. (After Ford, the deity). When Lenina and Bernard visit a savage reservation, we experience how Utopia can destroy humanity.
"“Oh, Ford, Ford Ford, I Wish I Had My Soma!”"
One of Jane Austen’s most beloved works, Pride and Prejudice, is vividly brought to life by Academy Award nominee Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl). In her bright and energetic performance of this British classic, she expertly captures Austen’s signature wit and tone. Her attention to detail, her literary background, and her performance in the 2005 feature film version of the novel provide the perfect foundation from which to convey the story of Elizabeth Bennett, her four sisters, and the inimitable Mr. Darcy.
"A perfect narration of a perfect book"
George Orwell's classic satire of the Russian Revolution is an intimate part of our contemporary culture, quoted so often that we tend to forget who wrote the original words! This must-read is also a must-listen!
"If you hate spoilers, save the intro for last."
Between his work on the 2014 Audible Audiobook of the Year, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel, and his performance of Classic Love Poems, narrator Richard Armitage (The Hobbit, Hannibal) has quickly become a listener favorite. Now, in this defining performance of Charles Dickens' classic David Copperfield, Armitage lends his unique voice and interpretation, truly inhabiting each character and bringing real energy to the life of one of Dickens' most famous characters.
"The Armitage Voice""
A masterpiece of satire, this classic has entertained and enlightened readers the world over with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life 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. The Screwtape Letters is the most engaging and humorous account of temptation - and triumph over it - ever written.
"This is the Best Audio Screwtape, a Masterpiece"
A Tale of Two Cities is one of Charles Dickens's most exciting novels. Set against the backdrop of the French Revolution, it tells the story of a family threatened by the terrible events of the past. Doctor Manette was wrongly imprisoned in the Bastille for 18 years without trial by the aristocratic authorities.
"Truly a Classic"
Famous, all-encompassing, passionate, but ultimately doomed love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, and how this unresolved passion eventually destroys them and the people around them. Today considered a classic of English literature, Wuthering Heights was met with mixed reviews when it first appeared, mainly because of the narrative's stark depiction of mental and physical cruelty.
"Five stars for the wonderful Emma Messenger"
Narrator Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) presents an uncanny performance of Mary Shelley's timeless gothic novel, an epic battle between man and monster at its greatest literary pitch. In trying to create life, the young student Victor Frankenstein unleashes forces beyond his control, setting into motion a long and tragic chain of events that brings Victor to the very brink of madness. How he tries to destroy his creation, as it destroys everything Victor loves, is a powerful story of love, friendship, scientific hubris, and horror.
"A great listen"
If you happen to find a map in a dead buccaneer's sea trunk, you can't very well ignore it, not if you are Jim Hawkins and his friends Dr. Livesey, Captain Smollett, and Squire Trelawney! But even with a map, buried treasures are not easy things to come by.
"This edition is ABRIDGED"
The modern audience hasn't had a chance to truly appreciate the unknowing dread that readers would have felt when reading Bram Stoker's original 1897 manuscript. Most modern productions employ campiness or sound effects to try to bring back that gothic tension, but we've tried something different. By returning to Stoker's original storytelling structure - a series of letters and journal entries voiced by Jonathan Harker, Dr. Van Helsing, and other characters - with an all-star cast of narrators, we've sought to recapture its originally intended horror and power.
"Gothic Horror Never Sounded So Good"
Set in the pre-Christian world of Glome on the outskirts of Greek civilization, it is a tale of two princesses: the beautiful Psyche, who is loved by the god of love himself, and Orual, Psyche's unattractive and embittered older sister, who loves Psyche with a destructive possessiveness. Her frustration and jealousy over Psyche's fate sets Orual on the troubled path of self-discovery. Lewis's last work of fiction, this is often considered his best by critics.
"Gripping, emotionally jarring, and elegant!"
One of Jane Austen's most popular novels. Arrogant, self-willed, and egotistical, Emma is her most unusual heroine.
Father Ambrosio, the most pious and venerated monk in all of Madrid, is held as a paragon of virtue. But after 30 years of study and prayer, evil thoughts begin to permeate his mind. As two plots cleverly converge, torture, murder, incest, rape, poison, and magic prevail, sustained by an elegance in the writing of the 19-year-old Matthew Lewis.
Supernatural short story written especially for the young Anne (Nannie) Wynne. It was originally published as "The Ghost's Touch" in The Irish Fireside, 30 September-14 October 1885; Harper's Weekly, 23 October 1885; and in The Ghost's Touch and Other Stories (with "My Lady's Money" and "Percy and the Prophet", Harper's Handy Series, no. 30, 1885).
Daniel Deronda is a clever and generous young man who has yet to find his true direction in life, much to the dismay of Sir Hugo, who has helped raise him. While in Germany, Daniel meets the attractive and headstrong Gwendolen, who's lost a fortune at the roulette table that her family cannot afford to lose, before returning to England. Back in London, Daniel rescues a singer Mirah from drowning herself, then begins to find purpose in helping her search for her family.
Few creatures of horror have seized imaginations and held them for so long as the anguished monster of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The story of Victor Frankenstein's terrible creation and the havoc it caused has enthralled generations of readers and listeners and inspired countless writers of horror and suspense.
Joseph Smith Fletcher (1863-1935) was a British journalist and author. He wrote more than 230 books on a wide variety of subjects, both fiction and nonfiction. He was one of the leading writers of detective fiction in the Victorian golden age of the short story. This collection brings together some of the finest and most diverse examples of Fletcher's genius.
Comedy, mystery, classic horror, children's stories, adventure and more! The range of titles available in the complete fourth season of The Classic Tales Podcast is unparalleled! It contains 29 audiobooks, including two complete novels and three newly recorded stories. It's over 39 hours long!
Dorian Gray embodies every artistic element for artist Basil Hallward. But when Lord Henry reveals the phenomenal world experienced only to the young and beautiful, Dorian makes a devious deal. Thus begins Dorian Gray's extensive journey into dissipation, while somehow maintaining every element of his youth and innocence. What is his secret? And why does he keep Basil Hallward's painting hidden from prying eyes?
Gussie Fink-Nottle can't quite find the pluck to ask the girl of his dreams to marry him. He consults Jeeves of course. But Bertie, feeling his lemon just as supple as his manservant's, steps in and takes over the case. What follows is a torrent of hilarious hijinks, as only PG Wodehouse can deliver.
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) is noted mainly for his novels Treasure Island, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and Kidnapped, and for his verse, including A Child's Garden of Verses. He also wrote many short stories, of which "The Body-Snatcher" is one of his best known. Two others, "Markheim" and "A Lodging for the Night", are also included in this recording.
How far are you willing to go to secure your friend's good opinion? Little Hans gives freely of all he possesses, in order that the miller will esteem him as a true friend. The miller even promises to give little Hans his wheelbarrow. Hans' gratitude is never-ending, and he learns too late what it sometimes means to be a devoted friend.
A zealous aviator penetrates the highest strata of our atmosphere and discovers a groundbreaking new form of life. And yet he knows that this strange alien life form has claimed the lives of two aviators before him, and it may claim his own.
If the name seems familiar, these tales about Darby O'Gill and his encounter with the fairies were adapted for a Disney movie, Darby O'Gill and the Little People. They tell the story of an Irishman whose cow is captured by the fairies - or "good people". In his determination to recover his property, Darby finds himself in the center of their home, the mountain Sleive-na-mon.
Oroonoko, the grandson of an African king, is madly in love with Imoinda, the daughter of the king's general. When the king - who is also in love with Imoinda - catches wind of their affair, he sells Imoinda as a slave. This betrayal sets off a chain of events that carries unforeseen consequences for everybody involved. Aphra Behn's Oroonoko has been hailed as one of the first great English novels and remains a classic of historical fiction.
Confessions of an English Opium-Eater by Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859) was first published anonymously in 1821 in the London Magazine and was published in book form a year later. A revised edition was published in 1846. It is an account by the author of his addiction to laudanum and the effects it had on his life. This recording presents an abridged version of the 1856 edition.
Skinflint is a bittersweet tale of an embittered middle-aged woman who has never recovered from being jilted as a young woman. Since that sorry episode she has thrown herself into the micro-management of her grocery and drapery business. Then one day she learns that her former lover is on the brink of ruin...and the memories of her youth come surging back....
In a certain chamber on the second story of a wayside inn, men hang themselves. Nobody knows for certain, but it is whispered that the malignant old hag who lives across the way casts spells on the inhabitants of the benighted room.
Aunt Agatha breaks her icy silence and asks Bertie to look after a fellow Englishman, Cyril, who is visiting in New York. She only has one stipulation: keep Cyril off the American stage. But by the time Bertie gets the imperiling word, Cyril lands a part in a musical comedy. And with Jeeves turning a bit of a cold shoulder after a bust up over some purple socks, what's a Wooster to do?
Inside a quiet boarding house on the waterfront, a man stares up to the ceiling with sightless eyes. The tight lipped landlady proclaims that it is murder. Can an upscale detective agency penetrate to the bottom of the mystery?
Burglary turns to murder, and Sherlock Holmes is called in to examine the mysterious demolition of Napoleonic busts.
The Secret of the Barbican is the story of a small-town solicitor who on a chance visit to a local museum in a distant town discovers a set of rare siege coins. He instantly recognizes them as the set of coins which had been stolen from his own town corporation many years previously. He immediately sets out to investigate...and the thief's trail takes him to some quite extraordinary places....
A Signature Performance: Kenneth Branagh plays this like a campfire ghost story, told by a haunted, slightly insane Marlow.
"Conrad's Brilliant & Wild Novella"
Graham Greene’s evocative analysis of the love of self, the love of another, and the love of God is an English classic that has been translated for the stage, the screen, and even the opera house. Academy Award-winning actor Colin Firth (The King’s Speech, A Single Man) turns in an authentic and stirring performance for this distinguished audio release.
"Excellent performance of Graham Greene classic"
A haunting tale set on New Year's Eve, The Chimes tells the story of a poor porter named Trotty Veck who has become disheartened by the state of the world, until he is shown a series of fantastical visions that convince him of the good of humanity.
"Best Version of "The Chimes" on Audible!"
Golden Globe nominee Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation, Girl with a Pearl Earring) brings a palpable sense of joy and exuberance to her performance of Lewis Carroll's enduring classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The young and imaginative Alice grows weary of her storybook, one "without pictures or conversations", and follows a hasty hare underground - to come face to face with a host of strange and fantastic characters.
"Oh My Ears and Whiskers, What A Delight!"
Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Emmy winner Emma Thompson lends her immense talent and experienced voice to Henry James' Gothic ghost tale, The Turn of the Screw. When a governess is hired to care for two children at a British country estate, she begins to sense an otherworldly presence around the grounds. Are they really ghosts she's seeing? Or is something far more sinister at work?
"Great, but Mightn't be the Best on Audible"
King Arthur was a legendary British leader of the late fifth and early sixth century who, according to the medieval histories and romances, led the defense of the Romano-Celtic British against the Saxon invaders in the early sixth century. This book gives an account of the life of this great legend of all times.
"This was painful!"
To the Lighthouse is Virginia Woolf’s arresting analysis of domestic family life, centering on the Ramseys and their visits to the Isle of Skye in Scotland in the early 1900s. Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge, Eyes Wide Shut), who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Woolf in the film adaptation of Michael Cunningham’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Hours, brings the impressionistic prose of this classic to vibrant life.
"Nicole Kidman does a fantastic reading"
Mrs. Dalloway, perhaps Virginia Woolf’s greatest novel, vividly follows English socialite Clarissa Dalloway as she prepares for a party in post-World War I London. Four-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening (American Beauty, The Kids Are All Right) brings Woolf’s stream-of-consciousness style of storytelling to life, exploring the hidden springs of thought and action in one day of a woman’s life in a brilliant performance.
Celebrating the 70th anniversary of this magical and well-loved classic. Following a plane crash, Conway, a British consul; his deputy; a missionary; and an American financier find themselves in the enigmatic snow-capped mountains of uncharted Tibet. Here they discover a seemingly perfect hidden community where they are welcomed with gracious hospitality. Intrigued by its mystery, the travelers set about discovering the secret hidden at the shimmering heart of Shangri-La.
"Love this story, performance not so much"
Somerset Maugham's success as a writer enabled him to indulge his adventurous love of travel, and he recorded the sights and sounds of his wide-ranging journeys with a unique urbane, wry style. The Gentleman in the Parlour is an account of the author's trip through what was then Burma and Siam, ending in Haiphong, Vietnam. Whether by river to Mandalay, on horse through the mountains and forests of the Shan States to Bangkok, or onwards by sea, Maugham's vivid descriptions bring a lost world to life.
Chesterton's talent as a mystery writer is displayed in this collection of detective stories, The Man Who Knew Too Much. In each story, the star detective, Horne Fisher, deals with another strange mystery: the vanishing of a priceless coin, the framing of an Irish "prince" freedom fighter, an eccentric rich man dies during an obsessive fishing trip, another vanishing during an ice skate, a statue crushing his own uncle, and a few more.
"The Prince who Knows Paradox Too Well"
The Hobbit is one of the most widely read and best-loved books of the 20th century. Now Professor Corey Olsen takes listeners deep within the text to uncover its secrets and delights. Chapter by chapter, he reveals the stories within the story: the dark desires of dwarves and the sublime laughter of elves, the nature of evil and its hopelessness, the mystery of divine providence and human choice, and, most of all, the transformation within the life of Bilbo Baggins.
"Appreciation, Not Dissection"
This expanded edition of John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism includes the text of his 1868 speech to the British House of Commons defending the use of capital punishment in cases of aggravated murder. The speech is significant both because its topic remains timely and because its arguments illustrate the applicability of the principle of utility to questions of large-scale social policy.
"A dramatic reading of JSM's 'Utilitarianism'"
New doctor Andrew Manson looks forward to his post in a Welsh mining community, but he finds practicing medicine in such primitive conditions very different from his training. He makes friends, but also enemies. First published in 1937, this book was groundbreaking in its treatment of the contentious theme of medical ethics. It is credited with laying the foundation in Great Britain for the introduction of the Nation Health Service a decade later.
"Incredibly bad recording"
Set amid the corrupt glamour and multiplying intrigues of Alexandria, Egypt, in the 1930s and 1940s, the novels of Durrell's Alexandria Quartet (of which this is the first) follow the shifting alliances - sexual, cultural and political - of a group of quite varied characters. In Justine, an English schoolmaster and struggling writer falls in love with a beautiful and mysterious Jewish woman who is married to a wealthy Egyptian.
"Justine, The Alexandria Quartet"