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Well Loved but Little Known Classics

There's nothing better than discovering a wonderful timeless tale that had somehow never before crossed your radar. Books that – after you finally do encounter them – stay with you, spark your imagination, and make you an evangelist to their greatness. Below, our editors have pulled together a few of those very books: little known classics that have fervent and loyal followings.

 
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  • I Capture the Castle

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Dodie Smith
    • Narrated By Jenny Agutter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (696)
    Performance
    (614)
    Story
    (615)

    "I write this sitting at the kitchen sink" is the first line of a novel about love, sibling rivalry, and a bohemian existence in a crumbling castle in the middle of nowhere. Cassandra Mortmin's journal records her fadingly glamorous stepmother, her beautiful, wistful older sister, and the man to whom they owe both their isolation and poverty: Father. The author of one experimental novel, and a minor cause celebre, he has since suffered from writer's block and is determined to drag his family down with him.

    Matthew says: "Well, that was a surprise"
  • Stoner

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By John Williams
    • Narrated By Robin Field
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1339)
    Performance
    (1173)
    Story
    (1181)

    William Stoner is born at the end of the 19th century into a dirt-poor Missouri farming family. Sent to the state university to study agronomy, he instead falls in love with English literature and embraces a scholar's life, far different from the hardscrabble existence he has known. And yet as the years pass, Stoner encounters a succession of disappointments.

    Amazon Customer says: "A masterpiece"
  • Salute to Adventurers

    • ABRIDGED (8 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By John Buchan
    • Narrated By Canongate Scottish Collection
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Salute to Adventurers takes place in the 1680s. It begins as the hero, Andrew Garvald, on his way to Glasgow, takes a cut across the moors. There he meets Elspeth Blair and a religious fanatic known as Muckle John Gib. Later Andrew encounters Ninian Campbell, coming to Campbell's aid when he is attacked by ruffians in a Glasgow back street. Andrew is sent by his uncle - as his merchant representative - to Virginia, where he initially experiences hostility because of his attempts to reform trading practices.

  • A Town Like Alice

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Nevil Shute
    • Narrated By Neil Hunt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (617)
    Performance
    (560)
    Story
    (558)

    Eight hundred women and children begin a 1,200-mile journey on foot across Japanese-occupied Malaya. At journey’s end, only 30 will still be alive. This is the story of one woman, of her ordeal, and of how she was saved by the sacrifice of an Australian soldier. It is a story of rare individual courage in the face of certain death, and hope in the face of despair.

    John S says: "Classic and still entertaining"
  • From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By E. L. Konigsburg
    • Narrated By Jill Clayburgh
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (443)
    Performance
    (351)
    Story
    (356)

    When suburban Claudia Kincaid decides to run away, she knows she doesn't just want to run from somewhere she wants to run to somewhere--to a place that is comfortable, beautiful, and preferably elegant. She chooses the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Knowing that her younger brother, Jamie, has money and thus can help her with the serious cash flow problem she invites him along.

    Bonny says: "How to be different on the inside, where it counts"
  • Lady Audley’s Secret

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Mary Elizabeth Braddon
    • Narrated By Nicola Barber
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (97)
    Performance
    (82)
    Story
    (81)

    This Victorian best seller, along with Braddon's other famous novel, Aurora Floyd, established her as the main rival of the master of the sensational novel, Wilkie Collins. A protest against the passive, insipid 19th-century heroine, Lady Audley was described by one critic of the time as "high-strung, full of passion, purpose, and movement." Her crime (the secret of the title) is shown to threaten the apparently respectable middle-class world of Victorian England.

    RM Simon says: "Mixed feelings"
  • The Professor

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Charlotte Bronte
    • Narrated By Peter Joyce
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (25)
    Performance
    (22)
    Story
    (21)

    William Crimsworth escapes the brutal employment of his brother in a Yorkshire mill town, changes profession and takes a position as tutor in a boys' school in Brussels.The authoress is unusually frank, for the time, in her scrutiny of the relationship between the teacher and the domineering headmistress of the adjoining girls' school, Zoraide Reuter.

  • The Mysteries of Udolpho

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Ann Ward Radcliffe
    • Narrated By Alison Larkin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (52)
    Story
    (55)

    This was the most popular novel of Radcliffe's time; Radcliffe's portrayal of her heroine's inner life raised the Gothic romance to a new level. The atmosphere of fear and the gripping plot continue to thrill today. This is the story of the orphaned Emily St Aubert, who finds herself separated from the man she loves and confined within the Castle of Udolpho by her aunt's new husband Montoni. Here she must cope with an unwanted suitor, Montoni's threats, and the wild imaginings and terrors which threaten to overwhelm her.

    Joyce says: "Thank You, Audible"
  • Pale Fire

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Vladimir Nabokov
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (242)
    Performance
    (196)
    Story
    (197)

    A 999 line poem in heroic couplets, divided into 4 cantos, was composed--according to Nabokov's fiction--by John Francis Shade, an obsessively methodical man, during the last 20 days of his life.

    David says: "Quality recording!"
  • Evelina: Or, the History of a Young Lady's Entrance into the World

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Frances Burney
    • Narrated By Orson Scott Card, Emily Rankin, Stefan Rudnicki, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (59)
    Performance
    (52)
    Story
    (54)

    Originally published in 1778, Evelina is Frances Burney's first and most beloved novel. It was a landmark in the development of the novel of manners and went on to influence such enduringly popular authors as Jane Austen. By turns hilarious and grim, witty and lyrical, the story follows young Evelina as she leaves the seclusion of her country home and enters into late eighteenth-century London society - both its pleasures and its dangers. Life in eighteenth-century England is vividly rendered as Evelina is educated in the ways of the world and, eventually, love.

    J. Wachter says: "Great classic"
  • A Canticle for Leibowitz

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Walter M. Miller
    • Narrated By Tom Weiner
    Overall
    (2232)
    Performance
    (2005)
    Story
    (2015)

    Winner of the 1961 Hugo Award for Best Novel and widely considered one of the most accomplished, powerful, and enduring classics of modern speculative fiction, Walter M. Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz is a true landmark of 20th-century literature—a chilling and still-provocative look at a postapocalyptic future.

    richard says: "Introibo Ad Altare"
  • The Chocolate War

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Robert Cormier
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (147)
    Performance
    (83)
    Story
    (83)

    Jerry Renault ponders the question on the poster in his locker: Do I dare disturb the universe? Refusing to sell chocolates in the annual Trinity school fund-raiser may not seem like a radical thing to do. But when Jerry challenges a secret school society called The Vigils, his defiant act turns into an all-out war. Now the only question is: Who will survive? First published in 1974, Robert Cormier's groundbreaking novel, an unflinching portrait of corruption and cruelty, has become a modern classic.

    Rod Morgan says: "Superb in every way"
  • The Chrysalids

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By John Wyndham
    • Narrated By Graeme Malcolm
    Overall
    (168)
    Performance
    (129)
    Story
    (132)

    The Chrysalids is set in the future after a devastating global nuclear war. David, the young hero of the novel, lives in a tight-knit community of religious and genetic fundamentalists, always on the alert for any deviation from the norm of God's creation. Abnormal plants are publicly burned, with much singing of hymns. Abnormal humans (who are not really human) are also condemned to destruction - unless they succeed in fleeing to the Fringes.

    Paul says: "Had potential and fell short"
  • The Caves of Steel: Robot, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Isaac Asimov
    • Narrated By William Dufris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (753)
    Performance
    (689)
    Story
    (690)

    A millennium into the future two advancements have altered the course of human history: the colonization of the galaxy and the creation of the positronic brain. Isaac Asimov's Robot novels chronicle the unlikely partnership between a New York City detective and a humanoid robot who must learn to work together. Like most people left behind on an over-populated Earth, New York City police detective Elijah Baley had little love for either the arrogant Spacers or their robotic companions.

    Elsie MacGregor says: "Sci-Fi Mystery at its Best!"
  • Light Years

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By James Salter
    • Narrated By Mark Boyett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (48)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (46)

    This exquisite, resonant novel by PEN/Faulkner winner James Salter is a brilliant portrait of a marriage by a contemporary American master. It is the story of Nedra and Viri, whose favored life is centered around dinners, ingenious games with their children, enviable friends, and near-perfect days passed skating on a frozen river or sunning on the beach.

    antonio says: "A story of ordinary unhappiness"
  • Fear of Flying

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Erica Jong
    • Narrated By Hope Davis
    Overall
    (158)
    Performance
    (102)
    Story
    (101)

    Originally published in 1973, the groundbreaking, uninhibited story of Isadora Wing and her desire to fly free caused a national sensation. In The New York Times, Henry Miller compared it to his own classic, Tropic of Cancer and predicted that "this book will make literary history..." It has sold more than 12-million copies. Now, after 30 years, the revolutionary novel known as Fear of Flying still stands as a timeless tale of self-discovery, liberation, and womanhood.

    Kristi says: "Glad I didn't give up on it..."
  • The Secret Agent

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Joseph Conrad
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (74)
    Performance
    (58)
    Story
    (60)

    This classic precursor to the modern-day spy novel was recently in headlines when it was revealed that the Unabomber drew considerable inspiration from its prophetic portrait of terrorism. Written in 1907 and set in Edwardian London, The Secret Agent resonates just as strongly in today's world, where a handful of fanatics can still play mad politics and victimize the innocent.

    Darwin8u says: "A Novel of Madness in a Time of Despair."
  • The Westing Game

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Ellen Raskin
    • Narrated By Eric Michael Summerer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (792)
    Performance
    (625)
    Story
    (637)

    One fateful day, 16 people gather for the reading of the will of the very rich Samuel W. Westing. To their surprise, the will turns out to be a contest, challenging the heirs to find out who among them is Westing's murderer. Only two people hold all the clues. One is a Westing heir...and the other is the listener!

    Dave says: "They Really Don't Make Them Like This Anymore"
  • Time and Again

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs)
    • By Jack Finney
    • Narrated By Paul Hecht
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (924)
    Performance
    (789)
    Story
    (792)

    Transported from the mid-twentieth century to New York City in the year 1882, Si Morley walks the fashionable "Ladies' Mile" of Broadway, is enchanted by the jingling sleigh bells in Central Park, and solves a 20th-century mystery by discovering its 19th-century roots. Falling in love with a beautiful young woman, he ultimately finds himself forced to choose between his lives in the present and the past. A story that will remain in the listener's memory, Time and Again is a remarkable blending of the troubled present and a nostalgic past....

    Mark says: "Best time travel novel; my very favorite audiobook"
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