The Lady of the Barge

The Lady of the Barge

W. W. Jacobs

Although W. W. Jacobs is most well known for his horror short story, A Monkey’s Paw – most of the work he published was more on the humourous side. This book is an anthology of 12 short stories including: The Monkey’s Paw; The Lady of the Barge; Bill’s Paper Chase; The Well; Cupboard Love; In the Library; Captain Rogers; A Tiger’s Skin; A Mixed Proposal; An Adulteration Act; A Golden Venture; and, Three at Table.

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Animal Farm

Animal Farm

George Orwell

Animal Farm is an allegorical novella reflecting events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and then on into the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union. Orwell, a democratic socialist, was a critic of Joseph Stalin and hostile to Moscow-directed Stalinism. In the book, Old Major, the old boar on the Manor Farm, summons the animals on the farm together for a meeting, during which he refers to humans as…

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Tom Sawyer Abroad

Tom Sawyer Abroad

Mark Twain

Featuring Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn in a parody of adventure stories like those of Jules Verne. In the story, Tom, Huck, and Jim travel to Africa in a futuristic hot air balloon, where they survive encounters with lions, robbers, and fleas to see some of the world’s greatest wonders, including the Pyramids and the Sphinx.

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A Tangled Tale

A Tangled Tale

Lewis Carroll

A Tangled Tale is a collection of 10 brief humorous stories, published serially between April 1880 and March 1885 in The Monthly Packet magazine. The stories, or Knots as Carroll calls them, present mathematical problems. In a later issue, Carroll gives the solution to a Knot and discusses readers’ answers. The mathematical interpretations of the Knots are not always straightforward. In the December…

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The Crock of Gold

The Crock of Gold

James Stephens

A mixture of philosophy, Irish folklore and the “battle of the sexes”, The Crock of Gold consists of six books, Book 1 – The Coming of Pan, Book 2 – The Philosophers Journey, Book 3 – The Two Gods, Book 4 – The Philosophers Return, Book 5 – The Policemen, Book 6 – The Thin Woman’s Journey, that all rotate around a philosopher and his quest to find the most beautiful woman in the world…

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Flatland

Flatland

Edwin A. Abbott

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions is an 1884 satirical novella by Edwin Abbott Abbott. The story is about a two-dimensional world referred to as Flatland which is occupied by geometric figures. Women are simple line-segments, while men are polygons with various numbers of sides. The narrator is a humble square, a member of the social caste of gentlemen and professionals in a society of geometric figures, who guides the readers through…

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Forty Modern Fables

Forty Modern Fables

George Ade

This is a set of ‘fractured fables’ written on the cusp of the 20th century. Includes: The Fable of The Undecided Brunette & The Two Candidates; The Fable of The Boston Biologist & The Native with the Blue Hardware; The Fable of The Knowing Friend Who Tipped off Her Star Recipe; The Fable of The People’s Choice Who Answered the Call of Duty & Took Seltzer; The Fable of The Girl with a Handicap Who Had to Lock Up Her Parents; The Fable of…

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The History Of Mr. Polly

The History Of Mr. Polly

H. G. Wells

A comic novel first published in 1910. Alfred Polly lives in the imaginary town of Fishbourne in Kent. Chapters 1–6 depict his life up to age 20, when he marries his cousin Miriam Larkins. Chapters 7–8 show Mr. Polly’s spectacular suicide attempt. Chapters 9–10, at the Potwell Inn, culminates in Mr. Polly’s courageous victory over ‘Uncle Jim’, a malicious relative of the innkeeper’s granddaughter. An epilogue then depicts Mr. Polly at…

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Three Men in a Boat

Three Men in a Boat

Jerome K. Jerome

Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), published in 1889, is a humorous account by English writer Jerome K. Jerome of a boating holiday on the Thames between Kingston and Oxford. The book was initially intended to be a serious travel guide, with accounts of local history along the route, but the humorous elements took over to the point where the serious and somewhat sentimental passages seem a distraction to…

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Nightmare Abbey

Nightmare Abbey

Thomas Love Peacock

Nightmare Abbey is a Gothic topical satire in which the author pokes light-hearted fun at the romantic movement in contemporary English literature, in particular its obsession with morbid subjects, misanthropy and transcendental philosophical systems. Most of the characters in the novel are based on historical figures whom Peacock wishes to pillory. Insofar as Nightmare Abbey may be said to have a plot, it follows the fortunes…

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The Battle of the Books and other Short Pieces

The Battle of the Books and other Short Pieces

Jonathan Swift

‘This discourse, as it is unquestionably of the same author, so it seems to have been written about the same time, with “The Tale of a Tub;” I mean the year 1697, when the famous dispute was on foot about ancient and modern learning. The controversy took its rise from an essay of Sir William Temple’s upon that subject; which was answered by W. Wotton, B.D., with an appendix by Dr. Bentley, endeavouring to destroy the…

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The Diary of a Nobody

The Diary of a Nobody

George Grossmith and Weedon Grossmith

The Diary of a Nobody is an English comic novel written by the brothers George and Weedon Grossmith. It originated as an intermittent serial in Punch magazine in 1888–89 and first appeared in book form, with extended text and added illustrations, in 1892. The Diary records the daily events in the lives of a London clerk, Charles Pooter, his wife Carrie, his son Lupin, and numerous friends and acquaintances over a period of 15 months…

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Candide

Candide

Voltaire

Candide, or, Optimism is a French satire first published in 1759 by Voltaire. It begins with a young man, Candide, who is living a sheltered life in an Edenic paradise and being indoctrinated with optimism by his mentor, Pangloss. The work describes the abrupt cessation of this lifestyle, followed by Candide’s slow, painful disillusionment as he witnesses and experiences great hardships in the world…

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