After the 23 free e-books I snagged in the first half of the month from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, I've loaded my nook with another 32 books from the second half of August. Read on to see the 32 freebies I've gotten since the 15th, with book descriptions from the sites and links to purchase them.
Please Note: While all of these books were free at the time of my purchase, that does not guarantee that they are still free or that they will remain free. Make sure you check the price listed before purchasing any books.
Barnes & Noble / Amazon.com (nook & Kindle)
Charity work can be murder!
It’s Thanksgiving and Joseph Tyler, one of the members of Cindy’s church, has organized a new charity that provides homeless people with rescue dogs to love and care for. But one by one, the homeless recipients are being murdered and their dogs stolen. Could an overly competitive millionaire with his prize-winning pooches and a grudge be behind the crimes? Or could it be someone much closer to Joseph who has something sinister to hide? Cindy and Jeremiah must rush to find a killer before he strikes again.
Always the Baker, Never the Bride
by Sandra D. Bricker
BN.com | Amazon.com
Thirty-six-year-old Emma Rae Travis has been baking specialty cakes and melt-in-your-mouth pastries at The Backstreet Bakery in historic Roswell, just outside of Atlanta, for the last six years. But here’s the rub about her job as a baker... Emma is diabetic. When she tastes her creations, it can only be in the most minute portions. Emma is considered an artisan for the stunning crème brulee wedding cake that won her the Passionate Palette Award last year, but she’s never even had one full slice of it.
When Jackson Drake hears about this local baker who has won a prestigious award for her wedding cake artistry, he tells his assistant to be sure and include her in the pastry tastings scheduled at his new wedding destination hotel the following week. And for Jackson, that particular day has started out badly with two workmen trapped in a broken elevator and a delivery of several dozen 300-thread-count bed linens in the wrong size abandoned in the lobby. But when the arrogant baker he met a week prior in Roswell stumbles into the dining room with a platter of pastries and a bucketful of orders, he knows for certain: It’s going to be a really rotten day.
Can these two ill-suited players master the high-wire act and make a go of their new business venture? Or will they take each other crashing downward, without a net? And will the surprise wedding at The Tanglewood be theirs?
The Murder at the Vicarage
(#1 in the Miss Marple mystery series)
by Agatha Christie
BN.com | Amazon.com
The murder of Colonel Protheroe — shot through the head — is a shock to everyone in St. Mary Mead, though hardly an unpleasant one. Now even the vicar, who had declared that killing the detested Protheroe would be 'doing the world at large a favour,' is a suspect — the Colonel has been dispatched in the clergyman's study, no less. But the picturesque English village of St. Mary Mead is overpopulated with suspects. There is of course the faithless Mrs. Protheroe; and there is of course her young lover — an artist, to boot.
Perhaps more surprising than the revelation of the murderer is the detective who will crack the case: 'a white-haired old lady with a gentle, appealing manner.' Miss Jane Marple has arrived on the scene, and crime literature's private men's club of great detectives will never be the same.
Bonnie Pinkwater is a teacher, a good one. She cares about her students. So when Peyton Newlin, a thirteen-year-old math genius, disappears, Bonnie starts nosing around.
One by one, students who were competing with the young genius start turning up dead and Bonnie suspects Peyton may be narrowing the field. Then Peyton himself turns up murdered. Bonnie's investigation ratchets up. What she discovers is a coven of witches, a teenage comic book magnate, a skinhead Neanderthal with violent propensities, an abusive father, an amorous science teacher, and a mistranslated medieval mathematics manuscript. Somehow, all the pieces have intersected at the tragically brief life of her math protégé.
As the body count mounts, Bonnie realizes she may have bitten off more than she can chew. Because whoever is eliminating her beloved students, has now decided East Plains, Colorado would be better off without one aging math teacher.
The Little Black Book of Style
by Nina Garcia
Every time you dress, you assert your identity. With style, you tell the world your story. In that way, style affords you opportunities to think about your appearance as a quality of your creative character. The Little Black Book of Style helps you to explore your own fashion voice—the piece of you that joyously revels in the glamorous experience of creating your best self. From cultivating good taste to guarding against definite fashion faux pas, Nina Garcia offers readers the ultimate guide to follow when it comes to dressing their best. Including tips on how and when to wear an outfit, occasion-appropriate wear, advice on how to combine colors and textures, and inspiration on how to achieve your own signature look, you learn how to experiment, storyboard, archive, and play. Timeless and universal, this book seeks to remind women that eternal style is internal style, and that everyone has what it takes to discover themselves through the colorful palette that is fashion.
The Style Strategy
by Nina Garcia
From much-loved fashion maven and New York Times bestselling author Nina Garcia comes her most indispensable style primer yet—this one focused on looking timelessly chic, all while saving money!
Armed with Nina's no-fail The Style Strategy, fashionistas will not only discover a myriad of shopping alternatives sure to help them attain high-end looks at lower prices, but also learn how to maximize what they already have through maintenance, ingenuity, and creative style choices. Step by step, Nina helps readers honestly answer three key questions—What do I have? What do I need? What do I want?—before making purchases, so they can effectively eliminate any unnecessary spending.
This book also celebrates some of the most extraordinary women of the past, who remained admiringly fashion-forward during their own era's economic hardships.
Your Gay Friend's Guide to Understanding Men
by Bo Sebastian
Girlfriends, get ready for some straight-talk about straight men from a gay friend. What do men really want from women? How do you avoid Mr. Wrong in your search for Mr. Right? What kind of emotional baggage is likely to send a man packing? Is your heartthrob a deadbeat? Where are the best places to search for the man of your dreams? Explore all these questions and more with renowned Life Coach, Bo Sebastian. Find ways to make your life and relationships better.
Spying in High Heels
(#1 in the High Heels mystery series)
by Gemma Halliday
L.A. shoe designer, Maddie Springer, lives her life by three rules: Fashion. Fashion. Fashion. But when she stumbles upon the work of a brutal killer, her life takes an unexpected turn from Manolos to murder. And things only get worse when her boyfriend disappears - along with $20 million in embezzled funds - and her every move is suddenly under scrutiny by the LAPD's sexiest cop. With the help of her post-menopausal bridezilla of a mother, a 300 pound psychic and one seriously oversexed best friend, Maddie finds herself stepping out of her stilettos and onto the trail of a murderer. But can she catch a killer before the killer catches up to her...
Sugarplums and Scandal
SUGARPLUMS AND SCANDAL brings together the best of romance and mystery in one delightful collection of Christmas tales. In the expert hands of six of Avon's best storytellers, the holiday season takes on an air of love and scandalous surprises! Filled with Christmas miracles, romance, and suspense, this will make the perfect gift for both romance and mystery fans. Each author brings their own unique voice and characters to the collection, as well as their fan followings.
- All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth – Lori Avocato
- The Lords of Misrule – Dana Cameron
- The Ghost of Christmas Passed – Mary Daheim
- Partners in Crime – Cait London
- Holly Go Lightly – Suzanne Macpherson
- A Very Vampy Christmas – Kerrelyn Sparks
(book 1 in A Trial of Blood and Steel series)
by Joel Shepherd
SASHA IS A FIGHTER, THE LIKE OF WHICH THE HIGHLAND COUNTRY OF LENAYIN HAS NEVER SEEN.
Spurning her royal heritage to be raised by the great warrior, Kessligh, her exquisite swordplay astonishes all who witness it. But Sasha is still young, untested in battle and often led by her rash temper. In the complex world of Lenayin loyalties, her defiant wilfulness is attracting the wrong kind of attention.
Lenayin is a land almost divided by its two faiths: the Verenthane of the ruling classes and the pagan Goeren-yai, amongst whom Sasha now lives. The Goeren-yai worship swordplay and honour and begin to see Sasha as the great spirit—the Synnich—who will unite them. But Sasha is still searching for what she believes and must choose her side carefully.
When the Udalyn people—the symbol of Goeren-yai pride and courage—are attacked, Sasha will face her moment of testing. How will she act? Is she ready to lead? Can she be the saviour they need her to be?
by Arthur Slade
Imagine a depression-era town where it hasn’t rained for years. A pale rainmaker with other-worldly eyes brings rain to the countryside and mesmerizes the townspeople, but the children begin to disappear one by one. Only young Robert Steelgate is able to resist the rainmaker’s spell and begin the struggle to discover what has happened to his missing brother and the other children.
On Rocky Top
by Clay Travis
When Clay Travis, acclaimed author of Dixieland Delight, decided to spend the 2008 season up close and personal with UT football, he—and every other college football aficionado—thought he was in for a rollicking ride with one of the leading contenders for the national title. But when the Volunteers lost their season opener and the losses continued to mount, it became clear that 2008 was going to be a season on the brink for UT football.
Based on exclusive interviews with Fulmer, UT athletic director Mike Hamilton, university boosters, team personnel, players and their families, and fans, On Rocky Top recounts in vivid detail how a season of promise tragically ended an era of college football.
A lifelong Volunteer fan whose grandfather played for the team during the 1930s, Travis reports from the locker room to the sideline, and has created a fascinating and loving chronicle of an impassioned state, a celebrated football culture, a beloved coach, and the sensational collapse of a once-mighty juggernaut.
The Long Snapper
by Jeffrey Marx
Brian Kinchen was a thirty-eight-year-old father of four and seventh-grade Bible teacher whose professional football career had been over for three years when he received the call of a lifetime. The New England Patriots needed him to fill in for their injured long snapper for the remainder of the 2003 season and the playoffs. In the hands of Pulitzer Prize–winner Jeffrey Marx, Brian’s remarkable true story becomes a celebration of the resilience of the human spirit. For all lovers of the game of football, The Long Snapper reveals the grit and glory of America’s favorite sport.
Barnes & Noble: nook
This month, the only freebies exclusive to Barnes & Noble were nook editions of many of the books in the Barnes & Noble Classics series. It appears that they will remain free for the near future.
The Barnes & Noble Classics series offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
- New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
- Biographies of the authors
- Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
- Footnotes and endnotes
- Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
- Comments by other famous authors
- Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
- Bibliographies for further reading
- Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.
House of Mirth
by Edith Wharton
Edith Wharton’s dark view of society, the somber economics of marriage, and the powerlessness of the unwedded woman in the 1870s emerge dramatically in the tragic novel The House of Mirth. Faced with an array of wealthy suitors, New York socialite Lily Bart falls in love with lawyer Lawrence Selden, whose lack of money spoils their chances for happiness together. Dubious business deals and accusations of liaisons with a married man diminish Lily’s social status, and as she makes one bad choice after another, she learns how venal and brutally unforgiving the upper crust of New York can be.
One of America’s finest novels of manners, The House of Mirth is a beautifully written and ultimately tragic account of the human capacity for cruelty.
by Charlotte Brontë
Immediately recognized as a masterpiece when it was first published in 1847, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre is an extraordinary coming-of-age story featuring one of the most independent and strong-willed female protagonists in all of literature. Poor and plain, Jane Eyre begins life as a lonely orphan in the household of her hateful aunt. Despite the oppression she endures at home, and the later torture of boarding school, Jane manages to emerge with her spirit and integrity unbroken. She becomes a governess at Thornfield Hall, where she finds herself falling in love with her employer—the dark, impassioned Mr. Rochester. But an explosive secret tears apart their relationship, forcing Jane to face poverty and isolation once again.
One of the world’s most beloved novels, Jane Eyre is a startlingly modern blend of passion, romance, mystery, and suspense.
by Emily Brontë
Emily Brontë’s only novel, Wuthering Heights remains one of literature’s most disturbing explorations into the dark side of romantic passion. Heathcliff and Cathy believe they’re destined to love each other forever, but when cruelty and snobbery separate them, their untamed emotions literally consume them.
Set amid the wild and stormy Yorkshire moors, Wuthering Heights, an unpolished and devastating epic of childhood playmates who grow into soul mates, is widely regarded as the most original tale of thwarted desire and heartbreak in the English language.
The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Vol. 1
by Arthur Conan Doyle
Sherlock Holmes and his trusted friend, Dr. Watson, step from Holmes’s comfortable quarters at 221b Baker Street into the swirling fog of Victorian London to exercise that unique combination of detailed observation, vast knowledge, and brilliant deduction. Inevitably, Holmes rescues the innocent, confounds the guilty, and solves the most perplexing puzzles known to literature.
Volume I of The Complete Sherlock Holmes starts with Holmes’s first appearance, A Study in Scarlet, a chilling murder novel complete with bloodstained walls and cryptic clues, followed by the baffling The Sign of Four, which introduces Holmes’s cocaine problem and Watson’s future wife. The story collections The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes feature such renowned tales as “A Scandal in Bohemia,” “The Red-Headed League,” and “The Musgrave Ritual.”
Tired of writing stories about Holmes, his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, killed him off at the end of “The Final Problem,” the last tale in The Memoirs. But the public outcry was so great that eight years later he published the masterful The Hound of the Baskervilles, which supposedly takes place before Holmes’s death.
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Dubliners
by James Joyce
Widely regarded as the greatest stylist of twentieth-century English literature, James Joyce deserves the term “revolutionary.” His literary experiments in form and structure, language and content, signaled the modernist movement and continue to influence writers today. His two earliest, and perhaps most accessible, successes—A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Dubliners—are here brought together in one volume. Both works reflect Joyce’s lifelong love-hate relationship with Dublin and the Irish culture that formed him.
In the semi-autobiographical Portrait, young Stephen Dedalus yearns to be an artist, but first must struggle against the forces of church, school, and society, which fetter his imagination and stifle his soul. The book’s inventive style is apparent from its opening pages, a record of an infant’s impressions of the world around him—and one of the first examples of the “stream of consciousness” technique.
Comprising fifteen stories, Dubliners presents a community of mesmerizing, humorous, and haunting characters—a group portrait. The interactions among them form one long meditation on the human condition, culminating with “The Dead,” one of Joyce’s most graceful compositions centering around a character’s epiphany. A carefully woven tapestry of Dublin life at the turn of the last century, Dubliners realizes Joyce’s ambition to give his countrymen “one good look at themselves.”
The Awakening and Selected Short Fiction
by Kate Chopin
When it first appeared in 1899, Kate Chopin’s The Awakening was greeted with cries of outrage. The novel’s frank portrayal of a woman’s emotional, intellectual, and sexual awakening shocked the sensibilities of the time and destroyed the author’s reputation and career. Many years passed before this short, pioneering work was recognized as a major achievement in American literature.
Set in and around New Orleans, The Awakening tells the story of Edna Pontellier, a young wife and mother who, determined to control her own life, flouts convention by moving out of her husband’s house, having an adulterous affair, and becoming an artist.
Beautifully written, with sensuous imagery and vivid local descriptions, The Awakening has lost none of its power to provoke and inspire. Additionally, this edition includes thirteen of Kate Chopin’s magnificent short stories.
A Tale of Two Cities
by Charles Dickens
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . .”
With these famous words, Charles Dickens plunges the reader into one of history’s most explosive eras—the French Revolution. From the storming of the Bastille to the relentless drop of the guillotine, Dickens vividly captures the terror and upheaval of that tumultuous period. At the center is the novel’s hero, Sydney Carton, a lazy, alcoholic attorney who, inspired by a woman, makes the supreme sacrifice on the bloodstained streets of Paris.
The Scarlet Letter
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
America’s first psychological novel, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is a dark tale of love, crime, and revenge set in colonial New England. It revolves around a single, forbidden act of passion that forever alters the lives of three members of a small Puritan community: Hester Prynne, an ardent and fierce woman who bears the punishment of her sin in humble silence; the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, a respected public figure who is inwardly tormented by long-hidden guilt; and the malevolent Roger Chillingworth, Hester’s husband—a man who seethes with an Ahab-like lust for vengeance.
The landscape of this classic novel is uniquely American, but the themes it explores are universal—the nature of sin, guilt, and penitence, the clash between our private and public selves, and the spiritual and psychological cost of living outside society. Constructed with the elegance of a Greek tragedy, The Scarlet Letter brilliantly illuminates the truth that lies deep within the human heart.
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
by Jules Verne
Widely regarded as the father of modern science fiction, Jules Verne wrote more than seventy books and created hundreds of memorable characters. His most popular novel, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, is not only a brilliant piece of scientific prophecy, but also a thrilling story with superb, subtle characterizations.
The year is 1866 and the Pacific Ocean is being terrorized by a deadly sea monster. The U.S. government dispatches marine-life specialist Pierre Aronnax to investigate aboard the warship Abraham Lincoln. When the ship is sunk by the mysterious creature, he and two other survivors discover that the monster is in fact a marvelous submarine—the Nautilus—commanded by the brilliant but bitter Captain Nemo. Nemo refuses to let his guests return to land, but instead taking them on a series of fantastic adventures in which they encounter underwater forests, giant clams, monster storms, huge squid, treacherous polar ice and—most spectacular of all—the magnificent lost city of Atlantis!
The Good Soldier
by Ford Madox Ford
First published in 1915, Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier begins, famously and ominously, "This is the saddest story I have ever heard." The book then proceeds to confute this pronouncement at every turn, exposing a world less sad than pathetic, and more shot through with hypocrisy and deceit than its incredulous narrator, John Dowell, cares to imagine. Somewhat forgotten as a classic, The Good Soldier has been called everything from the consummate novelist's novel to one of the greatest English works of the century. And although its narrative hook—the philandering of an otherwise noble man—no longer shocks, its unerring cadences and doleful inevitabilities proclaim an enduring appeal.
Ford's novel revolves around two couples: Edward Ashburnham—the title's soldier—and his capable if off-putting wife, Leonora; and long-transplanted Americans John and Florence Dowell. The foursome's ostensible amiability, on display as they pass parts of a dozen pre-World War I summers together in Germany, conceals the fissures in each marriage. John is miserably mismatched with the garrulous, cuckolding Florence; and Edward, dashing and sentimental, can't refrain from falling in love with women whose charms exceed Leonora's. Predictably, Edward and Florence conduct their affair, an indiscretion only John seems not to notice. After the deaths of the two lovers, and after Leonora explains much of the truth to John, he recounts the events of their four lives with an extended inflection of outrage. From his retrospective perch, his recollections simmer with a bitter skepticism even as he expresses amazement at how much he overlooked.
Jude the Obscure
by Thomas Hardy
Virginia Woolf called him “the greatest tragic writer among English novelists,” but Thomas Hardy was so distressed by the shocked outrage that greeted Jude the Obscure in 1895 that he decided to quit writing novels. For in telling the story of Jude Fawley, whose many attempts to rise above his class are crushed by society or the forces of nature, Hardy had attacked Victorian society’s most cherished institutions—marriage, social class, religion, and higher education.
A poor villager, Jude Fawley longs to study at the elite University of Christminster, but his ambitions are thwarted by class prejudice—and an earthy country girl who tricks him into marriage by pretending to be pregnant. Entrapped in a loveless marriage, he becomes a stonemason and falls in love with his cousin—the intellectual, free-spirited Sue Bridehead, who is also unhappy in marriage. Sue leaves her husband to live with Jude and eventually bears his children out of wedlock. Their poverty and the weight of society’s disapproval begin to take their toll on the couple, forcing them into a shattering downward spiral that ends in one of the most shocking scenes in all of literature.
by Jonathan Swift
Considered the greatest satire ever written in English, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels chronicles the fantastic voyages of Lemuel Gulliver, principally to four marvelous realms: Lilliput, where the people are six inches tall; Brobdingnag, a land inhabited by giants; Laputa, a wondrous flying island; and a country where the Houyhnhnms, a race of intelligent horses, are served by savage humanoid creatures called Yahoos.
Beneath the surface of this enchanting fantasy lurks a devastating critique of human malevolence, stupidity, greed, vanity, and short-sightedness. A brilliant combination of adventure, humor, and philosophy, Gulliver’s Travels is one of literature’s most durable masterpieces.
The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson
by Emily Dickinson
Born in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1830, Dickinson began life as an energetic, outgoing young woman who excelled as a student. However, in her mid-twenties she began to grow reclusive, and eventually she rarely descended from her room in her father’s house. She spent most of her time working on her poetry, largely without encouragement or real interest from her family and peers, and died at age fifty-five. Only a handful of her 1,775 poems had been published during her lifetime. When her poems finally appeared after her death, readers immediately recognized an artist whose immense depth and stylistic complexities would one day make her the most widely recognized female poet to write in the English language.
Dickinson’s poetry is remarkable for its tightly controlled emotional and intellectual energy. The longest poem covers less than two pages. Yet in theme and tone her writing reaches for the sublime as it charts the landscape of the human soul. A true innovator, Dickinson experimented freely with conventional rhythm and meter, and often used dashes, off rhymes, and unusual metaphors—techniques that strongly influenced modern poetry.
The Picture of Dorian Gray
by Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde brings his enormous gifts for astute social observation and sparkling prose to The Picture of Dorian Gray, his dreamlike story of a young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty. This dandy, who remains forever unchanged—petulant, hedonistic, vain, and amoral—while a painting of him ages and grows increasingly hideous with the years, has been horrifying, enchanting, obsessing, even corrupting readers for more than a hundred years.
Taking the reader in and out of London drawing rooms, to the heights of aestheticism, and to the depths of decadence, The Picture of Dorian Gray is not only a melodrama about moral corruption. Laced with bon mots and vivid depictions of upper-class refinement, it is also a fascinating look at the milieu of Wilde’s fin-de-siècle world and a manifesto of the creed “Art for Art’s Sake.”
The ever-quotable Wilde, who once delighted London with his scintillating plays, scandalized readers with this, his only novel. Upon publication, Dorian was condemned as dangerous, poisonous, stupid, vulgar, and immoral, and Wilde as a “driveling pedant.” The novel, in fact, was used against Wilde at his much-publicized trials for “gross indecency,” which led to his imprisonment and exile on the European continent. Even so, The Picture of Dorian Gray firmly established Wilde as one of the great voices of the Aesthetic movement, and endures as a classic that is as timeless as its hero.
The Three Musketeers
by Alexandre Dumas
Mixing a bit of seventeenth-century French history with a great deal of invention, Alexandre Dumas tells the tale of young D’Artagnan and his musketeer comrades, Porthos, Athos and Aramis. Together they fight to foil the schemes of the brilliant, dangerous Cardinal Richelieu, who pretends to support the king while plotting to advance his own power. Bursting with swirling swordplay, swooning romance, and unforgettable figures such as the seductively beautiful but deadly femme fatale, Milady, and D’Artagnan’s equally beautiful love, Madame Bonacieux, The Three Musketeers continues, after a century and a half of continuous publication, to define the genre of swashbuckling romance and historical adventure.
by John Milton
As a young student, John Milton fantasized about bringing the poetic elocution of Homer and Virgil to the English language. Milton realized this dream with his graceful, sonorous Paradise Lost, now considered the most influential epic poem in English literature.
A retelling of the biblical story of mankind’s fall from grace, Milton’s epic opens shortly after the dramatic expulsion of Satan and his army of angels from Heaven. What follows is a cosmic battle between good and evil that ranges across vast, splendid tracts of time and space, from the wild abyss of Chaos and the fiery lake of Hell to the Gate of Heaven and God’s newly created paradise, the Garden of Eden. Controversy still swirls around Milton’s magnificent and sympathetic characterization of Satan, a portrait so compelling that many critics have maintained that he is the true hero of the story.
by Miguel de Cervantes
Widely acknowledged as the first modern novel, Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote features two of the most famous characters ever created: Don Quixote, the tall, bewildered, and half-crazy knight, and Sancho Panza, his rotund and incorrigibly loyal squire. The comic and unforgettable dynamic between these two legendary figures has served as the blueprint for countless novels written since Cervantes’s time.
An immediate success when first published in 1604, Don Quixote tells the story of a middle-aged Spanish gentleman who, obsessed with the chivalrous ideals found in romantic books, decides to take up his lance and sword to defend the helpless and destroy the wicked. Seated upon his lean nag of a horse, and accompanied by the pragmatic Sancho Panza, Don Quixote rides the roads of Spain seeking glory and grand adventure. Along the way the duo meet a dazzling assortment of characters whose diverse beliefs and perspectives reveal how reality and imagination are frequently indistinguishable.
Features illustrations by Gustave Doré.
Adventures of Tom Sawyer
by Mark Twain
Perhaps the best-loved nineteenth-century American novel, Mark Twain’s tale of boyhood adventure overflows with comedy, warmth, and slapstick energy. It brings to life and array of irresistible characters—the awesomely self-confident Tom, his best buddy Huck Finn, indulgent Aunt Polly, and the lovely, beguiling Becky—as well as such unforgettable incidents as whitewashing a fence, swearing an oath in blood, and getting lost in a dark and labyrinthine cave. Below Tom Sawyer’s sunny surface lurk hints of a darker reality, of youthful innocence and naïveté confronting the cruelty, hypocrisy, and foolishness of the adult world—a theme that would become more pronounced in Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Long before The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Harry Potter, the ancient Greek poet Homer established the standard for tales of epic quests and heroic journeys with The Odyssey. Crowded with characters, both human and non-human, and bursting with action, The Odyssey details the adventures of Odysseus, king of Ithaca and hero of the Trojan War, as he struggles to return to his home and his waiting, ever-faithful wife, Penelope.
Along the way he encounters the seductive Circe, who changes men into swine; the gorgeous water-nymph, Calypso, who keeps him a “prisoner of love” for seven years; the terrible, one-eyed, man-eating giant Cyclops; and a host of other ogres, wizards, sirens, and gods. But when he finally reaches Ithaca after ten years of travel, his trials have only begun. There he must battle the scheming noblemen who, thinking him dead, have demanded that Penelope choose one of them to be her new husband—and Ithaca’s new king.