Category Archives: Audiobooks

Don Quixote – Volume 1

Don Quixote - Volume 1 by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Don Quixote – Volume 1 by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Don Quixote is an early novel written by Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Cervantes created a fictional origin for the story in the character of the Morisco historian, Cide Hamete Benengeli, whom he claims to have hired to translate the story from an Arabic manuscript he found in Toledo’s bedraggled old Jewish quarter.

The protagonist, Alonso Quixano, is a minor landowner who has read so many stories of chivalry that he descends into fantasy and becomes convinced he is a knight errant. Together with his companion Sancho Panza, the self-styled Don Quixote de la Mancha sets out in search of adventures. His “lady” is Dulcinea del Toboso, an imaginary object of his courtly love crafted from a neighbouring farmgirl by the illusion-struck “knight” (her real name is Aldonza Lorenzo, and she is totally unaware of his feelings for her. In addition, she never actually appears in the novel).

Published in two volumes a decade apart, Don Quixote is the most influential work of literature to emerge from the Spanish Golden Age and perhaps the entire Spanish literary canon. As a founding work of modern Western literature, it regularly appears at or near the top of lists of the greatest works of fiction ever published.

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The Master Builder

The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen

The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen

Henrik Ibsen’s The Master Builder, is about architect Halvard Solness, who despite personal tragedy (including the death of his two sons) has risen to the top of his profession. He has succeeded partly through ruthless competition and exploitation and partly through a seeming ability to force his will on others. His unhappy wife Aline mourns for their lost life, and resents his interest in various young women, including his bookkeeper Kaia Fosli. Solness disregards the ambitions of other architects, including Knut Brovik and his son Ragnar, and seeks solace in the advice of family physician and friend Dr. Herdal. With the entrance of Hilda Wangel, a young woman whom he met as a child ten years ago, his life acquires a new focal point, one that will mean the end of him.

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Pauline’s Passion and Punishment

Pauline's Passion and Punishment by Louisa May Alcott

Pauline's Passion and Punishment by Louisa May Alcott

Before she wrote Little Women and Little Men, Louisa, writing under the pseudonym A.M. Barnard, wrote this `blood and thunder’ thriller. This was during the period when Louisa worked a nurse during the American Civil war. The rigid and unfair roles of men and women of this period, their expectations and desires, plays at large in this story of betrayed love, anger, petulance, and ultimately, vengeance.

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The Girl on the Boat

The Girl on the Boat by P. G. Wodehouse

The Girl on the Boat by P. G. Wodehouse

Also published as “Three Men and a Maid”. The maid of the title is red-haired, dog-loving Wilhelmina “Billie” Bennet, and the three men are Bream Mortimer, a long-time friend and admirer of Billie, Eustace Hignett, a lily-livered poet who is engaged to Billie at the opening of the tale, and Sam Marlowe, Eustace’s dashing cousin, who falls for Billie at first sight. All four find themselves on an ocean liner headed for England together, along with a capable young woman called Jane Hubbard who is smitten with Eustace, and typically Wodehousian romantic shenanigans ensue. (Introduction by wikipedia)

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The Trail of the Axe

The Trail of the Axe by Ridgwell Cullum

The Trail of the Axe by Ridgwell Cullum

Dave ran a lumber mill in western Canada. There are some workers within his organization who he trusts implicitly, some who he doesn’t trust at all, and some who he is unsure about. But Dave is basically a trusting soul. Most of the folks in Malkern liked him, as he had been a major factor in shaping the village and in providing employment for a lot of the folks who lived in the area. Dave was not a pleasant site to look at; ungainly, not very attractive, yet he had a heart that was the antithesis of his lack of physical attractiveness. Dave was a good friend to Betty, who had promised her hand in marriage to Jim Truscott, who was on leave from Malkern searching for gold in the Yukon territory to secure a future for himself and his bride-to-be. Truscott had asked Dave to watch over Betty during his absence, but when he returned from his fortune seeking expedition in the Yukon, Truscott was a changed man. He didn’t seem the same personable Jim Truscott that Betty had promised herself to, and Dave was a bit suspicious of his personality alterations as well. Now, Betty had to decide whether to hold herself to her promise, and Dave had to determine whether or not he should also keep himself to the promise he had made to his friend. There is plenty of action, suspense, and personal introspection combined with a love story in The Trail of the Axe, and many a surprise awaits every turn.

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The House Behind the Cedars

The House Behind the Cedars by Charles W. Chesnutt

The House Behind the Cedars by Charles W. Chesnutt

In this, Chesnutt’s first novel, he tells the tragic story of love set against a backdrop of racism, miscegenation and “passing” during the period spanning the antebellum and reconstruction eras in American history. And through his use of the vernacular prevalent in the South of that time, Chesnutt lent a compassionate voice to a group that America did not want to hear. More broadly, however, Chesnutt illustrated, in this character play, the vast and perhaps insurmountable debt this country continues to pay for the sins of slavery.

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Tess of the d’Urbervilles

Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

One of the greatest English tragic novels, Tess of the d’Ubervilles is the story of a “pure woman” who is victimized both by conventional morality and its antithesis. Born near Dorchester, Thomas Hardy set most of his stories in the region between Berkshire and Dorset in the fictional county of Wessex. He was a controversial writer whose work often showed the result of flouting the rigid Victorian moral code.

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Mary Barton

Mary Barton by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

Mary Barton by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

Mary Barton is the first novel by English author Elizabeth Gaskell. The story is set in the English city of Manchester during the 1830s and 1840s and deals heavily with the difficulties faced by the Victorian lower class.

The novel begins in Manchester, where we are introduced to the Bartons and the Wilsons, two working class families. John Barton reveals himself to be a great questioner of the distribution of wealth and the relation between the rich and the poor. He also relates how his sister-in-law Esther has disappeared after she ran away from home.

Soon afterwards Mrs Barton dies, and John is left with his daughter Mary to cope in the harsh world around them. Having already been deeply affected by the loss of his son Tom at a young age, after the death of his wife, Barton tackles depression and begins to involve himself in the Chartist movement connected with the trade unions.

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The Wanderer – Volume 1

The Wanderer - Volume 1 by Fanny Burney

The Wanderer – Volume 1 by Fanny Burney

This is the fourth and final novel by Fanny Burney, the author of Evelina, Cecilia, and Camilla. “Who is “Miss Ellis?” Why did she board a ship from France to England at the beginning of the French revolution? Anyway, the loss of her purse made this strange “wanderer” dependent upon the charity of some good people and, of course, bad ones. But she always comforts herself by reminding herself that it’s better than “what might have been…” This is not only a mystery, not at all. It’s also a romance

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The Flaming Forest

The Flaming Forest by James Oliver Curwood

The Flaming Forest by James Oliver Curwood

A tale of mystery, romance, and honor, as David Carrigan must choose between his duty as an officer of the law and a girl who holds him captive; a girl who Carrigan thinks he may have fallen in love with no less! Who is this strange girl Jean-Marie, and why won’t she give him his freedom? And who are the people that she surrounds herself with along the great Canadian rivers and wilderness barrens and forests of the northwest?

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