Pride and Prejudice is a novel by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story follows the main character Elizabeth Bennet as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of early 19th-century England. Elizabeth is the second of five daughters of a country gentleman, living near the fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire, near London.
In this reading, Volunteers lend their voices to dramatize Jane Austen's classic and well-loved novel.
This classic tale by Lewis Carroll has delighted children for generations. Alice falls down a rabbit hole and encounters a wide variety of strange and wonderful creatures in all manner of bizarre situations. Join Alice as she journeys through Wonderland, trying to make sense of what she finds there. This version is read dramatically, with different readers voicing the different characters.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
A collection of short Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Dedicated to Beth Thomas
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft
Mary Shelley's 1818 novel presents the Faustian story of a man who aspires to create life out of death, with disastrous results. The novel is constructed as a series of first-person narratives, delivered by Captain Robert Walton, Victor Frankenstein, and his Creature, which makes it perfect for a dramatic reading.
Bram Stoker did not invent the vampire story, but he popularized it with his classic 1897 novel. In form Dracula is an epistolary novel, told through a series of journal entries, letters, newspaper articles, and telegrams. It begins with lawyer Jonathan Harker's perilous journey to Castle Dracula in Transylvania, and chronicles the vampire's invasion of England, where he preys upon the lovely Lucy Westenra and Harker's fiancee, Mina. Harker and Mina join forces with lunatic asylum proprieter Dr. Seward, Lucy's fiance Arthur Holmwood, Texas man of action Quincey Morris, and Dutch vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing to try and defeat their powerful adversary.
The novel tells of a young man named Dorian Gray, the subject of a painting by artist Basil Hallward. Basil is impressed by Dorian's beauty and becomes infatuated with him, believing his beauty is responsible for a new mode in his art. Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, a friend of Basil's, and becomes enthralled by Lord Henry's world view. Espousing a new hedonism, Lord Henry suggests the only things worth pursuing in life are beauty and fulfillment of the senses. Realizing that one day his beauty will fade, Dorian expresses his desire to sell his soul to ensure the portrait Basil has painted would age rather than himself. Dorian's wish is fulfilled, plunging him into debauched acts. The portrait serves as a reminder of the effect each act has upon his soul, with each sin displayed as a disfigurement of his form, or through a sign of aging. This reading uses the 20-chapter 1891 version of Wilde's novel.
The story tells of the inner turmoil of Rodion Raskolnikov, a student in St. Petersburg who commits murder. His psychological and moral agitation is furthered and complicated by his family's arrival in St. Petersburg, his sister's engagement to a manipulative and unworthy man, and his encounters with the impoverished and troubled Marmeladov family.
Primarily of the bildungsroman genre, Jane Eyre follows the emotions and experiences of eponymous Jane Eyre, her growth to adulthood, and her love for Mr. Rochester, the byronic master of Thornfield Hall.
More than eight years before the novel opens, Anne Elliot, then a lovely, thoughtful, warm-hearted 19 year old, accepted a proposal of marriage from the handsome young naval officer Frederick Wentworth. He was clever, confident, and ambitious, but poor and with no particular family connections to recommend him. Sir Walter, Anne's fatuous, snobbish father and her equally self-involved older sister Elizabeth were dissatisfied with her choice, maintaining that he was no match for an Elliot of Kellynch Hall, the family estate. Her older friend and mentor, Lady Russell, acting in place of Anne's late mother, persuaded her to break the engagement. Now 27 and still unmarried, Anne re-encounters her former love when his sister and brother-in-law, the Crofts, take out a lease on Kellynch. Wentworth is now a captain and wealthy from maritime victories in the Napoleonic wars. However, he has not forgiven Anne for rejecting him. While publicly declaring that he is ready to marry any suitable young woman who catches his fancy, he privately resolves that he is ready to become attached to any appealing young woman except for Anne Elliot.
In order to escape his cruel father, and led by a thirst for adventure, Huck Finn sets off down the Mississippi River with Jim, an escaped slave. But trouble is never far behind them, and their adventures are only beginning when they meet up with two men who claim to be a duke and a king! And that’s before Jim gets captured by none other than Tom Sawyer’s aunt and uncle… who mistake Huck for Tom. The hilarious adventures and scrapes of Huck, Jim, Tom, and others are brought to life in this dramatic reading.
Montgomery, Lucy Maud
Red-haired Anne Shirley, the orphan girl mistakenly sent to live with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, has been one of the world's most beloved characters since the publication of Anne of Green Gables in 1908. In this dramatic reading, readers tell the story of Anne's adventures as she grows up on Prince Edward Island.
Robert Louis Stevenson
When a rough old seaman calling himself "the Captain" appears at the inn owned by Jim Hawkins' father, young Jim little dreams what adventures will follow in the man's wake. Soon, the once-peaceful inn is threatened by pirates, Jim's father is laid in his grave, and Jim finds himself in possession of a map showing the location of treasure buried by the legendary and notorious Captain Flint. Along with a group of brave men: the sensible Dr. Livesey, the fearless and unflagging Captain Smollett, and the blustering but well-meaning Squire Trelawney, Jim sets out in quest of the treasure. Many perils, from wild animals to murderous villains to stormy seas will beset him on the way. And ever in the background, smiling and enigmatic, lurks the one-legged ship's cook, Long John Silver. One of the best-loved adventure stories of all time, Treasure Island is a pirate classic that delights readers today as much as when Stevenson first wrote it.
Alcott, Louisa May
Louisa May Alcott's beloved 1868 novel is about the four March girls - Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy - who are growing up in Massachusetts during the Civil War. As the novel opens, their father is away at war, and the girls are struggling to be good and to reconcile themselves to their relative poverty. Each has her trials to deal with, and they are encouraged by their loving mother, and by their friendship with their neighbor, Theodore "Laurie" Laurence.
Growing up on the banks of the Mississippi river, a mischievous boy named Tom Sawyer spends his days getting into one scrape after another. Tom's constant cleverness, superstition, trickery, and daring make him a handful to raise, and his Aunt Polly declares that she has "never seen the beat of that boy!" Tom is essentially good-hearted, however, but when he is witness to a horrible crime, his courage and integrity are tested beyond anything he ever expected. A note to parents: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is considered a children's classic, but contains racial slurs which, although "acceptable" in the time and place of the story's setting, will likely offend modern listeners.
Baum, L. Frank
The timeless story of the Wizard Of Oz. Follow Dorothy as she leaves Kansas for Oz on a cyclone. She meets many strange, and wonderful people and creatures along the way. Enjoy it again with your children and family.
A Christmas Carol is a novella by English author Charles Dickens first published by Chapman and Hall on 17 December 1843. The story tells of sour and stingy Ebenezer Scrooge's ideological, ethical, and emotional transformation after the supernatural visitations of Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Yet to Come.
The Grand Inquisitor is a parable told by Ivan to Alyosha in Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel The Brothers Karamazov (1879–1880). Ivan and Alyosha are brothers; Ivan questions the possibility of a personal, benevolent God and Alyosha is a novice monk. The Grand Inquisitor is an important part of the novel and one of the best-known passages in modern literature because of its ideas about human nature and freedom, and because of its fundamental ambiguity. In the tale, Christ comes back to earth in Seville at the time of the Inquisition. He performs a number of miracles (echoing miracles from the Gospels). The people recognize him and adore him, but he is arrested by Inquisition leaders and sentenced to be burnt to death the next day. The Grand Inquisitor visits him in his cell to tell him that the Church no longer needs him. The main portion of the text is the Inquisitor explaining to Jesus why his return would interfere with the mission of the church.
The story centers on the 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. There are differing opinions on whether this is the ultimate love story or the ultimate story of revenge.
The story is about Elinor and Marianne, two daughters of Mr Dashwood by his second wife. They have a younger sister, Margaret, and an older half-brother named John. When their father dies, the family estate passes to John, and the Dashwood women are left in reduced circumstances. The novel follows the Dashwood sisters to their new home, a cottage on a distant relative's property, where they experience both romance and heartbreak. The contrast between the sisters' characters is eventually resolved as they each find love and lasting happiness. Through the events in the novel, Elinor and Marianne encounter the sense and sensibility of life and love. In this dramatic reading, Volunteers lend their voices to bring Jane Austen's classic story to life.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel A Study in Scarlet marked the first appearance of fictional private detective Sherlock Holmes and his assistant, Dr. Watson. Doyle wrote this novel in less than three weeks when he was 27 years old. Originally called A Tangled Skein, the novel was rejected by several publishers before it was accepted for publication as A Study in Scarlet in the November 1887 issue of Beeton’s Christmas Annual, an obscure British magazine remembered for little other than its inauguration of Sherlock Holmes. The novel was first published as a book the following year, but it was not until Doyle’s publication of the Sherlock Holmes short story “A Scandal in Bohemia” in The Strand Magazine in 1891 that the character of Sherlock Holmes received widespread acclaim. Since then, A Study in Scarlet has been published in many editions both in English and in translation, and allusions to the novel have frequently appeared in the works of other authors. A Study in Scarlet has occasionally generated controversy relating to the negative depiction of early Mormons in the chapters that take place in Utah. When visiting Utah for the first time in 1923, Doyle was asked to apologize for this depiction, but he defended the relevant content in the novel as historical. Like other installments in the Sherlock Holmes franchise, A Study in Scarlet has been adapted many times for a variety of media, including comics, radio, television, film, and the stage. The first two film adaptations, one British and one American, were released in 1914 and both are now considered lost films; in 2010, the British Film Institute named the British film one of the 75 most wanted films for their National Archive. The novel’s enduring legacy is also discernable in the widespread use of magnifying glasses in detective fiction, a trope initiated by A Study in Scarlet.
In London, 1872, a rich English gentlemen named Mr. Phileas Fogg argues with the members in the Reform Club, and takes on a journey around the world in 80 days with his new servant, Passapartout, with accepting a wager.
The Just So Stories generally have the theme of a particular animal being altered from an original form to its current form by the acts of human kind or some magical being. Whale has a tiny throat because he swallowed a mariner, who tied a raft inside to block the whale from swallowing other men. The Camel has a hump given to him by a djinn as punishment for the camel's refusing to work (the hump allows the camel to work longer between times of eating). And so on throughout the book. A fun collection of stories with something for everyone.
Mansfield Park is Jane Austen's 1814 novel focusing on Fanny Price, the daughter of a poor Portsmouth family, who is taken to live with her aunt and uncle Bertram's family on their estate at the age of ten. Surrounded by her wealthy and privileged cousins, and continually reminded of her lower status by her bullying Aunt Norris, Fanny grows up timid and shy, but with a strong sense of ethics, partly instilled by her kindly cousin Edmund. Fanny's gratitude and friendship for Edmund gradually grow into love, but the introduction of Mary and Henry Crawford, a captivating sister and brother, into the neighborhood of Mansfield Park, confuses and complicates the affections of the Bertram household. In this recording, Volunteers lend their voices to the colorful cast of characters in Austen's classic novel.
Burnett, Frances Hodgson
Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic children's novel is about orphaned Mary Lennox, who is sent to live with her uncle at Misslethwaite Manor in Yorkshire. Initially a sour, bad-tempered child, Mary begins to bloom under the influence of nature when she discovers a long-abandoned garden on the grounds of her uncle's estate. Burnett's novel is brought to life by Volunteers who lend their voices to her characters.
Doyle, Arthur Conan, Sir
The Sign of the Four, the second of four novels featuring Sherlock Holmes, has a complex plot involving India, a stolen treasure, and a secret pact among four convicts and two corrupt prison guards. Some of Holmes's less savory habits are revealed, and Dr. Watson finds romance. In this dramatic reading, Volunteers bring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's classic characters to life.
Vonnegut, Kurt Jr.
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. was a prolific and genre-bending American novelist known for works blending satire, black comedy, and science fiction, such as Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat's Cradle, and Breakfast of Champions. 2 B R 0 2 B is a satiric short story that imagines life (and death) in a future world where aging has been "cured" and population control is mandated and administered by the government.
Black Beauty is a fictional autobiographical memoir told by a horse, who recounts many tales, both of cruelty and kindness. The title page of the first edition states that it was "Translated from the Original Equine by Anna Sewell." After its publication in 1877, Sewell lived just long enough to see her first and only novel become an immediate bestseller, as well as it encouraging the better treatment of many cruelly-treated animals.
Although initially intended for people who work with horses, it soon became a children's classic. While outwardly teaching animal welfare, it also contains allegorical lessons about how to treat people with kindness, sympathy and respect. The story is narrated in the first person and each short chapter relates an incident in Black Beauty's life, with Sewell's detailed observations and extensive descriptions of horse behaviour lending the novel a good deal of verisimilitude.
Roberta, Peter and Phyllis are suddenly yanked out of their comfortable lives and removed to live in the country with only their mother and to "play at being poor". Will they ever again be allowed to have bread with butter AND jam? Why does mother spend all day frantically writing in her room? And what has happened to their father?
The Railway Children is one of Edith Nesbit's best-loved books. It has been made into five films and a musical. The story of three children making friends with everyone around them and doing their best to do good and to be good (but not always succeeding) contains no magic, but the warmth of Nesbit's storytelling permeates the book.
Over the years, strange things have been happening at the Paris Opéra House. The new owners, M. Moncharmin and M. Richard don't know what to do about the mysterious "Opera Ghost" demanding money, nor the tragic death of the chief scene-shifter. Now the young Soprano, Christine Daae, has been kidnapped and her lover, the Vicomte de Chagny, is going mad. The opera house is falling to pieces. Could this all be the work of the mysterious Phantom of the Opera?
Montgomery, Lucy Maud
Anne of the Island is the third book in the Anne of Green Gables series, written by Lucy Maud Montgomery about Anne Shirley. Anne of the Island was published in 1915, seven years after the bestselling Anne of Green Gables. In the continuing story of Anne Shirley, Anne attends Redmond College in Kingsport, where she is studying for her BA.
E. M. Forster
A Room with a View is a 1908 novel by English writer E. M. Forster, about a young woman in the repressed culture of Edwardian era England. Set in Italy and England, the story is both a romance and a critique of English society at the beginning of the 20th century.
Orczy, Emmuska, Baroness
Baroness Emma ("Emmuska") Orczy (September 23, 1865 – November 12, 1947) was a British novelist, playwright and artist of Hungarian origin. She was most notable for her series of novels featuring the Scarlet Pimpernel. Some of her paintings were exhibited at the Royal Academy in London.
A mysterious young widow arrives at Wildfell Hall, an Elizabethan mansion which has been empty for many years, with her young son. She lives there under an assumed name, Helen Graham, and very soon finds herself the victim of local slander. Refusing to believe anything scandalous about her, Gilbert Markham discovers her dark secrets. In her diary Helen writes about her husband's physical and moral decline through alcohol and the world of debauchery and cruelty from which she has fled. This passionate novel of betrayal is set within a moral framework tempered by Anne's optimistic belief in universal salvation. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is mainly considered to be one of the first sustained feminist novels. May Sinclair, in 1913, said that the slamming of Helen's bedroom door against her husband reverberated throughout Victorian England. In escaping from her husband, she violates not only social conventions, but also English law.
"Heidi" takes us on a journey to the eventful childhood of a good-hearted girl from the Swiss Alps. A warm and loving story, full of touching moments, it reaches children and adults alike. It was written in 1880 and published in two parts:
1. Heidi's years of learning and travel.
2. Heidi makes use of what she has learned.
This English translation from 1915 has "an especial flavor, that very quality of delight in mountain scenes, in mountain people and in child life generally, which is one of the chief merits of the German original. The phrasing has also been carefully adapted to the purpose of reading aloud"
John Dolittle, M. D., was once a famous doctor. But then he learned to talk Animal-Language, picked up several interesting pets, and gradually began to lose his patients. Finally the only patient who remains, the Cat's-Meat-Man, makes a suggestion - why doesn't he give up treating people and become an animal doctor?
And so Dr. Dolittle becomes an animal doctor, and life seems to be going well. But with the addition of an escaped crocodile to his store of pets, even the animals stop coming to see him. What to do?
Children of all ages - and adults too - will enjoy the story of the good Doctor and his animals as he travels to Africa and back, braves shipwrecks and pirates, escapes from prison, and tries to reunite a little boy with his kidnapped uncle, all with the help of his charming animal friends.
Lucy Maud Montgomery
In the next installment of the Anne series, newlyweds Anne and Gilbert move to the harbor town of Four Winds. There they meet new friends and experience joy as well as heartbreak.
In one of Plato's more accessible works, Apollodorus tells a friend about a drinking party (or symposium) attended by many of intellectuals of late 5th century Athens. The men are one their second night of celebration for Agathon's victory at the city Dionysia, and decide that instead of drinking, they should give speeches in praise of love.
Eleanor H. Porter
The story begins when Pollyanna arrives in Beldingsville to live with her Aunt Polly, a strict and dutiful middle aged woman. Pollyanna immediately begins to brighten up everyone's life by the "Glad Game." Trying to find something to be glad about in every situation, Pollyanna is happy, joyful, lively, and soon transforms the whole town. One day something so terrible happens, even Pollyanna doesn't know how to be glad about it.
Jacobs, W. W.
The Monkey's Paw is a classic "three wishes" story that doubles as a horror story and a cautionary tale; reminding us that unintended consequences often accompany the best intentions. This widely read story is a favorite in classrooms around the world. The story was first published in 1902 and then featured in The Lady of the Barge, published in 1911.
Lucy Maud Montgomery
Anne of Green Gables is all grown up and married, and this is the story of her daughter “Rilla”, named for the indomitable Marilla Cuthbert of Anne’s childhood. The young Rilla will need all her strength for the dark days ahead, as her coming of age will be in the midst of World War I. Her brothers and sweetheart will go to war, and not all of them will come back. Her sisters will become nurses, but Rilla herself is too young. What can she do back home to support the war effort? How can she be involved in doing good in her own backyard? What difference can one person’s ‘keeping the faith’ make in the titanic struggle of world events?
LM Montgomery, in this final installment of the Anne of Green Gables books, takes us through the terror, the suspense and the sacrifices of ‘The Great War’ as told through the eyes of Rilla. Of course, as in any girl’s diary, there are also chronicled the romances of Miranda, Gertrude, Mary and Rilla herself. At the same time, the small details of everyday life lighten the drama with humorous stories of the antics of the Ingleside cat, the putting on of a wedding with one day’s notice and ‘that prayer meeting’ which will forever go down in the local lore of little Glen St Mary!
This surprisingly explicit sample of Victorian erotica follows the sexual awakening and subsequent adventures of its author, Kate Percival, the "belle of the Delaware." Content warning: this one is definitely NC-17 rated.
Louisa May Alcott
Jo March's dreams of opening a home for boys comes true as she finds herself the mistress of Plumfield, a boarding school for children -- who have all stumbled in from various backgrounds. When new students arrive at her doorstep, they bring their own sets of troubles with them, such as dishonesty, disobedience, and naughty shenanigans. However, Mrs. Jo, alongside her steady husband, Fritz, uniquely guides each child along to the path to adulthood, inspiring him to become the best he can be. Likewise, though the couple is faced with frequent heartache and even unexpected tragedy, their children never cease to amaze them and fill their home with joy.
Louisa May Alcott
Little Men is the sequel to Louisa May Alcott's bestselling book Little Women. It opens as Jo March and her husband Fritz Bhaer begin a school for boys, called Plumfield. The book follows the escapades of the Plumfield boys and the children of Jo, Amy and Meg as mischief, laughter and love fill the school.
Finding a Psammead (sand-fairy) to grant any wish your heart desires seems like the beginning of endless delights, but as Cyril, Anthea, Robert and Jane soon discover, being beautiful, wealthy and popular can have surprising pitfalls! When it comes to wishing they had wings, lived in a besieged castle or to fight Red Indians in the English countryside, the results of their wishes lead to hilarious narrow escapes and (usually) being sent to bed.
"Five Children and It" is the first of the three "Psammead" books by Edith Nesbit, introducing the irascible sand fairy who uses the children's wishes to teach them lessons about life. This dramatised reading brings the four children and their friend vividly to life!
Doyle, Arthur Conan, Sir
The Hound of the Baskervilles is the third of four crime novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle featuring the detective Sherlock Holmes. Originally serialised in The Strand Magazine from August 1901 to April 1902, it is set largely on Dartmoor in Devon in England's West Country and tells the story of an attempted murder inspired by the legend of a fearsome, diabolical hound.
Louisa May Alcott
When Jack and Jill tumble off their sled on the first good snow of the season, their injuries cause them to be bedridden for many months, putting an end to their fun and frolics. Their parents and friends fill their days with the joys of Christmas preparations, a theatrical production and many other imaginative events. Both learn how to become better friends to each other and their other school mates through their many trials. This is sure to become a family favorite!
Wilde's collection of fairy tales has delighted both children and adults since it was first published in 1888. It contains five stories, "The Happy Prince", "The Nightingale and the Rose", "The Selfish Giant", "The Devoted Friend", and "The Remarkable Rocket".
One of the most famous Italian books in history, The Betrothed was written by Alessandro Manzoni in 1827. The two main characters, Renzo and Lucy, are engaged to be married when Lucy tragically disappears. Little does Renzo know that Lucy has been kidnapped by a criminal, The Unnamed, feared by all the people of Northern Italy, where the story is set. Despite the threat of death and the fear of never laying eyes on one another again, Renzo and Lucy maintain a deep love for each other throughout the book that displays the true sacrifice and commitment of marriage. The book was recommended by Pope Francis to engaged couples in 2015 as preparation for marriage.
The story of a Princess named Irene, and her adventure with a boy named Curdie Peterson. Princess Irene meets her grandmother, and Irene wants her nurse, Lootie, to know that her grandmother is so sweet and kind. But Lootie doesn't believe there is a grandmother. One day, while it was getting very late outdoors, Lootie and the Princess loose their way, and cannot remember which way was back home. But then Curdie, the merry miner-boy, want's to save the princess from the evil goblins, and so he makes sure that they cannot get to her. The Princess then wants Curdie to meet her grandmother, but somehow, Curdie cannot see Irene's grandmother, and so he becomes angry with Irene. Much later in the story, the goblins devise an evil plan, to try and merry their prince Harelip to the Princess Irene! And now Curdie knows he must save Irene, even though he was angry with her. So after talking with his parents, Curdie goes out to save the Princess Irene from the horrible goblins. But does Curdie save the Princess? And do the goblins marry their prince Harelip to the Princess Irene? This fascinating story will tell it itself in this wonderful dramatic reading!
"1601," wrote Mark Twain, "is a supposititious conversation which takes place in Queen Elizabeth's closet in that year, between the Queen, Ben Jonson, Beaumont, Sir Walter Raleigh, the Duchess of Bilgewater, and one or two others ... If there is a decent word findable in it, it is because I overlooked it." 1601 depicts a highfalutin and earthy discussion between the Queen and her court about farting and a variety of sexual peccadillos, narrated disapprovingly and sanctimoniously by the Queen's Cup-Bearer, an eyewitness at "the Social Fireside."