Wodehouse, P. G.
This novel introduces the characters Mike Jackson and Psmith, who are featured in several of Wodehouse’s later works. It shows how the two characters first met each other as teenagers at boarding school. As Psmith doesn’t appear until about halfway through this book, it was later released as two separate books, Mike at Wrykyn and Mike and Psmith. There’s lots of cricket, but you don’t need to understand the game to enjoy the antics of these public school boys as they "rag" each other and the authorities.
-Summary by Debra Lynn
The second of Crompton's series of 39 books about William Brown, our cheeky 11 year-old protagonist. A hero to some, a dastardly villain to others, this book is structured round a year in his life. Starting with William waking up on Christmas morning and ending with him going to sleep the following Christmas Eve, there are the usual round of misadventures, misunderstanding and general mayhem in between. When a boy like William wakes up under a motto that says "A Busy Day Is A Happy Day" alongside a copy of "Things A Boy Can Do", the chaos is just around the corner. Includes the very first William short story - "Rice Mould". Often dismissed as childrens literature, the first few books of William stories were probably aimed more at an adult audience. They resonate with a distinctly English humour, but there are obvious echoes from 'Tom Sawyer' and 'Huckleberry Finn'.
'A wickedly funny 1911 satire on undergraduate life in Edwardian Oxford' in which the entire student body of Oxford university including the young, handsome aristocrat the Duke of Dorset falls hopelessly in love with Zuleika who is visiting her grandfather, the warden of Judas college, and ultimately commit mass suicide at the end of 'Eights Week'
Shaw, George Bernard
The Doctor's Dilemma is about Dr. Colenso Ridgeon, who has recently been knighted because of a miraculous new treatment he developed for tuberculosis. As his friends arrive to congratulate him on his success, he is visited by two figures who present him with a difficult decision. He has room for one more patient in his clinic; should he give it to Louis Dubedat, a brilliant but absolutely immoral artist, or Dr. Blenkinsop, a poor and rather ordinary physician who is a truly good person? Dr. Ridgeon's dilemma is heightened when he falls for Jennifer Dubedat, the artist's wife, who is innocent of her husband's profligacy.
Thackeray, William Makepeace
The necessity of a work on Snobs, demonstrated from History, and proved by felicitous illustrations:—I am the individual destined to write that work—My vocation is announced in terms of great eloquence—I show that the world has been gradually preparing itself for the WORK and the MAN—Snobs are to be studied like other objects of Natural Science, and are a part of the Beautiful (with a large B). They pervade all classes—Affecting instance of Colonel Snobley. (Summary excerpted from Prefatory Remarks from the book by W. M. Thackeray)
Wodehouse, P. G.
It wasn't Archie's fault really. It's true he went to America and fell in love with Lucille, the daughter of a millionaire hotel proprietor and if he did marry her--well, what else was there to do?
From his point of view, the whole thing was a thoroughly good egg; but Mr. Brewster, his father-in-law, thought differently, Archie had neither money nor occupation, which was distasteful in the eyes of the industrious Mr. Brewster; but the real bar was the fact that he had once adversely criticised one of his hotels.
Archie does his best to heal the breach; but, being something of an ass, genus priceless, he finds it almost beyond his powers to placate "the man-eating fish" whom Providence has given him as a father-in-law.
"The Stolen White Elephant" was written by Mark Twain and published in 1882. In it, an Indian elephant, en route from India to Britain as a gift to the Queen, disappears in New Jersey. The local police department goes into high gear to solve the mystery but it all comes to a tragic end. (PLUS more TBD)
The American Claimant is an 1892 novel by American humorist and writer Mark Twain. The story focuses on the class differences and expectations of monarchic, hierarchical Britain and the upstart, "all men are created equal" America. Twain wrote the novel with the help of phonographic dictation, the first author (according to Twain himself) to do so. This was also (according to Twain) an attempt to write a book without mention of the weather, the first of its kind in fictitious literature. Indeed, all the weather is contained in an appendix, at the back of the book, which the reader is encouraged to turn to from time to time.
Join Penrod Schofield and his wistful dog Duke, in a hilarious romp through turn of the century Indianapolis, chronicling his life, loves, and mostly the trouble he gets into.
Chesterton, G. K.
A collection of six wonderfully quirky detective stories, featuring the 'mystic' former judge Basil Grant. Each story reveals a practitioner of an entirely new profession, and member of the Club of Queer Trades.
Robert Benchley, 1889-1945, was a writer, humorist and actor of note during the 1920s through the early 1940s. Born in Massachusetts, he spent his early literary career in New York City as an editor, critic and columnist for many of the major magazines of the day.
Along with George Kaufman, Dorothy Parker and Harpo Marx, he was an original "member" of the Algonquin Round Table. His popularity led him to a side career in radio and film, which took him to California in his later years. Writers as diverse as James Thurber, Woody Allen and Dave Barry have credited Benchley as an influence.
Love Conquers All, originally published in 1922 is the second collection (of fifteen) gathering together Benchley's humorous essays and reviews. Some references are dated, of course, but the surreal and mundane targets of Benchley's wit will be familiar to everyone. This volume collects 63 excellent gems from his early professional work, when Benchley's enthusiasm and style were approaching their peak.
The Europeans: A sketch is a short novel by Henry James, published in 1878. It is essentially a comedy contrasting the behaviour and attitudes of two visitors from Europe with those of their relatives living in the 'new' world of New England. The novel first appeared as a serial in The Atlantic Monthly for July-October, 1878. James made numerous minor revisions for the first book publication.
Milne, A. A.
This version of the book is done as a Dramatic Reading with various people speaking each characters part.
When the King of Barodia receives a pair of seven-league boots as a birthday present, his habit of flying over the King of Euralia's castle during breakfast provokes a series of incidents which escalate into war. While the King of Euralia is away, his daughter Hyacinth tries to rule in his stead and counter the machiavellian ambitions of the king's favourite, the Countess Belvane. Ostensibly a typical fairytale, it tells the story of the war between the kingdoms of Euralia and Barodia and the political shenanigans which take place in Euralia in the king's absence. The book introduces us to a princess who is far from helpless; a prince who, whilst handsome, is also pompous and vain; an enchantment which is almost entirely humorous; a villain who is not entirely villainous and receives no real comeuppance; a good king who isn't always good; an evil king who isn't always evil, and so on. The result is a book which children may not enjoy as much as adults. The book was written by Milne partly for his wife, upon whom the character of the Countess Belvane was partially based.
Abbott, L. A.
This work the author claims is indeed a true story of how he happened to be married seven times to seven different women and the rollicking, hilarious events that led (or stumbled) to the marriages and the ah--disassembling/failing/failures of each said marriage which happened oftentimes to land him in prison. The summarist finds the work a very tongue-in-cheek diatribe/lament/account of his obsessive zeal in 'marrying the right one', but is also the mirthful chronicle of said author's very unconventional adventures.
"Brazilian Tales" is a collection of six short stories selected by Isaac Goldberg as best representative of the Brazilian Literature of his period - the end of the 19th century. His comprehensive preface aims at familiarizing the reader with a literature that was - and still is - virtually unknown outside the boundaries of its own land, and the pieces chosen by Goldberg to be translated belong to writers that reached popularity and appreciation while still alive. This "pioneer volume", as the translator himself puts it, still keeps its charm and interest as a way of offering to the English speaking public some "sample cases" of Brazilian Literature.
Volunteers bring you 9 recordings of Sally Simpkin's Lament; or, John Jones's Kit-Cat-Astrophe by Thomas Hood. This was the Fortnightly Poetry project for January 4, 2015.
Thomas Hood was a British humorist and poet, born in London.
Wodehouse, P. G.
A Man of Means is a collection of six short stories written in collaboration by P. G. Wodehouse and C. H. Bovill. The stories all star Roland Bleke, a nondescript young man to whom financial success comes through a series of "lucky" chances, the first from a win in a sweepstake he had forgotten entering. Roland, like many a timid young man seeks love and marriage. In this pursuit his wealth is regularly a mixed blessing. The plot of each story follows its predecessor, sometimes directly, and occasionally refer back to past events in Bleke's meteoric career. The writing style is crisp and droll, and shows much of the skill and polish of the later Wodehouse. The disasters that befall the hapless Bleke are entertainingly recounted and his unforeseen rescues surprise and delight. In the character of the butler, Mr Teal, we meet an early draft of the ingenious Jeeves.
An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews, or simply Shamela, as it is more commonly known, is a satirical novel written by Henry Fielding and first published in April 1741 under the name of Mr. Conny Keyber. Fielding never owned to writing the work, but it is widely considered to be his. It is a direct attack on the then-popular novel Pamela (November 1740) by Fielding's contemporary and rival Samuel Richardson and is composed, like Pamela, in epistolary form. Shamela is written as a shocking revelation of the true events which took place in the life of Pamela Andrews, the main heroine of Pamela. From Shamela we learn that, instead of being a kind, humble, and chaste servant-girl, Pamela (whose true name turns out to be Shamela) is in fact a wicked and lascivious creature, scheming to entrap her master, Squire Booby, into marriage.
The Wit and Humor of America is a 10 volume series. In this, the sixth volume, 55 short stories and poems have been gathered from 42 authors. This volume is sure to delight listeners.
Saki (December 18, 1870 - November 14, 1916) was the pen name of the British author Hector Hugh Munro. His witty, biting and occasionally odd short stories satirised Edwardian culture. Saki is considered a master of the short story and has been compared to O. Henry and Dorothy Parker as well as Noel Coward and Oscar Wilde (who clearly influenced Saki.) His first collection of short stories, Reginald, was published by Methuen Press in 1904 though these stories first appeared in the 'Westminster Gazette'. The stories in this collection are a foil for allowing the jaded and insider/outsider figure of Reginald to comment on some ridiculous or provincial attitude prevelant in upperclass Edwardian society, although one can easily recoginize these same attitudes in our society today. Long popular and well known, Saki's brilliant humour is as enjoyable now as it was almost a century ago.
A selection of nonsense poems, songs (not sung!), stories, and miscellaneous strangeness. The work includes the "Owl and the Pussycat" and a recipe for Amblongus Pie, which begins "Take 4 pounds (say 4½ pounds) of fresh ablongusses and put them in a small pipkin."
Edward Lear was an English writer, poet, cat-lover, and illustrator (his watercolours are beautiful). This recording celebrates the 200th anniversary of Lear's birth.
The Wit and Humor of America is a 10 volume series. In this, the second volume, 44 short stories and poems have been gathered from 31 authors. This volume is sure to delight listeners.
This road trip novel is set in the early twentieth century and follows the experiences of an aristocratic New Englander and her father as they travel by automobile from Minneapolis to Seattle. She is wooed and won by a noble but simple commoner she meets along the way. Lewis is at his usual wryly humorous self, poking fun at the upper class and treating the common people only slightly better.
Davis, Richard Harding
Miss Civilization, a one act comedy, tells the story of a young woman who matches wits with three burglars attempting to rob her house. This recording was made in Chicago at the LibriVox World Gathering in May 2007.
When Patty Went to College is Jean Webster's first novel, published in 1903. It is a humorous look at life in an all-girls college at the turn of the 20th century. Patty Wyatt, the protagonist of this story is a bright, fun loving, imperturbable girl who does not like to conform. The book describes her many escapades on campus during her senior year at college. Patty enjoys life on campus and uses her energies in playing pranks and for the entertainment of herself and her friends. An intelligent girl, she uses creative methods to study only as much as she feels necessary. Patty is, however, a believer in causes and a champion of the weak. She goes out of her way to help a homesick freshman Olivia Copeland who believes she will be sent home when she fails four subjects in the examination.
Milne, A. A.
A collection of short stories by famed Winnie the Pooh author, A.A. Milne. This charmingly humorous work from Milne's earlier writing period was first published in Punch magazine.
The Wit and Humor of America is a 10 volume series. In this, the seventh volume, 43 short stories and poems have been gathered from 35 authors. This volume is sure to delight listeners.
Lincoln, Joseph C.
This book (eleven short stories) was also published under the title of “The Old Home House”. Joseph Crosby Lincoln (1870 – 1944) was an American author of novels, poems, and short stories, many set in a fictionalized Cape Cod. Lincoln's work frequently appeared in popular magazines such as the Saturday Evening Post and The Delineator.... Lincoln claimed that he was satisfied "spinning yarns" that made readers feel good about themselves and their neighbors. Two of his stories have been adapted to film. Lincoln's literary career celebrating "old Cape Cod" can partly be seen as an attempt to return to an Eden from which he had been driven by family tragedy. His literary portrayal of Cape Cod can also be understood as a pre-modern haven occupied by individuals of old Yankee stock which was offered to readers as an antidote to an America that was undergoing rapid modernization, urbanization, immigration, and industrialization.... Lincoln died in 1944, at the age of 73, in Winter Park, Florida.
While a columnist for The Chicago Record humorist George Ade penned numerous “fables” which were subsequently collected into books. Fables in Slang is the first of these collections. It contains 26 satirical stories that lampoon phrenologists, idealists, snobs, fanatics and other ignorant fools of the day, most of which still wander through our modern lives. Jean Shepherd considered Ade a predecessor who made writers like James Thurber, Mike Royko, and himself possible. Fables in Slang was first published in 1899 by Herbert S. Stone and Company.
Frank Gelett Burgess
Deep in the heart of every parent is the wish, the desire, to have other adults tell us, in an unsolicited way, just how very polite one’s child is! This perhaps was even more the case in 1903, when Gelett Burgess produced his second book on the Goops. With entertaining cartoons - caricatures of misbehaving children - he described many different breaches of tact and good manners.
Burgess wrote several books of poetry on the Goops, each poem describing some significant way in which an unthoughtful or unkind child could offend polite society and often offering the hope that the listener would never behave that way. Ahem! Well, perhaps very few people have succeeded in not acting Goop-like at some point in their lives, but read along with Burgess as he attempts to define, in a humorous fashion, exactly what the differences between “Good” and “Goop” are!
A collection of comedic short stories from the perspective of an old country man.
Bangs, John Kendrick
John Kendrick Bangs (May 27, 1862 – January 21, 1922) was an American author and satirist, and the creator of modern Bangasian Fantasy, the school of fantasy writing that sets the plot wholly or partially in the afterlife. (Wikipedia)
Plot summary: J K Bangs has taken Alice from Lewis Carroll's “Alice in Wonderland” and lets her on a boring day travel with the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, the Cheshire Cat and the other of Carroll's familiar characters to Blunderland. The story is a well written Satire, a witty, humorous tale of adventure and city politics, a tale of Alice in a land where nothing is as it should be.
Porter, Eleanor H.
Mr. Neilson was determined to name his first child after his boyhood chum, William Henshaw. When the baby disappointed him by being a girl, he was consoled by naming her Billy. Miss Billy, now 18, orphaned and all alone in the world, takes her lawyer’s suggestion to ask her namesake to take her in. Only one little problem – Mr. Henshaw did not know of her existence, and then mistakenly thinks that Billy is a boy!
Eleanor H. Porter was an early 20th century author of children’s literature and novels. Her most well known book was “Pollyanna” and it’s sequel, “Pollyanna Grows Up”.
'The Regent' is, if not a sequel to 'The Card', then a 'Further Adventures of' the eponymous hero of that novel.
Denry Machin is now forty-three and begins to feel that he is getting old, that making money and a happy home life are not enough and that he has lost his touch as the entrepreneur and entertainer of the 'Five Towns'.
In fact, as he says to himself 'What I want is change - and a lot of it too!'. A chance meeting at the local theatre leads to his going to London and then...
Arnim, Elizabeth von
The Princess Priscilla of Lothen Kunitz finds court life stifling and runs away to England with the elderly court librarian. Her intention is to live a pure and simple life filled with good works. But life among ordinary people in an English village is not what she expects it to be...
Bangs, John Kendrick
The Enchanted Typewriter is a collection of short stories by the American author John Kendrick Bangs, written in 1899 in the style that has become known as Bangsian fantasy. Bangs attributes many of the stories to the late (and invisible) James Boswell, who has become an editor for a newspaper in Hades, and who communicates with the author by means of an old typewriter. The fantasy stories in this book are part of the author's Hades series, named for the stories' setting.
Bangs, John Kendrick
The Idiot is anything but, yet his fellow boarders at Mrs. Smithers-Pedagog’s home for single gentlemen see him as such. His brand of creative thought is dismissed as foolishness yet it continues to get under their skin, because when you’re beneath contempt you can say what you please. – This is the first of John Kendrick Bang’s “Idiot” books and was published by Harper and Brothers in 1895.
Cobb, Irvin S.
Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb was born on June 23, 1876. At seventeen years of age, he began writing for the Paducah Daily News, his hometown paper. At nineteen he became the managing editor; up to that point, our nation's youngest. He worked as a columnist, a humorist and an author. But 'horror,' and 'short stories,' are not why he is remembered. He is remembered because he was, and still is, funny. And although he is now dead--he died March 11, 1944--this work "Cobb's Anatomy," among others, has left an indelible mark upon mankind: a smile.
Hale, Lucretia P.
The Peterkins were a lovable but comically inept family that possess ingenuity, logic, resourcefulness, and energy--but not common sense. The general formula is that the family tries to solve some problem in an appealingly roundabout way, fails, and is eventually rescued by "the wise old lady from Philadelphia" who always cuts the Gordian knot with some effective but prosaic solution. The charm of the story is not in the plot, but in the telling, with the building up of layers of complication, and the affectionate fun poked at the not-quite-cartoonish characters. The "wise old lady's" solution is usually obvious to the reader, or even the young listener, from the start.
Jerrold, Douglas William
Douglas William Jerrold (1803-1857) was the son of an actor manager. After some time in the Navy and as an apprentice printer he became a playwright and later a journalist. He was a contemporary and friend of Charles Dickens. As a journalist he worked for Punch magazine in which Mrs Caudle's Curtain Lectures were serialised, to be published in book form in 1846.
Job Caudle, the 'hero' of the book is a Victorian shopkeeper whose wife finds she can only talk to him without interruption in bed. Caudle, who outlives his wife, finds he can no longer sleep easily because of his memory of these 'lectures' and resolves to exorcise his wife's memory by recording the lectures, it seems with a view to future publication for the edification of others. Jerrold's humour shines through this insight into Victorian middle class culture.
Owen Wister's wry humor enlivens this comedic story of three sophomores during exam week at Harvard.
Holmes, Oliver Wendell
This is a small collection of whimsical poems by the American physician and author Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. "The Deacon's Masterpiece" describes the "logical" outcome of building an object (in this case, a two-wheeled carriage called a shay) that has no weak points. The economic term "one hoss shay," referring to a certain model of depreciation, derives its name from this poem. "How the Old Horse Won the Bet" is a lighthearted look at a horse race. Finally, "The Broomstick Train" is a wonderfully Halloween-y explanation of how an electric tram really works.
Davis, Richard Harding
"This is a true story of a search for buried treasure. The only part that is not true is the name of the man with whom I searched for the treasure. Unless I keep his name out of it he will not let me write the story, and, as it was his expedition and as my share of the treasure is only what I can make by writing the story, I must write as he dictates. I think the story should be told, because our experience was unique, and might be of benefit to others. And, besides, I need the money."
Thompson, Charles Miner
The consequences of letting your irritation get the better of you are humorously portrayed in this story of a self-important man who fires a shotgun at an annoying cat on his fence.. and hits a man skulking in the bushes. What did the cat do to enrage him? Why was the man in the bushes? And how can the whole matter be covered up and done away with before the neighbors start gossiping?
Davis, Richard Harding
Adventure was what our protagonist was looking for, when he boarded the steamer "Patience" for his holiday, and when one has a man with such a vivid imagination like Joseph Forbes Kinney as a travel companion, who seems to find adventures at every turn of the road (and if not, he manufactures them), the two travellers are sure to stumble into trouble...
From the cave man to Santa Claus; spies, know-it-alls, and journalists: all are fair game for Leacock’s special brand of humor. He touches on the changes time has brought about in the city, education, and work habits. Among the other topics in this work are nature, fishing, gardening, success, and spirits--both of the departed and of the variety Prohibition prohibited.
Each chapter of this book is a standalone story and if you love a good laugh, these stories are for you. In me, Leacock’s wit produced the full range of laughter: smiles, chuckles, guffaws, and some uncontrollable giggles. Also, occasionally, I found myself shedding a tear or two. (Review by Debra Lynn)
Set in Victorian times, the novel concerns business man Paul Bultitude and his son Dick. Dick is about to leave home for a boarding school which is ruled by the cane wielding headmaster Dr. Grimstone. Bultitude, seeing his son's fear of going to the school, foolishly says that schooldays are the best years of a boy's life, and how he wished that he was the one so doing.
At this point, thanks to a handy magic stone brought by an uncle from India which grants the possessor one wish, they are now on even terms. Dick, now holding the stone, is ordered by his father to turn him back into his own body, but Dick refuses, and decides instead to become his father, and so the fun begins. Mr. Bultitude has to begin the new academic term at his son's boarding school, while Dick gets a chance to run his father's business in the City. In the end, they are both restored to their own bodies, with a better understanding of each other.
Wells, H. G.
The Wheels of Chance - A Bicycling Idyll follows the adventures of a Drapers Assistant who, having brought an ancient bicycle, sets off on a 2 week tour of the countryside. And his world will never be the same again.
A Tale of Youth and Summer Time and the Baxter Family Especially William
McCutcheon, George Barr
The story revolves around Montgomery Brewster, a poor man who inherits a large sum of money. However, there is a catch — he has to spend every penny within 30 days, and end up with nothing at that time. Should he make the deadline, he stands to gain an even larger sum; should he fail, he remains penniless.
Brewster finds that spending so much money is more difficult than he first thinks, especially when the lawyers are trying to make him fail so that they can claim the money. What makes it worse is that he starts to be a little too successful with some ventures, actually making money from them.
Can Brewster empty his pockets in time for the deadline, or will he end the book as he started it, with nothing?
This book tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.