The book is noted for its colorful description of people and places along the Mississippi River, and its sober and often scathing look at entrenched attitudes, particularly racism. The drifting journey of Huck and his friend Jim, a runaway slave, down the Mississippi River on their raft may be one of the most enduring images of escape and freedom in all of American literature. The book has been popular with young readers since its publication, and taken as a sequel to the comparatively inno...
The Importance of Being Earnest is a classic comedy of manners in which two flippant young men, in order to impress their respected beloveds, pretend that their names are “Ernest,” which both young ladies believe confers magical qualities on the possessor. It was first performed for the public on February 14, 1895 at the St. James’ Theatre in London, and is regarded by many critics and scholars as being the wittiest play in the English language. (Summary from Wikipedia.org)
Jack Worthing and Algernon Moncrieff discover the perils of love, assumed identities, and telling the truth in Oscar Wilde's classic play. (Summary by Toby Paradis)
Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest is subtitled "A Trivial Comedy for Serious People," and has proved immensely popular since its first performance in 1895. The play certainly has its farcical and comic elements, such as the witty banter exchanged by the characters and the flippant attitude towards love and marriage that characterizes the action. However, the play also explores more serious themes through the central story of Jack Worthing's search for his identity...
Sherry reads Jane Austen’s sparkling comedy of manners with wit and vivacity, and brings the characters to life. Mr. Woodhouse worries and frets, Miss Bates chatters on, and Emma blithely manipulates and misunderstands her friends and family until she finally learns her lesson! (Summary by Kara)
Emma is a comic novel by Jane Austen, first published in 1816, about the perils of misconstrued romance. The main character, Emma Woodhouse, is described in the opening paragraph as "handsome, clever, and rich" but is also rather spoiled. Prior to starting the novel, Austen wrote, "I am going to take a heroine whom no-one but myself will much like." (Summary by Wikipedia)
Jerome, Jerome K.
Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), published in 1889, is a humorous account by Jerome K. Jerome of a boating holiday on the Thames between Kingston and Oxford.The book was intended initially to be a serious travel guide, with accounts of local history of places along the route, but the humorous elements eventually took over, to the point where the serious and somewhat sentimental passages now seem like an unnecessary distraction to the essentially comic novel...
Montgomery, Lucy Maud
Lucy Maud Montgomery’s classic children’s novel, Anne of Green Gables tells the story of a red headed orphan girl with a personality you can’t help but love. Despite her “tragical” past, Anne’s optimism and imagination have helped her to always see the best in things. Anne’s life changes considerably when she is accidentally adopted by the Cuthberts, a brother and sister who thought they were getting a boy to help out on the farm...
Wodehouse, P. G.
Bertram Wooster is an English gentleman living in New York, who seems to get himself into all sorts of jams. It’s up to his manservant Jeeves to come up with the plan to save the day from unpleasant houseguests, stingy uncles, broken hearts, and hard-partying aunts. (Summary by Mark Nelson)
Shaw, George Bernard
Pygmalion (1913) is a play by George Bernard Shaw based on the Greek myth of the same name. It tells the story of Henry Higgins, a professor of phonetics (based on phonetician Henry Sweet), who makes a bet with his friend Colonel Pickering that he can successfully pass off a Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, as a refined society lady by teaching her how to speak with an upper class accent and training her in etiquette...
A sportsman who doesn't hunt; a poet who doesn't write; a lover with no one to love; all three are devoted to their cheerful and benevolent leader, Mr. Pickwick. Join him and his friends, Winkle, Snodgrass, and Tupman, as they tour the country in search of adventures, knowledge, and stories. Along the way, they have their share of mishaps, and meet plenty of interesting characters, both the good and the not so good. (Mr...
Wodehouse, P. G.
Bertram Wooster's manservant, Jeeves, is renown for his ability to apply his keen intellect to solve all problems domestic, and Bertie's friends and relatives flock to him for his counsel. But Wooster, jealous of Jeeves's fame, decides to step in and take over as the fixer of his pal's engagement, his aunt's gambling debts and old school-mate's desire to propose marriage. How far will Bertie sink them all in the soup? Will Jeeves come to the rescue? "Right Ho, Jeeves" features of course Bertie a...
The American Minister and his family have bought the English stately home Canterville Chase, complete with the ghost of Sir Simon de Canterville - blood-stains, clanking chains and all. But these modern Americans will have no truck with ghostly goings-on, and set out to beat the spectre at his own game. (Summary by David Barnes)
The classic story of how Rat, Mole, and the other river-bankers saved Toad from his excesses. This book has it all: excitement, sentiment, destruction of private property (plenty of that), paganism, and a happy ending. The prose is beautiful and occasionally requires the use of a dictionary - I had to look up “asperities.” Written as a children’s story, The Wind in the Willows is enjoyed by many grown-ups who relish Grahame’s ability to evoke the long summer days of childhood...
An Ideal Husband is an 1895 comedy by Oscar Wilde which revolves around blackmail and political corruption, and touches on the themes of public and private honor. The action is set in London, in "the present", and takes place within a single day. "Sooner or later," Wilde notes, "we shall all have to pay for what we do." But he adds that, "No one should be entirely judged by their past." (Summary from Wikipedia)
A Tramp Abroad is a work of non-fiction travel literature by American author Mark Twain, published in 1880. The book details a journey by the author, with his friend Harris (a character created for the book, and based on his closest friend, Joseph Twichell), through central and southern Europe. While the stated goal of the journey is to walk most of the way, the men find themselves using other forms of transport as they traverse the continent...
Eve’s Diary is a humorous monologue about Eve’s experiences at the dawn of creation. She is fascinated by every aspect of the new world around her and… Adam! The following is an extract from Adam: “She is all interest, eagerness, vivacity, the world is to her a charm, a wonder, a mystery, a joy; she can’t speak for delight when she finds a new flower, she must pet it and caress it and smell it and talk to it…...
The action takes place in London, with excursions to Devon, Yorkshire, and Portsmouth, as we follow the adventures of the eponymous hero. Nicholas is forced to unwelcome employment to help secure support for his widowed mother and his sister from their mercenary relative Ralph, on whose mercy they have been thrown. After many adventures Nicholas finally triumphs over his Uncle, although his success is also tinged with sadness. (Summary by Chris Garbett)
The Proposal is a one act comic farce by Anton Chekhov. In Chekhov's Russia, marriage was a means of economic stability for most people. They married to gain wealth and possessions. In this play, the concept of marriage is being satirized to show the real purpose of marriage - materialistic gain rather than true love. (Summary with reference to Wikipedia)
An outbreak of plague in London forces a gentleman, Lovewit, to flee temporarily to the country, leaving his house under the sole charge of his butler, Jeremy. Jeremy uses the opportunity given to him to use the house as the headquarters for fraudulent acts. He transforms himself into 'Captain Face', and enlists the aid of Subtle, a fellow conman and Dol Common, a prostitute. In The Alchemist, Jonson unashamedly satirizes the follies, vanities and vices of mankind, most notably greed-induced cre...
Gilbert, W. S.
The Pirates of Penzance; or, The Slave of Duty is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. The story concerns Frederic, who, having completed his 21st year, is released from his apprenticeship to a band of tender-hearted pirates. He meets Mabel, the daughter of Major-General Stanley, and the two young people fall instantly in love. Frederic finds out, however, that he was born on 29 February, and so, technically, he only has a birthday each leap yea...
The $30,000 Bequest and Other Stories is a 1906 collection of 30 comic short stories by American humorist and writer Mark Twain. Published just 4 years before his death, this was the last time he chose works from throughout his career, in an effort to show the diversity of his style and the breadth and depth of his interests. (Introduction by John Greenman and Wikipedia )
This book tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.