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Books and Literature

Here you will find links to the great classics of literature.  Each book is available in many formats to help with your listening and reading comprehension of English.  While you should have a well developed reading level in English, the most important is motivation.  Choose a book that really interests you and you're more than halfway there!

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Librarian's Choice

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
by Lewis Carroll

2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of this timeless classic.  Check out the book here on EnglishCaddy or here for some "Alice" related activities.

 

 

 

Index

Alphabetical by Author

A

Flatland - Edwin Abbott Abbott 1838 - 1926

Flatland, published in 1884, Abbott used the fictional two-dimensional world of Flatland to offer pointed observations on the social hierarchy of Victorian culture. However, the novella's more enduring contribution is its examination of dimensions. 
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Little Women - Louisa May Alcott 1832 - 1888

Little Women or, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy was written and published in two parts in 1868 and 1869, the novel follows the lives of four sisters — Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy March — and is loosely based on the author's childhood experiences with her three sisters. The book is an unquestioned American classic. 
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Emma - Jane Austen 1775 - 1817

Emma is 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! (from Librivox) 
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Persuasion - Jane Austen 1775 - 1817

Persuasion is the final novel by the acclaimed writer and places heroine Anne Elliot, a woman of integrity and deep emotion, against the brutality and hypocrisy of Regency England.  
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Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen 1775 - 1817

Pride And Prejudice, the story of Mrs. Bennet's attempts to marry off her five daughters is one of the best-loved and most enduring classics in English literature. Excitement fizzes through the Bennet household at Longbourn in Hertfordshire when young, eligible Mr. Charles Bingley rents the fine house nearby. The romantic clash between the opinionated Elizabeth and Darcy is a splendid rendition of civilized sparring.   
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Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen 1775 - 1817

Northanger Abbey—published posthumously in 1818—tells the story of Catherine Morland and her dangerously sweet nature, innocence, and sometime self-delusion. Though Austen’s fallible heroine is repeatedly drawn into scrapes while vacationing at Bath and during her subsequent visit to Northanger Abbey, Catherine eventually triumphs, blossoming into a discerning woman who learns truths about love, life, and the heady power of literature. (from Librivox) 
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Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen 1775 - 1817

Sense and Sensibility follows the Dashwood sisters to their new home, where they experience both romance and heartbreak. 
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B

Present at a Hanging - Ambrose Bierce 1842 - 1913

Present at a Hanging and other Ghost Stories.  A collection of 19 short ghost stories.  The Ways of Ghosts - Present at a Hanging - A Cold Greeting - A Wireless Message - An Arrest - Soldier-Folk - A Man with Two Lives - Three and One are One - A Baffled Ambuscade - Two Military Executions - Some Haunted Houses - The Isle of Pines - A Fruitless Assignment - A Vine on a House - At Old Man Eckert's - The Spook House - The Other Lodgers - The Thing at Nolan - The Difficulty of Crossing a Field - An Unfinished Race - Charles Ashmore's Trail - Science to the Front 
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Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë  1816 - 1855

Jane Eyre, originally published under the pen name of Currer Bell, relates the childhood and young womanhood of Jane Eyre, an orphan. Having endured years of unhappiness and abuse at the hands of relatives and the headmaster of a charity school Jane finally arrives at the home of the brooding Mr Rochester as governess to a young girl in his care.  
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C

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll 1832 - 1898

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is as popular now as it was 150 years ago and is probably the most influential book of its kind ever published. When a young girl falls down a rabbit hole she finds herself in a strange land populated by extraordinary anthropomorphic characters who appear quite serious but talk and behave nonsensically.  
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D

A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens 1812- 1870

A Christmas Carol is an allegorical novella describing the rehabilitation of bitter, miserly businessman Ebenezer Scrooge. The reader is witness to his transformation as Scrooge is shown the error of his ways by the ghost of former partner Jacob Marley and the spirits of Christmas past, present and future.  

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David Copperfield - Charles Dickens 1812 - 1870

David Copperfield is the novel that draws most closely from Charles Dickens's own life. Its eponymous hero, orphaned as a boy, grows up to discover love and happiness, heartbreak and sorrow amid a cast of eccentrics, innocents, and villains. Praising Dickens's power of invention... 
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Great Expectations - Charles Dickens 1812 - 1870

Great Expectations.  Dickens's haunting late novel depicts Pip's education and development through adversity as he discovers the true nature of his 'great expectations'.  
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A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens 1812 - 1870

A Tale of Two Cities is Dickens' epic tale of London and Paris, of loyalty and honor, of sacrifice and greed, of love and violence and of the best of times and of the worst of times...  
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The Hound of the Baskervilles - Arthur Conan Doyle 1859 - 1930

 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.  
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E

The Waste Land - T.S. Eliot 1888 - 1965

When it was first published in 1922, The Waste Land generated enormous and bitter controversy and was even rumored to be a hoax. Over time, it has come to be recognized as the most important and influential poem written in English in the 20th century. 
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F

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - F. Scott Fitzgerald 1896 - 1940

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button a short story by Francis Scott Fitzgerald was originally published in Colliers magazine in 1922 and later included with some of his other short stories in Tales of the Jazz Age.  What would happen if we were to age backwards?  This is the case of Mr. Benjamin Button! 
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The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald 1896 - 1940

The Great Gatsby is a 1925 novel written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald that follows a cast of characters living in the fictional town of West Egg on prosperous Long Island in the summer of 1922. The story primarily concerns the young and mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and his quixotic passion for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan. -from Wikipedia
 
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G

The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame  1859 - 1932

The Wind in the Willows is a classic of children's literature by Kenneth Grahame, first published in 1908. Alternately slow moving and fast paced, it focuses on four anthropomorphised animal characters in a pastoral version of England. The novel is notable for its mixture of mysticism, adventure, morality, and camaraderie. 
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Cinderella - Brothers Grimm ?

Thousands of variants are known throughout the world. The title character is a young woman living in unfortunate circumstances that are suddenly changed to remarkable fortune.  (From Wikipedia)
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H

The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne 1804 - 1864

The Scarlet Letter is a tale of an adulterous entanglement -  set in the harsh Puritan community of a seventeenth century New England village - that results in an illegitimate birth. Publicly disgraced and ostracized, Hester Prynne draws on her inner strength and certainty of spirit to emerge as the first true heroine of American fiction.  
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Siddhartha - Herman Hesse 1877 - 1962

Siddartha translated from German. In the shade of a banyan tree, a grizzled ferryman sits listening to the river. Some say he's a sage. He was once a wandering shramana &, briefly, like thousands of others, he followed Gotama the Buddha, enraptured by his sermons. But this man, Siddhartha, was not a follower of any but his own soul. (From Goodreads) 
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I - J - K

The Turn of the Screw - Henry James 1843-1916

The Turn of the Screw - An intense psychological story of terror beginning in an old house on Christmas eve.  A young governess comes to take care of two young children.  She has the perfect job - until she begins to see ghosts 
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Three Men in a Boat - Jerome K. Jerome 1859 - 1927

Three Men in a Boat was an instant success when it appeared in 1889, and, with its benign escapism, authorial discursions and wonderful evocation of the late-Victorian 'clerking classes', it hilariously captured the spirit of its age.  
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Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka 1883 - 1924

The Metamorphosis (German: Die Verwandlung) is a novella by Franz Kafka, first published in 1915. The story begins with a traveling salesman, Gregor Samsa, waking to find himself transformed into a "monstrous vermin". (From Feedbooks)
 
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The Jungle Book - Rudyard Kipling 1865 - 1936

Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book is about the adventures of Mowgli, a man-child raised by wolves in the jungle, have captured the imaginations not just of children, but of all readers, for generations.
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L

Call of the Wild - Jack London 1876 - 1916

The Call of the Wild is a famous popular tale of an heroic part-St. Barnard dog taken from sunny California and thrown into Klondike life as a sled-dog to become the strongest leader.

Did you read the book?  Test yourself with a quiz.

 
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M

Moby Dick - Herman Melville 1819 - 1891

Moby-Dick is an 1851 novel by Herman Melville. The story tells the adventures of the wandering sailor Ishmael and his voyage on the whaling ship Pequod, commanded by Captain Ahab. Ishmael soon learns that Ahab seeks one specific whale, Moby-Dick, a white whale of tremendous size and ferocity. Comparatively few whaling ships know of Moby-Dick, and fewer yet have encountered him. In a previous encounter, the whale destroyed Ahab's boat and bit off his leg. Ahab intends to exact revenge. (From Feedbooks) 
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N

O

P - Q

Edgar Allan Poe - The Raven 1809 - 1849

"The Raven" is a narrative poem by the American writer and poet Edgar Allan Poe. It was published for the first time on January 29, 1845, in the New York Evening Mirror. Noted for its musicality, stylized language and supernatural atmosphere, it tells of the mysterious visit of a talking raven to a distraught lover, tracing his slow descent into madness.  
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R

S

Hamlet - William Shakespeare 1564 - 1616

Hamlet is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1599 and 1601. The play, set in Denmark, recounts how Prince Hamlet exacts revenge on his uncle Claudius, who has murdered Hamlet's father, the King, and then taken the throne and married Hamlet's mother. The play vividly charts the course of real and feigned madness—from overwhelming grief to seething rage—and explores themes of treachery, revenge, incest, and moral corruption. (From Feedbooks) 
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Pygmalion - George Bernard Shaw - 1856 - 1950

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. In the process, Higgins and Doolittle grow close, but she ultimately rejects his domineering ways and declares she will marry Freddy Eynsford-Hill – a young, poor, gentleman. 
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Frankenstein - Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley  1797 - 1851

Frankenstein Mary Shelley's timeless gothic novel presents the epic battle between man and monster at its greatest literary pitch. In trying to create life, the young student Victor Frankenstein unleashes forces beyond his control, setting into motion a long and tragic chain of events that brings Victor to the very brink of madness. How he tries to destroy his creation, as it destroys everything Victor loves, is a powerful story of love, friendship, scientific hubris, and horror.
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The School for Scandal - Richard Brinsley Sheridan 1751 - 1816

The School for Scandal debuted at Drury Lane Theater in London in 1777. The play is still popular and regularly performed today. It is a comedy of manners about "the deceptive nature of appearances, the fickleness of reputation, [and] the often disreputable guises behind which goodness and honesty can conceal itself."  
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The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson 1850 - 1894

Stevenson’s famous gothic novella, first published in 1886, and filmed countless times is better known simply as Jekyll and Hyde. The first novel to toy with the idea of a split personality, it features the respectable Dr. Jekyll transforming himself into the evil Mr Hyde in a failed attempt to learn more about the duality of man.

 
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Kidnapped - Robert Louis Stevenson 1850 - 1894

Kidnapped is the beloved, high-adventure story of David Balfour, whose uncle cheats him out of his inheritance and has him kidnapped and sold into slavery. An odyssey ensues, including a shipwreck, narrow escapes, and desperate fighting.  
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Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson 1850 - 1894

Treasure Island is THE classic boy’s adventure story first published in 1883. With its tale of pirates and buried treasure and featuring one of the most enduring villains of all time in Long John Silver, this coming-of-age novel is as popular now as ever.
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Dracula - Bram Stoker 1847 - 1912

Dracula is an 1897 novel by Irish author Bram Stoker, featuring as its primary antagonist the vampire Count Dracula.
Dracula has been attributed to many literary genres including vampire literature, horror fiction, the gothic novel and invasion literature.
 
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Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe 1811 - 1896

Uncle Tom's Cabin is the book that helped move a nation to civil war. This 1852 novel provides a powerful, historical look at the treatment of slaves in the ante-bellum South. 
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Gulliver's Travels - Jonathon Swift 1667 - 1745

Gulliver's Travels is a novel by Jonathan Swift that is both a satire on human nature and a parody of the "travellers' tales" literary sub-genre. It is Swift's best known full-length work, and a classic of English literature.  
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T

Walden - Henry David Thoreau 1817 - 1862

Walden is neither a novel nor a true autobiography, but a social critique of the Western World, with each chapter heralding some aspect of humanity that needed to be either renounced or praised. The work is part personal declaration of independence, social experiment, voyage of spiritual discovery, and manual for self reliance. (from Wikipedia) 
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Family Happiness - Leo Tolstoy 1828 - 1910

Family Happiness is a novella by Leo Tolstoy first published in 1859.  The story of a young girl who marries a much older man and learns that married life is much more complicated in reality than the visions of a young girl.  
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The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County - Mark Twain

 Mark Twain's "The Jumping Frog : In English, then in French, then clawed back into the civilized language once more by patient unremunerated toil" (1865), also known as "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County", "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" and "Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog."  
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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain 1835 - 1910

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (often shortened to Huck Finn) is a novel written by American humorist Mark Twain. It is commonly used and accounted as one of the first Great American Novels. It is also one of the first major American novels written using Local Color Regionalism, or vernacular, told in the first person by the eponymous Huckleberry "Huck" Finn, best friend of Tom Sawyer and hero of three other Mark Twain books.(From Feedbooks) 
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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain 1835 - 1910

 

Although my book is intended mainly for the entertainment of boys and girls, I hope it will not be shunned by men and women on that account, for part of my plan has been to try to pleasantly remind adults of what they once were themselves, and of how they felt and thought and talked, and what queer enterprises they sometimes engaged in.

THE AUTHOR.

HARTFORD, 1876.

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Extract from Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven - Mark Twain

Well, when I had been dead about thirty years I begun to get a little anxious. Mind you, had been whizzing through space all that time, like a comet. LIKE a comet! Why, Peters, I laid over the lot of them! Of course there warn't any of them going my way, as a steady thing, you know, because they travel in a long circle like the loop of a lasso, whereas I was pointed as straight as a dart for the Hereafter; but I happened on one every now and then that was going my way for an hour or so, and then we had a bit of a brush together.  
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U - V - W

The Invisible Man - H.G. Wells 1866 - 1946

The Invisible Man is an 1897 science fiction novella by H.G. Wells. Wells' novel was originally serialised in Pearson's Magazine in 1897, and published as a novel the same year. The Invisible Man of the title is Griffin, a scientist who theorises that if a person's refractive index is changed to exactly that of air and his body does not absorb or reflect light, then he will be invisible. He successfully carries out this procedure on himself, but cannot become visible again, becoming mentally unstable as a result. 
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The War of the Worlds - H.G. Wells 1866 - 1946

The War of the Worlds (1898), by H. G. Wells, is an early science fiction novel which describes an invasion of England by aliens from Mars. It is one of the earliest and best-known depictions of an alien invasion of Earth, and has influenced many others, as well as spawning several films, radio dramas, comic book adaptations, and a television series based on the story. The 1938 radio broadcast caused public outcry against the episode, as many listeners believed that an actual Martian invasion was in progress, a notable example of mass hysteria. (From Feedbooks) 
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The Ballad of Reading Gaol - Oscar Wilde 1854 - 1900

The Ballad of Reading Gaol is a poem by Oscar Wilde, written in exile either in Berneval or Dieppe, France, after his release from Reading Gaol on or about 19 May 1897. Wilde had been incarcerated in Reading, after being convicted of homosexual offences in 1895 and sentenced to two years' hard labour in prison. (From Wikipedia)
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The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde 1854 - 1900

The Picture of Dorian Gray A beautiful young man, Dorian Gray, sits for a portrait. In the garden of the artist's house he falls into conversation with Lord Wotton, who convinces him that only beauty is worth pursuing. Gray wishes that his portrait, and not himself, might age and show the effects of time. His wish comes true, and wild, hedonistic pursuits horribly disfigure the portrait. This Faustian story caused much controversy when it was first published, as it discusses decadent art and culture, and homosexuality. It is now considered one of the great pieces of modern Western literature.(From Open Library) 

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Mrs Dalloway - Virginia Woolf 1882 - 1941

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 Mrs Dalloway is a novel by Virginia Woolf that details a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a fictional high-society woman in post-World War I England. It is one of Woolf's best-known novels. 
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