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By: Jane Austen (1775-1817)

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice is Jane Austen's classic comic romance, in which the five Bennett sisters try to find that most elusive creature: a single man in possession of a large fortune. Sparks fly when sweet, pretty Jane meets their new neighbor, Mr. Bingley, but her sister Elizabeth is most offended by his haughty friend, Mr. Darcy. This is Austen at the height of her powers: the ironic narration, hilariously drawn supporting characters, and romantic suspense make this her most enduringly popular novel.

Emma by Jane Austen Emma

Emma, by Jane Austen, is a novel about youthful hubris and the perils of misconstrued romance. As in her other novels, Austen explores the concerns and difficulties of genteel women living in Georgian-Regency England; she also creates a lively comedy of manners among her characters.Before she began the novel, Austen wrote, "I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like." In the very first sentence she introduces the title character as "Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich...

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen Sense and Sensibility

This is a story of the English moneyed class and its eternal struggle for creating “sense and sensibility” in its world. A potential marriage prospect must make “sense” by bringing with it enough assets and income to permit the couple to continue to live in happy, idle leisure, complete with servants and a prestigious address. Provided one can find such a match among the eligible persons of the opposite sex, one then hopes for “sensibility”, or capacity for emotion, so that if love is not immediately to hand, it might come around later...

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen Mansfield Park

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...

Persuasion by Jane Austen Persuasion

Persuasion is a regency Cinderella-esque tale of a young woman, the beautiful Anne Elliot, who is persuaded from marrying the Naval officer of her heart. It is now almost nine years since she rejected him. Bonaparte has abdicated and England's sailors return home covered in glory. Fredrick Wentworth is now a rich and highly eligible sea captain and the two are curiously thrown together. Will their forgotten affection blossom anew? Or has the captain found another?

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey follows Catherine Morland and family friends Mr. and Mrs. Allen as they visit Bath, England. Seventeen year-old Catherine spends her time visiting newly-made friends, such as Isabella Thorpe, and going to balls. Catherine finds herself pursued by Isabella’s brother John Thorpe (Catherine’s brother James’s friend from university), and by Henry Tilney. She also becomes friends with Eleanor Tilney, Henry’s younger sister. Henry captivates her with his view on novels and his knowledge of history and the world...

Love and Freindship by Jane Austen Love and Freindship

Love and Freindship [sic] is a juvenile story by Jane Austen, dated 1790, when Austen was 14 years old. Love and Freindship (the misspelling is one of many in the story) is clearly a parody of romantic novels Austen read as a child. This is clear even from the subtitle, “Deceived in Freindship and Betrayed in Love,” which neatly undercuts the title. Written in epistolary form, it resembles a fairy tale as much as anything else, featuring wild coincidences and turns of fortune, but Austen is determined to lampoon the conventions of romantic stories, right down to the utter failure of romantic fainting spells, which always turn out dreadfully for the female characters...

Lady Susan by Jane Austen Lady Susan

Jane Austen demonstrated her mastery of the epistolary novel genre in Lady Susan, which she wrote in 1795 but never published. Although the primary focus of this short novel is the selfish behavior of Lady Susan as she engages in affairs and searches for suitable husbands for herself and her young daughter, the actual action shares its importance with Austen’s manipulation of her characters’ behavior by means of their reactions to the letters that they receive. The heroine adds additional interest by altering the tone of her own letters based on the recipient of the letter...

The Watsons by Jane Austen The Watsons

This fragment of a novel was written by Jane Austen in 1804 and remained untitled and unpublished until her nephew James Edward Austen-Leigh printed it in his A Memoir of Jane Austen in 1871. The title is from him. Mr Watson is a widowed clergyman with two sons and four daughters. The youngest daughter, Emma, has been brought up by a wealthy aunt and is consequently better educated and more refined than her sisters. But when her aunt contracts a foolish second marriage, Emma is obliged to return to her father’s house. There she is chagrined by the crude and reckless husband-hunting of two of her twenty-something sisters.

By: Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy War and Peace

Book 01: 1805, War and Peace (Russian: Война и мир, Voyna i mir; in original orthography: Война и миръ, Voyna i mir”) is an epic novel by Leo Tolstoy, first published from 1865 to 1869 in Russki Vestnik, which tells the story of Russian society during the Napoleonic Era. It is usually described as one of Tolstoy’s two major masterpieces (the other being Anna Karenina) as well as one of the world’s greatest novels. War and Peace offered a new kind of fiction, with a great many characters caught up in a plot that covered nothing less than the grand subjects indicated by the title, combined with the equally large topics of youth, age and marriage...

Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy Resurrection

Book 1. Resurrection is the last of Tolstoy's major fiction works published in his lifetime. Tolstoy intended the novel as an exposition of injustice of man-made laws and the hypocrisy of institutionalized church. It was first published serially in the magazine Niva as an effort to raise funds for the resettlement of the Dukhobors. The story concerns a nobleman named Nekhlyudov, who seeks redemption for a sin committed years earlier. His brief affair with a maid resulted in her being fired and ending up in prostitution. The book treats his attempts to help her out of her current misery, but also focuses on his personal mental and moral struggle.

Boyhood by Leo Tolstoy Boyhood

Boyhood is the second in Tolstoy's trilogy of three autobiographical novels, including Childhood and Youth, published in a literary journal during the 1850s. (Introduction by Bill Boerst)

Master and Man by Leo Tolstoy Master and Man

A land owner, Vasili Andreevich, takes along one of his peasants, Nikita, for a short journey to another town. He wishes to get to the town quickly ‘for business’. They find themselves in the middle of a blizzard, but the master in his avarice wishes to press on. They eventually get lost off the road and they try to camp. The master’s peasant soon finds himself about to die from hypothermia. The master leaves him on the horse to stubbornly try to find the road. When he returns, he attains a spiritual/moral revelation, and Tolstoy once again repeats one of his famous themes: that the only true happiness in life is found by living for others. (Wikipedia)

The Death of Ivan Ilyitch by Leo Tolstoy The Death of Ivan Ilyitch

The Death of Ivan Ilyitch is the story of a socially ambitious middle-aged judge who contracts an unexplained and untreatable illness. As Ivan Ilyitch is forced to face the death he fears, he asks himself whether the life he thought was so correct was, in fact, a moral life after all. Written after Tolstoy's religious conversion, the novella is widely considered to be one of his masterpieces. (Summary by Laurie Anne Walden)

The Cossacks by Leo Tolstoy The Cossacks

The Cossacks (1863) is an unfinished novel which describes the Cossack life and people through a story of Dmitri Olenin, a Russian aristocrat in love with a Cossack girl. This text was acclaimed by Ivan Bunin as one of the finest in the language.

Ivan the Fool by Leo Tolstoy Ivan the Fool

Written after Tolstoy suffered a spiritual crisis, Ivan the Fool is a fairy tale that offers children instruction in how to live rightly, simply, and generously. The story emphasizes the destructive aspects of materialism and militarism while idealizing manual labor and the peasant life. (Introduction by Dorlene Kaplan)

Book cover Tolstoy on Shakespeare

This book contains a critical essay on Shakespeare by Leo Tolstoy. It is followed by another essay named "Shakespeare's attitude to the working classes" by Ernest Crosby and extracts of a letter by George Bernard Shaw. (Summary by enko)

Youth by Leo Tolstoy Youth

Youth is the third in Tolstoy's trilogy of three autobiographical novels, including Childhood and Boyhood, published in a literary journal during the 1850s. (Introduction by Bill Boerst)

Father Sergius by Leo Tolstoy Father Sergius

Prince Stepan Kasatsky experiences a disappointment with his fiancé and decides to become a monk! There is a story line, but beneath it, Father Sergius struggles to find peace and, if not happiness, then at least contentment. But he is always disillusioned and ultimately unsatisfied. Only in the end does he find his way by letting go of what he struggled to attain all his life, i.e. to be better than everyone else in whatever he did, and settle for the mundane. (Summary by JCarson)

By: Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

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 book is read dramatically, with different readers voicing the different characters.

Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll Through the Looking-Glass

The sequel to “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” finds Alice back in Wonderland and a pawn in a surreal chess game. This weird and wonderful book includes the poems “Jabberwocky” and “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” a talking pudding, and that immortal line “Jam yesterday, jam tomorrow, but never jam today.” Lewis Carroll was the nom de plume of Charles Dodgson (1832-1890) an Anglican clergyman, photographer, and mathematician.

The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll The Hunting of the Snark

The Hunting of the Snark is a long nonsense poem by Lewis Carroll describing the adventures of ten weirdly assorted characters as they pursue an elusive creature known as a snark. (Summary by Shawn Craig Smith)

A Tangled Tale by Lewis Carroll A Tangled Tale

Lewis Carroll (1832-1896) is famous for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It is less widely known that he worked as a lecturer for mathematics at Christ Church college, Oxford for 27 years. A tangled tale merges his two talents as storyteller and mathematician. It consists of ten short humorous stories which present one or more mathematical problems. The ten knots as they are called, were first published in The Monthly Packet magazine between April 1880 and March 1885, where readers were invited to solve the problems, and the solution was discussed in a later issue. (Summary by Availle)

Sylvie and Bruno by Lewis Carroll Sylvie and Bruno

The novel has two main plots; one set in the real world at the time the book was published (the Victorian era), the other in the fantasy world of Fairyland. While the latter plot is a fairytale with many nonsense elements and poems, similar to Carroll’s Alice books, the story set in Victorian Britain is a social novel, with its characters discussing various concepts and aspects of religion, society, philosophy and morality. This book is the first of two volumes and the two intertwining stories are brought to a close in the second volume, Sylvie and Bruno Concluded.

Alice's Adventures Underground by Lewis Carroll Alice's Adventures Underground

This is the handwritten book that Carroll wrote for private use before being urged to develop it later into Alice in Wonderland. It was generously illustrated by Carroll and meant to entertain his family and friends. When a sick child in a hospital enjoyed it so much, the mother wrote him saying it had distracted her for a bit from her pain and led eventually to Carroll expanding the story. The Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson and the Reverend Robinson Duckworth rowed in a boat, on 4 July 1862,[12]...

By: Mark Twain

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain creates an entertaining adventure of Middle America in the 1800’s – afloat on a raft on the Mississippi River. Huck escapes his civilized life when he arranges his own “murder” and turns back into the backwoods, downriver yokel he started as, and in the process springing a slave, Jim, from bondage. Huck and Jim experience life as a series of tableaus as the river sweeps them through small towns on their way South. At each...

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (published 1876) is a very well-known and popular story concerning American youth. Mark Twain’s lively tale of the scrapes and adventures of boyhood is set in St. Petersburg, Missouri, where Tom Sawyer and his friend Huckleberry Finn have the kinds of adventures many boys can imagine: racing bugs during class, impressing girls, especially Becky Thatcher, with fights and stunts in the schoolyard, getting lost in a cave, and playing pirates on the Mississippi River...

The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain The Prince and the Pauper

The Prince and the Pauper (1882) represents Mark Twain’s first attempt at historical fiction. The book, set in 1547, tells the story of two young boys who are identical in appearance: Tom Canty, a pauper who lives with his abusive father in Offal Court, London, and Prince Edward son of Henry VIII of England. Due to a series of circumstances, the boys accidentally replace each other, and much of the humor in the book originates in the two boys’ inability to function in the world that is so familiar to the other (although Tom soon displays considerable wisdom in his decisions)...

Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain Life on the Mississippi

Life on the Mississippi is a memoir by Mark Twain detailing his days as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River before the American Civil War. A good portion of the work also deals with his post-war visit to the “old haunts”. (Summary by Wikipedia and John Greenman)

1601: Conversation, as it was by the Social Fireside, in the Time of the Tudors by Mark Twain 1601: Conversation, as it was by the Social Fireside, in the Time of the Tudors

Also known simply as "1601", this is a humorously risque work by Mark Twain, first published anonymously in 1880, and finally acknowledged by the author in 1906. (Summary by John Greenman & Wikipedia)

Chapters from my Autobiography by Mark Twain Chapters from my Autobiography

Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) began writing his autobiography long before the 1906 publications of these Chapters from my Autobiography. He originally planned to have his memoirs published only after his death but realized, once he’d passed his 70th year, that a lot of the material might be OK to publish before his departure. These chapters were published in serial form in the North American Review during 1906-1907. While much of the material consists of stories about the people, places and incidents of his long life, there’re also several sections from his daughter, which he calls “Susy’s biography of me”.(Summary by John Greenman)

The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain The Innocents Abroad

When you dive into Mark Twain’s (Samuel Clemens’) The Innocents Abroad, you have to be ready to learn more about the unadorned, ungilded reality of 19th century “touring” than you might think you want to learn. This is a tough, literary journey. It was tough for Twain and his fellow “pilgrims”, both religious and otherwise. They set out, on a June day in 1867, to visit major tourist sites in Europe and the near east, including Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, “the Holy Land”, and Egypt...


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