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Plastic Age, The

By: Percy Marks

The Plastic Age (1924) is a novel by Percy Marks, which tells the story of co-eds at a fictional college called Sanford. With contents that covered or implied hazing, partying, and petting, the book sold well enough to be the second best-selling novel of 1924. The following year, it was adapted into a film of the same name, starring Clara Bow....

Fiction

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Glengarry School Days

By: Ralph Connor

With international book sales in the millions, Ralph Connor was the best-known Canadian novelist of the first two decades of the Twentieth Century. Glengarry School Days (1902), hugely popular in its time, is based on his memories of growing up in rural Ontario around the time of Canadian confederation. Although Connor saw himself as writing moral fiction for adults, generations of younger readers have also enjoyed these affectionate and gently amusing sketches, and excerpts from Glengarry School Days have appeared in school anthologies. (Summary by Bruce Pirie)...

Fiction

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Birthplace, The

By: Henry James

Neither the name of Shakespeare nor that of Stratford appears directly in this short piece by James, and yet both are absolutely central to his plot. The story has to do with Mr. and Mrs. Gedge, tempted away from a dreary northern town library, which he runs, to become the wardens – caretakers and tour guides – of the house where the greatest writer of the English language was born, and in which he grew up. Or did he? There is, after all, a paucity of facts about His life (in James's text, that pronoun is always capitalized, as befits a deity) and only the slenderest of historical evidence about the existence of such a man. No matter; what is important is the myth of his life, and the myth needs to be cared for and fostered so that crowds upon crowds of tourists may come, and, with a proper reverence, worship at His Birthplace. And yet it is only myth, and the more he thinks of it, the unhappier poor honest Gedge becomes (to Mrs. Gedge, however, a job is a job, and too much speculation on reality might perhaps lead to dismissal). James himself was high skeptical about the Shakespeare question (who actually did write all those plays?...

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High Valley, In the

By: Susan Coolidge

In the High Valley is the fifth and last book of the popular What Katy did series by Susan Coolidge. The story starts out with Lionel Young and his sister, Imogen who set out for the picturesque but remote High Valley (America), leaving their hometown Devonshire (England) behind. Lionel wants to take the share in Geoffrey Templestowe's cattle business. Imogen, owing to her prejudices against America and the American way of life, finds it hard to adjust to life over there. Clover Templestowe, now happily married and living in the High Valley, at first finds it very trying to get on with Imogen. A lot of events ensure in the course of which we meet again with Rose Red, get news from Cousin Helen and of course meet Katy again... until it all finally ends in a lovely double wedding! (Summary by Elli)...

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Parnassus on Wheels

By: Christopher Morley

Parnassus on Wheels is about a fictional traveling book-selling business. The original owner of the business, Roger Mifflin, sells it to 39-year-old Helen McGill, who is tired of taking care of her ailing older brother, Andrew. (summary from wikipedia)...

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Two On A Tower

By: Thomas Hardy

The plot concerns two – literally starcrossed – lovers: Swithin St. Cleeve, a very young amateur astronomer, and Viviette Constantine, an unhappily married and abandoned woman 8 or 9 years his senior. Each night Swithin climbs the old tower of the title, in the grounds of the Constantine estate. Lady Constantine, whose husband has been absent some years on an extended hunting and exploring journey to Africa, joins the young man in his stargazing, and supports his astronomical ambitions by buying him equipment, though his dreams of scientific renown are disappointed.Their relationship then deepens and takes several twists and turns.(Summary by Tadhg)...

Fiction

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Man Who Lost Himself, The

By: H. De Vere Stacpoole

Best known for his literary work The Blue Lagoon , which has been made into film several times over, H. De Vere Stacpoole’s first publication was a book titled The Intended in 1894. Stacpoole was disappointed at its lack of commercial success, and felt the story was too good to let go. He eventually re-worked the book, culminating in The Man Who Lost Himself , a light-hearted story of a luckless American visiting London on yet another of his failed business ventures, when he happens upon a gentleman of status and wealth, who also just happens to be his exact look-alike. (Summary by Roger Melin)...

Fiction

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Pathway of the Pioneer, The

By: Dolf Wyllarde

The story of seven girls who have banded themselves together for mutual help and cheer under the name of Nous Autres. They represent, collectively, the professions open to women of no deliberate training, though well educated. They are introduced to the reader at one of their weekly gatherings and then the author proceeds to depict the home and business life of each one individually. (From the 1909 back-of-book advertisement)...

Fiction

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Emma McChesney and Company

By: Edna Ferber

This is the final volume in the trilogy following the smart, stylish, divorced and independent businesswoman Emma McChesney in her career from stenographer, then drummer (traveling salesman) to owner of her own company. (The first was Roast Beef, Medium and the second Personality Plus both in the catalog). Edna Ferber first gained success with these stories and later went on to write Show Boat, Giant and other well known books. First published in 1915, Emma's son, Jock, has moved to Chicago with his new wife. Emma decides to sell in South America and proves she has not lost her magic touch. Emma gets involved in romance, saving a business and many other things. Emma symbolizes the ideal woman at the dawn of the twentieth century: sharp, capable, charming, and progressive. ( Summary by Phil Chenevert)...

Fiction

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Dombey and Son (version 2)

By: Charles Dickens

Dombey and Son is a novel by the Victorian author Charles Dickens. The story concerns Paul Dombey, the wealthy owner of the shipping company of the book's title, whose dream is to have a son to continue his business. The book begins when his son is born, and Dombey's wife dies shortly after giving birth. As with most of Dickens' work, a number of socially significant themes are to be found in this book. In particular the book deals with the then-prevalent common practice of arranged marriages for financial gain. Other themes to be detected within this work include child cruelty (particularly in Dombey's treatment of Florence), familial relationships, and as ever in Dickens, betrayal and deceit and the consequences thereof. (Wikipedia)...

Fiction

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Harbor, The

By: Ernest Poole

The Harbor was written in 1915 by Ernest Poole. The novel is considered by many to be one of Poole’s best efforts even though his book, The Family won a Pulitzer Prize. The Harbor is a fictional account of life on a Brooklyn waterfront through the eyes of Billy as he is growing up. The novel starts with Billy the child, living on the harbor with his father, mother, and sister, Sue. During this time he also meets Eleanor who, at that time, he considers to be strange. She later becomes an important character in the novel. His father owns a shipping business, is hard-working, and can think of little else. As a young man, Billy begins to detest the harbor and longs for escape to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a writer and avoiding his father’s business. With his mother’s blessing, he takes flight to Paris to hone his trade. While in Paris, he meets Joe Kramer (J.K.) and a sometimes stormy relationship begins. J.K. forces him to confront human situations that Billy would prefer to close his eyes to. Billy eventually returns to the harbor after some years and recognizes changes are taking place in the harbor, and in his life. The h...

Fiction

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Rise of Silas Lapham, The

By: William Dean Howells

The Rise of Silas Lapham is the most widely read of W.D. Howells’ novels. An example of literary realism, the story is about a farmer (Silas Lapham) who launches a very successful paint business, and moves his family up the social ladder of Boston. Lapham, however, is not one of the new types of American businessman, the ruthless plutocrat, rather he is the old-fashioned trustworthy Yankee trader, and the story deals with how he fares in the industrial capitalist environment. It is also a novel of manners, telling the story of the courtship of a daughter, and the difficulties the family deals with in attempting to move from one social class to another. (Summary by Margaret Espaillat)...

Fiction

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Dombey and Son

By: Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens the author of Dombey and Son, originally wrote the book in installments which were published from October 1846 to April 1848 under the title Dealings with the Firm of Dombey and Son: Wholesale, Retail and for Exportation. The story centers around Paul Dombey, the stern owner of the Firm. He is totally immersed in having his newly born son continue the business, and entirely neglects his daughter Florence. Tragedy occurs, and Florence’s plight worsens. As the years go by, Mr. Dombey sees to it that the man she loves, his employee, is sent far away. Mr Dombey remarries, but his marriage is eventually destroyed, his fortune gone, he becomes destitute. Finally he accepts help from his daughter, and life changes for him. Many wonderful characters interweave the tale, as in all Dickens literary masterpieces. (Summary by Mil Nicholson)...

Fiction

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Protector, The

By: Harold Bindloss

Harold Bindloss, while born in England, based most of his novels in western Canada, and The Protector is based primarily in and around Vancouver and Victoria. There is often danger involved in the mining and timber industries north of Vancouver, and there is also danger in the trust given to people who own and operate these mines and timber lands. And finding one's way in locating them can be equally as difficult as well. Wallace Vane and his trusted friend Carroll seemed to encounter these dangers in a seemingly endless journey both for business purposes and for adventure in their search for adequate timber land which they had inadvertently heard of. What is the driving force behind Wallace Vane? Did he regret leaving his home country and the people he knew when he left England, therefore had something to prove, but didn't even realize it himself? Was it simply a secret joy that he received whenever he observed the beauty of his adopted country with its mountains, forests, and crystal clear water? Perhaps it was his reasonable success in the lumber industry? Or was it something deeper within him? Something, perhaps, that he didn't ...

Fiction

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Red Thumb Mark, The

By: R. Austin Freeman

Missing diamonds, untouched safe, two blood smeared thumb prints and a mysterious Mr X. If these are present, Dr Thorndyke must be there too. Will he be able to solve this case? The Red Thumb Mark is the first novel of Freeman’s best-selling Thorndyke series. (Summary by Diana Majlinger)...

Mystery

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Burning Daylight

By: Jack London

Burning Daylight, Jack London's fictional novel published in 1910, was one of the best selling books of that year and it was his best selling book in his lifetime. The novel takes place in the Yukon Territory in 1893. The main character, nicknamed Burning Daylight was the most successful entrepreneur of the Alaskan Gold Rush. The story of the main character was partially based upon the life of Oakland entrepreneur Borax Smith. (Wikipedia)...

Adventure, Fiction

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Trilby

By: George du Maurier

Trilby, published in 1894, fits into the gothic horror genre which was undergoing a revival during the Fin de siècle and is one of the most popular novels of its time, perhaps the second best selling novel of the Fin de siècle period after Bram Stoker's Dracula. The story of the poor artist's model Trilby O'Ferrall, transformed into a diva under the spell of the evil musical genius Svengali, created a sensation. Soap, songs, dances, toothpaste, and Trilby, Florida were all named for the heroine, and a variety of soft felt hat with an indented crown (worn in the London stage production of a dramatization of the novel) came to be called a trilby.

Fiction, Horror/Ghost stories

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Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The-(version 3)

By: Robert Louis Stevenson

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is the original title of a novel written by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson that was first published in 1886. It is about a London lawyer named Gabriel John Utterson who investigates strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr Henry Jekyll and the misanthropic Edward Hyde. The novella's impact is such that it has become a part of the language, with the phrase Jekyll and Hyde coming to mean a person who is vastly different in moral character from one situation to the next. Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was an immediate success and is one of Stevenson's best-selling works. Stage adaptations began in Boston and London within a year of its publication and it has gone on to inspire scores of major film and stage performances. ( Summary by Wikipedia )...

Fiction, Horror/Ghost stories, Literature, Mystery, Short stories

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American Politician, An

By: Francis Marion Crawford

In 1880’s Boston, Mass. the good life is lead according to all the Victorian era societal rules of the New World. Political ambitions and the business of making money go hand in hand. A Senate seat suddenly opens up due to the current junior senator’s unexpected death, and the political machinations to fill the seat begin. Senatorial candidate John Harrington is a young idealist who thinks that fighting for truth and justice, regardless of political affiliation, is the way. But he is told he can’t possibly win because he isn’t partisan enough. His opponents in the iron mine, railroad and shipping business sabotage his first bid for office, because he wants to do away with protectionism in trade to open up global competition. He eventually succeeds in winning a Senate seat. He gives a rousing speech to Congress as they gather to elect a President in a race which has ended in a three way tie. His message is that blindly following a party’s positions and principles is not being free and independent, and will not always lead to the best person being elected, or to the best decisions being made for the country as a whole. (Summary writte...

Fiction

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Our Mr. Wrenn, the Romantic Adventures of a Gentle Man

By: Sinclair Lewis

At thirty-four Mr. Wrenn was the sales-entry clerk of the Souvenir Company. He was always bending over bills and columns of figures at a desk behind the stock-room. He was a meek little bachelor--a person of inconspicuous blue ready-made suits, and a small unsuccessful mustache. Mr. Wrenn, however has a rich inner life embellished by his own imagination. When he comes into a modest inheritance, he feels he ought to learn to get out and wander a bit, and then his education begins. He finds life more interesting, perhaps than he had imagined. . . (Introduction by Don Jenkins)...

Fiction, Comedy

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