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  1. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    9.7 hrs • 3/1/2011 • Unabridged

    Originally published in 1938, Graham Greene’s chilling exposé of violence and gang warfare is a masterpiece of psychological realism and often considered Graham Greene’s best novel. It is a fascinating study of evil, sin, and the “appalling strangeness of the mercy of God,” a classic of its kind. Set in Brighton, England, among the criminal rabble, the book depicts the tragic career of a seventeen-year-old boy named Pinkie whose primary ambition is to lead a gang to rival that of the wealthy and established Colleoni. Pinkie is devoid of compassion or human feeling, despising weakness of the spirit or of the flesh. Responsible for the razor slashes that killed Kite and also for the death of Hale, he is the embodiment of calculated evil. As a Catholic, however, he is convinced that his retribution does not lie in human hands. He is therefore not prepared for Ida Arnold, Hale’s avenging angel. Ida, whose allegiance is with life, the here and now, has her own ideas about the circumstances surrounding Hale’s death. For the sheer joy of it she takes up the challenge of bringing the infernal Pinkie to an earthly kind of justice. When finished, the listener is sure to ponder some lofty moral issues to which Greene, a Catholic writer, withholds easy judgments.

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    Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

    Brighton Rock

    9.7 hrs • 3/1/11 • Unabridged
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    6.7 hrs • 1/21/2009 • Unabridged

    If you’ve never read anything by Jerome K. Jerome, you’d be well advised to heed this warning by the Glasgow Herald: “It would be dangerous to [listen to] this book in any place––say a full railway compartment––where the reader was not at perfect liberty to laugh as loudly and as long as he chose.” The passage of time has not altered that verdict. Here is a perfect picture of those lazy summer days “messing about in boats.” After his final trip up the river Thames with his three companions––Harris, George, and Montmorency the dog––Jerome K. Jerome sat down to write his proposed book, The Story of the Thames. But before he could tackle the work in the serious manner intended, his humor took over and gave birth to a masterpiece of unquenchable comedy. This is a classic of English humor, justifiably loved around the world.

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    Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome

    Three Men in a Boat

    6.7 hrs • 1/21/09 • Unabridged
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    52.5 hrs • 5/2/2011 • Unabridged

    Atlas Shrugged is the “second most influential book for Americans today” after the Bible, according to a joint survey of five thousand people conducted by the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club in 1991. In a scrap heap within an abandoned factory, the greatest invention in history lies dormant and unused. By what fatal error of judgment has its value gone unrecognized, its brilliant inventor punished rather than rewarded for his efforts? This is the story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world—and did. In defense of those greatest of human qualities that have made civilization possible, he sets out to show what would happen to the world if all the heroes of innovation and industry went on strike. Is he a destroyer or a liberator? Why does he have to fight his battle not against his enemies but against those who need him most? Why does he fight his hardest battle against the woman he loves? The answers will be revealed once you discover the reason behind the baffling events that wreak havoc on the lives of the amazing men and women in this remarkable book. Tremendous in scope and breathtaking in its suspense, Atlas Shrugged is Ayn rand’s magnum opus, which launched an ideology and a movement. With the publication of this work in 1957, Rand gained an instant following and became a phenomenon. Atlas Shrugged emerged as a premier moral apologia for Capitalism, a defense that had an electrifying effect on millions of readers (and now listeners) who had never heard Capitalism defended in other than technical terms.

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    Atlas Shrugged

    52.5 hrs • 5/2/11 • Unabridged
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    6.7 hrs • 3/17/2009 • Unabridged

    “A ‘Bummel,’” I explained, “I should describe as a journey, long or short, without end.” However wonderful this may sound, it is often necessary to arrive back at the starting point. And, for the three fearless friends whose earlier adventures were told in Three Men in a Boat, this poses a troublesome problem. George, Harris, and J. decide to take a cycling trip through the Black Forest—to be accomplished on a tandem plus one. Whether it is Harris’ harrowing experience with a Hanoverian road-waterer or George’s valiant attempt to buy a cushion for his aunt, their experiences are hilarious––and they may even offer some important lessons to all who may be contemplating a cycling trip in the US.

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    Three Men on the Bummel by Jerome K. Jerome

    Three Men on the Bummel

    6.7 hrs • 3/17/09 • Unabridged
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    18.0 hrs • 11/3/2008 • Unabridged

    We the Living portrays the impact of the Russian Revolution on three people who demand the right to live their own lives. At its center is a girl whose passionate love is her fortress against the cruelty and oppression of a totalitarian state. Of this book, Ayn Rand said, “it is as near to an autobiography as I will ever write. The plot is invented, the background is not. I was born in Russia, I was educated under the Soviets; I have seen the conditions of existence that I describe. The specific events of Kira’s life were not mine; her ideas, her convictions, her values were and are." We the Living is not a story of politics, but of the men and women who have to struggle for existence behind the Red banners and slogans. It is a picture of what dictatorship-of any kind-does to human beings. What happens to the defiant ones? What happens to those who succumb? Who are the winners in this conflict? For those who found Ayn Rand’s blockbuster Atlas Shrugged a powerful voice raised in defense of the individual, this book continues the theme of an individual’s right to the pursuit of his or her own happiness.

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    We the Living by Ayn Rand

    We the Living

    Read by Mary Woods
    18.0 hrs • 11/3/08 • Unabridged
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    8.4 hrs • 12/20/2011 • Unabridged

    George Bowling, an insurance salesman, hits middle age and feels impelled to “come up for air” from his life of quiet desperation. With seventeen pounds he has won at a race, he steals a vacation from his wife and his family and pays a visit to Lower Binfield, the village where he grew up, to fish for carp in a pool he remembers from thirty years before. But the pool is gone, Lower Binfield has changed beyond recognition, and the principal event of Bowling's holiday is an accidental bombing by the RAF. Bowling’s everyman life is also a sort of cavalcade of England from 1893 to 1938. Written when the clouds of World War II were already gathering, this story of Bowling’s journey into his own and his country’s past is told with humor, warmth, and nostalgia which will surprise and delight George Orwell’s many readers.

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    Coming Up for Air by George Orwell

    Coming Up for Air

    8.4 hrs • 12/20/11 • Unabridged
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    10.3 hrs • 12/20/2011 • Unabridged

    Colonial politics in 1930 Kyauktada, India come to a head when the European Club, previously for whites only, is ordered to elect one token native member. The deeply racist members do their best to manipulate the situation, resulting in the loss not only of reputations, but of lives. Amidst this cynical setting, timber merchant James Flory stands as a bridge between the warring factions, a Brit with a genuine appreciation for the native people and culture. But he has trouble acting on his feelings, and the significance of his vote, both social and political, weighs on him. When Elizabeth Lackersteen arrives, blonde, eligible, and anti-intellectual, Flory finds himself the hapless suitor. Orwell alternates between grand-scale political intrigue and nuanced social interaction, mining his own Colonial Indian heritage to create a monument of historical fiction.

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    Burmese Days by George Orwell

    Burmese Days

    10.3 hrs • 12/20/11 • Unabridged
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    9.4 hrs • 12/20/2011 • Unabridged

    Gordon Comstock is a poor young man who works by day in a grubby London bookstore and spends his evenings shivering in a rented room, trying to write. Gordon has published a slim volume of verse and is determined to keep free of the “money world” of safe, lucrative jobs, marriage, and family responsibilities. This world, to Gordon, spells the end of art and aspidistra, the homely, indestructible house plant that stands in every middle-class British window. Gordon’s sweetheart, Rosemary, understands him: she is patient with his pride and lack of funds. But then, as it happens with all lovers, events overtake them. Orwell’s picture of the “money world,” as Gordon sees it, is in his best satirical vein.

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    Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell

    Keep the Aspidistra Flying

    9.4 hrs • 12/20/11 • Unabridged
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    6.5 hrs • 1/1/2007 • Unabridged

    Orwell’s own experiences inspire this semi-autobiographical novel about a penniless man living in Paris in the early 1930s. The narrator’s poverty brings him into contact with strange incidents and characters, which he manages to chronicle with great sensitivity and graphic power. The latter half of the book takes the English narrator to his home city, London, where the world of poverty is different in externals only. A socialist who believed that the lower classes were the wellspring of world reform, Orwell actually went to live among them in England and on the continent. His novel draws on his experiences of this world, from the bottom of the echelon in the kitchens of posh French restaurants to the free lodging houses, tramps, and street people of London. In the tales of both cities, we learn some sobering Orwellian truths about poverty and society.

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    Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell

    Down and Out in Paris and London

    6.5 hrs • 1/1/07 • Unabridged
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    6.0 hrs • 3/1/2005 • Unabridged

    The Wind in the Willows is a book for those “who keep the spirit of youth alive in them; of life, sunshine, running water, woodlands, dusty roads, winter firesides.” So wrote Kenneth Grahame of his timeless tale of Rat, Mole, Badger, and Toad, in their lyrical world of gurgling rivers and whispering reeds, a world which is both beautiful and benevolently ordered. But it is also a world threatened by dark forces—”the Terror of the Wild Wood” with its “wicked little faces” and “glances of malice and hatred”—and defended by the mysterious Piper at the Gates of Dawn. In the end, Grahame triumphantly succeeds in conveying his most precious theme: the miracle of loyalty and friendship. This tale of four friends and their adventures is a timeless classic that will inspire and delight listeners of all ages.

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    The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

    The Wind in the Willows

    6.0 hrs • 3/1/05 • Unabridged
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    7.2 hrs • 12/1/1998 • Unabridged

    E. M. Forster’s celebrated social comedy explores romantic intrigue and prim propriety among a colorful cast of Edwardian characters. Lucy Honeychurch, a young English woman traveling in Italy with her stuffy chaperone aunt, finds herself constrained by the claustrophobic influence of her British guardians and attracted to the free-spirited George Emerson, whose family’s radical politics make him entirely unsuitable. Sharing a spontaneous moment of passion with him in the Italian countryside, Lucy is soon at war with the snobbery of her class and her own conflicting desires. Back in England, she is courted by a more acceptable, if stifling, suitor and soon realizes she must make a final choice between convention and passion.

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    A Room with a View by E. M. Forster

    A Room with a View

    7.2 hrs • 12/1/98 • Unabridged
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    7.7 hrs • 10/20/2011 • Unabridged

    P.G. Wodehouse is at his whimsical best as the characters of Belpher Castle muddle through impending catastrophes and ill-considered love affairs in this comedy of errors. George Bevan, an American composer of musicals, is in England to attend the performance of one. But when the Lady Patricia Maud Marsh slips into his taxi, he is drawn into the frivolous intrigues of Belpher Castle. Maud has mistaken George for another American she once fell in love with. She is attempting to escape her aunt, Lady Carolyn Byrd, who is trying to marry Maud off to her step-son, Reginald. Meanwhile, her father, Lord John Marshmoreton, has fallen in love with an actress. As the Castle servants make bets on their Lords’ and Ladies’ capricious attachments, Wodehouse weaves a jaunty satire that will leave readers breathless with its twists and antics.

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    A Damsel in Distress by P. G. Wodehouse

    A Damsel in Distress

    7.7 hrs • 10/20/11 • Unabridged
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    11.5 hrs • 12/1/1994 • Unabridged

    The auto age is defunct. Buicks, Chryslers, and Pontiacs disfigure the landscape. Vines sprout in Manhattan. Wolves are seen in downtown Cleveland. And psychiatrist, mental hospital outpatient, and inventor Dr. Tom More has created a miraculous instrument: the ontological lapsometer, a kind of stethoscope of the human spirit. With it, he plans to cure mankind’s spiritual flu. But first he must survive Moira, Lola, and Ellen—and discover why so many living people are actually dead. Attempting to save the world from completely destroying itself, Tom ultimately begins to understand the quality and caprices of life and the uncontrollable vagaries of time and chance.

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    Love in the Ruins by Walker Percy

    Love in the Ruins

    11.5 hrs • 12/1/94 • Unabridged
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    8.7 hrs • 3/1/2005 • Unabridged

    A story filled with danger and excitement, Johnny Tremain tells of the turbulent, passionate times in Boston just before the Revolutionary War. Johnny, a young apprentice silversmith, is caught up with Otis, Hancock, and John and Samuel Adams in the exciting and dramatic operations and subterfuges leading up to the Boston Tea Party and the Battle of Lexington. As Johnny is forced into the role of a full-grown man in the face of his new country’s independence, he finds that his relations with those he loves change for the better as well. Winner of the Newbery Medal in 1943, the year of its publication, Johnny Tremain is historical fiction at its best, portraying Revolutionary Boston as a living drama, through the shrewd eyes of an observant boy.

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    Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

    Johnny Tremain

    8.7 hrs • 3/1/05 • Unabridged
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    5.5 hrs • 12/1/1998 • Unabridged

    Wharton’s most erotic and lyrical novel, Summer explores a daring theme for 1917: a woman’s awakening to her sexuality. Eighteen-year-old Charity Royall lives in the small town of North Dormer, ignorant of desire until the arrival of architect Lucius Harney. Independent yet kept from love until now by society's expectations, Charity finds herself wrapped up in a love affair with Harney. Like the succulent summer landscape in the Berkshires around them, Charity’s romance is lush and picturesque, but its consequences are harsh and real. Praised for its realism and candor by such writers as Joseph Conrad and Henry James and compared to Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Summer was one of Wharton’s personal favorites of all her novels and remains as fresh and relevant today as when it was first written.

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    Summer by Edith Wharton

    Summer

    5.5 hrs • 12/1/98 • Unabridged
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    4.8 hrs • 7/1/2005 • Unabridged

    First published in 1899, this revolutionary novel so disturbed critics and the public that it was banished for decades afterward. Now widely read and admired, The Awakening has been hailed as an early vision of woman’s emancipation. Rooted in the romantic tradition of Melville and Dickinson, it is the story of twenty-eight-year-old Edna Pontellier, a surprisingly modern woman trapped in a dehumanizing marriage and in search of self-discovery. Turning away from convention and society toward her primal instincts for passion and freedom, Edna abandons her family to realize herself as an individual. But her quest leads to her destruction by a society that grants no place for those unfulfilled by marriage and motherhood. Set in New Orleans and the Southern Louisiana coast, The Awakening is one of the most important novels written by an American woman in the nineteenth century and a landmark work of early feminism.

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    The Awakening by Kate Chopin

    The Awakening

    4.8 hrs • 7/1/05 • Unabridged
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