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  • Frankenstein | Mary Shelley

    Frankenstein

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Mary Shelley
    • Narrated By Derek Jacobi
    Overall
    (64)
    Performance
    (60)
    Story
    (59)

    The tale of Dr. Frankenstein and the horrendous monster he unleashes on the world when he tinkers with the laws of nature had almost as strange a birth as the monster itself. It was the product of one of the most famous ghost story telling sessions in history. Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley and several others were stranded on the shores of Lake Geneva during a particularly sodden summer.

    Bounce says: "Jacobi relishes the language - Superbly read."
  • Wuthering Heights | Emily Bronte

    Wuthering Heights

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Emily Bronte
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (72)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (70)

    The wild and passionate tale of Cathy and Heathcliff's impossible love for each other and its phenomenal setting on the blasted Yorkshire moors has to be one of the best-known love affairs in literature.

    sharie says: "Beautifully read"
  • Treasure Island | Robert Louis Stevenson

    Treasure Island

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Robert Louis Stevenson
    • Narrated By Timothy West
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (58)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (55)

    First conceived during a rainy summer holiday in the Highlands of Scotland in an attempt to amuse his stepson, Treasure Island began with the map. Young Lloyd Osbourne had drawn a crude version of an island, and Stevenson, looking over the boy's shoulder, began to elaborate, christening various curves and smudges the famed names of Skeleton Island and Spyglass Hill and finally adding the three red crosses marking the buried treasure.

    RobS says: "Great Characterisation"
  • Persuasion | Jane Austen

    Persuasion

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Jane Austen
    • Narrated By Olivia Williams
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    Persuasion tells the story of one of the most popular of literary heroines, the glorious Anne Eliot. Persuaded out of marrying the man she loves due to his not being a good enough match, Anne calmly and wittily takes us through her journey from her life as the middle daughter of a spendthrift and vain baronet through a sojourn in the marriage market that the City of Bath became in the 19th century to a final and merry resolution of the long search for the ideal match.

  • A Tale of Two Cities | Charles Dickens

    A Tale of Two Cities

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Andrew Sachs
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (23)
    Story
    (23)

    "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done...." With these words and a superb act of bravery and sacrifice, one of the most badly behaved heroes of all time ends Charles Dickens' great tale of the French Revolution. This is a firework display of a book, a crackling picture of the ravages and excesses of starving, furious men and the astonishing acts of heroism that usually accompany them.

    S. Tyrrel says: "A superb reading of a classic story "
  • Lady Chatterley's Lover | D H Lawrence

    Lady Chatterley's Lover

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By D H Lawrence
    • Narrated By Samantha Bond
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (15)

    The story of Lady Chatterley and her love for her husband's gamekeeper outraged the sensibilities of Edwardian England. Lawrence had already been dismissed as a purveyor of the obscene for the attitudes to sex that he had shown in The Rainbow, which had been fiercely suppressed on its publication in 1915. Chatterley, written in several versions around 1928 in Italy in the final part of Lawrence's life, was a deliberate choice on the author's part to address sex head on.

    mj says: "I wish I had read this sooner"
  • The Mill on the Floss | George Eliot

    The Mill on the Floss

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By George Eliot
    • Narrated By Fiona Shaw
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (14)

    The Mill on the Floss is one of the great works of English literature. It is perhaps the most autobiographical of all Eliot's novels. The relationship between its heroine, Maggie Tulliver, and her brother, Tom, closely resembles that of George Eliot and her own brother, Isaac. The subject of sibling affection was clearly a deeply poignant one for George Eliot - she also wrote a series of beautiful and evocative sonnets entitled 'Brother and Sister'.

  • The Diary of a Nobody | George Grossmith

    The Diary of a Nobody

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By George Grossmith
    • Narrated By Geoffrey Palmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    Written as the diary of someone who would not normally merit a memoir but considers that he should have one written about him anyway, The Diary of a Nobody chronicles in agonizing but very funny detail everyday life in the lower middle class suburbs of Victorian England and the attempts of a social climber to better himself. It was published in 1892. First published in the satirical magazine Punch as a serial between 1888 and 1889, with illustrations by the author’s brother, Weedon.

    nick says: "Everyone should read or hear this!"
  • Heart of Darkness | Joseph Conrad

    Heart of Darkness

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Joseph Conrad
    • Narrated By Toby Stephens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness is an exploration of the nature of evil and how far a man can go towards it when released from the constraints of what can be called civilisation. Before beginning his life as a writer at the age of 36, Conrad spent 16 years as a merchant seaman. In 1889 he became captain of a steamboat in the Congo Free State, and the atrocities he witnessed there, perpetrated by the representatives of the Belgian colonial powers, led him to write what he called his Congo Diary.

  • Perfect Brilliant Stillness | David Carse

    Perfect Brilliant Stillness

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 1 min)
    • By David Carse
    • Narrated By Terence Stamp
    Overall
    (10)
    Performance
    (9)
    Story
    (9)

    The legendary British actor Terence Stamp reads the book that he says 'changed his life'. This is an exploration of our existence and a journey towards enlightenment. In what the author calls 'the fine print' at the start of the book, David Carse wrote: 'There are many books out there that will help you to live a better life, become a better person, and evolve and grow to realise your potential as a spiritual being. This is not one of them....'

    tarquino says: "No words for this"
  • Beowulf | Julian Glover

    Beowulf

    • ABRIDGED (1 hr and 14 mins)
    • By Julian Glover
    • Narrated By Julian Glover
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    The epic story of this hero’s battle against dragons, monsters, and their mothers is particularly suited to being recorded as an audiobook given that for the first 300 years of its existence it was only ever spoken. The first known (and indeed the only surviving manuscript) of the poem was written in AD 1,000. It survived Henry VIII’s attempts to destroy it (as a religious artifact) and a catastrophic fire that destroyed many other historical British documents.

    aaa says: "Beowulf"
  • The Secret Garden | Frances Hodgson Burnett

    The Secret Garden

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Frances Hodgson Burnett
    • Narrated By Virginia McKenna
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (17)

    What the Narnia books did for wardrobes, The Secret Garden did for the walled garden. Few readers can fail to share with Mary Lennox that inexplicable thrill of anticipation at the notion of an enclosed and secret world, bursting with potential life and beauty but remaining hidden from view. As Mary herself observes, 'Here was another locked door, added to the hundred in the strange house'.

    Ms. H. C. Sutton says: "Beautifully read"
  • The Chronicles of Clovis | H. H. Munro - Saki

    The Chronicles of Clovis

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By H. H. Munro - Saki
    • Narrated By Ian Richardson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (7)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    The Chronicles of Clovis, published in 1911, was the third in Saki (H. H. Munro)'s series of very funny and very vicious stories. As an insider, Saki was ideally poised to eviscerate the Edwardian middle class way of life, and his pitiless and magnetic sense of humour - teamed with an ability to wield that sharpest of writer's tools, the (very) short story - makes these some of the funniest and most quotable of tales. All of the running themes in Saki's work are here.

    Hawfinch says: "The Joy of Saki"
  • The Warden | Anthony Trollope

    The Warden

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Anthony Trollope
    • Narrated By Edward Fox
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Anthony Trollope’s The Warden was the first of Trollope’s hugely successful Barchester Chronicles, appearing in 1855 and reversing the rather unfortunate sales of his previous three novels. It concerns the story of Mr. Septimus Harding, Warden of Hiram's Hospital almshouses and Precentor of Barchester Cathedral.

    Nike says: "Love the book"
  • Washington Square | Henry James

    Washington Square

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Henry James
    • Narrated By Jennifer Ehle
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (5)
    Story
    (5)

    The battle between a father and a daughter is usually portrayed in literature as a struggle between a headstrong but feisty girl and a tradition-bound lead weight of a father. Henry James, of course, had to do it somewhat differently. He tells a story of an intelligent man riding the turn of the tide in mid-19th-century New York and watching what he sees as his numbingly dull and conventional daughter making the mistake of her life in her choice of husband.

  • Madame Bovary | Gustave Flaubert

    Madame Bovary

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Gustave Flaubert
    • Narrated By Julie Christie
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    The refusal to settle for what life has dealt you and the consequences of trying to change it is a theme which hasn’t altered much in the last 150 years, and the astonishing beauty and challenge of Madame Bovary is as electric today as it was then. Very few books have created this much outrage and adoration.

  • The Snow Queen and Other Fairy Stories | Hans Christian Andersen

    The Snow Queen and Other Fairy Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Hans Christian Andersen
    • Narrated By Greta Scacchi
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales have become so much a part of the Western culture that they are often assumed to be a part of folklore and not credited to the strange and gangling Dane who wrote them. Several years before the fairy tales came out, the Brothers Grimm had published their tales taken from the folklore of European stories, but Andersen was to change the understanding of what a tale can achieve.

  • Plain Tales from the Hills | Rudyard Kipling

    Plain Tales from the Hills

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Rudyard Kipling
    • Narrated By Tim Piggott-Smith
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (15)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    Rudyard Kipling's short stories of life in the British Raj began in 1888 as journalistic snippets written to supplement his more serious factual output when he was employed as the assistant editor, at the meagre age of 20, of the Lahori-based Civil and Military Gazette.

    forester says: "Wonderful stories from the Raj"
  • Evelina | Frances Burney

    Evelina

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Frances Burney
    • Narrated By Judi Dench, Finty Williams, Geoffrey Palmer
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    Fanny Burney's wickedly funny satire follows the trials and romantic adventures of the young and beautiful Evelina as she tries to make her way through 18th-century Britain handicapped by her three great problems: being poor, being illegitimate - and being a girl. Evelina was a raging best seller when it was first published in 1778 and is widely credited with being the first of the great British domestic novels. Burney was a direct influence on her immediate follower, Jane Austen.

  • My Lady Ludlow | Elizabeth Gaskell

    My Lady Ludlow

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Elizabeth Gaskell
    • Narrated By Susannah York
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Lady Ludlow's appalling snobbery, prejudice and bred-in-the-bone conviction as to the superiority of the English aristocracy and their feudal way of life are deliciously tested, and found wanting, in this gently radical tale of the collapse of a social system. Elizabeth Gaskell's My Lady Ludlow is a brilliant picture of the shift in power in a rural northern village, from the velvety feudal Ludlows to the glitter of the new money rattling through the system courtesy of the brazen baker from Birmingham.

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