Free Classics From B&N: Tales to Read Under the Covers


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Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

4 stars, 65 reviews

The story begins with an eerie midnight encounter between artist Walter Hartright and a ghostly woman dressed all in white who seems desperate to share a dark secret. The next day Hartright, engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie and her half sister, tells his pupils about the strange events of the previous evening. Determined to learn all they can about the mysterious woman in white, the three soon find themselves drawn into a chilling vortex of crime, poison, kidnapping, and international intrigue.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

3.5 stars, 4763 reviews

Count Dracula is a fictional character, the titular antagonist of Bram Stoker’s 1897 Gothic horror novel Dracula. He was the subject of Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula, and set the stage for all other vampire tales that followed.

Count Dracula is a centuries-old vampire, sorcerer and Transylvanian nobleman, who claims to be a Székely descended from Attila the Hun. He inhabits a decaying castle in the Carpathian Mountains near the Borgo Pass. Contrary to the vampires of Eastern European folklore which are portrayed as repulsive, corpse-like creatures, Dracula exudes a veneer of aristocratic charm which masks his unfathomable evil.

Essential Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe by Edgar Allan Poe

4 stars, 87 reviews

his anthology offers an exceptionally generous selection of Poe s short stories. It includes his famed masterpieces, such as “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and “The Purloined Letter,” featuring Poe s great detective, Dupin; his insightful studies of madness “The Black Cat” and “The Tell-Tale Heart”; “The Gold-Bug,” his delightful exercise in “code-breaking”; and important but lesser-known tales, such as “Bon-Bon,” “The Assignation,” and “King Pest.” Also included are some of Poe s most beloved poems, haunting lyrics of love and loss, such as “Annabel Lee,” nightmare phantasmagories such as “The Raven,” and his grand experiment in translating sound into words, “The Bells.”

The Inferno by Dante Alighieri

4.5 stars, 89 reviews

Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark
For the straightforward pathway had been lost.

With these words, Dante plunges readers into the unforgettable world of the Inferno—one of the most graphic visions of Hell ever created. In this first part of the epic The Divine Comedy, Dante is led by the poet Virgil down into the nine circles of Hell, where he travels through nightmare landscapes of fetid cesspools, viper pits, frozen lakes, and boiling rivers of blood and witnesses sinners being beaten, burned, eaten, defecated upon, and torn to pieces by demons. Along the way he meets the most fascinating characters known to the classical and medieval world—the silver-tongued Ulysses, lustful Francesca da Rimini, the heretical Farinata degli Uberti, and scores of other intriguing and notorious figures.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

4 stars, 119 reviews

Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story, but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? How far can we go in tampering with Nature? In our age, filled with news of organ donation genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism, these questions are more relevant than ever.

Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

4.5 stars, 266 reviews

Taking the reader in and out of London drawing rooms, to the heights of aestheticism, and to the depths of decadence, The Picture of Dorian Gray is not only a melodrama about moral corruption but also a fascinating look at Wilde’s fin-de-siècle world. Inspiring several sequels, the novel has become an essential treatise on counterculture, and Wilde’s preface to the book—which he later added to mollify critics—is a veritable manifesto of the creed “Art for Art’s Sake.”

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Stories by Robert Louis Stevenson

4 stars, 85 reviews

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde dramatically brings to life a science-fiction case study of the nature of good and evil and the duality that can exist within one person. Resonant with psychological perception and ethical insight, the book has literary roots in Dostoevsky’s “The Double” and Crime and Punishment. Today Stevenson’s novella is recognized as an incisive study of Victorian morality and sexual repression, as well as a great thriller.

Heart of Darkness and Selected Short Fiction by Joseph Conrad

4 stars, 35 reviews

Heart of Darkness is widely regarded as a masterpiece for its vivid study of race and the greed and ruthlessness of imperialism. Joseph Conrad’s poignant novella traces a metaphoric journey into the darkest depths of human nature, following Marlow, a riverboat captain, on a voyage into the African Congo. Astounded by the brutal depravity he witnesses, Marlow becomes obsessed with meeting Kurtz, a famously idealistic and able man stationed farther along the river. What he finally discovers, however, is a horror beyond imagining.

Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Franz Kafka

4 stars, 45 reviews

Bringing together some of Kafka’s finest work, this collection demonstrates the richness and variety of the author’s artistry. Both “The Judgment,” which Kafka considered to be his decisive breakthrough, and “The Stoker,” which became the first chapter of his novel Amerika, are included. These two, along with “The Metamorphosis,” form a suite of stories Kafka referred to as “The Sons,” and collectively they present a devastating portrait of the modern family. Also included are “In the Penal Colony,” a story of a torture machine and its operators and victims, and “A Hunger Artist,” a tale about the absurdity of an artist trying to communicate with a misunderstanding public.

Time Machine and The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells

4 stars, 40 reviews

The Time Machine, H. G. Wells’s first novel, is a tale of Darwinian evolution taken to its extreme. Its hero, a young scientist, travels 800,000 years into the future and discovers a dying earth populated by two strange humanoid species: the brutal Morlocks and the gentle but nearly helpless Eloi.

The Invisible Man mixes chilling terror, suspense, and acute psychological understanding into a tale of an equally adventurous scientist who discovers the formula for invisibility—a secret that drives him mad.

Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Writings by Washington Irving

4 stars, 27 reviews

The first great American man of letters, Washington Irving became an international celebrity almost overnight upon publication of The Sketch Book in 1820, which included the short stories “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle.” These two tales remain his crowning achievement, but in addition to being a writer of short stories, Irving was also an acclaimed essayist, travel writer, biographer, and historian.

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

4 stars, 50 reviews

The year is 1866 and the Pacific Ocean is being terrorized by a deadly sea monster. The U.S. government dispatches marine-life specialist Pierre Aronnax to investigate aboard the warship Abraham Lincoln. When the ship is sunk by the mysterious creature, he and two other survivors discover that the monster is in fact a marvelous submarine—the Nautilus—commanded by the brilliant but bitter Captain Nemo. Nemo refuses to let his guests return to land, but instead taking them on a series of fantastic adventures in which they encounter underwater forests, giant clams, monster storms, huge squid, treacherous polar ice and—most spectacular of all—the magnificent lost city of Atlantis!

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