Click on any link and you will be taken to the complete reading for that day. Press Play at the top of the screen to listen to the audio.
Jan 1: FRANKLIN'S AUTOBIOGRAPHYFranklin's Advice for the New Year
"Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without
fail what you resolve"—was one of the rules for success
framed by America's first "self-made" man.
Read from FRANKLIN'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY .......... Vol. I, pp. 79-85
Jan 2: MILTON'S POEMSSchool-Day Poems of John Milton
At the age of sixteen, Milton first appeared before the public
eye as a promising young poet. These early verses, written while
he was a boy in school, indicate his brilliant future.
Read: MILTON'S POEMS ............................ Vol. 4, pp. 7-18
Feb 1: Malory's THE HOLY GRAILKing Arthur's Knights Find Holy Grail
The intrepid Knights of the Round Table were startled by
"crackling and crying of thunder" which rang through the great
hall of the castle. Then there entered " The Holy Grail covered
with white samite."
Read from Malory's THE HOLY GRAIL ...... Vol. 35, pp. 112-123
Feb 2: Shakespeare's HAMLET"Apparel Oft Proclaims the Man "
Before his son, Laertes, departs for a foreign country, Polonius
advises him as to his conduct and dress, while Hamlet, the king's
son, has to learn by experience.
Read from Shakespeare's HAMLET ........... Vol. 46, pp. 107-120
Mar 1: THE SPECTATOR CLUB
Invented Sir Roger de Coverly
Word pictures are often more vivid than photographs. Steele
had a gift for originating characters that are remembered longer
than flesh and blood people. Sir Roger de Coverly and Will
Honeycomb are now bold figures in literature.
Read: THE SPECTATOR CLUB ..................... Vol. 27, pp. 83-87
Mar 2: Dana's TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MASTWhat Sailors Do on Sunday
"A sailor's liberty is but for a day," as Dana explains. Dressed
in his Sunday best, the sailor feels like a dashing Beau Brummel;
and sets out to enjoy his freedom. "While it lasts it is perfect.
He is under no one's eye and can do whatever he pleases."
Read from Dana's Two YEARS BEFORE THE MAST ... Vol. 23, pp. 112-119
Apr 1: BROWNING'S POEMS
"Oh! to Be in England Now That April's There"
Everyone knows the pangs of homesickness in the spring. Even
bright, sparkling Italy could not wean Browning's affection from
the green hedgerows of misty England.
Read: BROWNING'S POEMS ................. Vol. 42, pp. 1068-1074
Apr 2: Darwin's VOYAGE OF THE BEAGLEA Spoon Dances in the Moonlight
A huge spoon dressed in human finery, placed on a grave, appears
to become convulsed when the moon's rays fall on it and
dances to the tune of chanting natives. Weird sights, according
to Darwin, abound in the South Seas.
Read from Darwin's VOYAGE OF THE BEAGLE ..... Vol. 29, pp. 462-471
May 1: PERSONS ONE WOULD WISH TO HAVE SEENWhat Would You Ask Judas Iscariot?
Once Hazlitt and his friends took to discussing the famous people
they would like to meet—Guy Fawkes, Sir Isaac Newton,
Chaucer, Boccaccio, Cromwell, Garrick, and Judas.
Read: PERSONS ONE WOULD WISH TO HAVE SEEN ..... Vol. 27, pp. 270-283
May 2: Faraday's MAGNETISM—ELECTRICITYFirst Sparks of Electricity
Everything has to have a beginning, so too with the science of
electricity. Here we learn the very rudiments, the inceptions
of science that have revolutionized the world. Faraday explains
in a simple way the truths of electricity.
Read: Faraday's MAGNETISM—ELECTRICITY ...... Vol. 30, pp. 61-72
Jun 1: Marlowe's DR. FAUSTUSThrilling Play by Tutor of Shakespeare
For the best blank verse in English, read "Dr. Faustus," the masterpiece
of Marlowe, who gave Shakespeare lessons in playwriting.
This genius knew the secret of gripping drama.
Read from Marlowe's DR. FAUSTUS ................... Vol. 19, pp. 241-250
Jun 2: Rousseau's A SAVOYARD VICAR"Back to Nature" in the Seventeenth Century
A "Back to Nature" movement in the seventeenth century was
headed by Rousseau, who believed that civilization was degrading.
To save money for his work, he entrusted each of his children
to the tender mercies of a foundling house.
Read from Rousseau's A SAVOYARD VICAR ..... Vol. 34, pp. 239-249
Jul 1: Darwin's ORIGIN OF SPECIESDarwin Not First Evolutionist
While Darwin was working on his theory of evolution, another
scientist independently arrived at the same conclusions. Darwin,
then, was not the first to study evolution.
Read from Darwin's ORIGIN OF SPECIES ......... Vol. 11, pp. 5-17
Jul 2: Plutarch's CESAR"Julius" Becomes "July"
So that the date for certain festivals would not fall one year in
midwinter and in the heat of summer another year, Cesar reformed
the calendar. July was named for him.
Read from Plutarch's CESAR ...................... Vol. 12, pp. 310-315
Aug 1: Calvin's DEDICATIONHis Influence Still Lives
Steadfast allegiance to duty, simple living and adherence to plain,
honest, homely doctrines are Calvin's principles. Are not these
same old-fashioned truths followed to-day?
Read from Calvin's DEDICATION ................... Vol. 39, pp. 27-33
Aug 2: DRUMMOND'S POEMSPoems from a Heart of Love
"Here is the pleasant place—and nothing wanting is, save She,
alas!" How often we too are faced with like adversity. So
sings Drummond—a master songster and composer.
Read from DRUMMOND'S POEMS ........... Vol. 40, pp. 326-330
Sep 1: Penn's SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDEExpelled from College, Founded a City
While at Oxford, Penn rejected the student's gown and thereby
created a furore. Later he founded a city where he sought to
put his new ideas into practice.
Read from Penn's SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE ........ Vol. 1, pp. 321-331
Sep 2: Dryden's ALL FOR LOVEToo Great a Price for Love
While his soldiers fought the battle of Actium, Antony fled to
the arms of Cleopatra. By his flight he forfeited his right to an
empire. Dryden's story of Antony's love makes us realize the
folly of his infatuation for the Nile siren.
Read from Dryden's ALL FOR LOVE ........... Vol. 18, pp. 88-100
Oct 1: Machiavelli's THE PRINCEPrinces To-day and Yesterday
To-day the chief duty of a prince is to be the nation's friend
maker. Years ago princes desired supreme power and, by fair
means or foul, strove for control. Machiavelli was a guide for
such ambitious princes.
Read from Machiavelli's THE PRINCE ........ Vol. 36, pp. 36-44
Oct 2: Darwin's VOYAGE OF THE BEAGLEVeteran Tells of Indian War
Just before Darwin visited Bahia Blanca, an Indian insurrection
had been ruthlessly put down. A veteran of the Indian war told
Darwin how Indians had been treated.
Read from Darwin's VOYAGE OF THE BEAGLE ...... Vol. 29, pp. 107-111
Nov 1: Shakespeare's THE TEMPEST
Last Strokes of Shakespeare's Pen
Monsters of the earth, weird creatures of the air, magic romance,
and shipwreck are mingled by a master hand in his thrilling
drama. The fanciful, enchanting "Tempest" is the last work
of the great bard of Stratford.
Read from Shakespeare's THE TEMPEST ........... Vol. 46, pp. 397-410
Nov 2: Dante's DIVINE COMEDY
Journey Through a Hot Country
Dante recorded the awful scenes of a journey through the pits
of the underworld, and wrote in such a vivid, realistic way that
men tremble at the terrors depicted.
Read from Dante's DIVINE COMEDY ............. Vol. 20, pp. 13-20
Dec 1: Berkeley's THREE DIALOGUES
Are Skeptics Faulty Thinkers?
Offhand we say a skeptic is one who doubts everything. But
does he? And are his doubts caused by too much learning, or too
little? Berkeley presents both sides of skepticism.
Read from Berkeley's THREE DIALOGUES ............. Vol. 37, pp. 189-199
Dec 2: THE HOLY GRAIL
Practical Jokes in King Arthur's Day
Attacked in fun by two masked knights, Sir Galahad smote one
so that both horse and rider went down. Turning on the other
jester, he slashed open his helmet.
Read from THE HOLY GRAIL ................ Vol. 35, pp. 128-134