The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
Well, most people have heard about this story, even if they haven't read it; it is one of the most endearing and enduring American tales of the last 150 years.
I'm targeting completion by August 25, although I hope to beat that date substantially. (Catalogued July 12!)
How to Live On Twenty-Four Hours a Day, by Arnold Bennett
Arnold Bennett knew a "rat race" when he saw one. Every day, his fellow white-collar Londoners followed the same old routine. And they routinely decried the sameness in their lives.
So Bennett set out to explain how to inject new enthusiasm into living. In this delightful little work, he taught his fellow sufferers how to set time apart for improving their lives. Yes, he assured them, it could be done. Yes, if you want to feel connected with the world, instead of endlessly pacing the treadmill (or, "exceeding your programme", as he called it), you must do so.
Bennett believed that learning to discern cause and effect in the world would give his readers an endless source of enjoyment and satisfaction. Instead of only being able to discuss what they had heard, they could graduate to what they thought... and lift themselves completely from the deadening influence of a day at the office.
The Mysterious Island, by Jules Verne
A story of castaways, similar to Robinson Crusoe and The Swiss Family Robinson, this 568 page book details the escape from Civil War-era Richmond, Virginia, of five Northern men who dared to go aloft in a balloon in the midst of a hurricane. Deposited on a lonely island in the Pacific, they make do with Yankee ingenuity where Chance has left them nothing. Only later do they find they have a hidden benefactor: Captain Nemo, of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, who resides, alone, secretly on the island. In time, the tiny colony becomes so prosperous that it is able to rescue another castaway from an island hundreds of miles away. But all their work will come to naught - their island's volcano is about to awake!