I feel like I must obviously preface this by saying that none of these websites should be substituted for actually reading the book or poem. Rather they should be used to help you better understand the more abstract or analytical parts of the work. The summaries provided can also help you track the plot progression of the book to make sure you haven't overlooked something important while reading. This list is in no particular order, but some resources, as I will point out, are better than others,
- Sparknotes: http://www.sparknotes.com/
- Cliffnotes: http://www.cliffsnotes.com/
- Gradesaver: http://www.gradesaver.com/
- LitCharts: http://www.litcharts.com/
Another underutilized source of academic help on the internet is surprisingly YouTube. While going on YouTube usually derails productivity, visiting these channels may actually help you with your literary assignments.
- Crash Course Literature: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8dPuuaLjXtOeEc9ME62zTfqc0h6Pe8vb
- Thug Notes (a subset of the Wisecrack YouTube channel): https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLghL9V9QTN0jTgA1qrhWrBCB_Ln4xlVlB
I discovered this YouTube channel purely by accident and ever since then I've been urging everyone to go take a look at it. The premise of the channel is that Sparky Sweets, Ph.D provides a succinct summary and analysis of a book as a hilarious gangster character using all the stereotypical gangster language you can think of. All of the gimmicks aside, the channel provides some highly useful and intelligent comments related to the books they cover. My only criticism is that the summaries provided do tend to be a bit sparse compared to the other literary guides out there. Another plus side to this YouTube channel is unlike Crash Course, they have a rather expansive library of videos that address more than just the usual books. You can even request books in the comments and more than likely the creators will consider doing a video on it.
I hope this list will be of some help to you whether it's right now or after the holidays. Until next time, Best Wishes!