Leo Tolstoy's classic story of doomed love is one of the most admired novels in world literature. Generations of readers have been enthralled by his magnificent heroine, the unhappily married Anna Karenina, and her tragic affair with dashing Count Vronsky.
"The best way to experience Anna Karenina"
Often called the greatest novel ever written, War and Peace is at once an epic of the Napoleonic wars, a philosophical study, and a celebration of the Russian spirit. Tolstoy's genius is clearly seen in the multitude of characters in this massive chronicle, all of them fully realized and equally memorable.
"Great for what it is. Not very climatic."
In an attempt to appeal to the Medici family during the Italian Renaissance, Machiavelli outlines the way to acquire and retain political power, and how great men should behave in a princely government. The book is divided into four parts - types of principalities and state, proper conduct of a prince as military leader, personal conduct of a prince, and the disparity of Italy's political situation. Many listeners will be able to see principals that Machiavelli advocates for are still used in many political systems today.
On the eve of his marriage to the beautiful Mercedes, having that very day been made captain of his ship, the young sailor Edmond Dantès is arrested on a charge of treason, trumped up by jealous rivals. Incarcerated for many lonely years in the isolated and terrifying Chateau d'If near Marseille, he meticulously plans his brilliant escape and extraordinary revenge.
"my favorite book performed brilliantly"
The great adventure story tells of Odysseus, a veteran of the Trojan War, who - through a landscape peopled with monsters, sea nymphs, evil enchantresses, and vengeful gods - makes his tortuous way home to his faithful wife, Penelope. Shipwrecked numerous times, faced with apparently insurmountable obstacles, offered the temptations of ease, comfort, and even immortality, Odysseus remains steadfast and determined. Themes of courage and perseverance, fidelity and fortitude.
The most influential work of the entire Spanish literary canon and a founding work of modern Western literature, Don Quixote is also one of the greatest works ever written. Hugely entertaining but also moving at times, this episodic novel is built on the fantasy life of one Alonso Quixano, who lives with his niece and housekeeper in La Mancha. Quixano, obsessed by tales of knight errantry, renames himself ‘Don Quixote’ and with his faithful servant Sancho Panza, goes on a series of quests.
"Very well Narated"
Ulysses is regarded by many as the single most important novel of the 20th century. It tells the story of one day in Dublin, June 16th 1904, largely through the eyes of Stephen Dedalus (Joyce's alter ego from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man) and Leopold Bloom, an advertising salesman. Both begin a normal day, and both set off on a journey around the streets of Dublin, which eventually brings them into contact with one another.
"Ulysses on audible makes sense"
What is reality? Ask yourself whether you can actually know the answer, much less be sure that you can know it, and you've begun to grapple with the metaphysical and epistemological quandaries that have occupied, teased, and tormented modern philosophy's greatest intellects since the dawn of modern science and a century before the Enlightenment.
Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle is one of the most celebrated books ever written by a mystic on abiding in union with Christ. Writing in obedience to the requests of two of her superiors, the humble 16th century Spanish sister protests "...for the love of God, let me get on with my spinning and go to choir...like the other sisters...I am not meant for writing; I have neither the health nor the wits for it."
Les Misérables is set in Paris after the French Revolution. In the sewers and backstreets, we encounter "the wolf-like tread of crime", and assassination for a few sous is all in a day's work. We weep with the unlucky and heart-broken Fantine, and we exult with the heroic revolutionaries of the barricades; but above all we thrill to the steadfast courage and nobility of soul of ex-convict Jean Valjean, always in danger from the relentless pursuit of the diabolical Inspector Javert.
"An epic story but not quite so epic performance"
For 3,000 years, mankind has grappled with fundamental questions about life. What is real? Who or what is God? When is it legitimate for one person to have power over others? What is justice? Beauty? This 84-lecture, 12-professor tour of Western philosophical tradition covers more than 60 of history's greatest minds and brings you a comprehensive survey of the history of Western philosophy from its origins in classical Greece to the present.
A century after it first appeared, Crime and Punishment remains one of the most gripping psychological thrillers. A poverty-stricken young man, seeing his family making sacrifices for him, is faced with an opportunity to solve his financial problems with one simple but horrifying act: the murder of a pawnbroker. She is, he feels, just a parasite on society. But does the end justify the means? Rodion Romanovitch Raskolnikov makes his decision and then has to live with it.
War and Peace is one of the greatest monuments in world literature. Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, it examines the relationship between the individual and the relentless march of history. Here are the universal themes of love and hate, ambition and despair, youth and age, expressed with a swirling vitality which makes the book as accessible today as it was when it was first published in 1869.
"... And then the sun came up (on finishing)"
The story is told by a young 'unknown soldier' in the trenches of Flanders during the First World War. Through his eyes we see all the realities of war; under fire, on patrol, waiting in the trenches, at home on leave, and in hospitals and dressing stations.
"amazing telling of a beautifully chilling story"
One of the greatest works in literature, Dante's story-poem is an allegory that represents mankind as it exposes itself, by its merits or demerits, to the rewards or the punishments of justice. A single listen will reveal Dante's visual imagination and uncanny power to make the spiritual visible.
The foundation for all modern economic thought and political economy, The Wealth of Nations is the magnum opus of Scottish economist Adam Smith, who introduces the world to the very idea of economics and capitalism in the modern sense of the words.
"Unmissable and unmistakable perfection."
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was born in 1882 in Dublin but spent most of his life living with Nora Barnacle in various parts of Europe. Apart from a collection of verse, Dubliners was his first published work in 1914. In Dubliners, Joyce portrays quite brilliantly human relationships in Ireland at the turn of the century. His characters are so vital and exciting and the stories so fresh, evocative, and entertaining that they could well have been written today.
In this intense detective thriller instilled with philosophical, religious, and social commentary, Dostoevsky studies the psychological impact upon a desperate and impoverished student when he murders a despicable pawnbroker, transgressing moral law to ultimately "benefit humanity".
"a psychological thriller"
Celebrated Irish author Padraic Colum dazzled audiences with his retellings of old Gaelic myths. In The King of Ireland's Son, he imbues seven favorite tales from the Emerald Isle with sly humor, whimsy, and imagination.
Fyodor Dostoevsky masterfully blends realism and romanticism in this heartfelt tale of unrequited love and the human journey. Set in 19th-century St. Petersburg, "White Nights" is the story of a young man's inner conflict and how his feelings of discontent and loneliness draw him to a young woman who has been jilted by her lover. The lonely hearts come together in a sweet and tender bubble of sharing and romance, but will it last?
Note: This is a summary and analysis of The Rebel and not the original work. The Rebel is a 1951 book-length essay by Albert Camus, which treats both the metaphysical and the historical development of rebellion and revolution in societies, especially Western Europe. Camus relates writers and artists as diverse as Epicurus and Lucretius, Marquis de Sade, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and others in an integrated, historical portrait of man in revolt.
Hailed as one of the world's supreme masterpieces on the subject of death and dying, The Death of Ivan Ilyich is the story of a worldly careerist, a high court judge who has never given the inevitability of his death so much as a passing thought. But one day death announces itself to him, and to his shocked surprise he is brought face to face with his own mortality. How, Tolstoy asks, does an unreflective man confront his one and only moment of truth?
The lights dim at the Paris Opera House. The exquisite Christine Daae enraptures the audience with her mellifluous voice. Immediately, Raoul de Chagny falls deeply in love. But the legend of the disfigured opera ghost haunts the performance, and as Raoul begins his pursuit of Christine, he is pulled into the depths of the opera house, and into the depths of human emotions.
Considered to be the first autobiography of its kind, The Confessions is two distinct books published seven years apart and covers the first 53 years of the author's life. The autobiographies of the time delved primarily into the individual's religious life, but Jean-Jacques Rousseau wanted to do something different. Instead of focusing on faith, he wrote about his thoughts and misadventures.
This treatise on politics was the fruit of Machiavelli's many years of experience as a diplomat and historian and circulated in 1513 but not published until 1532. It was dedicated to Lorenzo de Medici, a member of the ruling dynasty of Florence. In Machiavelli's view the ideal ruler is an effective executive rather than a moral paragon. If one desires power, one must take all the appropriate steps to acquire and maintain it.
At its heart, The Insulted and the Injured is a story of human tragedy and suffering, but it is also a love story. Narrated by a fictitious young author, Vanya, this book tells the story of Natasha and her lover, Alyosha, who also happens to be the son of the cruel Prince Valkovsky.
Please note: This is a companion to the book and not the original book. The Prince (1532) is a guide to success in statecraft for heads of state, whom author Niccolò Machiavelli refers to as "princes" throughout the text. Machiavelli argues that princes should cultivate the appearance of virtue, but that they should be willing to abandon kindness, mercy, and honesty as needed in order to retain and expand their power....
"Oliver Twist", also known as "The Parish Boy's Progress", is the second novel by English author Charles Dickens, published by Richard Bentley in 1838. The story is about an orphan, Oliver Twist, who endures a miserable existence in a workhouse and then is placed with an undertaker. He escapes and travels to London where he meets the Artful Dodger, leader of a gang of juvenile pickpockets. Oliver is led to the lair of their elderly criminal trainer Fagin, naively unaware of their unlawful activities.
Phileas Fogg is a man of regular orderly days, down to the minute. His acquaintances know where he will be and when, with perfect regularity. Discussion in the Reform Club turns to an article concerning a theorised journey around the world in only 80 days. From this a gentleman's bet is placed, and there is nothing more important to a gentleman than a bet! Mr Fogg's life is thrown into turmoil as he commences the journey around the world.
Many say that capital punishment is inhumane. But is it, in fact, more humane to take away life in one swift stroke, rather than condemn an individual to a lifetime in captivity? Two men place wagers, each backing a different side of the argument. After 15 years, this clumsy bet irrevocably changes their lives forever.
In this classic, coming of age story, the winds of change are sweeping over pre-revolutionary Russia. It is a turbulent era of conflict between the Russian nobles and the radical new ideas of the youth. Two friends, Bazarov and Arkady, find themselves entangled in misunderstandings and romantic intrigues.
Don Quixote is widely considered to be the first modern novel. As a classic of Western literature, it is regarded by scholars worldwide to be one of the best works of fiction ever written and a magnificent product of the Spanish golden age of literature. And merely from a grammatical standpoint alone, Cervantes' influence on the Spanish language has been so great that his work is often called "la lengua de Cervantes".
Guy de Maupassant is widely regarded as the father of the modern short story. As his 13 volumes of short stories attest, he was a prolific writer of this form. He had a simple, efficient style of writing and, like Anton Chekhov, found inspiration for his stories in the daily lives of humans, which often reveal our darker nature. His years of service in the Franco-Prussian War provided him with rich material for his work.
ABSURD - a film and literary production house that is passionately committed to creating and appreciating the finest works of art and literature - has now introduced the Pure Wisdom series that intends to be a collection of the greatest literature - fiction and nonfiction - that awakened and have still been awakening mankind.
How It Is, a landmark in 20th century literature, is one of the most challenging of Samuel Beckett's early novels. He published it first in French in 1961 and then in his own translation in 1964. He explained in a letter that it was the outpouring of a "'man' lying panting in the mud and dark murmuring his 'life' as he hears it obscurely uttered by a voice inside him.... The noise of his panting fills his ears and it is only when this abates that he can catch and murmur forth a fragment of what is being stated within...."
A collection of short stories from one of the most famous writers of very long novels, Leo Tolstoy, including: 'Ilyas', 'Little Girls Wiser Than Men' and 'The Coffee-House of Surat'.
'For man to be able to live, he must either not see the infinite, or have such an explanation of the meaning of life as will connect the finite with the infinite.' Read in English, unabridged.
Usually timid and subservient, councilor Golyadkin has lately become worryingly paranoid. After being humiliatingly thrown out of a party for acting erratically, he runs off into the night where he is shocked to come across a man who appears to be his exact double. The double follows him home and begins to insinuate himself into every part of Golyadkin's life, and alternates between befriending him and cruelly taunting him.
Dr. Stockman is ridiculed and persecuted by the town's politicians and townspeople for telling the truth about the town's polluted public baths. This theme of safety warnings and scientific data being ignored for political and economic gain can still be seen almost daily in today's news.
One evening as I was lying flat on the deck of my steamboat, I heard voices approaching - and there were the nephew and the uncle strolling along the bank. I laid my head on my arm again, and had nearly lost myself in a doze, when somebody said in my ear, as it were: "I am as harmless as a little child, but I don't like to be dictated to. Am I the manager - or am I not? I was ordered to send him there. It's incredible."