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.
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"
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.
"Unabridged too far"
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.
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.
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, follows the adventures of Alonso Quijano, a hidalgo who reads so many chivalric novels that he decides to set out to revive chivalry, under the name Don Quixote. This is the story that a Nobel Prize Committee survey of one hundred of the world's best writers named "the greatest book of all time."
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"
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"
A BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation features a star cast including Leo McKern, Simon Russell Beale, Emily Mortimer, and Nicola Pagett, and over two hours of specially composed music.
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."
The Brothers Karamazov is a tale of a complicated and broken family headed by a father, Fyodor Karamazov, who becomes entangled with his three sons, whom he neglected, after both mothers died.
A beautiful society wife from St. Petersburg, determined to live life on her own terms, sacrifices everything to follow her conviction that love is stronger than duty. A socially inept but warmhearted landowner pursues his own visions instead of conforming to conventional views. The adulteress and the philosopher head the vibrant cast of characters in Anna Karenina, Tolstoy's tumultuous tale of passion and self-discovery. Please note: This audiobook is in Russian.
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"
Esmeralda, Quasimodo, Fleur de Lys, Frolo, autant de noms qui résonnent au-delà des siècles. Sans cesse incarnés sous toutes les formes possibles, les personnages de Victor Hugo appartiennent au patrimoine littéraire mondial.
Happy Birthday Jules Verne (February 8). Professor Pierre Aronnax and his faithful servant, Conseil, embark on an amazing journey in Captain Nemo's Nautilus in Verne's classic novel, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Undoubtedly one of the most celebrated tales of all time, this is both high-octane thriller and fascinating travelogue. Phileas Fogg, intrepid Victorian gentleman about town, accepts a wager that he cannot travel around the world in 80 days. Naturally, he immediately sets off, accompanied by his French manservant, Passepartout. They are pursued by a police officer, Detective Fix, who is foolishly convinced that Fogg is a bank robber. Much hilarity ensues.
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.
"Brilliant. Just brilliant."
From the anonymous author of the Epic of Gilgamesh in ancient Mesopotamia to William Faulkner writing about Mississippi 3,600 years later, many of Western culture's greatest figures have been writers. Their landmark themes, unique insights into human nature, dynamic characters, experimental storytelling techniques, and rich philosophical ideas helped create the vibrant storytelling methods we find reflected in today's authors.
Set during the time of the Napoleonic Wars, this classic gives a satirical picture of a worldly society. The novel revolves around the exploits of the impoverished but beautiful and devious Becky Sharp.
Heidi is sent to live with her embittered grandfather high in the Swiss Alps. Heidi's innocent joy of life and genuine concern and love for all living things become the old man's salvation. From the goat - herder Peter and his family to the sickly girl Clara and her desperate father, Heidi's special charm enriches everyone she meets. Unselfish to the core, Heidi's goodness overcomes all obstacles - even those seemingly insurmountable.
"It's a peculiar apparatus," said the Officer to the Traveler, gazing with a certain admiration at the device, with which he was, of course, thoroughly familiar. It appeared that the Traveler had responded to the invitation of the Commandant only out of politeness, when he had been invited to attend the execution of a soldier condemned for disobeying and insulting his superior. Of course, interest in the execution was not very high, not even in the penal colony itself.
Whenever those states which have been acquired as stated have been accustomed to live under their own laws and in freedom, there are three courses for those who wish to hold them: the first is to ruin them, the next is to reside there in person, the third is to permit them to live under their own laws, drawing a tribute, and establishing within it an oligarchy which will keep it friendly to you.
Often described as an alchemical allegory, John Crowley instead decided this is "the first science fiction novel". After all, "it's fiction; it's about the possibilities of a science; and it's a novel". No matter what else it might be, it's definitely one of the great outlandish stories in Western literature.
Honoré de Balzac uses his classic style of detail to describe a most controversial setting in his novel Le Pere Goriot. The story takes place in Paris just after the fall of Napoleon in 1819. The story focuses on three characters, Rastignac, a student who wants to try and make it big in the capital, Vautrin, an interesting and funny character who is also quite mysterious, and the main character, Goriot, that carries a heavy burden that only a loving parent would endure.
A shoemaker named Simon, who had neither house nor land of his own, lived with his wife and children in a peasant's hut, and earned his living by his work. Work was cheap, but bread was dear, and what he earned he spent for food. The man and his wife had but one sheepskin coat between them for winter wear, and even that was torn to tatters, and this was the second year he had been wanting to buy sheepskins for a new coat.
"Volume piercing loud n then too quiet hard to hear"
A prose translation of the oldest surviving long poem in Old English, this production captures the mood of the original legend of a pagan hero defeating a monster, its mother, and a dragon in Scandinavia.
The Talisman revolves around the Third Crusader's camp in the Holy Land whereby there exists a truce between the Christians and the Muslims. The camp, which is led by King Richard I of England (the Lion-heart) who is grievously ill, is being torn apart by tensions between rival leaders.
'I had begun, God knows why, tearing a corner off of everyday truth, begun seeing myself in another kind of mirror, and now the whole of the old, more or less comfortable truth was falling to pieces.' Confident and successful, New York advertising executive Ray Sanders takes what he wants from life. When he goes missing in a snowstorm in Connecticut one evening, his closest friend begins to reassess his loyalties, gambling with Ray's fate and his own future.
The adventure begins in London on Tuesday, October 1st, 1872, when rich British gentleman Phileas Fogg gets in an argument with a group of friends. He enters a wager that sets him on a race to make it around the world in 80 days. Although the trip begins as planned with his valet Jean Passepartout, he is quickly mistaken as a bank robber by Scotland Yard detective Fix. Now being pursued on his journey, Fogg must quickly travel in order to win the wager, see the world, and avoid being apprehended for a crime he did not commit in the ultimate adventure story.
"In the Penal Colony" ("In der Strafkolonie") (also translated as "In the Penal Settlement") is a short story by Franz Kafka written in German in October 1914, revised in November 1918, and first published in October 1919. The story is set in an unnamed penal colony. Internal clues and the setting on an island suggest Octave Mirbeau's "The Torture Garden" as an influence
Phileas Fogg, a gentleman of stringent and inflexible habits, proposes that he can circumvent the globe in 80 days. He wagers half of his fortune to this effect. But when a high profile bank robbery occurs, the dogged Detective Fix is convinced that Mr. Fogg is an audacious bank robber and that his entire "gentleman's wager" is a charade. Thus begins a wild battle of cat and mouse that takes the clever combatants around the world.
Beowulf is an epic poem that has withstood the test of time. It has been translated and studied for centuries and is a hallmark of academic curricula. It is both an adventure and a tragedy and despite some difficult language is a beautiful story of loyalty and courage in the midst of danger.
Siddhartha, the ninth book written by Herman Hesse, is about a young Indian boy who leaves his home in hopes of finding enlightenment with the wise "Goutama", which in this story is the Buddha. After learning what he can from Goutama, he decides to go off into the busy city, and leads a life of greed and lust. When he realizes that the lifestyle is not fulfilling, and he reflects on his life, he goes to a river and contemplates suicide.
Rasselas and his companions escape the pleasures of the "happy valley" in order to make their "choice of life". By witnessing the misfortunes and miseries of others they come to understand the nature of happiness and value it more highly. Their travels and enquiries raise important practical and philosophical questions concerning many aspects of the human condition, including the business of a poet, the stability of reason, the immortality of the soul, and how to find contentment.
The Metamorphosis (German: Die Verwandlung, also sometimes translated as The Transformation) is a novella by Franz Kafka, first published in 1915. It has been cited as one of the seminal works of fiction of the 20th century and is studied in colleges and universities across the western world. The story begins with a traveling salesman, Gregor Samsa, waking to find himself transformed (metamorphosed) into a large, monstrous insect-like creature.