With all of the pluck and charm of its eponymous young hero, Rachel McAdams (The Notebook, Spotlight, Midnight in Paris) delivers a spectacular reading of Montgomery's beloved bildungsroman. In moments both funny and bittersweet, McAdams' voice is imbued with the spark that has made Anne a much-loved symbol of individualism and cheer for over a century.
Following Jane from her childhood as an orphan in Northern England through her experience as a governess at Thornfield Hall, Charlotte Brontë's Gothic classic is an early exploration of women's independence in the mid-19th century and the pervasive societal challenges women had to endure. At Thornfield, Jane meets the complex and mysterious Mr. Rochester, with whom she shares a complicated relationship that ultimately forces her to reconcile the conflicting passions of romantic love and religious piety.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky is a titanic figure among the world's great authors, and The Brothers Karamazov is often hailed as his finest novel. A masterpiece on many levels, it transcends the boundaries of a gripping murder mystery to become a moving account of the battle between love and hate, faith and despair, compassion and cruelty, good and evil.
Hermann Hesse’s classic novel Siddhartha, takes place in ancient India around the time of the Buddha (6th century BC). Siddhartha and his companion Govinda set out in search of enlightenment. Siddhartha goes through a series of changes and realizations as he attempts to achieve this goal. Siddhartha joins the ascetics, visits Gotama, embraces his earthly desires, and finally communes with nature, all in an attempt to attain Nirvana.
One of the 20th century's enduring works, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a widely beloved and acclaimed novel known throughout the world and the ultimate achievement in a Nobel Prize-winning career. The novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. Rich and brilliant, it is a chronicle of life, death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the beautiful, ridiculous, and tawdry story of the Buendía family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America.
"Too weird for words!"
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.
This original and refreshingly different dramatisation follows Dante, "lost in a dark wood", who is met by Virgil, who takes him on a tour of the underworld: a place he could end up if he decides to take his own life. Corin Redgrave is the voice of Dante.
Anna Karenina seems to have everything - beauty, wealth, popularity and an adored son. But she feels that her life is empty until the moment she encounters the impetuous officer Count Vronsky.
From the Nobel Prize-winning author of One Hundred Years of Solitude comes a masterly evocation of an unrequited passion so strong that it binds two people's lives together for more than half a century. In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career, he whiles away the years in 622 affairs - yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral....
"A meander through the ages and stages"
Continuing where Thus Spoke Zarathustra left off, Nietzsche's controversial work Beyond Good and Evil is one of the most influential philosophical texts of the 19th century and one of the most controversial works of ideology ever written. Attacking the notion of morality as nothing more than institutionalised weakness, Nietzsche criticises past philosophers for their unquestioning acceptance of moral precepts. Nietzsche tried to formulate what he called "the philosophy of the future".
"good narrator but not a captivating story."
Krieg und Frieden - Erstes Buch. Moskau und Sankt Petersburg, 1805: Pierre, illegitimer Sohn des begüterten Grafen Besuchow, erbt dessen Titel und Vermögen. Pierres Freund, Fürst Andrej Bolkonski, zieht als Adjutant des Oberbefehlshabers der russischen Armee gegen Frankreich in den Krieg. In der Schlacht um Austerlitz verwundet, wird Andrej von Napoleon persönlich begnadigt.
Set in the Parisian underworld and plotted like a detective story, Les Miserables follows Jean Valjean, originally an honest peasant, who has been imprisoned for 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister's starving family. A hardened criminal upon his release, he eventually reforms, becoming a successful industrialist and town mayor. Despite this, he is haunted by an impulsive former crime and is pursued relentlessly by the police inspector Javert.
"De tous les carrefours importants, le visage à la moustache noire vous fixait du regard. BIG BROTHER VOUS REGARDE, répétait la légende, tandis que le regard des yeux noirs pénétrait les yeux de Winston... Au loin, un hélicoptère glissa entre les toits, plana un moment, telle une mouche bleue, puis repartit comme une flèche, dans un vol courbe. C'était une patrouille qui venait mettre le nez aux fenêtres des gens. Mais les patrouilles n'avaient pas d'importance. Seule comptait la Police de la Pensée."
"How about warning that the book is in French?"
Writer, artist and philosopher Kahlil Gibran considered The Prophet to be his greatest achievement. First published in 1923, this collection of poetic essays on life and the human condition has been translated into more than 20 languages, and has become one of the beloved classics of our time. Cherished by millions, the universally inspiring words of The Prophet are here magnificently read aloud.
Ethan Hawley has lost the spirit of his wealthy forebears, a long line of proud New England sea captains and Pilgrims. Scarred by failure, Ethan works as a grocery clerk in a store his family once owned. But his wife is restless and his teenage children hungry for the material comforts he cannot provide. Then a series of unusual events reignites Ethan's ambition, and he is pitched on to a bold course, where all scruples are put aside.
"Excellent story, excellently read"
In the din and stink that is Cannery Row a colourful blend of misfits - gamblers, whores, drunks, bums and artists - survive side by side in a jumble of adventure and mischief. Lee Chong, the astute owner of the well-stocked grocery store, is also the proprietor of the Palace Flophouse that Mack and his troupe of good-natured 'boys' call home. Dora, of the flaming orange hair and taste for Nile-green dresses, runs the brothel with clockwork efficiency and a generous heart.
"Funny, nostalgic and beautifully written"
Join three literary scholars and award-winning professors as they introduce you to dozens of short masterpieces that you can finish - and engage with - in a day or less. Perfect for people with busy lives who still want to discover-or rediscover-just how transformative an act of reading can be, these 36 lectures range from short stories of fewer than 10 pages to novellas and novels of around 200 pages. Despite their short length, these works are powerful examinations of the same subjects and themes that longer "great books" discuss.
When an eccentric Englishman named Phileas Fogg makes a daring wager that he can circle the globe in just eighty days, it’s the beginning of a breathlessly-paced world tour. With his devoted servant Passepartout at his side, Fogg sets off on an adventurous journey filled with amazing encounters and wild mishaps. Pursued all the way by the bumbling Detective Fix, who believes the two travelers are bank robbers on the run, Fogg and Passepartout must use every means of transportation known to 19th-century man - including a hot-air balloon, a locomotive, and an elephant - to win the bet.
Swann’s Way is the first of seven volumes in Remembrance of Things Past. It sets the scene with the narrator’s memories being famously provoked by the taste of that little cake, the madeleine, accompanied by a cup of lime-flowered tea. It is an unmatched portrait of fin-de-siècle France.
The Art of War, compiled by Sun Tzu in the sixth century BC, is the world's oldest surviving military treatise. Long revered as the definitive guide to strategy and tactics on the battlefield, its timeless wisdom is now being applied in the boardroom, on the playing field, and everywhere challenges must be faced.
"The Death of Ivan Ilyich", first published in 1886, is a novella by Leo Tolstoy, one of the masterpieces of his late fiction, written shortly after his religious conversion of the late 1870s. The novel tells the story of the death, at age 45, of a high court judge in 19th century Russia. Living what seems to be a good life, his dreadful relationship with his wife notwithstanding, Ivan Ilyich Golovin bangs his side while putting up curtains in a new apartment intended to reflect his family's superior status in society.
"The Mysterious Island" (French: "L'île mystérieuse") is a novel by Jules Verne, published in 1874. The novel is a crossover sequel to Verne's famous "Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea" and "In Search of the Castaways", though thematically it is vastly different from those books. An early draft of the novel, initially rejected by Verne's publisher and wholly reconceived before publication, was titled "Shipwrecked Family: Marooned With Uncle Robinson".
The story begins with the childhood and exceptional and accomplished youth of Prince Stepan Kasatsky. The young man is destined for great things. He discovers on the eve of his wedding that his fiancée Countess Mary Korotkova has had an affair with his beloved Tsar Nicholas I. The blow to his pride is massive, and he retreats to the arms of Russian Orthodoxy and becomes a monk. Many years of humility and doubt follow. He is ordered to become a hermit.
Written by Louisa May Alcott, Rose in Bloom depicts the story of a nineteenth century girl, Rose Campbell, finding her way in society. Sequel to Eight Cousins.
Jonathan Swift almost defines satire in his biting and brutal pamphlet in which he suggests that poor (Catholic) Irish families should fatten up their children and sell them to the rich (Protestant) land owners, thus solving the twin problems of starving children and poverty in one blow. When the "Proposal" was published in 1729, Swift was quickly attacked, and even accused of barbarity - the exact state the "Proposal" was written to expose.
The story takes place in the extreme conditions of the Yukon during the 19th century Klondike Gold Rush, where strong sled dogs were in high demand. After Buck, a domesticated dog, is snatched from a pastoral ranch in California, he is sold into a brutal life as a sled dog. The novella details Buck's struggle to adjust and survive the cruel treatment he receives from humans, other dogs, and nature. He eventually sheds the veneer of civilization altogether and instead relies on primordial instincts and the lessons he has learned to become a respected and feared leader in the wild.
John Pollen (1855-1923) was an official in the Indian Civil Service. A keen linguist, he learned Russian, Esperanto, and Persian and in 1915 published an English translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. His collection contains 158 quatrains and includes a set of seven prefatory quatrains by Andrew Lang and a foreword by the Aga Khan.
This romance set in Mexico tells of the journey of a native and a white man in search of the fabled Golden City of the Indians.
"A Tale of Two Cities" is set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. With well over 200 million copies sold, it ranks among the most famous works in the history of fictional literature. The novel depicts the plight of the French peasantry demoralized by the French aristocracy in the years leading up to the revolution, the corresponding brutality demonstrated by the revolutionaries toward the former aristocrats in the early years of the revolution.
Rosalie Vanderpoel, the daughter of an American multimillionaire marries an impoverished English baronet and goes to live in England. She all but loses contact with her family in America. Years later her younger sister Bettina, beautiful, intelligent and extremely rich, goes to England to find what has happened to her sister. She finds Rosalie shabby and dispirited, cowed by her husband's ill-treatment. Bettina sets about to rectify matters.
Writing for the Penguin edition, Stevie Davies describes Jane Eyre as an "influential feminist text" because of its in depth exploration of a strong female character's feelings. Primarily of the bildungsroman genre, Jane Eyre follows the emotions and experiences of eponymous Jane Eyre, her growth to adulthood, and her love for Mr. Rochester, the byronic master of Thornfield Hall. The novel contains elements of social criticism, with a strong sense of morality at its core.
"Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe" is a novel by George Eliot. Her third novel, it was first published in 1861. An outwardly simple tale of a reclusive weaver, in its strong realism it represents one of Eliot's most sophisticated treatments of her attitude to religion.
"The Beautiful and Damned", first published by Scribner's in 1922, is F. Scott Fitzgerald's second novel. The novel provides a portrait of the Eastern elite during the Jazz Age, exploring New York Café Society. As with his other novels, Fitzgerald's characters are complex, especially in their marriage and intimacy, much like how he treats intimacy in "Tender Is the Night". The book is believed to be largely based on Fitzgerald's relationship and marriage with Zelda Fitzgerald.
Three trees, known as the Peacock trees, are blamed by the peasants for the fever that has killed many. Squire Vane scoffs at this legend as superstition. To prove them wrong, once and for all, he takes a bet to spend the night in the trees. In the morning he has vanished. Is he dead, and if so who has killed him? The poet? The lawyer? The woodsman? The trees?
"The Glimpses of the Moon" (1922) is about Nick and Susy Lansing, both of whom live a decadent life in Europe by sponging off wealthy friends. They marry out of convenience and have an "open" relationship, but are unprepared for where their feelings will take them.
Rabindranath Tagore, India's foremost writer and the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for literature, is perhaps best known for his tender and passionate tales about human yearning and longing. Here then is a collection of 18 short stories that highlight Tagore's profound vision.
"The American" is a novel by Henry James was originally published as a serial in "The Atlantic Monthly" in 1876-1877 and then as a book in 1877. The novel is an uneasy combination of social comedy and melodrama concerning the adventures and misadventures of Christopher Newman, an essentially good-hearted but rather gauche American businessman on his first tour of Europe. Newman is looking for a world different from the simple, harsh realities of 19th century American business.
"Typee" (in full: "Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life") is American writer Herman Melville's first book, a classic in the literature of travel and adventure partly based on his actual experiences as a captive on the island Nuku Hiva (which Melville spelled as Nukuheva) in the South Pacific Marquesas Islands, in 1842. The title comes from the name of a valley there called Tai Pi Vai. It was Melville's most popular work during his lifetime, but made him notorious as the "man who lived among the cannibals".
"The Encantadas" or "Enchanted Isles" is a novella by American author Herman Melville. First published in Putnam's Magazine in 1854, it consists of ten philosophical "Sketches" on the Encantadas, or Galápagos Islands. It was collected in "The Piazza Tales" in 1856. "The Encantadas" was a success with the critics, but it did not help Melville out of his financial troubles.