Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the '30s. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence, and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man's struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much. To Kill a Mockingbird is a coming-of-age story, an anti-racist novel, a historical drama of the Great Depression and a sublime example of the Southern writing tradition.
Orphaned at an early age, Jane Eyre leads a lonely life until she finds work as a governess at Thornfield Hall, where she meets the mysterious Mr. Rochester and sees a ghostly woman who roams the halls by night. The relationship between the heroine and Mr. Rochester is only one episode, albeit the most important, in a detailed fictional autobiography in which the author transmuted her own experience into high art.
"Ms Bronte would like Ms McCaddon"
In this world of bribes, vendettas and swindling, in which heiresses are gambled and won, Trollope's characters embody all the vices: Lady Carbury is 'false from head to foot'; her son Felix has 'the instincts of a horse, not approaching the higher sympathies of a dog'; and Melmotte - the colossal figure who dominates the book - is a 'horrid, big, rich scoundrel... a bloated swindler... a vile city ruffian'.
A modern masterpiece,The Godfather is a searing portrayal of the 1940s criminal underworld. It is also the intimate story of the Corleone family, at once drawn together and ripped apart by its unique position at the core of the American Mafia. Still shocking 40 years after it was first published, this compelling tale of blackmail, murder, and family values is a true classic.
"Superb and gripping story. It deserves respect."
In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.
On the 75th anniversary of its publication, this outstanding work of literature is more crucial and relevant today than ever before. Cloning, feel-good drugs, anti-aging programs, and total social control through politics, programming and media: has Aldous Huxley accurately predicted our future? With a storyteller's genius, he weaves these ethical controversies in a compelling narrative that dawns in the year 632 A. F. (After Ford, the deity).
"Better than a gram of soma...."
Austen's heroine Elizabeth Bennet deals with the issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of early 19th-century England. Austen at her wittiest.
Daphne du Maurier's young heroine meets the charming Maxim de Winter and despite her youth, they marry and go to Manderley, his home in Cornwall. There, the sinister housekeeper Mrs Danvers and the mystery she keeps alive of his first wife Rebecca - said to have drowned at sea - threatens to overwhelm the marriage.
Sal Paradise, a young innocent, joins his hero Dean Moriarty, a traveller and mystic, the living epitome of Beat, on a breathless, exuberant ride back and forth across the United States. Their hedonistic search for release or fulfilment through drink, sex, drugs and jazz becomes an exploration of personal freedom, a test of the limits of the American dream.
It should have been a lovely English country-house weekend. But the unfortunate guest list is enough to exasperate a saint, and the host, Sir Arthur Billington-Smith, is an abusive wretch hated by everyone - from his disinherited son to his wife's stoic would-be lover. When Sir Arthur is found stabbed to death, no one is particularly grieved and no one has an alibi. The unhappy guests find themselves under the scrutiny of Scotland Yard's cool-headed Inspector Harding, who has solved tough cases before.
"good story well done"
"LOTR - Beautifully read"
A carnival rolls in sometime after the midnight hour on a chill Midwestern October eve, ushering in Halloween a week before its time. A calliope's shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery.
"Ok, but dragged a bit at the end"
Animal Farm is George Orwell's great socio-political allegory set in a farmyard where the animals decide to seize the farmer's land and create a co-operative that reaps the benefits of their combined labours. However, as with all great political plans, some animals see a bigger share of the rewards than others and the animals start to question their supposed utopia.
"A brilliant reading of a classic work"
The modern audience hasn't had a chance to truly appreciate the unknowing dread that readers would have felt when reading Bram Stoker's original 1897 manuscript. Most modern productions employ campiness or sound effects to try to bring back that gothic tension, but we've tried something different. By returning to Stoker's original storytelling structure - a series of letters and journal entries voiced by Jonathan Harker, Dr. Van Helsing, and other characters - with an all-star cast of narrators, we've sought to recapture its originally intended horror and power.
At the heart of Joseph Heller's best-selling novel, first published in 1961, is a satirical indictment of military madness and stupidity, and the desire of the ordinary man to survive it.
A Signature Performance: Elijah Wood becomes the first narrator to bring a youthful voice and energy to the story, perhaps making it the closest interpretation to Twain's original intent.
"A great adventure story"
F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic American novel of the Roaring Twenties is beloved by generations of readers and stands as his crowning work. This new audio edition, authorized by the Fitzgerald estate, is narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain). Gyllenhaal's performance is a faithful delivery in the voice of Nick Carraway, the Midwesterner turned New York bond salesman, who rents a small house next door to the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby. There, he has a firsthand view of Gatsby's lavish West Egg parties - and of his undying love....
Frodo and the Companions of the Ring have been beset by danger during their quest to prevent the Ruling Ring from falling into the hands of the Dark Lord by destroying it in the Cracks of Doom. Now they continue their journey alone down the great River Anduin, alone, that is, save for the mysterious creeping figure that follows wherever they go.
"One 'Book' To Rule Them All!"
Streetwise George and his big, childlike friend Lennie are drifters, searching for work in the fields and valleys of California. They have nothing except the clothes on their back, and a hope that one day they'll find a place of their own and live the American dream. But dreams come at a price. Gentle giant Lennie doesn't know his own strength, and when they find work at a ranch he gets into trouble with the boss's daughter-in-law. Trouble so bad that even his protector George may not be able to save him....
On a dark night, along a lonely country road, barrister Frank Amberley stops to help a young lady in distress and discovers a sports car with a corpse behind the wheel. The girl protests her innocence, and Amberley believes her - at least until he gets drawn into the mystery and the clues incriminating Shirley Brown begin to add up. In an English country-house murder mystery with a twist, it's the butler who's the victim, every clue complicates the puzzle, and the bumbling police are well-meaning but completely baffled.
"A murder mystery murdered by the narrator"
Patrick Bateman is 26 and works on Wall Street. He is handsome, sophisticated, charming, and intelligent. He is also a psychopath. And he is taking us to a head-on collision with America's greatest dream - and its worst nightmare...
"A most uncomfortable and gripping listen!"
Jackson, Mississippi, 1962. Aibileen is a black maid raising her 17th white child. Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is the sassiest woman in Mississippi: a wonderful cook with a gossip's tongue. Graduate Skeeter returns from college with ambitions, but her mother will not be happy until she's married. Although world's apart, Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny's lives converge over a clandestine project that will change the town of Jackson forever.
"Relished every minute"
At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering "the cause of generation and life" and "bestowing animation upon lifeless matter", Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts. However, upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature's hideousness.
It was a dark and stormy night when Mary Crane glimpsed the unlit neon sign announcing the vacancy at the Bates Motel. Exhausted, lost, and at the end of her rope, she was eager for a hot shower and a bed for the night. Her room was musty, but clean, and the manager seemed nice, if a little odd.
Cormac McCarthy, best-selling author of National Book Award winner All the Pretty Horses, delivers his first new novel in seven years. Written in muscular prose, No Country for Old Men is a powerful tale of the West that moves at a blistering pace.
"film success maybe, listen carefully!"
In this 1962 classic, a novelistic exploration of modern crime and punishment, Alex is the 15-year-old leader of his gang of "droogs" thriving in the ultraviolent future as prophetically imagined by Burgess. Speaking a bizarre Russian-derived slang, Alex and his friends freely pillage and slash their way across a nightmarish urban landscape until Alex is captured by the judicial arm of the state. He then becomes their prized guinea pig in a scientific program to completely "redeem" him for society.
This is the disturbing tale of the dual personality of Dr. Jekyll, a physician. A generous and philanthropic man, he is preoccupied with the problems of good and evil and with the possibility of separating them into distinct personalities. He develops a drug that transforms him into the demonic Mr. Hyde, in whose person he exhausts all the latent evil in his nature.
"Martin Jarvis triumphs again!"
Lucy has stumbled upon a marvellous land of fauns and centaurs, nymphs and talking animals. But soon she discovers that it is ruled by the cruel White Witch, and can only be freed by Aslan, the great Lion, and four children.
"A Must Buy."
When Mr. Earnshaw brings a black-haired foundling child into his home on the Yorkshire moors, he little imagines the dramatic events which will follow. The passionate relationship between Cathy Earnshaw and the foundling, Heathcliff, is a story of love, hate, pity, and retribution, the effects of which reverberate throughout the succeeding generations.
"A near perfect Reading."
Penguin presents Roald Dahl's Matilda, read by multi-award-winning actress Kate Winslet. Matilda Wormwood is an extraordinary genius with really stupid parents. Miss Trunchbull is her terrifying headmistress who thinks all her pupils are rotten little stinkers. But Matilda will show these horrible grown-ups that even though she's only small, she's got some very powerful tricks up her sleeve....
Danny is only five years old, but in the words of old Mr Hallorann he is a 'shiner', aglow with psychic voltage. When his father becomes caretaker of the Overlook Hotel, Danny's visions grow out of control. As winter closes in and blizzards cut them off, the hotel seems to develop a life of its own. It is meant to be empty. So who is the lady in Room 217, and who are the masked guests going up and down in the elevator? And why do the hedges shaped like animals seem so alive?
"A classic horror novel"
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was the preeminent figure in late nineteenth century detective fiction. A physician by profession, he soon found such popularity as a writer of detective stories that his writing was far more profitable than his medical practice. The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone is a Sherlock Holmes mystery in which Holmes is in pursuit of a stolen diamond. By the start of the story, he has already solved every aspect of the case except the one crucial point.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was the preeminent figure in late 19th-century detective fiction. A physician by profession, he soon found such popularity as a writer of detective stories that his writing was far more profitable than his medical practice. In The Adventure of the Three Garridebs, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are faced with a very unusual case. A certain Mr. Nathan Garrideb, living a reclusive life in London, has been visited by a Mr. John Garrideb from America.
Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910) was better known by his pen name, Mark Twain. He is widely recognized as one of America's greatest authors and humorists. A Ghost Story is a classic Twain story. The author skillfully builds up layers of atmosphere and tension as he describes spending the night in a spooky house where chains rattle and terrifying apparitions appear...and then Twain amusingly turns the narrative into humour with a hilarious twist. Brilliant!
A solo recording of Julius Caesar in an American dialect.
Award winning narrator Mike Vendetti reads The Mask of the Red Death by Edgar Allen Poe, a Gothic short story that originally appeared in Graham's magazine in May of 1882. This short story later appears as The Masque of the Red Death. The Red death is fictitious, but it is likely that the disease was inspired by tuberculosis (or consumption, as it was known then), since Poe's wife, Virginia, was suffering from the disease at the time the story was written.
Nowadays, it would not seem an insurmountable task to make it around the world in 80 days. Yet, when Jules Verne published this novel in 1873, this was a phenomenon that many doubted was remotely possible. We are at first introduced to Phileas Fogg, who lives in London and has just fired his valet for silly reasons. Fogg then hires Jean Passepartout who, at the time of hire, has no idea of the adventure that his new boss will take him on. Fogg learns that it is now possible to travel around the world - starting and ending up in London - in only 80 days.
Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was an English writer best known for his fictional priest-detective, Father Brown. In The Paradise of Thieves Father Brown is travelling in Italy when he comes across a strange situation. An English family on vacation is in the guidance of a local courier, and the daughter is also flirting with an Italian poet and musician who appears to be something of a lothario. But Father Brown senses that something is not right.
Sir Hugh Seymour Walpole (1884-1941) was a New Zealand-born English novelist and short-story writer. When Charlie Penwin arrives home with a dog, his wife is horrified. Mrs. Penwin agrees to keep the dog only if it is looked after by Blake, the wonderful, talented chauffeur whom she dislikes intensely. Blake and the dog take to each other instantly, but the presence of the dog upsets the equilibrium of the household. Mrs. Blake and Mrs. Penwin hate the dog, as does Mopsa, the family's Sealyham terrier.
In the cosmopolitan Paris of the 1880s, the new proprietors of the Opera House are amused to discover that their costly acquisition is said to be haunted. But their smiles quickly vanish as tragedy follows misfortune: a murdered stagehand, a fatal accident, a missing girl. Fearful tales of the Opera Ghost race through the corridors and dressing rooms of the theatre. And with good reason - for deep in the catacombs beneath the Opera House, something is stirring.
Sir Hugh Seymour Walpole (1884-1941) was a New Zealand-born English novelist famous for his skill at scene setting and vivid plots. He was a best-selling author in the 1920s and 1930s and remains popular to this day. The Silver Mask is a multilayered tale of an elderly lady who falls victim to an insidious but dreadfully attractive confidence trickster. Like a fly trapped in a spiderweb, she cannot extricate herself from the clutches of this gorgeously wicked man...and he is so very attractive...so very, dreadfully attractive....
This collection provides over five hours of radio dramatizations of some of the greatest literature ever written, as adapted, produced, and directed by Joe Bevilacqua.
Old, rich Lord Oakhurst was dying. Everhard Fitzarmond, famous physician, arrived. He drily certified the death of the lord and insensibly took some gold things from the castle. But the main character had some surprises - or curses - for people who treated him badly. The tale will convince you that the law of the boomerang surely exists!
The plot is very witty and amusing. The hero speaks at length about his precious watch. It had been working for months without gaining or losing, but one day something went wrong, and he had to bring it to the watchmaker. Then it happened many times. Eventually the hero killed the next watchmaker. Everything is described in such a funny way you can't help laughing. This story makes you smile even when you hear it for the 10th time. All the experiences of the poor guy with the almost broken watch are depicted very expressively and caustically.
O. Henry was the pen name of William Sydney Porter (1862-1910), an American writer of outstanding short stories, known for their wit, wordplay, warm characterization, and surprise endings. In The Cop and the Anthem, a New York tramp, Soapy, is determined to be arrested and sent to jail on 'The Island' for three months during the coldest part of the winter. But it proves astoundingly difficult to get arrested...however hard he tries, no policeman seems inclined to take him into custody.
Owen Warland enjoys carving intricate figures of birds and flowers and shows mechanical ability. Hence, he is apprenticed to Peter Hovenden, a master watchmaker, with whom, his relatives hope, he will be able to make practical use of his delicate talents. However, Peter is not impressed with Owen's characters. Nevertheless, Peter recognizes his considerable talents but senses that Owen does not care to apply them in a conventional way. Can Owen Warland create beauty at long last or not?
A collection of 45 short stories which threaten to unhinge the listener's mind. Strange phenomena, insane genius, inexplicable happenings and the inability to deal with life and death are all themes which run through this brilliant selection.
"Dr. Heidegger's Experiment" is a short story first published anonymously as "The Fountain of Youth". It is about Dr. Heidegger, a strange old man who once invited four elderly friends to participate in an experiment. He showed them a rose that he claimed was 55 years old. He produced a vase, a gift from a friend, that contained a quantity of water and explained that this water was from the legendary Fountain of Youth. The water caused the old rose to bloom, so Dr. Heidegger's friends became excited and wished to taste the water....
O. Henry was the pen name of William Sydney Porter (1862-1910), an American writer of outstanding short stories, known for their wit, wordplay, warm characterization, and surprise endings.The Clarion Call tells of the chance encounter between two old childhood friends. One, Kernan, is now a burglar who three weeks ago committed his first murder. The other, Woods, is a New York detective. Woods is faced with a terrible dilemma....
O. Henry was the pen name of William Sydney Porter (1862-1910), an American writer of outstanding short stories, known for their wit, wordplay, warm characterization, and surprise endings. This collection contains twelve of his best loved tales: 1. 'The Cactus' 2. 'The Gift of the Magi' 3. 'One Thousand Dollars' 4. 'The Marionettes' 5. 'The Furnished Room' 6. 'The Unknown Quantity' 7. 'Memoirs of a Yellow Dog' 8. 'The Venturers' 9. 'The Ransom of Red Chief '10. 'The Last Leaf '11. 'The Cop and the Anthem' 12. T'he Clarion Call'
With well over 200 million copies sold, this novel ranks among the most famous works in the history of fictional literature. It 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, and many unflattering social parallels with life in London during the same time period.
Tim Mison, star of the hit Fox series Sleepy Hollow, narrates the classic Washington Irving short story. In the secluded Dutch territory of Sleepy Hollow, nebbish schoolmaster Ichabod Crane competes with the town hero for the hand of Katrina Van Tassel, the 18-year-old daughter and sole child of a wealthy farmer. As Crane leaves a party at the Van Tassel's farm one autumn evening, he is pursued by the Headless Horseman, an apparition said to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper snuffed out by a stray cannonball.
"First time hearing it..."
To the Lighthouse is Virginia Woolf's arresting analysis of domestic family life, centering on the Ramseys and their visits to the Isle of Skye in Scotland in the early 1900s. Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge, Eyes Wide Shut), who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Woolf in the film adaptation of Michael Cunningham's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Hours, brings the impressionistic prose of this classic to vibrant life.
Mrs. Dalloway, perhaps Virginia Woolf's greatest novel, vividly follows English socialite Clarissa Dalloway as she prepares for a party in post-World War I London. Four-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening (American Beauty, The Kids Are All Right) brings Woolf's stream-of-consciousness style of storytelling to life, exploring the hidden springs of thought and action in one day of a woman's life in a brilliant performance.
Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden. Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television "family."
"Well read, intriguing, but ultimately lacking."
Narrator Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) presents an uncanny performance of Mary Shelley's timeless gothic novel, an epic battle between man and monster at its greatest literary pitch. In trying to create life, the young student Victor Frankenstein unleashes forces beyond his control, setting into motion a long and tragic chain of events that brings Victor to the very brink of madness. How he tries to destroy his creation, as it destroys everything Victor loves, is a powerful story of love, friendship, scientific hubris, and horror.
A Signature Performance: Kenneth Branagh plays this like a campfire ghost story, told by a haunted, slightly insane Marlow.
"Heart of Darkness - Read by Kenneth Branagh"
A Signature Performance: Leelee Sobieski's Emma is sultry but vulnerable, offering a sympathetic rendering of the heroine and her plight, allowing the listener to draw his own conclusions about Madame Bovary in this cautionary tale of love, passion, and desperation.
A Signature Performance: Tim Curry, the source of our inspiration, returns - this time, he captures the quirky enthusiasm of this goofily visionary adventure.
Once upon a time, a teenaged Kate Winslet (The Reader, Titanic, Revolutionary Road) received a gift that would leave a lasting impression: a copy of Emile Zola's classic Thérèse Raquin. Six Academy Award nominations and one Best Actress award later, she steps behind the microphone to perform this haunting classic of passion and disaster.
"gripping and vivid"
A Signature Performance: Four-time Emmy Award winner David Hyde Pierce delivers an air of lovable self-importance in his rendition of the classic social satire that remains as fresh today as the day it was published.
"Lively and unusual"
For anyone who's in love - or hopes to be - what greater celebration could there be than to hear the world's greatest love poetry read lovingly by Richard Armitage? With 15 poems by William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and more, Classic Love Poems is a listening treat for Valentine's Day - or any day.
When Johnny Pascoe attempts to rescue a sick girl from the Tasmanian outback, his plane crashes, leaving him dangerously injured. Ronnie Clarke, who was trained by Pascoe, endeavours to fly a doctor in to help but this proves more difficult than he imagined.
As he waits overnight at Pascoe's house, preparing to try again the following day, Clarke revisits the past of this unusual man - and reveals the shocking and tragic secrets that have influenced his life.
New doctor Andrew Manson looks forward to his post in a Welsh mining community, but he finds practicing medicine in such primitive conditions very different from his training. He makes friends, but also enemies. First published in 1937, this book was groundbreaking in its treatment of the contentious theme of medical ethics. It is credited with laying the foundation in Great Britain for the introduction of the Nation Health Service a decade later.
One of the best-known stories in American culture, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has stirred the imagination of young and old alike for over 100 years. Best Actress nominee Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married, Alice in Wonderland), fresh from filming one of this year's most anticipated films (The Dark Knight Rises), lends her voice to this uniquely American fairy tale.
A young English woman leaves her ageing parents to visit friends living in the Australian outback, where she quickly falls in love - both with the country and with Carl, a doctor and Czech refugee. Brought together through dramatic encounters and strange twists of fate, their relationship hangs in the balance when Jennifer is called back to England.