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.
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."
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.
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....
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.
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!"
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.
"LOTR - Beautifully read"
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....
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 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."
Pip is an orphan, brought up in a village on the Essex marshes by his sister and her husband Joe Gargery, the kind-hearted village blacksmith. Life is harsh until Pip receives from an anonymous benefactor the chance of escaping the forge. But his expectations are fraught with difficulties as he passes from childhood to adulthood and discovers his true self.
When Fanny Price is sent to live with her wealthy relations at Mansfield Park she seems shy and withdrawn beside her witty and vivacious cousins. But Fanny's steadfast and purposeful character makes her an indispensable part of the household. As the others become entangled in a maze of flirtation and intrigue, it is only Fanny whose deep but secret love for Edmund Bertram remains true despite his fascination with her brilliant but frivolous cousin Mary.
"Very enjoyable but check narration"
The Companions of the Ring have become involved in separate adventures as the quest continues. Aragon, revealed as the hidden heir of the ancient Kings of the West, joined with the Riders of Rohan against the forces of Isengard, and took part in the desperate victory of the Hornburg. Merry and Pippin, captured by orcs, escaped into Fangorn Forest and there encountered the Ents. And all the time the armies of the Dark Lord are massing.
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.
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...."
As a young black woman living in 1930s Georgia, Celie faces constant violence and oppression. Raped repeatedly by her father, she loses two children and then is married off to a man who treats her like a slave. But a deep bond with her husband's mistress teaches her she is a woman capable of being loved and respected. Gradually, Celie begins to leave the past behind and start a new life.
"I loved it!"
Dorothea Brooke is an ardent idealist who represses her vivacity and intelligence for the cold, theological pedant Casaubon. One man understands her true nature: the artist Will Ladislaw. But how can love triumph against her sense of duty and Casaubon's mean spirit? Meanwhile, in the little world of Middlemarch, the broader world is mirrored: the world of politics, social change, and reforms, as well as betrayal, greed, blackmail, ambition, and disappointment.
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"
Richard Barham Middleton (1882-1911) was an English poet and author who is remembered mostly for his short ghost stories and supernatural tales. 'The Conjurer' is a short story about a stage performer whose act includes juggling and magic tricks. In one trick he makes his pretty young female assistant, who happens to be his wife, disappear. It is a pretty dull trick, but the audience applauds wildly, much too enthusiastically.... Why on Earth can that be?
Arthur Gray (1852-1940) wrote under the pseudonym Ingulphus for several years, and it was only in 1919 when his stories were collected as Tedious Brief Tales of Granta and Gramarye under Gray's own name that the identity of the author was discovered. 'The Everlasting Club' is a peculiar ghost story set in Jesus College Cambridge.
There are certain stories which stand out from the crowd owing to the unique creativity of the plot and the skill with which the author unfolds his tale. This selection contains 50 of the most ingenious short stories ever written. Includes: 'The Lighthouse on Shivering Sand' by J. S. Fletcher; 'The Umbrella' by Arnold Bennett; 'The Lovely Lady' by D. H. Lawrence; 'The Lake' by W. F. Harvey; 'A Tiger's Skin' by W. W. Jacobs; and 'The Strange Case of Mr. Todmorden' by F. Britten Austin.
Richard Barham Middleton (1882-1911) was an English poet and author who is remembered mostly for his short ghost stories, of which 'The Ghost Ship' is the most famous. It is one of the few stories in literature which combines a ghostly theme with lightening humour. Middleton suffered from severe depression for much of his life (then known as melancholia) and committed suicide by poisoning himself with chloroform at the age of 29.
Richard Barham Middleton (1882-1911) was an English poet and author who is remembered mostly for his supernatural short ghost stories, in particular 'The Ghost Ship', 'The Conjurer' and 'On the Brighton Road'. 'On the Brighton Road' is a strange tale of a homeless man who is trudging between London and Brighton when he meets a fragile-looking young boy, also homeless, who offers to walk with him for a while.
This story describes travel to America in the Middle Ages. The author narrates the story of Columbus' trip, about the adventures he faced and his feelings about the journey. Listen to the story till the end to know what happened!
Hesketh Vernon Hesketh-Prichard (1876-1922) was a writer, explorer, adventurer, cricketer and marksman who made a significant contribution to sniping techniques in the British Army during the First World War. Hesketh-Prichard and his mother wrote together under the pseudonyms H. Heron and E. Heron. Together they created a series of stories around the character Flaxman Low, the first psychic detective of fiction.
E. T. A. Hoffmann (1776-1822) was a German Romantic author of fantasy and horror as well as a jurist, composer, music critic, draftsman and caricaturist. His stories were highly influential during the 19th century, and he is one of the major authors of the Romantic movement. 'The Cremona Violin' is the story of Councillor Krespel, an eccentric violin maker who lives with a mysterious woman, Antonia, who has the most beautiful singing voice ever heard by anyone in the town, but she was only ever heard to sing once.
Cadmus Henry, mounted on one of the finest mares in Virginia and perfectly turned out from head to toe, dreams of charging intrepidly into battle under the orders of General Lee himself. Unfortunately, young Cadmus can write and is therefore assigned to a desk. But when an unexpected chance to volunteer for scout duty presents itself, Cadmus jumps at it. He learns too late that rather than riding into battle and proving himself a hero, he will be floating over enemy lines in a balloon.
In 1756, New York State was still a British colony, and the French and the Indians were constant threats to young Edward and his family. When his father was called away to watch for a raid from the north, only Edward was left to protect Mama and little Trudy. His father had shown him how to use the huge matchlock gun, an old Spanish gun that was twice as long as he was, but would Edward be able to handle it if trouble actually came?
Edmée Elizabeth Monica Dashwood, née de la Pasture (1890-1943), was a prolific English author who wrote under the pseudonym E. M. Delafield. She is best known for her largely autobiographical Diary of a Provincial Lady, which took the form of a journal of the life of an upper-middle class Englishwoman living mostly in a Devon village of the 1930s. In 'Squirrel in a Cage', she tells the story of the ending of a relationship between two lovers.
An adventuresome youth determined to travel the world, Tom Whipple leaves his mother in New York and signs up for sea duty on a ship bound for Russia. As he sails, he makes up his mind to see the czar - and to present him with a gift.
When John Haskell's father dies, he leaves behind a mountain of debt for his family to overcome. John had never given much thought to his father's financial iniquities, but now he finds himself faced with the responsibility of paying back those who are owed. With the aid of an Indian trapper, John sets about the hard work of clearing his family's name. Through two harsh winters he goes fur trapping - and emerges a man on the other side.
In this classic short story, Newbery Medal-winning author Walter D. Edmonds tells the story of Uncle Ben, who, free of his domineering wife for a spell, finds a whale in the bay while out with his friend, Henry. When they bring it back with them, they discover they can earn a little cash by turning it into a sideshow attraction.
Jan Nepomuk Neruda (1834-1891) was born in Prague, Bohemia, the son of a small grocer. After studying philosophy and philology, he worked as a teacher until 1860, when he became a freelance journalist and writer. 'The Vampire' is a strange tale of a group of tourists visiting an idyllic spot outside Constantinople in the company of a charming but oddly sinister Greek artist who seems to be at pains to ensure nobody can look over his shoulder and see what he is sketching.
This short story, pulled from Seven American Stories and originally published in Harper's in 1930, is a classic of historical fiction.
Clumsy, diffident Dick Mount and clever Maggie Gordon live in isolated clearings in New York's Mohawk Valley. Both just 16, they are young and inexperienced - and unprepared for the tragedies that will befall them. When Dick's brothers are killed by marauding Indians in the fall of 1777 and Maggie's father falls desperately ill, they must turn to each other to face the perils of the time.
Told from the point of view of William Crimsworth, the only male narrator that Bronte used, the work formulated a new aesthetic that questioned many of the presuppositions of Victorian society. Bronte's hero escapes from a humiliating clerkship in a Yorkshire mill to find work as a teacher in Belgium, where he falls in love with an impoverished student-teacher, who is perhaps the author's most realistic feminist heroine.
The young Oliver is orphaned practically at birth, and when he grows up, he is passed off to several people who simply put him to work without really caring for him. Oliver escapes after being put to work by a coffin-maker, yet his new found freedom leads him right to a few individuals who do not have his best interests in mind. They're so-called friends who take him in, yet they have the intention of priming him to be a pick-pocket. But with each downturn in his life, there is a corresponding up-swing for Oliver.
Jerome Klapka Jerome (1859-1927) was an English writer and humourist. The Cost of Kindness is an ironic tale about a congregation desperate to see the back of their cantankerous and highly unpopular vicar. Fortunately the dreadful man has agreed to leave and is preparing a vituperative final sermon admonishing his ungrateful flock for ousting him. But then the churchwarden's wife decides it would be only Christian to show the horrid man some sympathy....
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"
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"
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 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.
"So much better than the film"
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..."
On Anarchism provides the reasoning behind Noam Chomsky's fearless lifelong questioning of the legitimacy of entrenched power. In these essays, Chomsky redeems one of the most maligned ideologies, anarchism, and places it at the foundation of his political thinking. Chomsky's anarchism is distinctly optimistic and egalitarian. Moreover, it is a living, evolving tradition that is situated in a historical lineage; Chomsky's anarchism emphasizes the power of collective, rather than individualist, action.
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.
"Sending it, back"
When war broke out in 1914, Somerset Maugham was dispatched by the British Secret Service to Switzerland under the guise of completing a play. Multilingual, knowledgeable about many European countries, and a celebrated writer, Maugham had the perfect cover, and the assignment appealed to his love of romance, and of the ridiculous. The stories collected in Ashenden are rooted in Maugham's own experiences as an agent, reflecting the ruthlessness and brutality of espionage, its intrigue and treachery, as well as its absurdity.
"Dryly witty, with a splinter of ice at its heart"
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"
A Signature Performance: Tim Curry, the source of our inspiration, returns - this time, he captures the quirky enthusiasm of this goofily visionary adventure.
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.
Based on the true story of Alexander Selkirk, who survived alone for almost five years on an uninhabited island off the coast of Chile, The Mysterious Island is considered by many to be Jules Verne's masterpiece. "Wide-eyed mid-nineteenth-century humanistic optimism in a breezy, blissfully readable translation by Stump" (Kirkus Reviews), here is the enthralling tale of five men and a dog who land in a balloon on a faraway, fantastic island of bewildering goings-on and their struggle to survive....
"in the words of Pencroft, Hoorah!"
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"
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.
Set amid the corrupt glamour and multiplying intrigues of Alexandria, Egypt, in the 1930s and 1940s, the novels of Durrell's Alexandria Quartet (of which this is the first) follow the shifting alliances - sexual, cultural and political - of a group of quite varied characters. In Justine, an English schoolmaster and struggling writer falls in love with a beautiful and mysterious Jewish woman who is married to a wealthy Egyptian.
Set on the French Riviera in the late 1920s, Tender Is the Night is the tragic romance of the young actress Rosemary Hoyt and the stylish American couple Dick and Nicole Diver. A brilliant young psychiatrist at the time of his marriage, Dick is both husband and doctor to Nicole, whose wealth goads him into a lifestyle not his own, and whose growing strength highlights Dick's harrowing demise. A profound study of the romantic concept of character - lyrical, expansive, and hauntingly evocative.