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.
"DO NOT MISS THIS!"
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....
"Great classic story, but dreary narration"
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."
"will be recommending, sorry and performance. "
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 slow, meandering journey"
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.
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.
A classic work that has charmed generations of listeners, this collection assembles Carson McCullers's best stories, including her beloved novella The Ballad of the Sad Café. A haunting tale of a human triangle that culminates in an astonishing brawl, the novella introduces listeners to Miss Amelia, a formidable southern woman whose café serves as the town's gathering place.
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.
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.
"Not for me"
Bradbury's Mars is a place of hope, dreams, and metaphor - of crystal pillars and fossil seas - where a fine dust settles on the great, empty cities of a silently destroyed civilization. It is here the invaders have come to despoil and commercialize, to grow and to learn - first a trickle, then a torrent, rushing from a world with no future toward a promise of tomorrow. The Earthman conquers Mars...and then is conquered by it, lulled by dangerous lies of comfort and familiarity, and enchanted by the lingering glamour of an ancient, mysterious native race.
"Not what I expected... so much more!"
This is the autobiographical novel by Harriet Wilson, the first African-American to publish a novel in North America. Originally published in 1859, it was rediscovered in 1982.
After being denied admission to a Masonic lodge in Batavia, William Morgan secured a sizable advance from a local newspaper publisher for this work. That publisher, David Cade Miller, released this book after Morgan's death, presumably at the hands of the Masons. Because of the notoriety of the previous events, The Mysteries of Free Masonry Containing All the Degrees of the Order Conferred in a Master's Lodge became an instant best seller and an American classic.
Having inspired a classic film and Broadway play, The Caine Mutiny is Herman Wouk's boldly dramatic, brilliantly entertaining novel of life-and mutiny-on a Navy warship in the Pacific theater. It was immediately embraced upon its original publication as one of the first serious works of American fiction to grapple with the moral complexities and the human consequences of the Second World War. In the intervening half century, this gripping story has become a perennial favorite, selling millions throughout the world, and claiming the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
"a great story about life in the WWII US Navy"
Boston blueblood Charlotte Vale has led an unhappy, sheltered life. Lonely, dowdy, repressed, and pushing 40, Charlotte finds salvation at a sanitarium, where she undergoes an emotional and physical transformation. After her extreme makeover, the new Charlotte tests her mettle by embarking on a cruise and finds herself in a torrid love affair with a married man which ends at the conclusion of the voyage. But only then can the real journey begin, as Charlotte is forced to navigate a new life for herself.
The best way to experience this classic of the American South is by joining five-time Academy Award nominee and Best Actress winner Susan Sarandon (Dead Man Walking, Thelma & Louise) as she guides the listener on a journey through the anguish of adolescence and isolation.
It is 1948 and a young American couple arrive in France for a holiday, full of anticipation and enthusiasm. But the countryside and people are war-battered, and their reception at the Chateau Beaumesnil is not all the open-hearted Americans could wish for.
"Banality posing as Literature"
This true modern masterpiece is built around the two fateful words that make up the title and herald the end - "Alas, Babylon." When a nuclear holocaust ravages the United States, a thousand years of civilization are stripped away overnight, and tens of millions of people are killed instantly. But for one small town in Florida, miraculously spared, the struggle is just beginning, as men and women of all backgrounds join together to confront the darkness....
"Classic... Nuclear War 1950s setting."
Published in 1904, The Golden Bowl is the last completed novel of Henry James. In it, the widowed American Adam Verver is in Europe with his daughter Maggie. They are rich, finely appreciative of European art and culture, and deeply attached to each other. Maggie has all the innocent charm of so many of Jamess young American heroines. She is engaged to Amerigo, an impoverished Italian prince; he must marry money, and as his name suggests, an American heiress is the perfect solution.
"Sticking to print, for now"
From Boston's social underworld emerges Verena Tarrant, a girl with extraordinary oratorical gifts, which she deploys in tawdry meeting-houses on behalf of "the sisterhood of women". She acquires two admirers of a very different stamp: Olive Chancellor, devotee of radical causes, and marked out for tragedy; and Basil Ransom, veteran of the Civil War, with rigid views concerning society and women's place therein. Is the lovely, lighthearted Verena made for public movements or private passions?
A Signature Performance: Oscar nominee and passionate vegan Casey Affleck highlights the more-relevant-than-ever issues of business ethics and food production in Upton Sinclair's meatpacking industry bombshell.
"Finally got around to it"
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.
John Fowles's The Magus was a literary landmark of the 1960s. Nicholas Urfe goes to a Greek island to teach at a private school and becomes enmeshed in curious happenings at the home of a mysterious Greek recluse, Maurice Conchis. Are these events, involving attractive young English sisters, just psychological games, or an elaborate joke, or more? Reality shifts as the story unfolds. The Magus reflected the issues of the 1960s perfectly, and it continues to create tension and concern today.
'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.' A lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic novel - a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. 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.
"One of the greats."
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.
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....
"Sad, but true-like"
Doremus Jessup, a newspaper editor, is dismayed to find that many of the people he knows support presidential candidate Berzelius Windrip. The suspiciously fascist Windrip is offering to save the nation from sex, crime, welfare cheats, and a liberal press. But after Windrip wins the election, dissent soon becomes dangerous for Jessup. Windrip forcibly gains control of Congress and the Supreme Court and, with the aid of his personal paramilitary storm troopers, turns the United States into a totalitarian state.
"A story for our times"
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.
In a scrap heap within an abandoned factory, the greatest invention in history lies dormant and unused. By what fatal error of judgment has its value gone unrecognized, its brilliant inventor punished rather than rewarded for his efforts? In defense of those greatest of human qualities that have made civilization possible, one man sets out to show what would happen to the world if all the heroes of innovation and industry went on strike.
"John Galt would have liked it"
Shocking and controversial when it was first published, Steinbeck's Pulitzer prize-winning epic remains his undisputed masterpiece. Set against the background of Dust Bowl Oklahoma and Californian migrant life, it tells of the Joad family, who, like thousands of others, are forced to travel west in search of the promised land.
"A book with a great voice"
James Purefoy stars in this BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of Robert M. Pirsig's multi-million best-selling philosophical novel. One of the most important and influential books of the past half-century, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance tells the iconic story of a father and son's motorcycle trip across America in the 1960s. Yet it also describes a personal and philosophical journey. Now dramatised for the first time by Peter Flannery and starring James Purefoy, this full-cast drama adds a new and original dimension to a true modern classic.
A selection of Poe's greatest tales: The Purloined Letter, The Thousand And Second Tale Of Scheherazade, A Descent Into The Maelstrom, Von Kempelen And His Discovery, Mesmeric Revelation, The Facts In The Case Of M. Valedemar, The Black Cat, The Fall Of The House Of Usher, Silence, The Mask Of The Red Death, The Cask Of Amontillado, The Imp Of The Perverse, The Island Of The Fey, The Assignation, The Pit And The Pendulum, The Premature Burial, The Domain Of Arnheim.
Believing that a good, interesting life is marked by quality, not quantity, John Steinbeck took note of his itchy feet and prepared to travel. He was accompanied by his French poodle, Charley, diplomat and watchdog, across the states of America from Maine to California. Moving through woods and forests, dirt tracks and highways to large cities and wildernesses, Steinbeck observed America and the Americans with a humorous and sometimes sceptical eye.
The Old Man and the Sea is one of Hemingway's most enduring works. Told in language of great simplicity and power, it is the story of an old Cuban fisherman, down on his luck, and his supreme ordeal, a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Here Hemingway recasts, in strikingly contemporary style, the classic theme of courage in the face of defeat, of personal triumph won from loss.
"A truly beautiful story"
The Portrait of a Lady tells the compelling and ultimately tragic tale of a beautiful young American woman's encounter with European sophistication. Set principally in England and Italy, the story follows Isabel Archer's fortunes as a variety of admirers vie for her hand. Her choice will be crucial, and she is not wanting for advice, whether from the generous-spirited Ralph Touchett or the charming Madame Merle.
Moby-Dick is widely considered to be the Great American Novel and a treasure of world literature. The story details the adventures of the wandering sailor Ishmael and his voyage on the whale ship Pequod, commanded by Captain Ahab. Ishmael soon learns that Ahab seeks one specific whale: Moby Dick, a ferocious, enigmatic white sperm whale. In a previous encounter, the whale destroyed Ahab's boat and bit off his leg. And Ahab intends to take revenge.
Waterstone's book of the year. Colum McCann once called Stoner one of the great forgotten novels of the past century, but it seems it is forgotten no longer - in 2013, translations of Stoner began appearing on best-seller lists across Europe. William Stoner enters the University of Missouri at 19 to study agriculture. A seminar on English literature changes his life, and he never returns to work on his father's farm. Stoner becomes a teacher. He marries the wrong woman.
"Dark and beautiful"
One of the 20th century's most challenging novels of ideas, The Fountainhead champions the cause of individualism through the story of a gifted young architect who defies the tyranny of conventional public opinion. The struggle for personal integrity in a world that values conformity above creativity is powerfully illustrated through three characters: Howard Roarke, a genius; Gail Wynand, a newspaper mogul and self-made millionaire; and Dominique Francon, a devastating beauty.
"Romantic Objectivity at it's finest"