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.
"One of my favourites"
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.
A Signature Performance: Tim Curry, the source of our inspiration, returns - this time, he captures the quirky enthusiasm of this goofily visionary adventure.
"Whiled away a very long drive!"
India is often reputed to be the home of the fairy tale. Here are some of the best from the sub-continent, from the Jatakas to the folktales of Kashmir. You'll hear stories about the evil magician Punchkin, the magic fiddle, and more.
The Ramayana is one of the best-known epics in the world. It is the tale of Rama, the Prince of Ayodhya, who exiles himself to the forest for 14 years to honor his father's Word. In the forest, Rama, his wife, Sita, and his brother, Lakshmana, meet new friends and unusual foes, and each day brings new adventures. But Ravana of Lanka, the King of Demons, ruins it all by abducting Sita. To rescue her, Rama enlists the help of Hanuman and his monkey army.
"Thoroughly enjoyed the telling of this story"
This Very Short Introduction to classics links a haunting temple on a lonely mountainside to the glory of ancient Greece and the grandeur of Rome, and to Classics within modern culture - from Jefferson and Byron to Asterix and Ben-Hur.
"Very difficult for the novice."
In the six volumes of the Library of the World's Best Mystery and Detective Stories, Julian Hawthorne presents us thrilling and mysterious short stories from all corners of the world. Some of the stories appeared in this 1907 collection for the first time translated into English, and many of them come from unexpected sources, such as the letters of Pliny the Younger, or a Tibetan manuscript. In the first volume, we find stories written by American authors.
"library of the worlds best mystery & detective sto"
Here are 22 charming Japanese Fairy Tales, translated by Yei Theodora Ozaki, including "My Lord Bag of Rice", "The Tongue-Cut Sparrow", "The Story of Urashima Taro, the Fisher Lad", "The Farmer and the Badger", "The Shinansha, or the South Pointing Carriage", "The Adventures of Kintaro, the Golden Boy", "The Story of Princess Hase", "The Story of the Man Who Did Not Wish to Die", "The Bamboo-Cutter and the Moonchild", "The Mirror of Matsuyama", and more.
Here is a minor classic of the Orient. It is perhaps the most entertaining, most charming explanation and interpretation of traditional Japanese culture in terms of the tea ceremony. First published in 1906, it traces the custom from its roots in Taoism to its role as a Zen meditative discipline.
This is George Dasent's classic collection of Scandinavian folklore. This is not about Norse mythology per se; so if you are looking for tales of Odin, Loki, and Freya etc., you will have to look elsewhere. Rather, this is an anthology of folk tales, similar to the Grimm Brothers', or Campbell's Popular Tales of the West Highlands. All of the usual suspects are in place, including giants, trolls, witches, evil step-siblings, magical boons and tasks, and anthropomorphic animals.
Returning to Kyoto, where temple bells announce the New Year, a grave and penitent Oki is drawn to a haunting obsession from his past. Gently lyrical, yet fierce with the stark intensity of passion, Kawabata's last novel tells the story of the lasting consequences of a brief love affair.
Like Kafka's The Castle, Invitation to a Beheading embodies a vision of a bizarre and irrational world. In an unnamed dream country, the young man Cincinnatus C. is condemned to death by beheading for "gnostical turpitude", an imaginary crime that defies definition.
Xenophon was a Greek who admired and studied with Socrates. He marched with the Spartans and later was exiled from Athens. He wrote about the history of his times, the sayings of Socrates and about life in Greece. Edward Bysshe translated Xenophone's work in 1702. This translation has continued to have an excellent reputation. In this work Xenophon discusses the views of life taught by Socrates.
Full of mischief, valor, ribaldry, and romance, The Arabian Nights has enthralled readers for centuries. These are the tales that saved the life of Scheherazade, whose husband, the king, executed each of his wives after a single night of marriage. Beginning an enchanting story each evening, Scheherazade always withheld the ending: A thousand and one nights later, her life was spared forever.
This is a sensitive exploration of the joys and pleasures of physical consummation. The Kama Sutra has often been described as "the first sexual manual", but the original Hindu script has a strong religious basis, and highlights love in all its forms.
The Forged Coupon is a novella in two parts by Leo Tolstoy. Though he first conceived of the story in the late 1890s, he did not begin writing it until 1902. After struggling for several years, he finally completed the story in 1904; however, it was not published until some of Tolstoy's shorter works were collected and anthologized after his death in 1910.
The story of the doomed love affair of a wealthy sophisticate, Shimamura, and the geisha Komako, at a mountain hotspring resort in western Japan, one of the snowiest regions on earth.
"Didn't finish it"
The first novel Nabokov wrote while living in America, and the most overtly political novel he ever wrote, Bend Sinister is a modern classic. While it is filled with veiled puns and characteristically delightful wordplay, it is, first and foremost, a haunting and compelling narrative about a civilized man caught in the tyranny of a police state. Professor Adam Krug, the country's foremost philosopher, offers the only hope of resistance to Paduk, dictator and leader of the Party of the Average Man.
A high government official is shot on the street, and the hunt for the killer begins. The search leads all over the world, netting a series of suspects whose only connection is their innocence - at least of this crime. But The Case of Comrade Tulayev, the best novel about the Stalinist purges, is also a classic tale of risk and adventure that stands beside For Whom the Bell Tolls. It is a masterpiece, now available again after 30 years.
With a restraint that barely conceals the ferocity of his characters' passions, one of Japan's great postwar novelists tells the luminous story of Kikuji and the tea party he attends with Mrs. Ota, the rival of his dead father's mistress. A tale of desire, regret, and sensual nostalgia, every gesture has a meaning, and even the most fleeting touch or casual utterance has the power to illuminate entire lives - sometimes in the same moment that it destroys them.
Elegiac, bittersweet and profoundly moving, The Leopard chronicles the turbulent transformation of the Risorgimento, in the period of Italian Unification. The waning feudal authority of the elegant and stately Prince of Salina is pitted against the materialistic cunning of Don Calogero, in Tomasi's magnificently descriptive memorial to a dying age.
"The Leopard by Tomasi Lampedusa"
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.
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.
"An epic reading"
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.
"Beautiful story - poor performance!"
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.
"Beautiful, Addictive, Rewarding"
The outcast youth Ishmael, succumbing to wanderlust during a dreary New England autumn, signs up for passage aboard a whaling ship. The Pequod sails under the command of the one-legged Captain Ahab, who has set himself on a monomaniacal quest to capture the cunning white whale that robbed him of his leg: Moby-Dick. Capturing life on the sea with robust realism, Melville details the adventures of the colorful crew aboard the ship as Ahab pursues his crusade of revenge, heedless of all cost.
"better off with an abridged version?"
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.
"I knew I'd never read it"
The Devil comes to Moscow, but he isn't all bad; Pontius Pilate sentences a charismatic leader to his death, but yearns for redemption; and a writer tries to destroy his greatest tale, but discovers that manuscripts don't burn. Multi-layered and entrancing, blending sharp satire with glorious fantasy, The Master and Margarita is ceaselessly inventive and profoundly moving. In its imaginative freedom and raising of eternal human concerns, it is one of the world's great novels.
He was the father of the occult, the founder of astrology, the discoverer of alchemy. He was Hermes Trismegistus, and as the scribe of the gods of ancient Egypt, he possessed all divine knowledge... which he passed on to humanity, though only those who have been tutored in its wonders can fully understand it.In this extraordinary 1912 book, three secret initiates to his teachings - who remain anonymous to this day - share their insight with all who seek to understand the mysterious underpinnings of the universe and our relationship with it.
Considered one of China's great classical novels, Wu Ch'êng-ên's Journey to the West was translated by Arthur Waley in abridged form as Monkey in 1942 and has delighted English readers ever since. It is a riveting adventure story about a priest's quest to obtain holy Buddhist scriptures for the Tang emperor; joining him on this rollicking journey: Sandy, Pigsy, and the mischievous monkey king, Sun Wukong, whose flying cloud and magic cudgel are never far from his infamous deeds.
This most celebrated collections of tales feature shape-shifting and miraculous transportation across continents, powerful jinn who rise like smoke from simple vessels, and dreams that delve into the secrets of the subconscious. This innovative book retells a selection of tales that have captured the imaginations of countless people over many centuries. Accompanying each is a contemporary short story that reframes the messages and teachings of the original, specifically written for an adult audience.
"Best Religious Writer Alive"
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.
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.
"A small story worth reading"
Dante's Divine Comedy is considered to be not only the most important epic poem in Italian literature, but also one of the greatest poems ever written. It consists of 100 cantos, and (after an introductory canto) they are divided into three sections. Each section is 33 cantos in length, and they describe how Dante and a guide travel through Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso.
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".
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.
"Life, A User's Manual"
'Lady B. stays to tea. (Mem.: Bread-and-butter too thick. Speak to Ethel.) We talk some more about bulbs, the Dutch School of Painting, our Vicar's wife, sciatica, and All Quiet on the Western Front. (Query: is it possible to cultivate the art of conversation when living in the country all the year round?)' If the question suggests a qualified answer, there is no doubt that the art of diary writing is alive and well and very, very funny in Devonshire in the 1920s. At least in the hands of E. M. Delafield.
"Excellent Reading of my favourite book."