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.
"An old favourite beautifully read"
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!"
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.
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."
Miles Franklin began the candid, passionate, and contrary My Brilliant Career when she was only 16, intending for it to be the Australian answer to Jane Eyre. This thinly veiled autobiographical tale of a young girl hungering for life and love in the outback was so beyond its years when first released in 1901 that Franklin insisted it not be published again until 10 years after her death. My Brilliant Career is a coming of age story for all of the ages.
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.
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.
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.
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"
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.
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 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"
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.
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.
These classic fables use simple allegories to convey universal truths. Though it is unkown if Aesop ever actually existed, dating back to the sixth century, BC, these fables are known in cultures throughout the world and have been translated into many languages.
Dostoevsky's Underground Man is a composite of the tormented clerk and the frustrated dreamer of his earlier stories, but his Notes from the Underground is a precursor of his great later novels and their central concern with the nature of free will. Initially musing on his "sickness" and the detested notion of self-interest, the maladjusted and willful Underground Man turns to a series of incidents from years earlier.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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!"
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"
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"
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....
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.
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"
When Arkady Petrovich comes home from college, his father finds his eager, naive son changed almost beyond recognition, for the impressionable Arkady has fallen under the powerful influence of the friend he has brought with him. A self-proclaimed nihilist, the ardent young Bazarov shocks Arkady's father by criticising the landowning way of life and by his outspoken determination to sweep away the traditional values of contemporary Russian society.
"A good book, ending not as good as the rest "
Here are three key works by Sigmund Freud which, published in the first decades of the 20th century, underpinned his developing views and had such a dramatic effect on world society. In the uncompromising Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905), he declared that 'sexual aberrations' are not limited to the insane but exist in 'normal' people to a greater or lesser degree. The three essays are divided between sexual perversions, childhood sexuality and puberty.
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.
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.
"Harish Bhimani brings the text alive"
'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."
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"
Die unglaubliche Geschichte des U-Bootes U96 und seiner den Elementen und dem Irrsinn des Krieges ausgelieferten Besatzung...