Edith Wharton became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction with this 1920 novel about Old New York society. Newland Archer is wealthy, well-bred, and engaged to the beautiful May Welland. But he finds himself drawn to May's cousin Ellen Olenska, who has been living in Europe and who has returned following a scandalous separation from her husband.
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.
"Salvation for the soul in these terrible times"
Why we think it’s a great listen: Among the great literary achievements of the 20th century, Lolita soars in audio thanks to the incomparable Jeremy Irons, bringing to life Nabokov’s ability to shock and enthrall more than 50 years after publication. Lolita became a cause celebre because of the erotic predilections of its protagonist. But Nabokov's masterpiece owes its stature not to the controversy its material aroused but to its author's use of that material to tell a love story that is shocking in its beauty and tenderness.
"An Absolutely Gorgeous Audible Experience"
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.
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.
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.
"Best "Karamazov" yet."
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.
"Beautiful recording marred by audio problems!"
The Art of War is the most famous and longest-lasting book on the practice of war. The book does not mince words: war is about winning; it is not a gentleman's game; it is about using every means at one's disposal to tip the odds in one's favor. Of the centuries, this book has been used by military figures, war departments, business people, educators, and politicians, to name a few. This is the original work without additional editorial comment.
"Good presentation for Audio"
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.
"Big bites of ancient (now age?) wisdom to chew on"
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....
"Timeless Romance, brought to life by Armando Duràn"
This is the most distinguished novel that has come out of South Africa in the 20th century, and it is one of the most important novels of the modern era. Cry, the Beloved Country is in some ways a sad book; it is an indictment of a social system that drives native races into resentment and crime; it is a story of Fate, as inevitable, as relentless, as anything of Thomas Hardy's. Beautifully wrought with high poetic compassion, Cry, the Beloved Country is more than just a story, it is a profound experience of the human spirit.
"A word painting: gripping, breathtaking & moving"
Renowned poet and critic Clive James presents the crowning achievement of his career: a monumental translation into English verse of Dante’s The Divine Comedy. The Divine Comedy is the precursor of modern literature, and this translation - decades in the making - gives us the entire epic as a single, coherent and compulsively listenable lyric poem. Written in the early 14th century and completed in 1321, the year of Dante’s death, The Divine Comedy is perhaps the greatest work of epic poetry ever composed.
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.
"Beautiful story, amazing narration"
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.
"Satisfying Satanic Satire"
Should leaders be feared or loved? Can dictators give rise to democracy? Should rulers have morals or wear them like a mask? Niccolò Machiavelli's The Prince puts forth unsettling questions like these, whose answers redefined centuries of political wisdom. But what does it really mean to be Machiavellian? These 24 lectures are more than just a close reading of one of the great books of Western history.
"Delightful learning experience"
Setting down his thoughts on swordplay, on winning, and on spirituality, legendary swordsman Miyamoto Musashi intended this modest work as a guide for his immediate disciples and future generations of samurai. He had little idea he was penning a masterpiece that would be eagerly devoured by people in all walks of life centuries after his death.
"A classic must read"
Sun Tzu said: There are five ways of attacking with fire. The first is to burn soldiers in their camp; the second is to burn stores; the third is to burn baggage trains; the fourth is to burn arsenals and magazines; the fifth is to hurl dropping fire amongst the enemy. In order to carry out an attack, we must have means available. The material for raising fire should always be kept in readiness. There is a proper season for making attacks with fire, and special days for starting a conflagration.
In the small coastal city of Oran, Algeria, rats begin rising up from the filth, only to die as bloody heaps in the streets. Shortly after, an outbreak of the bubonic plague erupts and envelops the human population. Albert Camus' The Plague is a brilliant and haunting rendering of human perseverance and futility in the face of a relentless terror born of nature.
The story begins with an investigation into some strange reports of an "opera ghost", legendary for making the great Paris opera performers ill-at-ease when they sit alone in their dressing rooms. Some allege to have seen the ghost in evening clothes moving about in the shadows. Nothing is done, however, until the disappearance of Christine during her triumphant performance.
"Phantom of the Opera"
This brilliant new treatment of the world's oldest epic is a literary event on par with Seamus Heaney's wildly popular Beowulf translation. Esteemed translator and best-selling author Stephen Mitchell energizes a heroic tale so old it predates Homer's Iliad by more than a millennium.
"A defense of this "translation""
"The Death of Ivan Ilyich", first published in 1886, is a novella by Leo Tolstoy, one of the masterpieces of his late fiction, written shortly after his religious conversion of the late 1870s. The novel tells the story of the death, at age 45, of a high court judge in 19th century Russia. Living what seems to be a good life, his dreadful relationship with his wife notwithstanding, Ivan Ilyich Golovin bangs his side while putting up curtains in a new apartment intended to reflect his family's superior status in society.
Zuleika Dobson is a satire of undergraduate life at Oxford. It was Beerbohm’s only novel, but was nonetheless very successful. This satire includes the famous line "Death cancels all engagements" and presents a corrosive view of Edwardian Oxford. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Zuleika Dobson 59th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century!
"The Moon and Sixpence" is a novel by W. Somerset Maugham, first published in 1919. It is told in episodic form by a first-person narrator, in a series of glimpses into the mind and soul of the central character Charles Strickland, a middle-aged English stockbroker, who abandons his wife and children abruptly to pursue his desire to become an artist. The story is based on the life of the painter Paul Gauguin. A stunning classic by a master.
"The Prisoner of Zenda" is an adventure novel in which the King of Ruritania is drugged on the eve of his coronation, and thus is unable to attend the ceremony. Political forces within the realm are such, that, in order for the king to retain the crown, his coronation must proceed. Fortuitously, an English gentleman on holiday in Ruritania, who resembles the monarch, is persuaded to act as his political decoy, in effort to save the unstable political situation of the interregnum... Of course, complications along the way, plots and counter-plots will follow.
"The Card" is a comic novel by Arnold Bennett, published in 1911. Like much of Bennett's best work, it is set in the Potteries District of Staffordshire. It chronicles the rise of Edward Henry ("Denry") Machin from washerwoman's son to Mayor of Bursley (a fictitious town based on Burslem). This is accomplished through luck, initiative and a fair bit of guts!
The story takes place in a fictional country somewhere in Germanic Middle Europe, the kingdom of Ruritania. There is Rudolf Elphberg, the dissolute absolute monarch of Ruritania; Rudolf Rassendyll, the English gentleman who had acted as his political decoy, being his distant cousin and look alike; Flavia, the princess, now queen; Rupert of Hentzau, the dashing well-born villain; Fritz von Tarlenheim, the loyal courtier. Queen Flavia, dutifully but unhappily married to her cousin Rudolf V, writes to her true love Rudolf Rassendyll.
This classic is a French Romantic/Gothic novel by Victor Hugo, published in 1831. The story centers on the famous cathedral. Esmeralda captures the hearts of men, including those of Captain Phoebus and Pierre Gringoire, but also Quasimodo and his adoptive father, Archdeacon Claude Frollo. Frollo is torn between his obsessive lust and the rules of the church. He orders Quasimodo to kidnap her, but the hunchback is captured by Phoebus and his guards, who save Esmeralda.
"The Mysterious Island" (French: "L'île mystérieuse") is a novel by Jules Verne, published in 1874. The novel is a crossover sequel to Verne's famous "Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea" and "In Search of the Castaways", though thematically it is vastly different from those books. An early draft of the novel, initially rejected by Verne's publisher and wholly reconceived before publication, was titled "Shipwrecked Family: Marooned With Uncle Robinson".
Generally by now thought to be Machen's greatest work, the novel, published in 1907, recounts the life of a young man, Lucian Taylor, focusing on his dreamy childhood in rural Wales, in a town based on Caerleon. "The Hill of Dreams" of the title is an old Roman fort where Lucian has strange sensual visions, including ones of the town in the time of Roman Britain. Later it describes Lucian's attempts to make a living as an author in London, enduring poverty and suffering in the pursuit of art.
The story begins with the childhood and exceptional and accomplished youth of Prince Stepan Kasatsky. The young man is destined for great things. He discovers on the eve of his wedding that his fiancée Countess Mary Korotkova has had an affair with his beloved Tsar Nicholas I. The blow to his pride is massive, and he retreats to the arms of Russian Orthodoxy and becomes a monk. Many years of humility and doubt follow. He is ordered to become a hermit.
Jonathan Swift almost defines satire in his biting and brutal pamphlet in which he suggests that poor (Catholic) Irish families should fatten up their children and sell them to the rich (Protestant) land owners, thus solving the twin problems of starving children and poverty in one blow. When the "Proposal" was published in 1729, Swift was quickly attacked, and even accused of barbarity - the exact state the "Proposal" was written to expose.
Written by Louisa May Alcott, Rose in Bloom depicts the story of a nineteenth century girl, Rose Campbell, finding her way in society. Sequel to Eight Cousins.
The story takes place in the extreme conditions of the Yukon during the 19th century Klondike Gold Rush, where strong sled dogs were in high demand. After Buck, a domesticated dog, is snatched from a pastoral ranch in California, he is sold into a brutal life as a sled dog. The novella details Buck's struggle to adjust and survive the cruel treatment he receives from humans, other dogs, and nature. He eventually sheds the veneer of civilization altogether and instead relies on primordial instincts and the lessons he has learned to become a respected and feared leader in the wild.
John Pollen (1855-1923) was an official in the Indian Civil Service. A keen linguist, he learned Russian, Esperanto, and Persian and in 1915 published an English translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. His collection contains 158 quatrains and includes a set of seven prefatory quatrains by Andrew Lang and a foreword by the Aga Khan.
"When William Came: A Story of London under the Hohenzollerns" is a novel written by British author Saki (the pseudonym of Hector Hugh Munro) and published in 1913. It is set several years in what was then the future, after a war between Germany and Great Britain from which Germany emerged victorious. The "William" of the book's title is Kaiser Wilhelm II, who came from the House of Hohenzollern, hence the subtitle.
This romance set in Mexico tells of the journey of a native and a white man in search of the fabled Golden City of the Indians.
The Art of War, compiled by Sun Tzu in the sixth century BC, is the world's oldest surviving military treatise. Long revered as the definitive guide to strategy and tactics on the battlefield, its timeless wisdom is now being applied in the boardroom, on the playing field, and everywhere challenges must be faced.
"A Tale of Two Cities" is set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. With well over 200 million copies sold, it ranks among the most famous works in the history of fictional literature. The novel 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.
Rosalie Vanderpoel, the daughter of an American multimillionaire marries an impoverished English baronet and goes to live in England. She all but loses contact with her family in America. Years later her younger sister Bettina, beautiful, intelligent and extremely rich, goes to England to find what has happened to her sister. She finds Rosalie shabby and dispirited, cowed by her husband's ill-treatment. Bettina sets about to rectify matters.
Writing for the Penguin edition, Stevie Davies describes Jane Eyre as an "influential feminist text" because of its in depth exploration of a strong female character's feelings. Primarily of the bildungsroman genre, Jane Eyre follows the emotions and experiences of eponymous Jane Eyre, her growth to adulthood, and her love for Mr. Rochester, the byronic master of Thornfield Hall. The novel contains elements of social criticism, with a strong sense of morality at its core.
A Signature Performance: Tim Curry, the source of our inspiration, returns – this time, he captures the quirky enthusiasm of this goofily visionary adventure.
"Feels like Jules Verne"
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.
"Nice book, wish the narrator spoke Japanese better"
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.
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.
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.
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.
"Not unabridged Burton--this is Lang"
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.
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 fantastic fairytale of fascism"
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.
"Nabokov's Strange Violin Playing in the Void"
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.
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.
"Philosopher, Soldier, Historian and Mercenary"
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.
"The History of the East's Aesthetic"
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.
"Reader should have learned French."
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.
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.
"nostalgic literature from Japan"
In this first of a planned five-volume set, David Roy provides a complete and annotated translation of the famous Chin P'ing Mei, an anonymous sixteenth-century Chinese novel that focuses on the domestic life of Hsi-men Ch'ing, a corrupt, upwardly mobile merchant in a provincial town, who maintains a harem of six wives and concubines. This work, known primarily for its erotic realism, is also a landmark in the development of the narrative art form - not only from a specifically Chinese perspective but in a world-historical context.
"Excellent narration and rollicking story"
The story is set in the Ptolemaic era of ancient Egyptian history and revolves around the survival of a dynasty bloodline protected by the priesthood of Isis. The main character, Harmachis (the living descendant of this bloodline), is charged by the priesthood with overthrowing the supposed impostor - Cleopatra - driving out the Romans, and restoring Egypt to its golden era.