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"
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 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.
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"
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.
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"
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"
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.
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"
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"
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"
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"
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.
Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn’s startling book led, almost 30 years later, to Glasnost, Perestroika, and the "Fall of the Wall". One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich brilliantly portrays a single day, any day, in the life of a single Russian soldier who was captured by the Germans in 1945 and who managed to escape a few days later. Along with millions of others, this soldier was charged with some sort of political crime, and since it was easier to confess than deny it and die, Ivan Denisovich "confessed" to "high treason" and received a sentence of 10 years in a Siberian labor camp.
"Classic And Compelling"
"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.
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 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.
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.
"The Beautiful and Damned", first published by Scribner's in 1922, is F. Scott Fitzgerald's second novel. The novel provides a portrait of the Eastern elite during the Jazz Age, exploring New York Café Society. As with his other novels, Fitzgerald's characters are complex, especially in their marriage and intimacy, much like how he treats intimacy in "Tender Is the Night". The book is believed to be largely based on Fitzgerald's relationship and marriage with Zelda Fitzgerald.
Rabindranath Tagore, India's foremost writer and the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for literature, is perhaps best known for his tender and passionate tales about human yearning and longing. Here then is a collection of 18 short stories that highlight Tagore's profound vision.
Three trees, known as the Peacock trees, are blamed by the peasants for the fever that has killed many. Squire Vane scoffs at this legend as superstition. To prove them wrong, once and for all, he takes a bet to spend the night in the trees. In the morning he has vanished. Is he dead, and if so who has killed him? The poet? The lawyer? The woodsman? The trees?
"The American" is a novel by Henry James was originally published as a serial in "The Atlantic Monthly" in 1876-1877 and then as a book in 1877. The novel is an uneasy combination of social comedy and melodrama concerning the adventures and misadventures of Christopher Newman, an essentially good-hearted but rather gauche American businessman on his first tour of Europe. Newman is looking for a world different from the simple, harsh realities of 19th century American business.
"Typee" (in full: "Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life") is American writer Herman Melville's first book, a classic in the literature of travel and adventure partly based on his actual experiences as a captive on the island Nuku Hiva (which Melville spelled as Nukuheva) in the South Pacific Marquesas Islands, in 1842. The title comes from the name of a valley there called Tai Pi Vai. It was Melville's most popular work during his lifetime, but made him notorious as the "man who lived among the cannibals".
"Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe" is a novel by George Eliot. Her third novel, it was first published in 1861. An outwardly simple tale of a reclusive weaver, in its strong realism it represents one of Eliot's most sophisticated treatments of her attitude to religion.
"The Glimpses of the Moon" (1922) is about Nick and Susy Lansing, both of whom live a decadent life in Europe by sponging off wealthy friends. They marry out of convenience and have an "open" relationship, but are unprepared for where their feelings will take them.
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.
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"
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 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.
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.
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."
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"
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.
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"
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.
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"
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.
While many of us are familiar with such famous words as, "Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here. . ." or "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust," we may not know that they originated with The Book of Common Prayer, which first appeared in 1549. Like the words of the King James Bible and Shakespeare, the language of this prayer book has saturated English culture and letters.
"A fascinating history well-told"
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.
The most captivating part of perhaps the greatest epic poem ever written, Dante's Inferno still holds the power to thrill and inspire. The medieval equivalent of a thriller, Inferno follows Dante and his faithful guide, Virgil, as they traverse the complex geography of hell, confronting its many threats, macabre punishments, and historical figures before reaching the deep chamber where Satan himself resides.
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"