The Red and the Black, Stendhal’s masterpiece, is the story of Julien Sorel, a young dreamer from the provinces, fueled by Napoleonic ideals, whose desire to make his fortune sets in motion events both mesmerizing and tragic. Sorel’s quest to find himself, and the doomed love he encounters along the way, are delineated with an unprecedented psychological depth and realism. At the same time, Stendhal weaves together the social life and fraught political intrigues of post–Napoleonic France, bringing that world to unforgettable, full-color life. His portrait of Julien and early-nineteenth-century France remains an unsurpassed creation, one that brilliantly anticipates modern literature.
Neglected during its time, The Red and the Black has assumed its rightful place as one of the world’s great books, and Burton Raffel’s extraordinary new translation, coupled with an enlightening Introduction by Diane Johnson, helps it shine more brightly than ever before.
J. D. Salinger - The Catcher in the Rye
Ever since it was first published in 1951, this novel has been the coming-of-age story against which all others are judged. Read and cherished by generations, the story of Holden Caulfield is truly one of America's literary treasures. Salinger's classic coming-of-age story portrays one young man's funny and poignant experiences with life, love, and sex.
Margaret Weis - Tracy Hickman - Dragons of the Dwarven Depths
In an untold story from the War of the Lance, the companions have saved the refugees of Pax Tharkas and led them to a hidden valley. For a time, they are safe, but the forces of the Dragon Army are in pursuit. As Tanis and Flint seek out a haven in the dwarven kingdom of Thorbardin, the rest of the companions face their own challenges. Raistlin is strangely drawn to the haunted fortress known as Skullcap. Sturm seeks the legendary Hammer of Kharas, the forging tool of the fabled dragonlances, while Tika Waylan must make a perilous journey to rescue those she loves from certain death. It is the dwarf, Flint Fireforge, who faces the most crucial test. As the heroes race against time to save the lives of those dependent on them, Flint is forced to make a difficult choice, one on which the future of mankind may rest.
Vladimir Nabokov - Ada, or Ardor
Published two weeks after his seventieth birthday, Ada, or Ardor is one of Nabokov's greatest masterpieces, the glorious culmination of his career as a novelist. It tells a love story troubled by incest. But more: it is also at once a fairy tale, epic, philosophical treatise on the nature of time, parody of the history of the novel, and erotic catalogue. Ada, or Ardor is no less than the supreme work of an imagination at white heat.
Pierre Pevel - The Cardinal's Blades
Welcome to seventeenth-century Paris, where intrigue, duels, and spies are rife and Cardinal Richelieu’s men may be prevailed upon to risk life and limb in the name of France at a moment’s notice. And with war on the horizon, the defense of the nation has never been more pressing. Danger is rising from the south—an insidious plot that could end with a huge dragon-shaped shadow falling over France, a shadow cast by dragons quite unlike the pet dragonets that roam the cities like stray cats, or the tame wyverns men ride like horses, high over the Parisian rooftops. These dragons and their descendants are ancient, terrible, and powerful ... and their plans contain little room for the lives or freedom of men. Cardinal Richelieu has nowhere else to turn; Captain La Fargue and his elite group of men, the Cardinal’s Blades, must turn the tide. They must hold the deadly Black Claw cult at bay, root out traitors to the crown, rescue prisoners, and fulfill their mission for the Cardinal, for their country, but above all for themselves. It’s death or victory. And the victory has never been less certain.
Marc Levy - Just Like Heaven
What do you do when you find a stranger in your closet, particularly when she's surprised that you can even see her — and she can disappear and reappear at whim? What if she then tells you that her body is actually in a coma on the other side of town? Should you have her see a psychiatrist or should you consult one yourself? Or do you take a chance and believe in her, and allow yourself to be swept up in an extraordinary adventure? This is the beginning of the dilemma that Arthur, a young San Francisco architect, is faced with when he discovers Lauren in his apartment. Arthur is the only man who can share Lauren's secret, the only one who can see her, hear her, and talk to her when no one else so much as senses her presence. So when doctors prepare to end Lauren's physical care — which would destroy the magical bond she and Arthur cherish — he must find a way to save her. For, after all, it is only her love that can save him. A heartwarming love story that's impossible to forget, an adventure that is by turns breathtaking and hilarious, Just Like Heaven is a captivating tale that evokes the essence of romance and our boundless capacity to believe.
Alexandre Dumas - The Three Musketeers
The Three Musketeers (French: Les Trois Mousquetaires) is a novel by Alexandre Dumas, père, first serialized in March–July 1844. Set in the 17th century, it recounts the adventures of a young man named d'Artagnan after he leaves home to become a guard of the musketeers. D'Artagnan is not one of the musketeers of the title; those are his friends Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, inseparable friends who live by the motto "all for one, one for all" ("tous pour un, un pour tous"). The story of d'Artagnan is continued in Twenty Years After and The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later. Those three novels by Dumas are together known as the d'Artagnan Romances.
J. R. R. Tolkien - The Hobbit
Seldom has any book been so widely read and loved as J.R.R. Tolkien's classic tale, The Hobbit. Since its first publication in 1937 it has remained in print to delight each new generation of readers all over the world, and its hero, Bilbo Baggins, has taken his place among the ranks of the immortals: Alice, Pooh, Toad... As with all classics, repeated readings continue to bring new detail and perspectives to the reader's mind, and Tolkien's Middle-earth is a vast mine of treasures and knowledge, its roots delving deep into folklore, mythology and language. The Hobbit is, therefore, an ideal book for annotation: as well as offering a marvellous and entrancing story, it introduces the reader to the richly imagined world of Middle-earth, a world more fully and complexly realised in The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion.
Henri Charrière - Papillon (angol)
Henri Charrière, called Papillon, for the butterfly tattoo on his chest, was convicted in Paris in 1931 for a murder he did not commit. When he was sentenced to life imprisonment in the penal colony of French Guiana, one thought obsessed him: escape. After planning and executing a series of treacherous yet failed attempts over many years, Papillon was eventually sent to the notorious prison, Devil's Island, a place from which no one had ever escaped -- that was, until Papillon. His escape, described in breathless detail, was one of the most incredible tests of human cunning, will, and endurance. In 1968, more than twenty years after his final escape, Charrière had his astonishing autobiography, Papillon, published in France to instant acclaim -- a worldwide bestseller describing the gripping, shocking odyssey of the author's imprisonment and escape over a greuling decade.
J. R. R. Tolkien - The Lord of the Rings
J R. R. Tolkien THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING In a sleepy village in the Shire a young hobbit is entrusted with an immense task. He must make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ruling Ring of Power - the only thing that prevents the Dark Lord's evil...
Grégoire Delacourt - The List of My Desires
What would it take to change your life? Jocelyne is 47. She lives in a small provincial French town, runs her own dressmaking shop, has been married to the same man for what seems like an eternity, has had two children and lives a very ordinary existence. In fact so ordinary that she is beginning to wonder what happened to her, to all those dreams she had when she was seventeen. Then comes the chance to change her life completely - but should she? For when Jocelyne begins to look at her life and its small pleasures - her friendship with the twins who run the hairdresser next door, her weekends away, her sewing blog - she realises that maybe ordinary isn't so bad. Until the decision is taken out of her hands...The List of my Desires is a wonderfully heart-warming novel about what we value in life and the search for happiness.
Gaston Leroux - The Phantom of the Opera
The little known, brilliant original text by Gaston Leroux has been immortalized by screen and stage adaptations. One of the greatest horror stories of all time, The Phantom of the Opera makes compulsive reading. It abounds with wonderful descriptions, extraordinary events, tragedy, horror, pathos, tremendous humour and a gallery of charming minor characters. Leroux's portrait of the hideous musician, crazed by his own extreme ugliness, shows compassionate insight into a criminally insane mind. MUsic infuses the story, enriching the many dimensions of the novel which is steeped in the glamour of life at the Pris Opera. The author's knowledge of the building itself and the extraordinary history of its construction create a basis of realism in the story. Incredible, seeminly supernatural elements are artfully infused with real facts, with references to real people, places and events, so that the novel is a dazzling blend of illusion and reality, between which it is hard to distinguish, so that each chilling moment is intensified. Gaston Leroux was a master of his genre.
Victor Hugo - Les Misérables (angol)
Hugo's classic tale set against the backdrop of political upheaval in 19th-century France retains its timeless appeal in this notably condensed rendition of the struggles of former convict Jean Valjean. While the abridgment inevitably cuts many of the intricate subplots and minor characters who enrich Hugo's vast tome, this suspenseful central plot tracing Valjean's endeavor to emerge from desperate circumstances while being pursued by the duty-obsessed Inspector Javert remains intact and comprehensible to listeners. The principal characters retain their epic proportions, and the major themes of redemption through good works and the importance of authentic charity are undiminished. Narrator Michael York adds vigor and distinct characterizations to the broad cast of characters in this fittingly dramatic performance. Suitable for collections that do not already contain one of the many audio versions of this work
Alexandre Dumas - The Three Musketeers (Penguin Readers)
Classic / British English / Level 2 D’Artagnan wants to be a musketeer. He wants to fight for his king and his country. But the Queen has a problem with the Cardinal, so d’Artagnan and his new friends have to help her. The Cardinal is a very dangerous man. Who will win? Who will lose? And who will die?
Gustave Flaubert - Madame Bovary (angol)
Emma Bovary is beautiful and bored, trapped in her marriage to a mediocre doctor and stifled by the banality of provincial life. An ardent reader of sentimental novels, she longs for passion and seeks escape in fantasies of high romance, in voracious spending and, eventually, in adultery. But even her affairs bring her disappointment and the consequences are devastating. Flaubert's erotically charged and psychologically acute portrayal of Emma Bovary caused a moral outcry on its publication in 1857. It was deemed so lifelike that many women claimed they were the model for his heroine; but Flaubert insisted: 'Madame Bovary, c'est moi'.
Muriel Barbery - The Elegance of the Hedgehog
Renee is the concierge of a grand Parisian apartment building, home to members of the great and the good. Over the years she has maintained her carefully constructed persona as someone reliable but totally uncultivated, in keeping, she feels, with society s expectations of what a concierge should be. But beneath this façade lies the real Renée: passionate about culture and the arts, and more knowledgeable in many ways than her employers with their outwardly successful but emotionally void lives. Down in her lodge, apart from weekly visits by her one friend Manuela, Renée lives resigned to her lonely lot with only her cat for company. Meanwhile, several floors up, twelve-year-old Paloma Josse is determined to avoid the pampered and vacuous future laid out for her, and decides to end her life on her thirteenth birthday. But unknown to them both, the sudden death of one of their privileged neighbours will dramatically alter their lives forever.
Anna Gavalda - I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere
'I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere' explores how a life can be changed irrevocably in just one fateful moment. A pregnant mother's plans for the future unravel at the hospital; a travelling salesman learns the concequences of an almost-missed exit on the motorway in the newapaper the next morning; while a perfect date is spoilt by a single act oh thoughtlessness. In those crucial moments Gavalda demostrates her almost magical skill in conveying love, lust, longing and loneliness. 'Someone I Loved' is a h hauntingly intimate look at the intolerably painful, yet sometimes valuable effects that adultery can have on a marriage and the individuals involved. A simple tale, yet long in substance, 'Someove I Loved' ends like most great love affairs, forever leaving you waiting just one more moment.
Alexandre Dumas - The Count of Monte Cristo
The story of Edmund Dantes, self-styled Count of Monte Cristo, is told with consummate skill. The victim of a miscarriage of justice, Dantes is fired by a desire for retribution and empowered by a stroke of providence. In his campaign of vengeance, he becomes an anonymous agent of fate. The sensational narrative of intrigue, betrayal, escape, and triumphant revenge moves at a cracking pace. Dumas' novel presents a powerful conflict between good and evil embodied in an epic saga of rich diversity that is complicated by the hero's ultimate discomfort with the hubristic implication of his own actions.
Anna Gavalda - Consolation
An international bestseller and French publishing sensation "Consolation" is a dazzling, heartbreaking tale of one man, two remarkable women and an unforgettable transvestite. Charles Balanda is forty-seven; a successful architect, he is constantly on the move. But from the moment he hears about the death of the woman he once loved - Anouk, the tragically big-hearted mother of a childhood friend - his life begins to unravel until, one day, he finds himself on a Paris pavement covered in blood. But fate brings him one final chance to be happy in Kate, an enchanting young woman, herself damaged but fearless and in love with life. The resulting story is a triumphant, spellbinding and ultimately consoling novel about the power of a second chance.
Anna Gavalda - Someone I loved
Someone I Loved is Anna Gavalda's first novel and is obviously inspired by the dissolution of her own marriage. Told from the perspective of a woman in her late 30s, Chloe, it begins with her decision to take her children to her in-laws' lake house after her husband leaves her for another woman. Chloe's father-in-law decides to come along. What ensues is a loaded conversation by the fireplace about love found, love lost, and the realization that no one is truly who you think they are. While Chloe has always believed her father-in-law to be an „old bastard,” it turns out he is human, has flaws, had the option to do to his family what Chloe's husband did to his, and took the nobler path.