At the time of his death in 1962, E. E. Cummings was, next to Robert Frost, the most widely read poet in America. Combining Thoreau’s controlled belligerence with the brash abandon of an uninhibited bohemian, Cummings, together with Pound, Eliot, and William Carlos Williams, helped bring about the twentieth-century revolution in literary expression. He is recognized on the one hand as the author of some of the most beautiful lyric poems written in the English language, and on the other as one of the most inventive American poets of his time in the worlds of Richard Kostelanetz, “the major American poet of the middle-twentieth-century.”
Emily Dickinson - Selected Poems
Emily Dickinson was born in 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she spent almost all her life. In her late twenties she withdrew from normal social activity, rarely went outdors, and stopped seeing even her closest friends. But she did wrote lots of letters and when she died in 1886 it was discovered that she had also written over 1000 poems - only seven of these had been published in her lifetime. Book publication of her work commenced in 1890.
Neil Gaiman - Smoke and Mirrors
The distinctive storytelling genius of Neil Gaiman has been acclaimed by writers as diverse as Norman Mailer and Stephen King. Now in this new collection of stories — several of which have never before appeared in print, and more than half that have never been collected — that will dazzle the senses and haunt the imagination. Miraculous inventions and unforgettable characters inhabit these pages: an elderly widow who finds the Holy Grail in a second-hand store...a frightened little boy who bargains for his life with a troll living under a bridge by the railroad tracks...a stray cat who battles nightly against a recurring evil that threatens his unsusupecting adoptive family. In these stories, Gaiman displays the power, wit, insight and outrageous originality that has made him one of the most unique literary artists of our day.
Neil Gaiman - Neverwhere
Under the streets of London there's a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks. Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: neverwhere.
Richard Adams - Watership Down
A phenomenal worldwide bestseller for over thirty years, Richard Adam's Watership Down is a timeless classic and one of the most beloved novels of all time. Set in England's Downs, a once idyllic rural landscape, this stirring tale of adventure, courage and survival follows a band of very special creatures on their flight from the intrusion of man and the certain destruction of their home. Led by a stouthearted pair of brothers, they journey forth from their native Sandleford Warren through the harrowing trials posed by predators and adversaries, to a mysterious promised land and a more perfect society. The story follows a warren of Berkshire rabbits fleeing the destruction of their home by a land developer. As they search for a safe haven, skirting danger at every turn, we become acquainted with the band and its compelling culture and mythos. Adams has crafted a touching, involving world in the dirt and scrub of the English countryside, complete with its own folk history and language (the book comes with a "lapine" glossary, a guide to rabbitese). As much about freedom, ethics, and human nature as it is about a bunch of bunnies looking for a warm hidey-hole and some mates, Watership Down will continue to make the transition from classroom desk to bedside table for many generations to come. -- Paul Hughes, amazon.com review
James Joyce - Ulysses (angol)
Ulysses has been labelled dirty, blasphemous and unreadable. In a famous 1933 court decision, Judge John M. Woolsey declared it an emetic book – although he found it not quite obscene enough to disallow its importation into the United States – and Virginia Woolf was moved to decry James Joyce’s ‘cloacal obsession’. None of these descriptions, however, do the slightest justice to the novel. To this day it remains the modernist masterpiece, in which the author takes both Celtic lyricism and vulgarity to splendid extremes. It is funny, sorrowful, and even (in its own way) suspenseful. And despite the exegetical industry that has sprung up in the last 75 years, Ulysses is also a compulsively readable book. Even the verbal vaudeville of he final chapters can be navigated with relative ease, as long as you’re willing to be buffeted, tickled, challenged and (occasionally) vexed by Joyce’s astonishing command of the English language.
Cormac McCarthy - The Road
Cormac McCarthy sets his new novel, The Road, in a post-apocalyptic blight of gray skies that drizzle ash, a world in which all matter of wildlife is extinct, starvation is not only prevalent but nearly all-encompassing, and marauding bands of cannibals roam the environment with pieces of human flesh stuck between their teeth. If this sounds oppressive and dispiriting, it is. McCarthy may have just set to paper the definitive vision of the world after nuclear war, and in this recent age of relentless saber-rattling by the global powers, it's not much of a leap to feel his vision could be not far off the mark nor, sadly, right around the corner. Stealing across this horrific (and that's the only word for it) landscape are an unnamed man and his emaciated son, a boy probably around the age of ten. It is the love the father feels for his son, a love as deep and acute as his grief, that could surprise readers of McCarthy's previous work. McCarthy's Gnostic impressions of mankind have left very little place for love. In fact that greatest love affair in any of his novels, I would argue, occurs between the Billy Parham and the wolf in The Crossing. But here the love of a desperate father for his sickly son transcends all else. McCarthy has always written about the battle between light and darkness; the darkness usually comprises 99.9% of the world, while any illumination is the weak shaft thrown by a penlight running low on batteries. In The Road, those batteries are almost out--the entire world is, quite literally, dying--so the final affirmation of hope in the novel's closing pages is all the more shocking and maybe all the more enduring as the boy takes all of his father's (and McCarthy's) rage at the hopeless folly of man and lays it down, lifting up, in its place, the oddest of all things: faith. --Dennis Lehane
Neil Gaiman - American Gods
Shadow is a man with a past and wants nothing more now than to live a quiet life with his wife. When his wife is killed in a terrible accident, Shadow flies home for the funeral. As a raging storm rocks the plane, the strange man in the seat next to Shadow introduces himself as Mr. Wednesday. He knows more about Shadow than is possible--and he warns Shadow an even bigger storm is coming.
Kurt Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse-Five
In its publication year, Slaughterhouse-Five was nominated for a best-novel Nebula Award and for a best-novel Hugo Award, 1970. It lost both to The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin. Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden. Don't let the ease of reading fool you! Vonnegut's isn't a conventional, or simple, novel. He writes, "There are almost no characters in this story, and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick, and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters..." Slaughterhouse-Five (taken from the name of the building where the POWs were held) is not only Vonnegut's most powerful book, it is as important as any written since 1945. Like Catch-22, it fashions the author's experiences in the Second World War into an eloquent and deeply funny plea against butchery in the service of authority. Slaughterhouse-Five boasts the same imagination, humanity, and gleeful appreciation of the absurd found in Vonnegut's other works, but the book's basis in rock-hard, tragic fact gives it a unique poignancy–and humor.
Toni Morrison - Beloved
In this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of 1988, Toni Morrison frees herself from the bonds of traditional narrative and establishes an independent style, just as her characters have freed themselves from the horrors of slavery and escaped from Kentucky to Ohio. Revealing the story of Sethe and her family as they survive the brutality of the farm, only to encounter torments even more punishing than whippings after they escape, Morrison presents scenes in a seemingly random order, each scene revealing some aspect of life for Sethe, her boys, her dead baby Beloved, and the new baby Denver, both in the past and in the present. Moving back and forth, around, and inside out through Sethe's recollections, she gradually reveals Sethe's story to the reader, its horror increasing as the reader makes the connections which turn disconnected scenes into a powerful and harrowing chronology.
Thomas Pynchon - Gravity's Rainbow
Winner of the 1973 National Book Award, Gravity's Rainbow is a postmodern epic, a work as exhaustively significant to the second half of the twentieth century as Joyce's Ulysses was to the first. Its sprawling, encyclopedic narrative and penetrating analysis of the impact of technology on society make it an intellectual tour de force.
Hunter S. Thompson - Hell's Angels (angol)
"California, Labor Day weekend . . . early, with ocean fog still in the streets, outlaw motorcyclists wearing chains, shades and greasy Levis roll out from damp garages, all-night diners and cast-off one-night pads in Frisco, Hollywood, Berdoo and East Oakland, heading for the Monterey peninsula, north of Big Sur. . . The Menace is loose again." Thus begins Hunter S. Thompson's vivid account of his experiences with California's most no-torious motorcycle gang, the Hell's Angels. In the mid-1960s, Thompson spent almost two years living with the controversial An-gels, cycling up and down the coast, reveling in the anarchic spirit of their clan, and, as befits their name, raising hell. His book successfully captures a singular moment in American history, when the biker lifestyle was first defined, and when such countercultural movements were electrifying and horrifying America. Thompson, the creator of Gonzo journalism, writes with his usual bravado, energy, and brutal honesty, and with a nuanced and incisive eye; as The New Yorker pointed out, "For all its uninhibited and sardonic humor, Thompson's book is a thoughtful piece of work." As illuminating now as when originally published in 1967, Hell's Angels is a gripping portrait, and the best account we have of the truth behind an American legend.
Ambrose Bierce - The Devil's Dictionary
Bierce's classic work of satirical wit and Steadman's pointed pen redefine the way we see even the seemingly simplest of terms. Acquaintance, n.: A person whom we know well enough to borrow from but not well enough to lend to. Bride, n.: A woman with a great future behind her. Consult, v: To seek another's approval of a course already decided on. Ambrose Bierce's "dictionary" of epigrams, essays, verses, and vignettes targets the religious, the romantic, the political, and the economic, in equal measure. The book you need to define both friends and enemies, The Devil's Dictionary is also the perfect gift, showcasing Bierce's razor-sharp wit and Ralph Steadman's incisive pen to their best advantage.
David Mitchell - Cloud Atlas
'Souls cross ages like clouds cross skies...' A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan's California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified dinery server on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation. The narrators of _Cloud Atlas_ hear each other's echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great and small. In his extraordinary third novel, David Mitchell erases the boundaries of language, genre and time to offer a meditation on humanity's dangerous will to power, and where it may lead us.
Hunter S. Thompson - Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Heralded as the "best book on the dope decade" by the New York Times Book Review, Hunter S. Thompson's documented drug orgy through Las Vegas would no doubt leave Nancy Reagan blushing and D.A.R.E. founders rethinking their motto. Under the pseudonym of Raoul Duke, Thompson travels with his Samoan attorney, Dr. Gonzo, in a souped-up convertible dubbed the "Great Red Shark." In its trunk, they stow "two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half-full of cocaine and a whole galaxy of multicolored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers.... A quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls," which they manage to consume during their short tour. On assignment from a sports magazine to cover "the fabulous Mint 400"--a free-for-all biker's race in the heart of the Nevada desert--the drug-a-delic duo stumbles through Vegas in hallucinatory hopes of finding the American dream (two truck-stop waitresses tell them it's nearby, but can't remember if it's on the right or the left). They of course never get the story, but they do commit the only sins in Vegas: "burning the locals, abusing the tourists, terrifying the help." For Thompson to remember and pen his experiences with such clarity and wit is nothing short of a miracle; an impressive feat no matter how one feels about the subject matter. A first-rate sensibility twinger, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a pop-culture classic, an icon of an era past, and a nugget of pure comedic genius. --Rebekah Warren
e. e. cummings - e. e. cummings 99 verse
Már nevének szokatlan helyesírása is sejteti, hogy Edward Estlin Cummings (1894-1962) afféle irodalmi fenegyerek volt, elszánt újító és bálványdöntögető. Verseinek olvastán első érzésünk alighanem a berzenkedés, a "Mi akar ez lenni?" fanyalgása, amíg rá nem jövünk, hogy a tipográfiai és ortográfiai trükkök és bonyodalmak mögött egy alapjában naiv, romantikus és kamaszos szenvedélyű, a leghagyományosabb értelemben költői költő rejtőzik, és próbál - általában több, mint kevesebb sikerrel - huszadik századi érvényt szerezni egyszerű és egyértelmű közlendőinek: hogy az élet szép, a háború aljas és az egyéniség nagy érték. Cummings festő is volt, és verseiben is nagy szerepet játszik a vizuális elem: a szavak, illetve a betűk szokatlan elrendezésével sugallja tárgyával kapcsolatos érzelmeit, a látványok és helyzetek átélésének az egyszeri pillanatokba zsúfolódó és a nyelv hagyományos eszközeivel megragadhatatlan képlékenységét.
Ursula K. Le Guin - Voices
Memer is a child of rape; when the Alds took the beautiful city of Ansul, they descecrated or destroyed everything of beauty. The Waylord they imprisoned and tortured for years until finally he is freed to return to his home. Though crippled, he is not destroyed. His life still has purpose. Memer is the daughter of his House, the daughter of his heart. The Alds, a people who love war, cannot and will not read: they believe that in words lie demons that will destroy the world. All the city's libraries, the great treasure trove of knowledge of ages past, are burned, except for those few volumes secreted inthe Waylord's hidden room. But times are changing. Gry Barre of Roddmant and Orrec Caspro of Caspromant have arrived in the city. Orrec is a story-teller, the most famous of all: he has the gift of making. His wife Gry's gift is that of calling; she walks with a halflion who both frightens and fascinates the Alds. This is Memer's story, and Gry's and Orrec's, and it is the story of a conquered people craving freedom.
Greg Bear - Anvil of Stars
82 young people travel the enormity of space on a quest for war and vengence against The Planet Eaters: aliens who turned the Earth - and all but a fragment of humanity - into a smouldering cinder. But how do you conduct a war against aliens whose psychology is unknowable, whose technological brilliance means they can disguise whole planetary sytstems?
Frank Herbert - Destination: Void
Soon after the start, they went mad, the three powerful, disembodied human brains that should have guided them for the 200-year journey to Tau Ceti. Could they manufacture a replacement before emerging from the Solar System into nothingness? Would the circuits reproduce the characteristics they needed, characteristics like conscience, love and guilt? Or would they end up with a zombie? a monster? a power-crazy fanatic? - or a genius? What they did build was fantastic, unguessable. Yet, looking back, it was always on the cards.