They carried malaria tablets, love letters, 28-pound mine detectors, dope, illustrated bibles, each other. And if they made it home alive, they carried unrelenting images of a nightmarish war that history is only beginning to absorb. Since its first publication, The Things They Carried has become an unparalleled Vietnam testament, a classic work of American literature, and a profound study of men at war that illuminates the capacity, and the limits, of the human heart and soul.
J. R. R. Tolkien - The Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers
The company of the Ring is sundered. Frodo and Sam continue their journey alone down the great River Anduin-alone, that is, save for the mysterious creeping figure that follows wherever they go.
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.
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...
David Foster Wallace - Infinite Jest
A gargantuan, mind-altering comedy about the Pursuit of Happiness in America Set in an addicts' halfway house and a tennis academy, and featuring the most endearingly screwed-up family to come along in recent fiction, Infinite Jest explores essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to so dominate our lives; about how our desire for entertainment affects our need to connect with other people; and about what the pleasures we choose say about who we are. Equal parts philosophical quest and screwball comedy, Infinite Jest bends every rule of fiction without sacrificing for a moment its own entertainment value. It is an exuberant, uniquely American exploration of the passions that make us human - and one of those rare books that renew the idea of what a novel can do.
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.' A lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of this enchanting classic - a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the thirties. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is prickled by the stamina of one man's struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much...
George Orwell - Animal Farm
Mr Jones of Manor Farm is so lazy and drunken that one day he forgets to feed his livestock. The ensuing rebellion under the leadership of the pigs Napoleon and Wellington leads to the animals taking over the farm. Vowing to eliminate the terrible inequities of the farmyard, the renamed Animal Farm is organized to benefit all who walk on four legs. But as time passes, the ideals of the rebellion are corrupted, then forgotten. And something new and unexpected emerges. "Animal Farm" - the history of a revolution that went wrong - is George Orwell's brilliant satire on the corrupting influence of power.
Alan Garner - Thursbitch
"HERE JOHN TURNER WAS CAST AWAY IN A HEAVY SNOW STORM IN THE NIGHT IN THE YEAR 1755" "THE PRINT OF A WOMAN'S SHOE WAS FOUND BY HIS SIDE IN THE SNOW WHERE HE LAY DEAD" This enigmatic tombstone, high on the bank of a prehistoric Pennine track, has haunted Alan Garner for 50 years. Thursbitch is an exploration of the C18th mystery; a mystery that lives on in the farms of the area. John Turner was a packman. With his train of horses he carried salt and silk travelling distances incomprehensible to his ancient and static community. In the novel he brings ideas as well as gifts that have come, by many short journeys, from market town to market town, from places as distant as the campfires of the Silk Road. John Turner's death in the C18th leaves an emotional charge which, in the C21st, Ian and Sal find affects their relationship, challenging the perceptions they have of themselves and of each other. Alan Garner's second novel for adults is a visionary fable, firmly rooted in a verifiable place. It is an evocation of the lives and the language of all people who are called to the valley of Thursbitch.
Virginia Woolf - Mrs. Dalloway (angol)
This brilliant novel explores the hidden springs of thought and action in one day of a woman’s life. Direct and vivid in her account of the details of Clarissa Dalloway’s preparations for a party she is to give that evening, Woolf ultimately managed to reveal much more. For it is the feeling behind these daily events that gives Mrs. Dalloway its texture and richness and makes it so memorable. Foreword by Maureen Howard. "Mrs. Dalloway was the first novel to split the atom. If the novel before Mrs. Dalloway aspired to immensities of scope and scale, to heroic journeys across vast landscapes, with Mrs. Dalloway Virginia Woolf insisted that it could also locate the enormous within the everyday; that a life of errands and party-giving was every bit as viable a subject as any life lived anywhere; and that should any human act in any novel seem unimportant, it has merely been inadequately observed. The novel as an art form has not been the same since. "Mrs. Dalloway also contains some of the most beautiful, complex, incisive and idiosyncratic sentences ever written in English, and that alone would be reason enough to read it. It is one of the most moving, revolutionary artworks of the twentieth century." --Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours
Victor Pelevin - The Life of Insects
Set in a crumbling Soviet Black Sea resort, The Life of Insects with its motley cast of characters who exist simultaneously as human beings (racketeers, mystics, drug addicts and prostitutes) and as insects, extended the surreal comic range for which Pelevin's first novel Omon Ra was acclaimed by critics. With consummate literary skill Pelevin creates a satirical bestiary which is as realistic as it is delirious - a bitter parable of contemporary Russia, full of the probing, disenchanted comedy that makes Pelevin a vital and altogether surprising writer.
Charles Dickens - Great Expectations
Great Expectations charts the progress of Pip from childhood through often painful experiences to adulthood, as he moves from the Kent marshes to busy, commercial London, encountering a variety of extraordinary characters ranging from Magwitch, the escaped convict, to Miss Havisham, locked up with her unhappy past and living with her ward, the arrogant, beautiful Estella. Pip must discover his true self, and his own set of values and priorities. Whether such values allow one to prosper in the complex world of early Victorian England is the major question posed by Great Expectations, one of Dickens's most fascinating, and disturbing, novels.
Voltaire - Candide (angol)
Brought up in the household of a powerful Baron, Candide is an open-minded young man, whose tutor, Pangloss, has instilled in him the belief that 'all is for the best'. But when his love for the Baron's rosy-cheeked daughter is discovered, Candide is cast out to make his own way in the world. And so he and his various companions begin a breathless tour of Europe, South America and Asia, as an outrageous series of disasters befall them - earthquakes, syphilis, a brush with the Inquisition, murder - sorely testing the young hero's optimism.
Yann Martel - Life of Pi
After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, one solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific.The crew of the surviving vessel consists of a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orang-utan, a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger and Pi - a 16-year-old Indian boy.The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary pieces of literary fiction of recent years. Yann Martel's Life of Pi is a transformative novel, a dazzling work of imagination that will delight and astound readers in equal measure. It is a triumph of storytelling and a tale that will, as one character puts it, make you believe in God.
Rebecca West - The Birds Fall Down
One afternoon, in an early summer of this century, eighteen-year-old Laura Rowan sits on the garden steps of her house embroidering a handkerchief. She overhears a conversation between her father, an English Member of Parliament, and her mother, Tania, the daughter of an exiled Russian royalist. Tania's decision to take Laura to Paris to visit her grandfather, Count Nikilai Diakonov, means that Laura will unwittingly become a witness to the momentous events leading up to the Russian Revolution...Through a vivid canvas layered with intrigue, conspiracy and murder, Rebecca West has created a story that is at once a family saga, a political thriller, a philosophical drama and an historical novel.
Naguib Mahfouz - Miramar
A highly charged, tightly written tale of intersecting lives that provides us with both an engaging and powerful story as well as a vivid portrait of life in Egypt in the late 1960's. "With Miramar we are in the hands of a considerable novelist, and one who knows his country's complex problems, and complex soul, profoundly."--John Fowles
Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice
The Collector's Library in Colour takes the favourite illustrated titles of The Collector's Library and presents them in full colour. Jane Austen's best-loved novel is a memorable story about the inaccuracy of first impressions, about the power of reason, and above all about the strange dynamics of human relationships and emotions. Here, where Hugh Thomson's delightful period illustrations were originally black-and-white, they have been sensitively coloured by Barbara Frith, one of Britain 's most accomplished colourists. A tour de force of wit and sparkling dialogue, Pride and Prejudice shows how the headstrong Elizabeth Bennett and the aristocratic Mr Darcy must have their pride humbled and their prejudices dissolved before they can acknowledge their love for each other." With an Afterword by Henry Hitchings.
Oscar Wilde - The Picture of Dorian Gray
There can be many varying reasons for selling one's soul to the devil. Fame, power, love; a distraction of this world can rapidly consume the entirety of one's concentration until the distraction becomes that person's very "reality". It is fascinating to observe how the good in this world can be overlooked or neglected due to the singularity of one's concentration on what is, ultimately, the "bad". The Picture of Dorian Gray is a story that captures such a concept and places it in the context of late nineteenth century London. Basil Hallward is a painter, one of amateur talents, but a painter that receives an inspiration that some like to call divine. A particularly new acquaintance of his, a Mr. Dorian Gray, seems to put all art into perspective for the aspiring artist. The result is a perfectly splendid picture of the beautiful Dorian Gray, who sits for Hallward in the epitome of innocence. There is a friend of Hallward's, who goes by the name of Lord Henry Wotton. Harry, as his friends call him, is something of an enigma to the familial circles of English aristocracy; Dorian most aptly entitles him "Prince Paradox" much later in the novel. Gray is immediately captivated by the charisma of Lord Wotton, whom he met while Hallward is painting his portrait. Following the completion of the painting, Dorian becomes melancholic, having just learned the wonders of his youth and beauty from Prince Paradox; indeed, upon gazing into his own picture, Dorian Gray is already missing his youthful splendour. In his newfound narcissism, Dorian makes a foolhardy wish: that the painting grows old and ugly while he should retain his exceptional beauty. There is a liberal utilization of symbolization in this controversial book, and most particularly so in Henry Wotton and his meeting with Dorian Gray. Harry, who becomes Dorian's closest friend, represents a kind of hedonism that is vastly different from the sociality of their familiars, and yet also apart from the vulgar tastes of the uneducated. In the words of Dorian Gray: "Yes: there was to be, as Lord Henry prophesied, a new Hedonism that was to recreate life, and to save it from the harsh, uncomely Puritanism that was making its own curious revival. It was to have its service of the intellect, certainly; yet, it was never to accept any theory or system that would involve the sacrifice of any mode of passionate experience. His aim, indeed, was to be experience itself, and not the fruits of experience, sweet or bitter as they might be. Of the asceticism that deadens the sense, as of the vulgar profligacy that dulls them, it was to know nothing. But it was to teach man to concentrate himself upon the moments of a life that is itself but a moment." Before Dorian Gray met Lord Henry Wotton, he recognized things as they were. Following that momentous exchange, Dorian Gray recognized only shadows. Art, to the corrupted youth, was not just a reflection of life and love, but reality itself. Passion is the first and final goal of his new worldview, and it ultimately destroys the child within. Basil Hallward symbolizes the simplicity, the good, and the rare in modern London: his friend Henry calls him "dull", as all great artists are. Hallward, in a clever instance of foreboding, did not want Lord Henry to even meet Dorian: "Dorian Gray has a simple and beautiful nature… Don't spoil him." The good in life seems to become less relevant, less necessary as life goes on, as the individual experiences more, until the good doesn't seem to exist… at all. A key idea in the Picture of Dorian Gray is, I think, the fall of innocence to the pleasures of this novel Hedonism that plays the antagonism of this story. Though Dorian may indeed retain his outer beauty, startling the perceptions of everyone near him, the soul within becomes unrecognizable to a simple eye, to any eye removed of darkness. In the writing of this, his only novel, Oscar Wilde manages to take hold of several key ideas and succeeds in putting them on a magnificent, provocative display. The central themes, art, love and novelty, are the fine threads that boldly form the grandeur of the patterned Idea. As this is the ultimate goal in every work of art, I would claim that The Picture of Dorian Gray is an accomplished story on every level.
Mark Z. Danielewski - House of Leaves
When Johnny Truant attempts to organize the many fragments of a strange manuscript by a dead blind man, it gains possession of his very soul. The manuscript is a complex commentary on a documentary film (The Navidson Record) about a house that defies all the laws of physics. Navidson's exploration of a seemingly endless, totally dark, and constantly changing labyrinth in the house becomes an examination of truth, perception, and darkness itself. The book interweaves the manuscript with over 400 footnotes to works real and imagined, thus illuminating both the text and Truant's mental disintegration. First novelist Danielewski employs avant-garde page layouts that are occasionally a bit too clever but are generally highly effective. Although it may be consigned to the "horror" genre, this novel is also a psychological thriller, a quest, a literary hoax, a dark comedy, and a work of cultural criticism. It is simultaneously a highly literary work and an absolute hoot. This powerful and extremely original novel is strongly recommended for all public and academic libraries.--Jim Dwyer, California State Univ. Lib., Chico Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Bernal Díaz del Castillo - The Conquest of New Spain
Spanish historian Bernal Diaz del Castillo (c.1492-1584) was a soldier in the army of the conquistador Cortes in the attack on the Aztecs. J M Cohen translated widely from French and Spanish, including for Penguin Classics Montaigne's Essays and Cervantes' Don Quixote.
Don DeLillo - Underworld
Nick Shay and Klara Sax knew each other once, intimately, and they meet again in the American desert. He is trying to outdistance the crucial events of his early life; she is an artist who has made a blood struggle for independence. Underworld is a story of men and women together and apart, seen in deep, clear detail and in stadium-sized panoramas, shadowed throughout by the overarching conflict of the Cold War. It is a novel that accepts every challenge of these extraordinary times — Don DeLillo's greatest and most powerful work of fiction.
Ford Madox Ford - Last Post
Widely acclaimed when first published in the 1920s, Ford Madox Ford’s sequence of four novels, known collectively as Parade’s End, is one of the outstanding works about the Great War and British society before, during, and after that cataclysm. A major work of Modernism, it is an investigation of time, history, and sexuality. This novel, the fourth and final volume, is set on a single summer’s day and follows the characters into the unsettling and often disorientating postwar world. With fluency, humor and great skill, this narrative explores their individual memories, hopes, and uncertainties, while also subtly questioning the current and future state of England.