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Recommended Books

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Count of Monte Cristo, The
Count of Monte Cristo, The

Dumas, Alexandre The Count of Monte Cristo (French: Le Comte de Monte-Cristo) is an adventure novel by Alexandre Dumas, père. It is often considered, along with The Three Musketeers, as Dumas's most popular work. The writing of the work was completed in 1844. Like many of his novels, it is expanded from the plot outlines suggested by his collaborating ghostwriter Auguste Maquet.
The story takes place in France, Italy, islands in the Mediterranean and the Levant during the historical events of 1815–1838 (from just before the Hundred Days through the reign of Louis-Philippe of France). The historical setting is a fundamental element of the book. It is primarily concerned with themes of justice, vengeance, mercy, and forgiveness, and is told in the style of an adventure story.
Emma
Emma

Austen, Jane Sherry reads Jane Austen’s sparkling comedy of manners with wit and vivacity, and brings the characters to life. Mr. Woodhouse worries and frets, Miss Bates chatters on, and Emma blithely manipulates and misunderstands her friends and family until she finally learns her lesson!
Sense and Sensibility
Sense and Sensibility

Austen, Jane The two eldest Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, one of whom (Elinor) embraces practicality and restraint while the other (Marianne) gives her whole heart to every endeavor. When the Dashwoods - mother Mrs. Dashwood, Elinor, Marianne, and youngest sister Margaret - are sent, almost impoverished, to a small cottage in Devonshire after the death of their father and the machinations of their brother's wife, they accept their new circumstances with as much cheer as they can muster even though their brother and his wife have taken over the family estate and fortune. Marianne finds herself falling in love with the dashing Willoughby, who ends up being not all that he appears. Elinor, the more sensible of the two, falls for Edward Ferrars, a match that seems much more suitable. All of these pleasant connections are, however, soon disrupted. Willoughby leaves and ignores Marianne. Elinor finds out an unexpected secret about Ferrars that puts her on her caution in pursuing their relationship. As these complications develop, Marianne soon finds herself distraught despite having attracted another suitor, the reliable, but older, Colonel Brandon. Elinor steps into the breach to try to help her sister regain her equilibrium. Both learn what a broken heart can feel like and adjust in their own separate ways. Since this is an Austen novel and a romance, be assured that all comes right in the end.
Around the World in Eighty Days (version 4)
Around the World in Eighty Days (version 4)

Verne, Jules Around the World in Eighty Days (French: Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours) is a classic adventure novel by the French writer Jules Verne, first published in 1873. In the story, Phileas Fogg of London and his newly employed French valet Passepartout attempt to circumnavigate the world in 80 days on a £20,000 wager set by his friends at the Reform Club
Wealth of Nations, Book 4, The
Wealth of Nations, Book 4, The

Smith, Adam An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations is the magnum opus of the Scottish economist Adam Smith, published on March 9, 1776 during the Scottish Enlightenment. It is a clearly written account of political economy at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, and is widely considered to be the first modern work in the field of economics.
Just So Stories (version 4)
Just So Stories (version 4)

Kipling, Rudyard The stories, first published in 1902, are fantastic accounts of how various natural phenomena came about. The original editions of Just So Stories were illustrated with woodcuts by Kipling himself. Read along online and see the illustrations at mainlesson.com. Each story is accompanied by a poem, in a somewhat ballad style. Many of the stories are addressed to "Best Beloved" (they were first written for Kipling's eldest daughter, Josephine, who had died during an outbreak of influenza in 1899), and throughout they use a comically elevated style inspired by the formal speech of India, full of long and improbable-sounding words, some of them made up. As a result, it is a delight to read them aloud, and easy to memorise passages from them.
Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, A (version 2)
Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, A (version 2)

Twain, Mark A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is an 1889 novel by American humorist and writer Mark Twain. The work is a very early example of time travel in literature, anticipating by six years H. G. Wells' The Time Machine of 1895 (however, unlike Wells, Twain does not give any real explanation of his protagonist's traveling in time). Some early editions are entitled A Yankee at the Court of King Arthur.
Adventures of Pinocchio, The
Adventures of Pinocchio, The

Collodi, Carlo The Adventures of Pinocchio is a novel for children by Italian author Carlo Collodi (here transl. by Carol della Chiesa). The first half was published in serial form between 1881 and 1883, and then completed as a book for children in February 1883. It is about the mischievous adventures of Pinocchio, an animated marionette, and his poor father, a woodcarver named Geppetto. It is considered a classic of children’s literature and has spawned many derivative works of art, such as Disney’s classic 1940 animated movie of the same name, and commonplace ideas, such as a liar’s long nose.
Iliad, The
Iliad, The

Homer The Iliad, together with the Odyssey, is one of two ancient Greek epic poems traditionally attributed to Homer. The poem is commonly dated to the 8th or 7th century BC, and many scholars believe it is the oldest extant work of literature in the Greek language, making it the first work of European literature. The existence of a single author for the poems is disputed as the poems themselves show evidence of a long oral tradition and hence, multiple authors. The poem concerns events during the tenth and final year in the siege of the city of Iliun, or Troy, by the Greeks.
Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection; or, the Preservation of...
Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection; or, the Preservation of...

Darwin, Charles Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species (publ. 1859) is a pivotal work in scientific literature and arguably the pivotal work in evolutionary biology. The book’s full title is On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. It introduced the theory that populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection. It was controversial because it contradicted religious beliefs which underlay the then current theories of biology. Darwin’s book was the culmination of evidence he had accumulated on the voyage of the Beagle in the 1830s and added to through continuing investigations and experiments since his return.
Euthyphro
Euthyphro

Plato Awaiting his trial on charges of impiety and heresy, Socrates encounters Euthyphro, a self-proclaimed authority on matters of piety and the will of the gods. Socrates, desiring instruction in these matters, converses with Euthyphro, but as usual, the man who professes to know nothing fares better than the man who claims to be an expert. One of Plato’s well-known Socratic Dialogues, Euthyphro probes the nature of piety, and notably poses the so-called Euthyphro Dilemma: Do the gods love a thing because it is holy, or is a thing holy because it is loved by the gods?
Old and New Year Ditties
Old and New Year Ditties

Rossetti, Christina G. Volunteers bring you 3 different recordings of Old and New Year Ditties by Christina Rossetti.
Spell of the Yukon, The
Spell of the Yukon, The

Service, Robert W. Volunteers bring you 13 recordings of The Spell of the Yukon by Robert W. Service. This was the Fortnightly Poetry project for December 27th, 2009.
Italian Cook Book, The
Italian Cook Book, The

Gentile, Maria One of the beneficial results of the Great War has been the teaching of thrift to the American housewife. For patriotic reasons and for reasons of economy, more attention has been bestowed upon the preparing and cooking of food that is to be at once palatable, nourishing and economical.
In the Italian cuisine we find in the highest degree these three qualities. That it is palatable, all those who have partaken of food in an Italian trattoria or at the home of an Italian family can testify, that it is healthy the splendid manhood and womanhood of Italy is a proof more than sufficient. And who could deny, knowing the thriftiness of the Italian race, that it is economical?
It has therefore been thought that a book of practical recipes of the Italian cuisine could be offered to the American public with hope of success. It is not a pretentious book, and the recipes have been made as clear and simple as possible. Some of the dishes described are not peculiar to Italy. All, however, are representative of the Cucina Casalinga of the peninsular Kingdom, which is not the least product of a lovable and simple people, among whom the art of living well and getting the most out of life at a moderate expense has been attained to a very high degree.
Visionary, The
Visionary, The

Brontë, Emily Volunteers bring you 18 recordings of "The Visionary" by Ellis Bell (Emily Brontë). This was the weekly poem for January 1, 2012.
The first 12 lines originally appeared in one of a large group of Gondal poems, the word coming from the name of a fictitious island kingdom in a fantasy created by Emily and her sister Anne. When Emily finally consented to have some of her poems published in 1846, along with those of sisters Charlotte and Anne, she selected parts of the Gondal poems and removed all reference to the fantasy land. However, this poem first appeared in a new, expanded edition of the sisters' poetry (in 1850, after both Emily and Anne had died) and was apparently derived as follows:
"The Visionary (October 9, 1845)
This poem is part of the same Gondal poem from which Emily carved "The Prisoner. A Fragment." Charlotte Brontë took lines 1-12 of Emily's original poem, "Julian M. and A.G Rochelle," and added 8 lines of her own. Thus, the positive ending in which the watcher has a spiritual experience is Charlotte's and the watcher may be seen as Emily rather than a Gondal character. In Charlotte's version, it is hard to explain the guiding light in the window of stanze 2.
This account is fully supported by other sources. So the poem, as it was published in 1850, is a combination of work by Emily and Charlotte. Charlotte is accused by critics of using a heavy hand in editing some of Emily's formerly unpublished poems for the 1850 volume.
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