Kate Chopin's 1899 novella The Awakening is about the personal, sexual, and artistic awakening of a young wife and mother, Edna Pontellier. While on vacation at Grand Isle, an island in the Gulf of Mexico, Edna befriends the talented pianist Mlle. Reisz and the sympathetic Robert Lebrun, both of whom will influence her startling life choices. Chopin's novel created a scandal upon its original publication and effectively destroyed her writing career. Now, however, it is considered one of the finest American novels of the 19th century.
Eight years ago, Anne Elliot fell in love with a poor but ambitious young naval officer, Frederick Wentworth. The Elliots were dissatisfied with Anne's choice, feeling he was not distinguished enough for their family, and her older friend and mentor, Lady Russell, acting in place of Anne's deceased mother, persuaded her to break off the match. Now 27 and considered a spinster, Anne re-encounters her former fiance, now a captain, as he courts her spirited young neighbour, Louisa Musgrove. The self-interested machinations of Anne's older sister Elizabeth, of Elizabeth's friend Mrs. Clay, and of Anne's father's heir, William Elliot, constitute an important subplot.
The Castle of Otranto is a 1764 novel by Horace Walpole. It is generally held to be the first gothic novel, initiating a literary genre which would become extremely popular in the later 18th century and early 19th century. Thus, Castle, and Walpole by extension is arguably the forerunner to such authors as Ann Radcliffe, Bram Stoker, Daphne du Maurier, and Stephen King.
Originally published by the Norwegian-American economist Thorstein Veblen while he was a professor at the University of Chicago in 1898, the Theory of the Leisure Class is considered one of the great works of economics as well as the first detailed critique of consumerism. In the book, Veblen argues that economic life is driven not by notions of utility, but by social vestiges from pre-historic times.
Notes from Underground is an 1864 novella by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Notes is considered by many to be the first existentialist novel. It presents itself as an excerpt from the rambling memoirs of a bitter, isolated, unnamed narrator (generally referred to by critics as the Underground Man) who is a retired civil servant living in St. Petersburg. The first part of the story is told in monologue form, or the underground man's diary, and attacks emerging Western philosophy, especially Nikolay Chernyshevsky's What Is to Be Done?. The second part of the book is called "Àpropos of the Wet Snow," and describes certain events that, it seems, are destroying and sometimes renewing the underground man, who acts as a first person, unreliable narrator.
The Mysterious Stranger-A Romance- is the final novel attempted by Mark Twain. It was worked on periodically from roughly 1890 up until 1910. The body of work is a serious social commentary by Twain addressing his ideas of the Moral Sense and the "damned human race".
'The Beast in the Jungle' is a 1903 novella by Henry James, first published as part of the collection, The Better Sort. Almost universally considered one of James' finest short narratives, this story treats appropriately universal themes: loneliness, fate, love and death. The parable of John Marcher and his peculiar destiny has spoken to many readers who have speculated on the worth and meaning of human life.
Ostensibly a love story, the novel really revolves around a highly mythologized version of the Johnson County War in 1890's Wyoming ... The novel takes the side of the large ranchers, and depicts the lynchings as frontier justice, meted out by the protagonist, who is a member of a natural aristocracy among men.
The man with the surprise endings: that was O. Henry's trademark. This is the second published collection of short stories by O. Henry originally released in 1906. There are twenty five stories of various lengths including several of his best known works such as "The Gift of the Magi" and "The Cop and the Anthem". The book's title refers to the then population of New York City where many of the stories are set. Some society snobs has the opinion that there were only 'Four Hundred' people in New York City who were really worth noticing. But O. Henry felt that every person in New York was worth noticing and had their own story which is explains the title of this collection little stories of the 'Four Million.'" To O. Henry, everyone in New York counted. And everyone had a story.
Chesterton, G. K.
Another delightful and sharply pointed excursion into the topics of the day, and of this day as well, with Gilbert Keith Chesterton. These reprinted magazine articles are filled with his good natured wit, his masterful use of paradox, and devastating ability to use reductio ad absurdum to destroy the popular myths that drive a society driving full-speed into secular humanism. You will come away with a whole new collection of wonderful quotes.
- Ray Clare
Henry James considered The Ambassadors his best, or perhaps his best-wrought, novel. It plays on the great Jamesian theme of the American abroad, who finds himself in an older, and some would say richer, culture that that of the United States, with its attractions and dangers. Here the protagonist is Lambert Strether, a man in his fifties, editor of a small literary magazine in Woollett, Massachusetts, who arrives in Europe on a mission undertaken at the urging of his patron, Mrs. Newsome, to bring back her son Chadwick. That young man appears to be enjoying his time in Paris rather more than seems good for him, at least to those older and wiser. The novel, however, is perhaps really about Strether's education in this new land, and one of his teachers is the city of Paris -- a real Paris, not an idealized one, but from which Strether has much to learn. Chad Newsome, of course is there too, and so are a scattering of other Americans, his old friend Waymarsh and his new acquaintance Maria Gostrey among them. Had Strether his life to live over again, knowing what he has now learned,. how different would it be? and what are the lessons he takes home with him?
Plunkitt, George Washington
"I seen my opportunities and I took 'em.", George Washington Plunkitt of Tamminy Hall. There's good graft and bad graft according to Plunkitt. Listen to this candid discourse from a 19th century politician, and decide for yourself if things have changed.
Named a "prophet of British imperialism" by the young George Orwell, and born in Bombay, India, Rudyard Kipling had perhaps the clearest contemporary eye of any who described the British Raj. According to critic Douglas Kerr: "He is still an author who can inspire passionate disagreement and his place in literary and cultural history is far from settled. But as the age of the European empires recedes, he is recognised as an incomparable, if controversial, interpreter of how empire was experienced. That, and an increasing recognition of his extraordinary narrative gifts, make him a force to be reckoned with." This force shines in THE PLAIN TALES FROM THE HILLS. -- MH .
Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim
G.E. Lessing, widely regarded by students of theater as the world's first dramaturg, was also one of the first proponents of the German bourgeois tragedy. Miss Sara Sampson, in which a young woman runs off with a ne'er-do-well who is still entangled with his former mistress, was a reaction against the Voltarian verse drama popular in the eighteenth century.
Mencken, H. L.
Henry Louis "H. L." Mencken (1880 – 1956) was an American journalist, essayist, magazine editor, satirist, acerbic critic of American life and culture, and a student of American English. Known as the "Sage of Baltimore", he is regarded as one of the most influential American writers and prose stylists of the first half of the 20th century. Mencken is perhaps best remembered today for The American Language, a multi-volume study of how the English language is spoken in the United States, and for his satirical reporting on the Scopes trial, which he named the "Monkey" trial."
Paterson, Andrew Barton "Banjo"
A collection of poems by Australian poet Andrew Barton 'Banjo' Paterson, picturesque glimpses into life in the Bush. From the preface: "A number of these verses are now published for the first time, most of the others were written for and appeared in 'The Bulletin' (Sydney, N.S.W.), and are therefore already widely known to readers in Australasia."
The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come is a Christian allegory written by John Bunyan and published in February, 1678. It is regarded as one of the most significant works of religious English literature, has been translated into more than 200 languages, and has never been out of print. The author says in the preface " I have endeavored as far as possible to avoid hard and technical expressions, and I cannot but think that the mere fact of the brevity of the words must be a great attraction to beginners of all ages.
Patterson, John Henry
In 1898, during the construction of river-crossing bridge for the Uganda Railway at the Tsavo River, as many as 135 railway workers were attacked at night, dragged into the wilderness, and devoured by two male lions.
The Man-Eaters of Tsavo is the autobiographical account of Royal Engineer Lt. Col. J.H. Patterson's African adventures. Among them, his hunt for the two man-eaters.
This book was the basis for the 1996 film The Ghost and the Darkness.
Piper, H. Beam
The Terro-Human Future History is Piper's detailed account of the next 6000 years of human history. 1942, the year the first fission reactor was constructed, is defined as the year 1 A.E. (Atomic Era). In 1973, a nuclear war devastates the planet, eventually laying the groundwork for the emergence of a Terran Federation, once humanity goes into space and develops antigravity technology.
The story "The Edge of the Knife" (collected in Empire) occurs slightly before the war, and involves a man who sees flashes of the future. It links many key elements of Piper's series.
A funny collection of poems about bad children.
A tragic but very captivating tale of a monk in the 17th century. There were actually two authors: Ambrose Bierce and Adolph de Castro.
Tom Corbett - Space Cadet was one of the first multimedia sensations. In the 1950s the character had his own radio show, TV series, comic book, breakfast cereal, and a line of young-adult novels. A cross between "Tom Brown's School Days" and Horatio Hornblower (and loosely based upon Robert A. Heinlein's novel "Space Cadet"), the books follow the adventures of Tom and his friends Roger Manning and Astro as they work their way through Space Academy to become officers of the Solar Guard. Along the way they tangle with space pirates, smugglers, and the threat of demerits for breaking the rules.
The authorship of the novels remains unknown -- the credited name, "Carey Rockwell" was a pseudonym created by the publisher -- although the most likely candidates are Joseph Greene (who created the character) and Richard Jessup (who wrote for the TV and radio shows).
This book tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.