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By: Jane Austen (1775-1817)

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice

Austen’s timeless romantic classic, follows the lives of the five Bennett sisters, who live in a time where an advantageous marriage and social status are considered a fundamental for any woman to stand a fair chance at life. Set at the turn of the 19th century, Pride and Prejudice catches a perfect glimpse not only of a time when women were socially and economically dependent solely on their marital status, but also as an age of enlightenment and witness of the French Revolution. This romantic novel with its hint of comic references begins with the famous quote "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife...

Emma by Jane Austen Emma

A comedy of manners, Emma portrays the spoilt, snobbish, yet charming Emma Woodhouse as she delightfully interferes in the relationships of others without taking much notice of her own heart. Although quick to make prejudgments and decisions, Emma is eventually able to notice her mistakes, and it is this revelation that makes her an endearing heroine and an inspiration to women throughout. Austen has not only created, but also brought to life the world inhabited by her characters through her vivid depictions and clever use of wit...

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen Sense and Sensibility

Two sisters, one practical and full of commonsense, the other a passionate and emotional creature, an uncaring brother and his avaricious wife, a handsome rake and a faithful gentleman – these are some of the unforgettable characters who make Jane Austen's first published novel, Sense and Sensibility such a delightful, witty and timeless classic. The novel was published under the pseudonym “A Lady” by its shy and retiring nineteen-year-old author, Jane Austen, in 1811. She was the daughter of a country rector and lived all her life in the circle of her large and loving family in a little village in Hampshire, England...

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen Mansfield Park

One of the most controversial novels written by Austen, Mansfield Park follows the life of the young heroine Fanny Price as she searches for her place in society. Set in early 19th century England, the classic novel depicts the social issues of the time including marriage, social mobility and morality. The classic centers on the life of the poor young girl Fanny Price, who is the oldest daughter of nine siblings. Her father is a former naval officer and a heavy drinker, while her mother has married beneath her and is undeniably the black sheep in the family when compared to her two sisters, Mrs...

Persuasion by Jane Austen Persuasion

Persuasion is the last completed novel by Jane Austen and it was published posthumously in 1818. Readers have often connected Persuasion with Northanger Abbey as the setting of both stories is in Bath, a highly fashionable health resort with which the author was well acquainted. Another interesting point to note is that the title of ‘Persuasion’ was probably not envisioned by Jane but by her brother or sister. Another theory is that her two siblings had a great role in choosing the title of the story...

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen Northanger Abbey

Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey is a book about the life of Catherine Morland and her romantic relationships. The novel is divided into two parts; the first part begins with Catherine’s visit to Bath and her relationship with Henry Tilney and the other people she met there, and the second part starts with the arrival of Frederick Tilney and her visit to Northanger Abbey. This book alongside Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility is considered one of the major works of Jane Austen. The novel had undergone many revisions before its publication and it was even originally titled “Catherine...

Love and Friendship by Jane Austen Love and Friendship

Begun when she was just eleven years old, Love and Friendship is one of Jane Austen's stories that very few readers may have encountered before. Austen experts feel that this story was written, like many others, only for the pleasure of her family and friends. It is scribbled across three notebooks, in childish handwriting, and the complete work is thought to have been written over a period of six or seven years. It is dedicated to one of her cousins, whom she was very close to, Eliza de Feuillide...

Lady Susan by Jane Austen Lady Susan

Jane Austen demonstrated her mastery of the epistolary novel genre in Lady Susan, which she wrote in 1795 but never published. Although the primary focus of this short novel is the selfish behavior of Lady Susan as she engages in affairs and searches for suitable husbands for herself and her young daughter, the actual action shares its importance with Austen’s manipulation of her characters’ behavior by means of their reactions to the letters that they receive. The heroine adds additional interest by altering the tone of her own letters based on the recipient of the letter...

The Watsons by Jane Austen The Watsons

This fragment of a novel was written by Jane Austen in 1804 and remained untitled and unpublished until her nephew James Edward Austen-Leigh printed it in his A Memoir of Jane Austen in 1871. The title is from him. Mr Watson is a widowed clergyman with two sons and four daughters. The youngest daughter, Emma, has been brought up by a wealthy aunt and is consequently better educated and more refined than her sisters. But when her aunt contracts a foolish second marriage, Emma is obliged to return to her father’s house. There she is chagrined by the crude and reckless husband-hunting of two of her twenty-something sisters.

By: Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy War and Peace

Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace chronicles the lives of five Russian aristocratic families during Napoleon's invasion of Russia. Many considered this book to be the best Russian work of literature of all time and it is massive in scale. The book is divided in four volumes and the chapters don't just contain the narrative of the plot to the novel but philosophical discussions as well. This may be intimidating to average book readers but they shouldn't be discouraged to try reading War and Peace. After all, this book was written for all and not just for intellectuals...

Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy Resurrection

Book 1. Resurrection is the last of Tolstoy's major fiction works published in his lifetime. Tolstoy intended the novel as an exposition of injustice of man-made laws and the hypocrisy of institutionalized church. It was first published serially in the magazine Niva as an effort to raise funds for the resettlement of the Dukhobors. The story concerns a nobleman named Nekhlyudov, who seeks redemption for a sin committed years earlier. His brief affair with a maid resulted in her being fired and ending up in prostitution. The book treats his attempts to help her out of her current misery, but also focuses on his personal mental and moral struggle.

Boyhood by Leo Tolstoy Boyhood

Boyhood is the second in Tolstoy's trilogy of three autobiographical novels, including Childhood and Youth, published in a literary journal during the 1850s. (Introduction by Bill Boerst)

Master and Man by Leo Tolstoy Master and Man

A land owner, Vasili Andreevich, takes along one of his peasants, Nikita, for a short journey to another town. He wishes to get to the town quickly ‘for business’. They find themselves in the middle of a blizzard, but the master in his avarice wishes to press on. They eventually get lost off the road and they try to camp. The master’s peasant soon finds himself about to die from hypothermia. The master leaves him on the horse to stubbornly try to find the road. When he returns, he attains a spiritual/moral revelation, and Tolstoy once again repeats one of his famous themes: that the only true happiness in life is found by living for others. (Wikipedia)

The Death of Ivan Ilyitch by Leo Tolstoy The Death of Ivan Ilyitch

The Death of Ivan Ilyitch is the story of a socially ambitious middle-aged judge who contracts an unexplained and untreatable illness. As Ivan Ilyitch is forced to face the death he fears, he asks himself whether the life he thought was so correct was, in fact, a moral life after all. Written after Tolstoy's religious conversion, the novella is widely considered to be one of his masterpieces. (Summary by Laurie Anne Walden)

The Cossacks by Leo Tolstoy The Cossacks

The Cossacks (1863) is an unfinished novel which describes the Cossack life and people through a story of Dmitri Olenin, a Russian aristocrat in love with a Cossack girl. This text was acclaimed by Ivan Bunin as one of the finest in the language.

Ivan the Fool by Leo Tolstoy Ivan the Fool

Written after Tolstoy suffered a spiritual crisis, Ivan the Fool is a fairy tale that offers children instruction in how to live rightly, simply, and generously. The story emphasizes the destructive aspects of materialism and militarism while idealizing manual labor and the peasant life. (Introduction by Dorlene Kaplan)

Book cover Tolstoy on Shakespeare

This book contains a critical essay on Shakespeare by Leo Tolstoy. It is followed by another essay named "Shakespeare's attitude to the working classes" by Ernest Crosby and extracts of a letter by George Bernard Shaw. (Summary by enko)

Youth by Leo Tolstoy Youth

Youth is the third in Tolstoy's trilogy of three autobiographical novels, including Childhood and Boyhood, published in a literary journal during the 1850s. (Introduction by Bill Boerst)

Father Sergius by Leo Tolstoy Father Sergius

Prince Stepan Kasatsky experiences a disappointment with his fiancé and decides to become a monk! There is a story line, but beneath it, Father Sergius struggles to find peace and, if not happiness, then at least contentment. But he is always disillusioned and ultimately unsatisfied. Only in the end does he find his way by letting go of what he struggled to attain all his life, i.e. to be better than everyone else in whatever he did, and settle for the mundane. (Summary by JCarson)

By: Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

An acclaimed children’s classic depicting the odd, but riveting journeys of the curious Alice as she explores the surreal world of Wonderland. Written by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson or better known under his pseudonym Lewis Caroll, this episodic novel is assembled in twelve chapters each containing a prominent adventure. The departure from logic and its embracement of pure imagination is what makes Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland a model for fantasy novels and a timeless classic. The novel begins when the self-aware young Alice, who grows bored of sitting by the river with her sister, and spots a peculiar looking rabbit, dressed in a waistcoat...

Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll Through the Looking-Glass

If you've read and loved Alice in Wonderland, you wouldn't want to miss reading about her further adventures, the strange and fantastical creatures she meets and the delightful style and word-play that made the first book so appealing. Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll is thematically much more structured and cleverly constructed as compared to the earlier Alice book but still retains its childhood elements of wonder, curiosity and imagination. Lewis Carroll was the pseudonym of Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a gifted mathematics professor at Oxford during the late 19th century...

The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll The Hunting of the Snark

The Hunting of the Snark is a long nonsense poem by Lewis Carroll describing the adventures of ten weirdly assorted characters as they pursue an elusive creature known as a snark. (Summary by Shawn Craig Smith)

A Tangled Tale by Lewis Carroll A Tangled Tale

Lewis Carroll (1832-1896) is famous for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. It is less widely known that he worked as a lecturer for mathematics at Christ Church college, Oxford for 27 years. A tangled tale merges his two talents as storyteller and mathematician. It consists of ten short humorous stories which present one or more mathematical problems. The ten knots as they are called, were first published in The Monthly Packet magazine between April 1880 and March 1885, where readers were invited to solve the problems, and the solution was discussed in a later issue. (Summary by Availle)

Sylvie and Bruno by Lewis Carroll Sylvie and Bruno

The novel has two main plots; one set in the real world at the time the book was published (the Victorian era), the other in the fantasy world of Fairyland. While the latter plot is a fairytale with many nonsense elements and poems, similar to Carroll’s Alice books, the story set in Victorian Britain is a social novel, with its characters discussing various concepts and aspects of religion, society, philosophy and morality. This book is the first of two volumes and the two intertwining stories are brought to a close in the second volume, Sylvie and Bruno Concluded.

Alice's Adventures Underground by Lewis Carroll Alice's Adventures Underground

This is the handwritten book that Carroll wrote for private use before being urged to develop it later into Alice in Wonderland. It was generously illustrated by Carroll and meant to entertain his family and friends. When a sick child in a hospital enjoyed it so much, the mother wrote him saying it had distracted her for a bit from her pain and led eventually to Carroll expanding the story. The Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson and the Reverend Robinson Duckworth rowed in a boat, on 4 July 1862,[12]...

By: Mark Twain

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Regarded as the pride and joy of American literature, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a picturesque novel depicting Huck’s epic journey from boyhood to manhood and the struggles he must face living in a corrupt society. The novel serves as a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, another famous work by Mark Twain. The plot unfolds in several locations sometime before the Civil War. The book opens with a description of Huck’s new life as he undergoes a process of “civilization” while living with the Widow Douglas and her sister Miss Watson...

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

If ever there was a story written based unabashedly on adventure and trouble, this is it. There are treasure hunts and murderers on the run in this book that will keep you spellbound. Tom and his half-brother, Sid, lived with their aunt, Polly. Tom was a boisterous young fellow who constantly found himself in rather awkward situations that landed him into trouble. These situations were however exceedingly hilarious. On one occasion, Tom dirtied his clothes in a fight and his punishment was to whitewash the fence the following day...

The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain The Prince and the Pauper

The Prince and the Pauper (1882) represents Mark Twain’s first attempt at historical fiction. The book, set in 1547, tells the story of two young boys who are identical in appearance: Tom Canty, a pauper who lives with his abusive father in Offal Court, London, and Prince Edward son of Henry VIII of England. Due to a series of circumstances, the boys accidentally replace each other, and much of the humor in the book originates in the two boys’ inability to function in the world that is so familiar to the other (although Tom soon displays considerable wisdom in his decisions)...

Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain Life on the Mississippi

Life on the Mississippi is a memoir by Mark Twain detailing his days as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River before the American Civil War. A good portion of the work also deals with his post-war visit to the “old haunts”. (Summary by Wikipedia and John Greenman)

1601: Conversation, as it was by the Social Fireside, in the Time of the Tudors by Mark Twain 1601: Conversation, as it was by the Social Fireside, in the Time of the Tudors

Also known simply as "1601", this is a humorously risque work by Mark Twain, first published anonymously in 1880, and finally acknowledged by the author in 1906. (Summary by John Greenman & Wikipedia)

Chapters from my Autobiography by Mark Twain Chapters from my Autobiography

Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) began writing his autobiography long before the 1906 publications of these Chapters from my Autobiography. He originally planned to have his memoirs published only after his death but realized, once he’d passed his 70th year, that a lot of the material might be OK to publish before his departure. These chapters were published in serial form in the North American Review during 1906-1907. While much of the material consists of stories about the people, places and incidents of his long life, there’re also several sections from his daughter, which he calls “Susy’s biography of me”.(Summary by John Greenman)

The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain The Innocents Abroad

When you dive into Mark Twain’s (Samuel Clemens’) The Innocents Abroad, you have to be ready to learn more about the unadorned, ungilded reality of 19th century “touring” than you might think you want to learn. This is a tough, literary journey. It was tough for Twain and his fellow “pilgrims”, both religious and otherwise. They set out, on a June day in 1867, to visit major tourist sites in Europe and the near east, including Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, “the Holy Land”, and Egypt...


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