Reclusive author Vida Winter, famous for her collection of twelve enchanting stories, has spent the past six decades penning a series of alternate lives for herself. Now old and ailing, she is ready to reveal the truth about her extraordinary existence and the violent and tragic past she has kept secret for so long. Calling on Margaret Lea, a young biographer troubled by her own painful history, Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good. Margaret is mesmerized by the author's tale of gothic strangeness—featuring the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire. Together, Margaret and Vida confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.More info →
From Amazon: "Moby Dick is the story of Captain Ahab's quest to avenge the whale that 'reaped' his leg. The quest is an obsession and the novel is a diabolical study of how a man becomes a fanatic. But it is also a hymn to democracy. Bent as the crew is on Ahab s appalling crusade, it is equally the image of a co-operative community at work: all hands dependent on all hands, each individual responsible for the security of each. Among the crew is Ishmael, the novel's narrator, ordinary sailor, and extraordinary reader. Digressive, allusive, vulgar, transcendent, the story Ishmael tells is above all an education: in the practice of whaling, in the art of writing."More info →
Middlemarch is a complex tale of idealism, disillusion, profligacy, loyalty and frustrated love. This penetrating analysis of the life of an English provincial town during the time of social unrest prior to the Reform Bill of 1832 is told through the lives of Dorothea Brooke and Dr Tertius Lydgate and includes a host of other paradigm characters who illuminate the condition of English life in the mid-nineteenth century.More info →
The war against Voldemort is not going well; even the Muggles have been affected. Dumbledore is absent from Hogwarts for long stretches of time, and the Order of the Phoenix has already suffered losses.
And yet . . . as with all wars, life goes on. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate. Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Harry receives some extraordinary help in Potions from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince. And with Dumbledore's guidance, he seeks out the full, complex story of the boy who became Lord Voldemort -- and thus finds what may be his only vulnerability.More info →
Hard Times is perhaps the archetypal Dickens novel, full as it is with family difficulties, estrangement, rotten values and unhappiness. It was published in 1854 and it is the story of the family of Thomas Gradgrind, and occurs in the imaginary Coketown, an industrial city inspired by Preston. Gradgrind is a man obsessed with misguided ‘Utilitarian’ values that make him trust facts, statistics and practicality more than emotion and is based upon James Mill (the Utilitarian leader). He directs his own children, Louisa and Tom, in this same way: enforcing an artless existence upon them.More info →
It is 1757. Across north-eastern America the armies of Britain and France struggle for ascendancy. Their conflict, however, overlays older struggles between nations of native Americans for possession of the same lands and between the native peoples and white colonisers. Through these layers of conflict Cooper threads a thrilling narrative, in which Cora and Alice Munro, daughters of a British commander on the front line of the colonial war, attempt to join their father. Thwarted by Magua, the sinister 'Indian runner', they find help in the person of Hawk-eye, the white woodsman, and his companions, the Mohican Chingachgook and Uncas, his son, the last of his tribe.
Cooper's novel is full of vivid incident- pursuits through wild terrain, skirmishes, treachery and brutality- but reflects also on the interaction between the colonists and the native peoples. Through the character of Hawkeye, Cooper raises lasting questions about the practises of the American frontier and the eclipse of the indigenous cultures.
Pride and Prejudice is a novel of manners by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story follows the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of the British Regency. Elizabeth is the second of five daughters of a country gentleman living near the fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire, near London.
Set in England in the early 19th century, Pride and Prejudice tells the story of Mr and Mrs Bennet's five unmarried daughters after the rich and eligible Mr Bingley and his status-conscious friend, Mr Darcy, have moved into their neighbourhood. While Bingley takes an immediate liking to the eldest Bennet daughter, Jane, Darcy has difficulty adapting to local society and repeatedly clashes with the second-eldest Bennet daughter, Elizabeth.
Though Austen set the story at the turn of the 19th century, it retains a fascination for modern readers, continuing near the top of lists of "most loved books." It has become one of the most popular novels in English literature, selling over 20 million copies, and receives considerable attention from literary scholars. Modern interest in the book has resulted in a number of dramatic adaptations and an abundance of novels and stories imitating Austen's memorable characters or themes.More info →
“This is a book about Heaven,” says Jayber Crow, “but I must say too that . . . I have wondered sometimes if it would not finally turn out to be a book about Hell.” It is 1932 and he has returned to his native Port William to become the town's barber.
Orphaned at age ten, Jayber Crow’s acquaintance with loneliness and want have made him a patient observer of the human animal, in both its goodness and frailty.
He began his search as a “pre–ministerial student” at Pigeonville College. There, freedom met with new burdens and a young man needed more than a mirror to find himself. But the beginning of that finding was a short conversation with “Old Grit,” his profound professor of New Testament Greek.
“You have been given questions to which you cannot be given answers. You will have to live them out—perhaps a little at a time.”
“And how long is that going to take?”
“I don't know. As long as you live, perhaps.”
“That could be a long time.”
“I will tell you a further mystery,” he said. “It may take longer.”
Wendell Berry’s clear–sighted depiction of humanity’s gifts—love and loss, joy and despair—is seen though his intimate knowledge of the Port William Membership.More info →
"In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in The Hobbit. In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose."More info →
Hannah Coulter is Wendell Berry’s seventh novel and his first to employ the voice of a woman character in its telling. Hannah, the now–elderly narrator, recounts the love she has for the land and for her community. She remembers each of her two husbands, and all places and community connections threatened by twentieth–century technologies. At risk is the whole culture of family farming, hope redeemed when her wayward and once lost grandson, Virgil, returns to his rural home place to work the farm.More info →
It is 1984, and the worlds' three major powers-Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia-are constantly at war. In Oceania, where the Party is in power, the thought police unearth every act of dissent, and Big Brother is always watching. Winston Smith, a dutiful citizen of Oceania, works for the Ministry of Truth as a propaganda writer who rewrites history to suit the needs of the authoritarian government. But when Winston falls in love with fellow worker Julia, they begin to question the very system they work for, placing them in immense danger. Pursuing their forbidden love affair, Winston plans a rebellion against the Party in order to regain the freedom to shape his own future. But the ever-watchful Big Brother will not tolerate opposition, and for those who speak up against the system or dare to think what the Party does not want them to think, Room 101 awaits them . . .
1984 is George Orwell's haunting prophesy of the future, which has held multiple generations of readers spellbound in its chilling and terrifying vision of life under a totalitarian regime. Powerful and unforgettable, this still-relevant novel explores the obliteration of truth, individuality and liberty in a world where the ruling power seeks to control everything, from information to thought and memory."
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The Shepherd's Castle is a companion volume to MacDonald's The Baronet's Song. A classic love story in the gothic style.
Donal Grant accepts a position as tutor in a wealthy family where, in addition to imparting knowledge and Godly principles to the young son, Davie, he finds himself caught in a web of mystery and madness... and falling in love.More info →