Classics

War and Peace

By Leo Tolstoy

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"A sweeping, romantic saga of two noble families and their intertwined destiny, and a panoramic portrait of Russian society at the time of the Napoleonic Wars, Tolstoy's unforgettable masterpiece has inspired love and devotion in its readers for generations.

"Now read the original version of Russia's most famous novel, which never made it to publication in Tolstoy's lifetime. Undiscovered for more than a century, this edition-with its subtly different characters, dialogue, and ending-is essential reading for devotees of Tolstoy and new readers alike: it is world-class fiction in its most vivid and vital form."

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The Worm Ouroboros

By E.R. Eddison

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And the Lord Goldry spake: "We, the lords of Demon-land, do utterly scorn thee, Gorice XI., for the greatest of dastards, in that thou basely fleddest and forsookest us, thy sworn confederates, in the sea battle against the Ghouls. Our swords, which in that battle ended so great a curse and peril to all this world, are not bent nor broken. They shall be sheathed in the bowels of thee and thy minions, Corsus to wit, and Corund, and then: sons, and Corinius, and what other evildoers harbour in waterish Witchland, sooner than one little sea-pink growing on the cliffs of Demonland shall do thee obeisance."

"This is the book that shaped the landscape of contemporary science fiction. J. R. R. Tolkien acclaimed its author as "the greatest and most convincing writer of 'invented worlds' that I have read." Written in the best traditions of Homeric epics, Norse sagas, and Arthurian myths, it recounts compelling tales of warriors and witches."

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The Canterbury Tales

By Geoffrey Chaucer, translated into modern English by Nevill Coghill

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"A retelling of the medieval poem about a group of travelers on a pilgrimage to Canterbury and the tales they tell each other. With their astonishing diversity of tone and subject matter, The Canterbury Tales have become one of the touchstones of medieval literature. Translated here into modern English, these tales of a motley crowd of pilgrims drawn from all walks of life-from knight to nun, miller to monk-reveal a picture of English life in the fourteenth century that is as robust as it is representative."

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The Lord of the Rings

By J.R.R. Tolkien

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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, by chance, into the hands of the hobbit, Bilbo Baggins.

From his fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor, Sauron's power spread far and wide. He gathered all the Great Rings to him, but ever he searched far and wide for the One Ring that would complete his dominion.

On his eleventy-first birthday Bilbo disappeared, bequeathing to his young cousin Frodo the Ruling Ring and a perilous quest --- to journey across Middle-earth, deep into the shadow of the Dark Lord, and destroy the Ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom. The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the Wizard, Merry, Pippin, and Sam, Gimli the Dwarf, Legolas the Elf, Boromir of Gondor, and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider.

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The Chronicles of Narnia

By C.S. Lewis

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Journeys to the end of the world, fantastic creatures, and epic battles between good and evil -- what more could any reader ask for in one book? The book that has it all is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, written in 1949 by Clive Staples Lewis. But Lewis did not stop there. Six more books followed, and together they became known as The Chronicles of Narnia.

For the past fifty years, The Chronicles of Narnia have transcended the fantasy genre to become part of the canon of classic literature. Each of the seven books is a masterpiece, drawing the reader into a land where magic meets reality, and the result is a fictional world whose scope has fascinated generations.

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On the Beach

By Nevil Shute

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"In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river...
This is the way the world ends--
This is the way the world ends.
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper."

Nevil Shute placed this quote from T.S. Eliot's "The Hollow Men" on the title page of his chilling bestselling 1957 novel about life and death in Australia after a nuclear war in the northern hemisphere. The novel focuses on the crew of an American ship stranded in Australia after all of the northern hemisphere has destroyed itself in nuclear war. Radiation slowly travels south with the winds, and we meet memorable characters who try to grab what enjoyment life can offer before the inevitable end comes. Stanley Kramer's 1959 film starring Ava Gardner and Gregory Peck was very faithful to the book. This title is also available as a recorded book.

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Anna Karenina

By Leo Tolstoy

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"Regarded by many as the greatest novel ever written in any language, Anna Karenina relates the doomed love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and the dashing officer Count Vronsky. Set against a vast and richly textured canvas of nineteenth-century Russia, Anna's tragedy unfolds with relentless force as she rejects her passionless marriage to the aging official Karenin and must endure the hypocrisies of society."

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Atlas Shrugged

By Ayn Rand

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The decisions of a few industrial leaders shake the roots of capitalism and reawaken man's awareness of himself as a heroic being.

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Of Mice and Men

By John Steinbeck

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Tells a story about the strange relationship of two migrant workers, who are able to realize their dreams of an easy life until one of them succumbs to his weakness for soft, helpless creatures and strangles the farmer's wife. Tragic tale of a retarded man and the friend who loves and tries to protect him.
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Under the Greenwood Tree: A Rural Painting of the Dutch School

By Thomas Hardy

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The arrival of two newcomers in the quiet village of Mellstock arouses a bitter feud and leaves a convoluted love affair in its wake. While the Reverend Maybold creates a furor among the village's musicians with his decision to abolish the church's traditional 'string choir' and replace it with a modern mechanical organ, the new schoolteacher, Fancy Day, causes an upheaval of a more romantic nature, winning the hearts of three very different men - a local farmer, a church musician and Maybold himself. "Under the Greenwood Tree" follows the ensuing maze of intrigue and passion with gentle humour and sympathy, deftly evoking the richness of village life, yet tinged with melancholy for a rural world that Hardy saw fast disappearing.

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