One of my personal target for 2013 is to read one book every month. To help keep the focus and achieve this target, I’ll try to share quote from one of my favorite books every day.
22nd June 2013
– Jon Krakauer (April 12, 1954)
– Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild
In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska & walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter. How McCandless came to die is unforgettable story of Into the Wild.
Immediately after graduating from college in 1991, McCandless had roamed through the West and Southwest on a vision quest like those made by his heroes Jack London and John Muir. In the Mojave Desert he abandoned his car, stripped it of its license plates, and burned all of his cash. He would give himself a new name, Alexander Supertramp, and, unencumbered by money and belongings, he would be free to wallow in the raw, unfiltered experiences that nature presented. Craving a blank spot on the map, McCandless simply threw the maps away. Leaving behind his desperate parents and sister, he vanished into the wild.
21st June 2013
– Harriet Beecher Stowe (Jun 14, 1811 – Jul 1, 1896)
– Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin
The narrative drive of Stowe’s classic novel is often overlooked in the heat of the controversies surrounding its anti-slavery sentiments. In fact, it is a compelling adventure story with richly drawn characters and has earned a place in both literary and American history.
13th June 2013
– Katherine Paterson (Oct 31, 1932)
– Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia
Jess Aarons’ greatest ambition is to be the fastest runner in his grade. He’s been practicing all summer and can’t wait to see his classmates’ faces when he beats them all. But on the first day of school, a new girl boldly crosses over to the boys’ side and outruns everyone.
That’s not a very promising beginning for a friendship, but Jess and Leslie Burke become inseparable. Together they create Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen, and their imaginations set the only limits.
12th June 2013
– Jonathan Safran Foer (Feb 21, 1977)
– Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Nine-year-old Oskar Schell has embarked on an urgent, secret mission that will take him through the five boroughs of New York. His goal is to find the lock that matches a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11. This seemingly impossible task will bring Oskar into contact with survivors of all sorts on an exhilarating, affecting, often hilarious, and ultimately healing journey
11th Jun3 2013
– James Clavell (Oct 10, 1924 – Sep 7, 1994)
– James Clavell’s Shogun
A bold English adventurer. An invincible Japanese warlord. A beautiful woman torn between two ways of life, two ways of love. All brought together in an extraordinary saga of a time and a place aflame with conflict, passion, ambition, lust, and the struggle for power…
10th June 2013
– Jack London (January 12, 1876 – November 22, 1916)
– Jack London’s The Call of the Wild
At first, Buck does not understand his restlessness. Something is calling him…a sound, a feeling, a desire…too compelling to ignore. Day after day it grows more urgent, until finally the magnificent dog understands and obeys. Buck has to leave the world of human beings and campfires to answer “the call of the wild.”
7th June 2013
– Richard Bach (June 23, 1936)
– Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingstone Seagull
This is a story for people who follow their hearts and make their own rules…people who get special pleasure out of doing something well, even if only for themselves…people who know there’s more to this living than meets the eye: they’ll be right there with Jonathan, flying higher and faster than ever they dreamed.
6th June 2013
– Geoffrey Chaucer (15th Century)
– Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales
The procession that crosses Chaucer’s pages is as full of life and as richly textured as a medieval tapestry. The Knight, the Miller, the Friar, the Squire, the Prioress, the Wife of Bath, and others who make up the cast of characters — including Chaucer himself — are real people, with human emotions and weaknesses. When it is remembered that Chaucer wrote in English at a time when Latin was the standard literary language across western Europe, the magnitude of his achievement is even more remarkable. But Chaucer’s genius needs no historical introduction; it bursts forth from every page of The Canterbury Tales.
If we trust the General Prologue, Chaucer intended that each pilgrim should tell two tales on the way to Canterbury and two tales on the way back. He never finished his enormous project and even the completed tales were not finally revised. Scholars are uncertain about the order of the tales. As the printing press had yet to be invented when Chaucer wrote his works, The Canterbury Tales has been passed down in several handwritten manuscripts.
5th June 2013
– Thomas Hardy (June 2, 1840 – Jan 11, 1928)
– Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles
The chance discovery by a young peasant woman that she is a descendant of the noble family of d’Urbervilles is to change the course of her life. Tess Durbeyfield leaves home on the first of her fateful journeys, and meets the ruthless Alec d’Urberville. Thomas Hardy’s impassioned story tells of hope and disappointment, rejection and enduring love.
3rd June 2013
– Agatha Christie (Sep 15, 1890 – Jan 12, 1976)
– Agatha Christie’s And then there were none
First, there were ten – a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal – and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion
1st June 2013
– Mario Puzo (October 15, 1920 – July 2, 1999)
– Mario Puzo’s The Godfather
More than thirty years ago, a classic was born. A searing novel of the Mafia underworld, The Godfather introduced readers to the first family of American crime fiction, the Corleones, and the powerful legacy of tradition, blood, and honor that was passed on from father to son. With its themes of the seduction of power, the pitfalls of greed, and family allegiance, it resonated with millions of readers across the world, and became the definitive novel of the virile, violent subculture that remains steeped in intrigue, in controversy, and in our collective consciousness.
31st May 2013
– Erich Maria Remarque (June 22, 1898 – Sep 25, 1970)
– Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front
Paul Bäumer enlisted with his classmates in the German army of World War I. Youthful, enthusiastic, they become soldiers. But despite what they have learned, they break into pieces under the first bombardment in the trenches. And as horrible war plods on year after year, Paul holds fast to a single vow: to fight against the principles of hate that meaninglessly pits young men of the same generation but different uniforms against each other, if only he can come out of the war alive.
“The world has a great writer in Erich Maria Remarque. He is a craftsman of unquestionably first rank, a man who can bend language to his will. Whether he writes of men or of inanimate nature, his touch is sensitive, firm, and sure.”
30th May 2013
– Dante Alighieri (April 27, 1265 – August 5, 1321)
– Dante’s The Divine Comedy
The Divine Comedy, translated by Allen Mandelbaum, begins in a shadowed forest on Good Friday in the year 1300. It proceeds on a journey that, in its intense recreation of the depths and the heights of human experience, has become the key with which Western civilization has sought to unlock the mystery of its own identity.
Mandelbaum’s astonishingly Dantean translation, which captures so much of the life of the original, renders whole for us the masterpiece of that genius whom our greatest poets have recognized as a central model for all poets.
29th May 2013
– Franz Kafka (July 3, 1883 – June 3, 1924)
– Franz Kafka’s Amerika
Kafka’s first and funniest novel, Amerika tells the story of the young immigrant Karl Rossmann who, after an embarrassing sexual misadventure, finds himself “packed off to America” by his parents. Expected to redeem himself in this magical land of opportunity, young Karl is swept up instead in a whirlwind of dizzying reversals, strange escapades, and picaresque adventures.
Although Kafka never visited America, images of its vast landscape, dangers, and opportunities inspired this saga of the “golden land.” Here is a startlingly modern, fantastic and visionary tale of America “as a place no one has yet seen, in a historical period that can’t be identified,” writes E. L. Doctorow in his new foreword. “Kafka made his novel from his own mind’s mythic elements,” Doctorow explains, “and the research data that caught his eye were bent like rays in a field of gravity.”
28th May 2013
– Jack Keroucac (March 12, 1922 – October 21, 1969)
On the Road chronicles Jack Kerouac’s years traveling the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady, “a sideburned hero of the snowy West.” As “Sal Paradise” and “Dean Moriarty,” the two roam the country in a quest for self-knowledge and experience. Kerouac’s love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz combine to make On the Road an inspirational work of lasting importance.
Kerouac’s classic novel of freedom and longing defined what it meant to be “Beat” and has inspired every generation since its initial publication more than forty years ago.
27th May 2013
– Christopher Paolini (Nov 17, 1983)
– Christopher Paolini’s Eragon
It’s a an adventure story of a boy and a dragon.
When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.
Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds.
Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands.
25th May 2013
– Ernest Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961)
– Ernest Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea
The Old Man and the Sea is one of Hemingway’s most enduring works. Told in language of great simplicity and power, it is the story of an old Cuban fisherman, down on his luck, and his supreme ordeal—a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Here Hemingway recasts, in strikingly contemporary style, the classic theme of courage in the face of defeat, of personal triumph won from loss. Written in 1952, this hugely successful novella confirmed his power and presence in the literary world and played a large part in his winning the 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature
24th May 2013
– Herman Melville (Aug 1, 1819 – Sep 28, 1891)
– Herman Melville’s Moby Dick
Over a century and a half after its publication, Moby-Dick still stands as an indisputable literary classic. It is the story of an eerily compelling madman pursuing an unholy war against a creature as vast and dangerous and unknowable as the sea itself. But more than just a novel of adventure, more than an encyclopedia of whaling lore and legend, Moby-Dick is a haunting, mesmerizing, and important social commentary populated with several of the most unforgettable and enduring characters in literature. Written with wonderfully redemptive humor, Moby-Dick is a profound and timeless inquiry into character, faith, and the nature of perception.
23rd May 2013
– Kathryn Stockett’s The Help
If you don’t want to read the book, watch the movie of the same name, which stars Oprah.
It’s a story of 3 ordinary women who are about to take one extraordinary step. Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.
Aibileen is a black maid, a wise woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.
Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.
Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed. In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women – mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends – view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.
22nd May 2013
– JRR Tolkien (Jan 3, 1892 – Sep 2, 1973)
– JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.
Written for J.R.R. Tolkien’s own children, The Hobbit met with instant critical acclaim when it was first published in 1937. Now recognized as a timeless classic, this introduction to the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, the wizard Gandalf, Gollum, and the spectacular world of Middle-earth recounts of the adventures of a reluctant hero, a powerful and dangerous ring, and the cruel dragon Smaug the Magnificent.
21st May 2013
– Charles Dickens (Feb 7, 1812 – Jun 9, 1870)
– Charles Dicken’s A Tale of Two Cities
After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille, the ageing Doctor Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There the lives of two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil roads of London, they are drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror, and they soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine.
20th May 2013
– Ayn Rand (Feb 2, 1905 – Mar 6, 1982)
– Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged
This is the story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world—and did. Was he a destroyer or the greatest of liberators? Why did he have to fight his battle, not against his enemies, but against those who needed him most, and his hardest battle against the woman he loved? What is the world’s motor—and the motive power of every man? You will know the answer to these questions when you discover the reason behind the baffling events that play havoc with the lives of the characters in this story.
Tremendous in its scope, this novel presents an astounding panorama of human life—from the productive genius who becomes a worthless playboy—to the great steel industrialist who does not know that he is working for his own destruction—to the philosopher who becomes a pirate—to the composer who gives up his career on the night of his triumph—to the woman who runs a transcontinental railroad—to the lowest track worker in her Terminal tunnels.
You must be prepared, when you read this novel, to check every premise at the root of your convictions. This is a mystery story, not about the murder of a man’s body, but about the murder—and rebirth—of man’s spirit. It is a philosophical revolution, told in the form of an action thriller of violent events, a ruthlessly brilliant plot structure and an irresistible suspense. Do you say this is impossible? Well, that is the first of your premises to check
11th May 2013
– Stephen King (21 Sep, 1947)
– Stephen King’s It
The story follows the exploits of seven children as they are terrorized by an eponymous being, which exploits the fears and phobias of its victims in order to disguise itself while hunting its prey. “It” primarily appears in the form of a clown in order to attract its preferred prey of young children. The novel is told through narratives alternating between two time periods, and is largely told in the third-person omniscient mode. It deals with themes which would eventually become King staples: the power of memory, childhood trauma, and the ugliness lurking behind a façade of traditional small-town values.
10th May 2013
– Joan Borysenko
– Joan Borysenko’s A Woman’s Book of Life
The author of “A Woman’s Book of Life” takes a personal, scientific, historical, and practical look at the unique ways in which women approach ritual, spirituality, and God.
9th May 2013
– Arthur Golden (Dec 6, 1956)
– Arthur Golden’s The memoirs of a Geisha
In this literary tour de force, novelist Arthur Golden enters a remote and shimmeringly exotic world. For the protagonist of this peerlessly observant first novel is Sayuri, one of Japan’s most celebrated geisha, a woman who is both performer and courtesan, slave and goddess.
We follow Sayuri from her childhood in an impoverished fishing village, where in 1929, she is sold to a representative of a geisha house, who is drawn by the child’s unusual blue-grey eyes. From there she is taken to Gion, the pleasure district of Kyoto. She is nine years old. In the years that follow, as she works to pay back the price of her purchase, Sayuri will be schooled in music and dance, learn to apply the geisha’s elaborate makeup, wear elaborate kimono, and care for a coiffure so fragile that it requires a special pillow. She will also acquire a magnanimous tutor and a venomous rival. Surviving the intrigues of her trade and the upheavals of war, the resourceful Sayuri is a romantic heroine on the order of Jane Eyre and Scarlett O’Hara. And Memoirs of a Geisha is a triumphant work – suspenseful, and utterly persuasive.
8th May 2013
– Ray Bradbury (Aug 22, 1920 – Jun 5, 2012)
– Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man
The Illustrated Man has remained in print since being published in 1951. It is fair testimony to the universal appeal of Ray Bradbury’s work.
Only his second collection, the first was Dark Carnival, later reworked into The October Country, it is a marvelous, if mostly dark, quilt of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. In an ingenious framework to open and close the book, Bradbury presents himself as a nameless narrator who meets the Illustrated Man, a wanderer whose entire body is a living canvas of exotic tattoos.
What’s even more remarkable, and increasingly disturbing, is that the illustrations are themselves magically alive, and each proceeds to unfold its own story, such as “The Veldt,” wherein rowdy children take a game of virtual reality way over the edge. Or “Kaleidoscope,” a heartbreaking portrait of stranded astronauts about to reenter our atmosphere–without the benefit of a spaceship. Or “Zero Hour,” in which invading aliens have discovered a most logical ally, our own children. Even though most were written in the 1940s and 1950s, these 18 classic stories will be just as chillingly effective 50 years from now.
6th May 2013
– Bram Stoker (Nov 8, 1847 – Apr 20, 1912)
– Bram Stoker’s Dracula
A horror story like no other, almost impossible to find anyone in the world who have not heard of the blood drinking aristocratic vampire named Count Dracula. There have been other menacing tales from one of the masters of horror fiction but Bram Stoker will always be best known for his world-famous novel Dracula, he also wrote many shorter works on the strange and the macabre. Comprised of spine-chilling tales published by Stoker’s widow after his death.
2nd May 2013
– Ken Kesey (Sep 17, 1935 – Nov 10, 2001)
In this classic of the 1960s, Ken Kesey’s hero is Randle Patrick McMurphy, a boisterous, brawling, fun-loving rebel who swaggers into the world of a mental hospital and takes over. A lusty, life-affirming fighter, McMurphy rallies the other patients around him by challenging the dictatorship of Nurse Ratched. He promotes gambling in the ward, smuggles in wine and women, and openly defies the rules at every turn. But this defiance, which starts as a sport, soon develops into a grim struggle, an all-out war between two relentless opponents. Nurse Ratched, backed by the full power of authority, and McMurphy, who has only his own indomitable will. What happens when Nurse Ratched uses her ultimate weapon against McMurphy provides the story’s shocking climax.
1st May 2013
– F Scott Fitzgerald (Sep 24, 1896 – Dec 21, 1940)
– F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby
In 1922, F. Scott Fitzgerald announced his decision to write “something new, something extraordinary and beautiful and simple and intricately patterned.”
That extraordinary, beautiful, intricately patterned, and above all, simple novel became The Great Gatsby, arguably Fitzgerald’s finest work and certainly the book for which he is best known. A portrait of the Jazz Age in all of its decadence and excess, Gatsby captured the spirit of the author’s generation and earned itself a permanent place in American mythology. Self-made, self-invented millionaire Jay Gatsby embodies some of Fitzgerald’s and his country’s most abiding obsessions: money, ambition, greed, and the promise of new beginnings. “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And one fine morning” Gatsby’s rise to glory and eventual fall from grace becomes a kind of cautionary tale about the American Dream.
It’s also a love story, of sorts, the narrative of Gatsby’s quixotic passion for Daisy Buchanan. The pair meet five years before the novel begins, when Daisy is a legendary young Louisville beauty and Gatsby an impoverished officer. They fall in love, but while Gatsby serves overseas, Daisy marries the brutal, bullying, but extremely rich Tom Buchanan. After the war, Gatsby devotes himself blindly to the pursuit of wealth by whatever means and to the pursuit of Daisy, which amounts to the same thing. “Her voice is full of money,” Gatsby says admiringly, in one of the novel’s more famous descriptions. His millions made, Gatsby buys a mansion across Long Island Sound from Daisy’s patrician East Egg address, throws lavish parties, and waits for her to appear. When she does, events unfold with all the tragic inevitability of a Greek drama, with detached, cynical neighbor Nick Carraway acting as chorus throughout. Spare, elegantly plotted, and written in crystalline prose, The Great Gatsby is as perfectly satisfying as the best kind of poem.
30th April 2013
– Khaled Hosseini (March 4, 1965)
– Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner
A novel set mostly in Afghanistan. The introverted and insecure afghan narrator, Amir, grows up in Afghanistan in the closing years of the monarchy and the first years of the short-lived republic. His best and most faithful friend, Hassan, is the son of a servant. Amir feels he betrays Hassan by not coming to his aid when Hassan is set on by bullies and furthermore forces Hassan and his father Ali to leave his father´s service. Amir´s relatively privileged life in Kabul comes to an end when the communist regime comes to power and his extrovert father, Baba emigrates with him to the U.S. There Amir meets his future afghan wife and marries her. Amir´s father dies in the U.S. and Amir receives a letter from his father´s most trusted business partner and, for a time, Amir´s surrogate father, which makes Amir return, alone, to a Taliban-dominated Afghanistan in search of the truth about himself and his family, and finally, a sort of redemption.
29th April 2013
– William Golding (Sep 19, 1911 – Jun 19, 1993)
William Golding’s compelling story about a group of very ordinary small boys marooned on a coral island has become a modern classic. At first it seems as though it is all going to be great fun; but the fun before long becomes furious and life on the island turns into a nightmare of panic and death. As ordinary standards of behaviour collapse, the whole world the boys know collapses with them—the world of cricket and homework and adventure stories—and another world is revealed beneath, primitive and terrible. Lord of the Flies remains as provocative today as when it was first published in 1954, igniting passionate debate with its startling, brutal portrait of human nature. Though critically acclaimed, it was largely ignored upon its initial publication. Yet soon it became a cult favorite among both students and literary critics who compared it to J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye in its influence on modern thought and literature.
Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies has established itself as a true classic.
26th April 2013
At the heart of Catch-22 resides the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero endlessly inventive in his schemes to save his skin from the horrible chances of war. His efforts are perfectly understandable because as he furiously scrambles, thousands of people he hasn’t even met are trying to kill him. His problem is Colonel Cathcart, who keeps raising the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempts to excuse himself from the perilous missions that he is committed to flying, he is trapped by the Great Loyalty Oath Crusade, the hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule from which the book takes its title: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes the necessary formal request to be relieved of such missions, the very act of making the request proves that he is sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved.
Catch-22 is a microcosm of the twentieth-century world as it might look to some one dangerously sane—a masterpiece of our time.
25th April 2013
– Fyodor Dostoevsky (Nov 11, 1821 – Feb 9, 1881)
– Foyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment
There is gripping psychological tension and it brings a variety of characters to life. When the student Raskolnikov puts his philosophical theory to the ultimate test of murder, a tragic tale of suffering and redemption unfolds in the dismal setting of the slums of czarist, prerevolutionary St. Petersburg.
Through the story of the brilliant but conflicted young Raskolnikov and the murder he commits, Fyodor Dostoevsky explores the theme of redemption through suffering. Crime and Punishment put Dostoevsky at the forefront of Russian writers when it appeared in 1866 and is now one of the most famous and influential novels in world literature.
The poverty-stricken Raskolnikov, a talented student, devises a theory about extraordinary men being above the law, since in their brilliance they think “new thoughts” and so contribute to society. He then sets out to prove his theory by murdering a vile, cynical old pawnbroker and her sister. The act brings Raskolnikov into contact with his own buried conscience and with two characters, the deeply religious Sonia, who has endured great suffering, and Porfiry, the intelligent and discerning official who is charged with investigating the murder, both of whom compel Raskolnikov to feel the split in his nature. Dostoevsky provides readers with a suspenseful, penetrating psychological analysis that goes beyond the crime, which in the course of the novel demands drastic punishment, to reveal something about the human condition: The more we intellectualize, the more imprisoned we become.
24th April 2013
– Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (May 22, 1859 – July 7, 1930)
– Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Complete in nine handsome volumes, each with an introduction by a Doyle scholar, a chronology, a selected bibliography, and explanatory notes, the Oxford Sherlock Holmes series offers a definitive collection of the famous detective’s adventures. No home library is complete without it.
Comprising the series of short stories that made the fortunes of the Strand, the magazine in which they were first published, this volume won even more popularity for Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Holmes is at the height of his powers in many of his most famous cases, including “The Red-Headed League,” “The Speckled Band,” and “The Blue Carbuncle.”
23rd April 2013
– Rabindra Nath Tagore (May 7, 1861 – Aug 7, 1941)
– Rabindra Nath Tagore’s Gitanjali
“Gitanjali,” or Song Offerings, is a collection of poems translated by the author, Rabindranath Tagore, from the original Bengali. This collection won the Nobel prize for Tagore in 1913. This volume includes the original introduction by William Butler Yeats that accompanied the 1911 English language version. It’s is a collection of over 100 inspirational poems by the poet who is considered to be the India’s greatest poet of 20th Century.
22nd April 2013
– George Orwell (June 25, 1903 – Jan 25, 1950)
– George Orwell’s Animal Farm
Orwell was born in India (Motihari, Bihar) his two books 1984 and Animal Farm, put together have been sold more than two books of any other twentieth century writer. Tired of their servitude to man, a group of farm animals revolt and establish their own society, only to be betrayed into worse servitude by their leaders, the pigs, whose slogan becomes: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” Published in 1945, this powerful satire of the Russian Revolution under Stalin remains as vivid and relevant today as it was on its first publication.
19th April 2013
– Haruki Murakami (Jan 12, 1949)
– Harumi Murakami’s 1Q84
A magnum opus from Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, in which this revered and bestselling author gives us his hypnotically addictive, mind-bending ode to George Orwell’s 1984.
The year is 1984. Aomame is riding in a taxi on the expressway, in a hurry to carry out an assignment. Her work is not the kind that can be discussed in public. When they get tied up in traffic, the taxi driver suggests a bizarre ‘proposal’ to her. Having no other choice she agrees, but as a result of her actions she starts to feel as though she is gradually becoming detached from the real world. She has been on a top secret mission, and her next job leads her to encounter the superhuman founder of a religious cult. Meanwhile, Tengo is leading a nondescript life but wishes to become a writer. He inadvertently becomes involved in a strange disturbance that develops over a literary prize. While Aomame and Tengo impact on each other in various ways, at times by accident and at times intentionally, they come closer and closer to meeting. Eventually the two of them notice that they are indispensable to each other. Is it possible for them to ever meet in the real world?
18th April 2013
– C K Prahalad (Aug 8, 1942 – Apr 16, 2010)
– C K Prahalad’s Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid
The world’s most exciting, fastest-growing new market is where you least expect it, at the bottom of the pyramid. Collectively, the world’s billions of poor people have immense untapped buying power. They represent an enormous opportunity for companies who learn how to serve them. Not only can it be done, it is being done very profitably. What’s more, companies aren’t just making money by serving these markets, they’re helping millions of the world’s poorest people escape poverty. C.K. Prahalad‘s global bestseller “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid“. It shows why you can’t afford to ignore “Bottom of the Pyramid” (BOP) markets. The book offers a blueprint for driving the radical innovation you’ll need to profit in emerging markets and using those innovations to become more competitive “everywhere.” The book includes eleven concise, fast-paced success stories from India, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, and Venezuela ranging from salt to soap, banking to cellphones, healthcare to housing. These stories are backed by more detailed case studies and 10 hours of digital videos on whartonsp.com. Simply put, this book is about making a revolution: building profitable “bottom of the pyramid” markets, reducing poverty, and creating an inclusive capitalism that works for “everyone.”
17th April 2013
– Rumi (Aug 19, 1207 – Nov 5, 1273)
– Jelaluddin ‘Rumi’ – The Illuminated Rumi
Rise up nimbly and go on your strange journey to the ocean of meanings…
In the mid-thirteenth century, in a dusty marketplace in Konya, Turkey, a city where Muslim, Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist travelers mingled, Jelaluddin Rumi, a popular philosopher and scholar, met Shams of Tabriz, a wandering dervish. Their meeting forever altered the course of Rumi’s life and influenced the mystical evolution of the planet. The bond they formed was everlasting–a powerful transcendent friendship that would flow through Rumi as some of the world’s best-loved ecstatic poetry.
Rumi’s passionate, playful poems find and celebrate sacred life in everyday existence. They speak across all traditions, to all peoples, and today his relevance and popularity continue to grow. In The Illuminated Rumi, Coleman Barks, widely regarded as the world’s premier translator of Rumi’s writings, presents some of his most brilliant work, including many new translations. To complement Rumi’s universal vision, Michael Green has worked the ancient art of illumination into a new, visually stunning form that joins typography, original art, old masters, photographs, and prints with sacred images from around the world.
The Illuminated Rumi is a truly groundbreaking collaboration that interweaves word and image: a magnificent meeting of ancient tradition and modern interpretation that uniquely captures the spiritual wealth of Rumi’s teachings. Coleman Barks’s wise and witty commentary, together with Michael Green’s art, makes this a classic guide to the life of the soul for a whole new generation of seekers.
16th April 2013
– Lewis Carrol (Jan 27, 1832 – Dec 14, 1898)
An uproarious and unique whimsical children story of Alice’s confrontation with the world that is eccentric. The events that take place through Alice’s visit in a bizarre “Wonderland” are spontaneous and fantastically unplanned. The characters are remarkably amusing and entertaining. Its language is highly figurative that takes the reader in the realm of true imagination. Enchanting!
15th April 2013
– Margaret Mitchell (Nov 8, 1900 – Aug 16, 1949)
– Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind
Set against the dramatic backdrop of the American Civil War, Margaret Mitchell’s epic love story is an unforgettable tale of love and loss, of a nation mortally divided and its people forever changed. At the heart of all this chaos is the story of beautiful, ruthless Scarlett ‘O’ Hara and the dashing soldier of fortune, Rhett Butler.
10th April 2013
– George Bernard Shaw (July 26, 1856 – Nov 2, 1950)
‘A lifetime of happiness! No man alive could bear it: it would be hell on earth’
After the death of her father, Ann Whitefield becomes the joint ward of two men: the respectable Roebuck Ramsden and John Tanner, author of ‘The Revolutionist’s Handbook’. Believing marriage would prevent him from achieving his higher intellectual and political ambitions, Tanner is horrified to discover that Ann intends to marry him, and flees to Spain with the determined young woman in hot pursuit. The chase even leads them to the underworld, where the characters’ alter egos discuss questions of human nature and philosophy in a lively debate in a scene often performed separately as ‘Don Juan in Hell’. In Man and Superman, Shaw combined seriousness with comedy to create a satirical and buoyant exposé of the eternal struggle between the sexes.
George Bernard Shaw was an Irish playwright, socialist, and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama. Over the course of his life he wrote more than 60 plays. Nearly all his plays address prevailing social problems, but each also includes a vein of comedy that makes their stark themes more palatable. In these works Shaw examined education, marriage, religion, government, health care, and class privilege.
9th April 2013
– Gabriel Garcia Marquez (March 6, 1927)
– Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s A Hundred Years of Solitude
One of the 20th century’s enduring works, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a widely beloved and acclaimed novel known throughout the world, and the ultimate achievement of a Nobel Prize winning career. The novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the family. It is a rich and brilliant chronicle of life and death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the noble, ridiculous, beautiful, and tawdry story of the family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America.
Love and lust, war and revolution, riches and poverty, youth and senility, the variety of life, the endlessness of death, the search for peace and truth — these universal themes dominate the novel. Whether he is describing an affair of passion or the voracity of capitalism and the corruption of government, Gabriel Garcia Marquez always writes with the simplicity, ease, and purity that are the mark of a master. Alternately reverential and comical, One Hundred Years of Solitude weaves the political, personal, and spiritual to bring a new consciousness to storytelling. Translated into dozens of languages, this stunning work is no less than an accounting of the history of the human race
8th April 2013
– Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories
Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay and India always remained an integral part of his stories, he was an English short-story writer, poet, and novelist chiefly remembered for his tales and poems of British soldiers in India, and his tales for children. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1907 in consideration of the power of observation, originality of imagination, virility of ideas and remarkable talent for narration which characterize the creations of this world-famous author.” Kipling’s own drawings, with their long, funny captions, illustrate his hilarious explanations of How the Camel Got His Hump, How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin, How the Armadillo Happened, and other animal How’s. He began inventing these stories in his American wife’s hometown of Brattleboro, Vermont, to amuse his eldest daughter and they have served ever since as a source of laughter for children everywhere.
6th April 2013
- Paulo Coelho The Alchemist
– Paulo Coelho (Aug 24, 1947)
- Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist
PAULO COELHO’S enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and inspiring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom points Santiago in the direction of his quest.
No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transformation power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.
4th April 2013
– Harper Lee (April 28, 1926)
– Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird
The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it. To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.
Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior—to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story, by a young Alabama woman, claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.
3rd April 2013
– Irvine Welsh (Sep 27, 1958)
– Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting
Irvine Welsh’s controversial first novel, set on the heroin-addicted fringe of working-class youth in Edinburgh, is yet another exploration of the dark side of Scottishness. The main character, Mark Renton, is at the center of a clique of nihilistic slacker junkies with no hopes and no possibilities, and only “mind-numbing and spirit-crushing” alternatives in the straight world they despise. This particular slice of humanity has nothing left but the blackest of humor and a sharpness of wit. Readers outside Scotland would need to use the glossary in the back to translate the slang and dialect – essential, since the dialogue makes the book. This is a bleak vision sung as musical comedy.
1st April 2013
– Jonathan Swift (Nov 30, 1667 – Poct 19, 1745)
– Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels
Considered one of English literature’s first and greatest satirists, Jonathan Swift possessed a timeless genius for pointing out the foibles of human nature that still has the power to provoke, amuse, and, at times, even outrage our modern sensibilities. A representative collection of Swift’s major writings includes the complete Gulliver’s Travels as well as A Tale of a Tub, “The Battle of the Books,” “A Modest Proposal,” “An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity,” “The Bickerstaff Papers,” and many more of his brilliantly satirical works. Swift’s savage ridicule, corrosive wit, and sparkling humor are fully displayed in this comprehensive collection
30th March 2013
– Robert M. Pirsig (September 6, 1928)
- Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Arguably one of the most profoundly important essays ever written on the nature and significance of “quality” and definitely a necessary anodyne to the consequences of a modern world pathologically obsessed with quantity. Although set as a story of a cross-country trip on a motorcycle by a father and son, it is more nearly a journey through 2,000 years of Western philosophy. For some people, this has been a truly life-changing book.
29th March 2013
– Lee Iacocca (October 1, 1924)
– Lee Iacocca : An Autobiography
The son of Italian immigrants, Lee Iacocca rose spectacularly through the ranks of Ford Motor Company to become its president, only to be toppled eight years later in a power play that should have shattered him. But Lee Iacocca didn’t get mad, he got even. He led a battle for Chrysler’s survival that made his name a symbol of integrity, know-how, and guts for millions of Americans.
In his classic hard-hitting style, he tells us how he changed the automobile industry in the 1960s by creating the phenomenal Mustang. He goes behind the scenes for a look at Henry Ford’s reign of intimidation and manipulation. He recounts the miraculous rebirth of Chrysler from near bankruptcy to repayment of its $1.2 billion government loan so early that Washington didn’t know how to cash the check.
28th March 2013
– James Collins (Jan 25, 1958)
– James Collins’s Good to Great – Why some companies make the leap… and others don’t
The Challenge Built to Last, the defining management study of the nineties, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the very beginning.
But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness? The Study For years, this question preyed on the mind of Jim Collins. Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great?
The Standards Using tough benchmarks, Collins and his research team identified a set of elite companies that made the leap to great results and sustained those results for at least fifteen years. How great? After the leap, the good-to-great companies generated cumulative stock returns that beat the general stock market by an average of seven times in fifteen years, better than twice the results delivered by a composite index of the world’s greatest companies, including Coca-Cola, Intel, General Electric, and Merck.
The Comparisons The research team contrasted the good-to-great companies with a carefully selected set of comparison companies that failed to make the leap from good to great. What was different? Why did one set of companies become truly great performers while the other set remained only good? Over five years, the team analyzed the histories of all twenty-eight companies in the study. After sifting through mountains of data and thousands of pages of interviews, Collins and his crew discovered the key determinants of greatness – why some companies make the leap and others don’t.
The findings of the Good to Great study will surprise many readers and shed light on virtually every area of management strategy and practice. The findings include:
- Level 5 Leaders: The research team was shocked to discover the type of leadership required to achieve greatness.
- The Hedgehog Concept (Simplicity within the Three Circles): To go from good to great requires transcending the curse of competence.
- A Culture of Discipline: When you combine a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of great results.
- Technology Accelerators: Good-to-great companies think differently about the role of technology.
- The Flywheel and the Doom Loop: Those who launch radical change programs and wrenching restructurings will almost certainly fail to make the leap.
“Some of the key concepts discerned in the study,” comments Jim Collins, “fly in the face of our modern business culture and will, quite frankly, upset some people.”
26th March 2013
– J D Salinger’s The cather in the Rye
The hero-narrator of The Cather in the Rye of J D Salinger is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days. The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it. There are many voices in this novel: children’s voices, adult voices, underground voices-but Holden’s voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain to, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.
25th March 2013
– Aldous Huxley ( Jul 26, 1894 – Nov 22, 1963)
– Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World
Far in the future, the World Controllers have finally created the ideal society. In laboratories worldwide, genetic science has brought the human race to perfection. From the Alpha-Plus mandarin class to the Epsilon-Minus Semi-Morons, designed to perform menial tasks, man is bred and educated to be blissfully content with his pre-destined role.
But, in the Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, Bernard Marx is unhappy. Harbouring an unnatural desire for solitude, feeling only distaste for the endless pleasures of compulsory promiscuity, Bernard has an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress. Brave New World is a fantasy of the future that sheds a blazing critical light on the present – It is considered to be Aldous Huxley’ s most enduring masterpiece.
23rd March 2013
– Salman Rushdie (19th June, 1947)
– Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses
Just before dawn one winter’s morning, a hijacked jetliner explodes above the English Channel. Through the falling debris, two figures, Gibreel Farishta, the biggest star in India, and Saladin Chamcha, an expatriate returning from his first visit to Bombay in fifteen years, plummet from the sky, washing up on the snow-covered sands of an English beach, and proceed through a series of metamorphoses, dreams, and revelations.
22nd March 2013
– Arthur C Clarke (December 16, 1917 – March 18, 2008)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) is a science fiction novel by Arthur C. Clarke. It was developed concurrently with Stanley Kubrick‘s film version and published after the release of the film. The story is based in part on various short stories by Clarke, most notably “The Sentinel” (written in 1948 for a BBC competition but first published in 1951 under the title “Sentinel of Eternity”). For an elaboration of Clarke and Kubrick’s collaborative work on this project, see The Lost Worlds of 2001, Arthur C. Clarke, Signet, 1972.
The first part of the novel (in which aliens influence the primitive human ancestors) is similar to the plot of an earlier Clarke story, “Encounter in the Dawn“.
20th March 2013
– Alexandre Dumas (July 24, 1802 – December 05, 1870)
- The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantès is confined to the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined not only to escape, but also to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration. Dumas’ epic tale of suffering and retribution, inspired by a real-life case of wrongful imprisonment, was a huge popular success when it was first serialised in the 1840s.
19th March 2013
– Mark Twain ‘Samuel Langhorne Clemens’ (Nov 30, 1835 – Apr 21, 1910)
– Mark Twain’s The Adventure of Tom Sawyer
From the famous episodes of the whitewashed fence and the ordeal in the cave to the trial of Injun Joe, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is redolent of life in the Mississippi River towns in which Twain spent his own youth. A somber undercurrent flows through the high humor and unabashed nostalgia of the novel, however, for beneath the innocence of childhood lie the inequities of adult reality—base emotions and superstitions, murder and revenge, starvation and slavery.
18th March 2013
– Leo Tolstoy (September 9, 1828 – November 20, 1910)
– Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace
‘If life could write, it would write like Tolstoy.’
Leo Tolstoy’s epic masterpiece ‘War and Peace’ intertwines the lives of private and public individuals during the time of the Napoleonic wars and the French invasion of Russia. The fortunes of the Rostovs and the Bolkonskys, of Pierre, Natasha, and Andrei, are intimately connected with the national history that is played out in parallel with their lives. Balls and soirees alternate with councils of war and the machinations of statesmen and generals, scenes of violent battles with everyday human passions in a work whose extraordinary imaginative power has never been surpassed. The prodigious cast of characters, both great and small, seem to act and move as if connected by threads of destiny as the novel relentlessly questions ideas of free will, fate, and providence. Yet Tolstoy’s portrayal of marital relations and scenes of domesticity is as truthful and poignant as the grand themes that underlie them. In this revised and updated version of the definitive and highly acclaimed Maude translation, Tolstoy’s genius and the power of his prose are made newly available to the contemporary reader.
13th March 2013
– Victor Hugo (February 26, 1802 – May 22, 1885)
– Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame
In the vaulted Gothic towers of Notre-Dame lives Quasimodo, the hunchbacked Bell-ringer. Mocked and shunned for his appearance, he is pitied only by Esmerelda, a beautiful gypsy dancer to whom he becomes completely devoted. Esmerelda, however, has also attracted the attention of the sinister archdeacon Claude Frollo, and when she rejects his lecherous approaches, Frollo hatches a plot to destroy her that only Quasimodo can prevent. Victor Hugo’s sensational, evocative novel brings life to the medieval Paris he loved, and mourns its passing in one of the greatest historical romances of the nineteenth century.
12th March 2013
“The secret to life is meaningless unless you discover it yourself.”
– Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage
- Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham
Of Human Bondage is considered to be an autobiographical work by Somerset Maugham. Originally published in 1915, Of Human Bondage is a potent expression of the power of sexual obsession and of modern man’s yearning for freedom. This classic bildungsroman tells the story of Philip Carey, a sensitive boy born with a clubfoot who is orphaned and raised by a religious aunt and uncle. Philip yearns for adventure, and at eighteen leaves home, eventually pursuing a career as an artist in Paris. When he returns to London to study medicine, he meets the androgynous but alluring Mildred and begins a doomed love affair that will change the course of his life. There is no more powerful story of sexual infatuation, of human longing for connection and freedom. ‘Here is a novel of the utmost importance,’ wrote Theodore Dreiser on publication. ‘It is a beacon of light by which the wanderer may be guided. . . . One feels as though one were sitting before a splendid Shiraz of priceless texture and intricate weave, admiring, feeling, responding sensually to its colors and tones.’ With an Introduction by Gore Vidal Commentary by Theodore Dreiser and Graham Greene.
11th March 2013
Lets join the celebration of Douglas Adams birthday today with quote from another one of his books
– Douglas Adams(1952 – 2001)
- The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Facing annihilation at the hands of the warlike Vogons is a curious time to have a craving for tea. It could only happen to the cosmically displaced Arthur Dent and his curious comrades in arms as they hurtle across space powered by pure improbabilityband desperately in search of a place to eat.
Among Arthur’s motley shipmates are Ford Prefect, a longtime friend and expert contributor to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; Zaphod Beeblebrox, the three-armed, two-headed ex-president of the galaxy; Tricia McMillan, a fellow Earth refugee who’s gone native (her name is Trillian now); and Marvin, the moody android who suffers nothing and no one very gladly. Their destination? The ultimate hot spot for an evening of apocalyptic entertainment and fine dining, where the food (literally) speaks for itself.
Will they make it? The answer: hard to say. But bear in mind that the Hitchhiker’s Guide deleted the term “Future Perfect” from its pages, since it was discovered not to be!
“What’s such fun is how amusing the galaxy looks through Adams’ sardonically silly eyes.”
8th March 2013
– Jane Austin (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817)
– Pride and Prejudice
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”
So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen‘s witty comedy of manners. One of the most popular novels of all time, that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues. Renowned literary critic and historian George Saintsbury in 1894 declared it the “most perfect, the most characteristic, the most eminently quintessential of its author’s works,” and Eudora Welty in the twntieth century described it as “irresistible and as nearly flawless as any fiction could be.”
Austen’s works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century realism. Her plots, though fundamentally comic, highlight the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security. Her work brought her little personal fame and only a few positive reviews during her lifetime, but the publication in 1869 of her nephew’s A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced her to a wider public, and by the 1940s she had become widely accepted in academia as a great English writer. The second half of the 20th century saw a proliferation of Austen scholarship and the emergence of a Janeite fan culture.
7th March 2013
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821 – 1881)
- The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Returning to Russia from a sanitarium in Switzerland, the Christ-like epileptic Prince Myshkin (The Idiot) finds himself enmeshed in a tangle of love, torn between two women—the notorious kept woman Nastasya and the pure Aglaia—both involved, in turn, with the corrupt, money-hungry Ganya. The 26 year old Prince is considered a misfit, an Idiot and scorned by the society of St. Petersburg for his trusting nature and naivety, he finds himself at the center of struggles for materialist pleasures by the people all around him. Unfortunately, Myshkin’s very goodness precipitates disaster, leaving the impression that, in a world obsessed with money, power, and sexual conquest, a sanatorium may be the only place for a saint
In the end, Myshkin’s honesty, goodness, and integrity are shown to be unequal to the moral emptiness of those around him.
6th March 2013
Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.
Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide (“A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have”) and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox–the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod’s girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.