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Classics are books that are as relevant and popular now as in their own era. Have a glance through history when you scroll through our selection of time-tested Classics. You might re-discover a forgotten gem!
This little book of brief selections in prose and verse, with accompanying texts of Scripture, is intended for a daily companion and counsellor. These words of the goodly fellowship of wise and holy men of many times, it is hoped may help to strengthen the reader to perform the duties and to bear the burdens of each day with cheerfulness and courage.
The novel was written in the 1870’s when newspapers were full of stories about the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in the USA, the opening of the Suez Canal and the ability to cross India by rail. Phileas Fogg having seen this news has a bet with the members of his club that he can travel around the world in 80 daysand sets off with his valet Passepartout from London on a rainy day. A fast moving adventure that is still relevant to today’s traveller. Visit our '50 Classics Everyone Should Read' collection to discover more classic titles.
Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy by William Shakespeare. First published in 1600, it is likely to have been first performed in the autumn or winter of 1598-1599, and it remains one of Shakespeare's most enduring and exhilarating plays on stage. Stylistically, it shares numerous characteristics with modern romantic comedies including the two pairs of lovers, in this case the romantic leads, Claudio and Hero, and their comic counterparts, Benedick and Beatrice.
Will O' the Wisp (French: Le feu follet) is a 1931 novel by the French writer Pierre Drieu La Rochelle. It has also been published in English as The Fire Within. It tells the story of a 30-year-old man who after military service, followed by a few years of cosmopolitan, decadent life, has become burned out, addicted to heroin and tired of living.
When a young seaman named Jim follows his captain in abandoning a sinking ship and leaving its passengers aboard, the guilt he feels follows him for the rest of his life. Offered the opportunity for a new beginning, Jim takes up the role of a company representative on a remote Pacific island, where he gains respect from the locals who name him ""Lord"" Jim. But this new sense of self-belief is challenged when marauders attack the island. Conrad's powerful late 19th-century tale drew on real-life events as it examined the terrible repercussions of poor judgement and the subsequent tragedy that ensued.
One of the most renowned classics of all time was brought to us by George Orwell in 1949. A compelling, striking nightmarish vision of a dystopian world, this remains one of the most chilling yet favourite books I've ever read and one of the best openings of a book ever: "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen" So much of it has entered our language, becoming an integrated part of our common cultural inheritance, that I'm sure many people don't even realise their beginnings. It is the year 1984 and the world is divided into three superstates each at war with eachother. Britain is Airstrip One ruled by the Party and led by Big Brother, the symbolic face of totalitarianism. Even love is considered subversive and we follow the story of Winston Smith who works in the Ministry of Truth where his job is to rewrite the past to fit the present. Depicting everyman, Winston begins to subtlely rebel by writing a secret diary, a deadly thought crime in a society where the actions and thoughts of the people are strictly controlled through propaganda, secrecy, constant surveillance, and harsh punishment. Where will it end? This book will stay with you, and will never be forgotten. Visit our '50 Classics Everyone Should Read' collection to discover more classic titles.
The fourth book in the series about red-haired Anne Shirley. Anne is now a young woman, who is beginning a romance with Gilbert Blythe. When she becomes the head of Summerside High School, however, she must face new challenges from the Pringle family, who are well-connected within the school and don't want her there. Can Anne show her characteristic bravery to overcome these obstacles and prove herself? This exciting fourth installment is perfect for children aged 8 and up.
Set in the deep American south between the wars, this is the classic tale of Celie, a young poor black girl. Raped repeatedly by her father, she loses two children and then is married off to a man who treats her no better than a slave. She is separated from her sister Nettie and dreams of becoming like the glamorous Shug Avery, a singer and rebellious black woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually Celie discovers the support of women that enables her to leave the past behind and begin a new life. Head to our 'Black Lit Matters' list to find more must-read novels by black writers. Visit our 'Women's Words - 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction' to explore our collection of feminist-minded fiction from around the world, and across centuries.
Laurie isn't sure what to make of 'The Wave'. It had begun as a simple history experiment to liven up their World War II studies and had become a craze that was taking over their lives. Laurie's classmates are changing from normal teenagers into chanting, saluting fanatics. 'The Wave' is sweeping through the school - and it is out of control. Laurie's friends scoff at her warnings but she knows she must make them see what they have become before it's too late.
Ann Burden has been living alone in a valley for over a year - until Loomis, a scientist in a radiation-proof suit, arrives. She hopes they will be companions but his behaviour towards her becomes increasingly threatening as he attacks her and then cuts off her food supply and tries to bring her under his control. Although there may be no one else alive, Ann steals his suit and leaves the valley in search of humanity.
Kevin and Sadie just want to be together, but it's not that simple. Things are bad in Belfast. Soldiers walk the streets and the city is divided. No Catholic boy and Protestant girl can go out together - not without dangerous consequences ...
The classic book that inspired Kes, the famous film, now published as a Penguin Essential for the first time. Barry Hines's A Kestrel for a Knave was published in 1968, and was made into one of the key British films of the sixties. Billy Casper is beaten by his drunken brother, ignored by his mother and failing at school. He seems destined for a hard, miserable life down the pits, but for a brief time, he finds one pleasure in life: a wild kestrel that he has raised and tamed himself.
From Aristotle to Aphra Benn to Jane Austen, and Socrates to Stendhal to Upton Sinclair our classics genre will point you in the direction of all the great classics from the beginnings of literature right up to the essential 20th-century classics such as Animal Farm.
The privileged classes (Henry James) and life on the poverty line (Zola)... History (Robert Graves) and prophesy (George Orwell)... Romance (Emily Bronte) and ribaldry (Henry Fielding)... Generations lost (Ernest Hemingway) and encapsulated (F. Scott Fitzgerald)... Writers ahead of their time (James Joyce) and right on the pulse of it (Jack Kerouac)...
There’s so much out there to discover, but it can be daunting without guidance.