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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!
One of fiction's greatest chancers - the story of Denry Machin and his unceasing, ingenious efforts to become a great man. Set in the raw, Victorian world of the 'Five Towns', The Card tells the extremely funny and tangled story of Denry Machin's rise from mediocrity to fame through a series of ludicrous and yet perversely successful schemes. He dances, pleads, cheats and inspires his way through life in a series of set-pieces which wonderfully evoke a now long-gone world of civic balls, seaside excursions, newspaper boys and patent chocolate remedies. As everybody said after one of his most stylish coups, Denry 'was not simply a card; he was the card.'
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.
Dear Nobody by Berlie Doherty, winner of the Carnegie Medal, is a compelling story told from two points of view, evoking the feelings of both Helen, in a series of letters to the unborn baby, and of Chris as he reads the letters and relives the events of their relationship while Helen is in labour.
NO TURNING BACK by Carnegie-medal winning author Beverley Naidoo is the powerful and moving story of Sipho and his struggle to survive on the city streets of Johannesburg in the 1990s. South African society is on the brink of a huge change as apartheid comes to an end, but will it make any difference to the tough life of Sipho and the other street kids?
Dracula. Who doesn’t know the name and story of our favourite Count? This is a masterpiece of the horror genre and a book everyone should read. One of the first vampire stories, Bram Stoker here sets the ground rules of what vampires should be. The gripping story opens with Jonathan Harker visiting Transylvania to help Count Dracula purchase a London house, and making horrifying discoveries in his client's castle. His diary entries are increasingly filled with dread and fear as we accompany him in his hell. The novel tells the story of Dracula's attempt to move from Transylvania to England so that he may find new blood and spread the undead curse, and of the battle between Dracula and a small group of people led by Van Helsing. A highly recommended gothic classic. Visit our '50 Classics Everyone Should Read' collection to discover more classic titles.
This seasonal compendium collects together poems, short stories, and prose extracts by some of the greatest poets and writers in the English language. Like Charles Dickens's ghosts of Christmas Past and Present, they are representative of times old and new--from John Donne's Elizabethan hymn over the baby Jesus to Benjamin Zephaniah's Talking Turkeys, from Thomas Tusser counting the cost of a Tudor feast to P. G. Wodehouse's wry story about Christmas on a diet. Enjoy a Christmas Day as described by Samuel Pepys, Anthony Trollope, George Eliot, or Nancy Mitford. Venture out into the snow in the company of Jane Austen, Henry James, and Dickens's Mr. Pickwick. Entertain the children with the seasonal tales of Dylan Thomas, Kenneth Grahame, and Oscar Wilde.
A terrifying encounter with an escaped convict in a graveyard on the wild Kent marshes; a summons to meet the bitter, decaying Miss Havisham and her beautiful, cold-hearted ward Estella; the sudden generosity of a mysterious benefactor – these form a series of events that change the orphaned Pip’s life forever, and he eagerly abandons his humble origins to begin a new life as a gentleman. Dickens’s haunting late novel depicts Pip’s education and development through adversity as he discovers the true nature of his ‘great expectations’.
David Copperfield runs away from home to stay with his Aunt Betsey and turn his life around, which he does, while facing many challenges along the way. In this Compact Edition cuts have been made to overlong passages of description and dialogue and some scenes or incidents with minor characters have been reduced but all the memorable eccentrics have been kept. Visit our '50 Classics Everyone Should Read' collection to discover more classic titles.
A 2012 World Book Night selection. After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille the aging Dr Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There 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 lanes of London, they are all drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror and soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine.
Orphaned Jane Eyre grows up in the home of her heartless aunt and later attends a charity school with a harsh regime, enduring loneliness and cruelty. This troubled childhood strengthens Jane's natural independence and spirit - which prove necessary when she finds a position as governess at Thornfield Hall. However, when she finds love with her sardonic employer, Rochester, the discovery of his terrible secret forces her to make a choice. Should she stay with him and live with the consequences, or follow her convictions, even if it means leaving the man she loves? A novel of intense power and intrigue, Jane Eyre (1847) dazzled and shocked readers with its passionate depiction of a woman's search for equality and freedom.
Wonderfully sardonic and slyly humorous, the writings of landmark American feminist and socialist thinker Charlotte Perkins Gilman were penned in response to her frustrations with the gender-based double standard that prevailed in America as the twentieth century began. Perhaps best known for her chilling depiction of a woman's mental breakdown in her unforgettable 1892 short story 'The Yellow Wall-Paper', Gilman also wrote Herland, a wry novel that imagines a peaceful, progressive country from which men have been absent for 2,000 years. Both are included in this volume, along with a selection of Gilman's major short stories and her poems.