Books by Plot Summary

Books by Plot Summary

A man from the East comes to a western mining town. At the request of a friend, the narrator speaks with Simon Wheeler in order to ask after a man named Leonidas W. Smiley. Instead of giving the narrator the information that he asks for, Wheeler launches into a tall tale about a man named Jim Smiley. Jim Smiley was a man who would bet on anything. He turned a frog into a pet and bet a stranger that his frog, Dan’l Webster, could jump higher than any other frog. While Smiley wasn’t looking, the stranger filled Dan’l Webster with quail shot, and Smiley lost the bet. Before he could figure out what happened, the stranger disappeared with the $40 he won by cheating. Sick of the long-winded tale about Jim Smiley and his frog, the narrator tries to escape from Wheeler before he launches into another story. The narrator realizes that his friend probably intended for him to suffer through Wheeler’s tedious tale
The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by Mark Twain
Paul Baumer 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.
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Remarque
In a shabby New York flat, Della sobs as she counts the few coins she has saved to buy a Christmas present for her husband, Jim. A gift worthy of her devotion will require a great sacrifice: selling her long, beautiful hair. Jim, meanwhile, has made a sacrifice for Della that is no less difficult. As they exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, the discovery of what each has done fills them with despair, until they realize that the true gifts of Christmas can be found more readily in their humble apartment than in any fine store.
Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing, and medication all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone harbouring 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 by Aldous Huxley
Stolen from his family, a dog named Buck must quickly learn the harsh law of survival among the men and dogs of the goldcrazed North.
Call of the Wild by Jack London
the story of John Yossarian, who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. Yossarian is also trying to decode the meaning of a mysterious regulation that proves that insane people are really the sanest, while the supposedly sensible people are the true madmen. And this novel is full of madmen — Colonel Cathcart, who keeps raising the number of missions the men must fly m order to finish their tour; Milo Minderbinder, a dedicated entrepreneur who bombs his own airfield when the Germans offer him an extra 6 percent; Major Major Major, whose tragedy in life is that he resembles Henry Fonda; and Major — de Coverley, whose face is so forbidding no one has dared ask his name.
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
The first-person narrative follows Holden Caulfield’s experiences in New York City in the days following his expulsion from Pencey Prep, a fictional college preparatory school in the fictional city of Agerstown, Pennsylvania.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
features the phantom dog of Dartmoor, which, according to an ancient legend, has haunted the Baskervilles for generations. When Sir Charles Baskerville dies suddenly of a heart attack on the grounds of the family’s estate, the locals are convinced that the spectral hound is responsible, andSherlock Holmes is called in
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
A desperate young man plans the perfect crime — the murder of a despicable pawnbroker, an old women no one loves and no one will mourn. Is it not just, he reasons, for a man of genius to commit such a crime, to transgress moral law — if it will ultimately benefit humanity? Raskolnikov, an impoverished student living in a garret in the gloomy slums of St. Petersburg, carries out his grotesque scheme and plunges into persecution, madness and terror.
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son Absalom, set against the background of a land and a people riven by racial injustice. In the city of Johannesburg a father seeks his delinquent son. His search takes him through a labyrinth of murder,, racial hatred and, ultimately, reconciliation.
Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
chronicles the adventures of the self-created knight-errant of La Mancha and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, as they travel through sixteenth-century Spain.
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Set in the opulent houses and glittering resorts of New York’s fashionable society, this is the story of Lily Bart, beautiful, witty and sophisticated, accepted by “old money”, courted by the growing tribe of nouveaux riches. But, as she nears thirty, her foothold becomes precarious: she needs a husband to preserve her social and financial standing, to maintain her in the luxury she craves. Many men have sought her, but something – fastidiousness, an uncomfortable intelligence or some deep-seated integrity – prevents her from making a “suitable” match. Watched by the admiring but impoverished Lawrence Selden, she struggles courageously with the difficulties caused by the growing threat of poverty and her contempt for hypocrisy – a contempt which compromises her position as an unmarried woman among “the ultra-fashionable dancing people”. This novel, originally published in 1905, shocked the society it chronicles, portraying the moral, social and economic constraints on a spriited woman
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
Set in Georgia at the time of the Civil War, this is the story of headstrong Scarlett O’Hara, her three marriages and her determination to keep her father’s property of Tara.
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
this is the powerfully moving story of peasant Wang Lung–Of the family he founded that would one day become a powerful dynasty; of the gods he implored, sometimes with humility, sometimes with anger; and, above all, of the earth that sustained him, the land he made to prosper against the ravages of nature and the savage attacks of bandit tribes.
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
Drifters in search of work, George and his simple-minded friend Lennie have nothing in the world except each other – and a dream. A dream that one day they will have some land of their own. Eventually they find work on a ranch, but their hopes are doomed as Lennie – struggling against extreme cruelty, misunderstanding and feelings of jealousy – becomes a victim of his own strength
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Told from the perspective of Nick Carraway, this is a novel about a man who has everything. NIck attends the parties of this mysterious man, who seems to be admired by everyone but known by few. Eventually, NIck is witness to the lost love between this title character and Daisy Buchanan, which leads to the title character’s death.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
the story of Marlow’s search for Mr. Kurtz, the company agent whose ‘unlawful soul’ has been ‘beguiled beyond the bounds of permitted aspirations’ in his dealings with the natives of the Belgian Congo. Marlow’s adventure involves him in a crucial reappraisal of his own values. It is Kurtz, however, who attains to a vision of the inexpressible, terrifying reality of the heart, in this extraordinary exploration of human savagery and despair.
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
An orphan is brought up by rich relations who despise and bully her before she is banished to Lowood, a grim charity school. As she grows up there, she accepts that her only prospects lie in “a new servitude”, and takes a post at Thornfield Hall as governess to Adèle, ward of the mysterious Mr Rochester. When he returns from his travels abroad, he finds that conversaton with the quiet, composed young woman is unexpectedly congenial. The saturnine master and the high principled governess find themselves being drawn ever closer until the mystery which haunts Thornfield Hall overwhelms them and threatens to destroy the title character’s hopes of happiness…
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The title character is forced by the poverty ensuing on her father’s death to seek work as a governess, the only employment available to middle-class young women of the time. Her humiliating first position lasts only six months, but she is soon employed by the Murray family. Tormented by the Rosalie and the student tomboy Matilda, she finds her position increasingly lonely and difficult. Only Mr Weston, the poor, plain curate shows any kindness, and Rosalie seems bent on his conquest.
Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
In a house haunted by memories, the past is everywhere …As darkness falls, a man caught in a snowstorm is forced to shelter at a strange, grim house. It is a place he will never forget. There he will come to learn the story of Cathy: how she was forced to choose between her well-meaning husband and the dangerous man she had loved since she was young. How her choice led to betrayal and terrible revenge – and continues to torment those in the present.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
classic tale about a group of English schoolboys who are plane-wrecked on a deserted island is just as chilling and relevant today as when it was first published in 1954. At first, the stranded boys cooperate, attempting to gather food, make shelters, and maintain signal fires. Overseeing their efforts are Ralph, “the boy with fair hair,” and Piggy, Ralph’s chubby, wisdom-dispensing sidekick whose thick spectacles come in handy for lighting fires. Although Ralph tries to impose order and delegate responsibility, there are many in their number who would rather swim, play, or hunt the island’s wild pig population. Soon Ralph’s rules are being ignored or challenged outright. His fiercest antagonist is Jack, the redheaded leader of the pig hunters, who manages to lure away many of the boys to join his band of painted savages. The situation deteriorates as the trappings of civilization continue to fall away, until Ralph discovers that instead of being hunters, he and Piggy have become the hunted
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The saga of Captain Ahab and his monomaniacal pursuit of the white whale.
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Alexandra is the eldest child of the Bergsons, a ship-building family from Norway who have come to the American Midwest to wrest their living from another kind of frontier. Alexandra is driven by two great forces:her fierce protective love for her young brother Emil, and her deep love of the land. When her father dies, worn out by disease and debt, it is she who becomes head of the family and begins the long, hard process of taming the country, forcing it to yield wheat and corn where only the grass and wildflowers had grown since time began.
O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
Bigger Thomas is doomed, trapped in a downward spiral that will lead to arrest, prison, or death, driven by despair, frustration, poverty, and incomprehension. As a young black man in the Chicago of the ’30s, he has no way out of the walls of poverty and racism that surround him, and after he murders a young white woman in a moment of panic, these walls begin to close in. There is no help for him–not from his hapless family; not from liberal do-gooders or from his well-meaning yet naive friend Jan; certainly not from the police, prosecutors, or judges.
Native Son by Richard Wright
Hidden away in the Record Department of the sprawling Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith skilfully rewrites the past to suit the needs of the Party. Yet he inwardly rebels against the totalitarian world he lives in, which demands absolute obedience and controls him through the all-seeing telescreens and the watchful eye of Big Brother, symbolic head of the Party. In his longing for truth and liberty, Smith begins a secret love affair with a fellow-worker Julia, but soon discovers the true price of freedom is betrayal.
1984 by George Orwell
As the book gets started, the narrator is expelled from his Southern Negro college for inadvertently showing a white trustee the reality of black life in the south. The college director chastises him: “Why, the dumbest black man in the cotton patch knows that the only way to please a white man is to tell him a lie! What kind of an education are you getting around here?” Mystified, the narrator moves north to New York City, where the truth, at least as he perceives it, is dealt another blow when he learns that his former headmaster’s recommendation letters are, in fact, letters of condemnation.
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
the book that encapsulates the angst of the post-World War I generation, known as the Lost Generation. This poignantly beautiful story of a group of American and English expatriates in Paris on an excursion to Pamplona. Featuring Left Bank Paris in the 1920s and brutally realistic descriptions of bullfighting in Spain, the story is about the flamboyant Lady Brett Ashley and the hapless Jake Barnes.
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
the subtle portraits of two contrasting but equally compelling heroines. For sensible Elinor Dashwood and her impetuous younger sister Marianne the prospect of marrying the men they love appears remote. In a world ruled by money and self-interest, the Dashwood sisters have neither fortune nor connections. Concerned for others and for social proprieties, Elinor is ill-equipped to compete with self-centered fortune-hunters like Lucy Steele, while Marianne’s unswerving belief in the truth of her own feelings makes her more dangerously susceptible to the designs of unscrupulous men.
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Henry Fleming, a raw Union Army recruit in the American Civil War, is anxious to confirm his patriotism and manhood. But, his dreams of heroism and invulnerability are soon shattered when he flees the Confederate enemy during his baptism of fire and then witnesses the horrible death of a friend. Plunged unwillingly into the nightmare of war, Fleming survives by sheer luck and instinct.
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
A man is set ashore on an island after a terrible storm at sea, is forced to make do with only a knife, some tobacco, and a pipe. He learns how to build a canoe, make bread, and endure endless solitude. That is, until, twenty-four years later, when he confronts another human being.
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
A carpenter is in love with the beautiful Hetty Sorrel, but unknown to him, he has a rival, in the local squire’s son Arthur Donnithorne. Hetty is soon attracted by Arthur’s seductive charm and they begin to meet in secret. The relationship is to have tragic consequences that reach far beyond the couple themselves
Adam Bede by George Eliot
Depicting the gradual disintegration of the Compson family through four fractured narratives. At its heart this is a novel about lovelessness – ‘only an idiot has no grief; only a fool would forget it. What else is there in this world sharp enough to stick to your guts?’
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
tale of childhood innocence beset by evil depicts the dark criminal underworld of a London peopled by vivid and memorable characters – the arch-villain Fagin, the artful Dodger, the menacing Bill Sikes and Nancy. And of course the title orphan character.
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
After enduring many injuries of the noble Fortunato, Montressor executes the perfect revenge
The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe
Independent and spirited Bathsheba Everdene has come to Weatherbury to take up her position as a farmer on the largest estate in the area. Her bold presence draws three very different suitors: the gentleman-farmer Boldwood, soldier-seducer Sergeant Troy and the devoted shepherd Gabriel Oak. Each, in contrasting ways, unsettles her decisions and complicates her life, and tragedy ensues, threatening the stability of the whole community.
Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
When sixteen-year-old Janie marries Logan Killicks love doesn’t come as Nanny told her it would. And one day Joe Starks, “from in and through Georgy”, comes walking down the road. Though he doesn’t represent sun-up and pollen blooming trees, Joe speaks for far horizons, for change and chance, and Janie goes off with him. But the world is to hold more mystery – and men – before Janie comes to see that husbands are just things “she grabbed up to drape dreams over”.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
A lawyer’s (Atticus Finch) advice to his children as he defends a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, the author explores with exuberant humor the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the thirties.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The moving abolitionist novel that fueled the fire of the human rights debate in 1852 and melodramatically condemned the institution of slavery through such powerfully realized characters as Tom, Eliza, Topsy, Eva, and Simon Legree.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
has as its backdrop Napoleon’s invasion of Russia and at its heart three of the most memorable characters in literature: Pierre Bezukhov, a quixotic young man in search of spiritual joy; Prince Andrey Bolkonsky, a cynical intellectual transformed by the suffering of war; and the bewitching and impulsive Natasha Rostov, daughter of a count
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
The main character, bored with the triviality of everyday life, takes a trip to the countryside, where he encounters the young and passionate Tatyana. She falls in love with him but is cruelly rejected. Years later, the title character sees the error of his ways, but fate is not on his side
Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin
In picturesque nineteenth-century New England the March family, tomboyish Jo, beautiful Meg, fragile Beth, and romantic Amy come of age while their father is off to war.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
One of the most powerful dramas of Christian faith ever written, this captivating allegory of man’s religious journey in search of salvation follows the pilgrim as he travels an obstacle-filled road to the Celestial City. Along the way, he is confronted by monsters and spiritual terrors, among them Worldly Wiseman, Giant Despair, and the demons of the Valley of the Shadow of Death
Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
Mistress Mary is quite contrary until she helps her garden grow. Along the way, she manages to cure her sickly cousin Colin, who is every bit as imperious as she. These two are sullen little peas in a pod, closed up in a gloomy old manor on the Yorkshire moors of England, until a locked-up garden captures their imaginations
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
A surrealist journey down the rabbit hole encountering the Cheshire Cat, the evil Queen of Hearts and many other wacky characters.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Pinocchio plays pranks upon the kindly woodcarver Geppetto, is duped by the Fox and the Cat, kills the pedantic Talking Cricket, and narrowly escapes death, with the help of the blue-haired Fairy. A wooden puppet without strings, Pinocchio is a tragicomic figure, a poor, illiterate, naughty peasant boy who has few choices in life but usually chooses to shirk his responsibilities and get into trouble. This sly and imaginative novel, alternately catastrophic and ridiculous, takes Pinocchio from one predicament to the next, and finally to an optimistic, if uncertain, ending.
The Adventures of Pinochio by Carlo Collodi
The classic tale of Hawkeye-Natty Bumppo-the frontier scout who turned his back on “civilization,” and his friendship with a Indian warrior as they escort two sisters through the dangerous wilderness of Indian country in frontier America.
The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
This enduringly popular tale of love and revenge in the post-Napoleonic era follows Edmond Dantes as he prepares to captain his own ship and marry his beloved Mercedes. But on his wedding day, he is betrayed by spiteful enemies and arrested on trumped-up charges. Condemned to lifelong imprisonment, he befriends Faria, a priest and fellow inmate with an escape plan. When Faria dies, Edmond escapes alone. Free at last, and incredibly wealthy, Edmond enters society posing as a nobleman to reclaim his lost love and enact a terrible vengeance on his accusers.
The Counte of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
As Maggie Tulliver approaches adulthood, her spirited temperament brings her into conflict with her family, her community, and her much-loved brother Tom. Still more painfully, she finds her own nature divided between the claims of moral responsibility and her passionate hunger for self-fulfillment.
The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
The story of how the convict Jean-Valjean struggled to escape his past and reaffirm his humanity, in a world brutalized by poverty and ignorance, became the gospel of the poor and the oppressed.
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
The story of the pretentious schoolteacher Ichabod Crane, who laughs off the ghost stories about the deceased Hessian warrior whose spirit is called the Headless Horseman. Crane finds out the stories are all too real.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
The story starts conventionally enough with friends sharing ghost stories ’round the fire on Christmas Eve. One of the guests tells about a governess at a country house plagued by supernatural visitors. Only the young governess can see the ghosts; only she suspects that the previous governess and her lover are controlling the two orphaned children (a girl and a boy) for some evil purpose. The household staff don’t know what she’s talking about, the children are evasive when questioned, and the master of the house (the children’s uncle) is absent. Why does the young girl claim not to see a perfectly visible woman standing on the far side of the lake? Are the children being deceptive, or is the governess being paranoid? By leaving the questions unanswered, this novel generates spine-tingling anxiety in its mesmerized readers.
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
a bittersweet tale of a man last few hours before his death. It was a a melancholy experience to read about this callous man who begins to freeze while he walks to meet some other men. It is such a cold day that the man had been forewarned. He is so stubborn he believes the warnings are from weaker people than he. His wilderness knowledge ultimately fails him as we watch him freeze to death.
To Build a Fire by Jack London
he epitome of the chivalric novel, the title character sweeps readers into Medieval England and the lives of a memorable cast of characters. The title character a trusted ally of Richard-the-Lion-Hearted, returns from the Crusades to reclaim the inheritance his father denied him. Rebecca, a vibrant, beautiful Jewish woman is defended by the title character against a charge of witchcraft–but it is Lady Rowena who is his true love. The wicked Prince John plots to usurp England’s throne, but two of the most popular heroes in all of English literature, Richard-the-Lion-Hearted and the well-loved famous outlaw, Robin Hood, team up to defeat the Normans and reagain the castle.
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
Here is the compelling tale of a spirited young thoroughbred that captured the hearts of readers throughout Victorian England when it was first published in 1877. As a young colt he is free to gallop in the fresh green meadows with his beloved mother, Duchess, and their kind master. But when his owners are forced to sell him, Black Beauty goes from a life of comfort and kindness to one of hard labour and cruelty. Bravely he works as hard as he can, suffering at the hands of men who treat animals badly.
Black Beauty by Anna Sewall
Helena, the orphan daughter of a famous physician, is the ward of the Countess of Rousillon, and hopelessly in love with her son, Count Bertram, who has been sent to the court of the King of France. Despite her beauty and worth, Helena has no hope of attracting Bertram, since she is of low birth and he is a nobleman. However, when word comes that the King is ill, she goes to Paris and, using her father’s arts, cures the illness. In return, she is given the hand of any man in the realm; she chooses Bertram. Her new husband is appalled at the match, however, and shortly after their marriage flees France, accompanied only by a scoundrel named Parolles, to fight in the army of the Duke of Florence. Helena is sent home to the Countess, and receives a letter from Bertram informing her that he will never be her true spouse unless she can get his family ring from his finger, and become pregnant with his child–neither of which, he declares, will ever come to pass. The Countess, who loves Helena and approves of the match, tries to comfort her, but the distraught young woman departs Rousillon, planning to make a religious pilgrimage. Meanwhile, in Florence, Bertram has become a general in the Duke’s army. Helena comes to the city and disguises herself as a woman Bertram is interested in. False word reaches Bertram that Helena has died. In Rousillon, everyone is mourning Helena as dead. The King is visiting, and consents to Bertram marrying the daughter of an old, faithful lord, named Lafew. However, he notices a ring on Bertram’s finger that formerly belonged to Helena–it was a gift from the King after she saved his life. (Helena gave the ring to Diana in Florence, and she in turn gave it to Bertram.) Bertram is at a loss to explain where it came from, but just then Diana and her mother appear to explain matters–followed by Helena, who informs her husband that both his conditions have been fulfilled. Chastened, Bertram consents to be a good husband to her, and there is general rejoicing.
All’s Well That Ends Well by William Shakespeare
When Jim Hawkins finds an old pirate map showing a small island marked with a red cross, he knows that a fortune in gold lies waiting for him. What could be more exciting than buried treasure? Aboard a ship named the Hispaniola, Jim sails toward Treasure Island. The voyage goes well until Jim overhears a frightening conversation. He learns that the one-legged man who signed on as ship’s cook is really the famous pirate Long John Silver. And worse – he discovers that the crew are teaming up with Silver to steal the treasure. Can Jim save the gold…and save his life?
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
this masterpiece tells the incredible tale of an English ship’s surgeon. He is shipwrecked upon the shores of Lilliput, where the residents are only six inches high, then journeys takes him to the land of Brobdingnag, populated by giants, a floating island in the sky, and a land where horses have intelligence and man lives as a beast. His adventures, while read by children as an adventure story, are a devastating satire of society and human foibles
Gulliver’s Travel’s by Jonathan Swift
Phileas Fogg rashly bets his companions GBP20,000 that he can travel around the entire globe in a short time – and he is determined not to lose. Breaking the well-established routine of his daily life, the reserved Englishman immediately sets off for Dover, accompanied by his hot-blooded French manservant, Passepartout. Traveling by train, steamship, sailboat, sledge, and even elephant, they must overcome storms, kidnappings, natural disasters, Sioux attacks, and the dogged Inspector Fix of Scotland Yard to win the extraordinary wager.
Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
set during the Napoleonic Wars. It chronicles the lives of two women who could not be more different: Becky Sharp, an orphan whose only resources are her vast ambitions, her native wit, and her loose morals; and her schoolmate Amelia Sedley, a typically naive Victorian heroine, the pampered daughter of a wealthy family. Becky’s fluctuating fortunes eventually bring her to an affair with Amelia’s dissolute husband; when he is killed at Waterloo, Amelia and her child are left penniless, while Becky and her husband Rawdon Crawley rise in the world, managing to lead a high life in London solely on the basis of their shrewdness. The chapter entitled ‘How to Live on Nothing’ is a classic.
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
A wealthy young man has just had his portrait painted. It is a perfect likeness of the quite extraordinary beautiful young man, and it prompts him to make a mad wish for eternal youth.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Follow the adventures of young Dorothy Gale and her dog, Toto, as their Kansas house is swept away by a cyclone and they find themselves in a strange land. Here she meets the Munchkins and joins the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion on an unforgettable journey to the Emerald City, where lives the all-powered Wizard.
The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
set in London at the end of the twentieth century. It is still a city of gaslamps and horse-drawn carriages, but democratic government has withered away. When a government clerk, something of an aesthete and even more of a joker, is simply chosen from a list to be king, he sets the stage for arguments about the nature of human loyalties, glorifying the little man, and attacks on big business and the monolithic state.
The Napoleon of Notting Hill by G.K. Chesterton
Here is the story of Edna Pontellier, a young wife and mother. Poignant and lyrical, it tells the story of a New Orleans wife who attempts to find love outside a stifling marriage.
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
tales of Mowgli, lost in the jungles of India as a child and adopted into a family of wolves. Mowgli is brought up on a diet of Jungle Law, loyalty, and fresh meat from the kill. Regular adventures with his friends and enemies among the –cobras, panthers, bears, and tigers–hone this man-cub’s strength and cleverness. Mowgli’s story is interspersed with other tales of the jungle, such as “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi,
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
n a cavernous, the lights dim. A beautiful young soprano, Christine Daae, comes onstage to sing Marguerite in Gounod’s ‘Faust’. In the audience, the Vicomte de Chagny is overcome with love. But unbeknownst to Chagny, he has a rival for the singer’s affections: a spectre sometimes called the Angel of Music.
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
Philosopher’s essay on the nature of leadership, and the necessity for brutal and shrewd tactics to maintain power.
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
Poem defending the necessity of imperialism and paternalistic attitudes toward non-white races. Some argue it is actually a satire mocking racist attitudes of the period in which it was written.
White Man’s Burden by Rudyard Kipling
A book detailing a fictional island in which society functions perfectly. Famous mostly for its title which has come to describe a perfect society. The author was beheaded by King Henry VIII.
Utopia by Sir Thomas More
A gifted young Swiss student discovers the secret of renewing life where death has apparently devoted the body to corruption, and makes a creature of his own – the most celebrated monster in the history of literature.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
A young lawyer on an assignment finds himself imprisoned in a Transylvanian castle by his mysterious host. Back at home his fiancée and friends are menaced by a malevolent force which seems intent on imposing suffering and destruction.
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Essay that argues that individuals should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that they have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice
Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau
It begins with a young man, the title character, who is living a sheltered life in an Edenic paradise and being indoctrinated with Optimism by his mentor, Pangloss. The work describes the abrupt end of this lifestyle, followed by the young man’s slow, painful disillusionment as he witnesses and experiences great hardships in the world.
Candide by Voltaire
he novel begins ominously, as the lone voice of a narrator tells readers that “No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s…”
Things then progress from a series of seemingly mundane reports about odd atmospheric disturbances taking place on Mars to the arrival of Martians just outside of London. At first the Martians seem laughable, hardly able to move in Earth’s comparatively heavy gravity even enough to raise themselves out of the pit created when their spaceship landed. But soon the Martians reveal their true nature as death machines 100-feet tall rise up from the pit and begin laying waste to the surrounding land. Wells quickly moves the story from the countryside to the evacuation of London itself and the loss of all hope as England’s military suffers defeat after defeat. With horror his narrator describes how the Martians suck the blood from living humans for sustenance, and how it’s clear that man is not being conquered so much a corralled. The Martians are ultimately defeated by the common cold.
The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
Essay which contains the most thorough statement of one of the author’s recurrent themes, the need for each individual to avoid conformity and false consistency, and follow his or her own instincts and ideas. It is the source of one of the author’s most famous quotations, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”
Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Born into a Jewish ghetto in Hungary, as a child, the author was sent to the Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald. This is his account of that atrocity: the ever-increasing horrors he endured, the loss of his family and his struggle to survive in a world that stripped him of humanity, dignity and faith.
Night by Elie Wiesel
The three laws of Robotics:
1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm
2) A robot must obey orders givein to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
This is a collection of stories to illustrate these laws created by the author.
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
As Clarissa walks through London on a fine June morning, a sky-writing plane captures her attention. Crowds stare upwards to decipher the message while the plane turns and loops, leaving off one letter, picking up another. Like the airplane’s swooping path, this novel follows Clarissa and those whose lives brush hers–from Peter Walsh, whom she spurned years ago, to her daughter Elizabeth, the girl’s angry teacher, Doris Kilman, and war-shocked Septimus Warren Smith, who is sinking into madness.
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
the story of Howard Roark, a man who stands up for his principles in a world where they are not valued. He pays the price for it, with his rivals like Peter Keating getting ahead. But he runs his own race, because the race everyone else runs is one filled with compromise and without integrity. He falls in love with a woman, whom he must first teach to live in a world like this. He stands tall, alone, and shows us the essence of individualism.
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Plagued by insane nightmare visions, Walter Gilman seeks help in Miskatonic University’s infamous library of forbidden books, where, in the pages of Abdul Alhazred’s dreaded Necronomicon, he finds terrible hints that seem to connect his own studies in advanced mathematics with the fantastic legends of elder magic
The Dreams in the Witch House by H.P. Lovecraft
An essay that theorized about the best way in which to set up a political community in the face of the problems of commercial society. Famous Quotes:
Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.The Sovereign, having no force other than the legislative power, acts only by means of the laws; and the laws being solely the authentic acts of the general will, the Sovereign cannot act save when the people is assembled.

Every law the people have not ratified in person is null and void — is, in fact, not a law.

The legislative power belongs to the people, and can belong to it alone.

The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Book that argues for a social contract and rule by an absolute sovereign. He wrote that chaos or civil war – situations identified with a state of nature and the famous motto Bellum omnium contra omnes (“the war of all against all”) – could only be averted by strong central government.
Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes
Concerns the foundation of human knowledge and understanding. He describes the mind at birth as a blank slate (tabula rasa, although he did not use those actual words) filled later through experience. The essay was one of the principal sources of empiricism in modern philosophy, and influenced many enlightenment philosophers,
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding by John Locke
tells the story of a gifted young woman’s mental breakdown beginning during a summer internship as a junior editor at a magazine in New York City in the early 1950s
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Satirical work consisting of false definitions. For example: History, n. an account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant.
The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce
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