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    $5.39 $2.20 list($5.99)
    1. The Catcher in the Rye
    $13.60 $12.39 list($20.00)
    2. Break, Blow, Burn : Camille Paglia
    $7.20 $2.60 list($8.00)
    3. Of Mice and Men (Penguin Great
    $6.29 $2.44 list($6.99)
    4. Fahrenheit 451
    $10.20 $9.29 list($15.00)
    5. The Grapes of Wrath: John Steinbeck
    $8.09 $4.82 list($8.99)
    6. The Fountainhead
    $19.99 $13.09
    7. William Shakespeare: The Complete
    $11.16 $7.93 list($13.95)
    8. Lolita (Vintage International)
    $9.80 $3.50 list($14.00)
    9. One Hundred Years of Solitude
    $360.00 $359.99 list($600.00)
    10. The Complete Arkangel Shakespeare:
    $12.59 $8.85 list($13.99)
    11. The Pilgrim's Progress in Modern
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    12. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (Oprah's
    $26.40 list($40.00)
    13. Louisa May Alcott: Little Women,
    $65.75 $59.95 list($69.60)
    14. The Norton Anthology of American
    $9.71 $6.00 list($12.95)
    15. The Great Gatsby
    $61.60 $46.00 list($69.33)
    16. Anthology of American Literature,
    $9.71 $4.45 list($12.95)
    17. The Great Gatsby
    $19.99 $12.98
    18. Jane Austen: The Complete Novels,
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    19. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
    $63.96 $45.00
    20. The Heath Anthology of American

    1. The Catcher in the Rye
    by J.D. Salinger
    list price: $5.99
    our price: $5.39
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0316769487
    Catlog: Book (1991-05-01)
    Publisher: Little, Brown
    Sales Rank: 383
    Average Customer Review: 4.17 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    The classic 1951 novel by J.D. Salinger is analyzed.

    The title, J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, part of Chelsea House Publishers’ Modern Critical Interpretations series, presents the most important 20th-century criticism on J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye through extracts of critical essays by well-known literary critics.This collection of criticism also features a short biography on J.D. Salinger, a chronology of the author’s life, and an introductory essay written by Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of the Humanities, Yale University. ... Read more

    Reviews (2341)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Let me say a few words.
    I was just browsing through the customer reviews of this book, and although I'm sure no one gives a damn about what I have to say (in the rare case that anyone will ever even read this review), I would like to offer my opinions and arguments with those who dislike this book. First of all, the issue of teenage angst is a difficult one to depict in words. It is a difficult one to depict without actually being a teen. Most of the depictions of teenage life these days are rather exploitative. They mostly tell teens how to behave and do not show the true side of adolescence. To those readers who complain that Holden is an "immature malcontent" and so on, teenagers are often immature and often are malcontents. If Salinger led you to believe that Holden is an immature malcontent, then his mission was accomplished. At the current age of 17, I can relate to Holden's character moreso than any other teenager depicted in the media. Although Salinger's style of writing is a little too elementary to be called a "classic," I feel that Holden Caulfield should be the model for teens. Here we have a character who hates change and wants to be a "catcher in the rye." When I see children shooting each other, I feel that this is a noble goal for anyone to have. While you are entitled to your opinion, keep in mind that if the world were full of Holden's "phonies" it would be a conformist nightmare. Thank god for people like Holden.

    5-0 out of 5 stars amazing book to anyone with half a brain
    Reading the bad reviews for this book, it became apparent why these people don't like this book; namely, they're idiots. The one star reviews are full of idiotic mistakes and misinterpretations that make me want to yell at my computer screen (seriously, go check them out; one guy keeps talking about his hike through the Arizona "dessert" [I picture a huge banana split myself]). Frankly, if you can't relate to Holden Caulfield, then you're probably shallow and naïve. Everyone feels like this sometimes or else they aren't paying attention to the world around them. And of course Holden is hypocritical! He's an anti-hero, folks. This is not Salinger's guide to life; it's a novel for pete's sake! I really don't understand how someone can read this and not feel sympathetic towards Caulfield. Sure he's privileged, maybe even spoiled, but he doesn't understand life. Who does? Certainly not people who say they "feel sorry for the trees killed to print this" or that Stephen King's works are better (someone actually said this). Anyway, thought I needed to vent about the bad reviews here, but most are good and I agree with them. Read this book!! [By the way, the person who blamed CITR for the murders of John Lennon et al is seriously insane...how can you blame a BOOK for inciting violence in maniacs? Does this person really believe that these psychopaths were perfectly normal human beings before Catcher corrupted them? Please!]

    5-0 out of 5 stars Salinger's a literary genius
    Without a doubt, The Catcher in the Rye is one of the best books I've ever read. Many people observe that this book is about someone who is clinically insane, but I read something completely different in Salinger's work. I view Holden, the main character, as a typical teenage boy with a bit more insight than the
    average person. I see him as someone who looks at the negativity in the world and has a yearning to grasp even one small piece of innocence within it, but is blinded by the depravity that he sees everyday. I think that the book is about Holden trying to preserve innocence before realizing finally that it is impossible, and therefore he needs to find happiness in places where he normally wouldn't look to find it in order to prevent impending insanity. There are many different interpretations of this piece, and all of the interpretations hold weight, regardless of the fact that the various viewpoints are very much in dissent with one another. This is a piece that can be appreciated and understood by anyone, and I would recommend that everyone get their hands on a copy of this book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great in High School
    I read this first in high school and thought it a masterpiece. I've read it since and I wasn't quite so impressed. It is however a very important work in our collective catalog and no literate person should miss out on it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Read this book immediately.
    We all know that "Catcher in the Rye" is one of the great classics of all time. No one needs me to tell them that ... Read more


    2. Break, Blow, Burn : Camille Paglia Reads Forty-three of the World's Best Poems
    by CAMILLE PAGLIA
    list price: $20.00
    our price: $13.60
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0375420843
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-29)
    Publisher: Pantheon
    Sales Rank: 1269
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (20)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Paglia's Commentary Entertains As Well As The 43 Poems...
    ....she is 'right on' these classic poems--To His Coy Mistress should be every freshman's poem and Paglia elucidates why, Lagston Hughes Jazzonia compares Harlem of the Harlem Renaissance to ancient Mesopotamia, and Lady Lazarus works through some serious love/hate of papa and the paternalistic world of letters and Camille breaks it down for us. Plus she throws in Joni Mitchell, Walt Whitman, the ghostly speech from Hamlet, and one of my favorites Shelley's Ozymandias. In her introduction, she describes her personal experiences with the world of poetry from her Italian heritage to well done tv ads (such as the M&Ms commercial) to meeting and being influenced by her college mentors, Bloom and Kessler. I have been entralled by her style of criticism and popular culture reviewing since her days at the Netzine Salon. Here, she is a little subdued from some of those articles, but nevertheless, her passion about these pieces seem to have lifted the literary criticism world out of it's doldrums. Paglia's poetry book should not only help ol' dogs like me to get back into the reading and enjoyment of poetry and literature--(heck, I'm jealous of those kids who have been able to sign up in one of her classes)--but it also should give those kids in Lit 101 a big hand. This is a very good book by a living legend and a great Lady of Letters. Get it. You will enjoy every page.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable...But You May Disagree With Her Choices
    I really liked this book. Any book that discusses poetry passionately and promotes its importance in the world is great by me. However, when discussing "Best of" choices, it is entirely a matter of opinion. Poetry is the most subjective and individual kind of writing -- many argue it is the highest form of literature (and I would agree with that). My problem are the choices here. Camille Paglia has her own taste of course, so she's entitled. But of the choices here, in MY opinion, about 10% would fall into the category of "best of."

    I always find Camille Paglia's work engaging, so I would recommend this book. A plus if you're a poetry lover like myself. And, as always, I do appreciate her speaking out against Academia with its stilted, post-post modern tastes. This is a woman with strong opinions and she states them passionately. Buy a copy of Break, Blow, Burn -- try it for yourself. You may feel differently about her choices, agree or disagree, but at the very least enjoy the debate. Another Amazon pick I need to recommend, one I purchased recently and can't stop thinking about is called THE LOSERS CLUB: Complete Restored Edition by Richard Perez -- about a poet who can't published. Now there's a character I can relate to!

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not the Spicy Meatball I Was Expecting
    Basically, it's very dull.Not the spicy meatball I expected after all the hoopla over Sexual Personae (which I didn't read).I guess I have to complete it although, at times, I feel like I'm taking my spoon of castor oil on Saturday night.And my God!She's more Freudian than I am - I don't feel like such a psycho-interpretive methodoligical dinosaur any more.I'm sure one motive for the anthology is to shock.After 26 "usual suspects" selected from the greatest hits of English poetry, she starts bouncing all over the place - I've not heard of at least half of the 18 remaining poets - then wraps it up with Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock."The essays would each be given A's if submitted by an college graduate student.In that sense, they're "exemplary essays"; but they're written in such a homogenous style, it seems adaptable to any poem from any period.I admit, though, I've learned something new in nearly every essay; but otherwise ... dull.Sorry.If you think June Jordan's Poetry for the People is too scattershot and political or Adrienne Rich's What Is Found There is unfocussed and uncomfortably earnest, this is the book for you.(And I don't care how hard she tried to hide it with her formidable intellect, I have to believe that Paglia loves these poems.)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Enertaining, Knowledgeable
    Break, Blow, Burn
    By: Camille Paglia
    ISBN-0375-420843
    $20.00

    With Break, Blow, Burn Paglia gives insight and understanding to fourty-three poems. Some we know and love and some we will learn of. When I read poetry I like to see what the poem means to me, where I place myself in it, what it makes me feel orwhat memories it provokes. I don't always break each poem down to see what the author means. I picked this book because of the long list of poets featured. Some I learned of such as John Dunne, George Herbert, Robert Lowell,Wallace Stevens, Theodore Roethke, May Swenson, Chuck Wachtel, Rochelle Kraut and some I already love such as, Paul Blackburn, William Blake, William Shakespeare, William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Walt Whitman,William Butler Yeats, William Carlos Williams, Frank O'Hara, Gary Snyder, Joni Mitchell, Wanda Coleman, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Langston Hughes , Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath,Jean Toomer and a few others. . I found Break, Blow, Burn to be entertaining as much as it is knowledgeable. The insight Paglia gives to these poems is wonderful. Paglia is a very gifted writer with a trained eye for the passion of poetry.
    reviewed by
    Dawnny

    4-0 out of 5 stars Metaphoricly Speaking ....
    Camille Paglia's "Break, Blow, Burn" is the lyric equivalent of Ford's 2005 Mustang!

    (Okay, maybe I would like to have seen ee cummings included.) ... Read more


    3. Of Mice and Men (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century)
    by John Steinbeck
    list price: $8.00
    our price: $7.20
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0140177396
    Catlog: Book (1993-09-01)
    Publisher: Penguin Books
    Sales Rank: 2142
    Average Customer Review: 4.29 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    MAXnotes offer a fresh look at masterpieces of literature, presented in a lively and interesting fashion.Written by literary experts who currently teach the subject, MAXnotes will enhance your understanding and enjoyment of the work. MAXnotes are designed to stimulate independent thought about the literary work by raising various issues and thought-provoking ideas and questions.MAXnotes cover the essentials of what one should know about each work, including an overall summary, character lists, an explanation and discussion of the plot, the work's historical context, illustrations to convey the mood of the work, and a biography of the author.Each chapter is individually summarized and analyzed, and has study questions and answers. ... Read more

    Reviews (841)

    5-0 out of 5 stars John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men: A Review
    My name is Kelly, and I am a junior in high school and I was recently assigned to read John Stienbeck's novel OF MICE AND MEN. I thouroughly enjoyed reading this book, for many different reasons. For instance, Steinbeck uses a storyline that grabs the attention of all ages, young or old. In the begining, we are introduced to George and Lennie the novel's two main characters. They are fleeing from their former hometown in search of a new job opportunity on a ranch located in the Salinas Valley. The two fathem a dream of owning their own ranch one day with lots of acres and rabbits. They work out a plan to earn money so this dream can be fulfilled. While on the ranch the young childish Lennie is objected to numerous situations, in which they put George in akward posiitions. George's loyalty is constantly tested throughout the novel. With a surprise ending their dream seems to fade away. This book is one everyone should read, because it teaches the meaning of friendship and the "American Dream".

    5-0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece -- and I will never forget it!
    John Steinbeck wrote this classic gem in 1937. It's been a Broadway play and there have been several adaptations of it in movies and TV. I was generally familiar with the story but this was the first time I actually read the book. Wow! I was completely blown away! This is the story of a two lonely and alienated men who work as farm laborers, drifting from job to job in California. Lennie is gentle giant, physically strong but mentally retarded. George guides and protects Lennie but also depends on him for companionship. Together, they have a dream to someday buy a little farm where they can grow crops and raise rabbits and live happily ever after. This, of course, is not to be as the title suggests. "The best laid plans of mice and men" is a line in a poem by Robert Burns, which describes how a field mouse's world is destroyed by a plow.

    Steinbeck's narrative voice is seemingly simple in his descriptions of nature of as well as the details of the bunkhouse. His characterizations of the people are magnificent. We meet the other workers, all loners, and appreciate the beauty of the unique friendship between Lennie and George. We meet Candy, the old man who is outliving his usefulness. We meet Crooks, the black stable hand, shunned by the men and therefore turning to books for companionship. We meet the cruel Curley who taunts Lennie into a fight. And we meet Curley's wife, another lonely soul who uses her femininity to get the wrong kind of attention.

    There's tension in every word and I found myself holding my breath, knowing that something awful would happen, my eyes glued to the page, the world of Lennie and George deeply etched into my consciousness. I was pulled right into the story, wanting to shout warnings as I saw the inevitable consequences. The ending was incredibly sad, but yet satisfying. It couldn't have ended any other way. It's a small book, only 118 pages long. But it is a masterpiece and I will never forget it. I give it my highest recommendation.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Read It Again and Again
    We all read this one in high school, but it is one of those gems that you simply must read again and again. Great story and a great story teller.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A timeless look at society and the nature of friendship.
    Deceptively short and simply written, John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" actually offers any reader quite a lot to think about. The relationship between the two main characters highlights a number of issues relating to the themes of mental illness and friendship. The story takes place in Depression-era California. Lennie is a very large, strong man, but not too bright. He doesn't have a mean bone in his body, but because he fails to comprehend his own strength, he frequently does harm to others without meaning to. He loves to pet soft things, like mice and rabbits and puppies, and then becomes distraught when they die, not understanding that he has been too rough with them. Lennie's companion is the brains of the pair, a small man by the name of George. He fills the role of both caretaker and friend to Lennie, and does his best to keep him out of trouble, though he doesn't always succeed.

    The two men are traveling laborers, moving around as the availability of work dictates. To keep Lennie motivated and obedient, George pacifies him with stories of a future bright with luxury and free from worry. They'll buy a small farm, he tells his avid companion, and live off the fat of the land. They'll have their own crops and their own livestock, and go to shows whenever they feel like it. And if Lennie stays out of trouble, he can even have some rabbits of his own to take care of. Captivated by this vision, Lennie does his honest best to obey George and avoid doing anything that might jeopardize their dream. But his best just isn't good enough, and just when their plans look like they might actually be falling into place, Lennie makes the biggest bungle of all, leaving George with an extremely hard decision to make.

    One of the social problems Steinbeck seems to be commenting on here is the place of the mentally ill or impaired in society. What was their place at this point in time? Did they even have a place? This story makes it clear that there really weren't many avenues open to the mentally ill at the time. They could be institutionalized, but such places had little merit during the 1930s, when mental illness was not yet really understood. Patients were treated little, if at all, better than criminals. The other option would be for such people to try to get along in the outside world of "normal" people, as Lennie does. When Lennie's Aunt Clara dies, he is left with no family and so falls in with George, who becomes his new guardian. But the outside world is no more understanding of Lennie's handicaps than the doctors of the time, and provides countless pitfalls of its own.

    The other major theme of the story is friendship. What is true friendship? To what extent does one have responsibility to a friend, and what does this responsibility entail? This is something George must struggle with every day. He feels obligated to care for Lennie and help keep him out of trouble, though he clearly realizes that his own life would be far simpler if he were on his own. In the end, when Lennie commits the ultimate, irredeemable blunder, George must sort through this inner conflict to decide what is best for both of them. Should he continue to protect his companion, or should he save his own skin? And if he chooses to put Lennie's best interests first, what course of action would be the most just? The conclusion he arrives at is both intricately complex and, in another light, quite obviously simple at the same time.

    Aside from these two overriding themes, Steinbeck also gives us glimpses into other issues of the time, among them racism and labor conditions. On the farm where the bulk of the story takes place, one of the characters is a black stable hand. Nicknamed "Crooks" because of his crooked back, this man is estranged from the rest of the workers (all white). The only one who fails to comprehend why Crooks should be treated any differently than anyone else is Lennie, whose simple mind doesn't grasp the idea of racism. We also see what life was like for Depression-era vagrants, moving from place to place in search of work. The living conditions were not ideal (though those in this story are far from the worst imaginable), the food provided often lacked proper nourishment, and employers could treat their hired help in just about any way they pleased. After all, the laborers were lucky to find any paying work at all. Even if they didn't like the conditions, where else could they go?

    I'd definitely recommend this book to any reader. Though times have changed somewhat, the issues Steinbeck comments on are still very relevant today. The ideas presented in "Of Mice and Men" are many and deep, and much time can (and should) be spent contemplating them, but the book remains very accessible. It is a very short story, and can easily be read in one day. The style of writing is simple and direct, while retaining detail and a startling depth of feeling. However, it is by no means a feel-good story, so don't read this one at a time when you're already down in the dumps. While the ending has a very nice sense of resolution, and one is left feeling that George made the best decision he could under the circumstances (or, at least, this is the feeling I was left with), it is still rather depressing.

    5-0 out of 5 stars You've got to read this!
    Of Mice And Men Is a well written book, that you can enjoy with the whole family. In the story two friends who seem to be family protect each other through their whole journy. It's a fairly simple book that almost anyone could understan. this book has instances that will keep you thinking, why? In all this is a great book that you and your friends will enjoy. ... Read more


    4. Fahrenheit 451
    by RAY BRADBURY
    list price: $6.99
    our price: $6.29
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0345342968
    Catlog: Book (1987-08-12)
    Publisher: Del Rey
    Sales Rank: 976
    Average Customer Review: 4.06 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Nowadays firemen start fires. Fireman Guy Montag loves to rush to a fire and watch books burn up. Then he met a seventeen-year old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid, and a professor who told him of a future where people could think. And Guy Montag knew what he had to do....
    ... Read more

    Reviews (969)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Burning on the mind
    Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, a thought-provoking book about censorship centered around book burning, seemed to get off to a slow start by following the life of the main character, Guy Montag, a firefighter who does not put out fires, but rather burns books for a living. Some of the descriptions given at the beginning of the book were confusing at first, like those of the parlor walls, which really turned out to be futuristic video screens, and the mechanical hound, a robot which is used to track and kill people by the chemical scents they leave behind. However, as I got into the book more, I felt that the almost boring way Bradbury wrote the introduction helps give the reader a sense of what Montag's life was normally like, and allows the reader to see the vastness of the changes he encounters in his lifestyle.
    I also felt that as the plot thickened, Bradbury did an excellent job of giving Guy human qualities, such as making him impulsive and sometimes hot-tempered, and showing how he strove to do what he thought was right. His interactions with other characters are very real, especially those with his boss, Beatty. When Montag starts to regret burning books, and starts to perceive that there is more to the books he burns for a living than he and most other people believe, Beatty senses Montag's change in emotion, and does his best to set him straight, telling him that books are only filled with useless thoughts and people and places created by writers that are long gone. This is the main conflict that leads to the rising action of the novel. Montag is told that books are bad, and thus by human nature becomes even more interested in them. However, the conflict is greater than this, as it is not just Montag versus Beatty. Besides also trying to get his ditsy wife interested in books, Montag faces an internal battle with himself. He has to weigh the consequences of getting caught with books with the rewards of what he could possibly gain by reading. I especially appreciated the effort Bradbury went through to bring the feelings and emotions Montag goes experiences to the reader by his word choice, and the way he showed the reader how Montag was playing a sort of tug-of-war in his mind.
    I think Bradbury did a good job surprising the reader whenever possible, such as with Montag's actions. Just when you begin to think that you might see how Guy will act in a situation, Bradbury twists the outcome, keeping you on the edge of your seat in some cases, or at least wondering what will happen next. Such is the case with Faber; a man Montag becomes friends with who also has interests in the forbidden world of books. Just as Bradbury leads the reader to believe that Faber will be somewhat in control of how Guy responds to the remarks of his boss Beatty, Montag leaves Faber in the dust, taking matters into his own hands and acting on impulse.
    Bradbury uses a serious tone throughout the novel, which helps to bring forth the importance of the subject at hand. I liked the serous way in which Bradbury presents the world Montag lives in, a world without books or leisure reading material. This made me question what I would do if I were in Montag's situation, even though in this day and age it is quite unlikely that books would suddenly be totally banned. It really got me thinking about censorship in general, and how at times in the past we made steps toward making Montag's world a reality by banning books from libraries and bookstores. On the other hand, in brought to light the fact that the bans placed on many books were lifted after such acts were declared unconstitutional, which somewhat renewed my faith in the ability of our government and society to recognize and correct some of its mistakes.
    The novel is still thought provoking, however, because no matter what kind of society we live in today, we can all imagine living in one that is totally different, one we do not feel comfortable in, one that we let our imaginations run wild in creating it, making it painful to think about let alone live in. I enjoyed how the novel made me realize how many freedoms we have nowadays, and how they can easily be taken away.
    Without spoiling the ending, I just want to say that I thought it was very fitting. As Granger says near the end of the novel, "You're not important. You're not anything." Montag and his group would have appeared to be insignificant to any unsuspecting stranger, even though they were the keys to a vast world of knowledge, one they hope someday the world will get to experience again.
    Though I do think that Ray Bradbury did a very good job of writing Fahrenheit 451, I feel that it has a few weaknesses. First would have to be a shortness of description, especially at the beginning of the novel when the reader is trying to form an image of the world Montag lives in. His short initial description of things such as the parlor walls and the mechanical hound left me somewhat confused about what they really had to do with the novel. Another case of confusion occurred with the mechanical snake that was used to empty Montag's wife's stomach and change her blood while she was sleeping after Montag found out that his wife, Mildred, had swallowed some thirty sleeping pills. It is not so confusing how this event happens but rather why it happens, and it does not seem to be important later in the story.
    Despite some weaknesses, the main point of Fahrenheit 451 is clear, and makes the book a definite "must-read."

    4-0 out of 5 stars A Prophetic Novel of Censorship
    Guy Montag is a firefighter who burns things. Specifically books, and the houses they are found in. He lives in a state where books, and possesion of them, is illegal. Guy enjoys his job until the day he meets Clarisse McClellan.

    Clarisse makes Guy doubt his motives and he soon becomes daring enough to break the law and read a book. He finds he loves litereature, he keeps steals books from the houses he's burning and reads them at home. He finally goes as far as to skip work one day, and his Fire Department Captain, Captain Beatty, shows up at his home. He tells Montag that it's normal for a Fireman to go through such doubts at a stage in his life. Then proceeds to go through a long monologue as to the history of banning books. According to him, special interest groups objected to books that criticized, belittled, or undermined their causes. For this reason, books became more and more neutral in order to avoid offending anyone. However, this still wasn't enough. So society agreed to outlaw books.

    Montag is not convinced and begins to plot with a professor he had previously met named Faber. They plan on planting books in the houses of Firemen as a way of discrediting the profession and destroying the governments unit for censorship. However, thing go when the alarm sounds at the firestation and Montag goes to the last house he'll burn in is career, his house.

    Unlike its fellow dystopia-themed predecessor, 1984, much of Fahrenheit 451's depiction of modern society came true almost prophetically. Although not outlawed, literature now holds a narrow audience. And the brainwashing televisions Ray Bradbury depicts aren't far off of today's one-eyed-boxes.

    Ray Bradbury's adjectival descriptions in this book are strong, even at times; on occasion, one could even say they became monotonous. However, the books never crawls forward for to long; the progress, although not quick, still moves fast enough to keep the reader's attention.

    Overall a strong novel censorship. Although not perfectI would recommend Fahrenheit 451 to any reader interested in either mere science-fiction, or one actually interested in a political criticism of censorship. Both will find their time well spent, the latter will definitely get more out of it, as for the previous. . .
    Maybe you would enjoy Star Wars??

    5-0 out of 5 stars Definition of a classic...
    I've heard so many people say they've been influenced by Bradbury (writers and others) and I can see why--this is simply a great novel. Bradbury is really a national treasure. If you ever get the chance to hear him speak, don't miss him. His stories are priceless. (Especially the one about his anger at people telling him for years that he was crazy to believe man would set foot on the moon in his lifetime. He said he called up every person who laughed in his face the night Neil Armstrong did--and pretty much laughed in their faces!) There is a fantastic one-on-one interview with him in the Walt Disney Tomorrowland-Disney in Space and Beyond DVD (interviewer is Leonard Maltin). His friendship with Disney (a fellow futurist) was fascinating. But it's the sense of wonder and child-like curiosity and optimism (not childish or blind optimism as he clearly understands what can create a dystopia) that make you realize why he is a national treasure. He's inspired me to look to the future, to look up, to look forward, to always be wary and alert to what can go wrong, (and the dangers of closed or lazy minds) BUT not to let any of that stop you--that anything is possible in a world willing to believe, in a free world with open and curious minds.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A book that continues to touch on modern life
    Though I was long familiar with many of Bradbury's works, I had put off reading "Fahrenheit 451" in favor of other books until a friend lent it to me recently. After reading it, I'm angry with myself for having taken so long to pick it up. This book is a fantastic tale of a future society that abandons intellectual development and destroys its books. Like all great literature, it offers insight into our society today despite having been written over a half-century ago, and it continues to reward reading today.

    This book is more than a seminal work of dystopian literature, however; it is also one of the most elegant meditations on the value of literature in modern society that I have ever read. In envisioning a society that destroys books, Bradbury has to explain what is lost as a result. His answer, as we see in Faber's expositions during Montag's visit, is the exact thing which makes this book worth reading - the insights we gain into our own world and our own lives through reading. Integral to this process, of course, is the fact that people must read them and put what they take from them to good use for a society to thrive; as Bradbury notes, the first step towards the world of his novel was taken when people stopped reading. It is this message which makes "Fahrenheit 451" essential reading, especially in a society where entertainment today bears an ever-closer resemblance to the noise-dominated media depicted in Bradbury's nightmarish future.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Reply to a response
    How does someone miss the point of a REVIEW by such a vast margin? I agree with your and Mr. Bradbury's alarm about the state of politics and culture, but my review was not concerned with his message, but with his storytelling. Just because one agrees with an author's stance does not mean that one has to like the way in which the author conveyed that stance. Mine was a literary critique, not a political one, and those who rate this book so highly simply because of the gravity of the message are deeply misguided. Message aside, it's an awfully cheesy and childish book. Admit it.

    Anyway, I said the DIALOGUE was wooden. The characters were flat. ;) ... Read more


    5. The Grapes of Wrath: John Steinbeck Centennial Edition (1902-2002)
    by John Steinbeck
    list price: $15.00
    our price: $10.20
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0142000663
    Catlog: Book (2002-01-01)
    Publisher: Penguin Books
    Sales Rank: 1401
    Average Customer Review: 4.32 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    MAXnotes offer a fresh look at masterpieces of literature, presented in a lively and interesting fashion.Written by literary experts who currently teach the subject, MAXnotes will enhance your understanding and enjoyment of the work. MAXnotes are designed to stimulate independent thought about the literary work by raising various issues and thought-provoking ideas and questions.MAXnotes cover the essentials of what one should know about each work, including an overall summary, character lists, an explanation and discussion of the plot, the work's historical context, illustrations to convey the mood of the work, and a biography of the author.Each chapter is individually summarized and analyzed, and has study questions and answers. ... Read more

    Reviews (463)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Steinbecks Jouneys
    "The Grapes of Wrath" is a powerful indictment of the oppression endured by the migrant families of the American mid-west during the depression years of the 1930's. The mid-west had suffered severe drought. "Dusters" swept across the farmland, skimming off the topsoil, leaving behind a dustbowl, only a few sprigs of wheat surviving. The tenant farms were foreclosed and the families tractored off the land in a ruthless drive to maximise profit. Circe 250,000 migrants, "refugees from the dust", pulled up stakes and headed west on route 66, the road of flight to California, golden land of dreams and opportunity, drawn by the picking work, harvesting oranges and peaches. The flowing in of rootless migrant workers centred on the San Joachin valley, California, and the huge farms there. The overwhelming glut of migrants flooding through the valley swamped the harvesting work available, driving down wages to peanuts level as they desperately scrabbled "to pull, to pick, to cut - anything, any burden to bear, for food".

    This is the destiny that fate held in store for the Joad family in "The Grapes of Wrath". Forced off their farm, truck piled high with their belongings, the Joads set forth on a journey 2000 miles haul from Sallislaw in Oklahoma through the western desert states of Arizona and New Mexico and onto the San Joachin valley. The gut-wrenching story of the Joads heroic journey is interspersed with short "relief" chapters on aspects of their route 66 experience, the tricks of used-car salesmen or a snapshot of life in a truck-stop diner, to cite only a couple examples; other chapters function as social on, for example, the stomach turning practice of spraying mountains of oranges with kerosene or dumping potatoes in the river under armed guard to protect market prices, at a time when hundreds of thousands of migrants were literally starving. This structure enables Steinbeck at once to follow closely the fortunes of the Joads and cast a wider eye over what is happening in society during the depression years.

    However, Steinbeck's narrative, in my view, is at its most powerful and compelling on the road,the Joads suffering and misfortune trucking along the endless narrow concrete miles to Bakersfield, California, revealing qualities of guts and resilience in their desperate struggle for survival in the face of death, starvation, hostility, exploitation and harassment. Steinbeck's powerful voice shows the migrants during the hard times of the 1930's depression years, the hardship and oppression endured by thousands upon thousands of families like the Joads, will resonate for generations to come. It is a voice that packs alot to say!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Voice of the Migrants for Generations to come!
    "The Grapes of Wrath" is a powerful indictment of the oppression endured by the migrant families of the American mid-west during the depression years of the 1930's. The farming-belt of the mid-west had suffered severe drought. "Dusters" swept across the farmland, skimming off the topsoil, leaving behind a dustbowl, only a few sparse sprigs of wheat surviving. The tenant farms were foreclosed and the families forcibly tractored off the land in a ruthless drive to maximise profit margins. Circe 250,000 migrants, "refugees from the dust", pulled up stakes and headed west on route 66, the road of flight to California, the golden land of dreams and opportunity, drawn by the prospect of picking work, harvesting oranges and peaches. The influx of rootless migrant workers centred on the San Joachin valley, California, and the huge farms therein, drifting in search of work from squatter camps to government camps to shacks in tied labour camps charging excessive rents and inflated company-store prices. The overwhelming glut of migrants flooding through the valley swamped the harvesting work available, driving down wages to peanuts level as they desperately scrabbled "to pull, to pick, to cut - anything, any burden to bear, for food".

    This is the destiny that fate held in store for the Joad family in "The Grapes of Wrath". Forced off their farm, truck piled high with their meagre belongings, the Joads set forth on an epic 2000 miles haul from Sallislaw in Oklahoma through the western desert states of Arizona and New Mexico and onto the San Joachin valley. The gut-wrenching story of the Joads heroic journey is interspersed with short "relief" chapters on peripheral aspects of their route 66 experience, the trickery of used-car salesmen or a snapshot of life in a truck-stop diner, to cite but two examples; other chapters function as social commentary on, for example, the stomach turning practice of spraying mountains of oranges with kerosene or dumping potatoes in the river under armed guard to protect market prices, at a time when hundreds of thousands of migrants were literally starving. This structure enables Steinbeck at once to follow closely the fortunes of the Joads and cast a wider eye over what is happening in society during the depression years.

    However, Steinbeck's narrative, in my view, is at its most powerful and compelling on the road, chronicling the Joads suffering and misfortune trucking along the endless narrow concrete miles to Bakersfield, California, revealing qualities of grit, guts and resilience in their desperate struggle for survival in the face of death, starvation, hostility, exploitation and harassment. Steinbeck's powerful voice depicting the plight of the migrants during the hard times of the 1930's depression years, the hardship and oppression endured by thousands upon thousands of families like the Joads, will resonate for generations to come. It is a voice that packs a powerful punch!

    5-0 out of 5 stars What More Can Be Said
    "The Grapes Of Wrath" is an American Classic. You've got to read this one. Although it isn't as colorful as much of Steinbeck's work, it is a wonderful story of a very important part of our nation's history. It's very much worth your time.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Depression
    This novel takes place during the "Great Depression" and gives a general view of the 1930's, but also follows the Joad family as they endure many struggles on their way to find work in California. Like thousands of other families, they encounter hunger, violence, and despair during these troubled years of our history. This was kind of a difficult book to get through, but if you want to learn about the affect the "Great Depression" had on everyday families and the struggles they encountered during this time, then you have found the right book

    5-0 out of 5 stars I learned more form this book than any other.
    As a Junior AP English student, I was bombarded with summer work, and my assignments included chosing a summer book to read from a selected list. I chose the "Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck, and was immeadiatly captured in the sad story of the Joads and there turbulent Oddessy. Sad and depressing yes, but hopeless it is not; if anything this book is about hope and compassion and empathy for others, and for many of us, including the characters in this novel, that is a lesson learned the hard way. There will probably never be a writer as talented as John Steinbeck; he has a way of making you not only imagine, but feel what is happening in his story. Steinbeck uses his great skill to show both great beauty and harsh reality, and I hope at the time this book was published that it caused political uproar and brought the people in American aristocracy down to Earth to realize what was occurring. Although people moving from Oklahoma to California are the least of our great nation's worries, the thoughts expressed in this book have the power to open the eyes of Americans to many troubling situations that exist today. ... Read more


    6. The Fountainhead
    by Ayn Rand
    list price: $8.99
    our price: $8.09
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0451191153
    Catlog: Book (1996-08-01)
    Publisher: New American Library
    Sales Rank: 857
    Average Customer Review: 4.14 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Get your "A" in gear!

    They're today's most popular study guides-with everything you need to succeed in school. Written by Harvard students for students, since its inception SparkNotes™ has developed a loyal community of dedicated users and become a major education brand. Consumer demand has been so strong that the guides have expanded to over 150 titles.SparkNotes'™ motto is Smarter, Better, Faster because:

    · They feature the most current ideas and themes, written by experts.
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    · The clear writing style and edited content enables students to read through the material quickly, saving valuable time.

    And with everything covered--context; plot overview; character lists; themes, motifs, and symbols; summary and analysis, key facts; study questions and essay topics; and reviews and resources--you don't have to go anywhere else!



    ... Read more

    Reviews (774)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Overhyped
    This overtly philosophical novel is about Howard Roarke. This book describes the career of a fiercely independent architect, who exemplifies Ayn Rand's objectivism. His career is juxtaposed with a colleague from college, Peter Keating, and is intertwined with other characters, including a unique woman named Dominique, a successful businessman name Wynand, and a famous "intellectual", Tooley.

    Rand thoroughly describes each individual's concept of humanity throughout the book. This is strength, and a flaw. The dialogues are very, very contrived, and at points insulting to the reader's intelligence. Keating and Roarke's rivalry was thoroughly enjoyable. To see such those two in tandem, though extremely overt, was stimulating. The inclusion of other characters, especially Dominique, bored me to death. Even though she provides a sort of bridge between two the two rival philosophies, her intrusion into the story is convoluted and serves little purpose than to occupy pages.

    This book contains a great message. It's almost hard to find anyone who doesn't relate to Howard Roarke's character. It's lack of subtlety, its super preachy and continuous dialogues, annoying other characters, all deter it from making it an enjoyable read. I found myself glued to some pages, while trudging through others. It's best to describe this as an essay containing fictional characters, rather than a classic novel.

    Some people say that this book changed their life. Fair enough, but all the philosophy and messages are presented throughout simple economic principles, historical affairs, and common sense. The only true insight I gained from this was the definition of objectivism. Not worth 700 pages of only mildly interesting reading.

    Would I recommend this book? Probably, it's not that bad, and you can decide for yourself.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fountainhead
    I stayed up late nights to read this book. I turned page after page. There is something Ayn Rand has seen through, something she articulates so roundly, that it relieves a burden I hadn't even realized I'd been carrying. I can put my burden down as I read -- she has seen me. I no longer have to scream at the top of my lungs. I love to read her books.

    And there are many, many aspects of human nature which she sees very deeply. Not everyone could have written that rape scene, for example, and gotten it right. She is one of the 20th Century's great authors...... despite the fact that you can mail in a card enclosed in the book and join some save-the-world organization dedicated to her work. I really think they should take out the cards. They only make the right people ignore her and the wrong people read her for the wrong reasons.

    And yet the cards reflect the vestiges of an ideologue which still lives in her. She's a Russian turned Jeffersonian. But I still feel the European ideology thing going on. Most Russian immigrants to the US take up capitalism and its freedom of speech in their own way. But I've seen precious few of them who so genuinely understand and embrace the Jefferson in America - and I've known a lot of Russian immigrants. I was married to one. (For that matter, I've met few Americans who get it consciously, but that's another matter.)

    The ideologue in Ayn Rand shows up, for example, in her categorical condemation of anything suggesting 'spirituality' or 'God' or whatever. I even ran across an erratum somewhere where she apologizes for using the word 'spiritual' in a fit of passion... of course there's no spiritual, she explains. Of course not. No, no, no, no. But her passions spoke true, and her mind couldn't follow them. For she is essentially spiritual and just in denial about it. It's that she can't rationally fit it in with all the stuff that she does see so clearly with 'spirit' and 'God'. And the reason she can't do that is that she can't think of religion as a private matter between a person and God. Religion for her belongs to a state and a society.

    So she puts her head before her heart a little sometimes, and the result is that she lacks the lyrical powers of Emerson, Goethe or Shakespeare. But I'm so happy she lived and worked.

    5-0 out of 5 stars If I had to pick
    If I had to pick only three books, they would be these: Steinbeck's "East of Eden," McCrae's "The Bark of the Dogwood," and this one, "The Fountainhead." All three had, and continue to have, a powerful impact on my life. These are not just great books, but novels of "ideas." By far, the most important of these is Rand's book. It was quite a big deal when it first appeared on the scene many decades ago, and still is for those who read it. Pity that after all these years of exposure to it, things haven't changed that much. There are still the sun-slappers and the self-soilers out there who refuse to see humanity for the wonderful thing that it CAN be. If you're looking for food for thought, this is your book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars This book is a tool.
    Ayn Rand brings to light a side of humanity that is often overlooked. America is a stage for countless players described as second - handers. Thank God for those people with passion and convictions. You could be a Roark. This book is a capitalist's survival tool. It is your responsibility to yourself to use it and benefit from the insights it contains. Learn from the mistakes of the villains. This book could have used a better editor (typos, missing words, etc.), however in essence it contains many perceivable truths. After you're done, you'll realize you could have spent all that time creating something instead of loafing around and reading.

    4-0 out of 5 stars The reviews Tell All
    I'm 38 years old and just read The Fountainhead for the first time. That probably gives me a little more life experience than others who have read it, so here's my two cents.

    The characters in this book are somewhat exaggerated, but nonetheless are very, very real, in that they have counterparts in the world we live in. Roark is cut from the same cloth that Socrates, Jesus, Luther, Edison, Thomas Jefferson, the Wright Brothers, Steve Jobs, Sam Walton, etc., were. They all had a burning passion for one field of human endeavor. They held revolutionary ideas that were met with scorn by the status quo and the chronically insecure. They struggled against overwhelming odds to see their visions become reality. And, in the end, the proved to be benefactors of all mankind.

    Keating, Toohey, and Wynand are all parasites to one degree or another. Keating has no real talent, but is a master of back-stabbing and rear-end kissing. In short, he would be a huge success on "Survivor." However, his lack of talent and integrity ultimately destroy his career, and his desire to please everyone but himself destroys his soul. Anyone who has ever dealt with office politics has met a Peter Keating.

    Toohey cripples the very people he says he wants to "help." He puts them down in subtle ways and loads them with pathological guilt. He uses people's dependence on him to hold up his faltering self esteem, so he dares not allow them to become truly whole and independent human beings. I have met ministers, teachers, social workers and "advocates" of various causes who mirror Toohey quite nicely. Jim Jones is a well known real world example. Tony Soprano's mother on the HBO show is a fictional type of Toohey. The atrocious Disney movie "Pocohontas" was shot full of Tooheyisms.

    Wynand is a pimp. He makes money off of society's shortcomings, all the while making those shortcomings worse. He's like the executives who produce bilge like "gangsta rap" CDs,publish rags like The Enquirer, make stars of people like Britney Spears, and create shows like Jerry Springer.

    Roark is hated and feared by them and people like them, because they would rather cling to the trash at hand than reach up and snatch a pearl.

    I've dealt with Keatings, Tooheys, and Wynands all my adult life. You can find them in business meetings, on church boards, working for government agncies and participating in civic groups. They are real, they are numerous, and they really are a threat to the progress of the human race.

    Ms. Rand felt that the world was full of lazy idiots, and that it is kept going by the blood, sweat and tears of a handful of people with intelligence, passion and integrity. If you read the past reviews, you'll realize she was right. So many of them must have been written by people who didn't give the book the careful reading it deserves, if they actually read it at all.

    If you decide to read this book, be warned now that it's no walk in the park. I spent the first half of it thinking "Roark, chill, dude, it's just a damn building!" It's only later that you understand how architecture is used as a metaphor for all fields of human pursuit. Also, it is subtly revealed towards the end that Roark's real beef with historical architecture is not that it is deficient or worthless, but that nothing has been added to it since its development. The architects of his day paid homage to the past, but did not seek to develop new and improved techniques of their own. In this way, they were living "second hand" off the genius of others.

    Journeying through the Fountainhead is like walking through a field of diamonds that are buried just beneath the surface. There are innumerable treasures waiting to be found, but you must be observant and careful to find them. Be assured, the reward is worth the effort.

    I give the book four stars because it does have some significant flaws. Ms. Rand exercises poor word choice. For example she speaks of the folly of "living for others" when she really means "living for the approval of others." This, plus her use of words like "selfishness" versus "altruism" to describe things like self confidence versus neurotic co-dependency are major problems. It's almost as if she wanted to blur what she was saying just enough to force the reader to think deeply about what they were reading. Or perhaps the fact that English wasn't her first language was a hindrance - I don't know.
    Warning: the initial, violent love scene between Roark and Dominique is probably an extension of her own sex fantasies, which apparently had a strong sado-masochistic element. It is detrimental to the message of the book, and is it's greatest shortcoming. Also, she seems unneccessarily antagonistic towards religion. There is much in the Bible, ex. the parable of the talents, as well as Jesus' admonition to not cast pearls to swine, that dovetails nicely with the book's message. I believe that she over reacted to what she saw happening in her native Soviet Union, throwing out all notions of collective effort and responsibility in favor of an absolute emphasis on the individual.

    Nonetheless, it is extremely well written, especially in its descriptive power. Ms. Rand knew and loved New York City intimately, and that comes forth strongly. Also, its message, if you take the time to properly understand it, is profoundly true, and applicable to the human condition as a whole. All in all, this book is highly recommended. ... Read more


    7. William Shakespeare: The Complete Works, Deluxe Edition
    by WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
    list price: $19.99
    our price: $19.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0517053616
    Catlog: Book (1990-09-08)
    Publisher: Gramercy
    Average Customer Review: 3.74 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    This complete and unabridged edition contains every word that Shakespeare wrote — all 37 tragedies, comedies, and histories, plus the sonnets.You’ll find such classics as The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing and The Taming of the Shrew.This Library of Literary Classics edition is bound in padded leather with luxurious gold-stamping on the front and spine, satin ribbon marker and gilded edges. Other titles in this series include: Charlotte & Emily Bronte: The Complete Novels; Edgar Allan Poe: Selected Works; Mark Twain: Selected Works; Charles Dickens: Four Complete Novels;Lewis Carroll: The Complete, Fully Illustrated Works; and Jane Austen: The Complete Novels. ... Read more

    Reviews (50)

    5-0 out of 5 stars An important Review
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    The management has issued me a notice to provide the next of kin or have the
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    humber_tyo@accountant.com (private email)

    4-0 out of 5 stars It's NOT Old English
    While Shakespeare was producing much of his work hundreds of years ago, he belongs to the Early Modern era of the English Language. This particular period started approximately 60 years before he was born.

    Many of the comments seem to think that the stilted grammar and flow (that only occur to current speakers of the language)determine whether a work is written in Old English. Some have mentioned Beowulf, which very few have likely read untranslated. If you can't understand a translated work, blame the person who authored IT and not the original work.

    Old English approximates a German sound. If one were to hear something read in OE, they may guess the language was an older form of German. Middle English, the sort you'll come across reading UNTRANSLATED Chaucer, is much closer to what many would recognize as an English sounding language. It was highly ornate and approximated and Irish sound.

    Early Modern English is basically what we are provided with when encountering Shakespeare. The language isn't as difficult to navigate as the references, especially in Shakespeare, which are historical as well as contemporary.

    When considering the importance of Shakespeare or works that came before him, it is useful to consider the endeavor as trying to find one's cultural heritage. Many of today's popular literature is founded, deeply, in what has come before us. Irreverance and often the backdrops surrounding our most beloved characters have references much older than many can imagine. Even Harry Potter closely resembles elements of Beowulf, Chaucer, and Shakespeare to name the 3 of the more recognizeable.

    Literature that has come before our time does tend to get treated with a little too much reverance, but the reasons people consider these classics to be important can't be denied.

    This volume, lacking footnotes and perverting line structure, is still nifty in it's economical purpose, and is worth owning if you can make use of it.

    LL.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Book for Shelf - Not Terribly Accessible Shakespeare
    I originally bought this book used and later discovered that this was the ideal situation. It is handy to have all of Shakespeare's works (plays and sonnets) under one cover, but there are several drawbacks. Each page is split into two columns, causing the plays to be read like a newspaper. Since linebreaks are important in Shakespeare (remember the iambic pentameter), some lines are too long for the margins, causing the remaining words to hover like ghosts away from the sentence.

    Also, this book contains no footnotes. This is mainly how buying the individual play is superior to the collected works. Olde English isn't always intuitive, and this particular book leaves you to find out a word's meaning for yourself.

    But this book certainly looks pretty on your shelf. :)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A bargain at twice the price!
    Quite simply the greatest writer of all time, Shakespeare belongs on every bookshelf. I have this, and it is a treasure. For those of you who sweated through Shakespeare in high school, give it a try. You might be surprised by some of the stories you never knew. I would gladly have paid fifty bucks for one of these, and was thrilled to get it for twenty in hardcover. If you have kids, this is a must-have. If you don't, get it anyway. Although there are no footnotes, or any attempt to 'translate' King's English into American, I think these things are basically unnecessary. The sonnets also deserve a perusal, but I like the tragedies the best, particularly Julius Caesar and Titus Andronicus.

    5-0 out of 5 stars In Defense of Shakespeare
    I must say, after reading the "review" about shakespeare,
    the one discussing the "cult of shakespeare"...

    What is the point of this posting? It's not a review of the
    particular volume, instead it is a rather caustic opinion of
    Shakespeare, which focuses on current society's teaching
    and appreciation of Shakespeare's works, and not
    the actual works themselves. Why is this relevant, and
    why has it been posted? Is it entertaining? Are we really
    interested in his personal criteria for judging literature?

    In defense of Shakespeare and this volume, whether it be
    printed nicely or not, to have his works present is better
    than to not, even if some might say it's only taking up
    shelve space. I've come to his plays later in life, and
    of my own volition. I need no glossary or interpreter.

    Quite simply, there is a reason that Shakespeare is still
    performed, and written about today, and it has nothing
    whatsoever to do with this faceless cult conspiracy theory
    that this guy is referring to. It doesn't exist.

    What does exist is a great body of work which will provide
    much pleasure and entertainment. I suggest that the
    comments made by the cult conspiracy guy be taken with a grain
    of salt. Some people just can't accept greatness in others,
    even if they are dead, and must convince themselves that
    the greatness is imagined.

    Long Live Shakespeare (cult member since 2003) ... Read more


    8. Lolita (Vintage International)
    by VLADIMIR NABOKOV
    list price: $13.95
    our price: $11.16
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0679723161
    Catlog: Book (1989-03-13)
    Publisher: Vintage
    Sales Rank: 2295
    Average Customer Review: 4.52 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Despite its lascivious reputation, the pleasures ofLolita areas much intellectual as erogenous. It is a love story with the power to raise both chuckles and eyebrows. Humbert Humbert is a European intellectual adrift in America, haunted by memories of a lost adolescent love. When he meets his ideal nymphet in the shape of 12-year-old Dolores Haze, he constructs an elaborate plot to seduce her, but first he must get rid of her mother.In spite of his diabolical wit, reality proves to be more slippery than Humbert's feverish fantasies, and Lolita refuses to conform to his image of the perfect lover.

    Playfully perverse in form as well as content, riddled with puns and literary allusions, Nabokov's 1955 novel is a hymn to the Russian-born author's delight in his adopted language. Indeed, readers who want to probe all of its allusive nooks and crannies will need to consult the annotated edition.Lolita is undoubtedly, brazenly erotic, but the eroticism springs less from the "frail honey-hued shoulders ... the silky supple bare back" of little Lo than it does from the wantonly gorgeous prose that Humbert uses to recount his forbidden passion:

    She was musical and apple-sweet ... Lola the bobby-soxer, devouring her immemorial fruit, singing through its juice ... and every movement she made, every shuffle and ripple, helped me to conceal and to improve the secret system of tactile correspondence between beast and beauty--between my gagged, bursting beast and the beauty of her dimpled body in its innocent cotton frock.
    Much has been made of Lolita as metaphor, perhaps because the love affair at its heart is so troubling. Humbert represents the formal, educated Old World of Europe, while Lolita is America: ripening, beautiful, but not too bright and a little vulgar. Nabokov delights in exploring the intercourse between these cultures, and the passages where Humbert describes the suburbs and strip malls and motels of postwar America are filled with both attraction and repulsion, "those restaurants where the holy spirit of Huncan Dines had descended upon the cute paper napkins and cottage-cheese-crested salads." Yet however tempting the novel's symbolism may be, its chief delight--and power--lies in the character of Humbert Humbert. He, at least as he tells it, is no seedy skulker, no twisted destroyer of innocence. Instead, Nabokov's celebrated mouthpiece is erudite and witty, even at his most depraved. Humbert can't help it--linguistic jouissance is as important to him as the satisfaction of his arrested libido. --Simon Leake ... Read more

    Reviews (381)

    5-0 out of 5 stars porn, poetry and pyrotechnical language
    If you've only heard of "Lolita" from its reputation as being "pornographic", you are in for a surprise when you read it. Yes, it involves a lecherous, middle aged man chasing after a 12 year old "nymphet". Yes, it is deeply disturbing and makes one queasy at times. It is also a brilliant, funny, witty, literary rollercoaster which will delight you and dazzle you with the beauty of language. Nabakov can make words jump through hoops you never even knew existed, while he explores the dark realms of obsession and longing.

    The narrator, Humbert Humbert, is a fascinating construction. As readers, we find ourselves simultaneously repelled by his actions and sympathetic to his yearning. We are utterly charmed by his wit, intelligence and verbal acrobatics, sometimes to the point where we lost sight of what he's doing to his object of desire, Lolita.

    I would suggest that all readers reaquaint themselves with the concept of the "unreliable narrator" before they sink into Humbert's hypnotic web of logic. When you find yourself sympathizing with Hum about Lolita's "cruelties", try to remember that you are seeing everything through his twisted and self-serving lens. Humbert has rationalized his behavior so deeply and reports it to us so entertainingly, that we find ourselves accepting his interpretations of people and events at face value. However, we must remember that Hum is capable of the most monsterous of deceptions (note how long it takes him to inform Lolita of her mother's demise), and of self deceptions. Read between the lines. Question his reading of events. Pay attention when his reporting is at odds with his interpretations of them. As one example, Humbert tells us that he was seduced by Lolita, giving us the impression that she was sexually mature and a willing partner. Contrast that with his throwaway mentioning of her "performing" for him in exchange for treats, and watching television as he took his pleasure in her. And don't ignore Lolita sobbing each night, as he seems to do.

    Nabokov has created a connundrum for us as readers. He uses the most glorious tricks and delights of the English language to tell his tale of self-deception and rationalization masquerading as "love". Look beyond the circus to the grime beneath it, and appreciate the mastery that gives us both.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Grab your dictionary
    Grab your dictionary

    Nabokov's Lolita tells a beautiful story and does it beautifully. I wasn't very impressed by the 1998 movie with Jeremy Irons but I just loved the book.

    It's a controversial subject indeed, pedophilia, but the book is by no means vulgar. The book is the memoir of Humbert Humbert, a true gentleman, from the Old Continent who never got over his first pre-adolescent affair, at least till he meets his auburn nymphet, Dolores Haze. What follows is a work of art using the English language as the medium.

    What is truly amazing is that Nabokov, a Russian immigrant, would rather write Lolita in Russian, his first language. Nabokov gave my old dictionary quite a workout. Interesting as well is how much autobiographical information there is in the book. I can only imagine how much personal attack must Nabokov have suffered soon after releasing Lolita. Humbert as well as Nabokov is an European immigrant to the United States, both are writers, both play tennis, both traveled the country, both cherish the newly learned language.

    I have the hardbound version by Everyman's Library, which is a high quality edition with some extras such as Nabokov's biography and interview. It's a great book, one the best I have read.

    Leonardo Alves - Houghton Michigan - February 2003

    4-0 out of 5 stars Do NOT call this a love story!
    First of all: Nabokov's chief accomplishment in this novel (other than the oft-noted brilliance of his prose)is to DAMN THE READER who is seduced by it! By creating the persona of Humbert, Nabokov tests the limits of the lure of "European cultured sophistication" making the reader IDENTIFY with, SYMPATHIZE with, and indeed, ANTICIPATE EAGERLY Humbert's quest. If "the heart wants what it wants," and if Humbert wants this one thing passionately enough, "purely" enough (in terms of the singularity of his desire), then surely, he ought to have it.
    This is the dirty bargain the reader makes in Part One. Nabokov's brilliant game works. I freely admit it. He turns the reader into, if not an actual co-molester, at least a willing co-pornographer. If you don't actually close the book in disgust, you are PARTICIPATING in Humbert's crime. What better way to show the reader the amorality of passion. Even the READER can become amoral in his or her "passion" for the "hero" to achieve his "holy grail"!!

    HOWEVER--In part two, Humbert is made to see his true crimes. He realizes fully what he has done to Lolita. He and she were living lives of "pure evil," as he puts it near the end. He ended her life, he says. The reader, too, therefore, should have been able to pull back by this point and "repent" of the crime of vicarious participation in this monstrous evil. I'm sure there are many, many other levels of meaning in Nabokov's work, but this most basic idea of the dangers amoral pleasure (and especially vicarious experience of it by the reader!) is crucial.

    Imagine my surprise, therefore, when in review after review, I am told that this book is essentially a "hilarious love story"! WHAT!?!?! LOVE STORY? What love? I ask you! What love! Humbert himself realizes what his so-called "love" has been--he stalked, he consumed, he destroyed a SOUL. ANY reviewer who dares to use the word LOVE to describe this relationship is STILL in the thrall of Humbert's point of view. But how can ANY morally discerning human being possibly take HIS side of things by the end of the novel? This is an outrage!

    Frankly, I didn't find the novel funny, either--I thought it was alluringly pornagraphic at first, then sickeningly sad later. And I'm one who never turns down a good satire or parody, no matter how "black." But this story was one of heartbreak and despair. What is FUNNY about that?

    But you know what? Call it FUNNY any day--but don't you DARE call the confessions of a self-confessed monster a love story!

    1-0 out of 5 stars This item is the play, not the novel
    The title and author make it look like the novel. However, this item is a play by Edward Albee, based on the work by Nabokov. You can see this if you read the full review. I am rating this a "1" because I wanted the book, not the play. However, the play maybe fantastic, so if a play is what you really want, disregard my review.

    5-0 out of 5 stars unbelievable
    Easily the most amazing book I have ever read. Nabokov's prose is of another world entirely. It would be a blessing if American authors could master the English language with such eloquence. This novel demands an intelligent audience (which is why readers who are closer to the illiterate end of the spectrum have rated this book poorly). If you thought Da Vinci Code was well-written, you do not deserve Nabokov. caveat lector, after having devoured this book, it is quite easy to fall into a state of disillusionment concerning all other available reading material. ... Read more


    9. One Hundred Years of Solitude (Oprah's Book Club)
    by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    list price: $14.00
    our price: $9.80
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060740450
    Catlog: Book (2004-01-20)
    Publisher: Perennial
    Sales Rank: 502
    Average Customer Review: 3.94 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    "Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, ColonelAureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his fathertook him to discover ice."

    It is typical of Gabriel García Márquez that it will bemany pages before his narrative circles back to the ice, and many chapters before thehero of One Hundred Years of Solitude, Buendía, stands before thefiring squad. In between, he recounts such wonders as an entire town struckwith insomnia, a woman who ascends to heaven while hanging laundry, and a suicide that defies the laws of physics:

    A trickle of blood came out under the door, crossed the living room,went out into the street, continued on in a straight line across the uneven terraces, went down steps and climbed over curbs, passed along theStreet of the Turks, turned a corner to the right and another to the left,made a right angle at the Buendía house, went in under the closed door,crossed through the parlor, hugging the walls so as not to stain the rugs, wenton to the other living room, made a wide curve to avoid the dining-roomtable, went along the porch with the begonias, and passed without being seenunder Amaranta's chair as she gave an arithmetic lesson to AurelianoJosé, and went through the pantry and came out in the kitchen, whereÚrsula was getting ready to crack thirty-six eggs to make bread.
    "Holy Mother of God!" Úrsula shouted.

    The story follows 100 years in the life of Macondo, a village foundedby José Arcadio Buendía and occupied by descendants allsporting variations on their progenitor's name: his sons, José Arcadio and Aureliano,and grandsons, Aureliano José, Aureliano Segundo, and JoséArcadio Segundo. Then there are the women--the two Úrsulas, a handful ofRemedios, Fernanda, and Pilar--who struggle to remain grounded even as their menfolk build castles in the air.If it is possible for a novel to be highly comicand deeply tragic at the same time, then One Hundred Years ofSolitude does the trick. Civil war rages throughout, hearts break, dreamsshatter, and lives are lost, yet the effect is literary pentimento, withsorrow's outlines bleeding through the vibrant colors of García Márquez'smagical realism. Consider, for example, the ghost of Prudencio Aguilar, whomJosé Arcadio Buendía has killed in a fight. So lonely is the man'sshade that it haunts Buendía's house, searching anxiously for water with whichto clean its wound. Buendía's wife, Úrsula, is so moved that "thenext time she saw the dead man uncovering the pots on the stove she understood what hewas looking for, and from then on she placed water jugs all about thehouse."

    With One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel GarcíaMárquez introduced Latin American literature to a world-wide readership. Translated intomore than two dozen languages, his brilliant novel of love and loss inMacondo stands at the apex of 20th-century literature. --Alix Wilber ... Read more

    Reviews (143)

    3-0 out of 5 stars It Takes Solitude To Read This Novel
    I have had this book on my bookshelf for years having picked it up simply because I loved the title and then finding out it is actually a classic literary epic.

    This novel is a heavy read, at times tedious and at times quirky, it is most definitely not a book to delve into while half asleep. Gabriel Garcia Marquez forces his readers to pay attention wrapping his fantasy tales around deep and abiding characters it is sometimes very difficult to interpret where the story ends and the fairy tale begins. I found Marquez's writing style very difficult to read without having a few notes scribbled about me to refer back to. He has so many characters in the book, some with the same name, and bounces back and forth between decades that if you are an unorganized reader by page 50 you will already be lost. I am amazed at Marquez's ability to sustain his own thoughts during the writing of this novel. I found the women to be far more interesting than the men, each woman a central figure in family life as well as the most entertaining fantasies. You will be confused, uplifted, humored, informed, saddened and satisfied when you reach the end of this unique novel.

    I enjoyed this novel but did not find it to be the life sustaining recommendation that so many others insist it to be. So many literary professionals and celebrities have pumped this novel up to such great expectation that I would almost dare to say I was disappointed that I missed the affect it was supposed to carry. I imagine if this novel was read several times and studied with a fine toothed comb it may produce such elation. But for the average person this classic novel is almost a chore although very much worth the effort.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Mini-masterpiece of poetic imagery and great storytelling
    First published in Argentina in 1967, this novel has captivated millions of readers through the years. I'm glad to say that now I've joined their ranks. I've never seen magic realism, the essence of Latin American fiction, done so well. The story drew me in and held me fast for its full 458 pages. All this was done without one wasted word or one moment when my interest lapsed. The book is pure fiction in every sense of the word. Right from the beginning I knew that things couldn't have happened the way they did. But I was so enchanted with the author's use of poetic imagery and storytelling ability, that I found it hard to put the book down. And when I did, the images lingered, forcing me to think about them well beyond the scope of the story.

    This is the tale of the rise and fall of a mythical town somewhere in South America founded by the Jose Arcadio Buendia family. It follows the town and its people for 100 years and I was glad there was a family tree printed at the front of the book because many of the characters had the same, or similar names. We meet gypsies and soldiers and circus performers. We see a beautiful woman disappear into the sky. We see blood from a suicide travel miles down a street. We see copulation both within and outside of marriage. We meet a woman who chooses a lifetime of virginity. We see hard work and self-indulgence. There's a rainstorm that lasts four years. And an illness that keeps people awake for months. There's the impact of the railroad and a banana plantation. There is a war that rages for years and years. There is death by firing squad or senility. Some of the people live as long as 120 years or more. There's a lot of sadness. And the conclusion is brutal. Yet, so much of it the book is so comic that I laughed out loud at times. Always, however, there is the central theme of solitude. Every character, in one way or another, lives in his or her own isolation. And, believe it or not, it all seems real.

    I loved this book. It was a delicious refuge to take me out of my ordinary world and let me experience this mini-masterpiece. Highly recommended.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One Hundred Years of Solitude, or Destination of man kind?
    Far from being a novel yet a bible in the context of human history, this book tells much to all man kind. Once you finish the book, you would realize you're always alone even if you're living in a metropolis.

    The book is a story of a family who has lived in Macondo for about hundred years. The family started with mischief, which prevailed the fate of the family. But the family and Macondo vanished from the Earth when a baby was born with a pig tail.

    Bible tells about God's love towards human being; the book tells about the life of people who were deserted from God. Bible says about the Judgement of man kind; the book says about the suffering of deserted people. Bible is the promise of the uncertain salavation and Second Advent of Christ; the book is the story about the fate of deserted people who should suffer solitude even after dying.

    If you couldn't help but feel lonely, this book tells you why.

    3-0 out of 5 stars One Hundred Hours of Humid Reading
    This was not an easy read by any means. I forced myself to finish it. The writing is good to excellent, but the multi-generational Aurelianos are so convoluted and confusing. Luckily, Marquez reminds you of the characters', background so you aren't totally lost following all the threads. The imagery in many places is sublime, fascinating, dark, mystical, crazy. It almost reminds me of watching a Tim Burton movie ( I had just seen Big Fish) with much more detail and story weaving. Sometimes you don't know when reality starts and stops, but that is also the beauty of this story. So many characters were living in their minds and not in the present. The matriarchal strength in this story binds it all. You have to pay attention and not read this before going to bed. At the end, I had to brush off the cobwebs and scrape off the moss from myself. I was lucky the ants remained outside.

    1-0 out of 5 stars 100 years of tortured reading
    I am an avid reader and always have been pleased with Oprah's picks. This book however was painful to get through and I was so disappointed that I finally put it away for good. This is the first book I can honestly say I have never finished nor would ever like to. I have read other books by Gabriel Garcia Marquez but I certainly do not see this one as his best work! What a sleeper! ... Read more


    10. The Complete Arkangel Shakespeare: 38 Fully-Dramatized Plays
    by William Shakespeare, Eileen Atkins, Joseph Fiennes, John Gielgud, Imogen Stubbs, Claran Hinds, Simon Russell Beale
    list price: $600.00
    our price: $360.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1932219005
    Catlog: Book (2003-03)
    Publisher: Audio Partners
    Sales Rank: 49628
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    For the first time in audio publishing history, all of Shakespeare's plays are available in one extraordinary, definitive collection. Based on The Complete Pelican Shakespeare, here are all of the master's 38 plays, complete and unabridged, fully dramatized on CDs with an original score and sound design for each play. A monumental project that spanned five years and cost $3 million, The Complete Arkangel Shakespeare represents the collective vision of four people: Shakespeare scholar Tom Treadwell, film producer Bill Shepherd, BBC director Clive Brill, and composer Dominique Le Gendre. Together they have assembled the 400 great actors of the British theater and produced a landmark digital recording with a sophisticated layering of sound that immerses the listener in Shakespeare's world. ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A monumental project with flaws but immense overall value
    To Buy or Not to Buy!

    Educators, lovers of theatre and great literature--take note! Late in the 1990s, Harper Row began to release on cassettes the Arkangel Complete Shakespeare, all of which I reviewed in one paper or another. Using some of the best of the young theatrical talent in Great Britain and some of the older established stars of stage and screen, the producers gave us readings of every single word of every single play by Shakespeare, including the seldom-performed "Two Noble Kinsmen" which is partially by Shakespeare.

    Well, hold on! Audio Partners has been contracted to release the entire set on CDs. The trick is that you cannot purchase the individual sets but are required to purchase the entire package of 38 plays for $600. That is 98 CDs in all with a playing time of just over 101 hours! Libraries and school departments take note.

    Hearing them as they were released on tape in batches of four or five, I was impressed mostly with the enormity of the project but found some things to quibble about. Casting Oberon and Titania with a pair whose voices were South African or Jamaican (no Henry Higgins, I) made some sense in that it emphasized their other-worldly-ness. So did assigning Malvolio in "Twelfth Night" to an actor with a distinct Scottish accent, but giving Mercutio in "Romeo and Juliet" to the same actor was absurd. Then too there is that sudden sound effect of a train pulling out of a station in the middle of "All's Well That Ends Well"! Granted there was a production current then that did place the play in more modern times, but when one is hearing a recording with no clue as to setting, the result was jarring and should have been omitted.

    In the grander roles such as Hamlet, Othello and the like, the younger actors give modern readings which might strike some as slighting demands of the high poetry. And those who long for the grander readings can turn to the re-releases of the old Shakespeare Recording Society sets.

    One great disadvantage to the cassettes is that you could locate a specific scene only with much fast forwarding. With CDs, of course, you can jump to any scene by pressing the Skip button on your player. When a scene continues onto another disc, the tracking list tells you at which line the scene picks up.

    The price might be prohibitive to all but an institution--but I feel that every library should find its way to purchasing the complete set in much the same way that many purchased the complete set of BBC Shakespeare videos.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Get it. Period.
    If you have to empty your penny jar, if you have to cash in your IRA, do so. Get this. These are absolutely superb recordings of some of the best English ever written and some of the most memorable characters ever created. So you don't recognize every word. Doesn't matter. The excellent actors carry you along and draw you intimately into the drama.

    You can follow the play in text if you choose to -- they follow the readily available Complete Pelikan Shakespeare. But you don't need to -- if you aren't familiar with a play the brief four or five line summaries of each scene in the small fold-out accompanying each play are quite sufficient to know which characters are involved. It's possible to listen to these while driving, but you can't concentrate fully unless you're totally stuck in traffic. My number one recommendation is to take a Walkman and a pair of headphones to a hammock under a tree and indulge yourself. Second best is a comfy easy chair.

    However you listen to these, do get them and listen to them. Or persuade your local library to get the set.

    The price -- ...-- seems high until you figure that this is 38 complete plays -- less than the cost of the same play in paperback -- and there are a total of 83 disks, so you're paying just $5 per disk. Cheap! And these aren't some pop music you'll listen to once; these are a lifetime investment for yourself and your family.

    Get it. Period.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Thrilling Drama
    These performances will keep you spellbound. There is something profound and amazing about listening to this Shakespeare, probably owing to the combination of perfect sound; nuanced, captivating, stellar acting; and fully comprehending the magic of The Bard's words. The quality of the recording is impeccable - there are no glitches, and the volume-level is consistent. Listening on my CD player at home, and following along with the text (not included with the CDs), I feel like I'm "getting" Shakespeare, and being moved by his words, like never before. I even find this listening more satisfying than seeing a Shakespeare play because I can better grasp and appreciate every line. The acting is first-rate (most actors are well-recognized RSC alumns, many of whom have become respected British film stars - ahem - Joseph Fiennes, Ciaran Hinds, Simon Russell Beale, Amanda Root, to name a few), and the clarity of the production picks up the most delicate subtleties of each performance. The background music complements and enhances each play, but isn't obtrusive. I wholeheartedly recommend this set - it will take you to a new level with Shakespeare. ... Read more


    11. The Pilgrim's Progress in Modern English (Pure Gold Classics)
    by John Bunyan, L. Edward Hazelbaker
    list price: $13.99
    our price: $12.59
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0882707574
    Catlog: Book (1998-07-01)
    Publisher: Bridge-Logos Publishers
    Sales Rank: 7126
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (13)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Truly one of the best books of all time
    Many years ago I read the "original" version and thoroughly enjoyed it. This Modern English version is even better because it's easier to read and comprehend, although I have to admit I missed the "Slough of Despond" (now the Swamp of Despondency).

    Bunyan has depicted the major pitfalls in the life of the "born again" Christian in an understandable and believable way. Especially helpful are the footnotes which allow the reader to refer to the Scripture passages Bunyan has used to support his allegory.

    If you are already traveling in "The Way," read this book for encouragement on your journey. If you are not already a Pilgrim, read this book to find out what you are missing and how to enter at the narrow gate.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Inspring Way to learn the Truth.
    I first read this book back in the seventies. Since I have also used as a Bible study tool and great source of allegorical illustration of the Christina life. It is a wonderful story for Christians of all ages to study and enjoy. Surly God blessed John Bunyan with a special insight into Discipleship. I recommend strongly sticking with the Modern English version of the book because of the vast differences in past speech patterns. The book is well worth your time and effort. Any serious student of Scripture will certainly find it's contents valuable and very insightful.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I've Got An Idea!
    What a treat! It's hard to beat the classics and Pilgrim's Progress is one of the greatest Christian classics ever written. I am glad it is now in modern English. I read a few pages every night with my family. It makes a great devotional book and sure beats all gathering around the television. My children are age 17 and 12. One might think they are too old for such a thing, but not so. If you have young children at home, skip the little devotional books for a few weeks, shell out a few dollars, buy the book, and start a new tradition of introducing your family to the classics. Go from this to The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and you may break the TV habit for good!. . . Perhaps . . .

    5-0 out of 5 stars A pretty good book
    I'm a Chinese girl. I got a traslation job to help with the publishing in China.I found it really interesting and helpful with my belief as I read it. I love this book.Hope we'll have more books like this in China, and in Chinese.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Better Than the Best
    I have owned the Pilgrim's Progress for years but have never read it. I started and then thought the book was boring and hard to read so I promptly quit. The original language is somewhat hard to understand so purchasing a book with notes and added definitions is helpful.
    However, since beginning to really read it, I have found I was completely wrong. This is one of the most influential and captivating books I have ever read. The powerful allusions to the Bible are abundant and threaded in carefully. It paints a vivid picture of the Christian life and the struggles, temptations, and tests that come with that path.
    Although it was mostly written for Christians, I am sure that this book can be enjoyable to almost anyone. To Christians, however, it is an encouragement. It helps you remember that there is a reason to press on and that you're not in it alone.
    This book is an amazing illustration of a classic allegory. It is uplifting and inspiring. I am truly happy I read it. ... Read more


    12. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (Oprah's Book Club)
    by Carson McCullers
    list price: $12.00
    our price: $9.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0618526412
    Catlog: Book (2004-04-21)
    Publisher: Mariner
    Sales Rank: 929
    Average Customer Review: 3.92 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    With the publication of her first novel, THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER, Carson McCullers, all of twenty-three, became a literary sensation. With its profound sense of moral isolation and its compassionate glimpses into its characters' inner lives, the novel is considered McCullers' finest work, an enduring masterpiece first published by Houghton Mifflin in 1940. At its center is the deaf-mute John Singer, who becomes the confidant for various types of misfits in a Georgia mill town during the 1930s. Each one yearns for escape from small town life. When Singer's mute companion goes insane, Singer moves into the Kelly house, where Mick Kelly, the book's heroine (and loosely based on McCullers), finds solace in her music. Wonderfully attuned to the spiritual isolation that underlies the human condition, and with a deft sense for racial tensions in the South, McCullers spins a haunting, unforgettable story that gives voice to the rejected, the forgotten, and the mistreated -- and, through Mick Kelly, gives voice to the quiet, intensely personal search for beauty.Richard Wright praised Carson McCullers for her ability "to rise above the pressures of her environment and embrace white and black humanity in one sweep of apprehension and tenderness." She writes "with a sweep and certainty that are overwhelming," said the NEW YORK TIMES. McCullers became an overnight literary sensation, but her novel has endured, just as timely and powerful today as when it was first published. THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER is Carson McCullers at her most compassionate, endearing best. ... Read more

    Reviews (80)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Art Takes Effort!
    I was disturbed to read so many negative reviews of Carson McCullers' The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter. This book is one of the finest works of literature in the American canon. Oprah's bookclub has lately been doing the admirable work of resurrecting old classics - McCullers WAS, in fact, quite the sensation among her contemporaries. I feel that Heart' is the book around which all of McCuller's other pieces orbit. I'll agree with a few other reviewers in saying that this is not an action book, it is not "funny train station" literature, and the impetus is psychological, and often quite intangible.

    As a master's degree student in writing at Sarah Lawrence College, I love this book. As a high school student, I adored it. People picking up something for fluffy entertainment value should probably not read this book. People looking to experience a different kind of life, to read a beautifully written social commentary, to experience psychological empathy pertaining to the human condition...those people should read this book.

    It's great writing. Don't bash it because it's not your type of reading material.

    To drive my point into the ground, people who enjoy authors in the vein of Flannery O'Connor, Katherine Anne Porter, Tennessee Williams, Anne Tyler, Annie Proulx, Katherine Dunn, William Faulkner, Harper Lee, possibly Jeanette Winterson...these readers, and readers looking for great literature, should sample Carson McCullers.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Slow going at first, rewarded at the end!
    After hearing everyone's glowing reviews, and being so excited to start reading this book- after reading Part 1 of this book, I was ready to give up. However, I'm glad I picked it up again a few days later & finished it. Still, the book was not quite what I envisioned, and it does not make my list of favorite books. But I realize I'm not much of a "classic novels" reader, so that probably had a lot to do with how I felt about this book.

    I enjoyed the premise of this town full of misfits; a drunk, a bar-keep, a teenage girl who's an outsider, a deaf mute and a repressed black doctor- all of which who made excellent characters. And once the stories of these people really got going, in part 2, I was enjoying the reading. It's just that part one really sets the stage for each of these characters, so it's not very exciting reading. And also, it took me a while to get into Carson's writing style, which is a bit unique- for instance, there were times when her sentence structure was kind of backwards. I'm not sure if this is because that's how they spoke in the 40's, or if it's McCullers's dialect. I will say that this book did have some very poetic thoughts and prose. There were several profound things, and it made the reading all the more worthwhile.

    I do recommend this book for reading- just with the warning that part 1 is slow going, but if you make it that far, you'll be rewarded in part 2 & 3. I don't want to give anything away about this story, so I'll leave it there.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Heart Wrenching
    Light reading, whimsical - no! Realistic, introspective, entertaining, a wonderful enlightment into the soul - yes! Don't pick up the book if you don't want to think. Otherwise, experience, enjoy and appreciate the brilliance of the characters, the story and the author.

    5-0 out of 5 stars No funny train station literature, but a great piece of art
    I enjoyed this book. To those who find it too depressing, I would like to say that anything that deserves to be designated as "literature" irritates the reader. I recommend this book to anyone who looks for reading material that is not just entertaining or funny, but for something that enriches their minds.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Overrated
    Overrated. Just god awful, can't stand it. Ok, I know that isn't really helpful, but I have a feeling that this is one of those books that everyone claims to enjoy becuase they don't want to be accused of "not getting it." The characters were really difficult to care about, and the writing was just blah. Truly overrated (like most Oprah books). ... Read more


    13. Louisa May Alcott: Little Women, Little Men And Jo's Boys (Library of America)
    by Louisa May Alcott
    list price: $40.00
    our price: $26.40
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1931082731
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-03)
    Publisher: Library of America
    Sales Rank: 530115
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    14. The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Shorter Version, Sixth Edition
    by Nina Baym
    list price: $69.60
    our price: $65.75
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0393979695
    Catlog: Book (2002-11-01)
    Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
    Sales Rank: 131542
    Average Customer Review: 4.39 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    "From the inception of The Norton Anthology of American Literature, three goals have been paramount: first, to present a variety of works rich and substantial enough to enable teachers to build their own courses according to their own ideals; second, to make the anthology self-sufficient by featuring many works in their entirety and longer selections so that individual authors can be covered in depth; and third, to balance traditional interests with developing critical concerns."—Nina Baym, General Editor, from the Preface

    Now in its Sixth Edition, The Norton Anthology of American Literature remains the enduring market leader. The new Shorter Sixth Edition shares with its parent volumes the commitment to broadening the canon while maintaining a representative balance of American literature.

    Thoroughly revised and tailored especially to the one-semester course, the Shorter Sixth Edition builds on the classroom strengths of flexibility, depth, and balance in a strong revision. ... Read more

    Reviews (18)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Seminal Survey of American Literature
    To anyone seeking an encompassing overview of American literature, here is your book. This, the latest edition of the Norton Anthology, not only makes for months of good reading but also acts as a good primer for further pursuits in American letters (academic and otherwise.) Besides the countless number of excellent selections, eleven works appear in their entirety. Among them, Twain's Huckleberry Finn, Whitman's "Song of Myself," and Ginsburg's "Howl."

    The anthology also contains several new additions - most notably an intriguing section of Native American trickster tales that provides an interesting counter to Chris Columbus' over-zealous ramblings. As for more contemporary writing, I was pleasantly surprised at the number of deserving writers and poets newly anthologized in this revision: Toni Morrison, Raymond Carver, and Sandra Cisneros just to name a few.

    Yet what makes this anthology truly successful is the breadth and depth of the text as a whole. The selections, the organization, the well-written bits of biographical information... IT ALL FITS PERFECTLY! No doubt other readers will find this anthology as informative, provocative and enjoyable as I do. A definite keeper for my permanent collection.

    4-0 out of 5 stars another daunting literary anthology?
    The misleading title of this anthology is the first thing that comes to mind when receiving it in the mail: "...Shorter Fifth Edition." After lugging it along on my hike to class every morning for the past semester, I have a few issues with that proudly displayed "shorter." There are few books I can think of that aren't shorter than this one. Length (and weight) aside, the comprehensiveness of the anthology is amazing. As an English major, I've read a lot of anthologies, but this one stands out among them. In addition to the standard fare (T. S. Eliot, "A Streetcar Named Desire," "Huck Finn") that we English majors read in class after class, it features a diverse range of refreshing and new entries. Every point of view under the ridiculously broad umbrella of Americanness seems to be represented here: the rarely-seen chants and myths of the Native Americans, the poetry of slaves, and an impressive number of women writers are all accounted for. It's a relief to read an anthology that doesn't just have the same old prose as every other anthology, and for that, I'm more than willing to drag the heavy book to and from campus.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An amazing survey of literature that defines America
    The Norton anthology is the definitive collection of American literature. Its selections range from the letters of Christopher Columbus to quintessential American works like Whitman's "Song of Myself" and inherently American movements such as beat poetry. The collection offers a wide spread selection of works, some of which fall outside of your typical definition of "literature." All, however, have been important parts of our artistic tradition and provide literary examples of the coming of age of America. Literature has truly helped to define the American identity. This book is a history lesson, a journey through some of the most beautiful poetry and prose ever written and a testament to the kind of intelligent, passionate people that have formed our country.

    4-0 out of 5 stars The Norton Anthology Review
    The Norton Anthology of American literature is a great collection of the most prominent and prolific authors in this young nation's history. The Anthology covers the development of authors in the new world, from the early native American folk tales to the works of Toni Morrison and Allen Ginsberg. The anthology spans poetry and prose and gives the reader a great cross sectional view of American society and its problems. The presence of Native American, Black and Hispanic authors presents a complete line up of works of literature, presented in a pleasant chronological order and introduced by a brief and interesting description of the author's life and works. The introductory description of each author facilitates the contextual placement of the text and its comprehension. The anthology contains several novels such as "Howl", "Sula" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn". The presence of these complete works makes the anthology more complete, as they are an important part of the American literary tradition. The selection of authors and of their works is a good one, but presents some flaws. Obviously not being able to include all relevant authors in the American literary tradition, the editors selected a large number of authors, and their most important works. Nonetheless several important texts seem to be missing. Texts by less prolific authors, such as the great new classic "To kill a mockingbird" are missing. Although the anthology gives the reader an introduction on the author and his works it does not stimulate sufficiently through interesting points to be discussed and questions which shed light on hidden or obscure aspects of the texts. The anthology is a great tool for any class, or for the passionate reader. It is ideal if accompanied by a class or group/club in which the texts are discussed.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Norton Anthology Shorter Fifth Edition
    This anthology is a must have for anyone interested in not only reading American Literature, but anyone who has an interest in American History. From Christopher Columbus' letters to Tennessee Williams' famous "Stella!" in A Streetcar named Desire, this anthology covers everything. The introductions to the pieces of literature not only tell about the author but the history behind the works. There is something for everyone and though it is huge (2879 pages to be exact)it takes up less room than would owning all of the classics in this anthology. I gave this anthology four stars only due to the akward size and the thin pages that cause you to look through to the other side of the page, blurring the already small type. It is a small price to pay, though, for so many classic works of literature. ... Read more


    15. The Great Gatsby
    by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    list price: $12.95
    our price: $9.71
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0743273567
    Catlog: Book (2004-09-30)
    Publisher: Scribner
    Sales Rank: 494
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (9)

    2-0 out of 5 stars Not worth the hype.
    This is the unfortunate case of the reputation making the novel, rather than the other way around.I found "the Great Gatsby" very dissapointing.Its said to be the greatest American novel of all time, yet I found it largely uninteresting and poorly written (in light of its reputation, that is).The characters are not dymanic, and the novel's apparent focus -- that the wealthy, petty, aloof inhabitants of both East and West Egg are interchangeable -- is made evident during the first chapter.The novel centers on a host of blase characters - Gatsby chief among them -- whose lavish parties are attended by strangers, and whose funerals are attended by nobody.Nor is the novel about love; this much is evident when Gatsby admits to Daisy that it is not her love that he desires, but for to have loved no other, even in the past.The much-lauded green light at the end of the dock?Just another symbol of petty jealousy, not the sign of "hope" as the commentators believe.

    But is not the bland characters that make this novel unworthy of its reputation; it is the fact that the characters are fully fleshed out by page 20, and remain static throughout the remainder of the novel.The characters remain unhanged in Fitzgerald's "Tender is the Night," which, for all intents and purposes, should have been entitled "Gatsby II: This time, in Europe."I would reccomend passing on this novel for all but the determined completist; and even for him/her, this novel will seem nothing more than a rehashing of Fitzgerald's other novels, with the only difference being that of geographical setting.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I Became A Millionare And You STILL Won't Have Sex With Me?
    In this book the reader is introduced to Nick Carraway who describes his friendship with the new millionaire in town, Jay Gatsby. Jay has changed his surname and become rich all in the vain hope that can rekindle an "old flame" i.e. his long lost relationship with Daisy who is now a married woman. There is nothing "Great"about Gatsby or this book which is considered by many to be "The Great American Novel". The reader does have some sympathy for Gatsby as he engages in a futile attempt to relive something which only exists in the mothballs of his distant memory. I give this book 5 stars because somehow it made my High School English teacher decide that it was worth reading so 60 teenagers had to go out and buy this book. That is a very clever Marketing Ploy!!!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Hmm, very interesting...
    And so i sat, alone (spare the flies), on the balcony of Iberostar Costa Dorada, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Having just finished "The Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy" in less then a day i was earning for more. So I picked up "The Great Gatsby" in hope of satisfying my imaginative fifteen year old mind. Until the last light drew over the horizon and for sometime the next day I was absorbed into Fitzgeralds' world.

    I will not recite what you already know about the story and what-not. Instead let me just say that for a fifteen year old romantic this has been an imaginative tail. This is the kind of story that will make you wonder where all of the romance has gone in the world and make you wish that you had lived during the "Roaring Twenties". Oh how i loved wishing that I was the Great Gatsby and I so desired the love and affection of lovely Daisy. But alas it was just a book and it was over way too soon.
    I must confess, however, that as I closed the last page of the book tears swelled and threatened in my eyes. I am not the one to cry, let me just state. But this book has touched me so.

    I truly belive that this is a classic and although you may think that my young mind is limited you would do well to know that I have read most of what others consider "classics" throughout my life.

    If this book can touch one so young, then it can just as well touch one just a tad older. I recommend that you pick up with book with all of my heart. I do realize that for those blinded by todays world this will be nothing but a short and unsatisfying bore. But for those who still belive that somewhere in the world true love exists, this book was writen for you. I must say that if i had a hat on right now and the great writer of this story was alive and next to me, I would tip that hat at him and smile. This book is a masterpiece.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great
    This book is so good. It is a wonderful story of wealth, dreams and love.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Not at great as its said to be...
    I walked away very disapointed with 'the Great Gatsby'. Its said to be one of the best American novels of all time, yet I found it lacked maturity as well as development. The novel is about Nick Carraway's friendship with Jay Gatsby, a mysterious wealthy 30 year-old who throws lavish parties where most of the guests are not even invited and don't know the host at all. Gatsby reveals to Nick through a mutual friend named Jordan that the reason he has been throwing parties for years is because he hopes that the love of his life will somehow walk into one...

    Gatsby is a generous but painfully removed man who cannot forget Daisy,the love of his life who he hasn't seen in years, since before her marraige to another man named Tom. I thought that the plot was good, but it need more development and the characters needed more depth. 'The Great Gatsby' is a short read, I read it in a day, and found that Fitzgerald's style is continuous from that of his first novel, 'this Side of Paradise'. The only credit I do have to give to Fitzgerald is that his word flow is very readable and his revised sentences are nearly perfect. I wouldn't recommend reading it unless you are an absolute fan of Fitzgerald, you want to learn about the Roaring Twenties, or want a short and hardly romantic and at times boring read. ... Read more


    16. Anthology of American Literature, Vol. 1, Eighth Edition
    by George McMichael, James S. Leonard, Bill Lyne, Anne-Marie Mallon, Verner D. Mitchell, Mae Miller Claxton
    list price: $69.33
    our price: $61.60
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0131829548
    Catlog: Book (2003-07-21)
    Publisher: Prentice Hall
    Sales Rank: 18821
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    17. The Great Gatsby
    by F. Scott Fitzgerald
    list price: $12.95
    our price: $9.71
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0684801523
    Catlog: Book (1995-06-01)
    Publisher: Scribner
    Sales Rank: 993
    Average Customer Review: 4.21 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    In 1922, F. Scott Fitzgerald announced his decision to write "something new--something extraordinary and beautiful and simple + 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. ... Read more

    Reviews (822)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Quintessential American Dreamer
    I've just reread THE GREAT GATSBY for the first time since high school. It's amazing we had to read it in high school. How could a teenager understand all this stuff about adultery and materialism? I remember my eleventh grade teacher said that F. Scott Fitzgerald, "wasn't a first rate writer, but he was a very good second rate writer." Even in eleventh grade, I found that horrific. Why labor at all to write a book in the first place, pouring all your life blood into writing what would become a 20th century classic, just to have some high school English teacher dub you "a very good second rate writer"?

    In my English teacher's defense, we were a very trying class. She was trying to get us to elucidate the symbolic meaning in the scene where Jay Gatsby stands on his dock and stares at the green light across the water. She said, "The dock scene . . . what comes to your mind?" The jocks who sat in the back of the class yelled, "Hickory Dickory Dock." The poor woman literally banged her head into the brick wall of our classroom.

    Rereading THE GREAT GATSBY all these years later, I am struck with how fresh and utterly relevant it is. In essence, it isn't dated at all. What happened in West Egg in the Long Island Sound in 1923 could just as well have happened in Silicon Valley in the Dot Com Nineties. There are many Jay Gatsbys. Fitzgerald created an essential American archetype with Jay Gatz, the boy from North Dakota who wanted to reinvent himself and turn himself into something grand, based on the dreams he had for his life when he was 17. We catch a poignant glimpse of him as a thirty-year-old man who woos and impresses his long lost love with his swank mansion and his English tailored shirts. All glitter and glamour, the most important thing is that gaudy surface and facade that dazzles the eye. It says a lot about our culture, about the quintessential American dream.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Sensational
    With "The Great Gatsby", F. Scott Fitzgerald takes us into the life of Nick Carraway, who - at the height of 1920's glitz and excess - has just moved to the East Coast with the hopes of getting in bonds sales. Detached but forever present and trusted by the characters, Nick tells the story of Jay Gatsby, an enigmatic neighbour who throws lavish parties, and Daisy, with whom Gatsby is infatuated. As the story evolves, we are slowly given insight into an odd love triangle, the penalties of excess, and who Jay Gatsby really is.

    The Great Gatsby is a smooth read which maintains its capacity to be called a classic throughout the ages, despite having been written 80 years ago. The themes it investigates (infidelity, greed, class struggles, etc.) are as timeless as Fitzgerald's wonderful prose, and the carefully interwoven and surprising storyline makes for an exceptionally entertaining read as well. Although I would struggle to call this a "love story", as some have, I would certainly concede that it is a story about love. More than just a love story, though, it deals with the ramifications of infidelity, the consequences of infatuation, and the effect wealth and security has on it. Fitzgerald's statement can be found in simply considering where everyone is at the end, and what they have done to be there. Is that justice?

    A welcome read for everyone. True classic.

    Matty J

    5-0 out of 5 stars Green Eyed Monster
    F. Scott Fizgerald took inspiration from his wife Zelda. He wrote an essay that explains how the various colors relate both to her and to the important themes in his novels. The Great Gatsby is the perfect distallation of these themes and codes.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Writing!
    There is some of the BEST writing that I've ever come across in this classic American novel. It isn't an inspiring story by any means, but it is well written and illuminating. You simply must read it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars masterpiece among masterpieces
    The Great Gatsby holds a special place in my heart. Like Nick Carraway, the narrator, I am a Midwesterner that ventured out East to Yale and returned somewhat disenchanted with the rhythm of life on the East coast. So there are personal reasons for me to identify with the novel, in addition to Fitzgerald's unusual brilliance and mastery of the English language.

    This was not always the case. Many people-- some of them very intelligent- often faulted The Great Gatsby for being 'soft' or 'too easy to read.' This is not intentional academic snobbery-- how often have readers taken up a facile book without coming away satisfied? Indeed, the critics of Fitzgerald's time did not take him seriously for similar reasons-- I myself fell within this skeptic group until I reread the novel four years later after heavy exposure to the other literary lights of that time.

    Having now read The Great Gatsby approximately twenty times, I have come to recognize the unique power of the novel. It is, as described in the introductory essay, a complete miracle. It is a miracle of social criticism as witnessed by the unsurmountable gap between old and new money; it is a miracle (one might almost say an inevitable result) of the modern schism between the age of hard-nosed science and pure romantism; it is a miracle of story-telling, combining Hemingway's lucid economy with Faulkner's innovation and power. The result is Fitzgerald's characteristic 'magic voice,' which has yet to be duplicated by any author since.

    And above all, it is a good story. At the heart of the tale is the use of a partially-involved first person narrator (in the form of Nick Carraway), combining the power of the first-person POV with the sweep and scope of the third person narrative. This stroke of genius becomes even more evident as parallel story lines develop, resulting in the convergence of the two paths and the famous closing scene with the now-transformed Nick brooding on the deserted beach.

    There is so much to this book that it is impossible to list all that I admire. Yet paradoxically, unlike other masterworks like Absalom! Absalom!, it is possible for everyone who reads The Great Gatsby to view the work in its totality. It is so natural that it is almost as if Fitzgerald did not write it, and rather, the work appeared completed and perfect of its own volition-- a masterpiece for everyone. ... Read more


    18. Jane Austen: The Complete Novels, Deluxe Edition (Library of Literary Classics)
    by JANE AUSTEN
    list price: $19.99
    our price: $19.99
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0517147688
    Catlog: Book (1995-09-03)
    Publisher: Gramercy
    Sales Rank: 11913
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    Book Description

    One of the great and ever popular masters of the English novel is represented here by every one of her novels. Includes Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, and the lesser-known Lady Susan.This Library of Literary Classics edition is bound in padded leather with luxurious gold-stamping on the front and spine, satin ribbon marker and gilded edges. Other titles in this series include: Charlotte & Emily Bronte: The Complete Novels; Edgar Allan Poe: Selected Works; Mark Twain: Selected Works; Charles Dickens: Four Complete Novels;Lewis Carroll: The Complete, Fully Illustrated Works; and William Shakespeare: The Complete Works. ... Read more


    19. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
    by Betty Smith
    list price: $13.00
    our price: $9.75
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 006092988X
    Catlog: Book (1998-09-01)
    Publisher: Perennial
    Sales Rank: 2085
    Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Francie Nolan, avid reader, penny-candy connoisseur, and adroitobserver of human nature, has much to ponder in colorful, turn-of-the-century Brooklyn. She grows up with a sweet, tragic father, a severely realistic mother, and an aunt who gives her love too freely--to men, and to a brother who will always be the favored child. Francie learns early the meaning of hunger and the value of a penny. She is her father's child--romantic and hungry for beauty. But she is her mother's child, too--deeply practical and in constant need of truth. Like the Tree of Heaven that grows out of cement or through cellar gratings, resourceful Francie struggles against all odds to survive and thrive. Betty Smith's poignant, honest novel created a big stir when it was first published over 50 years ago. Her frank writing about life's squalor was alarming to some of the more genteel society, but the book's humor and pathos ensured its place in the realm of classics--and in the hearts of readers, young and old. (Ages 10 and older) --Emilie Coulter ... Read more

    Reviews (421)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for Any Young Woman
    I have read many classic books, but "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" is by far the best work of literature I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. As a sixteen year old young woman from suburban America, many may question how I can possibly relate to the unfortunate life led by Francie Nolan. However, this is the beauty of Betty Smith's masterpiece, for EVERY young woman is capable of relating to many of the scenes found in this timeless classic. These include Francie's sexual assault, the favoritism Francie's mother has for brother Neeley, and the close relationship Fancie has with her father, whose alcoholism ultimately leads to his untimely death.

    Despite the hardships Francie is faced with, she perseveres, acquiring a job in order to help her family survive. Although her education must be put on hold for the time being, Francie remains hopeful that the day will come in which she, like her brother, Neeley, will be capable of going off to school.

    Not only is the ongoing story of a young girl growing up in Brooklyn simply timeless, but the metaphor of the tree outside Francie's window that has grown through unfortunate circumstances is absolutely perfect. The tree had been cut down and was even the victim of a bonfire, but it continued to grow and blossom. Just like Francie, the tree beat the odds and rose from nothingness to beauty and strength.

    Never have I read anything and cried at the end simply because it was over. As you read "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn", you become wrapped up in Francie's life until you feel as though she and you are one in the same. The fact that I have only read this book once astonishes me, and I can guarantee you that I will read it again this summer. The purchase of this book may set you [a few]...dollars, but the experience of reading "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" is absolutely priceless.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the Most Beautiful Books I've Ever Read
    While many novels offer an escape through some fantastical storyline set in a faraway place, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is the kind of novel that makes you realize the universality of common feelings, frustrations, and hopes--and the role that sorrow and sacrifice play in the development of character. One of my favorite scenes is that of the Charity Party, when Francie is torn between her desperate longing for the doll being offered to any "poor child named Mary" and her resentment towards the manner in which affluent individuals approach giving. The author allows Francie to be a child--she lies in order to receive the charity doll, knowing that on the stage in front of her neighborhood peers she is both pathetic for taking charity as well as envied for owning such a rich toy. However, despite giving in to her desire, Francie is also a spirit beyond her years. She walks home both clutching her doll and cursing the insensitive givers, cyring out that for once, people should give to the poor without having to say, "I am rich and you are poor." Another remarkable aspect of the book, further demonstrating it's stark realism, was the fact that Francie never places moral judgement on her father. If we contrast A Tree Grows in Brooklyn with Angela's Ashes, we see two opposing manners in which families respond to alcolohic fathers. Francie's strength, we may surmise, is most likely a product of her genuine belief that she led a happy childhood with two loving parents that had her best interests in mind. While she may later look back and realize her father's problems robbed her of some opportunity, her sense of security and love for her father would still remain intact, and judging from the role her father played in the household, Francie seemed to need a tender male role model to counter her mother's harsh pragmatism towards her children. We also see this in Francie's reaction to her ignorant writing teacher's claim that Francie's stories were "ugly," as Francie recognized that these tales (which were about her relationship with her father) were important and beautiful enough to be saved.

    A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a book that provides deep insight as to how individuals can be stronger, wiser, and more grounded. Above all else, it is an essay on love, trust, and suffering as it relates to the character strength humans need to be survivors. It was after reading this book that I realized for the first time in my life that suffering, though difficult to ride through, really is one of the most positive influences an individual can experience.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A beautiful classic!
    I read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn when I was about twelve years old, and I decided to give it a whirl once again. I recommend that adults who loved this book as a child return to it because the magic of reading it is as wonderful and beautiful in your adult years as it was when you were a child. The story of Francie Nolan and her family will most likely have a different and interesting effect on the reader, or at least it had a different effect on me this time around. Francie is a bright young girl growing up in a poor, but hardworking family in 1912 Brooklyn. Although her life is a constant struggle over money, she still manages to eke out much joy. The novel, which does not really have a plot, is rather a collection of vignettes about Francie's life. While so much of her life appeared to be conspiring against her success, she never gave in to defeatism. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is an inspiring and beautiful story that people of all ages will love. I cannot recommend this book enough.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Historical fiction page-turner!
    I bought this book mainly because I had always seen it on high school book lists but never read it while I was in high school, and thought I should read it. It turned out to be so much better than I'd expected! I couldn't put it down - loved it. Francie is a great character. It's both very interesting to read about her life in Brooklyn in the early 1900's and hear about her conflicts with her mother as she gets older and more independent - a timeless theme. Francie's aunt is probably the most colorful, standout character. Many (particularly in that era) would disapprove of much of her behavior, but she is in the end far more generous and loving than many "religious" people who frown on her.

    The book also has the potential to get kids (and adults too) to think about how they would have coped with the life and situations in the book. For example, how would they feel had they been completely responsible for younger siblings when they themselves were only five years old? Would they have been strong-willed enough to find a way to get to college while still helping her family as Francie did? Some great discussion points. It could also be a good way to connect to family stories from the older generations. ("Wow, Grandma did that too, huh?")

    The book is definitely most appropriate for mature middle school children, high schoolers or adults. Although the language level is not all that difficult, the book is long (although a quick read) and deals with some "adult situations" - the pain of childbirth, sex out-of-wedlock, even a brief touch on methods of ending an unwanted pregnancy, etc. But for all those reasons, it makes a fabulous read.

    Get the book for the rich descriptions of both the neighborhood and the characters, and just overall a great read. (And if you like stories such as this, visit the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York City if ever you're there!)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Touching story; great detail and imagery
    A Tree Grows In Brooklyn is a great touching story of a young girl growing up in poverty stricken early 20th century Brooklyn, New York. This girls name is Francie and the story is about her life from birth to her late teenage years. During this time, the book tells us many stories such as her school, her writings, and her family. The reader also gets to know Francie inside and out, basically from the little details the writer includes that normally would not be important in a story. We learn to sympathize with Francie and relate to her. This book also describes greatly the horrors of poverty for anyone. All in all, this is a wonderful piece of fiction that anyone can learn/relate to in their lives. ... Read more


    20. The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Vol. 1
    by Paul Lauter, Richard Yarborough
    list price: $63.96
    our price: $63.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0618109196
    Catlog: Book (2001-08-01)
    Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
    Sales Rank: 172330
    Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    A best-selling anthology since its first edition, this premier survey of American literature has influenced the manner in which the American literary canon is taught in classrooms across the nation. In response to readers' requests, the editors of the Heath Anthology continue to develop and reinforce its greatest strengths: diverse reading selections and strong ancillaries. With the assistance of more than 200 contributing editors—all specialists in particular eras and writers—the editors have updated biographical and critical information, as well as added new works of interest to both instructors and students.

    The Fourth Edition features writers and selections that highlight the divergent communities and diverse voices constituting the United States, both past and present. Volume 1 takes students from Native American oral literatures up to 1865, including Whitman and Dickinson. Volume 2 (which can be packaged with a free supplement of Whitman and Dickinson works) opens with African American folk tales and regional writers, and includes new sections on the Beat Movement and the Vietnam Conflict.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (2)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Exhaustive and exhausting
    This anthology includes darn near everything you can think of. Though the works of major authors (say for instance Cooper) are sometimes given short shrift in favor of the "marginalized" voices of obscure writers (Frances Sargent Lock Osgood, to cite only one example), there is an abundance of worthwhile material for classroom study in its 3000-plus pages of fine print.
    My complaint is that in the service of being inclusive, the editors have constructed such a painfully heavy and dense text that it will be a chore to read or to take anywhere. As a teacher I want to encourage wide reading of American literature, but I don't want to burden them with a book that is so reader-unfriendly that they'll bristle every time they have to crack open this hulking giant.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Fine American Anthology
    It was 1994 and I was in my second semester since returning to college at the age of 30. At the time, I was unsure as to whether I should major in English to study History instead.

    I decided to take an American literature course that Spring of 1994. The Heath Anthology was the assigned text. In considering this book ten years later, I feel that one of the benefits of such a text is that it provides a framework for more learning. The book contains excerpts of various works such as the autobiographies of Benjamin Franklin and Harriet Ann Jacobs. If one is interested in reading more, the bookstore, library or yes, Amazon.com can be searched in order to obtain the complete work as well as other material by the same author.

    The Heath Anthology also has complete works including Frederick Douglass' autobiography and fiction of Washington Irving and Edgar Allan Poe. Poetry, letters and songs are more of what lies in this quite large (but worth it) tome.

    Despite the physical weight of the book, I carried it with me to my full-time job possibly every day and I no doubt read it during countless lunch hours. I can't say that I enjoyed all of the material - Thoreau in particular bored me, although I should open the book and give him another try now that I'm older and perhaps more patient. I enjoyed Douglass, Jacobs, Stowe, the Native American poetry, Franklin, Bradstreet, Whitman, Poe and Irving among others. Perhaps when I graduate next year, I can revisit them all again.

    What I enjoyed about the American literature class that I took, of which this book was a major part, was that I got a sense of the historical events connected to the literature, which propelled me to pursue the study of history. ... Read more


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