This list was made by Friendspire on 2 January 2020, based on a selection of books by Friendspire.
Ever wonder what makes reading so special? Maybe it's the smell of an old paperback or the weight of its pages. Whatever it is, reading has the power to take us somewhere else entirely. Whether it's through historical novels or fantasy, there's nothing better than getting lost in a book. Of course, you can always watch the movie version, but it never quit... Read more
2003 . Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra
Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read Don Quixote has become so entranced reading tales of chivalry that he decides to turn knight errant himself. In the company of his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, these exploits blossom in all sorts of wonderful ways. While Quixote's fancy often leads him astray—he tilts at windmills, imagining them to be giants—Sancho acquires cunning and a certain sagacity. Sane madman and wise fool, they roam the world together-and together they have haunted readers' imaginations for nearly four hundred years. With its experimental form and literary playfulness, Don Quixote has been generally recognized as the first modern novel. This Penguin Classics edition, with its beautiful new cover design, includes John Rutherford's masterly translation, which does full justice to the energy and wit of Cervantes's prose, as well as a brilliant critical introduction by Roberto Gonzalez Echevarriá.
2003 . Charles Dickens
'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...' Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities portrays a world on fire, split between Paris and London during the brutal and bloody events of the French Revolution. After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille the aging Dr Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There, two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil lanes of London, they are all drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror and soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine. This edition uses the text as it appeared in its first serial publication in 1859 to convey the full scope of Dickens's vision, and includes the original illustrations by H.K. Browne ('Phiz'). Richard Maxwell's introduction discusses the intricate interweaving of epic drama with personal tragedy. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
2018 . Antoine de Saint-Exupéry,General Press
First published in 1943, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry has been translated into more than 250 languages, becoming a global phenomenon. The Sahara desert is the scenery of Little Prince’s story. The narrator’s plane has crashed there and he has scarcely some food and water to survive. Trying to comprehend what caused the crash, the Little Prince appears. The serious blonde little boy asks to draw him a sheep. The narrator consents to the strange fellow’s request. They soon become friends and the Little Prince informs the pilot that he is from a small planet, the asteroid 325, talks to him about the baobabs, his planet volcanoes and the mysterious rose that grew on his planet. He also talks to him about their friendship and the lie that evoked his journey to other planets. Often puzzled by the grown-ups’ behavior, the little traveler becomes a total and eternal symbol of innocence and love, of responsibility and devotion. Through him we get to see how insightful children are and how grown-ups aren’t. Children use their heart to feel what’s really important, not the eyes. Heart-breaking, funny and thought-provoking, it is an enchanting and endlessly wise fable about the human condition and the power of imagination. A book about both childhood and adulthood, it can be read as a parable, a war story, a classic children's fairy-tale, and many more things besides: The Little Prince is a book for everyone; after all, all grown-ups were children once.
2003 . J. R. R. Tolkien
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkeness bind them In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, The Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in The Hobbit. In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.
2001 . John Ronald Reuel Tolkien
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort. Written for J.R.R. Tolkien’s own children, The Hobbit met with instant critical acclaim when it was first published in 1937. Now recognized as a timeless classic, this introduction to the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, the wizard Gandalf, Gollum, and the spectacular world of Middle-earth recounts of the adventures of a reluctant hero, a powerful and dangerous ring, and the cruel dragon Smaug the Magnificent. The text in this 372-page paperback edition is based on that first published in Great Britain by Collins Modern Classics (1998), and includes a note on the text by Douglas A. Anderson (2001). Unforgettable!
1996 . Mikhail Bulgakov
An audacious revision of the stories of Faust and Pontius Pilate, The Master and Margarita is recognized as one of the essential classics of modern Russian literature. The novel's vision of Soviet life in the 1930s is so ferociously accurate that it could not be published during its author's lifetime and appeared only in a censored edition in the 1960s. Its truths are so enduring that its language has become part of the common Russian speech. One hot spring, the devil arrives in Moscow, accompanied by a retinue that includes a beautiful naked witch and an immense talking black cat with a fondness for chess and vodka. The visitors quickly wreak havoc in a city that refuses to believe in either God or Satan. But they also bring peace to two unhappy Muscovites: one is the Master, a writer pilloried for daring to write a novel about Christ and Pontius Pilate; the other is Margarita, who loves the Master so deeply that she is willing literally to go to hell for him. What ensues is a novel of inexhaustible energy, humor, and philosophical depth, a work whose nuances emerge for the first time in Diana Burgin's and Katherine Tiernan O'Connor's splendid English version.
2001 . Lewis Carroll
Carroll's classic stories reunited with Peake's celebrated illustrations, restored for the first time to their original glory. In the 1940s, Gormenghast trilogy author Mervyn Peake was commissioned to produce a series of seventy pen-and-ink drawings to accompany Lewis Carroll's two classics, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. Previously admired for his illustrations of Treasure Island and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Peake set to work, producing such luminous, eccentric images that Graham Greene would later refer to him as 'the first artist since Tenniel to recast Alice in a contemporary mould.' In these editions, Peake's marvelous illustrations, many of them originally drawn on poor quality wartime paper, have been meticulously reproduced as they were meant to be seen. Thanks to a combination of old-fashioned craft and cutting-edge computer technology, the delightful images shine for the first time in over two decades alongside Carroll's fantastically eccentric text. With introductions by modern literary masters Will Self and Zadie Smith, these beautifully designed and printed books are the perfect gift for adults and children alike.
2004 . Agatha Christie
And Then There Were None is the signature novel of Agatha Christie, the most popular work of the world's bestselling novelist. It is a masterpiece of mystery and suspense that has been a fixture in popular literature since it was originally published in 1939. First there were ten-a curious assortment of strangers summoned to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to any of them, is nowhere to be found. The ten guests have precious little in common except that each has a deadly secret buried deep in their own past. And, unknown to them, each has been marked for murder. Alone on the island and trapped by foul weather, one by one the guests begin to fall prey to the hidden murderer among them. With themselves as the only suspects, only the dead are above suspicion.
1958 . Hsüeh-chʻin Tsʻao,Cao Xueqin(曹雪芹)
The Chia family experiences a decline in fortune during the Ch'ing dynasty.
1950 . C.S. Lewis
Narnia… the land beyond the wardrobe door, a secret place frozen in eternal winter, a magical country waiting to be set free. Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor's mysterious old house. At first her brothers and sister don't believe her when she tells of her visit to the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund, then Peter and Susan step through the wardrobe themselves. In Narnia they find a country buried under the evil enchantment of the White Witch. When they meet the Lion Aslan, they realize they've been called to a great adventure and bravely join the battle to free Narnia from the Witch's sinister spell.
1998 . H. Rider Haggard
'My empire is of the imagination' These are the words of Ayesha, the mysterious white queen of a Central African tribe, whose dread title, She-who-must-be-obeyed, testifies to her undying beauty and magical powers; but they serve equally well to describe the hold of her author, Henry Rider Haggard, on generations of readers.
2015 . Rowling, J.K.
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the summer after Harry’s first year at Hogwarts has been his worst summer ever… the Dursleys more distant and horrible than ever before. But just as he’s packing his bags to return to school, a creature named Dobby the house-elf announces that if Harry goes back to Hogwarts, disaster will strike. And it turns out, Dobby is right. Harry and Ron miss the Hogwarts Express, so they fly to school in a blue Ford Anglia, crash landing in the notorious Whomping Willow. Soon other worries accumulate: the outrageously stuck-up new professor Gilderoy Lockhart; a ghost named Moaning Myrtle, who haunts the girls' bathroom; the strange behavior of Ron's little sister, Ginny Weasley; rumors about the "Chamber of Secrets," a cavern buried deep below Hogwarts; and a magical diary owned by Tom Riddle, a Hogwarts student of long ago. Harry is also shocked to discover that he can speak Parseltongue, the language of snakes - a rare ability that Lord Voldemort also possessed - and that anti-Muggle prejudice exists in the Wizarding world, even affecting Harry's friend Hermione. But all of these seem like minor concerns when someone starts turning Hogwarts students to stone: an evildoer said to be the fearsome Heir of Salazar Slytherin, on of the founders of the school. Could it be Draco Malfoy, Harry's most poisonous rival? Could it be Hagrid whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one person everyone at Hogwarts most suspects: Harry Potter himself?