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Recommended Books

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War and Peace, Book 09: 1812
War and Peace, Book 09: 1812

Tolstoy, Leo War and Peace is an epic novel by Leo Tolstoy, first published from 1865 to 1869 in Russki Vestnik, which tells the story of Russian society during the Napoleonic Era. It is usually described as one of Tolstoy's two major masterpieces (the other being Anna Karenina) as well as one of the world's greatest novels.
War and Peace offered a new kind of fiction, with a great many characters caught up in a plot that covered nothing less than the grand subjects indicated by the title, combined with the equally large topics of youth, age and marriage. While today it is considered a novel, it broke so many novelistic conventions of its day that many critics of Tolstoy's time did not consider it as such. Tolstoy himself considered Anna Karenina (1878) to be his first attempt at a novel in the European sense.
Persuasion
Persuasion

Austen, Jane Anne Elliott, Jane Austen's only aging heroine, has devoted her life to caring for her financially irresponsible family. Just when she is growing content with her uneventful lifestyle, a long-lost flame re-enters the picture -- now as the beau of her significantly younger cousin. Anne is now faced with a choice: will she watch Captain Wentworth settle into life with another woman, or will she strive to win back his love and escape her family?
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The (version 2)
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The (version 2)

Twain, Mark In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain creates an entertaining adventure of Middle America in the 1800's - afloat on a raft on the Mississippi River. Huck escapes his civilized life when he arranges his own "murder" and turns back into the backwoods, downriver yokel he started as, and in the process springing a slave, Jim, from bondage.
Huck and Jim experience life as a series of tableaus as the river sweeps them through small towns on their way South. At each stop, Huck engages his talent for mixing fact with bald-faced lies to endlessly get himself out of situations... and of course, putting him into others!
Much has been written about the statement Twain is making about slavery in this book, but it's really secondary to the story. The facts of how black people were treated in this period give Huck and Jim their license for life on the run. Modern listeners will be intrigued by the unencumbered life of the pair; they make do with coffee, fish from the river, and little else (but of course, when they do need something extra, they don't mind helping themselves to it without recourse to money!)
Huck and Jim have run-ins with desperados and family feuds and even manage to get run down by a steamboat. The adventures ratchet up when they are joined on the raft by a self-proclaimed "duke" and a "king" - shysters both, who spend their time in figuring how to fleece the public in the little river towns. And when Jim is captured and threatened with being sent back into slavery, Huck enlists his old buddy Tom Sawyer in a frenzied, desperate, and terribly funny rescue.
I had to clip a lot of laughing from this recording at Twain's sly, catch-'em-when-they're-not-looking humor, but you can feel free to enjoy some good belly laughs at this crew of lovable rapscallions!
Anne of Green Gables (version 4)
Anne of Green Gables (version 4)

Montgomery, Lucy Maud Lucy Maud Montgomery’s classic children’s novel, Anne of Green Gables tells the story of a red headed orphan girl with a personality you can’t help but love. Despite her “tragical” past, Anne’s optimism and imagination have helped her to always see the best in things. Anne’s life changes considerably when she is accidentally adopted by the Cuthberts, a brother and sister who thought they were getting a boy to help out on the farm. The Cuthberts decide Anne will have to be sent back to the orphange but before they know it, she has begun to work her way into their hearts.
Thus Spake Zarathustra: A Book for All and None
Thus Spake Zarathustra: A Book for All and None

Nietzsche, Friedrich Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844–1900) was a nineteenth-century German philosopher. He wrote critical texts on religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy and science, using a distinctive German language style and displaying a fondness for aphorism. Nietzsche's influence remains substantial within and beyond philosophy, notably in existentialism and postmodernism.
Thus Spake Zarathustra (Also sprach Zarathustra), is a work composed in four parts between 1883 and 1885. Much of the work deals with ideas such as the "eternal recurrence of the same", the parable on the "death of God", and the "prophecy" of the Overman, which were first introduced in The Gay Science. Described by Nietzsche himself as "the deepest ever written", the book is a dense and esoteric treatise on philosophy and morality, featuring as protagonist a fictionalized Zarathustra. A central irony of the text is that the style of the Bible is used by Nietzsche to present ideas of his which fundamentally oppose Judaeo-Christian morality and tradition.
Wealth of Nations, Book 4, The
Wealth of Nations, Book 4, The

Smith, Adam An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations is the magnum opus of the Scottish economist Adam Smith, published on March 9, 1776 during the Scottish Enlightenment. It is a clearly written account of political economy at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, and is widely considered to be the first modern work in the field of economics.
Innocents Abroad, The
Innocents Abroad, The

Twain, Mark When you dive into Mark Twain’s (Samuel Clemens’) The Innocents Abroad, you have to be ready to learn more about the unadorned, ungilded reality of 19th century “touring” than you might think you want to learn. This is a tough, literary journey. It was tough for Twain and his fellow “pilgrims”, both religious and otherwise. They set out, on a June day in 1867, to visit major tourist sites in Europe and the near east, including Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, “the Holy Land”, and Egypt. What Twain records, in often humorous, sometimes grotesque but always fascinating detail, are the day-to-day ups and downs of discovering the truth about people and places. The truths they learn are often far different than their education and rumor have made them preconceive.
This is a voyage of discovery. It’s long and, in places, tiresome. But it’s revelatory about so much.
Andersen’s Fairy Tales
Andersen’s Fairy Tales

Andersen, Hans Christian A collection of eighteen fairy tales - some popular, some lesser known - by famous Danish author H.C. Andersen.
Declaration of Independence of the United States of America
Declaration of Independence of the United States of America

United States, Founding Fathers of the Declaration of Independence is the document in which the Thirteen Colonies declared themselves independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain and explained their justifications for doing so. It was ratified by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.
Dog's Tale, A
Dog's Tale, A

Twain, Mark This short novel of Twain’s, from 1903, is told from the point of view of a loyal and beloved family pet. Themes of heroics, valor and heart-wrenching tenderness fill this work. The story is also filled with happy events as well as sad ones and is ultimately about what dogs are to us … best friends. A Dog’s Tale is quintessentially Twain.
Bernice Bobs Her Hair
Bernice Bobs Her Hair

Fitzgerald, F. Scott Pretty but socially clueless Bernice lets her know-it-all cousin push her around, but eventually, something's gotta give!
1601: Conversation, as it was by the Social Fireside, in the Time of the Tudors
1601: Conversation, as it was by the Social Fireside, in the Time of the Tudors

Twain, Mark "1601," wrote Mark Twain, "is a supposititious conversation which takes place in Queen Elizabeth's closet in that year, between the Queen, Ben Jonson, Beaumont, Sir Walter Raleigh, the Duchess of Bilgewater, and one or two others ... If there is a decent word findable in it, it is because I overlooked it." 1601 depicts a highfalutin and earthy discussion between the Queen and her court about farting and a variety of sexual peccadillos, narrated disapprovingly and sanctimoniously by the Queen's Cup-Bearer, an eyewitness at "the Social Fireside."
Sarrasine
Sarrasine

Balzac, Honoré de Published by Honoré de Balzac in the tempestuous year of 1830, the tale follows the undulating pathways of Sarrasine the sculptor’s shocking journey to his coming of age. As one of the “fathers of realism” Balzac painted with his words a vivid portrait of life in the swirling salons of Europe at the end of the Bourbon monarchy, and we follow Sarrasine from France to Italy in search of both his métier and his muse.
However it is also the story of La Zambinella, an Italian singer with whom Sarrasine falls madly and passionately in love. But that passion holds a secret which Sarrasine spies too late.
Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors and Architects Vol 1
Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors and Architects Vol 1

Vasari, Giogio The Lives of the Most Excellent Italian Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, from Cimabue to Our Times, or Le Vite delle più eccellenti pittori, scultori, ed architettori, as it was originally known in Italian, is a series of artist biographies written by 16th century Italian painter and architect Giorgio Vasari, which is considered "perhaps the most famous, and even today the most- read work of the older literature of art", "some of the Italian Renaissance's most influential writing on art", and "one of the founding texts in art history".
Vasari's work has been described as "by far the most influential single text for the history of Renaissance art" and "the most important work of Renaissance biography of artists". Its influence is situated mainly in three domains: as an example for contemporary and later biographers and art historians, as a defining factor in the view on the Renaissance and the role of Florence and Rome in it, and as a major source of information on the lives and works of early Italian artists.
Lines Written From Home
Lines Written From Home

Brontë, Anne Volunteers bring you 13 recordings of Lines Written From Home by Anne Brontë. This was the Weekly Poetry project for October 3rd, 2010.
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