By: Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)
The Mayor of Casterbridge
Irritated and drunken, an itinerant farm-worker sells his wife and child to a stranger. Thus begins The Mayor of Casterbridge, set in rural and small-town England in the mid-1800s. In the original subtitle, Hardy called this the story of "a man of character," and the central character, Michael Henchard, is one of English fiction's greatest creations. Henchard is deeply developed as a realistic character, but also larger-than-life in the manner of a Greek or Shakespearean tragic hero — huge in his determination and huge in his failings...
Under the Greenwood Tree
This novel is subtitled The Mellstock Quire, A Rural Painting of the Dutch School. The Quire is the group of musicians who accompany the hymns at the local church and we follow the fortunes of one member, Dick Dewy, who falls in love with the new school mistress, Fancy Day. Another element of the book is the battle between the traditional musicians of the Quire and the local vicar, Parson Maybold, who installs a church organ. This battle illustrates the developing technology being introduced in the Victorian era and its threat to traditional country ways...
Moments of Vision
Hardy claimed poetry as his first love, and published collections until his death in 1928. Although not as well received by his contemporaries as his novels, Hardy’s poetry has been applauded considerably in recent years. Most of his poems deal with themes of disappointment in love and life, and mankind’s long struggle against indifference to human suffering.
A Pair of Blue Eyes
The book describes the love triangle between a young woman, Elfride Swancourt, and her two suitors from very different backgrounds. Stephen Smith is a socially inferior but ambitious young man who adores her and with whom she shares a country background. Henry Knight is the respectable, established, older man who represents London society.
Our heroine, Anne Garland, lives quietly in a rural community deep in the English countryside. However, the arrival of several regiments preparing for an expected invasion brings colour and chaos to the county. A graceful and charming young woman, Anne is pursued by three suitors: John Loveday, the trumpet-major in a British regiment, honest and loyal; his brother Robert, a merchant seaman and womaniser, and Festus Derriman, the cowardly son of the local squire. Set at the time of the Napoleonic wars, this is the author’s only historical novel, and unusually for Hardy’s stories, most of the characters live happily ever after.
The Woodlanders is one of Hardy's later novels, although he originally intended it as a successor to Far From The Madding Crowd. It concerns the life and loves of Giles Winterborne,Grace Melbury,Edred Fitzpiers, Felice Charmond and Marty South.The topics of class,fidelity and loyalty are delt with in Hardys exquisite style and set in the beautiful woodlands of Hintock.
Two on a Tower
The plot concerns two – literally starcrossed – lovers: Swithin St. Cleeve, a very young amateur astronomer, and Viviette Constantine, an unhappily married and abandoned woman 8 or 9 years his senior. Each night Swithin climbs the old tower of the title, in the grounds of the Constantine estate. Lady Constantine, whose husband has been absent some years on an extended hunting and exploring journey to Africa, joins the young man in his stargazing, and supports his astronomical ambitions by buying him equipment, though his dreams of scientific renown are disappointed.Their relationship then deepens and takes several twists and turns.
Life's Little Ironies; A Set Of Tales With Some Colloquial Sketches Entitled A Few Crusted Characters
Eighteen short stories by a master story teller.
Cytherea Graye is poor, but accepts a post as lady's maid to the eccentric Miss Aldclyffe, the woman whom her father had loved but had not been able to marry. Cytherea in turn loves a young architect, Edward Springrove; but will Miss Adclyffe's machinations, the knowledge that Edward is already engaged to a woman whom he does not love, and the urgent need to support her sick brother drive Cytherea to accept the hand of Aeneas Manston? Will true love triumph in the end or will she be forced to live a life of misery with a man she doesn't love? ( Michele Eaton )
Changed Man And Other Tales
Eleven short stories.
A collection of poetry by Thomas Hardy, some of which were previously published or adapted into his prose works.
|Late Lyrics and Earlier
Group of Noble Dames
The pedigrees of our county families, arranged in diagrams on the pages of county histories, mostly appear at first sight to be as barren of any touch of nature as a table of logarithms. But given a clue—the faintest tradition of what went on behind the scenes, and this dryness as of dust may be transformed into a palpitating drama. Out of such pedigrees and supplementary material most of the following stories have arisen and taken shape.
Romantic Adventures of a Milkmaid
A milkmaid, Margery, encounters a mysterious foreigner and perhaps prevents him from committing suicide. In gratitude, the man offers her any reward she can name. She tells him she wants to go to a ball. He takes her, admittedly a bit reluctantly, to a yeoman's ball in a neighboring county. From there the story continues because of course, a lot happens after the ball. She happens to already have an engagement to a local lad but his hold over her seems to grow of its own accord. This Hardy story may not end the way you wish, but that is often true of stories by this master writer.
|A Laodicean: a Story of To-day
By: H. G. Wells (1866-1946)
The War of the Worlds
Extraterrestrial invasion, the earth taken over by omniscient intelligences from Mars, the whole of humanity under siege and a nameless narrator who seems to be the lone survivor of the complete devastation of human civilization – scenes from a Hollywood sci-fi blockbuster? Far from it! The War of the Worlds by HG Wells was written more than a century ago and went on to become an iconic work in the science fiction genre, spawning a whole new genre of literature featuring alien invaders. It was in fact the first book to present the idea of conflict between inhabitants of different planets...
The Invisible Man
One dark and stormy night, a stranger arrives in West Sussex at a village inn. He is heavily clad in an overcoat and his face is wrapped in bandages. He takes a room at the inn, but refuses to socialize with anyone. He stays cooped up in his room all day and night, working with strange chemicals and apparatus. Suddenly, strange events begin to happen in the village. Mysterious burglaries and fires break out, culminating in a destructive rampage across the peaceful countryside. The stranger is the keeper of a terrible secret...
The Island of Dr. Moreau
One of the first instances of science fiction, Wells’ classic tale published in 1986 examines various controversial philosophical issues active at the time of its publication, most notable being the implications of vivisection and degeneration. Narrated by its everyman protagonist Edward Prendick, the novel follows the events of his stay at a mysterious island, home to ghastly secrets, horrors, and incomprehensible experiences. Furthermore, the novel features innovative themes which have become iconic in the modern science fiction genre, including moral and ethical responsibility, evolution, and man’s interference with the course of nature...
The First Men in the Moon
Written nearly seven decades before Neil Armstrong's historic “Giant leap for Mankind” this book by one of the most influential sci-fi writers in English is an interesting read. The First Men in the Moon by Herbert George Wells, the English author who is today called the Father of Science Fiction, describes a strange and fantastic voyage. Businessman and budding playwright, John Bedford takes a sabbatical from his work and decides to write a play. He moves to a lonely cottage in Kent where he hopes to come up with a theatrical masterpiece...
The Sleeper Awakes
Originally serialized from 1898 to 1903, Wells later made some crucial changes to the piece to create a flawless dystopian science fiction novel published in 1910 and renamed The Sleeper Awakes. The novel focuses on an Englishman, who falls in a deep sleep lasting two centuries, and sees him wake up in an unrecognizable setting and extremely wealthy. An enthralling tale of dystopian society depicted through a colorful imagination, The Sleeper Awakes concentrates on topics including dystopia, political power, religion, plutocracy, and individual and social awakening...
The Food of the Gods and How it Came to Earth
Two stuffy English scientists, always looking to further their scientific knowledge, create a substance called Herakleophorbia, which in its fourth incarnation – known as Herakleophorbia IV – has the special ability of making things increase greatly in size. As the scientists begin experimentation on some chicks, the substance is misused by some “country folk” who don’t take it seriously and soon Herakleophorbia IV is running rampant throughout England and then across the globe, creating giant plants and animals that wreak havoc on the land and then the people...
Ann Veronica was a controversial book detailing the development of a naive school girl into a “New Woman”. When it was published, the Spectator described it as a “poisonous book … capable of poisoning the minds of those who read it.” Although it is unlikely to offend modern listeners in this way, this novel addresses many feminist issues that are still relevant today.
Little Wars (A Game for Boys)
Miniature wargaming got its start with the publication in 1913 of this thoroughly entertaining little account of how H.G. Wells, with certain of his friends, took their childhood toys and turned play into acceptable middle-aged sport by subjecting the exercise to the civilizing influence of actual rules. While wargaming progressed far past these beginnings, Wells observes how “little wars” with even his elementary rules can suggest the wholesale crudity of the real thing. “You have only to play at Little Wars three or four times to realise just what a blundering thing Great War must be...
The Wheels of Chance
“The Wheels of Chance – A Bicycling Idyll” follows the adventures of a Drapers Assistant who, having brought an ancient bicycle, sets off on a 2 week tour of the countryside. He encounters a Lady in Grey wearing rationals (bloomers). And his world will never be the same again
H.G. Wells had so much fun playing with his children on the floor of their playroom, he decided to write a jovial little book to inspire other parents in their pursuit of quality time with the kids. While the raw materials available from hobby stores of his day were woefully short of the variety and quality of what can be bought easily now, he and his sons created their own worlds to rule. This short work describes two games of imagination played out upon the floor of his home – an archipelago of islands, and a thoroughly integrated city, conveniently organized with two mayoral positions for his sons “G...
The World Set Free
Radioactive decay is a major theme in the novel The World Set Free, published in 1914. Wells explores what might happen if the rate of decay could be sped up. The book may have encouraged scientists to explore theories of nuclear chain reaction. It also served as a vehicle for Wells to develop his ideas on survival of the human race.
A Story of the Stone Age
This story is of a time beyond the memory of man, before the beginning of history. . .
By: Jack London (1876-1916)
The Call of the Wild
Call of the Wild is an emotional rollercoaster of a novel set during the late 19th century Klondike Gold Rush. The central character is Buck, an Alaskan sled dog who is forced to adjust to the cruel climate in order to survive. If you have even a remote love of dogs then you will fall head over heels in love with this book. In fact, take away the fact that Buck is a dog and the story is the same, a struggle against greed and to live a life of freedom. London spent a year in Yokel researching the book, making it extremely detailed, very simplistic in its descriptions and genuinely heartfelt...
Hugely popular among younger readers, White Fang by Jack London was a runaway hit when it first debuted in 1906, as a serial story in the Outing magazine. Since then it continues to enjoy immense acclaim and popularity as a coming of age allegory where a nonconformist youngster is transformed into a responsible citizen. The most appealing aspect of White Fang is that it's told from the point of view of an animal, in this case an Alaskan Husky. Like Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, White Fang also addresses ethical issues, social injustices and cruelty to our four footed friends...
The Sea Wolf
A maritime classic acclaimed for its exciting adventure, The Sea Wolf offers a thrilling tale of life at sea, while exploring the many difficulties that may erupt on board a ship captained by a brutally hedonistic and controlling individual. Additionally, the psychological adventure novel covers several themes including mutiny, existentialism, individualism, brutality, and the intrinsic will to survive. The novel sets into motion when its protagonist, the soft and cultivated scholar Humphrey van Weyden, is witness to a precarious collision between his ferry and another ship...