By Frances Hodgson Burnett
After losing her parents, young Mary Lennox is sent from India to live in her uncle’s gloomy mansion on the wild English moors. One day she learns of a secret garden in the grounds that no one is allowed to enter. Then Mary uncovers an old key in a flowerbed – and a gust of magic leads her to the hidden door. Slowly she turns the key…
By Alexandre Dumas
In 1815 Edmond Dantès, a young and successful merchant sailor who has just recently been granted the succession of his erstwhile captain Leclère, returns to Marseille to marry his Catalan fiancée Mercédès. Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantès is confined to the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined not only to escape, but also to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration.
By William Shakespeare
A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a comedy written by William Shakespeare in 1595/96. It portrays the events surrounding the marriage of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta. These include the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of six amateur actors who are controlled and manipulated by the fairies who inhabit the forest in which most of the play is set.
By Albert Camus
Jean-Baptiste Clamence, a successful Parisian barrister, has come to recognize the deep-seated hypocrisy of his existence. His epigrammatic and, above all, discomforting monologue gradually saps, then undermines, the reader’s own complacency.
By Niccolò Machiavelli
The original blueprint for realpolitik, The Prince shocked sixteenth-century Europe with its advocacy of ruthless tactics for gaining absolute power and its abandonment of conventional morality. For this treatise on statecraft, Machiavelli drew upon his own experience of office under the turbulent Florentine republic, rejecting traditional values of political theory and recognizing the complicated, transient nature of political life. Concerned not with lofty ideals, but with a regime that would last, this seminal work of modern political thought retains its power to alarm and to instruct.
By William Shakespeare
The Tragedy of Julius Caesar is a history play and tragedy written by Shakespeare based on true events from Roman history. Although the play is named Julius Caesar, Brutus speaks more than four times as many lines as the title character; and the central psychological drama of the play focuses on Brutus’ struggle between the conflicting demands of honor, patriotism, and friendship.
By Charles Dickens
With A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens created a modern fairy tale and shaped our ideas of Christmas. The tale of the solitary miser Ebenezer Scrooge, who is taught the true meaning of the season by a series of ghostly visitors and given a second chance, was conjured up by Dickens during one of his London night walks, who “wept and laughed” as he composed it.
By F. Scott Fitzgerald
This Side of Paradise recounts the education of young Amory Blaine—egoistic, versatile, callow, imaginative. As Amory makes his way among debutantes and Princeton undergraduates, we enter an environment heady with the promise of everything that was new in the vigorous, restless America after World War I. We experience Amory’s sailing hopes, crushing defeats, deep loves and stubborn losses.
By Fyodor Dostoevsky
Raskolnikov, an impoverished student living in the St. Petersburg of the tsars, is determined to overreach his humanity and assert his untrammeled individual will. When he commits an act of murder and theft, he sets into motion a story that, for its excruciating suspense, its atmospheric vividness, and its depth of characterization and vision is almost unequaled in the literatures of the world.
By Agatha Christie
First, there were ten – a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal – and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. And only the dead are above suspicion.
By A.A. Milne
‘One day when Pooh Bear had nothing else to do, he thought he would do something, so he went round to Piglet’s house to see what Piglet was doing.’ This is the second classic children’s story by A.A. Milne about Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood. In this volume Pooh meets the irrepressible Tigger for the first time, learns to play Poohsticks and sets a trap for a Heffalump.
By A.A. Milne
Winnie-the-Pooh may be a bear of very little brain, but thanks to his friends Piglet, Eeyore and, of course, Christopher Robin, he’s never far from an adventure. In this story Pooh gets into a tight place, nearly catches a Woozle and heads off on an ‘expotition’ to the North Pole with the other animals.
By Charles Dickens
Dark, mysterious and mordantly funny, Oliver Twist features some of the most memorably drawn villains in all of fiction – the treacherous gangmaster Fagin, the menacing thug Bill Sikes, the Artful Dodger and their den of thieves in the grimy London backstreets. Dicken’s novel is both an angry indictment of poverty, and an adventure filled with an air of threat and pervasive evil.
By J. Sheridan Le Fanu
Carmilla is a Gothic novella and one of the early works of vampire fiction, predating Bram Stoker’s Dracula by 26 years. The story is narrated by a young woman preyed upon by a female vampire named Carmilla.
By Aldous Huxley
Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone harbouring an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress…
By James Joyce
Dubliners is a collection of fifteen short stories by James Joyce, first published in 1914. They form a naturalistic depiction of Irish middle class life in and around Dublin in the early years of the 20th century.
By Harper Lee
A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father ― a crusading local lawyer ― risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.
By Arthur Conan Doyle
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is the series of short stories that made the fortunes of the Strand magazine, in which they were first published, and won immense popularity for Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. The detective is at the height of his powers and the volume is full of famous cases, including ‘The Red-Headed League’, ‘The Blue Carbuncle’, and ‘The Speckled Band’. Although Holmes gained a reputation for infallibility, Conan Doyle showed his own realism and feminism by having the great detective defeated by Irene Adler – the woman – in the very first story, ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’.
By Victor Hugo
Beginning in 1815 and culminating in the 1832 June Rebellion in Paris, the novel follows the lives and interactions of several characters, particularly the struggles of ex-convict Jean Valjean and his experience of redemption. After 19 years as a prisoner, Jean Valjean is freed by Javert, the officer in charge of the prison workforce. Valjean promptly breaks parole but later uses money from stolen silver to reinvent himself as a mayor and factory owner. Javert vows to bring Valjean back to prison. Eight years later, Valjean becomes the guardian of a child named Cosette after her mother’s death, but Javert’s relentless pursuit means that peace will be a long time coming.
By Nathaniel Hawthorne
Set in the harsh Puritan community of seventeenth-century Boston, this tale of an adulterous entanglement that results in an illegitimate birth reveals Nathaniel Hawthorne’s concerns with the tension between the public and the private selves. Publicly disgraced and ostracized, Hester Prynne draws on her inner strength and certainty of spirit to emerge as the first true heroine of American fiction.