Jane Eyre accepts a position as governess at Thornfield Hall and meets Mr. Rochester, the moody and cynical master of the manor. Growing up an unwanted orphan, Jane has known very little love in her life, but in spite of this, she has always been thoughtful and kind. Jane's and Rochester's apparent differences attract them to each other, but little does Jane know that something far more damaging than social statuses will keep them apart. Like the work of Janes Austen, `Jane Eyre' (1847) is a love story that holds up over time, and it is no wonder that it has been adapted so many times. Ruth Wilson from `The Affair' (2014) starred as Jane in 2003, and before he was James Bond, Timothy Dalton took on the role as the complicated Mr. Rochester. 2011 saw the most beautiful adaptation yet with Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender in the leading roles.
Determined to make his mark on Science, young student Victor Frankenstein fabricates a creature out of old body parts. His dreams are crushed, however, when he realizes he has created a monster. He runs to the streets, horrified, but when he returns the monster is gone. In time, their paths will cross again, at the price of several innocent lives. Mary Shelley famously started writing `Frankenstein' (1818) for a contest when she was on a rainy holiday with other writers in Lord Byron's villa in Switzerland. Two years later at the age of 20 she had it published. Since the novel's publication, the name "Frankenstein" has often mistakenly been used to refer to the monster itself, who is, in fact, nameless.
"Please, sir, I want some more," Oliver says, holding out his bowl for more gruel, a Dickens scene recognisable to most. A young orphan, Oliver Twist has only ever seen the tough side of life and having to suddenly live on the streets does not make surviving any easier. But being the sweet and innocent boy he is, Oliver eventually manages to attract the compassion of others, and time will reveal secrets about his past that could radically change his bleak future. Originally published in instalments, Oliver Twist (1839) is Charles Dickens' second - and hugely successful - novel. It introduced the concept of the child protagonist in the Victorian novel, and while doing so, plainly criticised the social injustices in England.
"Men act badly sometimes without being much worse than others."
Charlie Marlow from Conrad's previous adventure novel, `Heart of Darkness', is back, and he is trying to piece together and understand the life of Jim, a British seaman with a shameful past. Once a mate aboard a merchant ship carrying hundreds of Muslim pilgrims, Jim and the crew made the mistake of abandoning all the passengers, believing the ship would sink. But it did not, and the passengers lived to tell the tale.
Praised by Virginia Wolf, Conrad's writing is ambitious, intriguing and humane. `Lord Jim' (1900) is a classic tale of redemption.
"It seemed to Ethan that his heart was bound with cords which an unseen hand was tightening with every tick of the clock."
Finding himself in the small town of Starkfield for the winter, the narrator sets out to learn the tragic story of Ethan Frome. The townspeople, however, are hesitant to tell him much. But one night he seeks shelter from a bad weather in the house of non other than Frome himself.
`Ethan Frome' (1911) is the beautifully written story of a loveless marriage and temptation, full of regret and raw emotion. Liam Neeson and Patricia Arquette are the leading roles in the 1993 movie of the same name.
Catherine is well on her way to becoming a spinster. She's 21 and part of New York's upper-class society, but she has never had a flirt and is plain-looking without the sparkling personality to make up for it. Or so her father thinks. Because when the handsome Mr. Morris Townsend catches her eye, Catherine falls head over heels in love with him. But does Townsend really like her back, or does he just like all the money she is set to inherit? Based on a true story as told to him by a friend, `Washington Square' (1880) is probably Henry James' most accessible novel. Fans of Jane Austen will definitely like this.
Wanting to impress a woman, journalist Ned Malone sets out to interview the hostile professor George Challenger, who claims to have discovered living dinosaurs in South America. Though they get off on the wrong foot, Malone and Challenger join a small group of volunteers on an expedition to a secret location where they will soon find out if the controversial professor is telling the truth. They may be biting off more than they can chew, however, as the deadliest enemies of all may not even be prehistoric. Exciting and thought-provoking, this 1912 Arthur Conan Doyle novel tells the story of personal ambition and of believing the unbelievable. An ideal choice for fans of Jurassic Park.
´It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.` So opens Jane Austen´s second novel Pride and Prejudice, which was first published in 1813. It follows the story of Mr and Mrs Bennet and their five single daughters. The whole town is set aflutter by the arrival of prosperous Mr Bingley and his friend Mr Darcy, and as the prejudice of the latter hurts the pride of headstrong Elizabeth Bennet, friendship, love, and strife enfold. Perhaps the most beloved of all of Austen´s work, Pride and Prejudice has been adapted numerous times, including in the 1995 BBC mini-series featuring Colin Firth as Mr Darcy, and the 2005 movie adaption by Joe Wright with Keira Knightley in the role of Elizabeth Bennet.
"Two worst things as can happen to a child is never to have his own way - or always to have it." When her parents die, Mary, spoiled, yet unloved, is shipped from India to England to live with her absent uncle. When she discovers a secret garden, and starts to tend to it, like the flowers, she comes to life. One day she hears a cry from within the mansion, and soon learns that she is not the only one in need of some fresh air. `The Secret Garden' (1911) by Frances Hodgson Burnett is among the most loved children's novels of all time. It has been adapted for the stage and screen many times, most famously in 1993 with Dame Maggie Rogers in the cast.
Who could have known that when Rudyard Kipling wrote these Jungle Book stories in 1893-94, they would eventually inspire the Oscar nominated song "The Bare Necessities" - one of the most recognizable tunes of all time? The adventures of the young boy, Mowgli, raised by wolves in an Indian jungle, have been praised since their publication and adapted numerous times. Most people know the 1967 animated movie with Phil Harris as the charismatic bear Baloo. 2016 saw Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, and Lupita Nyong'o in a live-action Disney movie. And even Marvel Comics has had their hands on this classic coming-of-age tale of the importance of family and belonging.
Winner of the 1921 Nobel Prize for Literature and Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, "The Age of Innocence" is Edith Wharton's masterful portrait of desire and betrayal during the splendid Golden Age of Old New York. Everything in Newland Archer's easy life seems to be perfectly on track; he has a comfortable position in society, a high-powered job and a beautiful and well-bred fiancée, May Welland. But when May's mysterious cousin Countess Ellen Olenska returns to New York after leaving a terrible marriage, Newland soon falls deeply in love with her. Torn between duty and passion, expectation and scandal, Newland struggles to make an impossible decision. Against a backdrop of a New York on the cusp of modernization, Wharton's classic skewers the orchestrated customs and inflexible mores of the 1870s high society. Among the novel's many film adaptations, Martin Scorsese's 1993 film stands out, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder and Richard E. Grant.
An imaginative, clever, and mischievous boy named Tom Sawyer and his friend Huckleberry Finn witness a murder in a graveyard and Tom is forced to testify against the murderer, Injun Joe. Injun Joe escapes and when Tom and his crush Becky Thatcher meet him in a dark cave their hope of escape diminishes...
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a very well known and popular coming of age story concerning the American youth. Originally a commercial failure, the book ended up being the best selling of any of Twain's works during his lifetime. Although The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is sometimes overshadowed by its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the book is considered a masterpiece of American literature, and was one of the first novels to be written on a typewriter.
Mark Twain was greatly inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's writings and Tom and Huck's relationship is by many compared to that of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is an 1876 novel by Mark Twain. It is the first book in the series of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894) and Tom Sawyer, Detective (1896).
One night at Christmas, Ebenezer Scrooge, a mean and greedy man, gets a visit from the ghost of his dead business partner. The ghost warns him about the awful punishment that awaits if he continues to live his life selfishly. The next three nights, Scrooge is visited by three separate spirits who confront him with Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come. Will the horrors and the joy Scrooge sees make him change his ways? Adapted for film and television more times than any other Charles Dickens story, A Christmas Carol (1843) is one of the most famous Christmas stories ever told. In the popular 2009 animated film, Jim Carrey voices the grouchy main character alongside Gary Oldman and Colin Firth. Warm, empathetic, and socially aware, this classic novella is bound to put any listener in the proper Christmas mood.
Buck is a beloved and pampered St. Bernard-Scotch Shepherd, living a life of luxuries with a rich and loving family in California. But one day a domestic servant steals and sells Buck, and he must now adapt to a whole new life as a sled dog in the Canadian wilderness. Adjusting becomes even harder when the vicious lead dog, Spitz, makes an enemy out of him. But Buck is not so easily defeated.
`The Call of the Wild' (1903) is one of Jack London's most highly regarded masterpieces, now with a 2020 CGI-animated movie, starring Harrison Ford, Karen Gillian and Bradley Whitford, to its name.
When Lemuel Gulliver wakes up on an island after a shipwreck, tied on his hands and feet and with arrows pointed at him, you would think all hope is lost. But his captors are the size of a finger, their rope is as thin as thread, and their tiny arrows barely break the surface of his skin. This is not even as absurd as it gets on Gulliver's travels at sea, but, hilariously, he has no emotional response to any of it. Jonathan Swift's `Gulliver's Travels' (1726) is political satire at its best. Published shortly after Daniel Defoe's `Robinson Crusoe', it offers a very different view on humankind than Defoe's optimistic account, poking fun and in doing so opening the door for wider discussions.
Sense and Sensibility (1811) was Jane Austen´s first published novel. When their father dies the Dashwood sisters and their mother find themselves destitute and soon, under the influence of his greedy wife Fanny, their half-brother John forces them out of their home in Sussex and the bereaved women have to move to a distant relative´s cottage in Devonshire. The two oldest sisters Elinor and Marianne struggle with their newfound lower status, as they fall in love and face heartbreak. Elinor is responsible and restrained whilst Marianne is passionately romantic but both have to meet society´s expectations of respectable young ladies despite their hardships. As Austen writes, 'Young women who have no economic or political power must attend to the serious business of contriving material security'. Like ´Pride and Prejudice´ and ´Emma´, ´Sense and Sensibility´ features Austen´s trademark witty writing and was, amongst other, turned into the award-winning eponymous 1995 movie, featuring Kate Winslet, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, and Alan Rickman.
"He struggled with himself, too. I saw it -- I heard it. I saw the inconceivable mystery of a soul that knew no restraint, no faith, and no fear, yet struggling blindly with itself."
Aboard an anchored boat on the Thames a sailor named Charlie Marlow tells his fellow sailors a shocking story from his youth as a ferry boat captain traveling up the Congo River. It soon becomes clear to his audience that Marlow is more than a little obsessed with the brilliant ivory trader he met there, Kurtz. Though gifted, powerful and charismatic, the young Marlow suspected the man had gone mad.
`Heart of Darkness' (1899) is a timeless book and a breathtaking story about the corruptive European colonialism. It is the inspiration behind the classic 1979 movie, Apocalypse Now starring Marlon Brando and Martin Sheen.
When an old sea captain dies mysteriously in his parent's inn, young Jim Hawkins finds a treasure map in the captain's possessions that will spark a wild and adventures treasure hunt. Joined by a handful of untrustworthy pirates, he meets the antagonistic Long John Silver, a character whose fame transcends the tale. With Treasure Island (1883), author Robert Louis Stevenson invented the modern image of the pirate, without which we likely wouldn't have experienced Johnny Depp as the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean. For more than a hundred years, Treasure Island has been finding its way to the screen. The first non-silent movie adaptation was directed by Victor Fleming, the director of The Wizard of Oz (1939).
"I too can play the madman, the fool, the hero; in short, any or everything to rescue her I love."
The war between the British and the French is raging in North America. Amidst the chaos, a small party lead by Hawkeye, a white man raised by Natives, is trying to get the British Munro sisters safely to Fort William Henry. But not everyone in their party can be trusted, and their destination is not as save as it once was.
A historically profound adventure story of brave and honorable men, `The Last of the Mohicans' (1826) is not to be missed. In 1993, it was famously made into an award-winning movie of the same name, starring the legendary Daniel Day-Lewis.
"True courage is in facing danger when you are afraid..." Dorothy is in a bit of a pickle. Her house has been swept away in a vicious tornado with just herself and her dog inside, and when she walks out the front door again, she finds that she is not in Kansas anymore. She is in the mysterious lands of Oz. Along with her new friends, a scarecrow, a tin man, and a lion, she sets out to find the Wizard, who is said to know how to get her home. But the Wicked Witch of the West has other plans for her. Inspired in part by 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland', `The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' (1900) is one of the most beloved children's books of all time. It is highly associated with the iconic 1939 movie adaptation staring Judy Garland in which she sings the Oscar-winning song "Over the Rainbow".
Sara Crewe is devastated when the news of her beloved father's death in India reaches her at her boarding school in London. Miss Minchin, the heartless and greedy headmistress, immediately moves Sara to the attic and forces her to become her servant. Despite being used to luxury, Sara quickly adjusts to her new life and never stops being kind and polite to everyone. Little does she now that someone out there is looking for her, and they might be much closer than they think.
Author Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett - most famous for her novel The Secret Garden (1911) - originally wrote A Little Princess as a short story, and later a play, finally turning it into a novel on her publisher's recommendation in 1905. As smart and imaginative as Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables, Sara has been winning over readers for over a hundred years, and A Little Princess is considered one of the best children's stories of all time.
"I think Silas Marner holds a higher place than any of the author's works," said Henry James of this classic George Eliot novel. When a little girl wanders into a random house one cold night, the lives of two different men are about to change dramatically. The house is owned by the town outsider, Silas Marner, and upon finding the girl's mother dead in the snow, he decides to adopt her. Little does he know that the girl's biological father is the rich Godfrey Cass, who now considers himself off the hook and free to marry the girl he loves. Published in 1862, Silas Marner is a simple and subtle story that explores the relationship between the individual and the community.
In a time when poor Irish families struggled to feed their children, Jonathan Swift wrote an essay, which he published anonymously, making a few suggestions. He called it `A Modest Proposal' (1729) or `A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People from Being a Burthen to their Parents, or the Country, and for Making them Beneficial to the Publick.' The solution was simple: Fatten up the undernourished children and sell them as food for the rich. Everybody wins! Though written in a serious tone, the humour in this essay is undeniable, and so is its mocking of the heartless attitudes towards poor people.
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," writes Charles Dickens in the opening of this dark and meaningful classic novel. It is the year 1775 and Jarvis Lorry is tasked with a secret mission for his employer. 17-year-old Lucie Manette joins him on his travels from London to Paris and is shocked to learn that her father is alive and has been released from eighteen years in a Paris prison. Set in the two metropolises just prior (and during) the French Revolution, Dickens paints a distinct picture of the social and political events of the time. `A Tale of Two Cities' is masterfully written, includes Dickens' perhaps greatest villain, and ties up everything in an especially satisfying ending.