Anthem

Anthem

Ayn Rand

Literature & Fiction / Philosophy / Nonfiction

“My happiness is not the means to any end. It is the end. It is its own goal. It is its own purpose.” --- Ayn Rand, Anthem This Novella by Ayn Rand was first published in England in 1938. It takes place at some unspecified future date when mankind has entered another dark age characterized by irrationality, collectivism, and socialistic thinking and economics. Technological advancement is now carefully planned (when it is allowed to occur at all) and the concept of individuality has been eliminated (for example, the use of the word "I" is punishable by death). Rand, as a teenager living in Soviet Russia, initially conceived Anthem as a play. This is a novel upholding Rand's central principles of her philosophy and of her heroes: reason, values, volition, individualism.
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Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina

Leo Tolstoy

Fiction / Philosophy / Nonfiction

'Everything is finished. I have nothing but you now. Remember that' Anna Karenina seems to have everything - beauty, wealth, popularity and an adored son. But she feels that her life is empty until the moment she encounters the impetuous officer Count Vronsky. Their subsequent affair scandalizes society and family alike and soon brings jealously and bitterness in its wake. Contrasting with this tale of love and self-destruction is the vividly observed story of Levin, a man striving to find contentment and a meaning to his life - and also a self-portrait of Tolstoy himself.
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Les Miserables

Les Miserables

Victor Hugo

Literature & Fiction / Poetry / Philosophy

The classic novel--and hit Broadway show--about escaped convict Jean Valjean has been adapted with easy-to-read text, large type, and short chapters.  This engaging adaptation of the timeless tale is ideal for reluctant readers and kids not yet ready to tackle the original.   *From the Trade Paperback edition.*
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The Divine Comedy

The Divine Comedy

Dante Alighieri

Poetry / Religion / Philosophy

The Divine Comedy is a long narrative poem by Dante Alighieri, begun c. 1308 and completed 1320, a year before his death in 1321. It is widely considered the preeminent work of Italian literature, and is seen as one of the greatest works of world literature. The poem's imaginative vision of the afterlife is representative of the medieval world-view as it had developed in the Western Church by the 14th century. It helped establish the Tuscan language, in which it is written, as the standardized Italian language. It is divided into three parts: Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso.
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Metamorphosis and Other Stories

Metamorphosis and Other Stories

Franz Kafka

Fiction / Philosophy / Short Stories

For the 125th anniversary of Kafka's birth, an astonishing new translation of his best-known stories, in a spectacular graphic package For all his fame, Franz Kafka published only a small number of stories in his lifetime. This new translation of those stories, by Michael Hofmann, one of the most respected German-to-English translators at work today, makes Kafka's best-known works available to a new generation of readers. "Metamorphosis" gives full expression to the breadth of Kafka's literary vision and the extraordinary depth of his imagination.
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The Stranger

The Stranger

Albert Camus

Fiction / Philosophy

Through the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach, Camus explored what he termed "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd." First published in 1946; now in a new translation by Matthew Ward.
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Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Fiction / Psychology / Philosophy

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. The best known of Dostoevsky’s masterpieces, Crime and Punishment can bear any amount of rereading without losing a drop of its power over our imaginations. Dostoevsky’s drama of sin, guilt, and redemption transforms the sordid story of an old woman’s murder into the nineteenth century’s profoundest and most compelling philosophical novel. Award-winning translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky render this elusive and wildly innovative novel with an energy, suppleness, and range of voice that do full justice to the genius of its creator.
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The Little Prince

The Little Prince

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Philosophy / Children's Books / Nonfiction

Moral allegory and spiritual autobiography, The Little Prince is the most translated book in the French language. With a timeless charm it tells the story of a little boy who leaves the safety of his own tiny planet to travel the universe, learning the vagaries of adult behaviour through a series of extraordinary encounters. His personal odyssey culminates in a voyage to Earth and further adventures.
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Atlas Shrugged

Atlas Shrugged

Ayn Rand

Literature & Fiction / Philosophy / Nonfiction

**This is the story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world and did. Was he a destroyer or the greatest of liberators?** Why did he have to fight his battle, not against his enemies, but against those who needed him most, and his hardest battle against the woman he loved? What is the world’s motor — and the motive power of every man? You will know the answer to these questions when you discover the reason behind the baffling events that play havoc with the lives of the characters in this story. Tremendous in its scope, this novel presents an astounding panorama of human life — from the productive genius who becomes a worthless playboy — to the great steel industrialist who does not know that he is working for his own destruction — to the philosopher who becomes a pirate — to the composer who gives up his career on the night of his triumph — to the woman who runs a transcontinental railroad — to the lowest track worker in her Terminal tunnels. **You must be prepared, when you read this novel, to check every premise at the root of your convictions.** This is a mystery story, not about the murder — and rebirth — of man’s spirit. It is a philosophical revolution, told in the form of an action thriller of violent events, a ruthlessly brilliant plot structure and an irresistible suspense. Do you say this is impossible? Well, *that* is the first of your premises to check.
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The Name of the Rose

The Name of the Rose

Umberto Eco

Historical Fiction / Mystery / Philosophy

The year is 1327. Benedictines in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. His tools are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, the empirical insights of Roger Bacon—all sharpened to a glistening edge by wry humor and a ferocious curiosity. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey, where “the most interesting things happen at night.”
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The Art of War

The Art of War

Sun Tzu

Military / Philosophy / Politics

Written in China more than 2,000 years ago, Sun Tzu's classic The Art of War is the first known study of the planning and conduct of military operations. These terse, aphoristic essays are unsurpassed in comprehensiveness and depth of understanding, examining not only battlefield maneuvers, but also relevant economic, political, and psychological factors. Indeed, the precepts outlined by Sun Tzu can be applied outside the realm of military theory. It is read avidly by Japanese businessmen and in fact was touted in the movie Wall Street as the corporate raider's bible. In addition to an excellent translation of Sun Tzu's text, Samuel Griffith also provides commentaries written by Chinese strategists, plus several thought-provoking essays on topics such as the influence of Sun Tzu on Mao Tse-tung and on Japanese military thought, the nature of warfare in Sun Tzu's time, and the life of Sun Tzu and other important commentators. Remarkable for its clear organization, lucid prose, and the acuity of its intellectual and moral insights, The Art of War is the definitive study of combat. **
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The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

Victor Hugo

Literature & Fiction / Poetry / Philosophy

This extraordinary historical novel, set in Medieval Paris under the twin towers of its greatest structure and supreme symbol, the cathedral of Notre-Dame, is the haunting drama of Quasimodo, the hunchback; Esmeralda, the gypsy dancer; and Claude Frollo, the priest tortured by the specter of his own damnation. Shaped by a profound sense of tragic irony, it is a work that gives full play to Victor Hugo's brilliant historical imagination and his remarkable powers of description.
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Tao Te Ching

Tao Te Ching

Lao Tzu

Philosophy

In 81 brief chapters, Lao-Tzu's Tao Te Ching, or Book of the Way, provides advice that imparts balance and perspective, a serene and generous spirit, and teaches us how to work for the good with the effortless skill that comes from being in accord with the Tao—the basic principle of the universe. Stephen Mitchell's bestselling version has been widely acclaimed as a gift to contemporary culture. **
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The Reader

The Reader

Bernhard Schlink

Literature & Fiction / Philosophy / Politics

Originally published in Switzerland and gracefully translated into English by Carol Brown Janeway, The Reader is a brief tale about sex, love, reading and shame in post-war Germany. Michael Berg is 15 when he begins a long, obsessive affair with Hanna, an enigmatic older woman. He never learns very much about her and when she disappears one day, he expects never to see her again. But, to his horror, he does. Hanna is a defendant in a trial related to Germany's Nazi past and it soon becomes clear that she is guilty of an unspeakable crime. As Michael follows the trial, he struggles with an overwhelming question: what should his generation do with its knowledge of the Holocaust? "We should not believe we can comprehend the incomprehensible, we may not compare the incomparable... Should we only fall silent in revulsion, shame, and guilt? To what purpose?" The Reader, which won the Boston Book Review's Fisk Fiction Prize, wrestles with many more demons in its few, remarkably lucid pages. What does it mean to love those people--parents, grandparents, even lovers--who committed the worst atrocities the world has ever known? And is any atonement possible through literature? Schlink's prose is clean and pared down, stripped of unnecessary imagery, dialogue and excess in any form. What remains is an austerely beautiful narrative of the attempt to breach the gap between Germany's pre and post-war generations, between the guilty and the innocent and between words and silence. --R Ellis, Amazon.com
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The Portable Plato - Protagoras Symposium Phaedo The Republic

The Portable Plato - Protagoras Symposium Phaedo The Republic

Plato

Philosophy / Metaphysics / Ethics

Writing in the fourth century B.C., in an Athens that had suffered a humiliating defeat in the Peloponnesian War, Plato formulated questions that have haunted the moral, religious, and political imagination of the West for more than 2,000 years: what is virtue? How should we love? What constitutes a good society? Is there a soul that outlasts the body and a truth that transcends appearance? What do we know and how do we know it? Plato's inquiries were all the more resonant because he couched them in the form of dramatic and often highly comic dialogues, whose principal personage was the ironic, teasing, and relentlessly searching philosopher Socrates.In this splendid collection, Scott Buchanan brings together the most important of Plato's dialogues, including Protagoras, The Symposium, with its barbed conjectures about the relation between love and madness, Phaedo and The Republic, his monumental work of political philosophy. Buchanan's learned and engaging introduction allows us to see Plato both as a commentator on his society and as a shaper of the societies that followed, who bequeathed to us a hunger for the ideal as well as a redeeming habit of humane skepticism.
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