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Top 100 books on Literature and Fiction


 
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Canterbury Tales, The

By: Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories written in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century (two of them in prose, the rest in verse). The tales, some of which are originals and others not, are contained inside a frame tale and told by a group of pilgrims on their way from Southwark to Canterbury to visit the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. The themes of the tales vary, and include topics such as courtly love, treachery, and a...

Historical Fiction

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Scarlet Letter, The

By: Nathaniel Hawthorne

The story begins in seventeenth-century Salem, Massachusetts, then a Puritan settlement. A young woman, Hester Prynne, is led from the town prison with her infant daughter, Pearl, in her arms and the scarlet letter “A” on her breast. The scarlet letter A represents the act of adultery that she has committed; it is to be a symbol of her sin for all to see. She will not reveal her lover’s identity, however, and the scarlet letter, along with her public shaming, is her puni...

Historical Fiction

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House of the Seven Gables, The

By: Nathaniel Hawthorne

The wrongdoing of one generation lives into the successive ones and... becomes a pure and uncontrollable mischief. Hawthorne's moral for The House of the Seven Gables, taken from the Preface, accurately presages his story. The full weight of the gloomy mansion of the title seems to sit on the fortunes of the Pyncheon family. An ancestor took advantage of the Salem witch trials to wrest away the land whereon the house would be raised... but the land's owner, about to be e...

Literature

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Divine Comedy, The

By: Dante Alighieri

The Divine Comedy (Italian: Commedia, later christened Divina by Giovanni Boccaccio), written by Dante Alighieri between 1308 and his death in 1321, is widely considered the central epic poem of Italian literature, the last great work of literature of the Middle Ages and the first great work of the Renaissance. A culmination of the medieval world-view of the afterlife, it establishes the Tuscan dialect in which it is written as the Italian standard, and is seen as one of...

Poetry

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The Four Million

By: O. Henry

Not very long ago some one invented the assertion that there were only ?Four Hundred? people in New York City who were really worth noticing. But a wiser man has arisen?the census taker?and his larger estimate of human interest has been preferred in marking out the field of these little stories of the ?Four Million.?

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Heart of Darkness (version 2)

By: Joseph Conrad

Heart of Darkness is a novella written by Joseph Conrad. Before its 1903 publication, it appeared as a three-part series (1899) in Blackwood's Magazine. It was classified by the Modern Library website editors as one of the 100 best novels and part of the Western canon. The story centres on Charles Marlow, who narrates most of the book. He is an Englishman who takes a foreign assignment from a Belgian trading company as a river-boat captain in Africa. Heart of Darkness ex...

Adventure, Fiction, Literature

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Four Million, The

By: O. Henry

Born in 1862 and died in 1910, O. Henry’s birth name is William Sydney Porter; however, he adopted the pen name O. Henry while in prison. He published 10 collections and over 600 short stories during his lifetime.The Four Million is the second book written by O. Henry while he served time for embezzlement in a penitentiary in Ohio. The book is a series of short stories which take place in New York City in the early years of the 20th century and are representative of the ...

Short stories

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Brothers Karamazov, The

By: Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The Brothers Karamazov (Russian: Братья Карамазовы) is the final novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky, and is generally considered the culmination of his life's work. The book portrays a parricide in which each of a murdered man's sons share a varying degree of complicity. The Brothers Karamazov is a passionate philosophical novel that explores deep into the ethical debates of God, free will, and morality. It is a spiritual drama of moral struggles concerning fa...

Literature, Psychology, Philosophy

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The Four Million

By: Henry, O., 1862-1910
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Jane Eyre (version 2)

By: Charlotte Brontë

Charlotte Bronte's classic novel Jane Eyre is narrated by the title character, an orphan who survives neglect and abuse to become a governess at the remote Thornfield Hall. She finds a kindred spirit in her employer, the mysterious and brooding Mr. Rochester, but he hides a terrible secret that threatens their chances of happiness. (Summary by Elizabeth Klett)

Literature, Romance

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Vanity Fair

By: William Makepeace Thackeray

Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero is a novel by William Makepeace Thackeray that satirizes society in early 19th-century England. Like many novels of the time, Vanity Fair was published as a serial before being sold in book form; it was printed in 20 monthly parts between January 1847 and July 1848.Thackeray meant the book to be not only entertaining but also instructive; this is shown both by the narrator of the book and in Thackeray's private correspondence. The nove...

Satire

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Walden

By: Henry David Thoreau

Walden by Henry David Thoreau is one of the best-known non-fiction books written by an American. Published in 1854, it details Thoreau’s life for two years, two months, and two days around the shores of Walden Pond. Walden is neither a novel nor a true autobiography, but a social critique of the Western World, with each chapter heralding some aspect of humanity that needed to be either renounced or praised. Along with his critique of the civilized world, Thoreau examines...

Nature, Philosophy

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Frankenstein (dramatic reading)

By: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Mary Shelley's 1818 novel presents the Faustian story of a man who aspires to create life out of death, with disastrous results. The novel is constructed as a series of first-person narratives, delivered by Captain Robert Walton, Victor Frankenstein, and his Creature, which makes it perfect for a dramatic reading. (Summary by Elizabeth Klett)

Fantasy, Fiction, Horror/Ghost stories, Literature

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The Prisoner of Zenda

By: Anthony Hope

My dear Rose, I answered, laying down my egg-spoon, why in the world should I do anything? My position is a comfortable one. I have an income nearly sufficient for my wants (no one's income is ever quite sufficient, you know), I enjoy an enviable social position: I am brother to Lord Burlesdon, and brother-in-law to that charming lady, his countess. Behold, it is enough!...

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Odyssey, The

By: Homer

The Odyssey is one of the two major ancient Greek epic poems (the other being the Iliad), attributed to the poet Homer. The poem is commonly dated to between 800 and 600 BC. The poem is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, and concerns the events that befall the Greek hero Odysseus in his long journey back to his native land Ithaca after the fall of Troy. It takes Odysseus ten years to return to his native land of Ithaca after ten years of war; during his 20-year absence, hi...

Adventure, Sea stories

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Prisoner of Zenda, The

By: Anthony Hope

The Prisoner of Zenda tells the story of Rudolf Rassendyll, an English gentleman on holiday in Ruritania, a country not a thousand miles from Bavaria. There, by reason of his resemblance to the King of Ruritania he becomes involved in saving the King’s Life and his Throne from the King’s dastardly brother and his allies. Woods, moated castles, pomp, swordplay, gallantry, villainy and a beautiful princess. What story could ask for more? Sir Anthony Hope-Hawkins, A moderat...

Adventure

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Count of Monte Cristo, The

By: Alexandre Dumas

The Count of Monte Cristo (French: Le Comte de Monte-Cristo ) is an adventure novel by Alexandre Dumas, père. It is often considered, along with The Three Musketeers , as Dumas's most popular work. The writing of the work was completed in 1844. Like many of his novels, it is expanded from the plot outlines suggested by his collaborating ghostwriter Auguste Maquet.The story takes place in France, Italy, islands in the Mediterranean and the Levant during the historical eve...

Romance, Adventure

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The Prisoner of Zenda : Being the History of Three Months in the L...

By: Hope, Anthony, 1863-1933
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Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The

By: Mark Twain ; Samuel Clemens

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) by Mark Twain is one of the truly great American novels, beloved by children, adults, and literary critics alike. The book tells the story of “Huck” Finn (first introduced as Tom Sawyer’s sidekick in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer ), his friend Jim, and their journey down the Mississippi River on a raft. Both are on the run, Huck from his drunk and abusive father, and Jim as a runaway slave. As Huck and Jim drift down the river, they m...

Children

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Sense and Sensibility (version 3)

By: Jane Austen

Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen's first published novel, focuses on the lives and loves of two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood. The sensible Elinor and the sensitive Marianne both fall for men whose affections are otherwise engaged. The novel includes a wonderful cast of colorful supporting characters, as well as Austen's trademark dry wit and ironic narration. (Summary by Elizabeth Klett)

Romance, Literature

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