The Catcher in the Rye


Book Description

The Catcher in the Rye," written by J.D. Salinger and published in 1951, is a classic American novel that explores the themes of adolescence, alienation, and identity through the eyes of its protagonist, Holden Caulfield. The novel is set in the 1950s and follows Holden, a 16-year-old who has just been expelled from his prep school, Pencey Prep. Disillusioned with the world around him, Holden decides to leave Pencey early and spend a few days alone in New York City before returning home. Over the course of these days, Holden interacts with various people, including old friends, a former teacher, and strangers, all the while grappling with his feelings of loneliness and dissatisfaction. Holden is deeply troubled by the "phoniness" of the adult world and is haunted by the death of his younger brother, Allie, which has left a lasting impact on him. He fantasizes about being "the catcher in the rye," a guardian who saves children from losing their innocence by catching them before they fall off a cliff into adulthooda. The novel ends with Holden in a mental institution, where he is being treated for a nervous breakdown. He expresses some hope for the future, indicating a possible path to recovery..




The Catcher in the Rye and Philosophy


Book Description

"The puzzling, frustrating world of Holden Caulfield never loosens its grip on our imagination. Somehow, the growing pains of a privileged, alienated teenager lock onto deeper issues that continue to haunt us all. The Catcher in the Rye and Philosophy exposes these deeper issues by looking at Salinger's masterpiece through a philosophic lens."--Publisher's website.




Black Swan Green


Book Description

By the New York Times bestselling author of The Bone Clocks and Cloud Atlas | Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize Selected by Time as One of the Ten Best Books of the Year | A New York Times Notable Book | Named One of the Best Books of the Year by The Washington Post Book World, The Christian Science Monitor, Rocky Mountain News, and Kirkus Reviews | A Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist | Winner of the ALA Alex Award | Finalist for the Costa Novel Award From award-winning writer David Mitchell comes a sinewy, meditative novel of boyhood on the cusp of adulthood and the old on the cusp of the new. Black Swan Green tracks a single year in what is, for thirteen-year-old Jason Taylor, the sleepiest village in muddiest Worcestershire in a dying Cold War England, 1982. But the thirteen chapters, each a short story in its own right, create an exquisitely observed world that is anything but sleepy. A world of Kissingeresque realpolitik enacted in boys’ games on a frozen lake; of “nightcreeping” through the summer backyards of strangers; of the tabloid-fueled thrills of the Falklands War and its human toll; of the cruel, luscious Dawn Madden and her power-hungry boyfriend, Ross Wilcox; of a certain Madame Eva van Outryve de Crommelynck, an elderly bohemian emigré who is both more and less than she appears; of Jason’s search to replace his dead grandfather’s irreplaceable smashed watch before the crime is discovered; of first cigarettes, first kisses, first Duran Duran LPs, and first deaths; of Margaret Thatcher’s recession; of Gypsies camping in the woods and the hysteria they inspire; and, even closer to home, of a slow-motion divorce in four seasons. Pointed, funny, profound, left-field, elegiac, and painted with the stuff of life, Black Swan Green is David Mitchell’s subtlest and most effective achievement to date. Praise for Black Swan Green “[David Mitchell has created] one of the most endearing, smart, and funny young narrators ever to rise up from the pages of a novel. . . . The always fresh and brilliant writing will carry readers back to their own childhoods. . . . This enchanting novel makes us remember exactly what it was like.”—The Boston Globe “[David Mitchell is a] prodigiously daring and imaginative young writer. . . . As in the works of Thomas Pynchon and Herman Melville, one feels the roof of the narrative lifted off and oneself in thrall.”—Time




Franny and Zooey


Book Description

"Perhaps the best book by the foremost stylist of his generation" (New York Times), J. D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey collects two works of fiction about the Glass family originally published in The New Yorker. "Everything everybody does is so--I don't know--not wrong, or even mean, or even stupid necessarily. But just so tiny and meaningless and--sad-making. And the worst part is, if you go bohemian or something crazy like that, you're conforming just as much only in a different way." A novel in two halves, Franny and Zooey brilliantly captures the emotional strains and traumas of entering adulthood. It is a gleaming example of the wit, precision, and poignancy that have made J. D. Salinger one of America's most beloved writers.




The Noise of Time


Book Description

From the bestselling, Booker Prize-winning author of The Sense of an Ending comes an extraordinary fictional portrait of the relentlessly fascinating Russian musician and composer Dmitri Shostakovich and a stunning meditation on the meaning of art and its place in society. • “Brilliant…. As elegantly constructed as a concerto.” —NPR 1936: Dmitri Shostakovich, just thirty years old, reckons with the first of three conversations with power that will irrevocably shape his life. Stalin, hitherto a distant figure, has suddenly denounced the young composer’s latest opera. Certain he will be exiled to Siberia (or, more likely, shot dead on the spot), Shostakovich reflects on his predicament, his personal history, his parents, his daughter—all of those hanging in the balance of his fate. And though a stroke of luck prevents him from becoming yet another casualty of the Great Terror, he will twice more be swept up by the forces of despotism: coerced into praising the Soviet state at a cultural conference in New York in 1948, and finally bullied into joining the Party in 1960. All the while, he is compelled to constantly weigh the specter of power against the integrity of his music.




Return of the Native Annotated


Book Description

One of Thomas Hardy's most powerful works, The Return of the Native centers famously on Egdon Heath, the wild, haunted Wessex moor that D. H. Lawrence called 'the real stuff of tragedy.' The heath's changing face mirrors the fortunes of the farmers, inn-keepers, sons, mothers, and lovers who populate the novel. The 'native' is Clym Yeobright, who comes home from a cosmopolitan life in Paris. He; his cousin Thomasin; her fiancé, Damon Wildeve; and the willful Eustacia Vye are the protagonists in a tale of doomed love, passion, alienation, and melancholy as Hardy brilliantly explores that theme so familiar throughout his fiction: the diabolical role of chance in determining the course of a life.




Five Thousand Years of Slavery


Book Description

When they were too impoverished to raise their families, ancient Sumerians sold their children into bondage. Slave women in Rome faced never-ending household drudgery. The ninth-century Zanj were transported from East Africa to work the salt marshes of Iraq. Cotton pickers worked under terrible duress in the American South. Ancient history? Tragically, no. In our time, slavery wears many faces. James Kofi Annan's parents in Ghana sold him because they could not feed him. Beatrice Fernando had to work almost around the clock in Lebanon. Julia Gabriel was trafficked from Arizona to the cucumber fields of South Carolina. Five Thousand Years of Slavery provides the suspense and emotional engagement of a great novel. It is an excellent resource with its comprehensive historical narrative, firsthand accounts, maps, archival photos, paintings and posters, an index, and suggestions for further reading. Much more than a reference work, it is a brilliant exploration of the worst - and the best - in human society.




The Digested Read


Book Description

Literary ombudsman John Crace never met an important book he didn't like to deconstruct. From Salman Rushdie to John Grisham, Crace retells the big books in just 500 bitingly satirical words, pointing his pen at the clunky plots, stylistic tics and pretensions of Big Ideas, as he turns publishers' golden dream books into dross.




Chameleon in a Candy Store


Book Description

Originally published: New York: V Publishing, 2012, as: Chameleon on a kaleidoscope.




Of Human Bondage


Book Description

Of Human Bondage (1915) is a novel by W. Somerset Maugham. Inspired by his experiences as an orphan and young student, Maugham composed his masterpiece. Adapted several times for film, Of Human Bondage is a story of tragedy, perseverance, and the eternal search for happiness which drives us as much as it haunts our every move. Orphaned as a boy, Philip Carey is raised in an affectionless household by his aunt and uncle. Although his Aunt Louisa tries to make him feel welcome, William proves an uncaring, vindictive man. Left to fend for himself most days, Philip finds solace in the family’s substantial collection of books, which serve as an escape for the imaginative boy. Sent to study at a prestigious boarding school, Philip struggles to fit in with his peers, who abuse him for his intelligence and club foot. Despite his struggles, he perseveres in his studies and chooses his own path in life, moving to Heidelberg, Germany and denying his uncle’s wish that he attend Oxford. As he struggles to become a professional artist, Philip learns that one’s dreams are often unsubstantiated in the world of the living. Of Human Bondage is a tale of desire, disappointment, and romance by a master stylist with a keen sense of the complications inherent to human nature. With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of W. Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage is a classic work of British literature reimagined for modern readers.