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Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

'Vanity, not love, has been my folly’

When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited; he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. In the sparkling comedy of manners that follows, Jane Austen shows the folly of judging by first impressions and superbly evokes the friendships, gossip and snobberies of provincial middle-class life.

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Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Anna Karenina tells of the doomed love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and the dashing officer, Count Vronsky. Tragedy unfolds as Anna rejects her passionless marriage and must endure the hypocrisies of society. Set against a vast and richly textured canvas of nineteenth-century Russia, the novel's seven major characters create a dynamic imbalance, playing out the contrasts of city and country life and all the variations on love and family happiness.

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A.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

The most famous and possibly the most popular of Dickens's novels, A Tale of Two Cities shows a master of dramatic narrative extracting gold from the ore of history. If the bloody tableau of the French Revolution were not in itself sufficient for a dozen novels, Dickens added to it a professional resurrectionist, an authentic ogress, and an antihero as convincingly flawed as any in modern literature. Here, too, are all of Dickens's recurring themes -- imprisonment, injustice, and cataclysmic violence, resurrection and the renunciation that makes renewal possible.

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B.

The Epic of Gilgamesh

The Epic of Gilgamesh

Gilgamesh, the semi-divine ruler of Uruk, is a larger-than-life bully and abuser of his people. In order to tame the arrogant king, the gods create the wild and handsome Enkidu. But after Enkidu and Gilgamesh become fast friends, they defy the gods in a series of outsized adventures that brings Gilgamesh face to face with both loss and death itself. Hines energizes this timeless tale with vivid and electrifyingly modern images, from the goddess Ishtar cracking the sound barrier, to a battlefield nightmare of spectral snipers and exploding hand grenades, to the CAT-scan image of a dying friend. The themes of love and friendship, grief, despair, and hope had their first great expression in this story, and this dazzling new interpretation brings us into its thrall again.

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C.

Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan

Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan

Richard Hannay's ennui comes to an abrupt end when a murder is committed in his flat - only a few days before the dead man had revealed to him an assassination plot which would have terrible consequences for international peace.

Fearing the police will see him as the obvious suspect, and desperate to escape the killers, Hannay goes on the run in his native Scotland. There, among the wild moors, he needs all his courage and ingenuity to stay one step ahead of his pursuers.../p>

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