The Neverending Story
Unicorns, dragons, sprites, will-o'-the-wisps: the inhabitants of an enchanted world. And into this world - through the pages of an old book - ventures Bastian, a lonely boy of ten or twelve. But Fantastica is slowly decaying, its Childlike Empress dying. Only a real human being can set things right by giving the Empress a new name. Bastian takes up the challenge, and finds himself crossing the Swamps of Sadness and the Silver Mountains, meeting sorcerers and giants, bats and night-hobs, gnomes and racing snails, as he journeys bravely toward the Ivory Tower, Bastian's quest is filled with all the wonders of myth and fairy tale. It is a fantasy adventure that will capture your heart - and recapture the magical dreams of childhood.
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In one of his most energetic and enjoyable novels, Charles Dickens tells the life story of David Copperfield, from his birth in Suffolk, through the various struggles of his childhood, to his successful career as a novelist. The early scenes are particularly masterful, depicting the world as seen from the perspective of a fatherless small boy, whose idyllic life with his mother is ruined when she marries again, this time to a domineering and cruel man. David Copperfield is partly modelled on Dickens' own experiences, and one of the great joys of the book lies in its outlandish cast of characters, which includes the glamorous Steerforth, the cheerful, verbose Mr Micawber, the villainous Uriah Heep, and David's eccentric aunt, Betsey Trotwood. Dickens described it as his 'favourite child' among his novels and it is easy to see why.This Macmillan Collector's Library edition of David Copperfield features original illustrations by H. K. Browne 'Phiz', with an afterword by Sam Gilpin.Designed to appeal to the booklover, the Macmillan Collector's Library is a series of beautiful gift editions of much loved classic titles. Macmillan Collector's Library are books to love and treasure.
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The Catcher in the Rye
Anyone who has read J.D. Salinger's New Yorker stories ? particularly A Perfect Day for Bananafish, Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut, The Laughing Man, and For Esme ? With Love and Squalor, will not be surprised by the fact that his first novel is fully of children. The hero-narrator of THE CATCHER IN THE RYE is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days. The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it. There are many voices in this novel: children's voices, adult voices, underground voices-but Holden's voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain to, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.
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A confederacy of dunces
John Kennedy Toole's hilarious satire, A Confederacy of Dunces is a Don Quixote for the modern age, and this Penguin Modern Classics edition includes a foreword by Walker Percy.
Never published during his lifetime, John Kennedy Toole's masterful comic novel takes its title, as well asfrom Jonathan Swift A monument to sloth, rant and contempt, a behemoth of fat, flatulence and furious suspicion of anything modern - this is Ignatius J. Reilly of New Orleans, noble crusader against a world of dunces. The ordinary folk of New Orleans seem to think he is unhinged. Ignatius ignores them, heaving his vast bulk through the city's fleshpots in a noble crusade against vice, modernity and ignorance. But his momma has a nasty surprise in store for him: Ignatius must get a job. Undaunted, he uses his new-found employment to further his mission - and now he has a pirate costume and a hot-dog cart to do it with...
John Kennedy Toole (1937-1969) was born in New Orleans. He received a master's degree in English from Columbia University and taught at Hunter College and at the University of Southwestern Louisiana. He wrote A Confederacy of Dunces in the early sixties and tried unsuccessfully to get the novel published; depressed, at least in part by his failure to place the book, he committed suicide in 1969. It was only through the tenacity of his mother that her son's book was eventually published and found the audience it deserved, winning the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. His long-suppressed novel The Neon Bible, written when he was only sixteen, was eventually published as well.
If you enjoyed A Confederacy of Dunces, you might like Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.
'A pungent work of slapstick, satire and intellectual incongruities ... it is nothing less than a grand comic fugue'
The New York Times
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Picnic at Hanging Rock
It was a cloudless summer day in the year nineteen hundred. Everyone at Appleyard College for Young Ladies agreed it was just right for a picnic at Hanging Rock. After lunch, a group of three of the girls climbed into the blaze of the afternoon sun, pressing on through the scrub into the shadows of Hanging Rock. Further, higher, till at last they disappeared. They never returned. Whether "Picnic at Hanging Rock" is fact or fiction the reader must decide for themselves.
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