Hello, readers! Welcome to another #5OnMyTBR update. The rule is relatively simple. I just have to pick five books from my to-be-read pile that fit the week’s theme.
This week’s theme: Classics
5OnMyTBR is a bookish meme hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook where you chose five books from your to-be-read pile that fit that week’s theme. If you’d like more info, head over to the announcement post!
Title: Three Kingodms
Author: Luo Guanzhong
Translator: Moss Roberts
Three Kingdoms tells the story of the fateful last reign of the Han dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 220), when the Chinese empire was divided into three warring kingdoms. This decisive period in Chinese history became a subject of intense and continuing interest to historians, poets, and dramatists. Writing some 1,200 years later, the Ming author Luo Guanzhong drew on this rich literary heritage to fashion a sophisticated, compelling narrative that has become the Chinese national epic. Luo’s novel offers a startling and unsparing view of how power is wielded, how diplomacy is conducted, and how wars are planned and fought; it has influenced the ways the Chinese think about power, diplomacy, and war even to this day. As important for Chinese culture as the Homeric epics have been for the West, this Ming dynasty masterpiece continues to be widely influential in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, and remains a great work of world literature. The University of California Press is pleased to make the complete and unabridged translation available again. (Source: Goodreads)
Title: Sentimental Education
Author: Gustave Flaubert
Translator: Adrianne Took
Publisher: Wordsworth Classics of World Literature
Publishing Date: 2003
No. of Pages: 448
Sentimental Education has been described both as the first modern novel and as a novel to end all novels. Weaving a poignant love story into his account of the 1848 revolution, Flaubert shows a society in the grip of stereotypes, on every level. There is something farcical in his depiction of characters who aspire to act but are dogged by cliche at every turn. To a greater extent even than Madame Bovary, Sentimental Education is an indictment of modern consumerism, contrasting the hollowness of material achievement with the lasting beauty of the ideal. Flaubert’s study of success and failure offers us a terrible sadness in a terrible beauty, yet is one of the world’s great comic masterpieces.
Title: The Scarlet Letter
Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne
Publisher: Barnes & Noble Books
Publishing Date: 2004
No. of Pages: 216
The Scarlet Letter, America’s first psychological novel, exploded society’s view of Puritanism upon its initial publication in 1850, and today – perhaps more than ever – it holds the power to change the way we think about human relationships, punishment, and the status quo.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel is a dark tale of love, crime, and revenge set in colonial New England. It revolves around a single, forbidden act of passion that forever alters the lives of three members of a small Puritan community: Hester Prynne, an ardent, fierce, and ultimately ostracized woman who bears the symbol of her sin – the letter A stitched into the breast of her gown – in humble silence; the Reverent Arthur Dimmesdale, a respected public figure who is inwardly tormented by long-hidden guilt; and the malevolent Roger Chillingworth, Hester’s husband – a man who seethes in an Ahab-like lust for vengeance.
The landscape of this classic novel is uniquely American, but the themes it explores are both timeless and universal – the nature of sin, guilt, and penitence, the clash between our private and public selves, and the spiritual and psychological cost of living outside society. Constructed with the elegance of a Greek tragedy, The Scarlet Letter brilliantly illuminates the truth that lies deep within the human heart.
Title: The Mill on the Floss
Author: George Eliot
Publisher: Premier Classics
Publishing Date: 2010
No. of Pages: 598
George Eliot’s semi-autobiographical novel about the brilliant Maggie Tulliver epitomizes the author’s ability to find the drama at the heart of normal lives playing out in tandem with the universal themes of nature and society. Bankruptcy, death, flood, even the very flow of the river guide and often frustrate human ambition in The Mill on the Floss. Maggie and her brother Tom have grown up with a loving but hapless father who loses his living to the courts, leaving Tom to pay his debts and Maggie to languish in their impoverished house until she can escape into rich society with the help of her cousin, Lucy. Tender and tragic, The Mill on the Floss combines rich vignettes of family life with an elegant portrayal of the novel’s heroine. At the same time, Eliot offers a scathing critique of the Victorian era’s limiting social mores in matters of the heart while also celebrating many kinds of love.
Title: The Outsiders
Author: S.E. Hinton
Publishing Date: 1995 (1967)
No. of Pages: 180
No one ever said life was easy. But Ponyboy is pretty sure that he’s got things figured out. He knows that he can count on his brothers, Darry and Sodapop. And he knows that he can count on his friends – true friends who would do anything for him, like Johnny and Two-Bit. And when it comes to the Socs – a vicious gang of rich kids who enjoy beating up on “greasers” like him and his friends – he knows that he can count on them for trouble. But one night someone takes things too far, and Ponyboy’s world is turned upside down….