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The Last Chronicle of Barset

The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope

The Last Chronicle of Barset by Anthony Trollope

Both Trollope and some of his later critics have considered The Last Chronicle to be his greatest novel. Many of its characters are familiar from the earlier Barsetshire novels, including the Rev. Josiah Crawley, the impoverished curate of Hogglestock, whose alleged theft of £20, together with the efforts of many to clear up the mystery, lie here at the center. Central also is the trying courtship between Major Grantly and Grace Crawley, the clergyman’s daughter, over the objections of the Major’s parents, Archeacon Grantly and his wife; and the adventures of Johnny Eames, a protagonist of the Small House at Allington. Finally, it is in The Last Chronicle that Bishop Proudie of Barsetshire and his domineering wife, introduced in Barchester Towers, achieve their fullest and most dramatic portrayal.

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The Golden Lion of Granpere

The Golden Lion of Granpere by Anthony Trollope

The Golden Lion of Granpere by Anthony Trollope

Set in a village in the Vosges mountains in north-eastern France, this short and very entertaining novel concerns the events in the lives of an innkeeper’s family; the relationship between George Voss, the landlord’s son, and his beloved Marie, the rivalry between Voss and another suitor for Marie’s hand in marriage, and the results of a betrothal based on mutual misunderstandings.

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The Trail of the Hawk

The Trail of the Hawk by Sinclair Lewis

The Trail of the Hawk by Sinclair Lewis

Trail of the Hawk, is Sinclair Lewis’ second novel published under his own name. It was not at the time of release a smashing success as his later works, Babbitt, Elmer Gantry, and others, but his style and immense talent are certainly evident.

We travel with The Hawk, or Carl Ericson, son of Norwegian immigrants, born at the end of the 19th century through the first three adventurous periods of the young man’s life. We see him as an adventurous boy, running away with Gertie Cowels, the girl that lives in the big house in the better part of town, only to be rescued by Bone Stillman, a backwoods philosopher and influence on Carl.

We travel with him as he leaves his childhood, Gertie and Joralemon behind, for a short attempt at higher education, then to pursue the hobo life, a Bowery bartender, an engineer in Panama and an aviator. It is during the aviator phase that he becomes Hawk Ericson barnstorming his way across America, an exciting but dangerous lifestyle. Leaving aviation after too many close calls, and the loss of his best friend, he becomes an automobile man, and moves into phase three.

It is in phase three, love adventure, that we find The Hawk in New York, mingling with polite society quite by accident. He is smitten by Ruth Winslow, while riding on a streetcar after a fight with Gertie, and follows Ruth to a party which he crashes.

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Run to Earth

Run to Earth by M. E. Braddon

Run to Earth by M. E. Braddon

A captivating Victorian “sensation” novel by the author of Lady Audley’s Secret, Run to Earth has it all: scoundrels and mercenaries, love and lust, jealousy, intrigue, and suspense.

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Demian

Demian by Hermann Hesse

Demian by Hermann Hesse

Somewhat autobiographical, this “coming of age” novel unfolds an introspective boy’s formative years in pre-World War 1 Germany, from grade school through college. Hesse likens this confusing process to a giant bird struggling to break out of its egg (the protective shell of home, family, social norms), to be reborn as an individuated adult with his own goals, ideas and ideals. Much importance is given to dreams and their interpretation, Fate vs individual choice, Gnosticism (particularly the god Abraxas), opening up to one’s unconsciousness, all showing the influence of Carl Jung’s psychology. One of the book’s major themes is the existence of opposing forces (good vs evil, society vs individualism, God vs Devil, etc.) and the idea that both are natural and necessary parts of the Whole. Adjacent themes are about puberty, sexuality, bullying, loneliness, mentorship, the divine feminine, psychic connections, questioning religious dogma, and the herd mentality. It is also a story of one soldier’s experience on the battlefield of WWI, feeling part of and being willing to die for a cause outside ones own control. Due to its controversial themes, Demian was first published under the pseudonym “Emil Sinclair” (the narrator of the story) but Hesse was later revealed to be the author.

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The Awakening

The Awakening  by Kate Chopin

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

“The Awakening shocked turn-of-the-century readers with its forthright treatment of sex and suicide. Departing from literary convention, Kate Chopin failed to condemn her heroine’s desire for an affair with the son of a Louisiana resort owner, whom she meets on vacation. The power of sensuality, the delusion of ecstatic love, and the solitude that accompanies the trappings of middle- and upper-class life are the themes of this now-classic novel.” – As Kay Gibbons points out, Chopin “was writing American realism before most Americans could bear to hear that they were living it.”

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The Last Trail

The Last Trail by Zane Grey

The Last Trail by Zane Grey

This early Zane Grey novel of hardy pioneers taming the wild west. Yes, despite the difficult times, romance flourishes and the bad guys are eliminated almost single handedly as our heroes Jonathan Zane and his sidekick Lew “Deathwind” Wetzel fight their way through mud, blood, gore, savage Indians, and despicable outlaws, to make the land safe for pioneer families as they settle the wild west.

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Irene Iddesleigh

Irene Iddesleigh by Amanda McKittrick Ros

Irene Iddesleigh by Amanda McKittrick Ros

C.S. Lewis, J.R. Tolkien and The Inklings were admirers and held competitions to see who could read her work for the longest time whist keeping a straight face. Sadly, all her books are now out of print but command high prices on the rare books market.

Irene Iddesleigh, her first book, is a romantic novel, telling the common story of an unhappy, doomed marriage. The prose style, however, is unique.

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Tartuffe

Tartuffe by Molière

Tartuffe by Molière

Tartuffe, a pious fraud who pretends to speak with divine authority, has insinuated himself into the household of Orgon. When Orgon announces that his daughter Mariane is to marry Tartuffe instead of her fiance Valère, the rest of the family realizes the extent of Tartuffe’s influence over Orgon. Tartuffe tries to seduce Orgon’s wife Elmire, who traps him into revealing to Orgon his intentions toward her. Orgon throws Tartuffe out of the house, Tartuffe returns with an order of eviction for the family, and at the final moment the tables are turned and the play ends happily.

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The Prussian Officer and Other Stories

The Prussian Officer and Other Stories by D. H. Lawrence

The Prussian Officer and Other Stories by D. H. Lawrence

The collection of short stories – of which The Prussian Officer is one – was Lawrence’s first such book. A German officer and his orderly are the focus of the piece and, while socially the superior of his orderly, the officer demonstrates his is the distinctly baser character.

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