Fiction Poetry & Drama Books

Pygmalion (Wisehouse Classics Edition)

PYGMALION is a play by George Bernard Shaw, named after a Greek mythological character. It was first presented on stage to the public in 1913. Professor of phonetics Henry Higgins makes a bet that he can train a bedraggled Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, to pass for a duchess at an ambassador's garden party by teaching her to assume a veneer of gentility, the most important element of which, he believes, is impeccable speech. The play is a sharp lampoon of the rigid British class system of the day and a commentary on women's independence.

In ancient Greek mythology, Pygmalion fell in love with one of his sculptures, which then came to life. The general idea of that myth was a popular subject for Victorian era English playwrights, including one of Shaw's influences, W. S. Gilbert, who wrote a successful play based on the story called Pygmalion and Galatea first presented in 1871. Shaw would also have been familiar with the burlesque version, Galatea, or Pygmalion Reversed. Shaw's play has been adapted numerous times, most notably as the musical My Fair Lady and the film of that name. (more o: www.wisehouse-classics.com)

The Works of Edgar Allan Poe - Volume 1

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.

Leviathan

A Midsummer Night's Dream (Macmillan Collector's Library)

Attractive gift edition with gilt-edged pages and a ribbon marker. With glossary and select bibliography. Publisher: Pan Macmillan Hardback ISBN 9781909621879

Hamlet: Prince of Denmark (Macmillan Collector's Library)

Attractive gift edition with gilt-edged pages and a ribbon marker. With glossary and select bibliography. Publisher: Pan Macmillan Hardback ISBN 9781909621862

Barchester Towers (The Chronicles of Barsetshire)

'What! to come here a stranger, a young, unknown, and unfriended stranger, and tell us, in the name of the bishop his master, that we are ignorant of our duties, old-fashioned, and useless!' Trollope's comic masterpiece of plotting and backstabbing opens as the Bishop of Barchester lies on his deathbed. Soon a pitched battle breaks out over who will take power, involving, among others, the zealous reformer Dr Proudie, his fiendish wife and the unctuous schemer Obadiah Slope. Barchester Towers is one of the best-loved novels in Trollope's Chronicles of Barsetshire series, which captured nineteenth-century provincial England with wit, worldly wisdom and an unparalleled gift for characterization. The second book in the Chronicles of Barsetshire.

The Mill on the Floss

Romeo and Juliet (Folger Shakespeare Library)

This is undoubtedly the greatest love story ever written, spawning a host of imitators on stage and screen, including Leonard Bernstein's smash musical West Side Story, Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet filmed in 1968, and Baz Luhrmann's postmodern film version Romeo + Juliet. The tragic feud between "Two households, both alike in dignity/In fair Verona", the Montagues and Capulets, which ultimately kills the two young "star-crossed lovers" and their "death-marked love" creates issues which have fascinated subsequent generations. The play deals with issues of intergenerational and familial conflict, as well as the power of language and the compelling relationship between sex and death, all of which makes it an incredibly modern play. It is also an early example of Shakespeare fusing poetry with dramatic action, as he moves from Romeo's lyrical account of Juliet--"she doth teach the torches to burn bright!" to the bustle and action of a 16th-century household (the play contains more scenes of ordinary working people than any of Shakespeare's other works). It also represents an experimental attempt to fuse comedy with tragedy. Up to the third act, the play proceeds along the lines of a classic romantic comedy. The turning point comes with the death of one of Shakespeare's finest early dramatic creations--Romeo's sexually ambivalent friend Mercutio, whose "plague o' both your houses" begins the play's descent into tragedy, "For never was a story of more woe/Than this of Juliet and her Romeo". --Jerry Brotton

Mandy

Mandy's brother, Ned is in trouble. He has been accused of murdering the woman who had been clearly trying to seduce him. Their guardian, the Duke of Margate is summoned to help. Mandy had always assumed he was an old man. But, the duke was far from old. He was, in fact, virile, dashing and oh so good looking. The duke enjoyed being a confirmed bachelor...and then he met Mandy. But, first things first-they had to prove Ned innocent.

Perfekt Order: Volume 1 (The Ære Saga)

All's fair when you're in love with War. For seventeen-year-old Mia Ahlstrom, a world ruled by order is the only world she allows. A lifetime of chore charts, to-do lists and study schedules have helped earn her a spot at Redwood State University's engineering program. And while her five year plan includes finding her very own happily-evah-aftah, years at an all-girls boarding school left her feeling woefully unprepared for keg parties and co-ed extracurricular activities. So nothing surprises her more than catching the eye of Tyr Fredriksen at her first college party. The imposing Swede is arrogantly charming, stubbornly overprotective, and runs hot-and-cold in ways that defy reason . . . until Mia learns that she's fallen for the Norse God of War; an immortal battle deity hiding on Midgard (Earth) to protect a valuable Asgardian treasure from a feral enemy. With a price on his head, Tyr brings more than a little excitement to Mia's rigidly controlled life. Choosing Tyr may be the biggest distraction-or the greatest adventure-she's ever had."

The Merchant of Venice (Signet Classics)

"Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions?" Shylock's impassioned plea in the middle of The Merchant of Venice is one of its most dramatic moments. After the Holocaust, the play has become a battleground for those who argue that the play represents Shakespeare's ultimate statement against ignorance and anti-Semitism in favour of a liberal vision of tolerance and multiculturalism. Other critics have pointed out that the play is, after all, a comedy that ultimately pokes fun at a 16th-century Jew. In fact, the bare outline of the plot suggests that the play is far more complex than either of these characterisations. Bassanio, a feckless young Venetian, asks his wealthy friend, the merchant Antonio, for money to finance a trip to woo the beautiful Portia in Belmont. Reluctant to refuse his friend (to whom he professes intense love), Antonio borrows the money from the Jewish moneylender. If he reneges on the deal, Shylock jokingly demands a pound of his flesh. When all Antonio's ships are lost at sea, Shylock calls in his debt, and the love and laughter of the first scenes of the play threaten to give way to death and tragedy. The final climactic courtroom scene, complete with a cross-dressed Portia, a knife-wielding Shylock, and the debate on "the quality of mercy" is one of the great dramatic moments in Shakespeare. The controversial subject matter of the play ensures that it continues to repel, divide but also fascinate its many audiences. --Jerry Brotton

House of Pleasure: Volume 1 (There Was a House)

Episode 1 of There Was a House saga, a continuing story of revenge and redemption. Fueled by rage and disgust, Phoenix runs away from home. The situation there had become unbearable. In fact, things couldn't get any worse. But they do. Betrayed in New York by a boy who she thought was a new friend, she finds herself taken prisoner by a low-class pimp. Then, when she thinks she's on her way to her first seedy trick, Phoenix winds up locked in a limo with no way out. She wakes up in an illegal brothel in New Orleans. Phoenix vows she will find a way to destroy Antoine, the owner of the brothel. Instead of being Antoine's prostitute, she'll become his lover, his confidante, and pretty soon, his manager. And then, when he least suspects it, she'll bring the entire house down. She better be damn good. There will only be one chance. **Content Warning: This book is a drama meant for those over 18 and contains explicit scenes. Therefore, it contains adult themes and scenes which deal with a difficult topic.

Almost a Widow: Volume 3 (The Hamilton Sisters)

Separated by family circumstances when they were children, sisters Carmel, Eva, and Daisy bond together as adults to overcome the hurts and injustices of their younger years. Their father attempts to make up for the past, but they refuse to let him back into their lives - a decision they will come to regret. Daisy attempts to rebuild her business after a devastating arson attack. But her plans and personal dreams are blown apart when she is confronted with a heartbreaking betrayal, which has far-reaching repercussions. Eva, badly injured after a suicide attempt, continues on her mission to walk again while struggling with crippling emotional instabilities. She discovers the meaning of true love and happiness - but is it too late? Carmel keeps her troubles to herself, doing everything she can to look after her sisters despite her dwindling finances and fears for her own future. She must find a way to deal with her past, or risk losing her man. As they battle to make a better future for themselves, mortal danger lies waiting. One of the sisters must learn to live without the love of her life.

The Way We Live Now

The Raven

Othello

If anything, Othello has increased its stature as one of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies ever since it was first written, between 1603 and 1604, due to the victimisation suffered by its tragic hero, Othello, as a result of his skin colour. Othello is a "noble Moor", a North African Muslim who has converted to Christianity and is deemed one of the Venetian state's most reliable soldiers. However, his ensign Iago harbours an obscure hatred against his general, and when Othello secretly marries the beautiful daughter of the Venetian senator Brabanzio, Iago begins his subtle campaign of vilification, which will inevitably lead to the deaths of more than just Othello and Desdemona. An extraordinary play, both for its dramatic economy and power as well as its remarkable language, from Othello's bombastic "traveller's history" to Desdemona's elegiac "willow song", the play raises uncomfortable questions about ongoing questions of not only racial identity but also sexuality, as Othello and Desdemona's sexual relationship becomes the voyeuristic site of Iago's attempt to destroy them. Particularly fascinated with the question of what it means to "see", Othello also contains one of the greatest tragic death scenes in all of Shakespeare, with Othello's final identification with "a malignant and a turbaned Turk". --Jerry Brotton