Oliver Twist; or, the Parish Boy's Progress is Charles Dickens's second novel, and was first published as a serial 1837–39. The story centres on orphan Oliver Twist, born in a workhouse and sold into apprenticeship with an undertaker. After escaping, Oliver travels to London, where he meets "The Artful Dodger", a member of a gang of juvenile pickpockets led by the elderly criminal, Fagin.Oliver Twist is notable for its unromantic portrayal by Dickens of criminals and their sordid lives, as well as for exposing the cruel treatment of the many orphans in London in the mid-19th century. The alternative title, The Parish Boy's Progress, alludes to Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, as well as the 18th-century caricature series by William Hogarth, A Rake's Progress and A Harlot's Progress.
The Great Gatsby is a 1925 novel written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald that follows a cast of characters living in the fictional towns of West Egg and East Egg on prosperous Long Island in the summer of 1922. The story primarily concerns the young and mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and his quixotic passion and obsession with the beautiful former debutante Daisy Buchanan. Considered to be Fitzgerald's magnum opus, The Great Gatsby explores themes of decadence, idealism, resistance to change, social upheaval, and excess, creating a portrait of the Roaring Twenties that has been described as a cautionary tale regarding the American Dream.
Kidnapped is a historical fiction adventure novel by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, written as a boys' novel and first published in the magazine Young Folks from May to July 1886. The novel has attracted the praise and admiration of writers as diverse as Henry James, Jorge Luis Borges, and Hilary Mantel. A sequel, Catriona, was published in 1893.
Heart of Darkness (1899) is a novella by Polish-English novelist Joseph Conrad about a voyage up the Congo River into the Congo Free State in the heart of Africa. Charles Marlow, the narrator, tells his story to friends aboard a boat anchored on the River Thames. This setting provides the frame for Marlow's story of his obsession with the ivory trader Kurtz, which enables Conrad to create a parallel between what Conrad calls "the greatest town on earth", London, and Africa as places of darkness.
A Tale of Two Cities (1859) is a historical novel by Charles Dickens, set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. The novel tells the story of the French Doctor Manette, his 18-year-long imprisonment in the Bastille in Paris and his release to live in London with his daughter Lucie, whom he had never met. The story is set against the conditions that led up to the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror.
The Diary of a Young Girl, also known as The Diary of Anne Frank, is a book of the writings from the Dutch language diary kept by Anne Frank while she was in hiding for two years with her family during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. The family was apprehended in 1944, and Anne Frank died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945. The diary was retrieved by Miep Gies, who gave it to Anne's father, Otto Frank, the family's only known survivor, just after the war was over. The diary has since been published in more than 60 languages.
Shōgun is a 1975 novel by James Clavell. It is the first novel (by internal chronology) of the author's Asian Saga. A major best-seller, by 1990 the book had sold 15 million copies worldwide. Beginning in feudal Japan some months before the critical Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, Shōgun gives an account of the rise of the daimyō "Toranaga" (based upon the actual Tokugawa Ieyasu). Toranaga's rise to the shogunate is seen through the eyes of the English sailor John Blackthorne, called Anjin ("Pilot") by the Japanese, whose fictional heroics are loosely based on the historical exploits of William Adams.
Confessions of a Thug is an English novel written by Philip Meadows Taylor in 1839 based on the Thuggee cult in British India. It was a best-seller in 19th-century Britain, becoming the British Empire's most sensational ethnographic fiction in the first half of the 19th century; its avid readers included Queen Victoria. It was one of the best-selling crime novels of the 19th century, and was the most influential novel about India prior to Rudyard Kipling's Kim (1901). The novel's popularity established the word "thug" in the English language.
The Age of Innocence is a 1920 novel by the American author Edith Wharton. It was her twelfth novel, and was initially serialized in 1920 in four parts, in the magazine Pictorial Review. Later that year, it was released as a book by D. Appleton & Company. It won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, making Wharton the first woman to win the prize. Though the committee had initially agreed to give the award to Sinclair Lewis for Main Street, the judges, in rejecting his book on political grounds, "established Wharton as the American 'First Lady of Letters'". The story is set in the 1870s, in upper-class, "Gilded-Age" New York City. Wharton wrote the book in her 50s, after she had established herself as a strong author, with publishers clamoring for her work.
The Jungle is a 1904 novel written by the American journalist and novelist Upton Sinclair (1878–1968). Sinclair wrote the novel to portray the harsh conditions and exploited lives of immigrants in the United States in Chicago and similar industrialized cities. His primary purpose in describing the meat industry and its working conditions was to advance socialism in the United States. However, most readers were more concerned with his exposure of health violations and unsanitary practices in the American meatpacking industry during the early 20th century, greatly contributing to a public outcry which led to reforms including the Meat Inspection Act. Sinclair famously said of the public reaction, "I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach."