You may have noticed that I’m quite a big fan of the Penguin English Library books. They’re beautiful, bright coloured editions of English classics and as I intend to read every book that’s on the list (around 105 titles) I read at least one of them every month. Want to see which ones I’d like to read very soon?
All the books marked with a * are in my possession and the ones I’ve already read are linked to the corresponding review.
Kim by Rudyard Kipling*
Kipling’s epic rendition of the imperial experience in India is also his greatest long work. Two men – Kim, a boy growing into early manhood, and the lama, an old ascetic priest – are fired by a quest. Kim is white, although born in India. While he wants to play the Great Game of imperialism, he is also spiritually bound to the lama and he tries to reconcile these opposing strands. A celebration of their friendship in an often hostile environment, Kim captures the opulence of India’s exotic landscape, overlaid by the uneasy presence of the British Raj. (Goodreads).
Never read anything by Kipling and it’s probably high time I did – The Jungle Book is also on my TBR but this one sounds very good as well.
Also on the list: none.
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Fanny Price’s rich relatives offer her a place in their home so that she can be properly brought up. However, Fanny’s childhood is a lonely one as she is never allowed to forget her place. Her only ally is her cousin Edmund. When her cousins befriend two glamorous new young people who have arrived in the area, Henry and Mary Crawford, Edmund starts to grow close to Mary and Fanny finds herself dealing with feelings she has never experienced before. (Goodreads)
Okay, I admit that in this case I prefer the Vintage Classic edition over the Penguin English Library one. This is the only Austen I haven’t read so far and I’m really looking forward to reading this one!
Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster
E.M. Forster’s first novel is a witty comedy of manners that is tinged with tragedy. It tells the story of Lilia Herriton, who proves to be an embarrasment to her late husband’s family as, in the small Tuscan town of Monteriano, she begins a relationship with a much younger man – classless, uncouth and highly unsuitable. (Goodreads)
This is a very small book (which is great for in-between-reads) and I think that’s a very good way to discover new authors.
Also on the list: A Room with a View and Howards End.
Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy*
Hardy’s powerful novel of swift sexual passion and slow-burning loyalty centres on Bathsheba Everdene, a proud working woman whose life is complicated by three different men – respectable farmer Boldwood, seductive Sergeant Troy and devoted Gabriel – making her the object of scandal and betrayal. Vividly portraying the superstitions and traditions of a small rural community, Far from the Madding Crowd shows the precarious position of a woman in a man’s world. (Goodreads)
I probably should have read this novel by now: I’ve seen the movie and this edition is in my possession already. But, you know, so much to read and so little time …
Also on the list: Tess of the D’Urbervilles*, Jude the Obscure, The Mayor of Casterbridge*, The Return of the Native, Two on a Tower and Under the Greenwood Tree*.
Daniel Deronda by George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)
As Daniel Deronda opens, Gwendolen Harleth is poised at the roulette-table, prepared to throw away her family fortune. She is observed by Daniel Deronda, a young man groomed in the finest tradition of the English upper-classes. And while Gwendolen loses everything and becomes trapped in an oppressive marriage, Deronda’s fortunes take a different turn. After a dramatic encounter with Mirah, a young Jewish woman, he embarks on a search for her lost family and finds himself drawn into ever-deeper sympathies with Jewish aspirations and identity. (Goodreads)
I’ve already read my first Eliot and although I didn’t really love it I thought Eliot’s style of writing really beautiful – almost poetic.
Also on the list: Middlemarch, Silas Marner* and The Mill on the Floss.
You can check out the full Penguin English Library list here.
Have you read any of the books mentioned above?