Tag: ClassicBooks

animal farm

8 Breathtaking Lines in ‘War and Peace’

Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace is one of the most beloved works of literature and largely considered the author’s best work, closely followed by Anna Karenina.

 

The 19th century Russian novel explores the French invasion of Russia during the napoleonic wars and its subsequent  spiritual, emotional, and physical effects on the various classes of Russian society during the time. Tolstoy’s historical perspective, memorable characters, and powerful language has cemented War and Peace as one of the most memorable and important literary works. Long after readers have put the novel down, the story has stayed with them, largely due to Tolstoy’s powerful and memorable lines. Here are 8 lines in War and Peace that took our breath away:

 

 

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Featured Image Via Amazon Books/Steve Simon. All Quote Images Via QuoteFancy

Matilda reading

17 of the Best Opening Lines in Literature

The opening sentence of a book can determine a lot of things (including whether or not you decide to keep going with said book). It’s the author’s first invitation into a world of their own creation. They can be long, descriptive, run-on sentences that prepare you for everything you’re about to see; laying it all out on the table. Or, they can be short, concise, small, quiet yet poetic sentences; not revealing much, but urging you to read more. Opening sentences stick with you in a way unlike any other quotes because they are forever the first words you associate with reading that specific work. They’re the first things you see when you open the pages to chapter one. (Bonus points: they’re also the sentences you’ve read more than any other sentences if you’re at all like me and like to start re-reading books you love a lot, but never quite get around to finishing your re-reads because there are too many books and so little time.)

 

 

A good opener embeds itself in your memory; arising to your conscious at the most obscure times. They are the lines we scribble in our journals, slur to strangers when we’re tipsy at the bar, recite to ourselves when we’re sleepy on our long commutes home, quote in our poems and wedding vows, tattoo onto our bodies to prove our love of literature, and share with those closest to us in the middle of the night while we bare our souls.

 

And, personally, if there’s one thing I love (almost) as much as some good quotes, it’s lists of good quotes. Yay, words! Yay, opening sentences! Yay, lists!

 

1. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

“It was a queer, sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn’t know what I was doing in New York.”

 

2. Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

“A screaming comes across the sky.”

 

3. Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood

“Time is not a line but a dimension, like the dimensions of space.”

 

4. Blue Nights by Joan Didion

“In certain latitudes there comes a span of time approaching and following the summer solstice, some weeks in all, when the twilights turn long and blue.”

 

5. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

“It was a pleasure to burn.”

 

6. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

“Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.”

 

7. The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

“Forty minutes later he was up in the sky.”

 

8. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

“We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.”

 

9. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

“I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.”

 

10. The Waves by Virginia Woolf

“The sun had not yet risen.”

 

11. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

“The time traveler (for so it will be convenient to speak of him) was expounding a recondite matter to us.”

 

12. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins.”

 

13. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

“All this happened, more or less.”

 

14. Sellevision by Augusten Burroughs

“You exposed your penis on national television, Max.”

 

15. The Trial by Franz Kafka

“Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested.”

 

16. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

 

17. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann

“You’ve got to climb to the top of Mount Everest to reach the Valley of the Dolls.”

 

Via Giphy

Via Giphy

 

 

Featured Image via The Reading Room

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Celebrate ‘Frankenstein’s 200th Birthday with Director’s Cut of the Original Book

Earlier this year, the world reached the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein. On January 1st, 1818, the world was introduced to one of the greatest novels ever bestowed upon us. Mary Shelley, the wife of Percy Shelley, published the novel that deals with science, humanity, and what it means to be alive. Recently, scientists and literary geeks came together to completely dissect Shelley’s 1831 novel, and investigate some of the history behind the author’s work.

 

mary shelley

Image Via Famous Biographies

 

As history would suggest, Mary Shelley penned the original Frankenstein novel alongside her husband, Sir Percy Shelley, amongst other greats at the lake house of Lord Byron at Lake Geneva. According to legend, the group of friends banded together to create various horror stories of their choosing. Mary Shelley penned Frankenstein in this event’s honor. 

 

frankenstein

Image Via BBC

 

The version of Shelley’s novel we know and love today is a heavily revised version of the one she originally created. The initial drafts drew upon revisions given to her by her husband and other like-minded individuals. The edition that is being released this month is a facsimile based upon versions of the story she had kept locked away in notebooks with notes from her and her husband. Such notes indicate a heavy editing process. 

 

mary and percy

Image Via glossophilia.org

 

On March 15th, readers will be able to purchase up to 1,000 copies of the facsimile of the original copy, and it’s very exciting to think of what we might be able to expect from such an edition!

 

via GIPHY

 

 

Feature Image Via YouTube

Oliver Twist

Dickens' 7 Most Unfortunate Orphans

Although Charles Dickens died almost 150 years ago, he was also born 206 years ago on this day! We celebrate his special day by continuing to value and appreciate his masterpieces all of these years later. A Dickens novel is typically fraught with poverty, destitution, and misery, but they highlight a world and a London that very much existed during the 19th century. A very important characteristic of a Dickensian novel is his tendency to obsessively include orphaned children throughout. Again, these children help to showcase a dark and seedy land where children run amuck without a parental figure to help guide them along. These children grow up fast, but they learn invaluable lessons along their path to early adulthood. Here’s seven of the most invaluable Dickensian waifs.
 
1. Pip, Great Expectations
 
pip

Image Via Movieinsider

In his 1861 novel, Great Expectations, Dickens introduces us to the protagonist and narrator, Pip. Pip is, of course, an orphan, raised by his cold sister and her kind-hearted, simple-minded husband. Pip becomes the playmate of Estella, a girl raised by the agoraphobic and depressive Miss Havisham who never recovered from being left at the alter by her fiance many years ago. Pip falls in love with Estella, but due to her upbringing and Miss Havisham’s negative influence concerning the male sex, she jilts the poor kid every chance she has. Pip eventually helps save a fugitive on the run, lives a life of glamour, and returns home to visit his beloved brother-in-law, but he never quite does recover from his love for Estella.
 
2. David Copperfield, David Copperfield
 
david copperfield

Image Via whatculture

Published in 1850, David Copperfield tells the story of the titular character and narrator, David Copperfield. Born six months after the death of his father, he is raised by his young, widowed mother and their housekeeper, Peggotty. Between the two women, David is given a relatively beautiful childhood up until his seventh year. It is at this stage in his life when his mother decides to marry a tyrannical and wicked man named Edward Murdstone. The newlyweds give birth to another baby boy and, eventually, Murdstone has David sent to boarding school after a particularly nasty fight the two have together. It is at this boarding school that David learns of the deaths of both his mother and baby brother. Young David’s world becomes even more topsy-turvy after this point, and he spends the rest of the novel attempting to find a place for himself in the world.
 
3. Sydney Carton, A Tale of Two Cities 
 
carton

Image Via CharlesDickensPage

Despite the fact that Sydney Carton is, in every sense of the word, an adult throughout Dickens’s 1859 novel A Tale of Two Cities, the fact remains that he is a character whose childhood was characterized by not having a family to call his own. A Tale of Two Cities is a piece of historical fiction that Dickens wrote recounting the French Revolution, and spans the course of decades; constantly skipping between events taking place in London and ones taking place in Paris. Carton is a drunkard and a lawyer, and while his brain is first-rate, his ability to prove his worth to people constantly falls short. Carton works alongside a man named Mr. Stryver who takes credit for his partner’s work, and thus Dickens terms the duo as The Jackal and The Lion, as in nature it is always the jackal who hunts the prey, while the lion finds the carcass and saves it for itself. In the end, Carton finds redemption through love and a surrogate family that he would, and inevitably does, do anything for.
 
4. Martin Chuzzlewit, Martin Chuzzlewit
 
dickens

Image Via Wikimedia Commons

The title character, Martin, of the 1844 novel, Martin Chuzzlewit, is a boy raised by his wealthy grandfather and namesake. Years earlier Martin Chuzzlewit Sr. had also taken in a young girl to take care of him saying that she would be well-provided for as long as he remained healthy and well. The girl, Mary, does everything in her power to keep her benefactor in good health, but the younger Martin goes against his grandfather’s wishes and falls in love with her. Refusing to let his infatuation go, the elder Martin Chuzzlewit disinherits his young grandson, and he is soon left to his own devices. Upon leaving his grandfather’s supervision, Martin takes up an architecture job under a very greedy and malicious man named Pecksniff. Pecksniff is using young Martin in an effort to cozy up to his grandfather and be included in his will. The story continues in this fashion for some time: Martin Chuzzlewit Jr. befriends people, both good and bad, and the rest of the greedy Chuzzlewit family continue backstabbing each other at every turn for the sake of wealth.
 
5. Nell Trent, The Old Curiosity Shop
 
nell

Image Via FlavorWire

In The Old Curiosity Shop which was published in 1841, we meet the fourteen-year-old Nell Trent who lives with her unnamed grandfather in a shop where doodads and thingamabobs are the products he primarily sells. She’s a beautiful and sweet girl, but she is also quite lonely. Her grandfather is desperate that his sweet granddaughter does not die as her parents did: in poverty, but he becomes so desperate that he develops a nighttime gambling habit. He keeps his habit a secret, but inevitably must borrow money from the dastardly moneylender, Daniel Quilp. Eventually, Nell’s grandfather gambles away all of their money, and this causes him to have a terrible breakdown which leaves his mind in shambles. Nell whisks her grandfather away to another part of England where the two are to live as beggars. Funnily enough, many credit the character of Little Nell as being the first Harry Potter whose life and story mattered so much to American readers that they stormed the harbors, shouting, “Is Little Nell alive?” when British ships pulled in, bearing the latest edition of the story.
 
6. Esther Summerson, Bleak House 
 
dickens

Image Via BBC

Charles Dickens published Bleak House in 1853, and it’s his only novel that uses a dual-narrative throughout the extensive piece of literature. Esther is one of the two key narrators in this novel, and it is surmised that Dickens may have been influenced by the idea of a female narrator after the publication of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, published in 1847. Esther was left as an orphaned baby to the care of a woman named Miss Barbary who she believes to be her godmother, but is really the sister of Esther’s unmarried mother. Esther’s aunt eventually dies, but she is entrusted to the care of a man named John Jarndyce who attempts to help the girl, and find her a suitable situation as a governess. Her life, like all children in Dickens novels, is not what one might call ideal, but throughout it all she remains affectionate, kind, loving, and open-minded to all new characters she encounters. Without a doubt, however, she is also very capable of standing up for herself and for what she believes is right and what is wrong.
 
7. Oliver Twist, Oliver Twist 
 
oliver twist

Image Via Nerdist

I bet you thought I would never get to this one. That I might not even end up touching upon 1839’s Oliver Twist, but how could I possibly omit he who is probably the single best-known Dickens orphan? They made a musical out of this one for goodness sake! Oliver is an orphaned child who finds himself wandering the crowded London streets after escaping his employment at a factory. He is attempting to scrape by in a world so utterly not suited for a young boy to no avail. Eventually, Oliver meets the Artful Dodger, another destitute young boy who has found a home with the criminal, Fagin. Fagin exploits his team of children and uses them as pickpockets and thieves, unbeknownst to young Oliver. In the end, Oliver discovers proper accommodations and love with a lost set of kin he happened upon by chance. While other characters (such as the criminal, Fagin) find their lives ending in pain and sorrow, the orphan Oliver is finally given his chance at a real home filled with real love.
 
 

via GIPHY

 
Feature Image Via History Things

Oliver Twist

Dickens’ 7 Most Unfortunate Orphans

Although Charles Dickens died almost 150 years ago, he was also born 206 years ago on this day! We celebrate his special day by continuing to value and appreciate his masterpieces all of these years later. A Dickens novel is typically fraught with poverty, destitution, and misery, but they highlight a world and a London that very much existed during the 19th century. A very important characteristic of a Dickensian novel is his tendency to obsessively include orphaned children throughout. Again, these children help to showcase a dark and seedy land where children run amuck without a parental figure to help guide them along. These children grow up fast, but they learn invaluable lessons along their path to early adulthood. Here’s seven of the most invaluable Dickensian waifs.

 

1. Pip, Great Expectations

 

pip

Image Via Movieinsider

In his 1861 novel, Great Expectations, Dickens introduces us to the protagonist and narrator, Pip. Pip is, of course, an orphan, raised by his cold sister and her kind-hearted, simple-minded husband. Pip becomes the playmate of Estella, a girl raised by the agoraphobic and depressive Miss Havisham who never recovered from being left at the alter by her fiance many years ago. Pip falls in love with Estella, but due to her upbringing and Miss Havisham’s negative influence concerning the male sex, she jilts the poor kid every chance she has. Pip eventually helps save a fugitive on the run, lives a life of glamour, and returns home to visit his beloved brother-in-law, but he never quite does recover from his love for Estella.

 

2. David Copperfield, David Copperfield

 

david copperfield

Image Via whatculture

Published in 1850, David Copperfield tells the story of the titular character and narrator, David Copperfield. Born six months after the death of his father, he is raised by his young, widowed mother and their housekeeper, Peggotty. Between the two women, David is given a relatively beautiful childhood up until his seventh year. It is at this stage in his life when his mother decides to marry a tyrannical and wicked man named Edward Murdstone. The newlyweds give birth to another baby boy and, eventually, Murdstone has David sent to boarding school after a particularly nasty fight the two have together. It is at this boarding school that David learns of the deaths of both his mother and baby brother. Young David’s world becomes even more topsy-turvy after this point, and he spends the rest of the novel attempting to find a place for himself in the world.

 

3. Sydney Carton, A Tale of Two Cities 

 

carton

Image Via CharlesDickensPage

Despite the fact that Sydney Carton is, in every sense of the word, an adult throughout Dickens’s 1859 novel A Tale of Two Cities, the fact remains that he is a character whose childhood was characterized by not having a family to call his own. A Tale of Two Cities is a piece of historical fiction that Dickens wrote recounting the French Revolution, and spans the course of decades; constantly skipping between events taking place in London and ones taking place in Paris. Carton is a drunkard and a lawyer, and while his brain is first-rate, his ability to prove his worth to people constantly falls short. Carton works alongside a man named Mr. Stryver who takes credit for his partner’s work, and thus Dickens terms the duo as The Jackal and The Lion, as in nature it is always the jackal who hunts the prey, while the lion finds the carcass and saves it for itself. In the end, Carton finds redemption through love and a surrogate family that he would, and inevitably does, do anything for.

 

4. Martin Chuzzlewit, Martin Chuzzlewit

 

dickens

Image Via Wikimedia Commons

The title character, Martin, of the 1844 novel, Martin Chuzzlewit, is a boy raised by his wealthy grandfather and namesake. Years earlier Martin Chuzzlewit Sr. had also taken in a young girl to take care of him saying that she would be well-provided for as long as he remained healthy and well. The girl, Mary, does everything in her power to keep her benefactor in good health, but the younger Martin goes against his grandfather’s wishes and falls in love with her. Refusing to let his infatuation go, the elder Martin Chuzzlewit disinherits his young grandson, and he is soon left to his own devices. Upon leaving his grandfather’s supervision, Martin takes up an architecture job under a very greedy and malicious man named Pecksniff. Pecksniff is using young Martin in an effort to cozy up to his grandfather and be included in his will. The story continues in this fashion for some time: Martin Chuzzlewit Jr. befriends people, both good and bad, and the rest of the greedy Chuzzlewit family continue backstabbing each other at every turn for the sake of wealth.

 

5. Nell Trent, The Old Curiosity Shop

 

nell

Image Via FlavorWire

In The Old Curiosity Shop which was published in 1841, we meet the fourteen-year-old Nell Trent who lives with her unnamed grandfather in a shop where doodads and thingamabobs are the products he primarily sells. She’s a beautiful and sweet girl, but she is also quite lonely. Her grandfather is desperate that his sweet granddaughter does not die as her parents did: in poverty, but he becomes so desperate that he develops a nighttime gambling habit. He keeps his habit a secret, but inevitably must borrow money from the dastardly moneylender, Daniel Quilp. Eventually, Nell’s grandfather gambles away all of their money, and this causes him to have a terrible breakdown which leaves his mind in shambles. Nell whisks her grandfather away to another part of England where the two are to live as beggars. Funnily enough, many credit the character of Little Nell as being the first Harry Potter whose life and story mattered so much to American readers that they stormed the harbors, shouting, “Is Little Nell alive?” when British ships pulled in, bearing the latest edition of the story.

 

6. Esther Summerson, Bleak House 

 

dickens

Image Via BBC

Charles Dickens published Bleak House in 1853, and it’s his only novel that uses a dual-narrative throughout the extensive piece of literature. Esther is one of the two key narrators in this novel, and it is surmised that Dickens may have been influenced by the idea of a female narrator after the publication of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, published in 1847. Esther was left as an orphaned baby to the care of a woman named Miss Barbary who she believes to be her godmother, but is really the sister of Esther’s unmarried mother. Esther’s aunt eventually dies, but she is entrusted to the care of a man named John Jarndyce who attempts to help the girl, and find her a suitable situation as a governess. Her life, like all children in Dickens novels, is not what one might call ideal, but throughout it all she remains affectionate, kind, loving, and open-minded to all new characters she encounters. Without a doubt, however, she is also very capable of standing up for herself and for what she believes is right and what is wrong.

 

7. Oliver Twist, Oliver Twist 

 

oliver twist

Image Via Nerdist

I bet you thought I would never get to this one. That I might not even end up touching upon 1839’s Oliver Twist, but how could I possibly omit he who is probably the single best-known Dickens orphan? They made a musical out of this one for goodness sake! Oliver is an orphaned child who finds himself wandering the crowded London streets after escaping his employment at a factory. He is attempting to scrape by in a world so utterly not suited for a young boy to no avail. Eventually, Oliver meets the Artful Dodger, another destitute young boy who has found a home with the criminal, Fagin. Fagin exploits his team of children and uses them as pickpockets and thieves, unbeknownst to young Oliver. In the end, Oliver discovers proper accommodations and love with a lost set of kin he happened upon by chance. While other characters (such as the criminal, Fagin) find their lives ending in pain and sorrow, the orphan Oliver is finally given his chance at a real home filled with real love.

 

 

via GIPHY

 

Feature Image Via History Things