Quality literature and poetry from the
1000 Good Books List
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IN ASSOCIATION WITH
New Oxford Book of Christian Verse
This anthology reflects the Christian faith as it has been professed and practised in all its varieties through the centuries. The poems included range from the Anglo-Saxon masterpiece, The Dream of the Rood, to works of twentieth-century poets such as Eliot, Auden, Betjeman, and Geoffrey Hill. -- from the jacket. Excellent selections from Joseph Addison, William Blake, Anne Bradstreet, John Bunyan, Robert Burns, Geoffery Chaucer, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Cowper, Emily Dickinson, John Donne, George Herbert, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and many, many more.
Louisa May Alcott
Little Women is a heartwarming American classic, adored for Louisa May Alcotts lively and vivid portraits of the endearing March sisters: talented tomboy Jo, pretty Meg, shy Beth, temperamental Amy, and for the courage, humor and ingenuity they display to survive poverty and the absence of their father during the Civil War. Based on Alcotts own Yankee childhood, Little Women is a treasure--a story whose enduring values of patience, loyalty, and love have kept this extraordinary family close to the hearts of generation after generation of readers. A hardcover edition is also available. Other equally exceptional Louisa May Alcott books include Little Men, Jos Boys, Good Wives, An Old-Fashioned Girl, Eight Cousins, Rose in Bloom, and Under the Lilacs.
Be sure to read an unabridged edition of this book (most are abridged--out of dozens of editions published today, this was only unabridged text I could find). I discovered the difference between the abridged and unabridged editions when I found an old copy of Robinson Crusoe published in the 1800s, and settled in to re-read a favorite book of childhood. To my amazement, in the 19th century unabridged edition, Robinson questions whether he has been shipwrecked as a punishment from God for disobeying his fathers wishes, who did not want him to go to sea. He finds a Bible among the ship wreckage, and begins to read it diligently, whereupon his life is changed. Much of the story is infused with Defoes description of Robinsons subsequent relationship with God, and Robinsons awareness and gratefulness that God is helping him survive. When he discovers cannibals on the island, his motivation for befriending Friday is to share the gospel with him! An uplifting and inspirational adventure tale in its original form.
I have thrown my whole heart and soul into Oliver Twist, wrote young Charles Dickens in 1836. (Dickens had a difficult childhood, made worse by his fathers imprisonment in debtors prison, and saw something of the life that Oliver led.) After the book was published, Oliver and Mr. Bumble soon became household words. In tracing the boys story, Dickens made a scathing comment on the inhumanity of the newly enacted Poor Law and startled readers with his convincing picture of the criminal underworld. One of the most famous passages in Oliver Twist reads: Mr. Limbkins, I beg your pardon, sir! Oliver Twist has asked for more! There was a general start. Horror was depicted on every countenance. For more! said Mr. Limbkins. Compose yourself, Bumble, and answer me distinctly. Do I understand that he asked for more, after he had eaten the supper allotted by the dietary? He did, sir, replied Bumble. A hardcover edition is also available. Other Dickens books from the hardcover series that make wonderful family read-alouds include: Great Expectations (a must read), Nicholas Nickleby, Little Dorrit, Master Humphreys Clock and A Childs History of England (we loved the History--highly recommended), David Copperfield, The Pickwick Papers, The Christmas Books (which includes The Christmas Carol and the delightful The Cricket on the Hearth), or for the enterprising among us, the full 21 volume set of the New Oxford Illustrated Dickens--his complete works, including the ones mentioned here, available for a small fortune.
Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates
Mary Mapes Dodge
From glistening ice roads to frozen canals, in a wonderland where even the richest nobles thrill to the gliding joys of winter, everyone is awaiting the fabulous race to win the magnificent Silver Skates ... except Hans Brinker and his sister Gretel. For the Brinkers are desperately poor, friendless; with their father felled by a crippling head wound, Mother and the children must battle simply to survive. And while Hans and Gretel are strong, fast, disciplined, and loyal ... on hand-carved wooden skates, they cant compete against trained rich kids with fine steel blades. But sometimes ... sometimes ... good people are given a chance. Sometimes strangers do care. And sometimes a familys love and loyalty can struggle against even the cruelest twists of fate... A simply beautiful story that stays with you forever. Unfortunately, the publisher is out of stock of the paperback edition, but keep checking this link to see if its been reprinted.
American maritime adventure at its greatest! The setting is the Were Here, a small fishing boat whose crew members rescue Harvey Cheyne, a spoiled millionaires son, when he is washed overboard from a luxery ocean liner. Unimpressed with his tales of wealth and privilege, the captain refuses to take him back to port and instead puts the boy to work to earn his keep. Kipling is masterful documenting the life aboard a cod trawler at the end of the last century, and the all-night fish gutting and salting sessions, the risks of a fishermans life, and sharing life with the crew causes Harvey to undergo a personal transformation: from the arrogant and pampered son of a millionaire to an admirable young man who has learned the values of hard work, simple living, and self-reliance. Also in hardcover.
The Call of the Wild
Buck, part St. Bernard, part Scotch shepherd, is forcibly taken from his comfortable home in the Santa Clara valley and shipped to the Alaskan Klondike gold fields to be trained as a sled dog. Encountering friends and foes, Buck eventually reverts to his primitive, wolflike nature and becomes the leader of the strongest wolf pack in Alaska. When he is transformed into the legendary Ghost Dog of the Klondike, he has become a true hero. Often considered to be Jack Londons masterpiece, he borrows from his own experiences during the Klondike gold rush of 1897 to fashion this timeless tale. Also available in hardcover. Other finely-crafted adventure tales by London include White Fang and The Sea Wolf.
Few stories offer more warmth, wisdom, or generosity than this tale of two boys, their fathers, their friendship, and the chaotic times in which they live. In 1940s Brooklyn, an accident throws Reuven Malther and Danny Saunders together. Despite their differences (Reuven is a secular Jew with an intellectual, Zionist father; Danny is the brilliant son and rightful heir to a Hasidic rebbe), the young men form a deep, if unlikely, friendship. Together they negotiate adolescence, family conflicts, the crisis of faith engendered when Holocaust stories begin to emerge in the U.S., loss, love, and the journey to adulthood. The intellectual and spiritual clashes between fathers, between each son and his own father, and between the two young men, provide a unique backdrop for this exploration of fathers, sons, faith, loyalty, and, ultimately, the power of love. Also in hardcover.
Robert Louis Stevenson
One of the greatest works of literature of all time, Treasure Island is a stunning yarn of piracy on the tropic seas--an unforgettable tale of treachery that embroils a host of legendary swashbucklers, from honest young Jim Hawkins to sinister, two-timing Israel Hands, to evil incarnate, blind Pew. But above all, Treasure Island is a complex study of good and evil, as embodied by that hero-villain, Long John Silver. --The Publisher. This tale has been winning the hearts of everyone who ever longed for romance, courage, hairbreadth-escapes, and high adventure since its publication in 1883. A paperback edition is also available. Other absorbing tales by R. L. Stevenson include Kidnapped (paperback), David Balfour, The Black Arrow (paperback), and Master of Ballantrae.
Set in pre-World War I America, Penrod is the hilarious story of a boys life with his friends and family, and the situations he unwittingly gets himself into. There is no way this simplistic description can do it justice. This is the only book that we have read as a family that everyone deep belly-laughs all the way through. If you enjoy it as much as us, be sure to look into the other Penrod stories: Penrod and Sam, and Penrod Jashber (tragically out of print.)
J. R. R. Tolkien
The Hobbit is the fantasy that defines the genre from a masterful scholar and writer who was a Christian and a friend and colleague of C. S. Lewis. A hardcover edition is also available (as well as a lavishly illustrated 75th anniversary hardcover edition). The Lord of the Rings trilogy follows The Hobbit. The Lord of the Rings is a grander, deeper, more probing story than The Hobbit, full of Biblical symbolism. The nobility of the heroes is more courageous and inspiring; the evil of the enemies is more dreadful. Parents may want to read it first before giving it to their 6th graders. The Lord of the Rings trilogy includes: Fellowship of the Ring (hardcover), The Two Towers (hardcover), and The Return of the King (hardcover). The Lord of the Rings can also be purchased as a hardcover set or in the one-volume illustrated companion edition to the 75th anniversary The Hobbit. In addition, a boxed set of all 4 volumes (The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy) is available in paperback. Whew!
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
Because of his attention to the details of scientific facts and advances in technology, Jules Verne is considered one of the founders of modern science fiction. In this story, a deadly, huge sea monster is sinking ships. Three men who are sent to investigate--a French scientist, his trusty sidekick, and a Canadian harpoonist--are thrown from the deck of their American warship when the monster attacks. A door opens on the side of the monster, and they are taken inside the greatest submarine in the world, the top-secret Nautilus commanded by a madman who will take them 20,000 leagues into the depths, from sunken Atlantis to the South Pole. A hardcover edition is also available. Other fantastic stories by Jules Verne include Around the World in Eighty Days, From the Earth to the Moon, Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Mysterious Island, and one of historical fiction, Michael Strogoff.
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