Besides his one-of-a-kind fiction craftsmanship, Mark Twain was also an excellent essayist. In his essays, Twain tried to solve the human kind’s riddles and answer those burning questions asked ever since Ancient Greece. Is Man an egocentric and conditional machine? What is Circumstance? Are all Men mad? Why do we create idols? Twain has an answer for all these questions!
The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature is not a book about a specific religion. The author, psychologist Williams James, does not try to convince the reader one religion is better than the other. He doesn’t even make a case for atheism and the scientific approach. The book is in fact about human nature and how we experience religion at a psychological level.
This classic Icelandic saga hails from the 13th century and provides a stunning look into a culture long past. Divided into three parts, this prose epic deals with friendship, tragedy and retribution and is a breathtaking look at Medieval Norse culture.
One of the Founding Fathers of the United States, Thomas Paine sensed the need for someone to defend social uprisings like the French Revolution…this is how Rights of Man was born. The book was revolutionary at the time speaking of the right of the people to revolt if the government doesn’t meet their demands. As important, the book dismisses the political Adam and the notion of ruling by heredity.
In The Marrow of Tradition, Charles W. Chesnutt takes a page from the post- Civil War American history book and tries to bring it back to life so that the reader can truly understand the roots of race segregation. Set in the fictional southern town of Wellington, the action is based upon the real 1898 Wilmington insurrection that shook the American society to the ground. The novel takes the reader to uncharted territories where the emerging white aristocracy is trying to get rid of the ‘blacks’.
A collection of short comic stories by Nikolai Gogol that focus on the ugly and the sad elements in life.
Aramis wants to replace the current King of France, Louis XIV with a puppet ruler so he asks Porthos for help. D'Artagnan on the other hand sides with the current King so he immediately helps Louis when he is at peril. He also has to arrest his former friends for treason. Will he do it?
The House of Mirth is a novel by Edith Wharton about a woman who is destroyed by the society that created her. It is the story of Lily Bart, a high-society, but penniless, young woman in turn-of-the-century New York.
Rasselas, son of the King of Abyssinia has everything he could possibly desire except his freedom. He is trapped and wants to know more about the outside world. Imlac has a plan to escape and Nekayah - Rasselas’s sister - decides to join the party of expatriates in their quest to seek happiness.
In The Life of Buddha and Its Lessons, readers can find practical applications for the tenets of Buddhism in this short essay. Learn about the life of the Buddha and how you can follow his example.
John Hare should have died… instead he is saved by a man with an adopted Indian daughter. He is also dragged into the light after experiencing the darkness of the West. But he isn’t quite ready to embrace it. First he must learn to love.
First performed in 1895, the play is a satire of Victorian culture and social obligations. This play is witty and funny and is the most popular and enduring of Oscar Wilde's plays.
The Heart of Happy Hollow is a collection of 16 short stories that revolve around a small southern community named Sleepy Hollow. Witness the tense relationship between the former slaves and their masters, the young free African-American’s struggles and the way they see the leading white class.
When a Prince returns to Russia after years in a sanatorium, he finds himself scorned by the aristocracy because of his trusting nature and naiveté. Caught in a love triangle between a virtuous and pretty young girl and a mistress of the aristocracy, he finds his morals threatened in this psychological Russian thriller. The Idiot is one of Fyodor Dostoevsky's greatest works and often called one of the greatest Russian novels of all time.
The book contains 423 verses in 26 categories, all verses spoken by the Buddha on various occasions. Most of the verses deal with ethics and spiritual thoughts.
The first section of Dante's Divine Comedy. In the first part of Divine Comedy, Dante, guided by the poet Virgil, plunges to the very depths of Hell and embarks on his arduous journey towards God. By fusing humor and satire with intellect, an immortal Christian allegory of humankind’s search for self-knowledge and spiritual enlightenment was created.
Know how to live without using your emotions, guided only by the mind. Learn how to see the mundane, how to approach situations that may or may not be in your direct control. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and most importantly, don’t be afraid to change. This is what stoicism is all about.
The Essence of Buddhism is a collection of quotes about life and how to live it at its fullest. While the quotes contain the teachings of the Buddha, they also can provide the non-Buddhist reader a blueprint of how to approach the mundane and how to avoid suffering.
Using his keen spirit of observation, Anton Chekhov depicts in his short stories the world as it is, focusing on the range of emotions one might feel throughout his life. From love to hatred, from exaltation to misery, from epiphany to utter confusion, every character has to experience all human emotions in order to understand life.
Mark Twain’s short stories aren’t about his religious beliefs. In fact, the Diaries of Adam and Eve should be taken with a grain of salt as they are humorous and witty and describe in a unique way the relationship between two human beings, man and woman who eventually end up falling in love with each other.
In The Book of Five Rings, the author lays out the five elements of battle which are as applicable in the boardroom as on the battlefield.
A revolutionary philosophical work, The Age of Reason was written by Thomas Paine as a Deist text which was well received in the United States in the late 18th century but seen as too incendiary in the United Kingdom. The Age of Reason challenges the idea of state religion and the legitimacy of the Bible.
Summa Theologica is an extensive five-volume masterpiece about the meaning of life and the presence of God in our everyday lives. Just like the universe, the compendium starts and ends with God; everything in between is related to God’s creation and how we as human beings can be saved.
The Age of Innocence was the first novel written by a woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Edith Wharton's novel centers around 1870's New York society, scandal and social structure.
The American Crisis is a collection of articles that were written during the American Revolution arguing for Independence from England. The books were written so that even the common man could read and understand the meaning of the book.