A collection of short stories by James Joyce, about the life of Irish middle class at the beginning of the 20th century. The stories share a common narrative element, epiphany, where characters experience a life-changing illumination or a moment of truth.
There are fifteen stories in the collection, ordered chronologically. We begin with stories of youth in "The Sisters". Next stories deal with the lives of progressively older people to culminate in "The Dead".
A Wrinkle in Time
Meg's father, a scientist who was studying tesseracts (wrinkles in time) for the government, has been missing for over a year. On a blustery night, a celestial stranger appears in her home and beckons Meg, her younger brother Charles Wallace, and their friend, Calvin, on an adventure through time and space that could lead them to Meg's missing dad.
This mission is fraught with danger, however, and puts their lives — and the very universe — in peril. This Newbery Medal-winning novel is a quick read unlike any other, brimming with excitement and originality.
What is happening at Area X? The 12th expedition has been sent to explore this mysterious place, but their odds don't look promising. While the first team of explorers called the land heavenly, every subsequent party has suffered horribly.
Members of one expedition took their own lives; those of the next group shot and killed one another; and all members of the most recent team died of cancer. The newest expedition is made up of four women who have been asked to observe the landscape — and one another. And what they encounter is the last thing they expect.
Like his father and grandfather before him, Kino is a poor diver, gathering pearls from the gulf beds that once brought great wealth to the kings of Spain and now provide Kino, Juana, and their infant son with meager subsistence. Then, on a day like any other, Kino emerges from the sea with a pearl as large as a sea gull's egg, as "perfect as the moon". With the pearl comes hope, the promise of comfort and of security…
A story of classic simplicity, based on a Mexican folk tale, The Pearl explores the secrets of man's nature, greed, the darkest depths of evil, and the luminous possibilities of love.
The Awakening was Kate Chopin's second and final novel, published in 1899. It was one of the first novels that focused on women, marking the birth of feminism in America. We follow Edna Pontellier, an obedient wife and mother, who becomes close to a charming young man Robert Lebrun. It's the time when she begins to struggle for her independence and self-fulfillment.
At the time of first publication the book met with mixed reactions, mainly due to presenting attitudes that were against established gender roles.
The Fifth Child
This is a classic tale from Doris Lessing, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Published in 1988, the book describes the changes in the happy life of Harriet and David Lovatt, as a result of the birth of their fifth child, Ben.
Ben is a highly dysfunctional child, large, ugly, and uncontrollable. His birth marks the beginning of the misery and suffering for the entire family.
The Five People You Meet in Heaven
Eddie, a war veteran who spends his days repairing amusement park rides, is less than thrilled with his seemingly pointless existence. On his 83rd birthday, he sacrifices his own life to save a girl from a falling cart. In the hereafter, he discovers that heaven is a place where your life is explained to you by five people — people who changed your life's path in significant ways.
In a truly original fashion, Mitch Albom's The Five People You Meet in Heaven offers a fresh perspective on the meaning of life. Don't be fooled by this book's diminutive size: it packs a huge wallop.
Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Gambler is the tale of Alexy, a tutor who works for a Russian General and his family. He falls in love with the General's niece, Polina — a manipulative young woman who pulls his strings like a master puppeteer.
A hopeless gambler whose passion for the game greatly exceeds his ability to win, Alexy finds himself spiralling out of control. The General's family, in the meantime, sits on the precipice of financial ruin, desperately awaiting the death of their wealthy matriarch. If you'd like to add a Russian classic to your book challenge, but don't want to embark on the weightiness of Anna Karenina or War and Peace, this is the perfect choice for you.