- Books, Literature, and Writing
*Top Best Selling Books of All Times*
To Kill A Mockingbird
1 - To Kill A Mockingbird
This book took a huge toll in bookstores and everyone was buying it left and right. It is even considered a great literature to be read and taught in schools.
The book is about growing up under extraordinary circumstances in the 1930s in the Southern US. The characters in the book are Scout Finch who lives with her brother Jem and their father Atticus who is a very well respected lawyer in the fictitious town of Maycomb, Alabama. The father is a widow who raises his children by himself, with the help of kindly neighbors and a African housekeeper named Calpurnia. Scout is like a tomboy who prefers the company of boys and generally solves her differences with her fists. She tries to make sense of a world that demands that she act like a lady, she has a brother who criticizes her for acting like a girl, and a father who simply accepts her just as she is.
The most interesting thing about this book is the sister/daughter Scout is the one who actually narrates this book. She starts off by explaining her family history. The first of her ancestors to come to America was a fur-trader and apothecary named Simon Finch, who fled England to escape religious persecution and established a successful farm on the banks of the Alabama River. She also describes that her mother had passed away when she was two years old, but her brother Jem who was four years older than her has memories and not good ones either.
The whole story that makes up the book To Kill A Mockingbird is pretty much set in a time frame between scouts 5th and 9th birthday but it is of course told in first person - the narrative herself that opens the novel much in her life. The book is very circular: the story begins where it ends. The first line of the novel which pretty much introduces Jem’s broken arm, and the novel then flashes back to cover the events leading up to his accident. Boo Radley becomes the focus of the children’s curiosity in Chapter one. When Scout introduces him to the story, she describes him as over six feet tall who eats squirrels and cats.
The father as we figured out is a lawyer who is representing an African man named Tom Robinson, who has been accused of raping a white woman. Because of Atticus’s decision, Jem and Scout are subjected to abuse from other children, even when they celebrate Christmas at the family compound on Finch’s Landing. Calpurnia, takes them to the local black church, where the warm and close-knit community largely embraces the children.
Now the character Bob Ewell, he's pretty much the town drunk. It also becomes clear that the friendless Mayella was making sexual advances towards Tom and her father caught her in the act. Jem's faith in justice is badly shaken, as is Atticus', when a hopeless Tom is shot and killed while trying to escape from prison.
Humiliated by the trial, Bob Ewell vows revenge. He spits in Atticus' face on the street. Later on at the end of the story, Maycomb's sheriff arrives and discovers that Bob Ewell has been killed in the struggle. The sheriff argues with Atticus about the incident and ethics of holding Boo responsible. Atticus eventually accepts the sheriff's story that Ewell simply fell on his own knife. Boo asks Scout to walk him home, and after she says goodbye to him at his front door, he disappears again.
The Harry Potter Series
Harry Potter Series
As of May 2015 the entire series of the Harry Potter books have sold over 450 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 73 languages all the way from Korean, to Italian, Spanish and Arabic. Ever since the first book Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone it has gained so much popularity. The books are filled with action, drama, witchcraft, romance and the coming of age.
The story starts off with Harry as a child who is brought by Hagrid on a flying motorcycle. After his parents are killed, the lonely 10-year-old is living under the stairs with the Dursleys. A mysterious letter arrives, inviting him to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Suddenly, some things start to make sense- why he is loathed by his relatives, all Muggles (non-magic people), why he has a lighting bolt scar on his forehead, and how his future might be better than his past. Harry is a celebrity at Hogwarts, the only person to escape the clutches of the evil Dark Lord aka. he who must not be named (We'll just keep it like that) who killed his parents and left him the scar. In this book, Harry meets characters that stay throughout the series, friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, enemy Draco Malfoy, Professor Severus Snape, Headmaster Albus Dumbledore ( not really the enemy.) With the help of his friend Harry sets out like a hero to solve the first crime at Hogwarts, he joins the Quidditch team and become the seeker and also becomes a bit of an expert in magic and wands. Later on after saving the school and "destroying the stone" and the "Dark Lord" he sets back to Hogwarts where he again spends the time with his cousin and aunt and uncle.
After a marvelous year at Hogwarts, Harry Potter is stuck spending summer break with his awful Muggle (non-wizard) aunt and uncle, Petunia and Vernon Dursley, and his equally horrid cousin, Dudley. While his family has guests over his uncle had told him that Harry should stay in his room and pretend that he doesn't exist. When Harry retreats to his room to stay out of the way, though, he finds someone unexpected waiting there a house-elf named Dobby. House-elves are bound in servitude to wizarding families. This particular house-elf has sneaked away from his Dark wizard family to warn Harry that something bad is coming to Hogwarts this school year. Harry can't go back to Hogwarts for his own safety, Dobby is determined to keep the Boy-Who-Lived alive (That being Harry). After Harry refuses Dobby's proposal and decides that he wants to go back, Dobby takes matters into his own hands and he casts a charm that ruins the Dursleys' dinner party. Uncle Vernon loses his deal, and he blames Harry. So Uncle Vernon shuts Harry up in his bedroom with bars on the windows. He promises Harry will never get out. And that all gets ruined when Harry's friend Ron and his two twin brothers George and Fred come to his rescue and get Harry out of his bedroom. They bring Harry back to the Weasley household at the Burrow. Harry has an awesome time there until school starts, especially once he and Ron go into London to buy school supplies and meet up with their other best friend, Hermione Granger. In Diagon Alley, the main wizarding street in London, Harry, Ron, and Hermione go to Flourish and Blotts. The store is hosting a book signing by the new Hogwarts Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Gilderoy Lockhart. Professor Lockhart seems excessively self-conscious and when the opportunity hits and he sees Harry he immediately zeroes in on Harry as the famous Boy-Who-Lived and tries to use Harry's fame to get more attention for himself from the Daily Prophet newspaper. (Wizard Newspaper)
Later on Harry and Ron arrive at King's Cross Station to take the Hogwarts Express with the other Weasley kids who attend Hogwarts: Ginny (the sister of the Weasleys and a first year student at the school), Fred, George, and Percy. But Harry and Ron can't get through the barrier to Platform 9 3/4. In a panic that they have missed the train to Hogwarts, they decide to take Mr. Weasley's flying car to Hogwarts. Of course we do know as this point that magic can't be used outside of the school grounds, but trying to get to the train and reaching school they decide to take the car in broad daylight for all the Muggles to see. They don't get expelled, though, which is the important thing. Ron misses the Sorting of his younger sister, Ginny, who ends up in Gryffindor House, just like Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Ginny is very shy around Harry, but she clearly has a huge crush on him. Harry starts to notice strange things around the castle: he hears a voice that no one else can hear, which talks about tearing, ripping, and killing. Harry worries that he is starting to lose his mind. Things come to a head when he, Ron, and Hermione are coming back from a ghost party on Halloween night. They find a huge pool of water on the floor. There is a creepy message painted on the wall: "THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS HAS BEEN OPENED. ENEMIES OF THE HEIR, BEWARE".
The whole school suddenly starts to suspect that Harry is responsible for this event. The school's suspicions increase when Harry duels with Draco during the first (and last) meeting of Professor Lockhart's Dueling Club. Meanwhile, Harry, Ron, and Hermione have been trying to find the Heir of Slytherin on their own. They reason that the flood of water at Mrs. Norris's attack came from a nearby bathroom. The bathroom is haunted by the ghost of a former Hogwarts student, Moaning Myrtle.There are no new attacks and Hermione returns to her normal human shape. Then, Harry finds out that Moaning Myrtle's bathroom has flooded again. Apparently, someone threw a blank diary into her toilet. Harry takes the diary and discovers that it once belonged to a Hogwarts Head Boy, Tom Riddle. Well kind of wrapping up the story, by the end of the story Lucius Malfoy (Draco's father) has been fired from being school governor, Professor Lockhart has gotten amnesia from his own backfired memory charm, Dobby the house-elf is free, Ginny is liberated from Tom Riddle's possession, and Harry has figured out that he is a true Gryffindor. As the famous saying goes "All's well that ends well!"
During Harry's third year at Hogwarts, he learns about the crazy murderer Sirius Black who escapes from a prison no one has ever escaped from, and he wants Harry. Why? Even the Dementors (the creepy zombie like people who suck out your soul and kill you), and also they are the Azkaban guards now protect Hogwarts, seem intense to Harry. School is supposed to be safe, but Harry, who never trusted his Muggle relatives, learns that sometimes even his Hogwarts family can withhold the truth. As it turns out later on in the book/movie that Sirius Black is actually Harry’s nearest living relative. he true enemy and cause of Harry’s troubles is, as always, Voldemort (Ahhh yes we did name him at last). To make this story short , after the holidays, Harry beings to work on his anti dementor lessons with Lupin. The spell is the Patronus charm (Expecto Patronum), which works as a silvery shield against dementors (a full one turns into a symbol of the person conjuring it). Harry tries and gets a little bit, but not a full patronus charm. Soon before the next game, Harry’s broom is returned to him. Gryffindor plays Ravenclaw and beats them easily. However, during the game the dementors come onto the field. Harry produces a Patronus and knocks them all down. Harry then learns that they were just a couple of Slytherins (including Malfoy) trying to play a trick on Harry. Let's fast forward a little bit and see what happens at the end, harry pretty much ends up learning that Sirius Black is a werewolf and that Sirius is actually the one that gave him the scar. So in the end again he returns home to his family.
In the fourth book it seems like there is another Wizard team are coming to Hogwarts to participate in the Triwizard Tournament. Harry’s finally off the hook; he’s too young to take part. But to everyone’s astonishment, the goblet spits out Harry’s name and he must undergo three death-defying tasks.Although the headmaster does accuse him of putting his name in there, Harry also tells them that he never even crossed the "blue ring" and never put his name in that cup (being underage.) And to keep it fast a little bit,since I've been going on and on about the summaries of each book now, to give you all a quick and update this is what happens in the rest of the books. Well in the fourth book, Harry pretty much gets into the tournament and as we know he saves the school again, but then Voldamort decides to make a comeback.
In the Order Of The Phoenix (5th book), after using magic to defend himself, Harry is visited by a group of wizards and taken off to number twelve, Grimmauld Place, London. Number twelve happens to be the home of Harry’s godfather, Sirius Black, and the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix. The Order is a group of wizards, led by Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore, dedicated to fighting evil Lord Voldemort and his followers. The Order is forced to operate in secrecy, outside of the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Magic, which is headed by the dense and corrupt Cornelius Fudge. Fudge refuses to believe that Lord Voldemort has returned.
Many of his classmates are whispering about him behind his back, but Harry ignores them and tries to concentrate on his studies, since all fifth-year students at Hogwarts are required to take O.W.L., or Ordinary Wizarding Level examinations. Umbridge refuses to teach her students how to perform defense spells, and before long, Fudge appoints her High Inquisitor of Hogwarts, giving her the authority to inspect all faculty members and evaluate their skills. She even brings out her rules and regulations as to how each student should be dressed, no kissing or hugging, and during as exam each student much be seated separately and far away from one another as possible, oh and let's not forget that she also has the weird rule that every student must be in their dorm room at a certain hour or they will be expelled/punished. Umbridge openly dislikes Harry, whom she considers a liar, and eventually bans him from the Gryffindor Quidditch team.
After several nights of waking up with nightmares Harry is taken to prof. Dumbledore , where Dumbledore then demands that Harry take Occlumency lessons with Professor Snape, which should help Harry protect his mind against further invasions by Lord Voldemort. Harry is unsuccessful at Occlumency because he has such difficulty clearing his mind of all thoughts, making it difficult for him to focus on closing his mind off to all outside influence. Meanwhile, his scar (from the attack in which Voldemort killed Harry’s parents and in turn given to him by Sirius Black) burns horribly every time Voldemort experiences a powerful emotion. The D.A. (Not the District Attorney - but it's known as Dumbledore's Army) continues to meet regularly, and Harry’s peers show great improvement until they are caught by Umbridge. Dumbledore takes full responsibility for the group and resigns as Headmaster. Umbridge takes over his position.
With their so called army being now discovered, the only thing that Harry can do at this point is try to save the school with his friends who are trained. Employing all of their Defense skills, Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Luna, and even Neville have moderate success fighting the Death Eaters, but they are helped enormously by the arrival of several members of the Order. In the midst of the fight, Harry drops the glass sphere, and it shatters. Meanwhile, Sirius’ own cousin, the creepy death eater Bellatrix Lestrange, kills Sirius. Harry is devastated and wants revenge. And finally coming to a conclusion, Prof. Dombledore explains how the sphere was a prophecy, which stated that Harry has a power that Voldemort does not know about. He later on goes to explain to Harry that this power is love. The prophecy goes on to claim that Harry will either destroy Voldemort or be destroyed by him. Dumbledore takes this opportunity to tell Harry why he must spend his summers with the Durselys. Because Harry’s mother died to save him, he is blessed with her love, a blessing that can be sealed only by blood. Harry’s Aunt Petunia, who is also his mother’s sister, makes that bond complete by taking Harry into her home. As long as he still calls Little Whinging home, Harry is safe and untouchable.
And lastly to combine the two last books of the HP series, Voldemort's army is gaining force and momentum, and tragedies are everyday occurrences. The Muggle world is experiencing great loss and fear. Harry is convinced that Draco now works for Voldemort and is plotting something big. Harry proceeds to spend his year at Hogwarts following Draco's actions carefully. However, few believe Harry's theory that Draco has become a Death Eater. At this point in the book, Ron and Hermione start to gain feelings for each other and their love is put to a test when Ron finds his first girlfriend in Lavender Brown, which sends Hermione into a poorly concealed rage most of the time. Everyone expects Harry to lead Gryffindor to victory, but his mind is elsewhere.
Over the course of the school year Prof. Dumbledore decides at the beginning of this school year that he should take a bigger role in Harry's education, and he arranges for Harry to have private lessons with him every so often. Harry, elated by this news, soon discovers that these private lessons involve traveling into the memories of those who knew Voldemort once upon a time. (Oh yeah that big bowl filled with crystal like blue water.) Over the course of several visits, Harry and Dumbledore venture into precious memories, gathering essential information about Voldemort's family, his childhood, his schooling at Hogwarts, and how he came to be the Dark Lord. When Dumbledore and Harry travel into this particular memory, they realize that it shows the moment at which Voldemort first learned about Horcruxes. A Horcrux is a powerful, outlawed kind of Dark Magic that allows the soul to be divided, giving its owner the ability to become immortal. Remember from the movie that creepy and awful snake that the Dark Lord carries everywhere with him... OH SPOILER ALERT! -- Nagini the snake, is one of the Horcruxes!
So pretty much ast the coming of the ending, Snape kills Dumbledore, sending him tumbling off the edge of the tower. Harry is overwhelmed with grief. He watches Dumbledore die, and he can't do a thing to save him or help him on account of the protective magic Dumbledore had cast upon him. Dumbledore wished to be buried on school grounds. On the day of his funeral, people from all over the world come to pay their respects. Everyone from the Minister of Magic, to Hagrid's mother, to the mermaids in the lake, to the centaurs in the forest show up to honor the greatest wizard in the world. Deep in his heart, Harry knows what he must do next. He must hunt Voldemort down and destroy each one of his Horcruxes. Harry and his friends drop out of the school to find and destroy the remaining horcruxes of Voldemort. As they search the horcruxes, they come to know more about the Professor Snape who always disliked Harry from the beginning of the novel and the past of Dumbledore. (Just as a heads up, Snape may have been a bad person but he did all of this to protect Harry and also because he was also in love with Lilly- Harry's Mother). As the world would have seen as on July 15, 2011, the book/movie concludes with Harry discovering himself as one of the horcruxes and so surrenders himself to Voldemort who cast a Killing curse on Harry. But soon Dumbledore explains that the Horcrux inside Harry has been destroyed when Voldemort used Harry's blood to regain his full strength. Finally towards the end, Harry returns and defeats Voldemort and his supporters with the help of his friends (Ron and Hermione) along with the members of the Order of the Phoenix, his teachers and students. Harry, who actually Voldemort thought he had died comes back and kills Voldemort for good and saves the magical world of Howgwarts.
The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby
From the magical world of Harry Potter to the great and dazzling world of Scott Fitzgerald. We are going to take a look inside the book.
Ok, the book starts off actually with Nick who tells the story sometimes possibly after 1922. So Nick has just moved from the Midwest to West Egg, Long Island, seeking his fortune as a bond salesman. Shortly after his arrival, Nick travels across the Sound to the more fashionable East Egg to visit his cousin Daisy Buchanan and her husband, Tom, a hulking, imposing man and Tom and Nick have a long history together. There he meets professional golfer Jordan Baker. The Buchanans and Jordan Baker live privileged lives, contrasting sharply in sensibility and luxury with Nick's more modest and settled lifestyle. When Nick returns home that evening, he notices his neighbor, Gatsby, mysteriously standing in the dark and stretching his arms toward the water, and a solitary green light across the Sound. It is the neighbor that get's Nick's attention. Nick turns his attention to his mysterious neighbor, who hosts weekly parties for the rich and fashionable. When Gatsby's invitation spreads out (which is good to keep in mind because rarely is anyone ever invited to Gatsby's parties they just show up, knowing they will not be turned away), Nick attends one of the awesome crazy gatherings. There, he bumps into Jordan Baker, as well as Jay Gatsby himself.
As it turns out Gatsby is actually a gracious host and is great with parties but at the same time he tends to " hide" himself from those people and sits back as an observer more than a participant as if he is seeking something. As the party winds down, Gatsby takes Jordan aside to speak privately. Although the reader isn't specifically told what they discuss, Jordan is greatly amazed by what she's learned. That's not all, the real love and drama starts when Nick and Gatsby journey into the city one day and there Nick meets Meyer Wolfshiem, one of Gatsby's associates and Gatsby's link to organized crime. (WOW did you just hear that)? On that same day, while having tea with Jordan Baker, Nick learns the amazing story that Gatsby told her the night of his party. Gatsby, it appears, is in love with Daisy Buchanan. You wanna know something interesting, many believe that he (Meyer Wolfsheim) is responsible for fixing the 1919 World Series.
Gatsby asks Nick to arrange a meeting between himself and Daisy. Gatsby has meticulously planned their meeting: he gives Daisy a carefully rehearsed tour of his mansion, and is desperate to exhibit his wealth and possessions. Eventually the truth has to come out one way or another doesn't it? Well it sure does, despite this, the love between Gatsby and Daisy is revived, and the two begin an affair. To tell you the truth about what actually really happens is that, Nick learns the true story of Gatsby's past. He was born James Gatz in North Dakota, but had his name legally changed at the age of seventeen.
After his reunion with Daisy, Gatsby comes to and end with his elaborate parties. The only reason he threw such parties was the chance that Daisy (or someone who actually knew her) might attend. Daisy invites Gatsby, Nick and Jordan to lunch at her house. In an attempt to make Tom jealous, and to exact revenge for his affair, Daisy is highly secretive about her relationship with Gatsby. She even tells Gatsby that she loves him while Tom is in a distance which he hears. Daisy is taken back to East Egg, but during this time something very bad happens which leaves a terrible scar for all those readers. Gatsby allows Daisy to drive in order to calm her ragged nerves. Passing Wilson's garage, Daisy swerves to avoid another car and ends up hitting Myrtle; she is killed instantly. Nick advises Gatsby to leave town until the situation calms down or else he would be a suspect. Gatsby, however, refuses to leave: he remains in order to ensure that Daisy is safe.
Tom Buchanan tells him (George Wilson) that Gatsby was the driver of the fatal car. Wilson, who has decided that the driver of the car must also have been Myrtle's lover, shoots Gatsby before committing suicide himself.
With over 25 million copies sold this book has become a great read for those who enjoy this genre and also it's also become a teacher's favorite to teach in school.
The World of Shakespeare
From the great play of Hamlet to the beautiful and romantic Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare has become one of the world's best known play writer/ author. He is mostly known for the greatest and best play Romeo and Juliet in which made history and has been made into several different movies over the course of the year.
William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire and was baptised a few days later on 26 April 1564. His father, John Shakespeare, was a glove maker and wool merchant and his mother, Mary Arden, was the daughter of a well-to-do landowner from Wilmcote, South Warwickshire. Shakespeare was educated at the local King Edward VI Grammar School in Stratford. William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway ( NO NOT THE ACTRESS) on November 28, 1582, in Worcester, in Canterbury Province. Hathaway was from Shottery, a small village a mile west of Stratford. William was 18 and Anne was 26, and, as it turns out, pregnant. Their first child, a daughter they named Susanna, was born on May 26, 1583. Two years later, on February 2, 1585, twins Hamnet and Judith were born. Hamnet later died of unknown causes at age 11.
Shakespeare's only son, Hamnet, died in 1596 at the age of 11. His older daughter Susanna later married a well-to-do Stratford doctor, John Hall. Their daughter Elizabeth, Shakespeare's first grandchild, was born in 1608. In 1616, just months before his death, Shakespeare's daughter Judith married Thomas Quiney, a Stratford vintner.
Shakespeare’s first plays, believed to have been written before or around 1592, encompass all three of the main dramatic genres in the bard’s oeuvre: tragedy - "Titus Andronicus”, comedy -“The Two Gentlemen of Verona,” “The Comedy of Errors” and “The Taming of the Shrew”, and history - “Henry VI” trilogy and “Richard III”. Shakespeare was likely affiliated with several different theater companies when these early works debuted on the London stage. Between the mid-1590s and his retirement around 1612, Shakespeare penned the most famous of his 37-plus plays, including “Romeo and Juliet,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Hamlet,” “King Lear,” “Macbeth” and “The Tempest.”
It was the year 1609 when the sonnets in which were the last of Shakespeare's non-dramatic works were to be printed. Scholars are not certain when each of the 154 sonnets was composed, but evidence suggests that Shakespeare wrote sonnets throughout his career for a private readership. Shakespeare's first plays were written in the conventional style of the day. He wrote them in a stylized language that does not always spring naturally from the needs of the characters or the drama. Some of Shakespeare's known works include:
- Romeo and Juliet
- A Midsummer Night's Dream
- Julius Caesar
- Antony and Cleopatra
- As You Like It
- The Merchant Of Venice
- King Lear
- Winter's Tale
- Taming Of The Shrew
- The Tempest
- King Henry 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th
- King Richard 2nd and 3rd
As for his death which to this day is still a bit of a mystery, but an entry in the diary of John Ward, the vicar of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford (where Shakespeare is buried), tells us that Shakespeare and other collegues were drunk and he contracted a fever and pretty much just died. It should be noted though that a serious outbreak of typhus, known as the "new fever", in 1616 (the year Shakespeare died) was reported. Unfortunately, Shakespeare's death at the age of fifty-two will almost surely remain a mystery. We do know, however, that in a world where plague, syphilis, typhus, tuberculosis, smallpox, malaria, dysentery and toothaches shortened a Londoner's life to thirty-five years, Shakespeare got off quite well, leading a relatively long and healthy life.
Well there you go ladies and gentlemen, I guess my top picks on the greatest books every sold and the best authors. Hope you enjoyed reading. And yes sorry for the *SPOILER ALERTS*.
Have a good one! Happy reading! - M
Top Best Selling books
© 2015 Mahsa S