How to Read and Why by Harold Bloom

Information is endlessly available to us; where shall wisdom be found?" is the crucial question with which renowned literary critic Harold Bloom begins this impassioned book on the pleasures and benefits of reading well. For more than forty years, Bloom has transformed college students into lifelong readers with his unrivaled love for literature. Now, at a time when faster and easier electronic media threatens to eclipse the practice of reading, Bloom draws on his experience as critic, teacher, and prolific reader to plumb the great books for their sustaining wisdom. - Amazon

  1. Hamlet by William Shakespeare

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    The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, or more simply Hamlet, is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1599 and 1601. The play, set in Denmark, recounts how Pri...


  2. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

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    Alonso Quixano, a retired country gentleman in his fifties, lives in an unnamed section of La Mancha with his niece and a housekeeper. He has become obsessed with books of chivalry, and believes th...


  3. The Sonnets by William Shakespeare

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    Shakespeare's sonnets, or simply The Sonnets, is a collection of poems in sonnet form written by William Shakespeare that deal with such themes as time, love, beauty and mutability. They were proba...


  4. Paradise Lost by John Milton

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    Paradise Lost is an epic poem in blank verse by the 17th-century English poet John Milton. It was originally published in 1667 in ten books. A second edition followed in 1674, redivided into twelve...


  5. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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    The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (originally The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere) is the longest major poem by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, written in 1797–98 and published in 1798 in the ...


  6. Lyrical Ballads by William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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    Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems is a collection of poems by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, first published in 1798 and generally considered to have marked the beginning of ...

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  7. Emma by Jane Austen

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    Before she began the novel, Austen wrote, "I am going to take a heroine whom no-one but myself will much like."[1] In the very first sentence she introduces the title character as "Emma Woodhouse, ...


  8. The Poems of John Keats by John Keats

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    John Keats (/ˈkiːts/; 31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821) was an English Romantic poet. He was one of the main figures of the second generation of Romantic poets along with Lord Byron and Percy Bys...


  9. The Poems of Percy Bysshe Shelley by Percy Bysshe Shelley

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    Percy Bysshe Shelley (/ˈpɜrsi ˈbɪʃ ˈʃɛli/;[2] 4 August 1792 – 8 July 1822) was one of the major English Romantic poets, and is regarded by critics as amongst the finest lyric poets in the English l...


  10. The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake by William Blake

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    William Blake (28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827) was an English painter, poet and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of t...


  11. The Charterhouse of Parma by Stendhal

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    Balzac considered it the most important French novel of his time. André Gide later deemed it the greatest of all French novels, and Henry James judged it to be a masterpiece. Now, in a major litera...


  12. The Prelude by William Wordsworth

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    The Prelude; or, Growth of a Poet's Mind is an autobiographical, "philosophical" poem in blank verse by the English poet William Wordsworth. Wordsworth wrote the first version of the poem when he w...


  13. The Poems of Emily Bronte by Emily Brontë

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    This new edition of Emily Bronte's poetryóthe first for 50 yearsócontains all those poems which she herself chose to keep. It is based on the texts of the three notebooks into which she transcribed...

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  14. Moby Dick by Herman Melville

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    First published in 1851, Melville's masterpiece is, in Elizabeth Hardwick's words, "the greatest novel in American literature." The saga of Captain Ahab and his monomaniacal pursuit of the white wh...


  15. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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    Great Expectations is written in the genre of "bildungsroman" or the style of book that follows the story of a man or woman in their quest for maturity, usually starting from childhood and ending i...


  16. The Works of Walter Savage Landor by Walter Savage Landor

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    Walter Savage Landor (30 January 1775 – 17 September 1864) was an English writer and poet. His best known works were the prose Imaginary Conversations, and the poem Rose Aylmer, but the critical ac...

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  17. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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    It is a murder story, told from a murder;s point of view, that implicates even the most innocent reader in its enormities. It is a cat-and-mouse game between a tormented young killer and a cheerful...


  18. Stories of Guy de Maupassant by Guy de Maupassant

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    Guy de Maupassant was a master of the short story. This collection displays his lively diversity, with tales that vary in theme and tone, ranging from tragedy and satire to comedy and farce. In a l...

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  19. The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

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    The story centres on Isabel Archer, an attractive American whom circumstances have brought to Europe. Isabel refuses the offer of marriage to an English peer and to a bulldog-like New Englander, to...


  20. A Reckless Character and Other Stories by Ivan Turgenev

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    This fine collection of Turgenev's shorter works includes "A Reckless Character," "The Dream," "Father Alexyei's Story," "Odd Portraits," "The Song of Love Triumphant," "Clara Militch," and a large...

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  21. Robert Browning's Poetry by Robert Browning

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    Works by modern and Victorian critics are presented together with poems from each stage of Browning's literary career.

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  22. Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen

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    Hedda Gabler is a play first published in 1890 by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. The play premiered in 1891 in Germany to negative reviews, but has subsequently gained recognition as a classic ...


  23. Poems of Alfred Lord Tennyson by Alfred Lord Tennyson

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    Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, FRS (6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892) was Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland during much of Queen Victoria's reign and remains one of the most popular Br...


  24. The Poems of Walt Whitman by Walt Whitman

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    Walter "Walt" Whitman (/ˈwɪtmən/; May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) was an American poet, essayist and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, in...


  25. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

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    The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People is a play by Oscar Wilde. First performed on 14 February 1895 at the St James's Theatre in London, it is a farcical comedy in wh...


  26. In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust

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    Swann's Way, the first part of A la recherche de temps perdu, Marcel Proust's seven-part cycle, was published in 1913. In it, Proust introduces the themes that run through the entire work. The narr...


  27. The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann

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    The Magic Mountain is a novel by Thomas Mann, first published in November 1924. It is widely considered to be one of the most influential works of 20th century German literature.


  28. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

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    The book is told in stream of consciousness writing style by 15 different narrators in 59 chapters. It is the story of the death of Addie Bundren and her family's quest—noble or selfish—to honor he...


  29. Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanael West

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    First published in 1933, Miss Lonelyhearts remains one of the most shocking works of 20th century American literature, as unnerving as a glob of black bile vomited up at a church social: empty, bla...

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  30. Collected Fiction by Jorge Luis Borges

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    From his 1935 debut with The Universal History of Iniquity, through his immensely influential collections Ficciones and The Aleph, these enigmatic, elaborate, imaginative inventions display Borges'...


  31. The Collected Poems of A. E. Housman by A. E. Housman

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    Presents the texts, authorized in 1939, of the modern British writer's poems and classical translations, providing insight into his literary style and concerns.

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  32. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

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    The novel addresses many of the social and intellectual issues facing African-Americans in the early twentieth century, including black nationalism, the relationship between black identity and Marx...


  33. Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson

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    Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) was an American poet. Born in Amherst, Massachusetts, to a successful family with strong community ties, she lived a mostly introverted ...


  34. The Stories of Anton Chekhov by Anton Chekhov

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    Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was a Russian short-story writer, playwright and physician, considered to be one of the greatest short-story writers in the history of world literature. His career as a dram...


  35. Gogol's Wife by Tommaso Landolfi


  36. The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon

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    The shortest of Pynchon's novels and often considered his most accessible, the book is about a woman, Oedipa Maas, possibly unearthing the centuries-old conflict between two mail distribution compa...


  37. The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor by Flannery O'Connor

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    The publication of this extraordinary volume firmly established Flannery O'Connor's monumental contribution to American fiction. There are thirty-one stories here in all, including twelve that do n...


  38. Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

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    Invisible Cities (Italian: Le città invisibili) is a novel by Italian writer Italo Calvino. It was published in Italy in 1972 by Giulio Einaudi Editore.


  39. The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov by Vladimir Nabokov

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    From the writer who shocked and delighted the world with his novels Lolita, Pale Fire, and Ada, or Ardor, and so many others, comes a magnificent collection of stories. Written between the 1920s an...

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  40. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

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    It follows the life of Macon "Milkman" Dead III, an African-American male living in Michigan, from birth to adulthood. The main theme in the novel is Milkman's quest for identity as a black man in ...


  41. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

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    Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West is a 1985 Western novel by American author Cormac McCarthy. It was McCarthy's fifth book, and was published by Random House. The narrative foll...


  42. Stories of Ernest Hemingway by Ernest Hemingway

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    Before he gained wide fame as a novelist, Ernest Hemingway established his literary reputation with his short stories. This collection, The Short Stories, originally published in 1938, is definitiv...

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