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Inferno

Divine Comedy: Book 1

Dante Alighieri

Inferno (Italian for "Hell") is the first part of Dante Alighieri's 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy. It is followed by Purgatorio and Paradiso. It is an allegory telling of the journey of Dante through what is largely the medieval concept of Hell, guided by the Roman poet Virgil. In the poem, Hell is depicted as nine circles of suffering located within the Earth. Allegorically, the Divine Comedy represents the journey of the soul towards God, with the Inferno describing the recognition and rejection of sin.

Note that the exact original date of publication is unknown.

Purgatorio

Divine Comedy: Book 2

Dante Alighieri

Purgatorio (Italian for "Purgatory") is the second part of Dante's Divine Comedy, following the Inferno, and preceding the Paradiso. The poem was written in the early 14th century. It is an allegory telling of the climb of Dante up the Mount of Purgatory, guided by the Roman poet Virgil. In the poem, Purgatory is depicted as a mountain in the Southern Hemisphere, consisting of a bottom section (Ante-Purgatory), seven levels of suffering and spiritual growth (associated with the seven deadly sins), and finally the Earthly Paradise at the top. Allegorically, the poem represents the Christian life, and in describing the climb Dante discusses the nature of sin, examples of vice and virtue, and moral issues in politics and in the Church. The poem outlines a theory that all sin arises from love - either perverted love directed towards others' harm, or deficient love, or the disordered love of good things.

Note that the exact original date of publication is unknown.

The Metamorphosis

Franz Kafka

Waking after a night of troubled dreams, Gregor is surprised to find himself trapped in the body of a hideous man-sized bug. As he lies on his shell and gazes into space, his mother and father begin calling to him from outside his bedroom door. He must get out of bed, they tell him. He has to go to work. They need his money to live. Gregor replies to them nervously, his voice sounding strange to his ears. He'll be out very soon, he says. He's just getting ready! But he can't keep saying that forever.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Junot Diaz

Oscar is a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd who--from the New Jersey home he shares with his old world mother and rebellious sister--dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and, most of all, finding love. But Oscar may never get what he wants. Blame the fukú--a curse that has haunted Oscar's family for generations, following them on their epic journey from Santo Domingo to the USA. Encapsulating Dominican-American history, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao opens our eyes to an astonishing vision of the contemporary American experience and explores the endless human capacity to persevere--and risk it all--in the name of love.

Paradiso

Divine Comedy: Book 3

Dante Alighieri

Paradiso (Italian for "Paradise" or "Heaven") is the third and final part of Dante's Divine Comedy, following the Inferno and the Purgatorio. It is an allegory telling of Dante's journey through Heaven, guided by Beatrice, who symbolises theology. In the poem, Paradise is depicted as a series of concentric spheres surrounding the earth, consisting of the Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the Fixed Stars, the Primum Mobile and finally, the Empyrean. It was written in the early 14th century. Allegorically, the poem represents the soul's ascent to God.

Note that the exact original date of publication is unknown.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Green Town: Book 3

Ray Bradbury

For those who still dream and remember, for those yet to experience the hypnotic power of its dark poetry: step inside - the show is about to begin...

It's the week before Hallowe'en, and Cooger and Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois. The siren song of the calliope entices all with promises of youth regained and dreams fulfilled, but everyone touched will be destroyed, for Mr Dark collects souls. And as two boys trembling on the brink of manhood set out to explore the mysteries of the dark carnival's smoke, mazes and mirrors, they will also discover the true price of innermost wishes . . .

Dragonfly in Amber

Outlander: Book 2

Diana Gabaldon

With her now-classic novel Outlander, Diana Gabaldon introduced two unforgettable characters - Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser-delighting readers with a story of adventure and love that spanned two centuries. Now Gabaldon returns to that extraordinary time and place in this vivid, powerful follow-up to Outlander....

For twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland's majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones ... about a love that transcends the boundaries of time ... and about James Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his....

Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire's spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart ... in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising ... and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves....

The Night Circus

Erin Morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway-a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love -- a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Voyager

Outlander: Book 3

Diana Gabaldon

In this rich, vibrant tale, Diana Gabaldon continues the story of Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser that began with the now-classic novel Outlander and continued in Dragonfly in Amber. Sweeping us from the battlefields of eighteenth-century Scotland to the exotic West Indies, Diana Gabaldon weaves magic once again in an exhilarating and utterly unforgettable novel....

Their love affair happened long ago by whatever measurement Claire Randall took. Two decades before, she had traveled back in time and into the arms of a gallant eighteenth-century Scot named Jamie Fraser. Then she returned to her own century to bear his child, believing him dead in the tragic battle of Culloden. Yet his memory has never lessened its hold on her ... and her body still cries out for him in her dreams.

When she discovers that Jamie may have survived, Claire must choose her destiny. And as time and space come full circle, she must find the courage to face what awaits her ... the deadly intrigues raging in a divided Scotland ... and the daring voyage into the dark unknown that lies beyond the standing stones.

The Broken Kingdoms

The Inheritance Trilogy: Book 2

N. K. Jemisin

In the city of Shadow, beneath the World Tree, alleyways shimmer with magic and godlings live hidden among mortalkind. Oree Shoth, a blind artist, takes in a strange homeless man on an impulse. This act of kindness engulfs Oree in a nightmarish conspiracy. Someone, somehow, is murdering godlings, leaving their desecrated bodies all over the city. And Oree's guest is at the heart of it. . .

Sleeping In Flame

The Answered Prayers Sextet: Book 2

Jonathan Carroll

Walker Easterling is a retired actor turned successful screenwriter living in the Vienna of strong coffee, fascinating friends, and mysterious cafes. When he falls in love with Maris York, a beautiful artist who creates cities, his life becomes alive in fantastic and unsettling ways. As Walker's love for Maris grows, his life gets more and more bizarre-he discovers he can see things happening just before they happen, and at the same time feels an incredibly strong tug from his past-so a friend steers him to Venasque, an odd little man reputed to be a powerful shaman. Venasque helps Walker discover and unravel his many interconnected past lives, and it is soon clear that an unresolved conflict from these past lives has resurfaced, and now threatens to undo Walker and Maris's love.

War for the Oaks

Emma Bull

Acclaimed by critics and readers on its first publication in 1987, winner of the Locus Award for Best First Novel, Emma Bull's War for the Oaks is one of the novels that has defined modern urban fantasy.

Eddi McCandry sings rock and roll. But her boyfriend just dumped her, her band just broke up, and life could hardly be worse. Then, walking home through downtown Minneapolis on a dark night, she finds herself drafted into an invisible war between the faerie folk. Now, more than her own survival is at riskā€”and her own preferences, musical and personal, are very much beside the point.

By turns tough and lyrical, fabulous and down-to-earth, War for the Oaks is a fantasy novel that's as much about this world as about the other one. It's about real love and loyalty, about real music and musicians, about false glamour and true art. It will change the way you hear and see your own daily life.

Drawing Blood

Poppy Z. Brite

Zach is a computer hacker who looks like Edward Scissorhands, and Trevor, a comics artist, is traumatized by his father's murder of his mother and brother 20 years previously. Both on the run from their pasts, they end up as lovers in the town of Missing Mile.

A Child Across the Sky

The Answered Prayers Sextet: Book 3

Jonathan Carroll

Weber Gregston and Philip Strayhorn are best friends. They were at college together; they struggle as nobodies in Hollywood together. Weber soon becomes the most acclaimed director of his generation. Phil is unrecognised for years, and then makes a series of notorious horror films. He has everything; love, fame, money.

Then he takes a gun and blows his head off. Why? Weber hopes the answer is on the video tapes that Phil has left him. But when he plays them, he finds messages from beyond the grave. Step by step, Weber learns that the evil Phil portrayed in his last film is not just slasher gore. He has created something which threatens his friends' lives. And if Weber doesn't put it right, and fast, that evil will extend far beyond a handful of people in Hollywood.

Exploring love and cruelty, creation and ambition, A Child Across the Sky is a brilliant tale of wonder and fear. It is also one of the most important novels of fantastic fiction in recent years.

The Land of Laughs

Jonathan Carroll

Have you ever loved a magical book above all others? Have you ever wished the magic were real? Welcome to The Land of Laughs. A novel about how terrifying that would be.

Schoolteacher Thomas Abbey, unsure son of a film star, doesn't know who he is or what he wants--in life, in love, or in his relationship with the strange and intense Saxony Gardner. What he knows is that in his whole life nothing has touched him so deeply as the novels of Marshall France, a reclusive author of fabulous children's tales who died at forty-four.

Now Thomas and Saxony have come to France's hometown, the dreamy Midwestern town of Galen, Missouri, to write France's biography. Warned in advance that France's family may oppose them, they're surprised to find France's daughter warmly welcoming instead. But slowly they begin to see that something fantastic and horrible is happening. The magic of Marshall France has extended far beyond the printed page... leaving them with a terrifying task to undertake.

Siege and Storm

The Grisha Universe: The Grisha: Book 2

Leigh Bardugo

Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can't outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling's game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her--or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

Siege and Storm is the second book in The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things

Kingkiller Chronicles

Patrick Rothfuss

The University, a renowned bastion of knowledge, attracts the brightest minds to unravel the mysteries of enlightened sciences like artificing and alchemy. Yet deep below its bustling halls lies a complex and cavernous maze of abandoned rooms and ancient passageways - and in the heart of it all lives Auri.

Formerly a student at the University, now Auri spends her days tending the world around her. She has learned that some mysteries are best left settled and safe. No longer fooled by the sharp rationality so treasured by the University, Auri sees beyond the surface of things, into subtle dangers and hidden names.

At once joyous and haunting, THE SLOW REGARD OF SILENT THINGS is a rich, atmospheric and lyrical tale, featuring one of the most beloved characters from Rothfuss' acclaimed fantasy series.

Outside the Dog Museum

The Answered Prayers Sextet: Book 4

Jonathan Carroll

Harry Radcliffe is a brilliant prize-winning architect---witty and remarkable. He's also a self-serving opportunist, ready to take advantage of whatever situations, and women, come his way. But now, newly divorced and having had an inexplicable nervous breakdown, Harry is being wooed by the extremely wealthy Sultan of Saru to design a billion-dollar dog museum. In Saru, he finds himself in a world even madder and more unreal than the one he left behind, and as his obsession grows, the powers of magic weave around him, and the implications of his strange undertaking grow more ominous and astounding....

Bones of the Moon

The Answered Prayers Sextet: Book 1

Jonathan Carroll

Cullen James is a young woman whose life dictates her dreams-and whose dreams control her life.

In her first dream, she found the perfect man-and the same thing promptly happened in life. Now, she has begun to dream dreams set in Rondua, a fantasy world of high adventure, full of tests of her courage and strength. Slowly and quietly, her dream world is spilling over into her New York City reality and beginning to threaten everything she loves in life. Her friends are gathered to help her-but even her newfound courage may not be enough.

The Dark Half

Stephen King

Creating George Stark was easy. Getting rid of him won't be...

The sparrows are flying again. The idea - unbidden, inexplicable - haunts the edge of Thad Beaumont's mind.

Thad should be happy. For years now it is his secret persona 'George Stark', author of super-violent pulp thrillers, who has paid the family bills. But now, Thad is writing seriously again under his own name, and his menacing pseudonym has been buried forever.

And yet... the sparrows are flying again, and something is terribly wrong in Thad Beaumont's world.

The Mothers of Voorhisville

Mary Rickert

Nebula-nominated Novella

From multiple World Fantasy Award winner and Nebula, Bram Stoker, International Horror Guild, Sturgeon, and British Science Fiction Award nominated author Mary Rickert comes a gorgeous and terrifying vision of the Mothers of Voorhisville, who love their babies just as intensely as any mother anywhere. Of course they do! And nothing in this world will change that, even if every single one of those tiny babies was born with an even tinier set of wings.

Anthologized in Paula Guran's The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Novellas 2015.

Read this story online for free at Tor.com.

White Apples

Vincent Ettrich: Book 1

Jonathan Carroll

Vincent Ettrich, a genial philanderer, discovers he has died and come back to life, but he has no idea why, or what the experience was like. Gradually, he discovers he was brought back by his true love, Isabelle, because she is pregnant with their child - a child who, if raised correctly, will play a crucial role in saving the universe.

But to be brought up right, the child must learn what Vincent learned on the other side - if only Vincent can remember it. On a fathers love and struggle may depend the future of everything that is.

By turns quirky, romantic, awesome, and irresistible, White Apples is a tale of love, fatherhood, death, and life that will leave you seeing the world with new eyes.

The Spirit Ring

Lois McMaster Bujold

Fiametta Beneforte dreamed of making beautiful and enchanted objets d'art, but alas her magician-goldsmith father was more likely to have her scrub the kiln than study magic. After all, it was a waste to train a mere daughter beyond the needs of the moment.

Thur Ochs dreamed of escaping the icy mines of Bruinwald. But the letter from his brother Uri arranging his apprenticeship to Master Beneforte was not the only force that drew him over the mountains to the Duchy of Montefoglia...

A betrayal at a banquet plunges Thur and Fiametta into a struggle against men who would use vile magic for vile ends. Needs of this desperate moment will require all their wits, all their talents, and all their courage, if they are to rescue both Montefoglia and the souls of those they most love.

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

Stephen King

The world had teeth and it could bite you with them anytime it wanted. Trisha McFarland discovered this when she was nine years old. Lost in the woods.

Trisha has only veered a little way off the path. But in her panic to get back to her family, she takes a turning that leads into the tangled undergrowth, deeper into the woods.

At first it's just the bugs, midges and mosquitoes. Then comes the hunger. For comfort she tunes her Walkman into broadcasts of the Red Sox baseball games and the performances of her hero Tom Gordon.

As darkness begins to fall and Trisha struggles for survival and a way out, she realises that she is not alone. There's something else in the woods--watching. Waiting...

Shadow and Bone

The Grisha Universe: The Grisha: Book 1

Leigh Bardugo

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life - a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha, and the secrets of her heart.

Naked Lunch

William S. Burroughs

Naked Lunch is one of the most important novels of the twentieth century, a book that redefined not just literature but American culture. An unnerving tale of a narcotics addict unmoored in New York, Tangiers, and ultimately a nightmarish wasteland known as interzone, its formal innovation, formerly taboo subject matter, and tour de force execution have exerted their influence on the work of authors like Thomas Pynchon, J. G. Ballard, and William Gibson; on the relationship of art and obscenity; and on the shape of music, film and media generally. Naked Lunch: The Restored Text includes many editorial corrections on the text, several essays he wrote over the years about the book, and an appendix of 20 percent new material and alternate drafts from the original manuscript, which predates the first published version. For the Burroughs enthusiast and the neophyte, this volume is a valuable and fresh experience of this classic of our culture.