This book contains the following works arranged alphabetically by authors last names - The Divine Comedy [Dante Alighieri] - Emma [Jane Austen] - Persuasion [Jane Austen] - Pride and Prejudice [Jane Austen] - Father Goriot [Honoré de Balzac] - Jane Eyre [Charlotte Brontë] - The Tenant of Wildfell Hall [Anne Brontë] - Wuthering Heights [Emily Brontë] - The Way of All Flesh [Samuel Butler] - Don Quixote [Miguel de Cervantes] - Heart of Darkness [Joseph Conrad] - Nostromo [Joseph Conrad] - Moll Flanders [Daniel Defoe] - Bleak House [Charles Dickens] - Great Expectations [Charles Dickens] - The Brothers Karamazov [Fyodor Dostoyevsky] - Crime and Punishment [Fyodor Dostoyevsky] - The Idiot [Fyodor Dostoyevsky] - The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes [Arthur Conan Doyle] - The Count of Monte Cristo [Alexandre Dumas] - Daniel Deronda [George Eliot] - Middlemarch [George Eliot] - Madame Bovary [Gustave Flaubert] - The Yellow Wallpaper [Charlotte Perkins Gilman] - Dead Souls [Nikolai Gogol] - Grimm's Fairy Tales [The Brothers Grimm] - The Iliad [Homer] - The Odyssey [Homer] - Les Misérables [Victor Hugo] - The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Washington Irving - The Portray of a Lady [Henry James] - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man [James Joyce] - Sons and Lovers [D. H. Lawrence] - The Phantom of the Opera [Gaston Leroux] - The Call of the Wild [Jack London] - The Great God Pan [Arthur Machen] - Moby Dick [Herman Melville] - Swann's Way [Marcel Proust] - Frankenstein [Mary Shelley] - The Red and the Black [Stendhal] - The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr.
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James Joyce was born in Dublin on 2 February 1882, the eldest of ten children in a family which, after brief prosperity, collapsed into poverty. He was none the less educated at the best Jesuit schools and then at University College, Dublin, and displayed considerable academic and literary ability.
Although he spent most of his adult life outside Ireland, Joyce's psychological and fictional universe is firmly rooted in his native Dublin, the city which provides the settings and much of the subject matter for all his fiction.
He is best known for his landmark novel Ulysses (1922) and its controversial successor Finnegans Wake (1939), as well as the short story collection Dubliners (1914) and the semi-autobiographical novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916). James Joyce died in Zurich, on 13 January 1941.
D. H. Lawrence, born in England in 1885, is one of the key figures in literary modernism. Among his most notable novels are Sons and Lovers (1913), Women in Love (1920) and Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928). Kangaroo (1923) was published the year after Lawrence and his wife, Frieda, spent three months in Australia. Lawrence died in France in 1930.
George Eliot was born Mary Ann Evans in 1819. Her father was the land agent of Arbury Hall in Warwickshire, in the library of which Eliot embarked upon a brilliant self-education. She moved to London in 1850 and shone in its literary circles.
It was, however, her novels of English rural life that brought her fame, starting with Adam Bede, published under her new pen name in 1859, and reaching a zenith with Middlemarch in 1871. It is indicative of the respect and love that she inspired in her most devoted readers that Queen Victoria was one of them. She died in 1880.
Jane Austen was born on 16 December 1775 at Steventon, near Basingstoke, the seventh child of the rector of the parish. She lived with her family at Steventon until they moved to Bath when her father retired in 1801. After his death in 1805, she moved around with her mother; in 1809, they settled in Chawton, near Alton, Hampshire. Here she remained, except for a few visits to London, until in May 1817 she moved to Winchester to be near her doctor. There she died on 18 July 1817.
Jane Austen was extremely modest about her own genius, describing her work to her nephew, Edward, as 'the little bit (two Inches wide) of Ivory, on which I work with so fine a Brush, as produces little effect after much labour'.
As a girl she wrote stories, including burlesques of popular romances. Her works were published only after much revision, four novels being published in her lifetime.
These are Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1815). Two other novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, were published posthumously in 1817 with a biographical notice by her brother, Henry Austen, the first formal announcement of her authorship. Persuasion was written in a race against failing health in 1815-16. She also left two earlier compositions, a short epistolary novel, Lady Susan, and an unfinished novel, The Watsons. At the time of her death, she was working on a new novel, Sanditon, a fragmentary draft of which survives.
Charles Dickens was born in 1812 and became the most popular novelist of the Victorian era.
A prolific writer, he published more than a dozen novels in his lifetime, including Oliver Twist, Great Expectations and Hard Times, most of which have been adapted many times over for radio, stage and screen.
Born in Dublin, Ireland, on November 8, 1847, Bram Stoker published his first literary work, The Duties of Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland, a handbook in legal administration, in 1879.
Turning to fiction later in life, Stoker published his masterpiece, Dracula, in 1897. Deemed a classic horror novel not long after its release, Dracula has continued to garner acclaim for more than a century, inspiring the creation of hundreds of film, theatrical and literary adaptations.
In addition to Dracula, Stoker published more than a dozen novels before his death in 1912.
Russian author, a master of realistic fiction and one of the world's greatest novelists.
Tolstoy is best known for his two longest works, War and Peace and Anna Karenina, which are commonly regarded as among the finest novels ever written. War and Peace in particular seems virtually to define this form for many readers and critics. Among Tolstoy's shorter works, The Death of Ivan Ilyich is usually classed among the best examples of the novella. Especially during his last three decades Tolstoy also achieved world renown as a moral and religious teacher. His doctrine of nonresistance to evil had an important influence on Gandhi. Although Tolstoy's religious ideas no longer command the respect they once did, interest in his life and personality has, if anything, increased over the years.
Most readers will agree with the assessment of the 19th-century British poet and critic Matthew Arnold that a novel by Tolstoy is not a work of art but a piece of life; the 20th-century Russian author Isaak Babel commented that, if the world could write by itself, it would write like Tolstoy. Critics of diverse schools have agreed that somehow Tolstoy's works seem to elude all artifice. Most have stressed his ability to observe the smallest changes of consciousness and to record the slightest movements of the body. What another novelist would describe as a single act of consciousness, Tolstoy convincingly breaks down into a series of infinitesimally small steps. According to the English writer Virginia Woolf, who took for granted that Tolstoy was “the greatest of all novelists,” these observational powers elicited a kind of fear in readers, who “wish to escape from the gaze which Tolstoy fixes on us.”
Those who visited Tolstoy as an old man also reported feelings of great discomfort when he appeared to understand their unspoken thoughts. It was commonplace to describe him as godlike in his powers and titanic in his struggles to escape the limitations of the human condition. Some viewed Tolstoy as the embodiment of nature and pure vitality, others saw him as the incarnation of the world's conscience, but for almost all who knew him or read his works, he was not just one of the greatest writers who ever lived but a living symbol of the search for life's meaning.
Emily Bronte was born at Thornton, in Yorkshire, in 1818 and died in 1848. She was the younger sister of Charlotte Bronte and the fifth of six children.
Like her sister, Emily worked as a governess and later attended a private school in Brussels. Emily published poetry under a male pseudonym to avoid prejudice against female writers but Wuthering Heights was her only novel.
Dante Alighieri was born in Florence Italy in 1265. In 1301, a political dispute lead to his exile from Florence.
Over the next few years he made his home in Verona, Lucca and other cities. By 1310 he had written Inferno and Purgatorio, the first two books of his Divine Comedy.
He wrote the third and concluding book, Paradiso, in the years after he found sanctuary in Ravenna in 1318.
An allegorical account of his wanderings in a spiritual wilderness and eventual salvation under the guidance of his beloved Beatrice, The Divine Comedy is recognised as Dante's masterwork and a landmark of world literature. He died in exile in 1321 and was buried in Ravenna.
Alexandre Dumas was born July 24, 1802, at Villiers-Cotterets, France, the son of Napoleon's famous mulatto general, Dumas.
Alexandre Dumas began writing at an early age and saw his first success in a play he wrote entitled Henri III et sa Cour (1829). A prolific author, Dumas was also an adventurer and took part in the Revolution of 1830.
Dumas is most famous for his brilliant historical novels, which he wrote with collaborators, mainly Auguste Maquet, and which were serialized in the popular press of the day.
His most popular works are The Three Musketeers (1844), The Count of Monte Cristo (1844-45), and The Man in Iron Mask (1848-50). Dumas made and lost several fortunes, and died penniless on December 5, 1870.
Nikolai Gogol was a Russian writer and dramatist. He was born in the Ukraine in 1809.
Victor Hugo's classic novel of love & tragedy during the French Revolution is reborn in this fantastic new manga adaptation by Crystal S. Chan!
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William Makepeace Thackeray was born in Calcutta in 1811. On his way to England from India, the small Thackeray saw Napoleon on St Helena.
In 1837, Thackeray came to London and became a regular contributor to Fraser's Magazine. From 1842 to 1851, he was on the staff of Punch, and this was when he wrote Vanity Fair, the work which placed him in the first rank of novelists. He completed it when he was thirty-seven.
In 1857, Thackeray stood unsuccessfully as a parliamentary candidate for Oxford. In 1859 he took on the editorship of the Cornhill Magazine. He resigned the position in 1862 because kindliness and sensitivity of spirit made it difficult for him to turn down contributors.
Thackeray drew on his own experiences for his writing. He had a great weakness for gambling, a great desire for worldly success, and over his life hung the tragic illness of his wife Isabella, with whom he had hree daughters, one dying in infancy.
Thackeray died December 24, 1863. He was buried in Kensal Green, and a bust by Marochetti was put up to his memory in Westminster Abbey.
Gustave Flaubert was born in Rouen in 1821, the son of a distinguished surgeon and a doctor's daughter. After three unhappy years of studying law in Paris, an epileptic attack ushered him into a life of writing. Madame Bovary won instant acclaim upon book publication in 1857, but Flaubert's frank display of adultery in bourgeois France saw him go on trial for immorality, only narrowly escaping conviction.
Both Salammbo (1862) and The Sentimental Education (1869) were poorly received, and Flaubert's genius was not publicly recognized until Three Tales (1877). His reputation among his fellow writers, however, was more constant and those who admired him included Turgenev, George Sand, Victor Hugo and Zola. Flaubert's obsession with his art is legendary: he would work for days on a single page, obsessively attuning sentences, seeking always le mot juste in a quest for both beauty and precise observation.
His style moved Edmund Wilson to say,'Flaubert, by a single phrase - a notation of some commonplace object - can convey all the poignance of human desire, the pathos of human defeat; his description of some homely scene will close with a dying fall that reminds one of great verse or music.' Flaubert died suddenly in May 1880, leaving his last work, Bouvard and Pécuchet, unfinished.
Jonathan Swift (1667 – 1745) was a poet, satirist and clergyman; his parents were English but he was born in Dublin. His father died before he was born and his mother soon returned to England. Jonathan was brought up by his nurse in Cumbria and later by his Uncle Godwin back in Dublin. He was very unhappy as he was treated like the poor relative who had kindly been given a home. Jonathan went to Trinity College, Dublin where he was an unruly student and only just scraped through the examinations.
Through family connections he went to work in the home of Sir William Temple in Surrey, as secretary and later became both friend and editor. A young girl called Esther was also living in Sir William's house; she became Swift's closest friend and perhaps his wife. There is a mystery surrounding the relationship – Swift clearly loved her but we don't know whether or not they ever married.
Jonathan Swift's cousin, the poet John Dryden, told him he would never be a poet, but he soon became known as a poet and writer. He wrote many political pamphlets and was sometimes known as 'the mad parson'. He became dean of St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin in 1713 and became popular in Ireland as a patriotic writer.
Swift was always afraid of madness and often suffered from depression; he suffered serious ill health in his last years. He wrote many volumes of prose and poetry but his best-known work is Gulliver's Travels in which he turned 'traveller's tales' into a biting satire on contemporary life. It has appealed to a wide range of readers over the years, including in its abridged form many children. As well as being a satire it is an exciting story, funny and very inventive.
Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name, Mark Twain, was born on November 30, 1835, in the tiny village of Florida, Missouri.
Writing grand tales about Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn and the mighty Mississippi River, Mark Twain explored the American soul with wit, buoyancy, and a sharp eye for truth. He became nothing less than a national treasure.
Gaston Leroux was born on 6 May 1868 in Paris and after school in Normandy, he returned to Paris to study law. His extreme gambling is well-documented after he squandered the millions he had inherited, narrowly escaping bankruptcy. He worked as a court reporter and theatre critic before landing a job as an international correspondent for Le Matin.
During this time Leroux travelled to Russia to experience and report on the Russian Revolution. In 1907 he gave up journalism to become a writer, and quickly found success with Le Mystore de la Chambre Jaune (1908). He became well-known for his popular and acclaimed crime and thriller novels, but Leroux also wrote poetry and short fiction.
His most famous work, Le FantPme de l'OpUra (The Phantom of the Opera), was inspired by a tour of the cellars at the Paris Opera, and published in 1911. The story has been adapted for film and, most notably, for Andrew Lloyd Webber's long-running musical. Gaston Leroux died on 15 April 1927.
Daniel Defoe was a Londoner, born in 1660 at St Giles, Cripplegate, and son of James Foe, a tallow-chandler. He changed his name to Defoe from c. 1695. He was educated for the Presbyterian Ministry at Morton's Academy for Dissenters at Newington Green, but in 1682 he abandoned this plan and became a hosiery merchant in Cornhill. After serving briefly as a soldier in the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion, he became well established as a merchant and travelled widely in England, as well as on the Continent.
Between 1697 and 1701 he served as a secret agent for William III in England and Scotland, and between 1703 and 1714 for Harley and other ministers. During the latter period he also, single-handed, produced the Review, a pro-government newspaper. A prolific and versatile writer he produced some 500 books on a wide variety of topics, including politics, geography, crime, religion, economics, marriage, psychology and superstition. He delighted in role-playing and disguise, a skill he used to great effect as a secret agent, and in his writing he often adopted a pseudonym or another personality for rhetorical impact.
His first extant political tract (against James II) was published in 1688, and in 1701 appeared his satirical poem The True-Born Englishman, which was a bestseller. Two years later he was arrested for The Shortest-Way with the Dissenters, an ironical satire on High Church extremism, committed to Newgate and pilloried. He turned to fiction relatively late in life and in 1719 published his great imaginative work, Robinson Crusoe. This was followed in 1722 by Moll Flanders and A Journal of the Plague Year, and in 1724 by his last novel, Roxana.
His other works include A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain, a guide-book in three volumes (1724–6; abridged Penguin edition, 1965), The Complete English Tradesman (1726), Augusta Triumphans, (1728), A Plan of the English Commerce (1728) and The Complete English Gentleman (not published until 1890). He died on 24 April 1731. Defoe had a great influence on the development of the English novel and many consider him to be the first true novelist.
When Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm set out to collect stories in the early 1800s, their goal was not to entertain children but to preserve Germanic folklore and the hard life of European peasants was reflected in the tales they discovered.
However, once the brothers saw how the stories entranced young readers, they began softening some of the harsher aspects to make them more suitable for children.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was born on August 30, 1797, into a life of personal tragedy. In 1816, she married the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and that summer traveled with him and a host of other Romantic intellectuals to Geneva.
Her greatest achievement was piecing together one of the most terrifying and renowned stories of all time: Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. Shelley conceived Frankenstein in, according to her, "a waking dream."
This vision was simply of a student kneeling before a corpse brought to life. Yet this tale of a mad creator and his abomination has inspired a multitude of storytellers and artists. She died on February 1, 1851.,
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94) was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He studied law but preferred writing and in 1881 was inspired by his stepson to write Treasure Island.
Other famous adventure stories followed including Kidnapped, as well as the famous collection of poems for children, A Child's Garden of Verses. Robert Louis Stevenson is buried on the island of Samoa.
Arthur Machen (Arthur Llewelyn Jones), a Welsh author of supernatural, fantasy, and horror fiction, was born on March 3, 1863. He grew up in Caerleon, Monmouthshire, and attended boarding school at Hereford Cathedral School.
He moved to London in 1881 and worked as a journalist, children's tutor, and publisher's clerk, finding time to write at night. By 1894, Machen had his first major success.
The Great God Pan was published by John Lane, and despite widespread criticism for its sexual and horrific content, it sold well and went into a second edition.
In the 1920s Machen's work became immensely popular in the United States, but Machen experienced increasing poverty; he was saved in 1931 by receiving a Civil List pension from the British government. Arthur Machen died on March 30, 1947.
Henry James was born in New York in 1843 and was educated in Europe and America. He left Harvard Law School in 1863, after a year's attendance, to concentrate on writing, and from 1869 he began to make prolonged visits to Europe, eventually settling in England in 1876.
His literary output was prodigious and of the highest quality: more than ten outstanding novels, including The Portrait of a Lady and The American; countless novellas and short stories; as well as innumerable essays, letters, and other pieces of critical prose. Known by contemporary fellow novelists as 'the Master', James died in Kensington, London, in 1916.
Washington Irving was born in 1783 in New York City. In addition to writing fiction, Irving studied law, worked for his family's business in England and wrote essays for periodicals.
Some of his most famous tales, including Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, were first published under the pseudonym Geoffrey Crayon.
We know very little about the author of The Odyssey and its companion tale, The Iliad. Most scholars agree that Homer was Greek; those who try to identify his origin on the basis of dialect forms in the poems tend to choose as his homeland either Smyrna, now the Turkish city known as Izmir, or Chios, an island in the eastern Aegean Sea. According to legend, Homer was blind, though scholarly evidence can neither confirm nor contradict the point.
The ongoing debate about who Homer was, when he lived, and even if he wrote The Odyssey and The Iliad is known as the "Homeric question." Classicists do agree that these tales of the fall of the city of Troy (Ilium) in the Trojan War (The Iliad) and the aftermath of that ten-year battle (The Odyssey) coincide with the ending of the Mycenaean period around 1200 BCE (a date that corresponds with the end of the Bronze Age throughout the Eastern Mediterranean). The Mycenaeans were a society of warriors and traders; beginning around 1600 BCE, they became a major power in the Mediterranean. Brilliant potters and architects, they also developed a system of writing known as Linear B, based on a syllabary, writing in which each symbol stands for a syllable.
Scholars disagree on when Homer lived or when he might have written The Odyssey. Some have placed Homer in the late-Mycenaean period, which means he would have written about the Trojan War as recent history. Close study of the texts, however, reveals aspects of political, material, religious, and military life of the Bronze Age and of the so-called Dark Age, as the period of domination by the less-advanced Dorian invaders who usurped the Mycenaeans is known. But how, other scholars argue, could Homer have created works of such magnitude in the Dark Age, when there was no system of writing? Herodotus, the ancient Greek historian, placed Homer sometime around the ninth century BCE, at the beginning of the Archaic period, in which the Greeks adopted a system of writing from the Phoenicians and widely colonized the Mediterranean. And modern scholarship shows that the most recent details in the poems are datable to the period between 750 and 700 BCE.
No one, however, disputes the fact that The Odyssey (and The Iliad as well) arose from oral tradition. Stock phrases, types of episodes, and repeated phrases such as "early, rose-fingered dawn" bear the mark of epic storytelling. Scholars agree, too, that this tale of the Greek hero Odysseus's journey and adventures as he returned home from Troy to Ithaca is a work of the greatest historical significance and, indeed, one of the foundations of Western literature.
Sun Tzu is a honorific title bestowed upon Sūn Wu (c. 544-496 BC), the author of The Art of War, an immensely influential ancient Chinese book on military strategy.
He is also one of the earliest realists in international relations theory. In the author's name, Sūn Wu, the character wu, meaning "military", is the same as the character in wu shu, or martial art. Sun Wu also has a courtesy name, Chang Qing (Cháng Qīng).
Jack London (1876 - 1916), lived a life rather like one of his adventure stories. He was born John Chaney, the son of a travelling Irish-American fortune-teller and Flora Wellman, the outcast of a rich family. By the time Jack was a year old, Flora had married a grocer called John London and settled into a life of poverty in Pennsylvania. As Jack grew up he managed to escape from his grim surroundings into books borrowed from the local library - his reading was guided by the librarian.
At fifteen Jack left home and travelled around North America as a tramp - he was once sent to prison for thirty days on a charge of vagrancy. At nineteen he could drink and curse as well as any boatman in California! He never lost his love of reading and even returned to education and gained entry into the University of California. He soon moved on and in 1896 joined the gold rush to the Klondyke in north-west Canada. He returned without gold but with a story in his head that became a huge best-seller - The Call of the Wild - and by 1913 he was the highest -paid and most widely read writer in the world. He spent all his money on his friends, on drink and on building himself a castle-like house which was destroyed by fire before it was finished. Financial difficulties led to more pressure than he could cope with and in 1916, at the age of forty, Jack London committed suicide.
Titles such as The Call of the Wild, The Sea-Wolf and White Fang continue to excite readers today.
Samuel Butler (1835-1902) was the son of a clergyman. Following a disagreement with his father, he left England to beome a sheep farmer in New Zealand, returning to England in 1864.
He published Erewhon anonymously in 1872, and went on to publish several works attacking contemporary scientific ideas, in particular Darwin's theory of natural selection.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh in 1859 and died in 1930. Within those years was crowded a variety of activity and creative work that made him an international figure and inspired the French to give him the epithet 'the good giant'.
He was the nephew of 'Dickie Doyle' the artist, and was educated at Stonyhurst, and later studied medicine at Edinburgh University, where the methods of diagnosis of one of the professors provided the idea for the methods of deduction used by Sherlock Holmes. He set up as a doctor at Southsea and it was while waiting for patients that he began to write.
His growing success as an author enabled him to give up his practice and turn his attention to other subjects. His greatest achievement was, of course, his creation of Sherlock Holmes, who soon attained international status and constantly distracted him from his other work; at one time Conan Doyle killed him but was obliged by public protest to restore him to life.
And in his creation of Dr Watson, Holmes's companion in adventure and chronicler, Conan Doyle produced not only a perfect foil for Holmes but also one of the most famous narrators in fiction.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935) championed women's rights in her prolific fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. In addition to writing books, she produced a magazine of essays, fiction, opinion pieces, and poetry that spoke to women's issues and social reform: seven volumes of The Forerunner were produced, running from 1909 to 1916.
The writing career of Herman Melville (1819 - 1891) peaked early, with his early novels, such as Typee becoming best sellers.
By the mid-1850s his poularity declined sharply, and by the time he died he had been largely forgotten.
Yet in time his novel Moby Dick came to be regarded as one of the finest works of American, and indeed world, literature, as was Billy Budd, which was not published until long after his death, in 1924.
Marcel Proust was born in Auteuil in 1871. In his twenties he became a conspicuous society figure, frequenting the most fashionable Paris salons of the day.
After 1899, however, his suffering from chronic asthma, the death of his parents and his growing disillusionment with humanity caused him to lead an increasingly retired life.
He slept by day and worked by night, writing letters and devoting himself to the completion of A la recherche du temps perdu. He died in 1922 before publication of the last three volumes of his great work.
The brilliant Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821–81) is celebrated for such classics as Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov whose psychological examinations of the human soul had a profound effect on the 20th-century novel. His influence resonates in the works of such latter-day authors as Proust, Faulkner, Hemingway, and Kafka. Dostoyevsky also wrote many shorter works that are masterpieces in their own right.
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