Best Selling Books in Literature & Fiction - Letters & Correspondence

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Letters from a Stoic (Penguin Classics)
"It is philosophy that has the duty of protecting us...without it no one can lead a life free of fear or worry."

For several years of his turbulent life, Seneca was the guiding hand of the Roman Empire. His inspired reasoning derived mainly from the Stoic principles, which had originally been developed some centuries earlier in Athens. This selection of Seneca's letters shows him upholding the austere ethical ideals of Stoicism—the wisdom of the self-possessed person immune to overmastering emotions and life’s setbacks—while valuing friendship and the courage of ordinary men, and criticizing the harsh treatment  of slaves and the cruelties in the gladiatorial arena. The humanity and wit revealed in Seneca’s interpretation of Stoicism is a moving and inspiring declaration of the dignity of the individual mind.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
release date: Oct 27, 2009
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Letter to My Daughter
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Maya Angelou shares her path to living well and with meaning in this absorbing book of personal essays.
 
Dedicated to the daughter she never had but sees all around her, Letter to My Daughter transcends genres and categories: guidebook, memoir, poetry, and pure delight.

Here in short spellbinding essays are glimpses of the tumultuous life that led Angelou to an exalted place in American letters and taught her lessons in compassion and fortitude: how she was brought up by her indomitable grandmother in segregated Arkansas, taken in at thirteen by her more worldly and less religious mother, and grew to be an awkward, six-foot-tall teenager whose first experience of loveless sex paradoxically left her with her greatest gift, a son.

Whether she is recalling such lost friends as Coretta Scott King and Ossie Davis, extolling honesty, decrying vulgarity, explaining why becoming a Christian is a “lifelong endeavor,” or simply singing the praises of a meal of red rice–Maya Angelou writes from the heart to millions of women she considers her extended family.

Like the rest of her remarkable work, Letter to My Daughter entertains and teaches; it is a book to cherish, savor, re-read, and share.

“I gave birth to one child, a son, but I have thousands of daughters. You are Black and White, Jewish and Muslim, Asian, Spanish speaking, Native Americans and Aleut. You are fat and thin and pretty and plain, gay and straight, educated and unlettered, and I am speaking to you all. Here is my offering to you.”—from Letter to My Daughter
release date: Aug 01, 1993
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Letters to a Young Poet

Rilke's timeless letters about poetry, sensitive observation, and the complicated workings of the human heart.

Born in 1875, the great German lyric poet Rainer Maria Rilke published his first collection of poems in 1898 and went on to become renowned for his delicate depiction of the workings of the human heart. Drawn by some sympathetic note in his poems, young people often wrote to Rilke with their problems and hopes. From 1903 to 1908 Rilke wrote a series of remarkable responses to a young, would-be poet on poetry and on surviving as a sensitive observer in a harsh world. Those letters, still a fresh source of inspiration and insight, are accompanied here by a chronicle of Rilke's life that shows what he was experiencing in his own relationship to life and work when he wrote them. 

release date: May 01, 2002
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The Lady Tasting Tea: How Statistics Revolutionized Science in the Twentieth Century

An insightful, revealing history of the magical mathematics that transformed our world.

At a summer tea party in Cambridge, England, a guest states that tea poured into milk tastes different from milk poured into tea. Her notion is shouted down by the scientific minds of the group. But one man, Ronald Fisher, proposes to scientifically test the hypothesis. There is no better person to conduct such an experiment, for Fisher is a pioneer in the field of statistics.

The Lady Tasting Tea spotlights not only Fisher's theories but also the revolutionary ideas of dozens of men and women which affect our modern everyday lives. Writing with verve and wit, David Salsburg traces breakthroughs ranging from the rise and fall of Karl Pearson's theories to the methods of quality control that rebuilt postwar Japan's economy, including a pivotal early study on the capacity of a small beer cask at the Guinness brewing factory. Brimming with intriguing tidbits and colorful characters, The Lady Tasting Tea salutes the spirit of those who dared to look at the world in a new way.

release date: Sep 17, 2007
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The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution

DNA evidence not only solves crimes―in Sean Carroll's hands it will now end the Evolution Wars.

DNA, the genetic blueprint of all creatures, is a stunningly rich and detailed record of evolution. Every change or new trait, from the gaudy colors of tropical birds to our color vision with which we admire them, is due to changes in DNA that leave a record and can be traced. Just as importantly, the DNA evidence has revealed several profound surprises about how evolution actually works. 50 black-and-white illustrations and 8 pages of color
release date: Apr 27, 2004
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The Letters of Abelard and Heloise (Penguin Classics)
One of the world's most celebrated and tragic love affairs

Through the letters between Abelard and Heloise, we follow the path of their 12th-century romance, from its reckless and ecstatic beginnings when Heloise became Abelard's pupil, through the suffering of public scandal and enforced secret marriage, to their eventual separation.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
release date: Aug 07, 2012
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Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures
This is one of the wisest books I've read in years... —New York Times Book Review

No writer I know of comes close to even trying to articulate the weird magic of poetry as Ruefle does. She acknowledges and celebrates in the odd mystery and mysticism of the act—the fact that poetry must both guard and reveal, hint at and pull back... Also, and maybe most crucially, Ruefle’s work is never once stuffy or overdone: she writes this stuff with a level of seriousness-as-play that’s vital and welcome, that doesn’t make writing poetry sound anything but wild, strange, life-enlargening fun. -The Kenyon Review

Profound, unpredictable, charming, and outright funny...These informal talks have far more staying power and verve than most of their kind. Readers may come away dazzled, as well as amused... —Publishers Weekly

This is a book not just for poets but for anyone interested in the human heart, the inner-life, the breath exhaling a completion of an idea that will make you feel changed in some way. This is a desert island book. —Matthew Dickman

The accomplished poet is humorous and self-deprecating in this collection of illuminating essays on poetry, aesthetics and literature... —San Francisco Examiner

Over the course of fifteen years, Mary Ruefle delivered a lecture every six months to a group of poetry graduate students. Collected here for the first time, these lectures include "Poetry and the Moon," "Someone Reading a Book Is a Sign of Order in the World," and "Lectures I Will Never Give." Intellectually virtuosic, instructive, and experiential, Madness, Rack, and Honey resists definition, demanding instead an utter—and utterly pleasurable—immersion. Finalist for the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award.



Mary Ruefle has published more than a dozen books of poetry, prose, and erasures. She lives in Vermont.


release date: Mar 01, 1998
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The Letters of Vincent van Gogh (Penguin Classics)
"If ever there was any doubt that Van Gogh's letters belong beside those great classics of artistic self-revelation, Cellini's autobiography and Delacroix's journal, this excellent edition dispels it." 
—The Times (London)

"Be clearly aware of the stars and infinity on high. Then life seems almost enchanted after all."


Few artists' letters are as self-revelatory as Vincent Van Gogh's, and the selection included here, spanning the whole of his artistic career, sheds light on every facet of the life and work of this complex and tortured man. Engaging candidly and movingly with his religious struggles, his ill-fated search for love, his intense relationship with his brother Theo and his attacks of mental illness, the letters contradict the popular image of Van Gogh as an anti-social madman and a martyr to art, showing instead that he was capable of great emotional and spiritual depths. Above all, they stand as an intense personal narrative of artistic development and a unique account of the process of creation.
The letters are linked by explanatory biographical passages, revealing Van Gogh's inner journey as well as the outer facts of his life. This edition includes the drawings that originally illustrated the letters.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
release date: May 17, 2007
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Great with Child: Letters to a Young Mother

"May be the best book ever to give for a baby shower."―Tampa Tribune

Beth Ann Fennelly, writing to a newly pregnant friend, goes beyond the nuts and bolts or sentimentality of other parenting literature, in letters that range in tone from serious to sisterly, from lighthearted to downright funny. Some answer specific questions; others muse about the identity shift a woman encounters when she enters Mommyland. This book invites all mothers to join the grand circle of giving and receiving advice about children.
release date: May 01, 2002
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Othello (Shakespeare Made Easy)
Here are the books that help teach Shakespeare plays without the teacher constantly needing to explain and define Elizabethan terms, slang, and other ways of expression that are different from our own. Each play is presented with Shakespeare's original lines on each left-hand page, and a modern, easy-to-understand "translation" on the facing right-hand page. All dramas are complete, with every original Shakespearian line, and a full-length modern rendition of the text. These invaluable teaching-study guides also include:



1. Helpful background information that puts each play in its historical perspective.



2. Discussion questions that teachers can use to spark student class participation, and which students can use as springboards for their own themes and term papers.



3. Fact quizzes, sample examinations, and other features that improve student comprehension of what each play is about.
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