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Here's the next 10 classic novels under 200 pages from the list started in October (yes, there was no November issue). The first 10 are in the idleguy.com library and can be accessed here. 20 down, 30 to go. 10 more classics will be offered in the January, 2024 idleguy.com.

The Death of Ivan Ilyich
by Leo Tolstoy (1886)

Tolstoy examines the long agony of a man gradually coming to terms with his own mortality.

Vladimir Nabokov described the book thusly, "The Tolstoyan formula is: Ivan lived a bad life and since the bad life is nothing but the death of the soul, then Ivan lived a living death; and since beyond death is God's living light, then Ivan died into a new life: Life with a capital L."

In Watermelon Sugar
by Richard Brautigan (1968)

DEATH is a place where the sun shines a different colour every day and where people travel to the length of their dreams. Rejecting the violence and hate of the old gang at the Forgotten Works, they lead gentle lives in watermelon sugar. In this book, Richard Brautigan discovers and expresses the mood of the counterculture generation.

The Autobiography Of An Ex Colored Man
by James Weldon Johnson (1912)

James Weldon Johnson's fictional account of a light-skinned mulatto who can pass for white is the basis for this immersion into race. The anonymous narrator is the son of a black mother and a white father living in the early part of the 20th century in the rural south, the urban north and in Europe. The novel masterfully explores the complexity of race relations between whites and blacks in America and the search for racial identity by one of mixed ethnicity.

Death in Venice
by Thomas Mann (1912)

Absolutely brilliant tale of things nice people don't talk about. Mann's ability to take a touchy subject and weave a story around it is a masterstroke of imagination and creativity. That the story was written over 100 years ago belies the interpretation of current trends as anything but new.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle
by Shirley Jackson (1962)

My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had. I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise, I like my sister Constance, and Richard Plantagenet, and Amanita phalloides, the death-cap mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead...

A Single Man
by Christopher Isherwood (1964)

A single day in the life of a middle-aged English expat, a professor living uneasily in California after the unexpected death of his partner.

Notes from Underground
by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1864)

Dostoevsky's most revolutionary novel, Notes from Underground marks the dividing line between 19th and 20th century fiction, and between the visions of self each century embodied. One of the most remarkable characters in literature, the unnamed narrator is a former official who has defiantly withdrawn into an underground existence. In complete retreat from society, he scrawls a passionate, obsessive, self-contradictory narrative that serves as a devastating attack on social utopianism and an assertion of man's essentially irrational nature.

by Anna Kavan (1967)

A search for an elusive girl in a frozen, seemingly post-nuclear, apocalyptic landscape is the setting for this apocalyptic story. The country has been invaded and is being governed by a secret organization. There is destruction everywhere; great walls of ice overrun the world. Together with the narrator, the reader is swept into a hallucinatory quest for this strange and fragile creature with albino hair. Acclaimed upon its 1967 publication as the best science fiction book of the year, this extraordinary and innovative novel has subsequently been recognized as a major work of literature in its own right.

by Jean Toomer (1923)

An innovative literary work that is part drama, part poetry, part fiction, powerfully evokes black life in the American South. Rich in imagery, Toomer's impressionistic, sometimes surrealistic sketches of Southern rural and urban life are permeated by visions of smoke, sugarcane, dusk, and fire.

The Drowned World
by J.G. Ballard (1962)

A forerunner of the current climate change (previously, Global Warming) insanity, Ballard has the world in the 21st century affected by fluctuations in solar radiation have caused the ice-caps to melt and the seas to rise. Civilization has retreated to the Arctic and Antarctic circles. London is a city now inundated by a primeval swamp, to which an expedition travels to record the flora and fauna of this new Triassic Age.

Playboy December 1980

This vintage 1980 holiday issue featured the classic bunny logo in silver garland on the cover, announcing the Bunny Birthday, a pictorial immersion of 20 glorious years.

Terri Welles was Playmate of the Month. The interview was with actor George C. Scott and Playboy posed 20 questions to author Truman Capote. Pictorials: Sex Stars of 1980 featured Dorothy Stratton, Misty Rowe, Lesley Ann Down and others; Bunny Birthday celebrated many of the most popular Playmates, movie stars, interviews and writers.

Features: Fiction by Henry Miller and Sean O'Faolain; College Basketball Preview by Anson Mount; Dick Gregory reports from inside Iran; Dressing for Power; Masterpieces of Erotic Art.

Among the Playmates featured in the Bunny Birthday piece were Cynthia Myers, Marilyn Cole, Dolly Reed, Joyce Nizzari, and Gwen Wong (below) from April, 1967.

See more at
Downtown Magazine's Collectible Magazine Back Issue Price Guide

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