100 Books to Read in a Lifetime by Amazon.com (UK)

Amazon UK editors select 100 books that they deem "essential".

  1. Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

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    From the preeminent prose satirist in the English language, a great classic recounting the four remarkable journeys of ship's surgeon Lemuel Gulliver. For children it remains an enchanting fantasy;...


  2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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    The book is narrated in free indirect speech following the main character Elizabeth Bennet as she deals with matters of upbringing, marriage, moral rightness and education in her aristocratic socie...


  3. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

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    At this challenge, Mary Shelley began work on the 'ghost story' that was to evolve into the most celebrated horror novel in literary history. Frankenstein was published the next year and become the...


  4. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

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    The narrative is non-linear, involving several flashbacks, and two primary narrators: Mr. Lockwood and Ellen "Nelly" Dean. The novel opens in 1801, with Mr. Lockwood arriving at Thrushcross Grange,...


  5. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot

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    The Mill on the Floss is a novel by George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), first published in three volumes in 1860 by William Blackwood. The first American edition was published by Thomas Y. Crowell Co., ...


  6. 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...


  7. 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...


  8. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

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    Written and set in the Alcott family home, Orchard House, in Concord, Massachusetts, it was published in two parts in 1868 and 1869. The novel follows the lives of four sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth and Am...


  9. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

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    Celebrated novel traces the moral degeneration of a handsome young Londoner from an innocent fop into a cruel and reckless pursuer of pleasure and, ultimately, a murderer. As Dorian Gray sinks into...


  10. Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

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    Violated by one man, forsaken by another, Tess Durbeyfield is the magnificent and spirited heroine of Thomas Hardy’s immortal work. Of all the great English novelists, no one writes more eloquently...

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  11. The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

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    When the Time Traveler courageously stepped out of his machine for the first time, he found himself in the year 802,700--and everything had changed. H.G. Wells's famous novel of one man's astonishi...


  12. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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    The Hound of the Baskervilles is a crime novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle featuring the detective Sherlock Holmes. Originally serialized in the Strand Magazine from August 1901 to April 1902, it ...


  13. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

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    The Tale of Peter Rabbit is a British children's book written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter that follows mischievous and disobedient young Peter Rabbit as he is chased about the garden of Mr. M...

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  14. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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    The novel chronicles an era that Fitzgerald himself dubbed the "Jazz Age". Following the shock and chaos of World War I, American society enjoyed unprecedented levels of prosperity during the "roar...


  15. Carry On, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

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    A classic collection of Jeeves and Wooster stories from P.G. Wodehouse, the great comic writer of the 20th century In his new role as valet to Bertie Wooster, Jeeves's first duty is to create a mir...

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  16. Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne

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    Winnie-the-Pooh, commonly shortened to Pooh Bear and once referred to as Edward Bear, is a fictional bear created by A. A. Milne. The first collection of stories about the character was the book Wi...


  17. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

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    A landmark novel of high modernism, the text, centering on the Ramsay family and their visits to the Isle of Skye in Scotland between 1910 and 1920, skillfully manipulates temporality and psycholog...


  18. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

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    All Quiet on the Western Front (German: Im Westen nichts Neues) is a novel by Erich Maria Remarque, a German veteran of World War I. The book describes the German soldiers' extreme physical and men...


  19. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

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    The 1934 journal of seventeen-year-old Cassandra Mortmain reveals her perspective on six stormy months in the eccentric and poverty-stricken life of her family in a ruined Suffolk castle, ending wi...

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  20. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

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    What more can a mystery addict desire than a much-loathed murder victim found aboard the luxurious Orient Express with multiple stab wounds, thirteen likely suspects, an incomparably brilliant dete...


  21. Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

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    Pinkie, a boy gangster in pre-war Brighton, is a Catholic dedicated to evil and damnation. In a dark setting of double crossing and razor slashes, his ambition and hatreds are horribly fulfilled, u...

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  22. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

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    Rebecca is considered to be one of her best works. Some observers have noted parallels with Jane Eyre. Much of the novel was written while she was staying in Alexandria, Egypt, where her husband wa...


  23. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

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    Set during the Great Depression, the novel focuses on a poor family of sharecroppers, the Joads, driven from their home by drought, economic hardship, and changes in the agriculture industry. In a ...


  24. The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton

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    The Enchanted Wood is the first magical story in the Faraway Tree series by the world’s best-loved children’s author, Enid Blyton. When Joe, Beth and Frannie move to a new home, an Enchanted Wood i...

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  25. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

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    The Diary of a Young Girl is a book based on the writings from a diary written by Anne Frank while she was in hiding for two years with her family during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. The...


  26. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

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    Brideshead Revisited, The Sacred & Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder is a novel by the English writer Evelyn Waugh, first published in 1945. Waugh wrote that the novel "deals with what is t...


  27. Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell

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    The story follows the life of one seemingly insignificant man, Winston Smith, a civil servant assigned the task of perpetuating the regime's propaganda by falsifying records and political literatur...


  28. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

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    The Old Man and the Sea is one of Hemingway's most enduring works. Told in language of great simplicity and power, it is the story of an old Cuban fisherman, down on his luck, and his supreme ordea...


  29. Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

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    This, the first of Ian Flemings tales of secret agent 007, finds Bond on a mission to neutralize a lethal, high-rolling Russian operative called Le Chiffreby ruining him at the baccarat table.

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  30. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

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    The Lord of the Rings is an epic high fantasy novel written by philologist and Oxford University professor J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's earlier, less complex children'...


  31. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

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    Lord of the Flies discusses how culture created by man fails, using as an example a group of British schoolboys stuck on a deserted island who try to govern themselves, but with disastrous results....


  32. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

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    The book is internationally famous for its innovative style and infamous for its controversial subject: the protagonist and unreliable narrator, middle aged Humbert Humbert, becomes obsessed and se...


  33. Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee

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    The beloved bestselling autobiography of an English boyhood Three years old and wrapped in a Union Jack to protect him from the sun, Laurie Lee arrived in the village of Slad in the final summer of...

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  34. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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    As a Southern Gothic novel and a Bildungsroman, the primary themes of To Kill a Mockingbird involve racial injustice and the destruction of innocence. Scholars have noted that Lee also addresses is...


  35. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

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    Catch-22 is a satirical, historical novel by the American author Joseph Heller, first published in 1961. The novel, set during the later stages of World War II from 1943 onwards, is frequently cite...


  36. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl

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    The gates of Willy Wonka's famous chocolate factory are opening at last — and only five children will be allowed inside. Roald Dahl is one of the most beloved storytellers of all time, and his book...


  37. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

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    On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no appar...


  38. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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    One of the 20th century's enduring works, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a widely beloved and acclaimed novel known throughout the world, and the ultimate achievement in a Nobel Prize–winning car...


  39. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

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    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is a science fiction novel by Philip K. Dick first published in 1968. The main plot follows Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter of androids, while the secondary plot ...


  40. The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr

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    This is a read-along edition with audio synced to the text, performed by Geraldine McEwan. This classic story of Sophie and her extraordinary tea-time guest has been loved by millions of children s...

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  41. Watership Down by Richard Adams

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    Watership Down is a heroic fantasy novel about a small group of rabbits, written by British author Richard Adams. Although the animals in the story live in their natural environment, they are anthr...


  42. The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy

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    Catch up on Mildred Hubble’s magical adventures at Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches with these reissued editions featuring energetic new covers. Mildred Hubble is starting her first year at Miss C...

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  43. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre

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    Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is a spy novel by John le Carré, first published in 1974. It is the first volume of a three-book series informally known as The Karla Trilogy, followed by The Honourabl...


  44. The Stand by Stephen King

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    The Stand is a post-apocalyptic horror/fantasy novel by American author Stephen King. It re-works the scenario in his earlier short story, Night Surf. The novel was originally published in 1978 and...


  45. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

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    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is the title of the first of five books in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy comedy science fiction series by Douglas Adams. The novel is an adaptation of th...


  46. Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

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    Midnight's Children is a loose allegory for events in India both before and, primarily, after the independence and partition of India, which took place at midnight on 15 August 1947. The protagonis...


  47. Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian

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    Young Willie Beech is evacuated to the country as Britain stands on the brink of the Second World War. A sad, deprived child, he slowly begins to flourish under the care of old Tom Oakley - but his...

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  48. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend

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    The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3⁄4 is the first book in Sue Townsend's brilliantly funny Adrian Mole series. Friday January 2nd I felt rotten today. It's my mother's fault for singing 'My ...

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  49. Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally

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    The book tells the story of Oskar Schindler, a Nazi Party member, who turns into the unlikely hero. By the end of the war, Schindler has saved 1,200 Jews from concentration camps all over Poland an...


  50. The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

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    On a world supported on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown), a gleeful, explosive, wickedly eccentric expedition sets out. There's an avaricious but inept wizard, a naive tourist whose luggage...

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  51. The Wasp Factory: A Novel by Iain Banks

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    The polarizing literary debut by Scottish author Ian Banks, The Wasp Factory is the bizarre, imaginative, disturbing, and darkly comic look into the mind of a child psychopath. Meet Frank Cauldhame...

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  52. Oranges are not the only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

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    Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a novel by Jeanette Winterson published in 1985, which she subsequently adapted into a BBC television drama. It is a bildungsroman about a lesbian girl who grows u...


  53. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

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    The Handmaid's Tale is a feminist dystopian novel, a work of science fiction or speculative fiction, written by Canadian author Margaret Atwood and first published by McClelland and Stewart in 1985...


  54. Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

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    Watchmen is a graphic novel—a book-length comic book with ambitions above its station—starring a ragbag of bizarre, damaged, retired superheroes: the paunchy, melancholic Nite Owl; the raving dooms...

    - Time

  55. The Commitments by Roddy Doyle

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    This funky, rude, unpretentious first novel traces the short, funny, and furious career of a group of working-class Irish kids who form a band, The Commitments. Their mission: to bring soul to Dublin!

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  56. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

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    This stunning and elegiac novel by the author of the internationally acclaimed Wind-Up Bird Chronicle has sold over 4 million copies in Japan and is now available to American audiences for the firs...

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  57. Knots and Crosses: An Inspector Rebus Novel by Ian Rankin

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    While investigating a series of gory killings of young, innocent girls, Edinburgh police detective John Rebus, a former member of Britain's elite SAS, discovers his own ties to the killer and is br...

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  58. We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

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    This is an appealing big-format paperback version of the 1989 Smarties Book Prize winner. Beautifully written and illustrated, the favourite children's rhyme is ideal for sharing with groups of chi...

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  59. London Fields by Martin Amis

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    London Fields is Amis's murder story for the end of the millennium. The murderee is Nicola Six, a "black hole" of sex and self-loathing intent on orchestrating her own extinction. The murderer may ...

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  60. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

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    In American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis imaginatively explores the incomprehensible depths of madness and captures the insanity of violence in our time or any other. Patrick Bateman moves among the y...

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  61. The Story of Tracy Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson

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    Introducing Tracy Beaker, 10-year-old girl-wonder and the daughter of a famous Hollywood actress . . . sort of. Tracy Beaker’s not exactly sure what her mother does, because Tracy has been in foste...

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  62. Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang

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    The story of three generations in twentieth-century China that blends the intimacy of memoir and the panoramic sweep of eyewitness history—a bestselling classic in thirty languages with more than t...

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  63. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

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    The English Patient is a 1992 novel by Sri Lankan-Canadian novelist Michael Ondaatje. The story deals with the gradually revealed histories of a critically burned English man, his Canadian nurse, a...


  64. The Secret History by Donna Tartt

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    The Secret History, the first novel by Mississippi-born writer Donna Tartt, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1992. A 75,000 print order was made for the first edition (as opposed to the usual 10...


  65. Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh

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    Trainspotting is the novel that first launched Irvine Welsh's spectacular career—an authentic, unrelenting, and strangely exhilarating episodic group portrait of blasted lives. It accomplished for ...

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  66. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

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    While staying as the guest of a factory owner in pre-First World War France, Stephen Wraysford embarks on a passionate affair with Isabelle, the wife of his host. The affair changes them both for e...

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  67. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

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    High Fidelity is a 1995 British novel by Nick Hornby. It was adapted into a 2000 film directed by Stephen Frears and starring John Cusack. It also served as the basis for a 2006 Broadway musical of...


  68. Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

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    "Suddenly, in the space of a moment, I realized what it was that I loved about Britain-which is to say, all of it." After nearly two decades spent on British soil, Bill Bryson-bestsellingauthor of ...

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  69. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

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    With a compassionate realism and narrative sweep that recall the work of Charles Dickens, this magnificent novel captures all the cruelty and corruption, dignity and heroism, of India. The time is ...

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  70. Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela by Nelson Mandela

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    The book that inspired the major new motion picture Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Nelson Mandela is one of the great moral and political leaders of our time: an international hero whose lifelong d...

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  71. Last Orders by Graham Swift

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    Last Orders is a 1996 Booker Prize-winning novel by British author Graham Swift. The story makes much use of flashbacks to tell the convoluted story of the relationships between a group of war v...


  72. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

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    The kingdom of the royal Stark family faces its ultimate challenge in the onset of a generation-long winter, the poisonous plots of the rival Lannisters, the emergence of the Neverborn demons, and ...

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  73. Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding

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    Bridget Jones's Diary is a 1996 novel by Helen Fielding. Written in the form of a personal diary, the novel chronicles a year in the life of Bridget Jones, a thirty-something single working woman l...


  74. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling

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    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is the first novel in the Harry Potter series written by J. K. Rowling and featuring Harry Potter, a young wizard. It describes how Harry discovers he is a ...


  75. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

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    The Poisonwood Bible (1998) by Barbara Kingsolver is a bestselling novel about a missionary family, the Prices, who in 1959 move from Georgia to the fictional village of Kilanga in the Belgian Cong...


  76. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

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    Happy Birthday, Gruffalo! A new, limited edition of The Gruffalo, the nation's favourite picture book. Fifteen years after it was first published, the award-winning story of a clever little mouse o...

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  77. White Teeth by Zadie Smith

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    This may be the first novel ever written that truly feels at home in our borderless, globalized, intermarried, post-colonial age, populated by "children with first and last names on a direct collis...

    - Time

  78. London: The Biography by Peter Ackroyd

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  79. Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz

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    After the death of the uncle who had been his guardian, fourteen-year-old Alex Rider is coerced to continue his uncle's dangerous work for Britain's intelligence agency, MI6.

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  80. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

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    Twelve-year-old Artemis is a millionaire, a genius-and above all, a criminal mastermind. But Artemis doesn't know what he's taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Uni...

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  81. Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

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    Sephy Hadley and Callum McGregor are two young people in love. But Sephy is a Cross, daughter of a government minister, and Callum is a Nought. In their world, Crosses and Noughts cannot be friends...

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  82. American Gods by Neil Gaiman

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    The storm was coming….Shadow spent three years in prison, keeping his head down, doing his time. All he wanted was to get back to the loving arms of his wife and to stay out of trouble for the rest...

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  83. Atonement by Ian McEwan

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    Atonement is a 2001 novel by British author Ian McEwan. It tells the story of protagonist Briony Tallis's crime and how it changes her life, as well as those of her sister Cecilia and her lover Rob...


  84. Dissolution: A Shardlake Novel by C. J. Sansom

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    The 1st instalment in the wildly popular Matthew Shardlake mystery series, now available from Vintage Canada. It is 1537, a time of revolution that sees the greatest changes in England since 1066. ...

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  85. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

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    The Kite Runner is a novel by the author Khaled Hosseini. Published in 2003 by Riverhead Books, it is Hosseini's first novel, and was adapted into a film of the same name in 2007.


  86. Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

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    Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything is a 2005 non-fiction book by University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt and New York Times journalist Stephen J. Dubner. T...


  87. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

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    Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder...

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  88. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

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    The novel describes the life of Kathy H., a young woman of 31, focusing at first on her childhood at an unusual boarding school and eventually her adult life. The story takes place in a dystopian B...


  89. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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    The Book Thief is a best-selling novel by Markus Zusak published in 2005. It was a 2007 Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book. As of September 2009 it has been on the New York Times Children's Best Se...


  90. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

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    'Some things are just sitting there, minding their own business, waiting to be discovered. Like America. And other things are probably better off left alone' Nine-year-old Bruno has a lot of things...

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  91. The Road by Cormac McCarthy

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    The Road is a 2006 novel by American writer Cormac McCarthy. It is a post-apocalyptic tale of a journey taken by a father and his young son over a period of several months, across a landscape blast...


  92. Bad Science by Ben Goldacre


  93. The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Family's Century of Art and Loss by Edmund de Waal

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    The Ephrussis were a grand banking family, as rich and respected as the Rothschilds, who “burned like a comet” in nineteenth-century Paris and Vienna society. Yet by the end of World War II, almost...

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  94. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

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    Winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize By an acclaimed writer at the height of his powers, The Sense of an Ending extends a streak of extraordinary books that began with the best-selling Arthur & Geor...

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  95. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream by Hunter S. Thompson

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    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is the best chronicle of drug-soaked, addle-brained, rollicking good times ever committed to the printed page. It is also the tale of a long weekend road trip that ha...

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  96. A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor

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    The blockbuster New York Times bestseller and the companion volume to the wildly popular radio series Neil MacGregor has blazed an unusual path to international renown. As director of the British M...

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  97. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins

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    The million copy international bestseller, critically acclaimed and translated into over 25 languages. This 30th anniversary edition includes a new introduction from the author as well as the origi...

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  98. Venice by Jan Morris

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    Often hailed as one of the best travel books ever written, Venice is neither a guide nor a history book, but a beautifully written immersion in Venetian life and character, set against the backgrou...

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  99. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks

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    ‘The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat is populated by a cast as strange as that of the most fantastic fiction. The subject of this strange and wonderful book is what happens when things go wrong ...

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  100. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

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    A landmark volume in science writing by one of the great minds of our time, Stephen Hawking’s book explores such profound questions as: How did the universe begin—and what made its start possible? ...

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