The Best Classics by The Times

The Times selection of the 100 best classic works of literature.

  1. The Iliad by Homer

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    The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set in the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of Ilium by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and e...


  2. The Odyssey by Homer

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    The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work traditionally ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the m...


  3. Lives of the Caesars by Suetonius

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    e vita Caesarum (Latin, direct translation: On the Life of the Caesars) commonly known as The Twelve Caesars, is a set of twelve biographies of Julius Caesar and the first 11 emperors of the Roman ...


  4. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

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    With their astonishing diversity of tone and subject matter, The Canterbury Tales have become one of the touchstones of medieval literature. Translated here into modern English, these tales of a mo...


  5. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

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    Il Principe (The Prince) is a political treatise by the Florentine public servant and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli. Originally called De Principatibus (About Principalities), it was origi...


  6. The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story by Horace Walpole

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    The Castle of Otranto is a 1764 novel by Horace Walpole. It is generally regarded as the first gothic novel, initiating a literary genre which would become extremely popular in the later 18th centu...

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  7. Dangerous Liaison by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

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    The complex moral ambiguities of seduction and revenge make Les Liaisons dangereuses (1782) one of the most scandalous and controversial novels in European literature. Its prime movers, the Vicomte...


  8. The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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    Confessions is an autobiographical book by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In modern times, it is often published with the title The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau in order to distinguish it from St. ...


  9. Household Tales by Brothers Grimm

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    Children's and Household Tales (German: Kinder- und Hausmärchen) is a collection of German origin fairy tales first published in 1812 by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, the Brothers Grimm. The collection ...

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  10. Emma by Jane Austen

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    Before she began the novel, Austen wrote, "I am going to take a heroine whom no-one but myself will much like."[1] In the very first sentence she introduces the title character as "Emma Woodhouse, ...


  11. Don Juan: A Poem by Lord Byron

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    Don Juan (JEW-ən; see below) is a satiric poem by Lord Byron, based on the legend of Don Juan, which Byron reverses, portraying Juan not as a womaniser but as someone easily seduced by women. It is...

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  12. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo

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    Quasimodo, a gentle and kind hunchback who lives a lonely, isolated life in a cathedral in Paris, rescues the beautiful Esmerelda from being hanged for a crime she did not commit.

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  13. 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...


  14. The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

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    Written for publication as a serial, The Pickwick Papers is a sequence of loosely-related adventures. The novel's main character, Mr. Samuel Pickwick, Esquire, is a kind and wealthy old gentleman, ...


  15. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

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    Set against the tumultuous years of the post-Napoleonic era, The Count of Monet Cristo recounts the swashbuckling adventures of Edmond Dantes, a dashing young sailor falsely accused of treason. The...


  16. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

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    No one is better equipped in the struggle for wealth and worldly success than the alluring and ruthless Becky Sharp, who defies her impoverished background to clamber up the class ladder. Her senti...


  17. 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,...


  18. Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

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    Manifesto of the Communist Party (German: Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei), often referred to as The Communist Manifesto, was published on February 21, 1848, and is one of the world's most infl...


  19. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

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    The story of the abandoned waif who learns to survive through challenging encounters with distress and misfortune.


  20. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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    Hester Prynne is a beautiful young woman. She is also an outcast. In the eyes of her neighbors she has committed an unforgivable sin. Everyone knows that her little daughter, Pearl, is the product ...


  21. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

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    For daring to peer into the heart of an adulteress and enumerate its contents with profound dispassion, the author of Madame Bovary was tried for "offenses against morality and religion." What shoc...


  22. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

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    Thus young Walter Hartright first meets the mysterious woman in white in what soon became one of the most popular novels of the nineteenth century. Secrets, mistaken identities, surprise revelation...


  23. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

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    A Tale of Two Cities (1859) is a novel by Charles Dickens, set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. With 200 million copies sold, it is the most printed original English boo...


  24. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

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    Les Misérables is a novel by French author Victor Hugo and is widely considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th century. It follows the lives and interactions of several French characters ov...


  25. Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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    Notes from Underground is a study of a single character, and a revelation of Dostoyevsky's own deepest beliefs. In this work we follow the unnamed narrator of the story, who, disillusioned by the o...

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  26. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

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    In 1862 Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a shy Oxford mathematician with a stammer, created a story about a little girl tumbling down a rabbit hole. Thus began the immortal adventures of Alice, perhaps th...


  27. 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...


  28. Thérèse Raquin by Emile Zola

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    Thérèse Raquin [teʁɛz ʁakɛ̃] is a novel (first published in 1867) and a play (first performed in 1873) by the French writer Émile Zola. The novel was originally published in serial format in the jo...


  29. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

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    The Moonstone (1868) by Wilkie Collins is a 19th-century British epistolary novel, generally considered the first detective novel in the English language. The story was originally serialised in Cha...

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  30. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

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    Epic in scale, War and Peace delineates in graphic detail events leading up to Napoleon's invasion of Russia, and the impact of the Napoleonic era on Tsarist society, as seen through the eyes of fi...


  31. Venus in Furs by Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch

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    Dreams of speaking to Venus about love while she wears furs lead our narrator to a manuscript, Memoirs of a Suprasensual Man. This manuscript tells of a man, Severin, who is so infatuated with a wo...

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  32. Middlemarch by George Eliot

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    Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life is a novel by George Eliot, the pen name of Mary Anne Evans, later Marian Evans. It is her seventh novel, begun in 1869 and then put aside during the final i...


  33. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

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    Anna Karenina tells of the doomed love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and the dashing officer, Count Vronsky. Tragedy unfolds as Anna rejects her passionless marriage and must endu...


  34. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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    Dostoevsky's last and greatest novel, The Karamazov Brothers, is both a brilliantly told crime story and a passionate philosophical debate. The dissolute landowner Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov is mur...


  35. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

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    Traditionally considered a coming-of-age story, it is an adventure tale known for its superb atmosphere, character and action, and also a wry commentary on the ambiguity of morality—as seen in Long...


  36. Against Nature by J. K. Huysmans

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    Study of obsession and aesthetics in fin-de-siecle France.

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  37. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

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    Spawned by a nightmare that Stevenson had, this classic tale of the dark, primordial night of the soul remains a masterpiece of the duality of good and evil within us all.


  38. The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

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    Since his first appearance in Beeton’s Christmas Annual in 1887, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes has been one of the most beloved fictional characters ever created.


  39. She by H. Rider Haggard

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    The story is a first-person narrative that follows the journey of Horace Holly and his ward Leo Vincey to a lost kingdom in the African interior. There, they encounter a primitive race of natives a...

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  40. 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...


  41. The Diary of a Nobody by George & Weedon Grossmith

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    Weedon Grossmith's 1892 book presents the details of English suburban life through the anxious and accident-prone character of Charles Porter. Porter's diary chronicles his daily routine, which inc...


  42. 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...


  43. Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

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    In 1895 Hardy’s final novel, the great tale of Jude the Obscure, sent shock waves of indignation rolling across Victorian England. Hardy had dared to write frankly about sexuality and to indict the...


  44. Dracula by Bram Stoker

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    Dracula is an 1897 novel by Irish author Bram Stoker, featuring as its primary antagonist the vampire Count Dracula. Dracula has been attributed to many literary genres including vampire literat...


  45. The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells

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    In this renowned novel by H.G. Wells, a heavily disguised man takes up residence at a rural English inn and begins performing secret experiments, leading to intense curiosity from the locals. Event...

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  46. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

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    The Turn of the Screw, originally published in 1898, is a gothic ghost story novella written by Henry James. Due to its ambiguous content, it became a favourite text of academics who subscribe t...


  47. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

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    The story details an incident when Marlow, an Englishman, took a foreign assignment from a Belgian trading company as a ferry-boat captain in Africa. Although Conrad does not specify the name of th...


  48. The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad

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    In a corrupt London underworld of criminals, terrorists, and fanatics, Mr. Verloc is assigned to plant a bomb. The tragic repercussions for his family show how Conrad's ironic voice is concerned no...


  49. A Room With a View by E.M. Forster

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    British social comedy examines a young heroine's struggle against strait-laced Victorian attitudes as she rejects the man her family has encouraged her to marry and chooses, instead, a socially uns...


  50. The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan

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    In The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915), the best-known of his thrillers (made into a popular movie by Alfred Hitchcock), John Buchan introduces his most enduring hero, Richard Hannay, who, despite claimin...


  51. Diary of a Madman and Other Stories by Xun Lu

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    Xun (or Hsun) is the master (inventor?) of the modern Chinese short story. Some of his stories were translated into American English in 1941, but more recent translations have been into a British E...

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  52. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

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    The Age of Innocence centers on an upperclass couple's impending marriage, and the introduction of a scandalous woman whose presence threatens their happiness. Though the novel questions the assump...


  53. We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

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    Translated by Natasha Randall Foreword by Bruce Sterling Written in 1921, We is set in the One State, where all live for the collective good and individual freedom does not exist. The novel takes t...

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  54. The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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    It tells the story of Anthony Patch (a 1920s socialite and presumptive heir to a tycoon's fortune), the relationship with his wife Gloria, his service in the army, and alcoholism. The novel provide...


  55. 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...


  56. Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille

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    Bataille’s first novel, published under the pseudonym ‘Lord Auch’, is still his most notorious work. In this explicit pornographic fantasy, the young male narrator and his lovers Simone and Marcell...

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  57. Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence

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    Lyric and sensual, D.H. Lawrence's last novel is one of the major works of fiction of the twentieth century. Filled with scenes of intimate beauty, explores the emotions of a lonely woman trapped i...


  58. Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh

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    In the years following the First World War a new generation emerged, wistful and vulnerable beneath the glitter. The Bright Young Things of 1920s London, with their paradoxical mix of innocence and...

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  59. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

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    When sensible, sophisticated Flora Poste is orphaned at nineteen, she decides her only choice is to descend upon relatives in deepest Sussex. At the aptly named Cold Comfort Farm, she meets the doo...

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  60. I, Claudius by Robert Graves

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    I, Claudius deals sympathetically with the life of the Roman Emperor Claudius and cynically with the history of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty and Roman Empire, from Julius Caesar's assassination in 44...


  61. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

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    Published in 1937, it tells the tragic story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers during the Great Depression in California. Based on Steinbeck's own experiences a...


  62. Scoop by Evelyn Waugh

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    In Scoop, surreptitiously dubbed "a newspaper adventure," Waugh flays Fleet Street and the social pastimes of its war correspondants as he tells how William Boot became the star of British super-jo...


  63. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

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    The Big Sleep (1939) is a crime novel by Raymond Chandler, the first in his acclaimed series about hardboiled detective Philip Marlowe. The work has been adapted twice into film, once in 1946 and a...


  64. 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 ...


  65. Hangover Square: A Story of Darkest Earl's Court by Patrick Hamilton

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    London 1939, and in the grimy publands of Earls Court, George Harvey Bone is pursuing a helpless infatuation. Netta is cool, contemptuous and hopelessly desirable to George. George is adrift in a d...

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  66. The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens

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    Originally published in Dickens' weekly serial Master Humphrey's Clock, his heartrending tale of the virtuous orphan Little Nell captivated readers on both sides of the Atlantic. Nell lives with he...

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  67. Animal Farm by George Orwell

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    Animal Farm is a dystopian novella by George Orwell. Published in England on 17 August 1945, the book reflects events leading up to and during the Stalin era before World War II. Orwell, a democrat...


  68. The Stranger by Albert Camus

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    Since it was first published in English, in 1946, Albert Camus's extraordinary first novel, The Stranger (L'Etranger), has had a profound impact on millions of American readers. Through this story ...


  69. 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...


  70. Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford

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    One of Nancy Mitford’s most beloved novels, Love in a Cold Climate is a sparkling romantic comedy that vividly evokes the lost glamour of aristocratic life in England between the wars. Polly Hampto...

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  71. Death Of A Salesman by Arthur Miller

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    Death of a Salesman is a 1949 play written by American playwright Arthur Miller. It was the recipient of the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play. The play premiered on Broadw...

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  72. The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

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    The Day of the Triffids is a post-apocalyptic novel written in 1951 by the English science fiction author John Wyndham. Although Wyndham had already published other novels, this was the first publi...


  73. Junky by William S. Burroughs

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    Junk is not, like alcohol or a weed, a means to increased enjoyment of life. Junk is not a kick. It is a way of life. In his debut novel, Junky, Burroughs fictionalized his experiences using and pe...

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  74. A Spy In The House Of Love by Anais Nin

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    Beautiful, bored and bourgeoise, Sabina leads a double life inspired by her relentless desire for brief encounters with near-strangers. Fired into faithlessness by a desperate longing for sexual fu...

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  75. Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis

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    Set sometime around 1950, Lucky Jim follows the exploits of the eponymous James (Jim) Dixon, a reluctant Medieval history lecturer at an unnamed provincial English university. Having made a bad fir...


  76. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams

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    Tennessee Williams's second Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof confronts homosexuality, father and son relationships, greed, manipulation, aging, and death.

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  77. 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...


  78. Diamonds Are Forever by Ian Fleming

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    British Secret Service agent James Bond, a.k.a. 007, is sent to investigate a diamond smuggling ring on a mission that takes him from Sierra Leone all the way to Las Vegas.

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  79. From Russia with Love by Ian Fleming

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    A beautiful Soviet spy. A brand-new Spektor cipher machine. SMERSH has set an irresistible trap that threatens the entire Secret Service. Fleming's fifth 007 novel reveals a different side to Bond ...

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  80. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

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    On the Road is a largely autobiographical work that was based on the spontaneous road trips of Kerouac and his friends across mid-century America. It is often considered a defining work of the post...


  81. The Subterraneans by Jack Kerouac

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    Written over the course of three days and three nights, The Subterraneans was generated out of the same ecstatic flash of inspiration that produced another one of Kerouac's early classic, On The Ro...

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  82. Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote

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    In this seductive, wistful masterpiece, Truman Capote created a woman whose name has entered the American idiom and whose style is a part of the literary landscape. Holly Golightly knows that nothi...

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  83. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

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    Narrated by the gigantic but docile half-Indian "Chief" Bromden, who has pretended to be a deaf-mute for several years, the story focuses on the antics of the rebellious Randle Patrick McMurphy, a ...


  84. The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

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    In a classic work of alternate history, the United States is divided up and ruled by the Axis powers after the defeat of the Allies during World War II. Reissue. Winner of the Hugo Award for Best N...

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  85. Another Country by James Baldwin

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    Another Country is a 1962 novel by James Baldwin. The novel tells of the bohemian lifestyle of musicians, writers and other artists living in Greenwich Village in the late 1950s. It portrayed many ...


  86. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

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    The title is taken from an old Cockney expression, "as queer as a clockwork orange" and alludes to the prevention of the main character's exercise of his free will through the use of a classical co...


  87. The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley

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    This book describes Malcolm X's upbringing in Michigan, his maturation to adulthood in Boston and New York, his time in prison, his conversion to Islam, his ministry, his travels to Africa and to M...


  88. Hell's Angels by Hunter S. Thompson


  89. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

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    In Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, Bertha is the madwoman locked in the attic by her husband Rochester, the simmering Englishman whose children Jane has been hired to tutor. In Bronte's novel we lear...

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  90. 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...


  91. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

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    The Master and Margarita (Russian: Ма́стер и Маргари́та) is a novel by Mikhail Bulgakov, woven around the premise of a visit by the Devil to the fervently atheistic Soviet Union. Many critics consi...


  92. The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey

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    Vietnam veteran George Washington Hayduke III returns home to the desert only to find his beloved canyons and rivers now threatened by industrial development. Joining forces with Bronx exile and fe...

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  93. 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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