Saturday, January 12, 2013

100 novels everyone should read

A Telegraph selection of the essential fiction library

Middlemarch: the novel everyone should read
Middlemarch, seen here in the 1994 BBC television adaptation
100 The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein
WH Auden thought this tale of fantastic creatures looking for lost jewellery was a “masterpiece”.
99 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 
A child’s-eye view of racial prejudice and freaky neighbours in Thirties Alabama.

98 The Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore
A rich Bengali noble lives happily until a radical revolutionary appears.

97 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Earth is demolished to make way for a Hyperspatial Express Route. Don’t panic.

96 One Thousand and One Nights Anon
A Persian king’s new bride tells tales to stall post-coital execution.

95 The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Werther loves Charlotte, but she’s already engaged. Woe is he!

94 Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
The children of poor Hindus and wealthy Muslims are switched at birth.

93 Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré
Nursery rhyme provides the code names for British spies suspected of treason.

92 Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
Hilarious satire on doom-laden rural romances. “Something nasty” has been observed in the woodshed.

91 The Tale of Genji by Lady Murasaki
The life and loves of an emperor’s son. And the world’s first novel?

90 Under the Net by Iris Murdoch
A feckless writer has dealings with a canine movie star. Comedy and philosophy combined.

89 The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
Lessing considers communism and women’s liberation in what Margaret Drabble calls “inner space fiction”.

88 Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin
Passion, poetry and pistols in this verse novel of thwarted love.

87 On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Beat generation boys aim to “burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles”. 

Read the full list at The Telegraph

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