Book Bucket Lists

Best Books to Read in a Lifetime

  • AADUB
    (1)
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    Drifters in search of work, George and his simple-minded friend Lennie, have nothing in the world except each other - and a dream. A dream that one day they will have some land of their own. Eventually they find work on a ranch, but their hopes are doomed as Lennie - struggling against extreme cruelty, misunderstanding and jealousy - becomes a victim of his own strength. Tackling universal themes, friendship and a shared vision, and giving a voice to America's lonely and dispossesed, "Of Mice And Men" remains Steinbeck's most popular work.
  • AJDHK
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    One of the world's most famous novels, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, blends the natural with the supernatural in on one of the most magical reading experiences on earth. 'Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.' Gabriel Garcia Marquez's great masterpiece is the story of seven generations of the Buendia family and of Macondo, the town they have built. Though little more than a settlement surrounded by mountains, Macondo has its wars and disasters, even its wonders and its miracles. A microcosm of Columbian life, its secrets lie hidden, encoded in a book, and only Aureliano Buendia can fathom its mysteries and reveal its shrouded destiny. Blending political reality with magic realism, fantasy and comic invention, One Hundred Years of Solitude is one of the most daringly original works of the twentieth century. "Dazzling". (The New York Times). As one of the pioneers of magic realism and perhaps the most prominent voice of Latin American literature, Gabriel Garcia Marquez has received international recognition for his novels, works of non-fiction and collections of short stories. Those published in translation by Penguin include Autumn of the Patriarch, Bon Voyage Mr. President, Collected Stories, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, The General in his Labyrinth, Innocent Erendira and Other Stories, In the Evil Hour, Leaf Storm, Living to Tell the Tale, Love in the Time of Cholera, Memories of My Melancholy Whores, News of a Kidnapping, No-one Writes to the Colonel, Of Love and Other Demons, The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor and Strange Pilgrims.
  • AADCO
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    A misfit at an exclusive New England college, Richard finds kindred spirits in the five eccentric students of his ancient Greek class. But his new friends have a horrific secret. When blackmail and violence threaten to blow their privileged lives apart, they drag Richard into the nightmare that engulfs them. And soon they enter a terrifying heart of darkness from which they may never return.
  • AADSU
    (2)
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    Jay Gatsby is the man who has everything. But one thing will always be out of his reach...Everybody who is anybody is seen at his glittering parties. Day and night his Long Island mansion buzzes with bright young things drinking, dancing and debating his mysterious character. For Gatsby - young, handsome, fabulously rich - always seems alone in the crowd, watching and waiting, though no one knows what for. Beneath the shimmering surface of his life he is hiding a secret: a silent longing that can never be fulfilled. And soon this destructive obsession will force his world to unravel.
  • AADAM
    (1)
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    The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire - neither Offred's nor that of the two men on which her future hangs...
  • AACMX
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    When he hears her favourite Beatles song, Toru Watanabe recalls his first love Naoko, the girlfriend of his best friend Kizuki. Immediately he is transported back almost twenty years to his student days in Tokyo, adrift in a world of uneasy friendships, casual sex, passion, loss and desire - to a time when an impetuous young woman called Midori marches into his life and he has to choose between the future and the past.
  • ADKUY
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    'you are to understand, Mr. Pip, that the name of the person who is your liberal benefactor remains a profound secret...' Young Pip lives with his sister and her husband the blacksmith, with few prospects for advancement until a mysterious benefaction takes him from the Kent marshes to London. Pip is haunted by figures from his past - the escaped convict Magwitch, the time-withered Miss Havisham and her proud and beautiful ward, Estella - and in time uncovers not just the origins of his great expectations but the mystery of his own heart. A powerful and moving novel, Great Expectations is suffused with Dickens's memories of the past and its grip on the present, and it raises disturbing questions about the extent to which individuals affect each other's lives. This edition includes a lively introduction, Dickens's working notes, the novel's original ending, and an extract from an early theatrical adaptation. It reprints the definitive Clarendon text.
  • AADSW
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    "On the Road" swings to the rhythms of 1950s underground America, jazz, sex, generosity, chill dawns and drugs, with Sal Paradise and his hero Dean Moriarty, traveller and mystic, the living epitome of Beat. Now recognized as a modern classic, its American Dream is nearer that of Walt Whitman than Scott Fitzgerald, and it goes racing towards the sunset with unforgettable exuberance, poignancy and autobiographical passion.
  • AACLR
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    On the hottest day of the summer of 1934, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis sees her sister Cecilia strip off her clothes and plunge into the fountain in the garden of their country house. Watching her is Robbie Turner, her childhood friend who, like Cecilia, has recently come down from Cambridge. By the end of that day, the lives of all three will have been changed for ever. Robbie and Cecilia will have crossed a boundary they had not even imagined at its start, and will have become victims of the younger girl's imagination. Briony will have witnessed mysteries, and committed a crime for which she will spend the rest of her life trying to atone.
  • ABJAX
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    'I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills ...Up in this high air you breathed easily ...you woke up in the morning and thought: Here I am, where I ought to be.' From the moment Karen Blixen arrived in Kenya in 1914 to manage a coffee plantation, her heart belonged to Africa. Drawn to the intense colours and ravishing landscapes, Blixen spent her happiest years on the farm, and her experiences and friendships with the people around her are vividly recalled in these memoirs. "Out of Africa" is the story of a remarkable and unconventional woman, and of a way of life that has vanished for ever.
  • ADCNF
    Elie Wiesel
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    Born into a Jewish ghetto in Hungary, as a child, Elie Wiesel was sent to the Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald. This is his account of that atrocity: the ever-increasing horrors he endured, the loss of his family and his struggle to survive in a world that stripped him of humanity, dignity and faith. Describing in simple terms the tragic murder of people from a survivor's perspective, "Night" is among the most personal, intimate and poignant of all accounts of the Holocaust. A compelling consideration of the darkest side of human nature and the enduring power of hope, it remains one of the most important works of the twentieth century.
  • AABHI
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    Stylish reissue of a classic first published in the 1970s: Hunter S Thompson's ether-fuelled, savage journey to the heart of the American Dream. 'We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold! And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, which was going about a hundred miles an hour with the top down to Las Vegas!' As knights of old buckled on armour of supernatural power, so Hunter S. Thompson enters Las Vegas armed with a veritable arsenal of 'heinous chemicals'. His perilous, drug-enhanced confrontations with casino operators, bartenders, police officers and assorted representatives of the Silent Majority have a hallucinatory humour and nightmare terror never before seen on the printed page.
  • AGWTD
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    'Two years after I killed Blyth I murdered my young brother Paul, for quite different reasons than I'd disposed of Blyth, and then a year after that I did for my young cousin Esmerelda, more or less on a whim. That's my score to date. Three. I haven't killed anybody for years, and don't intend to ever again. It was just a stage I was going through.' Enter - if you can bear it - the extraordinary private world of Frank, just sixteen, and unconventional, to say the least.
  • ACIEF
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    Terrible, unspeakable things happened to Sethe at Sweet Home, the farm where she lived as a slave for so many years until she escaped to Ohio. Her new life is full of hope but eighteen years later she is still not free. Sethe's new home is not only haunted by the memories of her past but also by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved.
  • ABIUH
    (1)
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    Patrick Bateman is twenty-six and works on Wall Street; he is handsome, sophisticated, charming and intelligent. He is also a psychopath. Taking us to a head-on collision with America's greatest dream - and its worst nightmare - "American Psycho" is a bleak, bitter, black comedy about a world we all recognize but do not wish to confront. "American Psycho is a beautifully controlled, careful, important novel ...The novelist's function is to keep a running tag on the progress of the culture; and he's done it brilliantly ...A seminal book". (Fay Weldon, "Washington Post"). "The first novel to come along in years that takes on deep and Dostoyevskian themes ...Ellis is showing older authors where the hands have come to on the clock". (Norman Mailer, "Vanity Fair"). "Serious, clever and shatteringly effective ...For its savagely coherent picture of a society lethally addicted to blandness, it should be judged by the highest standards". ("Sunday Times").
  • AACJO
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    "Cider with Rosie" is a wonderfully vivid memoir of childhood in a remote Cotswold village, a village before electricity or cars, a timeless place on the verge of change. Growing up amongst the fields and woods and characters of the place, Laurie Lee depicts a world that is both immediate and real and belongs to a now-distant past.
  • AADSO
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    Humbert Humbert is a middle-aged, fastidious college professor. He also likes little girls. And none more so than Lolita, who he'll do anything to possess. Is he in love or insane? A silver-tongued poet or a pervert? A tortured soul or a monster? Or is he all of these?
  • AABHR
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    Stunning reissue of the phenomenal worldwide bestseller: Frank McCourt's sad, funny, bittersweet memoir of growing up in New York in the 30s and in Ireland in the 40s. It is a story of extreme hardship and suffering, in Brooklyn tenements and Limerick slums -- too many children, too little money, his mother Angela barely coping as his father Malachy's drinking bouts constantly brings the family to the brink of disaster. It is a story of courage and survival against apparently overwhelming odds. Written with the vitality and resonance of a work of fiction, and with a remarkable absence of sentimentality, 'Angela's Ashes' is imbued on every page with Frank McCourt's distinctive humour and compassion. Out of terrible circumstances, he has created a glorious book in the tradition of Ireland's literary masters, which bears all the marks of a great classic.
  • AFJSU
    • £5.69
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    "I would be content, ay, glad, to live with you as your servant, if I may not as your wife; so that I could only be near you, and get glimpses of you, and think of you as mine...I long for only one thing in heaven or earth or under the earth, to meet you, my own dear! Come to me - come to me, and save me from what threatens me"! When Tess Durbeyfield is driven by family poverty to claim kinship with the wealthy D'Urbervilles and seek a portion of their family fortune, meeting her 'cousin' Alec proves to be her downfall. A very different man, Angel Clare, seems to offer her love and salvation, but Tess must choose whether to reveal her past or remain silent in the hope of a peaceful future. With its sensitive depiction of the wronged Tess and powerful criticism of social convention, "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" is one of the most moving and poetic of Hardy's novels. The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.
  • AACOH
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    Choose us. Choose life. Choose mortgage payments; choose washing machines; choose cars; choose sitting oan a couch watching mind-numbing and spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing junk food intae yir mooth. Choose rotting away, pishing and sh*teing yersel in a home, a total embarrassment tae the selfish, messed-up brats ye've produced. Choose life.
  • AAHKL
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    The final curtain is closing on the Second World War, and Hana, a nurse, stays behind in an abandoned Italian villa to tend to her only remaining patient. Rescued by Bedouins from a burning plane, he is English, anonymous, damaged beyond recognition and haunted by his memories of passion and betrayal. The only clue Hana has to his past is the one thing he clung on to through the fire - a copy of The Histories by Herodotus, covered with hand-written notes describing a painful and ultimately tragic love affair.
  • AJDQU
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    Nobel prize winner and author of One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez tells a tale of an unrequited love that outlasts all rivals in his masterpiece Love in the Time of Cholera. 'It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.' Fifty-one years, nine months and four days have passed since Fermina Daza rebuffed hopeless romantic Florentino Ariza's impassioned advances and married Dr Juvenal Urbino instead. During that half-century, Flornetino has fallen into the arms of many delighted women, but has loved none but Fermina. Having sworn his eternal love to her, he lives for the day when he can court her again. When Fermina's husband is killed trying to retrieve his pet parrot from a mango tree, Florentino seizes his chance to declare his enduring love. But can young love find new life in the twilight of their lives? "The most important writer of fiction in any language". (Bill Clinton). "An exquisite writer, wise, compassionate and extremely funny". (Sunday Telegraph). "An amazing celebration of the many kinds of love between men and women". (The Times). As one of the pioneers of magic realism and perhaps the most prominent voice of Latin American literature, Gabriel Garcia Marquez has received international recognition for his novels, works of non-fiction and collections of short stories. Those published in translation by Penguin include Autumn of the Patriarch, Bon Voyage Mr. President, Collected Stories, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, The General in his Labyrinth, Innocent Erendira and Other Stories, In the Evil Hour, Leaf Storm, Living to Tell the Tale, Memories of My Melancholy Whores, News of a Kidnapping, No-one Writes to the Colonel, Of Love and Other Demons, One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor and Strange Pilgrims.
  • AEECP
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    'I'm unfavorable to killin' a man as long as you can get around it; it ain't good sense, it ain't good morals. Ain't I right?' The original Great American Novel, an incomparable adventure story and a classic of anarchic humour, Twain's masterpiece sees Huckleberry Finn and Jim the slave escape their difficult lives by fleeing down the Mississippi on a raft. There, they find steamships, feuding families, an unlikely Duke and King and vital lessons about the world in which they live. With its unforgettable cast of characters, Hemingway called this 'the best book we've ever had'. The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.
  • AGLEA
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    WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY ADAM THIRLWELL. Sensational, dramatic, packed with rich excitement and filled with the sweep and violence of human passions, Les Miserables is one of the greatest adventure stories ever told. It is a novel peopled by colourful characters from the nineteenth-century Parisian underworld; the street children, the prostitutes and the criminals. In telling the story of escaped convict Jean Valjean, and his efforts to reform his ways and care for the little orphan girl he rescues from a life of cruelty, Victor Hugo drew attention to the plight of the poor and oppressed. Les Miserables is a masterful detective story, a comic and tragic story of romance and revolution and, ultimately, a tale of redemption and hope.