Our Favourite Books by British Authors

Featuring epic fantasy adventures, gripping thrillers and sweeping romances, here are just some of our favourite books by British authors.

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1. The Lord of the Rings

J. R. R. Tolkien | 1954-1955

Join the daring hobbits Frodo, Sam, Pippin and Merry as they embark on an epic quest to destroy the powerful and manipulative One Ring, defeat the evil Sauron and restore peace to Middle-earth, accompanied by a cast of courageous characters including Aragon, Legolas, Arwen and Gandalf. This legendary fantasy masterpiece was released in three volumes from 1954 to 1955 and has remained popular ever since. It was found to be Britain's best-loved book in the BBC's 'Big Read' survey of 2003.

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2. Jane Eyre

Charlotte Bronte | 1847

A novel ahead of its time, Jane is the feisty, argumentative and keenly intelligent protagonist of this enthralling novel. She refuses to accept her designated position in society and resolves to find love on her own terms. She thinks she may have found it when she meets the dark and brooding Mr Rochester, but she will endure terrible tragedies, setbacks and challenges, from a difficult childhood with her cruel aunt, to shocking encounters and deadly fires. This rich and gripping work of literature is simply a must-read.

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3. Nineteen Eighty-Four

George Orwell | 1949

In London, Big Brother stares out from every poster, and the intimidating Thought Police uncover every act of betrayal. Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth, but when he finds love with Julia, he discovers that life needn't be dull and tedious, but rich and exciting. Winston and Julia start to question the Party and are increasingly drawn towards conspiracy theories. But Big Brother will not tolerate dissent - not even in the mind. This unsettling vision of a future dystopian society, ruled with an iron fist by a totalitarian government, will shock, move and engross its readers.

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4. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll | 1865

Readers can immerse themselves in a dreamlike world with this thrilling book. Follow the white rabbit down the rabbit hole and tumble into a world where all your normal worries disappear, and you must instead contend with the grinning Cheshire Cat, the nonsensical Mad Hatter and the cruel Queen of Hearts. This riveting read is full of wonderful wordplay, perplexing puzzles and curious characters.

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5. Great Expectations

Charles Dickens | 1861

Join little orphan Pip on all his adventures in this brilliant classic. Pip couldn't imagine how a terrifying encounter with a convict would later transform his life. But he's even more troubled by his visits to the strange old Miss Havisham, whose house full of memories disturbs him, and the beautiful Estella, who makes him feel ashamed of his country manners and coarse hands. Surely a young blacksmith's apprentice could never dream of winning Estella - but Pip's future may not turn out quite as he expected...

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6. Frankenstein

Mary Shelley | 1818

Victor Frankenstein, obsessed with the idea of creating life itself, ransacks graveyards for the material necessary to fashion a new being. He shocks the creature into life with electricity, but his botched being, rejected by Frankenstein and denied human companionship, sets out to destroy its creator and all that he holds dear. This spine-chilling Gothic novel is filled with excitement, imagination and moral quandaries, and remains one of the world's most famous horror stories.

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7. The Chronicles of Narnia

C. S. Lewis | 1950-1956

Readers have been enchanted by these thrilling, action-packed and spellbinding stories for decades. Discover a magical land, inhabited by all sorts of peculiar creatures, as well as a witch who imposes an eternal winter. Be swept away by incredible quests, exhilarating battles and plenty of fantastical beasts, including centaurs, giants, fauns, and the wise, magnificent lion, Aslan.

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8. Lord of the Flies

William Golding | 1954

This riveting classic novel has proved controversial in its time, but is nonetheless an iconic and engrossing read. Join a group of boys on an uninhabited island, the only survivors of a tragic plane crash. The boys must try to work together, but it's not long before cracks appear, their primal impulses take over and their memories of home and family vanish. This gripping novel offers a sharp commentary on society, posing many questions about how we live.

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9. Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen | 1813

This beloved book follows the provincial middle-class Bennet family. When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks he's an arrogant, narcissistic individual. Similarly, he is indifferent to her beauty and vibrant mind. When Darcy starts to interfere in the relationship between his friend Bingley and Elizabeth's sister Jane, Elizabeth is determined to loathe him more than ever - but instead ends up falling in love. When it comes to romance, you can't beat this much-loved classic.

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10. His Dark Materials

Philip Pullman | 1995-2000

Featuring three books - Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass - this captivating fantasy trilogy follows Lyra and her 'daemon', the animal embodiment of her inner self. Travel with Lyra to amazing fantastical settings, through snowy hills, to an otherworldly city, and even to the Land of the Dead, on all sorts of daring and dangerous quests.

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  • ADDPD 7 years +
    CS Lewis
    7 years +
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    The Chronicles of Narnia have enchanted millions of readers over the last fifty years and the magical events described in C.S. Lewis's immortal prose have left many a lasting memory for adults and children alike. All seven Chronicles are bound together in this new paperback edition (rebranded with HarperCollins logo). The Chronicles of Narnia have enchanted millions of readers over the last fifty years and the magical events described in C.S. Lewis's immortal prose have left many a lasting memory. For here is a world where a witch decrees eternal winter; where there are more talking animals than people; and where battles are fought by Centaurs, Giants and Fauns.
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    A 75th anniversary box set of Tolkien's four books, telling the complete story of Bilbo Baggins and the Hobbits' epic encounters with Gandalf, Gollum, and the quest to destroy the One Ring. Steeped in unrivalled magic and otherworldliness, these works of sweeping fantasy have touched the hearts of young and old alike. Between them, more than 150 million copies have been sold around the world.

    This new box set, published to mark the 75th anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit, offers readers a new opportunity to discover Tolkien's remarkable world of Middle-earth and to follow the complete story of Bilbo Baggins and the Hobbits' part in the epic quest for the Ring - beginning with Bilbo's fateful visit from Gandalf and culminating in the dramatic climax between Frodo and Gollum atop Mount Doom and Bilbo's departure to the Grey Havens.
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    Mary Shelley
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    Obsessed by creating life itself, Victor Frankenstein plunders graveyards for the material to fashion a new being, which he shocks into life by electricity. But his botched creature, rejected by Frankenstein and denied human companionship, sets out to destroy his maker and all that he holds dear. Mary Shelley's chilling gothic tale was conceived when she was only eighteen, living with her lover Percy Shelley near Byron's villa on Lake Geneva. It would become the world's most famous work of horror fiction, and remains a devastating exploration of the limits of human creativity.
  • AAASQ 14 years +
    William Golding
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    Classic, challenging, controversial, iconic, dazzling... There are just not enough adjectives to describe William Golding's classic 1954 novel, Lord of the Flies.

    Telling the story of a group of boys who are stranded on an uninhabited island after a plane crash, the book offers a commentary on society that still stands up today, posing many questions about how we live...

    After setting up a community on the island, cracks do not take long to appear. The boys' primal urges take over and all memories of home and family vanish as they become excited by pig hunts and regress into a primitive, dangerous way of life...

    This book has been hand-picked for the Book People's FaberShop, in partnership with Faber & Faber.
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    Charlotte Bronte
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    'Such a strange book! Imagine a novel with a little swarthy governess for heroine, and a middle-aged ruffian for hero.' Sharpe's London Magazine (June 1855) Jane Eyre is an orphan grown up under the harsh regime first of her aunt and then as a pupil at Lowood Institution. She leaves to become a governess to the daughter of the mysterious Mr Rochester; gradually their relationship deepens, but Jane's passionate nature has yet to endure its deepest blows. In this new edition Sally Shuttleworth explores the power of a narrative that questions the rights of women, the nature of servitude and madness, martyrdom and rebellion in a story whose emotional charge is a strong today as it was more than 150 years ago.
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    George Orwell
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    A famous novel that covers many questions that are still relevant today, it is easy to see why George Orwell's 1984 has been applauded and acclaimed by so many. Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth in London, where Big Brother stares out from every poster and the Thought Police uncover every act of betrayal. When he finds love with Julia, he discovers life does not have to be dull and mundane, and opens up to new possibilities. Despite the police helicopters that hover and circle overhead, Winston and Julia begin to question the Party and are drawn towards conspiracy theories. But Big Brother will not tolerate dissent, even in the mind. A terrifying vision of a totalitarian future in which everything and everyone is slave to a tyrannical regime. This is a classic story that just has to be read!

  • AADZH 13 years +
    Jane Austen
    13 years +
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    Jane Austen's classic 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice has been adapted into an extremely popular BBC series starring Colin Firth, and an Oscar-nominated film starring Keira Knightley. Based in Longbourn in Hertfordshire, the story follows the provincial middle-class Bennet family and shows the folly of judging by first impressions. When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks he is arrogant and conceited, while he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she discovers Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever.

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    Philip Pullman
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    "Northern Lights" introduces Lyra, an orphan, who lives in a parallel universe in which science, theology and magic are entwined. Lyra's search for a kidnapped friend uncovers a sinister plot involving stolen children and turns into a quest to understand a mysterious phenomenon called Dust. In "The Subtle Knife" she is joined on her journey by Will, a boy who possesses a knife that can cut windows between worlds. As Lyra learns the truth about her parents and her prophesied destiny, the two young people are caught up in a war against celestial powers that ranges across many worlds and leads to a thrilling conclusion in "The Amber Spyglass". The epic story Pullman tells is not only a spellbinding adventure featuring armoured polar bears, magical devices, witches and daemons, it is also an audacious and profound re-imagining of Milton's "Paradise Lost". An utterly entrancing blend of metaphysical speculation and bravura storytelling, "His Dark Materials" is a monumental and enduring achievement.
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    Charles Dickens
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    Considered by many to be Dickens' finest novel, Great Expectations traces the growth of the book's narrator, Philip Pirrip (Pip), from a boy of shallow dreams to a man with depth of character. From its famous dramatic opening on the bleak Kentish marshes, the story abounds with some of Dickens' most memorable characters. Among them are the kindly blacksmith Joe Gargery, the mysterious convict Abel Magwitch, the eccentric Miss Haversham and her beautiful ward Estella, Pip's good-hearted room-mate Herbert Pocket and the pompous Pumblechook. As Pip unravels the truth behind his own 'great expectations' in his quest to become a gentleman, the mysteries of the past and the convolutions of fate through a series of thrilling adventures serve to steer him towards maturity and his most important discovery of all - the truth about himself.
  • ATAWF
    Lewis Carroll
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    With an Introduction and Notes by Michael Irwin, Professor of English Literature, University of Kent at Canterbury This selection of Carroll's works includes Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel, Through the Looking-Glass, both containing the famous illustrations by Sir John Tenniel. No greater books for children have ever been written. The simple language, dreamlike atmosphere, and fantastical characters are as appealing to young readers today as ever they were. Meanwhile, however, these apparently simple stories have become recognised as adult masterpieces, and extraordinary experiments, years ahead of their time, in Modernism and Surrealism. Through wordplay, parody and logical and philosophical puzzles, Carroll engenders a variety of sub-texts, teasing, ominous or melancholy. For all the surface playfulness there is meaning everywhere. The author reveals himself in glimpses.