The pursuit of knowing was freedom to me, the right to declare your own curiosities and follow them through all manner of books. I was made for the library ... The library was open, unending, free.
- Ta-Nehisi Coates
PersuasionBy Jane Austen
Persuasion was published in 1817, six months after Jane Austen’s death, and is the last novel she completed in full. It was well-regarded on publication and has been turned into several television series and movies.
The Great GatsbyBy F. Scott Fitzgerald
A study of America’s Jazz Age—a term said to be coined by Fitzgerald himself—complete with wealthy socialites living in hedonistic abandon, libertine flappers, jazz bands, roaring roadsters, and greasy speakeasies populated with shady grifters.
Narrative of the Life of Frederick DouglassBy Frederick Douglass
First published by the Anti-Slavery Office in 1845, this memoir brought Frederick Douglass’ harrowing experiences as a slave to the world. It reportedly sold 5,000 copies in a single month, and Douglass exposed the profound evils of slavery.
SiddharthaBy Hermann Hesse
Over twelve short chapters the reader follows Siddhartha through each stage of his life, yearning for nirvana and finally achieving it. Today Siddhartha remains an influential text in new Western spirituality.
Jane EyreBy Charlotte Bronte
Masterfully written and completely compelling, a novel with supernatural twists and romantic turns. It’s multidimensional — both a woman’s spiritual quest for independence and a love story, a gothic thriller and social commentary.
Tao Te ChingBy Lao-tzu
A series of 81 short poetic sections written in a fluid, ambiguous style, leaving them open to wide interpretation about subjects ranging from advice for those in power to advice for regular people to adages for daily living.
Crime and PunishmentBy Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote “Crime and Punishment,” one of the most acclaimed novels in history, following his return from a 10 year exile in Siberia.
The Count of Monte CristoBy Alexandre Dumas
A thrilling adventure and a timeless story of adventure, historical drama, romance, revenge, and Eastern mystery has been the source of over forty movies and TV series.
The Brothers KaramazovBy Fyodor Dostoevsky
In Dostoevsky’s final novel, a series of accidents of fate and wilful misunderstandings edge a family closer to tragedy, while the local townspeople watch on.
Longing for home, Ulysses travels across the Mediterranean Sea to return to his kingdom in Ithaca; unfortunately, our hero manages to anger Neptune, the god of the sea, making his trip home agonizingly slow and extremely dangerous.
Heart of DarknessBy Joseph Conrad
A short but thematically complex novel exploring colonialism, humanity, and what constitutes a savage society.
Don QuixoteBy Miguel de Cervantes
Don Quixote contains a surprising amount of slapstick laughs—even for the modern reader—and narrative devices still seen in today’s fiction. Many scenes are so famous that they’re ingrained in our collective culture.
The Art of WarBy Sun Tzu
Sun Tzu’s ancient treatise on the art of war has exerted enormous influence over both Asian and Western soldiers, covering subjects ranging from morale and discipline to the correct use of spies.
Sense and SensibilityBy Jane Austen
Mrs. Dashwood and her three daughters live on the estate of a distant relative. The two oldest daughters fall in love, only to find that the objects of their affection have secrets that throw their lives into an uproar.
Publisher description Candide is the picaresque tale of the titular character’s fantastical journey from an insular, idealized life in a picturesque castle through the difficulties and evils of the real world. Satir
The Thirty-Nine StepsBy John Buchan
You would be forgiven for being more familiar with Alfred Hitchcock’s incredible 1935 adaptation of John Buchan’s spy novel than the novel itself. Hitchcock made movie magic out of the story.
A Tale of Two CitiesBy Charles Dickens
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” With what may well be the most iconic opening lines in history, Charles Dickens’ masterpiece tells a sweeping tale of the French Revolution, and paints a portrait of the people caught in the tide.
Beyond Good and EvilBy Friedrich Nietzsche
An exploration of the concept of morality as taken for granted by contemporary philosophers, and whether “good” and “evil” should be considered just two sides of the same coin.