5. “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.
4. “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Little Prince is a classic tale of equal appeal to children and adults. On one level it is the story of an airman’s discovery, in the desert, of a small boy from another planet – the Little Prince of the title – and his stories of intergalactic travel, while on the other hand it is a thought-provoking allegory of the human condition. First published in 1943, the year before the author’s death in action, this translation contains Saint-Exupery’s delightful illustrations.
3. “Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy
Anna is the jewel of St. Petersburg society until she leaves her husband for the handsome and charming military officer, Count Vronsky. They fall in love, going beyond High Society’s acceptance of trivial adulterous dalliances. But when Vronsky’s love cools, Anna cannot bring herself to return to the husband she detests… Anna Karenina, considered by many critics to be Tolstoy’s finest achievement, is one of the most important novels of the nineteenth century. Tolstoy imbues the simple tale of a love affair with rich portraits of Russian high society, politics, and religion.
2. “Ulysses” by James Joyce
Regarded today as one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century, Ulysses entered the world in a firestorm of controversy. Denounced as obscure, unintelligible, nonsensical, and obscene, it was first published in Paris in 1922 and remained banned in the United States until 1933. Among the innovations that shocked and outraged critics were Joyce’s revolutionary use of the interior monologue (better known as “stream of consciousness”) and other experimental narrative techniques. Ulysses draws upon a complex network of symbolic parallels from mythology, history, and literature (including a framework and episodes that echo the Odyssey) to document an ordinary day in the lives of three Dubliners.
1. “Don Quixote” Miguel de Cervantes
And personally my favorite Don Quixote. Complete and unabridged, Don Quixote is the epic tale of the man from La Mancha and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza. Their picaresque adventures in the world of seventeenth-century Spain form the basis of one of the great treasures of Western literature. In a new translation that comes closest, among the modern translations, to the simple, intimate, direct style that characterizes Cervantes narrative, Don Quixote is a novel that is both immortal satire of an outdated chivalry code and a biting portrayal of an age in which nobility was a form of madness.