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50 Essential Classics

These are our picks for the 50 most essential classic books. You know, the ones that everyone should get around to reading sooner, rather than later. These books have meant a great deal to readers throughout the centuries, and they distinguish themselves as firsts and bests, sure, but also unexpected, astonishing, and boundary-breaking additions to the canon.
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1
1984 (George Orwell)
1984 (George Orwell)
2
The Age of Innocence (Edith Wharton)
The Age of Innocence (Edith Wharton)
3
Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy)
Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy)
4
The Awakening
The Awakening
5
The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath)
The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath)
6
The Brothers Karamazov
The Brothers Karamazov
7
Cane (Jean Toomer)
Cane (Jean Toomer)
8
The Collected Short Stories of Eudora Welty
The Collected Short Stories of Eudora Welty
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9
The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Conner (Flannery O'Conner)
The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Conner (Flannery O'Conner)
10
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (William Shakespeare)
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (William Shakespeare)
11
Emma (Jane Austen)
Emma (Jane Austen)
12
Frankenstein (Mary Shelley)
Frankenstein (Mary Shelley)
13
The Glass Menagerie
The Glass Menagerie
14
Go Tell It on the Mountain (James Baldwin)
Go Tell It on the Mountain (James Baldwin)
15
The God of Small Things (Arundhati Roy)
The God of Small Things (Arundhati Roy)
16
Great Expectations (Charles Dickens)
Great Expectations (Charles Dickens)
17
The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
18
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
19
Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad)
Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad)
20
A House for Mr. Biswas (Mr. Biswas)
A House for Mr. Biswas (Mr. Biswas)
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21
Howards End
Howards End
22
The Iliad (Homer)
The Iliad (Homer)
23
Invisible Man
Invisible Man
24
Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
25
The Last of the Mohicans (James Fenimore Cooper)
The Last of the Mohicans (James Fenimore Cooper)
26
Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
27
The Metamorphoses (Ovid)
The Metamorphoses (Ovid)
28
Middlemarch (George Eliot)
Middlemarch (George Eliot)
29
Moby Dick (Herman Melville)
Moby Dick (Herman Melville)
30
The Moviegoer
The Moviegoer
31
My Antonia (Antonia Shimerda)
My Antonia (Antonia Shimerda)
32
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass an American Slave
The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass an American Slave
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33
Native Son (Richard Wright)
Native Son (Richard Wright)
34
Night (Elie Wiesel)
Night (Elie Wiesel)
35
Pale Fire
Pale Fire
36
Paradise Lost (John Milton)
Paradise Lost (John Milton)
37
The Picture of Dorian Grey (Oscar Wilde)
The Picture of Dorian Grey (Oscar Wilde)
38
Rebecca (Daphne Dumaurier)
Rebecca (Daphne Dumaurier)
39
Siddhartha (Hesse)
Siddhartha (Hesse)
40
Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
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