Author: Peter Matthews
Time and time again, the same culprits crop up on every publication's 'Best Books' list, from Austen to Brontë, Kafka to Sartre and Dickens to Dostoevsky. Not to mention - perhaps more surprisingly - the same modern writers in the form of (admittedly wholly deserving) novelists such as Gabriel García Márquez, Toni Morrison, JM Coetzee and Britain's own prolific great of recent times, Ian McEwan.
Of course, there's no denying that such names represent some of the greatest writers the world has ever seen. To that end, works like George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby are universally regarded as classics for a reason. No one, including us, is arguing that.
But we already know these books. We've read these books (or at least attempted to, in the case of War and Peace) and what most of us would now like to know is: What other works rank in the same class that we haven't read yet? What else is equally worthy of our attention on our morning commute or tucked up cosily in bed?
No one is better placed to aid us in this quest than Jonathan Ruppin, Web Editor for Foyles bookshops with twelve years' experience in book retailing.
Jonathan regularly writes on contemporary fiction and his recent author interviews include Richard Ford, Graham Swift (his only interview anywhere on publication of his new novel), Maggie O'Farrell, Andrew Miller, Elif Shafak and Chris Cleave.
He has also been a judge for number of literary awards and is a member of the Advisory Board of Arts Council-funded publisher And Other Stories.
Using Jonathan's recommendations of titles close to his heart and mind, we've compiled our own alternative 'Best Books', purposely omitting the same old rehashed classics.
From Julie Otsukato's 2011 masterpiece The Buddha in the Attic, which tells the tale of Japanese picture brides immigrating to America, to Yevgeny Zamyatin's 1984 precursor We and ancient Mesopotamian text The Epic of Gilgamesh, all bases are covered in this entertaining, varied and challenging list. Happy reading and even happier discovering.
Read on to discover Ten of the Best Books to Read Ever.