5. Nineteen Eighty-Four – Big Brother is watching in Orwell’s satirical attack on the state.
4. The Lord of the Rings – The trilogy that has sold over 100 million copies.
3. Shakespeare’s Sonnets – The master puts the English language through its paces in this intimate collection of work.
2. A Tale of Two Cities – We’re spoilt for choice with Dickens but we’ve selected his tale of love and revolution over orphans and spinsters.
1. Ulysses –James Joyce’s modernist masterpiece spans a single day; took seven years to write and is one of the greatest novels of the 20th century.
‘Skimp and save, turn the heating down, starve if necessary; but don’t deprive yourself the unalloyed joy of this majestic edition’
- Russell, France
More books to peruse...With so many titles to choose from, it was no easy task to pick out five favourites. The following were very close contenders – books with integrity and longevity, as well as those that are simply rollicking good reads.
Classic and modern fiction[caption id="attachment_6985" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Illustration © Sam Wolfe Connelly for The Great Gatsby, The Folio Society[/caption] Sense and Sensibility – Written when the author was just 20, Austen’s first novel is still a delight to read over 200 years later. The Great Gatsby – Arguably the greatest American novel of the 20th century.
Big thinkers and hard hitters[caption id="attachment_6986" align="aligncenter" width="750"] The Folio Society edition of A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking[/caption] On the Origin of Species – Charles Darwin literally turned our world view upside down and his conclusions are well worth a read.
‘The book is beautifully bound and has become one of my prized possessions.’
- Richard, UK
Step back in time[caption id="attachment_6987" align="aligncenter" width="750"] The Folio Society edition of The Anglo-Saxons[/caption] The Anglo-Saxons – The most accessible and influential account of conquest and power struggles during the Anglo-Saxon era. Pompeii – The Life of a Roman Town – Mary Beard makes history mesmerising and you’ll return to this biography of a doomed city again and again.
Children’s classics[caption id="attachment_6988" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Illustration © Eric Fraser for The Hobbit, The Folio Society[/caption] The Hobbit – The epic adventures of Bilbo Baggins have captivated children and adults alike for decades.
‘This FS version is a tremendous tribute to Tolkien's imagination, skill and dedication. Absolutely full marks.’
- James, UK
Gothic tales, sci-fi and fantasy[caption id="attachment_6990" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Illustration © Joe Wilson for 2001: A Space Odyssey, 2016, The Folio Society[/caption] 2001: A Space Odyssey – A sci-fi classic that inspired the genre.
‘This has to be the most beautiful edition of this book ever created’.
- Jack, UK
Whodunnit?[caption id="attachment_6991" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Illustration © Tim Laing for Tinker Tailor Solider Spy, The Folio Society[/caption] Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie at her finest with a disparate bunch of suspects confined in a fast-moving, small space.
‘This is probably the nicest book I own, a work of beauty’.
- Tom, UK