Classics

Classics are books that are as relevant and popular now as in their own era. Have a glance through history when you scroll through our selection of time-tested Classics. You might re-discover a forgotten gem!

Z for Zachariah

Z for Zachariah

Author: Robert C. O'Brien Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/08/2016

Ann Burden has been living alone in a valley for over a year - until Loomis, a scientist in a radiation-proof suit, arrives. She hopes they will be companions but his behaviour towards her becomes increasingly threatening as he attacks her and then cuts off her food supply and tries to bring her under his control. Although there may be no one else alive, Ann steals his suit and leaves the valley in search of humanity.

Across the Barricades A Kevin and Sadie Story

Across the Barricades A Kevin and Sadie Story

Author: Joan Lingard Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/08/2016

Kevin and Sadie just want to be together, but it's not that simple. Things are bad in Belfast. Soldiers walk the streets and the city is divided. No Catholic boy and Protestant girl can go out together - not without dangerous consequences ...

A Kestrel for a Knave

A Kestrel for a Knave

Author: Barry Hines Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/08/2016

The classic book that inspired Kes, the famous film, now published as a Penguin Essential for the first time. Barry Hines's A Kestrel for a Knave was published in 1968, and was made into one of the key British films of the sixties. Billy Casper is beaten by his drunken brother, ignored by his mother and failing at school. He seems destined for a hard, miserable life down the pits, but for a brief time, he finds one pleasure in life: a wild kestrel that he has raised and tamed himself.

Good Morning, Midnight

Good Morning, Midnight

Author: Jean Rhys Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/08/2016

Saved, rescued, fished-up, half-drowned, out of the deep, dark river, dry clothes, hair shampooed and set... Set in a 1930s Paris of shabby hotel rooms, seedy bars and drunken encounters, Jean Rhys's semi-autobiographical portrayal of a young woman's sexual encounters is a searingly honest exploration of loneliness and yearning. Ten new titles in the colourful, small-format, portable new Pocket Penguins series

The Card A Story of Adventure in the Five Towns

The Card A Story of Adventure in the Five Towns

Author: Arnold Bennett Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/07/2016

One of fiction's greatest chancers - the story of Denry Machin and his unceasing, ingenious efforts to become a great man. Set in the raw, Victorian world of the 'Five Towns', The Card tells the extremely funny and tangled story of Denry Machin's rise from mediocrity to fame through a series of ludicrous and yet perversely successful schemes. He dances, pleads, cheats and inspires his way through life in a series of set-pieces which wonderfully evoke a now long-gone world of civic balls, seaside excursions, newspaper boys and patent chocolate remedies. As everybody said after one of his most stylish coups, Denry 'was not simply a card; he was the card.'

Beneath the Heart of the Sea The Sinking of the Whaleship Essex

Beneath the Heart of the Sea The Sinking of the Whaleship Essex

Author: Owen Chase Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/02/2015

First published in 1821 and the inspiration for 'Moby Dick', this is an absolutely fascinating true story, detailing a subject that will make you wince, grimace and wonder. Owen Chase the author, was the First Mate aboard the Whaleship Essex, a ship that was rammed and sank by a whale, leaving 20 men fighting for their lives. Travelling back in time, in language, in livelihoods; this most definitely makes for an uncomfortable read at times. It’s worth having a map by your side, as the distance travelled by the men of the Essex is quite remarkable. This is a tale of ultimate survival that will no doubt leave you wondering what you would do, if left face to mesmerising face with death.  The film adaptation, starring Chris Hemsworth is released in the UK on Saturday 26 December 2015. Click below to view the trailer. Visit our '50 Classics Everyone Should Read' collection to discover more classic titles.

eBooks of the Month
Untouchable

Untouchable

Author: Mulk Raj Anand Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/01/2014

Mulk Raj Anand's extraordinarily powerful story of an Untouchable in India's caste system, with a new introduction by Ramachandra Guha, author of Gandhi Bakha is a proud and attractive young man, yet none the less he is an Untouchable - an outcast in India's caste system. It is a system that is even now only slowly changing and was then as cruel and debilitating as that of apartheid. Into this vivid re-creation of one day in the life of Bakha, sweeper and toilet-cleaner, Anand pours a vitality, fire and richness of detail that earn his place as one of the twentieth century's most important Indian writers. 'One of the most eloquent and imaginative works to deal with this difficult and emotive subject' Martin Seymour-Smith 'It recalled to me very vividly the occasions I have walked 'the wrong way' in an Indian city, and it is a way down which no novelist has yet taken me' E. M. Forster

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden

Author: Anchee Min Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/11/2013

One of the best loved stories in children’s literature, The Secret Garden brings nature alive in the story of how Mary Lennox, a lonely, unhappy and spoilt child is transformed by finding her way into a hidden garden. Brought to her Uncle’s house in Yorkshire after the death of her mother, Mary has no friends and no occupation. Used to being waited she is selfish and mean spirited. But when Mary unlocks the door to the garden she not only finds the wonders of nature as the flowers and trees grow and bear fruit but she also finds a friend in Dickon, the kindly gardener’s boy. How Mary, and her wheelchair bound cousin Colin are transformed by the garden remains as magical as when it was first written.

Lady Susan and Other Works

Lady Susan and Other Works

Author: Jane Austen, Nicholas Seager Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/05/2013

With an Introduction, explanatory notes, and annotated bibliography by Nicholas Seager. This collection brings together Jane Austen's earliest experiments in the art of fiction and novels that she left incomplete at the time of her premature death in 1817. Her fragmentary juvenilia show Austen developing her own sense of narrative form whilst parodying popular kinds of fiction of her day. Lady Susan is a wickedly funny epistolary novel about a captivating but unscrupulous widow seeking to snare husbands for her daughter and herself. The Watsons explores themes of family relationships, the marriage market, and attitudes to rank, which became the hallmarks of her major novels. In Sanditon, Austen exercises her acute powers of social observation in the setting of a newly fashionable seaside resort. These novels are here joined by shorter fictions that survive in Austen's manuscripts, including critically acclaimed works like Catharine, Love and Freindship [sic], and The History of England.

The Wind in the Willows

The Wind in the Willows

Author: Ethan Cross Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/11/2012

Friendship, hospitality and having fun propel the adventures of these four animals as they go about their lives against the watery landscape in this classic tale. Life on the riverbank with close-friends Mole, Rat, Toad and Badger is mostly peaceful. There is lots of entertaining as well as a great deal of just messing about on the river. Just occasionally the peace is shattered, as when Toad gets behind the wheel of his car and speeds around the countryside letting rip with the horn or, more seriously, by brief attempts to defeat the weasels and stoats in the Wild Wood.

Pale Horse, Pale Rider

Pale Horse, Pale Rider

Author: Katherine Anne Porter Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/11/2011

Many people refuse to read short fiction, but what they don’t understand is that the important part is the fiction, not the length. Being able to tell a story with a modicum of words is an absolute talent that not every book-length author possesses, but Porter loosely fictionalized a gut-wrenching account of her own struggle with the Spanish Flu in the eponymous story. I remember reading this collection in college and being shocked that this cataclysmic event that killed millions of people happened and I hadn’t until that moment really learned about the pandemic. Of course, there are echoes to what we are going through today, and when I started writing my own pandemic novel, I went back to Pale Horse, Pale Rider for inspiration. Selected by our Early Summer 2021 Guest Editor Karin Slaughter

Brideshead Revisited : The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder

Brideshead Revisited : The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder

Author: Evelyn Waugh Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/04/2011

March 2012 Guest Editor Alan Bradley on Evelyn Waugh... Charles Ryder, a lonely student at Oxford, is captivated by the outrageous and exquisitely beautiful Sebastian Flyte. Invited to Brideshead, Sebastian's magnificent family home, Charles welcomes the attentions of its eccentric, aristocratic inhabitants. But he also discovers a world which threatens to destroy his beloved Sebastian. Visit our '50 Classics Everyone Should Read' collection to discover more classic titles.