"Philip Marlowe series" by Raymond Chandler
These top four Marlowe novels are what launched Raymond Chandler into the big leagues of hardboiled detective fiction: The Big Sleep, The High Window, Farewell My Lovely, and the Lady in the Lake.
Anyone wanting a mystery with condensed descriptive language, equating faces with stale beer or smiles felt in pockets, won't be disappointed by the Omnibus. Stolen golden coins, mousy secretaries, gun molls and casinos - Marlowe encounters them all.
"The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Also recommended by Chuck Palahniuk, Bill Gates
The Great Gatsby, the crowning achievement of the literary career of F. Scott Fitzgerald, is set in the Jazz Age, that is, 1920s. This is the story of Jay Gatsby, very wealthy and powerful billionaire, who is in love with Daisy Buchanan. He likes to throw luxurious parties, gather the Beautiful People in his house.
"Catcher in the Rye" by J. D. Salinger
Also recommended by Bill Gates, mentioned in Woody Allen Recommends What To Read Next
Catcher in the Rye is undoubtfully a classical work of the American literature and is very popular in "Top 10 books" lists.
The main character being an expelled student named Holden Caulfield, though he is just 16, he encounters many events that tend to preclude adults. Catcher in the Rye is about a youth of 1960-s,but it is still actual today.
"The Brothers Karamasov" by Dostoevsky
Also recommended by Vladimir Putin
This is of the best allegorical novels to explain the fractured nature of 19th century Russia. Each character is representative of one of the ruling classes.
There is the father Fyodor, the landowner who is negligent about his land, but greedy in using its produce for himself. There's Dmitri, who has been passed around from house to house, and has grown up an entitled but debt-ridden soul. There's the skeptic Ivan, who wishes to live more among cold concepts than people. And gentle Alyosha, the mystic and religious peacemaker, and the illegitimate Smerdyakov.
Throughout are themes of love, law, and duty, which makes this one of the best Dostoyesky books to read besides Crime and Punishment.
"The Castle" by Franz Kafka
Hailed as one of the best books of Kafka by the Guardian, this novel details the unquenchable human spirit of the unnamed protagonist (K) in his monumental struggle against the mist-enveloped Castle. The overwhelming beauty and reality of snow and darkness are almost tangible things, along with the isolation and need for companionship experienced by K. The superstitious awe and suspicion of the villagers is reminiscent of Silas Marner, while the constant struggle with snow and darkness seem in keeping with Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.