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75 Books You Should Read During 2023

Part of a reading campaign for 2023

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis


Clive Staples Lewis was a British writer and Anglican lay theologian. He held academic positions in English literature at both Oxford University and Cambridge University. He is best known as the author of The Chronicles of Narnia, but he is also noted for his other works of fiction, such as The Screwtape Letters and The Space Trilogy, and for his non-fiction Christian apologetics, including Mere Christianity, Miracles,  and The Problem of Pain. Lewis was a close friend of J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings. Both men served on the English faculty at Oxford Univesity and were active in the informal Oxford literary group known as the Inklings. According to Lewis's 1955 memoir Surprised by Joy, he was baptized in the Church of Ireland, but fell away from his faith during adolescence. Lewis returned to Anglicanism at the age of 32, owing to the influence of Tolkien and other friends, and he became an "ordinary layman of the Church of England". Lewis's faith profoundly affected his work, and his wartime radio broadcasts on the subject of Christianity brought him wide acclaim. Lewis wrote more than 30 books which have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copies. The books that make up The Chronicles of Narnia have sold the most and have been popularized on stage, TV, radio, and cinema. His philosophical writings are widely cited by Christian scholars from many denominations.

Sons and Lovers - D.H. Lawrence

Animal Farm - George Orwell

Orwell was born Eric Arthur Blair on 25 June 1903 in Eastern India, the son of a British colonial civil servant. He was educated in England and, after he left Eton, joined the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, then a British colony. He resigned in 1927 and decided to become a writer. In 1928, he moved to Paris where lack of success as a writer forced him into a series of menial jobs. He described his experiences in his first book, Down and Out in Paris and London, published in 1933. He took the name George Orwell, shortly before its publication. This was followed by his first novel Burmese Days, in 1934. In 1945, Orwell's Animal Farm was published. A political fable set in a farmyard but based on Stalin's betrayal of the Russian Revolution, it made Orwell's name and ensured he was financially comfortable for the first time in his life. Nineteen Eighty-Four was published four years later. Set in an imaginary totalitarian future, the book made a deep impression, with its title and many phrases - such as 'Big Brother is watching you' 'newspeak' and 'doublethink' - entering popular use. By now Orwell's health was deteriorating and he died of tuberculosis on 21 January 1950.

The Silver Sword & The Enchanted Island - Ian Serraillier

Ian Serraillier was a prolific novelist and poet, best known for his wartime adventure story The Silver Sword (1956) which became a children's classic. As a Quaker, Serraillier was a conscientious objector during the Second World War; but he drew on war-time observations and experiences in his adventure book The Silver Sword, which tells the story of four Polish children struggling to find their parents in war-torn Europe. This novel - 'a timeless story, meticulously set in modern time and place' (Obituary, TES) - has remained in print, and has been twice adapted for television by the BBC, first in 1957, and again in 1971. It is described by the Oxford Companion to Children's Literature as 'one of the most remarkable books since 1945'. In 2012 it featured in Once Upon A Wartime, an exhibition at the Imperial War Museum. His works include poems for adults, adventure novels for young adults, verse narratives based on classical and medieval sources, radio verse plays, picture books for younger readers, and a non-fiction introduction to Chaucer for high school and college students. Several of his poems have been broadcast in the United Kingdom, the United States, and elsewhere.

Greek Mythology - Rex Warner

Rex Warner was an English poet, novelist, translator, and scholar of classical literature. He was born in Birmingham and brought up mainly in Gloucestershire, where his father was a clergyman. As a student at Wadham College, Oxford, he associated with W.H. Auden and Cecil Day Lewis, and published in Oxford Poetry. After graduating in 1928, he worked mainly as a school teacher, including a period spent in Egypt. His first collection of verse, Poems, was published in 1937, and expressed the revolutionary fervour shared by many writers and intellectuals at that time. As a novelist he was profoundly influenced by Kafka, and his early novels are expressionist allegories concerning problems of power; they include The Wild Goose Chase (1937) and The Aerodrome (1941), his best known work. Warner also wrote several historical novels, including The Young Caesar (1958) and Pericles the Athenian (1963). His essays, such as 'The Cult of Power' (1946) and 'Men of Athens' (1973), were also influential.

From 1945 to 1947 he was in Athens as Director of the British Institute. At that time he was involved in many translation of classical Greek authors, and met and made friends with a number of contemporary Greek writers, notably the poet George Seferis. This friendship led him to make the second English translation of Seferis' poetry, Poems, which was published in London and Boston in 1960, andlater, together with Th. D. Frangopoulos, to translate a selection of Seferis' essays, On the Greek Style (1966). In 1961 he became Tallman Professor of Classics at Bowdoin College in the United States, and then Professor at the University of Connecticut from 1962 to 1974. He died in Wallingford, Oxfordshire.

William Shakespeare - Twelfth Night

William Shakespeare - Othello

The Taming of the Shrew - William Shakespeare


Julius Caesar - William Shakespeare

The Merchant of Venice - William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His extant works, including some collaborations, consist of around 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, of which the authorship of some is uncertain. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. Shakespeare was born and brought up Stratford-upon-Avon. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613 at age 49, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his physical appearance, sexuality, religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others.