13 Best Classic British & Irish Fiction

List Updated March 2020

Bestselling Classic British & Irish Fiction in 2020


Death on the Nile: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot Mysteries)

Death on the Nile: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot Mysteries)
BESTSELLER NO. 1 in 2020
  • Harper Paperbacks

Hamlet ( Folger Library Shakespeare)

Hamlet ( Folger Library Shakespeare)
BESTSELLER NO. 2 in 2020
  • Simon Schuster

Macbeth (Folger Shakespeare Library)

Macbeth (Folger Shakespeare Library)
BESTSELLER NO. 3 in 2020
  • Great product!

Paradise Lost (Penguin Classics)

Paradise Lost (Penguin Classics)
BESTSELLER NO. 4 in 2020
  • Penguin Books

The Canterbury Tales

The Canterbury Tales
BESTSELLER NO. 5 in 2020
  • Penguin Books

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Knickerbocker Classics)

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Knickerbocker Classics)
BESTSELLER NO. 6 in 2020
  • Race Point Publishing

Murder on the Orient Express: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot series Book 10)

Murder on the Orient Express: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot series Book 10)
BESTSELLER NO. 7 in 2020

Wide Sargasso Sea

Wide Sargasso Sea
BESTSELLER NO. 8 in 2020
  • W W Norton Company

The Pilgrim's Progress (Dover Thrift Editions)

The Pilgrim's Progress (Dover Thrift Editions)
BESTSELLER NO. 9 in 2020
  • Paperback with scene of an angel and the pilgrim

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
BESTSELLER NO. 10 in 2020
  • New American Library

I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle
BESTSELLER NO. 11 in 2020

And Then There Were None

And Then There Were None
BESTSELLER NO. 12 in 2020
  • Great product!

Lost Horizon: A Novel

Lost Horizon: A Novel
BESTSELLER NO. 13 in 2020
  • Harper Perennial

World Cinema: Ten Films to Watch

Feel like a change of pace from American and British films? Here's some suggestions.

Shall we dansu?

Remade for the US audience as Shall we dance?, this Japanese movie about a man with a dull life discovering ballroom dancing is beautiful. It's gentle, quiet and has moments where a box of tissues is handy to have nearby. Funny as well as engaging, it can be appreciated by all ages, leaves the viewer with a lovely, warm feeling and can be watched time and again.

Eat, Drink, Man, Woman

Another very gentle, moving film, this time Chinese. The story of an aging master chef who has lost his sense of taste and his three difficult daughters leads us from one torturous Sunday dinner to the next, each bringing revelations and family upset. The last dinner's news is completely unexpected and could quite easily leave an audience with their mouth agape in surprise. Great actors under the wonderful direction of Ang Lee. Oh, yes - prepare to feel very hungry when you see all that mouth-watering food!

Jamón, Jamón

Bigas Luna is a strange person, if his films are anything to go by. That said, he does produce some great stuff - this one is a satire of several Spanish cultural issues: machismo, sexual hypocrisy, bullfighting. Not one for the kids, as it includes full-frontal nudity and some pretty graphic sex (involving a young Penélope Cruz, which may be another reason why it's still very popular...). Bizarre, disturbing in some ways and yet strangely compelling.

Das boot

An astounding film. Chances are it'll leave you feeling as if absolutely nothing in life is worthwhile. Its claustrophobic, restrained style only serves to make the story of a U-boat captain (a brilliant Jürgen Prochnow) and his raw crew trying to survive World War II even more horrifying. Some of it is even quite terrifying. Not for the faint-hearted, it deserves its 'R' rating (more for the emotion than the war stuff in my opinion) and is probably one of the greatest war movies ever made. Given that it's one of the few to be told from a German-sympathetic point of view, that's a pretty major achievement.

Armor Of God / Gorgeous

No foreign film list would be complete without Jackie Chan. He's done more for the martial arts genre than pretty much anyone and manages to mix humour in with all the insane stunts. Of these two, Armor of God is the action-packed one. He plays an Indiana Jones character sent to retrieve a set of armor from a group of unfriendly monks: the beginning and ending fight scenes are absolutely astounding. For fans of pure action, this one is a must (as is the follow-up, Operation Condor). On the other hand, Gorgeous is a bit of an unusual turn for Chan - a romantic comedy. The purists may not like this one as much, but I love it. It manages to mix a gentle comedy with a few eye-popping fight scenes (possibly some of Chan's best) and leaves the viewer feeling happy.

La Vita è Bella

Roberto Benigni shot to international stardom with this one (he was already a household name in Italy), so it's better known than most in this list. Three Oscars and a place in the IMDB top 100 confirm the general consensus that it's essential viewing. The story is set during the Holocaust, with Benigni doing everything he can to make the experience of a concentration camp into something exciting and fun for his son. The contrast is obvious, the acting is excellent and the film is one that stays with the viewer for a long time. Beautiful.

Hero

One of the most amazing feats of cinematography in existence, this story of a nameless assassin's (Jet Li) path to an attempt on pre-unified China's most powerful warlord's life by killing three masters of martial arts is a feast for the eyes. Much, much better than Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the whole movie is filmed in beautiful colour, and Yimou Zhang's direction is flawless. The message is strong, the action is phenomenal and the whole ninety minutes is awe-inspiring. Apparently the most expensive Chinese film ever when it was made - the money wasn't wasted.

37°2 le Matin

Otherwise known as Betty Blue, this is one of the most deeply disturbing films I've seen, especially in the three-hour long original version. It's not particularly gory or sick, just deeply upsetting since it deals with the mental disintegration of an individual (Betty, played by Béatrice Dalle). It's sad, it's funny, it's strange as heck. Be warned that there's some graphic sex and nudity - the director, Jean-Jacques Beineix, knew that with an actress like Dalle, all the male viewers would be waiting for her to get undressed, so he opens with a rather torrid scene to get things over with! Only watch this one if you're ready to be left feeling emotionally drained. Chances are you'll only sit through it once, but it's worth it.

Kurosawa

OK, that's not a film. It's a Japanese director - Akira Kurosawa. He made Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, Sanjuro, Ran, Kagemusha, Throne of Blood and a ton of other films. Virtually every one of them is excellent and many have been remade (The Magnificent Seven and A Fistful of Dollars, for example, are western remakes of Seven Samurai and Yojimbo, respectively). As a director, Kurosawa is wonderful: he has immense range and depth, plenty of humour, great camerawork and his films almost all have very strong stories. It's not easy to go wrong with one of his films.

Cosi

I'm cheating again - this one is a film, but it's Australian, so it's in English. But hey, it's from another continent. The story of a slacker who takes a job as drama therapist (I suppose that would be the best description) in a psychiatric clinic and finds himself directing Cosi Fan Tutte instead of the simple show he was supposed to produce. The actors are all very amusing, if not always believable, and the emotion behind the story is very powerful even if the story itself gets a tad ludicrous at times. It should bring a smile to your face and a tear to your eye, at the very least.

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