Word up

Forget the cold and curl up indoors with one of these classics for company writes Kaye Holland

1. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
by Ken Kesey
Kesey’s labour of love – a devastating depiction of one man’s battle against the higher powers of a ‘madhouse’ – rates as one of the greats.

2. The Catcher in the Rye
by JD Salinger
Since its ­first publication in 1951, this novel has been the coming of age story against which all others are judged.

3. The Great Gatsby
by F Scott Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald’s cautionary tale of the decadent downside of‑the‑American dream remains the quintessential jazz age novel.

4. Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
Austen’s likeable classic charts the five Bennet daughters' adventures on the marriage market in Georgian England, with warmth and humour.

5. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
The Beat Generation bible chronicling (in fictionalised form) Kerouac’s travels across North America with his friend Neal Cassady.

6. Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
The stream of consciousness novel that secured Woolf ’s position as one of the great 20th century English novelists.

7. Clarissa by Samuel Richardson
One of the longest novels in the English language but this story about the brothel-keeping Robert Lovelace is nonetheless unputdownable.

8. To Kill A Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
An enthralling story of racial prejudice in the Deep South, told through the eyes of six-year-old Scout Finch.

9. Money
by Martin Amis
A darkly comedic tale about greed and awed ambition at the beginnings of Eighties capitalism that bags Amis’ place on any list.

10. The Rainbow by DH Lawrence
Pronounced obscene when it was ­first published in 1915, this novel about the Brangwen family is considered to be one of Lawrence’s ­ best.

11. Gone With The Wind
by Margaret Mitchell
A southern belle carries on a turbulent love affair with a handsome rogue against the backdrop of the US civil war in this 1,037-page epic.

12. From Here To Eternity
by James Jones
Winner of the 1952 National Book Award and an acclaimed World War II classic, James Jones' epic drama of army life in the calm before Pearl Harbour has been hailed a masterpiece for the way it captures the honour and savagery of men.

13. Trainspotting
by Irvine Welsh
Welsh’s controversial ­ first novel depicting a gang of young, working class heroin addicts in 1980s Edinburgh, explores the dark side of Scotland (and its colourful language to boot). It's laced with a dark and caustic humour too.

14. The Lord of the Rings
by JR Tolkien
Need we say more? Tolkien’s high fantasy trilogy has been treasured since it was ­ first published back in 1954. A genuine masterpiece.

15. Frankenstein
by Mary Shelley
The original horror story about a Swiss scientist’s chilling desire to create life was dreamed up by Mary Shelley before she even turned 20! Talk about a precocious talent.

16. Beloved
by Toni Morrison
This sensational story of slavery and racism set in America after the Civil War has lost none of its power to shock.

17. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
by Muriel Spark
Spark’s best known and best loved novel about an eccentric Edinburgh teacher who is betrayed by a favourite pupil.

18. Things Fall Apart
by Chinua Achebe
Turn of the century African novel telling the story of Okonkwo and his quest to confront colonialism and missionary Christianity.

19. Les Misérables
by Victor Hugo
Set against the backdrop of 19th century France, Hugo’s historical novel about the battle between good and bad won’t fail to enthral.

20. Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Brontë
Charlotte Brontë's classic love story about a shy but spirited governess who falls in love with her mysterious employer.