1. “And Then There Were None,” by Agatha Christie
Was it Poirot or Miss Marple who always drank a mango tonic with a kiwi twist?
2. “As I Lay Dying” by William Faulkner
Challenging novel about the death of Artie the chameleon, and his family’s quest and motivations — noble or selfish — to honor his wish to be flushed down the toilet at Bayside High.
3. “Atlas Shrugged,” by Ayn Rand
Remember when Ellis Wyatt set fire to his own oil fields, because a CalStar oil spill killed his pet duck Becky, and all the other animals in the nearby pond?
4. “The Bonfire of the Vanities,” by Tom Wolfe
Sherman McCoy and Maria Ruskin were coming from a homecoming toga party when they hit that kid with their car, right?
5. “Brave New World,” by Aldous Huxley
This poignant warning against the dangers of a dystopian society undone by its “no test policy” when students become teachers is even more relevant today.
6. “Catch-22,” by Joseph Heller
Satirical novel about the fictional 256th squadron and their exploits competing in an obstacle course throughout their high school.
7. “Death of a Salesman,” by Arthur Miller
Willy Loman sold buddy bands, right?
8. “The Grapes of Wrath,” by John Steinbeck
Enduring novel about the Joads, a homeless, mall-dwelling family who learn that all it takes is a new suit and a family with a piano to overcome adversity. One of my all-time favorite Christmas novels.
9. “Jailbird,” by Kurt Vonnegut
Scathing satire chronicles Walter F. Starbuck’s attempts to escape prison in order to win tickets to Hawaii from a radio call-in show.
10. “Lolita,” by Vladimir Nabokov
Controversial novel really takes off when Lolita’s boyfriend hires an actress from a pizza commercial to pretend to be Humbert Humbert’s jealous girlfriend.
11. “The Martian Chronicles,” by Ray Bradbury
Most of the short stories in this beloved Ray Bradbury collection involve teenagers trying to replace a broken camera by duping local newspapers with phony alien photos.
12. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” by William Shakespeare
This Shakespeare play has it all: Puck dressed as a giant hot dog, a volleyball game against the fairies, and a climactic ATV race between Lysander and Demetrius. The Bard’s greatest work.
13. “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” by Oscar Wilde
Haunting novel about Dorian Gray, a man who maintains his good looks with acne cream (Beldasil), which, in a horrible twist of irony, ultimately turns his face maroon.
14. “The Prince,” by Niccolo Machiavelli
Influential political treatise is a must-read for any would-be politico who wants to learn about international diplomacy, tactical strategy, and how to implement MTV during Study Hall.
15. “Rosemary’s Baby,” by Ira Levin
The witches’ coven was running a demonic baby pool, right? And when the Scrabble letters spelled “MVEMJSUNP”? Chilling.
16. “Ulysses,” by James Joyce
Never finished this one, but didn’t it have a Hot Sundae music video?
17. “Valley of the Dolls,” by Jacqueline Susann
Gripping novel about Neely O’Hara’s tragic and destructive addiction to over-the-counter caffeine pills.
18. “War and Peace,” by Leo Tolstoy
Epic saga of five Russian aristocratic families, set against the backdrop of the annual Bayside-Valley prank war.
19. “The War of the Worlds,” by H.G. Wells
Classic sci-fi novel about robotic “fighting machines” who come to earth to offer witty remarks and sage advice while assisting with magic tricks, hall-monitoring, and teaching Kelly about nuclear fission.