Based on your enjoyment of The Trial” by Franz Kafka… You're likely* to like:

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  1. Steppenwolf

    by Hermann Hesse
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟢🟡
    Affinity: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
    Readership: Somewhat known

    The book is presented as a manuscript written by its protagonist , a middle-aged man named Harry Haller, who leaves it to a chance acquaintance, the nephew of his landlady. The acquaintance adds a short preface of his own and then has the manuscript published. The title of this "real" book-in-the-book is Harry Haller's Records (For Madmen Only) . As the story begins, the hero is beset by reflections on his being ill-suited for the world of everyday, regular people, specifically for frivolous bourgeois society. In his aimless wanderings about the city he encounters a person carrying an advertisement for … (Wikipedia)

  2. The Plague

    by Albert Camus
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    Readership: Somewhat known

    The book begins with an epigraph quoting Daniel Defoe , author of ,A Journal of the Plague Year, . In the town of Oran, thousands of rats, initially unnoticed by the populace, begin to die in the streets. Hysteria develops soon afterward, causing the local newspapers to report the incident. Authorities responding to public pressure order the collection and cremation of the rats, unaware that the collection itself was the catalyst for the spread of the bubonic plague . The main character, Dr. Bernard Rieux, lives comfortably in an apartment building when strangely the building's concierge, M. Michel, a confidante, … (Wikipedia)

  3. Waiting for Godot

    by Samuel Beckett
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    Readership: Somewhat known

    Two men, Vladimir and Estragon, have met near a leafless tree. Estragon spent the previous night lying in a ditch and receiving a beating from some unnamed assailants. The two men discuss a variety of issues, and it is revealed that they are waiting for a man named Godot. They are not certain if they’ve ever met Godot, or if he will even arrive. Two other characters show up, Pozzo and his slave Lucky, who are headed for the market, where Pozzo intends to sell Lucky. They pause in their journey, as Pozzo engages Vladimir and Estragon in conversation. Lucky … (Wikipedia)

  4. The Fall

    by Albert Camus
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    Readership: Eclectic

    ,The Fall, ( French : ,La Chute, ) is a philosophical novel by Albert Camus . First published in 1956, it is his last complete work of fiction. Set in Amsterdam , The Fall consists of a series of dramatic monologues by the self-proclaimed "judge-penitent" Jean-Baptiste Clamence, as he reflects upon his life to a stranger. In what amounts to a confession, Clamence tells of his success as a wealthy Parisian defense lawyer who was highly respected by his colleagues. His crisis, and his ultimate "fall" from grace, was meant to invoke, in secular terms, the fall of man from … (Wikipedia)

  5. The Name of the Rose

    by Umberto Eco
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    Readership: Fairly popular

    In 1327, Franciscan friar William of Baskerville and Adso of Melk , a Benedictine novice travelling under his protection, arrive at a Benedictine monastery in Northern Italy to attend a theological disputation . This abbey is being used as neutral ground in a dispute between Pope John XXII and the Franciscans, who are suspected of heresy. The monastery is disturbed by the death of Adelmo of Otranto, an illuminator revered for his illustrations. Adelmo was skilled at comical artwork, especially concerning religious matters. William is asked by the monastery's abbot , Abo of Fossanova, to investigate the death: During his … (Wikipedia)

  6. Heart of Darkness

    by Joseph Conrad
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    Readership: Popular

    Aboard the Nellie , anchored in the River Thames near Gravesend , Charles Marlow tells his fellow sailors how he became captain of a river steamboat for an ivory trading company. As a child, Marlow had been fascinated by "the blank spaces" on maps, particularly by the biggest, which by the time he had grown up was no longer blank but turned into "a place of darkness". Yet there remained a big river, "resembling an immense snake uncoiled, with its head in the sea, its body at rest curving afar over a vast country and its tail lost in the … (Wikipedia)

  7. Don Quixote

    by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
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    Readership: Fairly popular

    Don Quixote has become so entranced by reading chivalric romances that he determines to become a knight-errant himself. In the company of his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, his exploits blossom in all sorts of wonderful ways. While Quixote's fancy often leads him astray—he tilts at windmills, imagining them to be giants—Sancho acquires cunning and a certain sagacity. Sane madman and wise fool, they roam the world together, and together they have haunted readers' imaginations for nearly four hundred years. With its experimental form and literary playfulness, Don Quixote has been generally recognized as the first modern novel. The book has … (Goodreads)

  8. The Idiot

    by Fyodor Dostoevsky
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    Readership: Somewhat known

    Prince Myshkin, a young man in his mid-twenties and a descendant of one of the oldest Russian lines of nobility, is on a train to Saint Petersburg on a cold November morning. He is returning to Russia having spent the past four years in a Swiss clinic for treatment of a severe epileptic condition. On the journey, Myshkin meets a young man of the merchant class, Parfyon Semyonovich Rogozhin, and is struck by his passionate intensity, particularly in relation to a woman—the dazzling society beauty Nastasya Filippovna Barashkova—with whom he is obsessed. Rogozhin has just inherited a very large fortune … (Wikipedia)

  9. The Unbearable Lightness of Being

    by Milan Kundera
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    Readership: Popular

    In The Unbearable Lightness of Being , Milan Kundera tells the story of a young woman in love with a man torn between his love for her and his incorrigible womanizing and one of his mistresses and her humbly faithful lover. This magnificent novel juxtaposes geographically distant places, brilliant and playful reflections, and a variety of styles, to take its place as perhaps the major achievement of one of the world’s truly great writers. … (Goodreads)

  10. Invisible Man

    by Ralph Ellison
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    Readership: Somewhat known

    The narrator, an unnamed black man, begins by describing his living conditions: an underground room wired with hundreds of electric lights, operated by power stolen from the city's electric grid. He reflects on the various ways in which he has experienced social invisibility during his life and begins to tell his story, returning to his teenage years. The narrator lives in a small Southern town and, upon graduating from high school, wins a scholarship to an all-black college . However, to receive it, he must first take part in a brutal, humiliating battle royal for the entertainment of the town's … (Wikipedia)

  11. Ulysses

    by James Joyce
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    Readership: Somewhat known

    It is 8 a.m. Buck Mulligan , a boisterous medical student, calls Stephen Dedalus (a young writer encountered as the principal subject of ,A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, ) up to the roof of the Sandycove Martello tower , where they both live. There is tension between Stephen and Mulligan, stemming from a cruel remark Stephen overheard Mulligan make about his recently deceased mother, May Dedalus , and from the fact that Mulligan has invited an English student, Haines , to stay with them. The three men eat breakfast and walk to the shore, where Mulligan … (Wikipedia)

  12. The Death of Ivan Ilych

    by Leo Tolstoy
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    Readership: Somewhat known

    Ivan Ilyich lives a carefree life that is "most simple and most ordinary and therefore most terrible". Like everyone he knows, he spends his life climbing the social ladder. Enduring marriage to a woman whom he often finds too demanding, he works his way up to be a magistrate, thanks to the influence he has over a friend who has just been promoted, focusing more on his work as his family life becomes less tolerable. While hanging curtains for his new home one day, he falls awkwardly and hurts his side. Though he does not think much of it at … (Wikipedia)

  13. Blindness

    by José Saramago
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    Readership: Fairly popular

    Blindness is the story of an unexplained mass epidemic of blindness afflicting nearly everyone in an unnamed city, and the social breakdown that swiftly follows. The novel follows the misfortune of a handful of unnamed characters who are among the first to be stricken with blindness, including an ophthalmologist, several of his patients, and assorted others, who are thrown together by chance. The ophthalmologist's spouse, "the doctor's wife," is inexplicably immune from the blindness. After a lengthy and traumatic quarantine in an asylum, the group bands together in a family-like unit to survive by their wits and by the good … (Wikipedia)

  14. Hunger

    by Knut Hamsun
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    Readership: Eclectic

    The novel's first-person protagonist, an unnamed vagrant with intellectual leanings, probably in his late twenties, wanders the streets of Norway's capital, Kristiania ( Oslo ), in pursuit of nourishment. Over four episodes he meets a number of more or less mysterious persons, the most notable being Ylajali, a young woman with whom he engages in a mild degree of physical intimacy. He exhibits a self-created code of chivalry, giving money and clothes to needy children and vagrants, not eating food given to him, and turning himself in for stealing. Essentially self-destructive, he thus falls into traps of his own making, … (Wikipedia)

  15. Franz Kafka's The Castle

    by David Fishelson
    Quality: 🟢🟢🟡⚪️
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    Readership: Very niche

    The protagonist, K., arrives in a village governed by a mysterious bureaucracy operating in a nearby castle. When seeking shelter at the town inn, he claims to be a land surveyor summoned by the castle authorities. He is quickly notified that his castle contact is an official named Klamm, who, in an introductory note, informs K. he will report to the Mayor. The Mayor informs K. that through a mix-up in communication between the castle and the village he was erroneously requested. But the Mayor offers him a position as a caretaker in service of the school teacher. Meanwhile, K., … (Wikipedia)

  16. A Hunger Artist

    by Franz Kafka
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    Readership: Very niche

    "A Hunger Artist" is told retrospectively through third-person narration. The narrator looks back several decades from "today", to a time when the public marveled at the professional hunger artist. It then depicts the waning interest in such displays. The story begins with a general description of "the hunger artist" and then narrows in on a single performer, the protagonist. The hunger artist performed in a cage for the curious spectators, and was attended by teams of watchers (usually three butchers) who ensured that he was not secretly eating. Despite such precautions, many, including some of the watchers themselves, were convinced … (Wikipedia)

  17. Ficciones

    by Jorge Luis Borges
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    Readership: Eclectic

    The seventeen pieces in Ficciones demonstrate the whirlwind of Borges's genius and mirror the precision and potency of his intellect and inventiveness, his piercing irony, his skepticism, and his obsession with fantasy. Borges sends us on a journey into a compelling, bizarre, and profoundly resonant realm; we enter the fearful sphere of Pascal's abyss, the surreal and literal labyrinth of books, and the iconography of eternal return. To enter the worlds in Ficciones is to enter the mind of Jorge Luis Borges, wherein lies Heaven, Hell, and everything else in between. Part One: The Garden of Forking Paths Prologue Tlön, … (Goodreads)

  18. Candide

    by Voltaire
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    Readership: Fairly popular

    Candide is the story of a gentle man who, though pummeled and slapped in every direction by fate, clings desperately to the belief that he lives in "the best of all possible worlds." On the surface a witty, bantering tale, this eighteenth-century classic is actually a savage, satiric thrust at the philosophical optimism that proclaims that all disaster and human suffering is part of a benevolent cosmic plan. Fast, funny, often outrageous, the French philosopher's immortal narrative takes Candide around the world to discover that -- contrary to the teachings of his distinguished tutor Dr. Pangloss -- all is not … (Goodreads)

  19. The Iliad

    by Homer
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    Readership: Popular

    Dating to the ninth century B.C., Homer’s timeless poem still vividly conveys the horror and heroism of men and gods wrestling with towering emotions and battling amidst devastation and destruction, as it moves inexorably to the wrenching, tragic conclusion of the Trojan War. Renowned classicist Bernard Knox observes in his superb introduction that although the violence of the Iliad is grim and relentless, it coexists with both images of civilized life and a poignant yearning for peace. Combining the skills of a poet and scholar, Robert Fagles, winner of the PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation and a 1996 Academy Award … (Goodreads)

  20. Dubliners

    by James Joyce
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    Readership: Somewhat known

    This work of art reflects life in Ireland at the turn of the last century, and by rejecting euphemism, reveals to the Irish their unromantic realities. Each of the 15 stories offers glimpses into the lives of ordinary Dubliners, and collectively they paint a portrait of a nation. … (Goodreads)