Nine lesser-known classics from your favourite authors

You know their most famous and popular offerings, but did you know your favourite authors also wrote these books? 

You know their most famous and popular offerings, but did you know your favourite authors also wrote these books? From Ian Fleming to Dodie Smith, here are the lesser-known classics to add to your must-read list.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

by Ian Fleming

Book cover for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Would you believe that the man who created James Bond came up with this story about a magic car? Ian Fleming loved cars and the faster the car, the better. It was this love that inspired him to write his only children’s book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He wrote it for his son Casper and it has been enjoyed by generations of children ever since.

I Capture the Castle

by Dodie Smith

Book cover for I Capture the Castle

From the woman who brought The One Hundred and One Dalmatians to your childhood, I Capture the Castle is another feat of Dodie Smith’s imaginative genius. An equally lovable family to the dalmatians, follow the eccentric Mortmains as they navigate through life from their ramshackle castle home.

Burmese Days

by George Orwell

Book cover for Burmese Days

Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm are some of the most influential novels of the 20th century and have made their author, George Orwell, one of the most famous writers in the English language. His debut novel, Burmese Days, is just as unflinching – drawing on his own experience of living and working in Burma, Orwell scathingly exposes the dark side of imperialism.

Sanditon, Lady Susan, & The History of England

by Jane Austen

Book cover for Sanditon, Lady Susan, & The History of England

Essential reading for fans of Jane Austen who have already devoured all six of her full-length novels, Sanditon, Lady Susan, & The History of England is a rare collection of her lesser-known works. 

A Glove Shop in Vienna and Other Stories

by Eva Ibbotson

Book cover for A Glove Shop in Vienna and Other Stories

Best known for her magical adventure stories, including the award-winning Journey to the River Sea, Eva Ibbotson also wrote romantic short stories. These enchanting stories transport readers from nineteenth-century Vienna to the wild moors of Northumberland.

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus

Book cover for The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus

L. Frank Baum is the author behind legendary story The Wizard of Oz, and in The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus he does what he does best, create fairy tales. In Baum’s fable young Claus is struck by the harsh reality of the world when he sees human society for the first time . . . which is how he ends up inventing toys.

The Time Machine

by H. G. Wells

Book cover for The Time Machine

Spielberg shook our screens with War of the Worlds in 2005, but the genius behind the story, H.G. Wells, had been shaking the literary scene with his prolific sci-fi novels since 1895. His lesser known debut, The Time Machine, used genuine scientific theory to ignite our global curiosity about travelling through time and space.

Tender is the Night

by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Book cover for Tender is the Night

F. Scott Fitzgerald is rightly considered one of the greatest ever American writers and The Great Gatsby is one of the most celebrated novels in the American canon. With this later novel, Tender is the Night, he deliberately set out to write a more ambitious and far-reaching novel, experimenting radically with his writing style and drawing on  early breakthroughs in psychiatry to enrich his characters and plot.

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

by Jules Verne

Book cover for Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth and Around the World in Eighty Days have remained in the public eye after being given the Hollywood treatment. However Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Verne’s adventure of sea monsters and submarines, has unjustly received a lot less screen attention. Check out our gorgeously illustrated Macmillan Collector’s Library edition.

In this episode of Book Break, Emma discovers even more lesser-known classics and hidden gems: