There are heaps of literary anniversaries coming up this year, so there’s never been a better time to pick up those classic books that have been sitting on your shelves for as long as you can remember. 

American Psycho
Bret Easton Ellis

Bret Easton Ellis’ violent black comedy about a wealthy New Yorker leading a double life as a serial killer turns twenty-five this year. 

One of the most controversial and talked-about novels of all time, this cult classic about the darkest side of human nature feels no less shocking and relevant a quarter of a century later.

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In Cold Blood
Truman Capote

2016 is the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of the controversial and compelling book that made Truman Capote’s name.  

Capote's investigation into a bloody murder in rural Kansas and the effect it had on those involved is often described as the first non-fiction novel.

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Ray Robinson

It’s ten years since the publication of Ray Robinson's inventive and unusual story of a young woman with epilepsy, which has since been made into a film starring Agyness Deyn.

Lily’s epilepsy means she's used to seeing the world in terms of angles – you look at every surface, you weigh up every corner, and you think of your head slamming into it. Prickly, spiky, up-front honest and down-to-earth practical, Lily is thirty, and life's not easy but she gets by.

But then her mother – who Lily's not seen for years – dies, and Lily is drawn back into a world she thought she'd long since left behind.

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Wide Sargasso Sea
Jean Rhys

Jean Rhys’ postcolonial classic Wide Sargasso Sea, which transports Jane Eyre to a Caribbean island, is half a century old this year. In this haunting novel Rhys delves deeper into the story of the first Mrs Rochester, the mad woman in the attic.

Coincidentally if you’ve not read the inspiration for Wide Sargasso Sea, 2016 is also the bicentenary of Charlotte Brontë’s birth.

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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man 
James Joyce

Never quite managed to get through Joyce’s modernist masterpiece Ulysses? Not to worry, 2016 is the centenary of the publication of James Joyce’s much more manageable first novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. This autobiographical Dublin-set coming-of-age tale is a story of sexual awakening, religious rebellion and artistic development.

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 The Genius of Shakespeare
Jonathan Bate

If you’ve yet to get through all of William Shakespeare's thirty-eight plays and one hundred and fifty-four sonnets, this could be the year. It’s the 400th anniversary of the death of The Bard so there’ll be all sorts of celebrations taking place across the UK.

Alternatively, if you’re short on time, you could read Jonathan Bate’s classic biography of the life – and afterlife – of the greatest English poet, The Genius of Shakespeare and watch the BBC’s new series of history plays starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

Discover The Genius of Shakespeare


Bridget Jones’ Diary
Helen Fielding

If your 2016 reading list is looking a bit heavy after all of those, you’ll be delighted to know that this year is also the twentieth anniversary of Helen Fielding’s hilarious tale of a pissed, chain-smoking London thirty-something.

With a new film, Bridget Jones’s Baby, on the way, this is the perfect time to catch-up with Bridget.

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