My daughter looked at The New Yorker’s recommendations for “the seven novels you have to read before you are thirty” and asked me whether I could come up with something better. (She’s 23). Without having seen their list, this is the list I prepared:
1. Marcel Proust: at least the first book of À la recherche du temps perdu. You haven’t lived till you have read Proust.
2. Leo Tolstoy: The Death of Ivan Ilyich, as an appetizer that might lead you on to the main meal: War & Peace.
3. Plato: Symposium (shorter than a novel, but it gets in anyway: it had a huge impact on me)
4. John Lanchester: The Debt to Pleasure (a delicious mystery in every sense of those words)
5. Robert Pirsig: Zen and the Art of Motor Cycle Maintenance
6. Kasuo Ishiguro: The Remains of the Day
7. Jane Austen: Pride & Prejudice
The only overlap with The New Yorker list is #1: Proust.
Any other suggestions for novels that a young adult shouldn't live without?