Best Cult Classic Books

Best Cult Classic Books

No one thing makes a book a 'Cult Classic.' Each book has something special about it that makes it stand out from the average book. This article contains a list of books that are generally considered to belong to that elite group of books.

1

Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone: Hufflepuff Edition

By J.K. Rowling

Preface: Monday 26th June 2017 marked the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone. To mark this anniversary I decided to review Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone on this website but to make it a review with a difference.

As I doubt very much that there are many people who haven’t read Harry Potter I decided to make this review more about my experiences of reading and re-reading Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone and some of my personal favourite bits from the book.

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2

1984

By George Orwell

Preface: 1984 by George Orwell features on nearly every ‘Books to Read Before You Die’ list that I have ever seen, and for good reason.

Winston Smith is an employee in the Ministry of Truth in London. Every aspect of his life is dominated by fear of those in charge and when Big Brother is watching you at every moment he is afraid for good reason.

Then Winston falls in love with Julia and begins to question everything and to believe they can beat the system after all.

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3

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

By Stephen Chbosky

Preface: The Perks of Being a Wallflower is written in the form of letters addressed to an unnamed reader known only as ‘Dear friend.’ The narrator, Charlie is an outsider in school and to some extent within his home life.

Charlie’s brother is leaving to play football in college and his sister is too preoccupied with her boyfriend to pay much attention to her younger brother.

All of this changes when Charlie makes friends with a small group of outsiders. Charlie forms a strong friendship with stepbrother and stepsister Patrick and Sam.

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4

Jane Eyre

By Charlotte Bronte

Preface: Charlotte Brontë's first published novel, Jane Eyre was immediately recognised as a work of genius when it appeared in 1847. Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. How she takes up the post of governess at Thornfield Hall, meets and loves Mr Rochester and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage are elements in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman's passionate search for a wider and richer life than that traditionally accorded to her sex in Victorian society.

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5

On The Road

By Jack Kerouac

Preface: Sal Paradise, young and innocent, joins the slightly crazed Dean Moriarty on a breathless, exuberant ride back and forth across the United States. Their hedonistic search for release or fulfilment through drink, sex, drugs and jazz becomes an exploration of personal freedom, a test of the limits of the American Dream.

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6

Brave New World

By Aldous Huxley

Preface: Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone harbouring an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress...

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7

The Road

By Cormac McCarthy

Preface: The Road is the story of a father and son walking alone through burned America, heading through the ravaged landscape to the coast.

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8

Diary of a Young Girl

By Anne Frank

Preface: Anne Frank was born in Frankfurt am Maine in Germany in 1929. She is the author of The Diary of a Young Girl, which tells the remarkable true-story of a young, Jewish girl against the backdrop of the horrors of the Second World War. Adolescent preoccupations and emotions are recorded alongside the growing powers of the Nazis and their imposition of Anti-Jewish Laws to create a compelling, poignant insight into family life under Nazi rule.

Anne Frank moved to Holland with her family when the Nazis became powerful in Germany. The Nazis believed that some races, such as Jews and gypsies did not deserve the right to live and they started to arrest, transport and kill them. Afraid for their lives, Anne and her family went into hiding. During the terrible time in hiding, Anne was growing from a young girl into a woman and she recorded her thoughts and experiences in a diary: the constant fear of discovery, the conflicts with her mother, her emerging sexuality, and her hopes for the future. As the diary progresses, Anne's childish innocence is replaced by premature wisdom and reflection; she not only expresses her concerns with their personal sufferings but also political events unfolding far from their hiding place. The family hid in the Secret Annexe at the back of a warehouse from July 1942, but ultimately the work of their protectors was undermined by the actions of Nazi collaborators and spies. In August 1944, they were discovered and taken to concentration camps.

Anne died of typhus in 1945, imprisoned at Bergen-Belsen, just a few months before her sixteenth birthday. Her diary, written between 12 June 1942 and 1 August 1944, was found after the war and later published by her father Otto H. Frank, the only surviving member of the family. It has become a bestseller throughout the world and is an extraordinary piece of writing from such a young girl, detailing her emotional transformation from childhood to adolescence and reminding us of the horror of prejudice and persecution.

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9

Catch 22

By Joseph Heller

Preface: Set in the closing months of World War II, this is the story of a bombardier named Yossarian who is frantic and furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. His real problem is not the enemy - it is his own army which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. If Yossarian makes any attempts to excuse himself from the perilous missions then he is caught in Catch-22: if he flies he is crazy, and doesn't have to; but if he doesn't want to he must be sane and has to. That's some catch...

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10

Slaughterhouse five

By Kurt Vonnegut

Preface: Prisoner of war, optometrist, time-traveller - these are the life roles of Billy Pilgrim, hero of this miraculously moving, bitter and funny story of innocence faced with apocalypse. Slaughterhouse 5 is one of the world's great anti-war books. Centring on the infamous fire-bombing of Dresden in the Second World War, Billy Pilgrim's odyssey through time reflects the journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we are afraid to know.

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11

For Whom The Bell Tolls

By Ernest Hemingway

Preface: High in the pine forests of the Spanish Sierra, a guerrilla band prepares to blow up a vital bridge. Robert Jordan, a young American volunteer, has been sent to handle the dyamiting. There, in the mountains, he finds the dangers and the intense comradeship of war. And there he discovers Maria, a young woman who has escaped from Franco's rebels.

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12

We Need to Talk About Kevin

By Lionel Shriver

Preface: Eva never really wanted to be a mother; certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker and a teacher who tried to befriend him. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood and Kevin's horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her absent husband, Franklyn. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails.

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13

Naked Lunch

By William S Burroughs

Preface: Naked Lunch follows Bill Lee through Interzone: a surreal, orgiastic wasteland of drugs, depravity, political plots, paranoia, sadistic medical experiments and endless, gnawing addiction.

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14

I Capture the Castle

By Dodie Smith

Preface: Cassandra lives with her family in a crumbling castle in the middle of nowhere. Her journal records her life with her sister,Rose, her glamorous stepmother, Topaz, her little brother Thomas and her eccentric novelist father who suffers from writer's block. Their lives are turned upside down when the American heirs to the castle arrive and Cassandra finds herself falling in love for the first time.

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15

The Bell Jar

By Sylvia Plath

Preface: When Esther Greenwood wins an internship on a New York fashion magazine in 1953, she is elated, believing she will finally realise her dream to become a writer. But in between the cocktail parties and piles of manuscripts, Esther's life begins to slide out of control. She finds herself spiralling into serious depression as she grapples with difficult relationships and a society which refuses to take her aspirations seriously.

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16

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

By Hunter S Thompson

Preface: Hunter S. Thompson is roaring down the desert highway to Las Vegas with his attorney, the Samoan, to find the dark side of the American Dream. Armed with a drug arsenal of stupendous proportions, the duo engage in a surreal succession of chemically enhanced confrontations with casino operators, police officers and assorted Middle Americans

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17

The Great Gatsby

By F Scott Fitzgerald

Preface: In the glittering world of the mansions which lined the Long Island shore in the 1920s, to encounter Nick's cousin Daisy, her brash but wealthy husband Tom Buchanan, Jay Gatsby and the mystery that surrounds him.

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18

Valley of the Dolls

By Jaqueline Susann

Preface: Dolls - red or black; capsules or tablets; washed down with vodka or swallowed straight. For Anne, Neely and Jennifer, it doesn't matter, as long as the pill bottle is within easy reach. These three beautiful women become best friends when they are young and in New York, struggling to make their names in the entertainment industry. Only when they reach the peak of their careers do they find there's nowhere left to go but down - to the Valley of the Dolls.

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19

Lord of the flies

By William Golding

Preface: A plane crashes on an uninhabited island and the only survivors, a group of schoolboys, assemble on the beach and wait to be rescued.

It isn't long before their sense of order fades, and their factions become more primitive.

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20

A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens

Preface: Ebenezer Scrooge, is the living embodiment of a lack of Christmas spirit and a general lack of compassion for others. His attitude is challenged when the ghost of his old partner, Jacob Marley, returns from the grave to haunt him on Christmas Eve. Scrooge is then visited by the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future, each one revealing the error of his ways.

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21

The Raven

By Edgar Allan Poe

Preface: Edgar Allan Poe's classic poem of loss, regret, and terror.

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22

American Psycho

By Bret Easton Ellis

Preface: 26 year old Patrick Bateman works on Wall Street. He is considered to be handsome, sophisticated, charming and intelligent. He is also a psychopath.

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23

Frankenstein

By Marry Shelley

Preface: Victor Frankenstein driven by the mad dream of creating his own creature, experiments with alchemy and science to build a monster stitched together from dead remains. Once the creature becomes a living breathing articulate entity, it turns on its maker and the novel darkens into tragedy.

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24

Dracula

By Bram Stoker

Preface: When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula purchase a London house, he makes horrifying discoveries in his client's castle. Soon afterwards, disturbing incidents unfold in England: a ship runs aground on the shores of Whitby, its crew vanished; beautiful Lucy Westenra slowly succumbs to a mysterious, wasting illness, her blood drained away; and the lunatic Renfield raves about the imminent arrival of his 'master'. In the ensuing battle of wills between the sinister Count and a determined group of adversaries - led by the intrepid vampire hunter Abraham van Helsing

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25

Of Mice and Men

By John Steinbeck

Preface: George and his childlike friend Lennie, have nothing but a dream that one day they will have land of their own. Their hopes are dashed as Lennie - struggling against extreme cruelty, misunderstanding and feelings of jealousy - becomes a victim of his own strength.

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26

The Handmaid’s Tale

By Margaret Atwood

Preface: Offred is a Handmaid living in what once was America and is now known as The Republic of Gilead. She has only one function: to breed.

Those in charge expect them to give themselves over to the new regime and to forget their former lives but Offred is finding it hard and finds solace in small rebellions.

She desperately seeks someone to share in her views but who can she trust?

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27

The Shining

By Stephen King

Preface: Few people can think of The Shining without thinking of Jack Nicholson but long before it was a film it was a cult classic.

Jack and his family are move to a remote hotel when he gets a job as a caretaker. His five year old son Danny is a 'shiner' someone who is filled with psychic energy.

When a heavy blizzard cuts them off, the hotel comes to life. It is meant to be empty. So who is the lady in Room 217 and who are the masked guests going up and down in the elevator? And why do the hedges shaped like animals seem so alive?

There is an evil force in the hotel - and that, too, is awoken

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28

The Hobbit

By J R R Tolkien

Preface: Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys home comforts and is content with his own company. He has no desire for adventure and lives a very quiet life. Then one day a wizard and a band of dwarves come looking for him to join them on an adventure and carry out a dangerous task.

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29

Generation X

By Douglas Coupland

Preface: Andy, Dag and Claire have been handed a society beyond their means. Twentysomethings, brought up with divorce, Watergate and Three Mile Island, and scarred by the 80s fallout of yuppies, recession, crack and Ronald Reagan, they represent the new generation- Generation X.

Fiercely suspicious of being lumped together as an advertiser's target market, they have quit dreary careers and cut themselves adrift in the California desert. Unsure of their futures, they immerse themselves in a regime of heavy drinking and working in no future McJobs in the service industry.

Underemployed, overeducated and intensely private and unpredictable, they have nowhere to direct their anger, no one to assuage their fears, and no culture to replace their anomie. So they tell stories: disturbingly funny tales that reveal their barricaded inner world. A world populated with dead TV shows, 'Elvis moments' and semi-disposible Swedish furniture.

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30

To Kill a Mockingbird

By Harper Lee

Preface: Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.'

A lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic novel - a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man's struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much.

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31

No Logo

By Naomi Klein

Preface: By the time you’re twenty-one, you’ll have seen or heard a million advertisements. But you won’t be happier for it.

This is a book about that much-maligned, much-misunderstood generation coming up behind the slackers, who are being intelligent and active about the world in which they find themselves. It is a world in which all that is ‘alternative’ is sold, where any innovation or subversion is immediately adopted by un-radical, faceless corporations. But, gradually, tentatively, a new generation is beginning to fight consumerism with its own best weapons; and it is the first skirmishes in this war that this abrasively intelligent book documents brilliantly.

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32

Animal Farm

By George Orwell

Preface: When the downtrodden animals of Manor Farm overthrow their master Mr Jones and take over the farm themselves, they imagine it is the beginning of a life of freedom and equality. But gradually a cunning, ruthless élite among them, masterminded by the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, starts to take control. Soon the other animals discover that they are not all as equal as they thought, and find themselves hopelessly ensnared as one form of tyranny is replaced with another.

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33

The Catcher in the Rye

By J D Salinger

Preface: Holden Caulfield is a seventeen- year-old dropout who has just been kicked out of his fourth school. Navigating his way through the challenges of growing up, Holden dissects the 'phony' aspects of society, and the 'phonies' themselves: the headmaster whose affability depends on the wealth of the parents, his roommate who scores with girls using sickly-sweet affection.

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34

A Million Little Pieces

By James Frey

Preface: James Frey wakes up on a plane, with no memory of the preceding two weeks. His face is cut and his body is covered with bruises. He has no wallet and no idea of his destination. He has abused alcohol and every drug he can lay his hands on for a decade - and he is aged only twenty-three.

What happens next is one of the most powerful and extreme stories ever told. His family takes him to a rehabilitation centre. And James Frey starts his perilous journey back to the world of the drug and alcohol-free living. His lack of self-pity is unflinching and searing.

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