The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens (Penguin Classics, 2003)
The second classic is by Charles Dickens – no, not A Christmas Carol (good though that is). Instead, The Pickwick Papers, which is where it all started. Published in serial form in 1836-37, many of the themes we see in Dicken’s later novels are touched on in this marvellous book: debtors’ prison, endless lawsuits, foiled love and political rivalries. Told with pace, humour and plenty of twists, the irrepressible Mr Pickwick heads a cornucopia of memorable characters and caricatures. Certain to entertain.