Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
When a rich American businessman is killed on a train, it’s up to detective Hercule Poirot to figure out which of the passengers is responsible. Published in 1934, Murder on the Orient Express‘s conclusion still stuns readers. This famous whodunit was just made into a hit movie starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Penélope Cruz, Josh Gad, and Judi Dench. On a book budget? Check out these great websites where you can read free books online.
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Few authors have captured the essence of Depression-era America with more raw emotion than John Steinbeck. Of Mice and Men follows two farm hands looking for work: the protective and sharp-witted George and the disabled but big-hearted Lennie, who doesn’t know his own strength. The two men learn that even the simplest of American dreams are often out of reach before the tale comes to a heartbreaking end. James Franco and Chris O’Dowd starred in a 2014 Broadway adaptation. Though short, this novel packs a serious emotional punch. Here are some more classics you can read in a day.
The Odyssey by Homer
OK, so this one’s technically an epic poem, not a book, but we think it still counts. As an epic poem, The Odyssey was recited, or sung, for years and years before it was written down. It tells the (fictional) story of Ancient Greek war hero Odysseus’s perilous 20-year journey home from the battlefield. He outsmarts a Cyclops, chats with dead people, and endures the repeated wrath of a seriously angry sea god before finally arriving home. The second-oldest known work of Western literature has stood the test of time. The Coen brothers reimagined The Odyssey in the American South in the comedy O Brother, Where Art Thou? starring a young George Clooney. Plus, some of the best scenes in the popular Greek myth-inspired kids’ series Percy Jackson and the Olympians were also inspired by Odysseus’s journey.