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Picador Modern Classics: The Complete List

To commemorate their 20th anniversary, Picador launched a set of pocket-sized classics.

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The Picador Modern Classics

Today, we’re going to take a look at Picador’s Modern Classics.  This is a curated selection of some of the best and most important works of literature.  If you’re looking for something new to read or want to explore some of the greatest writing, this collection is worth checking out.  So without further ado, let’s dive in!

What are the Picador Modern Classics?

The Picador Modern Classics are a beautifully designed set of books that are perfect for gifting or to treat your shelf.  Created by Picador USA in 2015 to commemorate their twentieth anniversary, they launched a set of four small, hardcover, pocket-sized limited edition modern classics with covers designed by Kelly Blair.

The first four books were so popular Picador decided to publish another collection (series 2) in 2017 with four more books.  Series 3, was published in 2019 with another four books in the collection.

Picador Modern Classics: Series 1

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, who grow up haphazardly, first under the care of their competent grandmother, then of two comically bumbling great-aunts, and finally of Sylvie, the eccentric and remote sister of their dead mother.

Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson

American master Denis Johnson’s nationally bestselling collection of blistering and indelible tales about America’s outcasts and wanderers.

The Virgin Suicides Jeffrey Eugenides

In a quiet suburb of Detroit, the five Lisbon sisters–beautiful, eccentric, and obsessively watched by the neighborhood boys–commit suicide one by one over the course of a single year. As the boys observe them from afar, transfixed, they piece together the mystery of the family’s fatal melancholy, in this hypnotic and unforgettable novel of adolescent love, disquiet, and death.

Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse

With its blend of Eastern mysticism and Western culture, Hesse’s best-known and most autobiographical work is one of literature’s most poetic evocations of the soul’s journey to liberation.

Picador Modern Classics: Series 2

Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion

More than perhaps any other book, this collection by one of the most distinctive prose stylists of our era captures the unique time and place of Joan Didion’s focus, exploring subjects such as John Wayne and Howard Hughes, growing up in California and the nature of good and evil in a Death Valley motel room, and, especially, the essence of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury, the heart of the counterculture.

Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich

A publishing phenomenon when first published, Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed is a revelatory undercover investigation into life and survival in low-wage America, an increasingly urgent topic that continues to resonate.

Regarding the Pain of Others by Susan Sontag

Regarding the Pain of Others challenges our thinking not only about the uses and means of images, but about how war itself is waged (and understood) in our time, the limits of sympathy, and the obligations of conscience.

Giving Up the Ghost by Hilary Mantel

Giving Up the Ghost is Hilary Mantel’s dazzling memoir of a career blighted by physical pain in which her singular imagination supplied compensation for the life her body was denied.

Picador Modern Classics: Series 3

A Single Man Christopher Isherwood

Welcome to sunny suburban 1960s Southern California. George is a gay middle-aged English professor, adjusting to solitude after the tragic death of his young partner. He is determined to persist in the routines of his former life. A Single Man follows him over the course of an ordinary twenty-four hours.

The Hours by Michael Cunningham

In The Hours, Michael Cunningham, widely praised as one of the most gifted writers of his generation, draws inventively on the life and work of Virginia Woolf to tell the story of a group of contemporary characters struggling with the conflicting claims of love and inheritance, hope and despair.

The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard

The Great Fire is an extraordinary love story set in the immediate aftermath of the great conflagration of the Second World War. In war-torn Asia and stricken Europe, men and women, still young but veterans of harsh experience, must reinvent their lives and expectations, and learn, from their past, to dream again.

The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson

One of the most terrifying stories of the twentieth century, Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” created a sensation when it was first published in The New Yorker in 1948. Power and haunting, and nights of unrest were typical reader responses. Today it is considered a classic work of short fiction, a story remarkable for its combination of subtle suspense and pitch-perfect descriptions of both the chilling and the mundane.

Do you collect the Picador Modern Classics?

Have you read any of these books?  Are any of these books on your TBR?  Do you own any books from the Picador Modern Classics?  Let’s talk in the comments below.

Book List - Picador Modern Classics Series

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I'm Victoria, your new book bestie.

I nerd out over books, I'm constantly dreaming of ways we can all live the literary life we want, and my obsession is watching people discover how books can change their lives!

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