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Best free books for Kindle: 20 classics to read for free

Brush up on your classics with these best free Kindle books.

Best free books for Kindle: 20 classics to read for free
17 March 2020

This list of best free Kindle books will fill your Kindle with some of the greatest books the world has seen.

Ever found yourself tutting at one of those "I've read 89 of the 100 definite classic reads!" posts from your friend's social dribble? A feeling of frustration inspired not only by their intellectual bragging but also by the knowledge that you've probably only read five?

Having bought yourself a Kindle to save carting the 500 pages of Game of Thrones around, chances are you're nowhere near close to filling your ebook's cavernous memory.

In the name of literary improvement, we've searched the depths of the ebook site to bring you the best reads and novellas, that - due to the death of authors, commendable volunteers and favourable publishing laws - are totally free.

Brush up on Stoker, rediscover a classic you've avoided since school days or stumble on a new favourite - get downloading.

Best free Kindle books

Best free Kindle books

1. Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson

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Be honest - you're more familiar with the Muppet version than the original aren't you? Well now you've no excuses: Stevenson's tale of treasure, pirates and exploring the unknown still ripples with addictive prose and vivid imagery. Immediate escapism.

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Best free Kindle books

2. Robinson Crusoe, By Daniel Defoe

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Another title that fits the "What do you mean, you haven't read it?!" list. In addition to being a trader, journalist and spy, Daniel Defoe (no, not that Spider-Man guy) wrote several hundred novels - of which this is the most famous. Fleeing his parents' wishes for him to have a dull career, Crusoe boards a boat bound on a sea voyage from Hull. There follows a shipwreck, cannibals and the original wanderlust adventure.

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Best free Kindle books

3. Frankenstein, by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

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Beginning to notice a theme here? The Victorians had a thing for supernatural yarns - and there are few better than Mary Shelley's timeless man-made monster. Philosophical, melancholic and downright terrifying, the idea for a twisted creature created from the flesh of the dead came to her when she was just 18-years-old.

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4. Far From The Madding Crowd, By Thomas Hardy

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Don't let the countless soppy period drama TV adaptations put you off - Thomas Hardy knows how to write a ripping good yarn. An involving depiction of Britain's Victorian rural life, the twisting, often brutal story of love between Gabriel Oak and Bathsheba Everdene (names you can build a house on) makes for the perfect antidote to the modern era of Tinder romance.

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Best free Kindle books

5. Heart of Darkness, By Joseph Conrad

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Do you want to become deeply, deeply disturbed before settling down for the night. Do you want to start your morning bus trip with a novel that radiates discomfort from every paragraph? Then allow Joseph Conrad to take you by the hand and lead you into the heart of darkness - a gap in the maps of the world of Africa that will change Charles Marlow (and you) forever.

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Best free Kindle books

6. The Raven, by Edgar Allan Poe

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Less book, more "narrative poem" (or so our GCSE English lessons informed us), The Raven is a pillar of gothic literature. An unnamed narrator sits alone in his chamber when a rapping at the door heralds the entry of the eponymous raven. A lyrical read to add some atmosphere to your daily commute.

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Best free Kindle books

7. Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo

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In English, mercifully. The classic historical story of lives broken, mended and shuffled about in the chaos of law, liberty and life during the upheavals of 19th century France. Singing not required.

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Best free Kindle books

8. Moby Dick, by Herman Melville

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An American monster - Captain Ahab's obsession with the great white whale consumes his entire existence, leading to him putting his own life and that of his crew in danger as he hunts Moby Dick across the seas. A pub quiz necessity.

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Best free Kindle books

9. Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë

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Not read Wuthering Heights? Rid your mind of the sloppy period romance you're no doubt conjuring up - Emily Brontë's dark, bold story of love and jealousy is a heart-wrenching brute of a novel. You'll need to schedule in a trip to the Yorkshire moors once you're done.

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Best free Kindle books

10. The Great Gatsby, By F Scott Fitzgerald

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If you've been meaning to read the novel that inspired last year's glitzy big screen adaptation, now's your chance. Fitzgerald's novel plays out a little more mutely than Luhrmann's lavish offering, but it's still a superb window into the stale state of the 1920's American dream.

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11. The Lost World, by Author Conan Doyle

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And you thought he only did Sherlock stories? Doyle's other great character, Professor Challenger, claims to have found an isolated island in which prehistory creatures live. Spoiler alert: he's not lying.

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Best free Kindle books

12. A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

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You don't have to save this story for a turgid December (though it clearly befits a winter setting). A tale of moral improvement, social lessons and ghosts (he had to get the readers in somehow), A Christmas Carol is as relevant in the success-driven world of contemporary Britain as it was in 1843.

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Best free Kindle books

13. The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde

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Wilde's only novel is a dark, twisting affair, offset by his familiarly flowery prose. Pages drip with wit and intelligence, allowing readers to escape to the glow of Victorian high life before shattering them with some supernatural skulduggery. The only frustration of the ebook edition is that you can't dogear the pages with the best quotes.

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Best free Kindle books

14. The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde, By Robert Louis Stevenson

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Another from the gothic canon, Stevenson's tale of a scientist who pushes the laws of nature too far still manages to grip modern readers. And it's a lot less camp than countless TV and film adaptations have made it.

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Best free Kindle books

15. Dracula, by Bram Stoker

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The definitive vampire novel, Stoker's seminal work has a hand (or fang) in pretty much every blood sucking story you've ever encountered. A monster of a book, even if it does tail off towards the end.

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16. The Thirty-Nine Steps, by John Buchan

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While Bond has always exhibited something of a blessed career path, he's got nothing on the miraculous fortunes of Richard Hannay. John Buchan introduces his all-action gentleman in a spy thriller of preposterous proportions.

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Best free Kindle books

17. Three Men In a Boat, by Jerome K. Jerome

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Fan of Withnail and I? Of course you are, you're cultured enough to be reading a free book list. Jerome's work is a feast of comic wit: three overworked Londoners decide a holiday is called for, and embark upon a boating trip up the River Thames to Oxford. Queue travel notes, humorous anecdotes and warm feelings of mirth.

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Best free Kindle books

18. The Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling

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No, it's not a kid's book. Well - it is - but it's a seriously dark, poetically magnificent one thoroughly deserving of your mature attention. You play Pokémon GO for goodness sake. The story of Mowgli, the young orphan raised by wolves, is brimming with philosophical musings and ethical ponderings that are still razor sharp all these years on.

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Best free Kindle books

19. The Man Who Knew Too Much, by G. K. Chesterton

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Some old fashioned sleuthing from a novel that inspired Alfred Hitchcock to make not one, but two film adaptations. A collection of 12 short stories, eight told by a figure who felt he knew too much about the mucky works of government, Chesterton's writing will suck you in with its craft and mystery.

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Best free Kindle books

20. Around the World In 80 Days, by Jules Verne

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A work of science fiction written before the genre became obsessed with laser guns and aliens, Vern's classic transports you back to a time when explorers could actually find something they'd never seen before. Phileas Fogg gets in his balloon for an adventure around the world. We won't spoil you by saying how long it takes.

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