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The 20 best free books for Kindle

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David Cornish
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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.

  • The 20 best free books for Kindle

    FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD By Thomas Hardy

    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.

    Get it here

  • The 20 best free books for Kindle 1

    THE JUNGLE BOOK by Rudyard Kipling

    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. 

    Get it here

  • The 20 best free books for Kindle 2

    ROBINSON CRUSOE By Daniel Defoe

    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.

    Get it here

  • The 20 best free books for Kindle 3

    HEART OF DARKNESS by Joseph Conrad

    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.

    Get it here

  • The 20 best free books for Kindle 4

    TREASURE ISLAND by Robert Louis Stevenson

    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.

    Get it here

  • The 20 best free books for Kindle 5

    MOBY DICK By Herman Melville

    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.

    Get it here

  • The 20 best free books for Kindle 6

    THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY By Oscar Wilde

    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.

    Get it here

  • The 20 best free books for Kindle 7

    THE RAVEN By Edgar Allan Poe

    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.

    Get it here

  • The 20 best free books for Kindle 8

    THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE By Robert Louis Stevenson

    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.

    Get it here

  • The 20 best free books for Kindle 9

    AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS By Jules Verne

    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.

    Get it here

  • The 20 best free books for Kindle 10

    DRACULA By Bram Stoker

    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.

    Get it here

  • The 20 best free books for Kindle 11

    WUTHERING HEIGHTS By Emily Brontë

    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.

    Get it here

  • The 20 best free books for Kindle 12

    THE GREAT GATSBY By F Scott Fitzgerald

    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.

    Get it here

  • The 20 best free books for Kindle 13

    THE THIRTY-NINE STEPS By John Buchan

    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.

    Get it here

  • The 20 best free books for Kindle 14

    FRANKENSTEIN By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

    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.

    Get it here

  • The 20 best free books for Kindle 15

    THREE MEN IN A BOAT By Jerome K. Jerome

    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.
     
  • The 20 best free books for Kindle 16

    THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH By G. K. Chesterton

    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.

    Get it here

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  • The 20 best free books for Kindle 17

    LES MISÉRABLES By Victor Hugo

    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.

    Get it here

  • The 20 best free books for Kindle 18

    THE LOST WORLD By Author Conan Doyle

    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.

    Get it here

  • The 20 best free books for Kindle 19

    A CHRISTMAS CAROL By Charles Dickens

    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.

    Get it here

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David Cornish

Shortlist.com’s esteemed Tech Editor. David has a keen interest in video games, Star Wars and stuff that runs on batteries.

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