The list author says: "The New York Review of Books is dedicated to reprinting unknown classics over an eclectic range of interests. Here is my collection, both the volumes on my bookshelf and the ones I intend to purchase, all of which I heartily recommend. - NYRB Classics are, to a large degree, discoveries, the kind of books that people typically run into outside of the classroom and then remember for life. Their distinctive spines, in bold colors, jump to your eyes if you look for them at a bookstore. Take the invitation."
"The book is a young man's inquisitive and irreverent account of life in what turns out to be the most uncanny of schools. It is the work of an outsider artist, a writer of uncompromising originality and disconcerting humor, whose beautiful sentences have the simplicity and strangeness of a painting by Henri Rousseau. Highly thought-provoking and full of self-contradiction."
"An ideal introduction to this fascinating writer of whom Hermann Hesse famously declared, "If he had a hundred thousand readers, the world would be a better place." It is in these concentrated bursts that Walser's brilliance is more easily taken in by the reader."
"This new translation of Pinocchio will forever banish the saucer-eyed Disney character from your mind (not to mention the advice-spouting Talking Cricket, whom Pinocchio squashes with a mallet in chapter 4). At once in the tradition of great fairy tales and a precursor to magic realism, the original Pinocchio is a joy for all ages."
"Stifter's rapturous and enigmatic tale of village life begins with a small anecdote—one Christmas eve, a brother and sister lose their way amid snowdrifts while crossing the Alps—and opens onto vast questions of faith and destiny."
"In many ways this is a book to still your own breathing with, to be struck by how an unknown book is in the literary sense pitch perfect. One of literature's atypical heroes, William Stoner is a rarity in literature and in life because he is a convincing portrait of a good man. I just had to share this with everyone."
"A tale of seduction and betrayal, of accommodation and manipulation, of weird humor and unforeseen violence, this classic of twentieth-century literature is above all an extraordinary reckoning with the secret reasons and otherworldly realities of childhood - and pirates!"
"Warner tells of an aging spinster's struggle to break way from her controlling family—a classic story that she treats with cool feminist intelligence, while adding a dimension of the supernatural and strange."
"At long last I pulled down from its place on the shelves Sylvia Townsend Warner's plump little novel impishly titled Mr. Fortune's Maggot and was once again amazed by what a witty, poetic, clairvoyant writer this English woman was. — Eudora Welty"
"A real Dickensian Christmas pudding of a book—full of family delights, parties and partings, strange bits of London, a classic murder with portraits of the murderer, the murderee and a couple of innocent bystanders, good food, and a considerable quota of ghosts. West's is a world that is a delight to enter and to live in, warm and vital, and constantly entertaining."
"After Holmes and Watson, one really needs to see more of Conan Doyle's works. Just a plain suspenseful, exciting, fun to read author with enduring popularity - now that I think about that, that isn't plain at all."
"To understand Thoreau, one must read his journals, which show the man and all of his facets. And what better time to try than at the issuing of an edition that draws on the entirety of his 14 volume journal?"
"Just exemplary writing from start to finish. This is a book to read for the sentence by sentence feel, the exciting sense of not knowing where the story is about to veer off to. Full of dazzling descriptions of pre-WWII Europe as seen on foot, from the level of the peasants to the castles of the fading aristocracy."