The New York Review of Books invites readers to contribute suggestions of books they ought to include in their “classics” series—now over 200 strong, some genuine classics, some eccentric or just goofy (link—look down towards the bottom of the right-hand column).
W. J. Cash, Mind of the South (1941). Non-fiction Faulkner. Beautifully written account of the tragedy of the south after the civil war.
Newman Levy, Opera Guyed (1927). Famous operas deftly recast in doggerel verse, buy a guy who never really wanted to be a lawyer in the first place.
Prince de Ligne, Letters, Memoirs and Other Writings (1927). Last of the ancien régime aristos. Had the good sense to die, and thus to command a grand funeral, during the Congress of Vienna.
Harold Nicolson, Diaries. Or at least a selection. If that is impractical, any of half a dozen other books; a particular choice might be Diplomacy (1950).
Edith Sitwell, Planet and Glow-worm (1944). Sitwell’s personal bedside anthology. Introduced me to Sir Thomas Browne and Sir John Mandeville.
Edward Noyes Westcott, David Harum (1960). Local-color
Here’s one more I just thought of while writing this post: