Mrs. Gaskell's Cranford is a mid-Victorian novel set in a small country village. The upper-class inhabitants are nearly all older spinsters, and Gaskell uses this tiny society to comment on men's and women's experiences. This is the second Gaskell novel I've read in the last few months, and I've really liked them, so I'll have to get Wives and Daughters or something next. I'm not sure I want to read her hagiography of Charlotte Brontë though.
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch, by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, is a detailed account of a day in the life of a gulag prisoner. Ivan Denisovitch is serving a ten-year sentence in Siberia on trumped-up charges, just like almost everyone else at the prison camp. I should have read it a long time ago. (Come to think of it, I took a course where we read a bunch of Stalin-era stuff, why wasn't this included? Maybe everyone else had already read it and I was too clueless to know.)
Now I get to decide what's next. I'm torn between The Woman in White, The Gallic Wars, or The Master and Margarita. Any votes?