13. Joseph Eotvos (imagine this has Hungarian style umlauts over the "o's"), The Village Notary
I read this novel primarily because I'm trying to capture the flavor of life in a mid-nineteenth century village for a project I'm working on. For that purpose, the book answered excellently, as it was written primarily to critique the corrupt government style common in nineteenth-century counties. The story itself was a bit melodramatic, about a village notary who was one of the few honest men in the town government, and whose enemies spend much of the book conniving at his downfall. It's hard not to feel bad for him, as life hands him one trial after another, each usually compounded by coincidence. The writing is old-fashioned, so it won't appeal to most, but I enjoyed reading it for the glimpse it afforded into life in another time and place.