The New York Public Library just sent a valentine to 125 books that make its heart melt.
The list is part of the library’s celebration of its 125th anniversary. Two of the books on the list, Toni Morrison’s Beloved and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, are receiving a special honor—they’ll be cradled by Patience and Fortitude, the two stone lions that greet visitors to the library’s location at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.
Also appearing on the list is American Gods, the novel by British fantasy author Neil Gaiman, who penned a note about the library’s list of sweethearts.
“Somewhere on this list you will find books you’ve never read, but have always meant to, or have never even heard of,” Gaiman wrote. “There are 125 chances here to change your own life, or to change someone else’s, curated by the people from one the finest libraries in the world.”
The list spans several genres. The library gave shout-outs to poetry collections such as Mary Oliver’s American Primitive and Sylvia Plath’s Ariel, biographies including Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton and Stacy Schiff’s Cleopatra, and novels like Ian McEwan’s Atonement and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
Library president Anthony W. Marx said the list is part of the library’s mission to “encourage and foster a lifelong, true love of reading in people of all ages.
“We encourage everyone to look at the list, talk about it, debate it, and start reading,” Marx said. “And then tell us which book made you love reading.”
Michael Schaub is an Austin, Texas–based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.