First, a happy 200th birthday to Guiseppe Verdi, Italian master of the opera. Verdi was a rare genius in musical history: he was both brilliant and incredibly prolific. Stephen King productivity with Willaim Faulkner talent.
If you want a taste of Verdi, I would suggest Aida, Rigoletto, Falstaff, or Otello as some of his finest works.
It is testamony to Verdi's greatness that two of his finest works are recastings of Shakespeare plays. It takes tremendous courage to think you have something to add to Shakespeare. Verdi thought he did, and he was right.
And three cheers for Alice Munro, named today the 2013 Nobel Laureate in Literature.
This is an inspired choice. Munro is mainly a short story writer, at a time when short stories are a forgotten idiom, for reasons I don't understand. I always thought short stories were the best way to get to know a writer. Many writers have done their best work in short fiction, and the short story is a fine way to get to know a writer without having to commit to a novel.
Why read James Joyce's Ulysess when you can read "The Dead" in a fraction of the time, and still fairly claim to have read Joyce?
A Munro short story is as good a a novel, just as deep and enriching, as concentrated and delicious as a drop of fresh water on the tip of an icicle.
Read up. Most Nobel Laureates require a several week plunge into a novel or literary work to get to know, but you can get to know Munro in a single sitting, if you please. I will suggest "Runaway" from the short story collection of the same name, as a good place to start.