10/28/2010 07:30 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Tolstoy Centennial: 6 Essential Books On The Writer (PHOTOS)

Today, on October 28, exactly 100 years ago, Leo Tolstoy disappeared in the middle of the night.

He was found two days later in a monastery; his flight was the culmination of his long struggle of living with wealth and family. He had set out to finally become an ascetic.

He died on November 20th at the remote Astapovo railroad station.

The way Tolstoy died was just the final punctuation on a fascinating life. And somewhere along the way, he wrote some of the most enduring works in literary history.

But to better understand the writing, you must better understand the man. Here are six must-read Tolstoy books, covering this crucial period.

Have any we missed? Have any personal stories about your experience with his work that you'd like to share? Let us know!