I think it depends on what type of reader you are. By this I mean, if you are an accomplished reader who tends to vet a novel thoroughly with an eye to symbolism, metaphor, motif, etc then any of the classics mentioned above would suffice; but, if you tend to read more superficially then I would recommend authors like Dickens, Steinbeck, or Austin as a good place to start. Even these author's works are deeper than they appear at first glance but I think they are more accessible to the average reader than say, for instance, the Russians (Tolstoy & Dostoyevsky).
To give you an example of what a reader can miss with regard to a novel which could otherwise be read and thoroughly enjoyed superficially I have posted an exegeses of things I found in a Dickens book - link included below. The topic is called Observations: David Copperfield, by Charles DIckens
. (May be of interest to those who have already read the novel but it contains spoilers - a warning to those who have not.) forums.onlinebookclub.org/viewtopic.php ... amp;t=9962