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What are your ten favourite novels ever?

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Initial post: 11 Oct 2009 12:39:04 BDT
My list:

1. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
2. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
3. The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene
4. The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann
5. New Grub Street by George Gissing
6. Tess of the D'Urbevilles by Thomas Hardy
7. L'Assommoir by Emile Zola
8. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
9. Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham
10. Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton

Posted on 11 Oct 2009 18:13:35 BDT
M. Dowden says:
1. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
2. The Monk by Matthew Lewis
3. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
4. Clarissa by Samuel Richardson
5. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
6. Keep the Aspidistra Flying by George Orwell
7. Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
8. Germinal by Emile Zola
9. The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas (pere)
10. Washington Square by Henry James

Posted on 11 Oct 2009 18:27:46 BDT
Gordon Dent says:
1. Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - Robert M Pirsig
2. Steppenwolf - Hermann Hesse
3. Herzog - Saul Bellow
4. Foucault's Pendulum - Umberto Eco
5. Buddenbrooks - Thomas Mann
6. In Dubious Battle - John Steinbeck
7. The Way We Live Now - Anthony Trollope
8. A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
9. The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood
10= English Passengers - Matthew Kneale
10= The Woodlanders - Thomas Hardy

Sorry, I couldn't choose between the last two.

Posted on 11 Oct 2009 19:38:43 BDT
Moonlit says:
In no particular order:
The Secret History - Donna Tartt
Black Dogs - Ian McEwan
The Mill on the Floss - George Eliot
Howard's End - E.M Forster
Tess of the d'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
Mansfield Park - Jane Austen
The Siege - Helen Dunsmore
Fingersmith - Sarah Waters
Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

Posted on 11 Oct 2009 21:02:26 BDT
Rum1977 says:
No order possible not top 10 but definitely fits in my top favourites:

Gideon - Russell Andrews
Saving Faith - David Baldacci
Maiden's Grave - Jeffrey Deaver
White Fang and the Call of the Wild - Jack London
Emma - Jane Austen
Mansfield Park - Jane Austen
No Second Chance - Harlen Coben
The Cloak - Leon Garfield
Lion's Game - Nelson DeMille
Tales of the Unexpected - Roahl Dahl

Posted on 12 Oct 2009 01:44:58 BDT
tigers3 says:
In no particular order - and not necessarily great books - just books I enjoyed :)

Tess of the D'urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
The Thirteenth Tale - D Setterfield
Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
Lolita - Nabikov
One Thousand Splendid Suns
Housekeeping - M Robinson
Atonement - Ian McEwan
Breathe - Tim Winton
East of Eden - Steinbeck
The Stand - S King

Posted on 12 Oct 2009 10:18:05 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 12 Oct 2009 10:18:48 BDT]

Posted on 12 Oct 2009 11:05:13 BDT
Fiona Hurley says:
In no particular order:
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Wind Up Bird Chronicles - Haruki Murakami
Cross Stitch (Outlander) - Diana Gabaldon
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian - Marina Lewycka

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Oct 2009 12:29:30 BDT
Doc Benway says:
Hunger - Knut Hamsun
Post Office - Bukowski
Chump Change - Dan Fante
A Confederacy Of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
Heart Of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
Pop. 1280 - Jim Thompson
Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas - Hunter S Thompson
The Iliad - Homer
Trick Baby - Iceberg Slim
Black Spring - Henry Miller

Posted on 12 Oct 2009 12:29:36 BDT
Last edited by the author on 19 Nov 2009 17:47:42 GMT
Blackbeard says:
I admire those who can show restraint and limit themselves to ten books, but I just can't do it! It's hard enough to only choose ten authors, but I won't list more than two books by each. I apologize for the break in form.

1. Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Idiot
Crime & Punishment
2. Friedrich Nietzsche
On The Genealogy Of Morals
The Gay Science
3. Ernest Hemingway
A Farewell To Arms
Islands In The Stream
4. Anton Chekhov
The Complete Short Novels
5. Ayn Rand
The Fountainhead
We The Living
6. Joseph Heller - Catch 22
7. Jack London - The Yukon Writings
8. Harald Sortskaeg - The Freethinker
9. Mikhail Bulgakov
The Master & Margarita
A Dead Man's Memoir
10. Nikolai Gogol
Dead Souls
The Collected Tales

Edit: I was reviewing this page and saw that several people don't think my post adds to the discussion. I was puzzled by this until I realized that the post called for "novels" and not "books", as I originally misread, apparently. If I were only to list novels, they would start and end with Dostoevsky and Hemingway.

Posted on 12 Oct 2009 13:52:12 BDT
Hard to pin it down to 10 but here goes.
1. Catcher in the Rye - J.D.Salinger
2. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
3. A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
4. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
5. The Innocent - Ian McEwan
6. The Restraint of Beasts - Magnus Mills
7. Pride & Prejudice - Jane Austen
8. About A Boy - Nick Hornby
9. Ressurection Men - Ian Rankin
10. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Oct 2009 16:07:48 BDT
I agree VERY hard to pin it down,but here are my choices in no particular order:
1.The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
2.Silar Marner - George Eliot
3.Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
4.Farewell My Lovely - Raymond Chandler
5.Turtle Moon - Alice Hoffman
6.Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis de Bernieres
7.Room With A View - E.M.Forster
8.A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickins
9.The Memory Keeper's Daughter - Kim Edwards
10.One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Posted on 12 Oct 2009 17:00:32 BDT
Last edited by the author on 12 Oct 2009 17:02:08 BDT
D. Haywood says:
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
The Mists of Avalon - Marion Zimmer Bradley
The Duncton Wood Trilogy - William Horwood
Waterland - Graham Swift
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
Weaveworld - Clive Barker
Stardust - Neil Gaiman
Good Omens - Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Lord of the Rings - Tolkien

Plus honourable mention to Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass - Lewis Carrol

Posted on 12 Oct 2009 18:15:22 BDT
Maria Savva says:
I agree that 10 isn't really enough for a list of favourite novels, but here are ten of my faves, in no particular order:

The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Cry For The Moon, William Woodall
Dead Famous, Ben Elton
Last Chance Saloon, Marian Keyes
Horse Latitudes, Quentin R. Bufogle
The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Caviar Dreams, Judy Nichols
Gone, Julie Elizabeth Powell

Posted on 12 Oct 2009 18:44:45 BDT
I love this kind of lists:=)


1. IT- Stephen King
2. 1984- George Orwell
3. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
4. A Tale of Two Cities- Charles Dickens
5. The Spy Who Came from the Cold- John Le Carre
6. Murder of Roger Ackroyd- Agatha Christie
7. Pet Sematary- Stephen King
8. Invisible Cities - Itali Calvino
9. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn- Betty Smith
10. The Blind Assassin- Margaret Atwood

Posted on 12 Oct 2009 19:21:21 BDT
Last edited by the author on 12 Oct 2009 19:40:14 BDT
A few years ago a well known publisher inserted a voucher for a reasonable sum of money between the pages of a novel that had very recently won a prestigious literary award. All that readers had to do to get their hands on the cash was post the voucher to the publisher who would forward a cheque by return of post. Guess what - only a very small minority of the vouchers ever found their way back to the publishers, proving that some purchasers of said novel clearly did not do so with the intention of ever reading it! May be they purchased the books to grace their bookcases in order to impress their friends with the literary quality of their "reading" material!

I get the distinct impression that some (but not all) of those people have taken the opportunity to publish their list of 10 best books in this forum!!

Posted on 12 Oct 2009 19:30:49 BDT
Well, my list does not seem as "high-brow" as the others! I'm only 21, so I imagine this will change. But, in no particular order:

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
Chocolat by Joanne Harris
Cross Stitch by Diana Gabaldon
Mummy said the F Word by Fiona Gibson
Shopaholic Series by Sophie Kinsella
The Baby Trail/A Perfect Match by Sinead Moriarty
Warnings of Gales by Annie Sanders
The Love of Her Life by Harriet Evans
The Fat Ladies Club by "The Fat Ladies"
The Last to Know by Melissa Hill

And, I can promise that I have read ALL of these books. And I didn't read them because they had won any sort of prizes (I think there's too much chick lit in there to win much anyway!).

Charlene x

Posted on 12 Oct 2009 19:35:33 BDT
Interesting anecdote. All I can say is that if I buy a book I read it. And these lists (thanks for all of them) will help me make up a new reading list for the years to come. Truly it is difficult to limit oneself to 10 books, but why not think of it in terms of which books you would save if your local library was burning down, books you would happily return to again and again

Posted on 12 Oct 2009 21:00:03 BDT
Gordon Dent says:
AP Walton - I get the impression that people in this forum enjoy reading good books, and therefore their 10 favourites happen to be good books.

Posted on 13 Oct 2009 00:07:28 BDT
Last edited by the author on 13 Oct 2009 00:11:00 BDT
T. Gardener says:
Literature is like all other forms of art, very subjective. Sometimes great literary classics have not stood the test of time, but are considered classics. I recently read The Great Gatsby (it features on on of the lists). In my opinion, and it was my opinion it was rubbish. No substance, no story line, nothing I could relate to. I felt the same about Lord of the Rings and Treasure Island, two others I have read recently, and not enjoyed. But I will openly admt to being moved by works from Ben Elton, Stephen Fry, Arthur Hailey, and Luke Reinhart. I am not suggesting people are pretentious but there is sometimes reading snobbery, like clothing snobbery, and music snobbery. WhatI do is try and read a mixture of books from different authors, some are greats, some are pulp fiction, the joy is in the reading itself. Being transported inside your mind is one of the all time pleasures. So whether it is Martina Cole or Homer, enjoy it or put it back on the helf and pick something else.
I would struggle to pick 10 books over a lifetime of reading but well done to those that have.

Posted on 13 Oct 2009 09:34:36 BDT
I. C. Pizzie says:
I like Gordon's point about saving books from a burning library. It says a lot that we would even consider it I suppose.

I would save Lady by Thomas Tryon first. I have waited for this book to be snapped up as a film, but I don't think it has.
I would also save To Kill a Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men.
I would make room also for Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now (non-fiction but compelling reading).
I would also choose a good poetry compilation.
And now I see I am completely off-target as the question refers to favourite novels.
Can I sneak Stephen King's Dark Tower series in there as well please?

Oh well, cheers

Posted on 13 Oct 2009 10:00:21 BDT
P. J. Church says:
The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
The Three Hostages - John Buchan
The White South - Hammond Innes
No Name - Wilkie Collins
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
The Spy who Came in from the Cold -John Le Carre
The Land God Gave to Cain - Hammond Innes
Greenmantle - John Buchan
No Country For Old Men - Cormac McCarthy
Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson

Posted on 13 Oct 2009 11:43:34 BDT
Even though some of us have listed high brow literature it doesn't mean we are snobs and don't read across the genres. Myself I also have wonderful memories of reading Simenon, Stephen Donaldson, Frederic Forsythe, P. G. Wodehouse, David Lodge, Arthur C Clarke, Herman Wouk and Arthur Hailey.

Posted on 13 Oct 2009 13:56:18 BDT
T. Gardener says:
Markus. I wasn't casting aspersions on anyone, certainly people I don't know. My point is that there are literally thousands of great books but not all are classics. What makes a book good. To me it is when you are reading a book and you turn the telly off to read it, take it in the loo, or go to bed early to read it. I have hundreds of unread books, and started to read some of the more well respected fiction. So far I have been largely disappointed, but have read some really good books, that when I have told others, had the reply oh thats a kids book. Having read the Twilight series and Mallorie Blackman feel this is a negative view.
So to be open minded does someone want to recommend me one 20th century classic that is really good.

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Oct 2009 14:36:34 BDT
C. Madden says:
I'm a bit like you and agree that what makes a good book is that you would gladly give up something else in order to read the book you're engrossed in. I've tried many classics too and found them a bit hard going as well. However, when I studied English Lit via the OU we had to read Pride and Prejudice. I remember trying it years ago and giving it up because I found it really boring. But then when we studied it I found I loved it! Maybe the studying made me appreciate it more (many say being forced to study something puts them off), I don't know but I certainly changed my opinion of Jane Austen afterwards so maybe that's a good place to start? And yes it was my choice to study English Lit so the fact it wasn't forced on me probably helped too.
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  228
Total posts:  300
Initial post:  11 Oct 2009
Latest post:  6 Jul 2014

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