Best Classic Books of All Time

A while back we had a “if you were on a desert island with only 5 movies” thread. I had a great time remembering all my favorite movies. We’ve probably done something along the same line with television shows. Now, I’d like to do one for books.

What are your favorite classic books of all time? I’d love to do something more than stare at a screen. Sometime, before I die, I’d like to read as many classic books as I possibly can. Nothing forms your mind and character like a great book. Nothing.

I’d like to start with 2 provisos.
First, I know there are tons of great children’s books. I read them to my grandchildren all the time. But I’m looking to develop my mind, so we’re talking about books intended for adults (and not dirty ones.)
And second, I realize that there are a lot of very religious people on the boards and they are all going to say the Bible. Yes, I’ve read it. Dozens of times. For more than 30 years. Yes, it should be on every classic literature list. We’ll assume it’s already on this one. Now, I need the rest of the list. Thank you.

So, with that said, let’s begin!

Toyota Ae86 History

Well now this is fun. Let’s see…I would have to pick:

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird
  2. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  3. Pride and Prejudice
  4. Jane Eyre
  5. Rebecca

I’ve read all of these numerous times and of course they have all been made into movies. I also wanted to add Fried Green Tomatoes and Gone with the Wind, but I stopped at five so of course I didn’t.

When you say “classic” I think AP English - so here’s my list of favorites. If you want more modern stuff I have a list there too. I read anything I can get my hands on -

Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck (and eveything else he wrote too)
Watership Down - John Adams
Phantom of the Opera - Gaston Leroux (get an old copy - it was originally translated in 1911 - IMHO the new adapted version is not the same story)
Hunchback of Notre Dame - Victor Hugo
There are so many others I can see the covers of and cannot think of the name…

Oooh I am looking forward to seeing everyone’s picks!

  1. An American Tragedy

  2. Gone with the Wind

  3. Rebecca

  4. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

  5. Anything by Truman Capote

I’ll add The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

jamiejeans, I also love The Jungle. (My husband is from Lithuania, which makes it even more interesting.) What a tragic life Jurgis led! I always thought it would make for a very dramatic movie.

My personal favorite book of all time is Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff, that poor tortured soul! Emily Bronte was such an amazing writer…it’s so unfortunate she died so young, without writing another novel. (But she left behind much outstanding poetry!)

I’ll give some very different ones:

  1. West with the Night by Beryl Markham (Out of Africa was loosely based on her life but the book OOA was written by someone else)

  2. Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation by John Phillip Santos

  3. Dracula by Brahm Stoker

  4. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

  5. War of the Witches by Timothy Knab

These are a few that I read over and over and I could go on and on and on…but I won’t! :thumbsup:


Good question and one that bears more thinking, but off the top of my head in no particular order…

  1. Jane Eyre
  2. Little Women
  3. Wuthering Heights
  4. The Great Gatsby
  5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Uh… only 5? I want to add Fahrenheit 451, and Animal Farm.

West with the Night! I forgot that one! Loved it.

1.Moby **** by Melville.(the computer won’t let me write Dee eye sea kay)
2. Huckleberrry Finn
3.USA by dos Passos (a trilogy but we’ll count it as one)
4. A Tale of Two Cities (gotta have a Dickens)
5. Catch 22 Joseph Heller. (Two words saying more about bureaucracy than all the volumes that have been published before or since)

You might enjoy the list the Modern Library people put together.

Great Thread!:yay:

This is a great thread! My Dad was an English teacher so I have always been an avid reader. My choices aren’t going to be conventional classic literature but books I have read that changed the way I look at things and gave me a great escape from life!

  1. The Harry Potter series (seriously, it’s awesome, read it at least 20 times)

  2. anything by JD Salinger

  3. Peace Like a River (new but VERY good)

  4. To Kill a Mockingbird

  5. Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck

I love reading what others like, good suggestions for book club!

Ok, I know it’s already been said, but To Kill a Mockingbird.
The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
As You Like It by Shakespeare

When I was younger I enjoyed reading books by Leon Uris such as Trinity and others whose names I don’t remember. I also read Herman Wouk and James Mitchner. The Lord of the Rings is also an incredible read.

Oh yeah, I didn’t include this, but thought about it. Love Harry Potter. So fanciful and fun!

Wow, I’m an avid reader, so this is gonna be tough. But, to stick to classics, I’d have to say…

  1. Gone With The Wind
  2. To Kill A Mockingbird
  3. Little Women
  4. Where The Red Fern Grows (OK, maybe a kid’s book, but I love it!)
  5. Rebecca
  1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (if you read no other Austen it must be this one)
  2. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery (the whole series-8 books)
  3. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (my favourite high school English book)
  4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (my mom’s absolute fav)
  5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (beautifully woeful and happy at the same time)

Honourable mentions:

Tess of the D’ urburvilles by Thomas Hardy (tragic!)
The Odyssey and the Illiad by Homer (the original hero story)
The Divine Comedy by Dante (seriously good)
Lord of the Flies by William Golding (amazingly vivid and fascinating allegory)
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (hilarious!)
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
North and South, Wives and Daughters, and Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

Just a few of my favourites!

Just to add, instead of repeat…
Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass
The Thorn Birds

Some of mine are not so serious as to be considered classics, but:

  1. [I]Pride and Prejudice[/I]
  2. [I]The Anotated Sherlock Holmes [/I]a two volume set,(the first books my sweet husband ever bought for me, some thirty five years ago).
    3.Anything Tolkien.
    4.Anything C.S.Lewis.
    5.[I]Ireland[/I] by Frank Delany

This list could go on, we don’t check books out because we want to keep them all.

In no particular order:

  1. Jane Eyre
  2. Pride and Prejudice
  3. The Lord of the Rings (hard to read but if stranded on a desert island I’d make the effort!)
  4. The Book Thief
  5. Romeo and Juliette

I adore Jane Eyre, couldn’t get stranded on a desert island without Mr Rochester! Darcy is also a must have. I love Lord of the Rings but it took me about 18 months to finish all three books, I found it a bit hard going in places but worth the effort. The Book Thief is the newest book I have read recently, I tend to prefer classics like Austen and the Brontes, but it was a wonderful read even if it did make me cry. Finally, my favourite Shakespeare just because.

Most of my picks have already been mentioned so I won’t list them again. I would add The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas.