Thursday, July 10, 2014

Top Ten Favorite Classic Books

Well, I missed this excellent Top Ten list, hosted by the Broke and the Bookish . . . yep, this was the list that ran LAST week, on Tuesday, July 1st! I actually developed this list on July 1st, but never got around to posting it. Summer--what can I say? Anyway, I decided to go ahead and post my choices for my top 10 favorite classic books because, why not? It's a great topic. Even if today is a Thursday, not a Tuesday . . . I won't be bound by artificial limitations like days of the week!

For the purposes of this list, I am choosing to define "classics" as works of literature that stand the test of time . . . that several generations of readers consider to be literary works of art. Under this definition, I would not include any books that have been written in the past few decades, because we don't yet know if those works will speak to future readers. Looking over my list, I would certainly note that it is far too centered on English-language literature; that, I suppose, is a result of my education, with its focus on English and American literature. I would like, in the future, to increase my exposure to world literature.

With those caveats, here is my list, in no particular order:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Persuasion by Jane Austen

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Howards End by E.M. Forster

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

What would be on your list of top ten favorite classic books? And--maybe this is a good topic for another top ten list--what recent books do you think are most likely to be considered classics in the future? Hmm, I think I may have to do a post on that at some point . . .


  1. I loved all of those books, except Macbeth. I just don't get Shakespeare, but in fairness I will admit that I haven't even tried since high school. That might be a good project for me...

    I'm glad you decided to post your list, even if it is a week later and a different day. Rules are overrated ;-)

  2. I always liked reading Shakespeare, maybe because I did a lot of theater as a kid. I had a hard time deciding which of his plays to include here. In the end, I went with Macbeth because I do think it is the greatest of Shakespeare's literary achievements (although it is not my favorite Shakespearan play to watch).

    What I did NOT include here . . .any poetry! Now THAT is the literary form that I really don't do well with!

  3. I must say that I Yes-Ma'am-ed all of these. Great list!

  4. The Grapes of Wrath? OH, that book is depressin gfrom the first page to the last line. I just wanted things to get a little bit better. I loved East of Eden, but I would not list Grapes of Wrath as a favorite because everyone is so miserable from beginning to end!

  5. Agree with the rest of your list though. Sorry about the typos.

  6. Ha, you know, it IS quite depressing! But I read it in my 20s and loved it. I never read East of Eden.....