10 best classic novels of all time

10 classic novels of all time

I was wondering what people thought were the 10 best classic novels of all time. These are mine. I've gone on the premise that these are books that have shaped my thinking and my imagination. I can't imagine them not being part of who I am.

I'm sure other people have their own list of books that must be read.


  1. Pride and Prejudice. I've listed this novel because Austen to me was the queen of romance novel writing. Elizabeth Bennett is the archetype of the strong heroine who is willing to marry for love, even if it means turning her nose at what is in essence a good match in terms of status, position and comfort. I love Darcy, he is the strong silent man who learns the softer emotions through the actions of the heroine.
  2. Jane Eyre. Jane and Edward carry in their passion the seeds of true romance. She is loved by him because of her mind, her spirit. It is the novel written for every woman who is not looking for love based on shallow things like appearance and circumstance.
  3. Woman in White. A brilliantly written book that is full of atmosphere and characters that stay with you long after the last page is turned.
  4. Sense and Sensibility. This is a novel that shows how to choose the good from the bad, the real hidden gold from the flash of tinsel. I especially adore the book following its BBC dramatisation with Alan Rickman. Be still my heart, Colonel Brandon is only a fictional character.
  5. The Picture of Dorian Gray. This brings out so well the decadence of man, and how selfish emotion and passions can destroy one's soul. Dorian explores all the delights the world has to offer, be it knowledge, books, perfume and the pleasures of the flesh, but ultimately, what he really wants is to be loved, truly and thus to be saved by that love.
  6. Robinson Crusoe. This is an interesting book that captures the coloniser's dependence on the so-called savage, even as his actions go to destroying his saviour.
  7. Midnight's Children. Rushdie in this novel has captured the turbulent history of India. A truly fabulous book filled with magic realism. A must read if you have never read anything by him. This is an excellent text with which to dip your toe into post-colonial literature.
  8. A Little Princess. Always a favourite, I adore Sara and the way in which we are shown the links between Britain and Hindustan. When you read this, I feel you need to also read The Secret Garden by the same author because they compliment each other and yet are so different.
  9. The Little White Horse. A truly magical tale, this will sweep you away into a land where being just and right will see you through in the end. This may be a children's book, but it is one that is still fresh and new when read by adults. Supposedly this was JK Rowling's favourite book as a child.
  10. Day of the Triffids. A post-apocalyptic novel written in 1951 by the English science fiction author John Wyndham this is sure to get you thinking. I have spent more than one evening trying to figure out how I would survive if a disaster of this nature happened in real life. Full of terrible events, it portrays how life is a matter of luck, but also how one can survive even the most horrific of events.

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Comments 29 comments

JessBraz profile image

JessBraz 6 years ago from Canada

I enjoyed your article. I haven't read all of these titles, but I will definitely add quite a few of them to my list of books I want to read. I agree with Jane Eyre for sure.. That is one of my favourite books of all time.

Good job!


home witch profile image

home witch 6 years ago from Manchester Author

Hello Jess. Yes, Jane Eyre is amazing. I just adore her and I was a little in love with Edward Rochester for a long, long time. There's just something sexy about a man who is so much a master of all that he surveys. He becomes even more delectable when you realise how much he has suffered.

If you enjoyed Jane Eyre may I suggest Wide Sargasso Sea? This is the story of Bertha Mason, the mad woman in the attic. Very interesting reading indeed.


JessBraz profile image

JessBraz 6 years ago from Canada

Oh wow! Thank you so much for the suggestion! I've never actually heard of that book before, and I'm definitely intrigued by the idea of reading her story... I work in a book store so I'm definitely going to pick that title up after my next shift!

Cheers!


home witch profile image

home witch 6 years ago from Manchester Author

Brilliant, I do hope you enjoy it.

Also, The Little White Horse and A Little Princess are easy reading, so it shouldn't take you too long as a book worm to get through them. The others might take a tad bit longer.


2patricias profile image

2patricias 6 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

Pat writes: I always love other people's book lists, so this is an entertaining hub.

Tricia (the other Patricia) and I have 'opposing' taste in books, so that if she likes a book I almost certainly won't - and vice versa. For example, she loved "Captain Corelli's Manolin" so much that she went to the island for a holiday. I found the book dull and gave up after 2 or 3 chapters.

My all time favourite book is "War and Peace", so you can see that if I like a book I am happy to keep reading.

I'm ashamed to say that I have not read the majority of books on your list. I have read and re-read "Jane Eyre", but I prefer her sister's novel, "Wuthering Heights".


home witch profile image

home witch 6 years ago from Manchester Author

Hello Pat and Tricia,

Thank you so much for leaving a comment. I'm new to hubbing and it is lovely to hear back from people.

I've never really got Wuthering Heights, but I do see the appeal because it is my best friend's favourite. I just find Cathy an annoyance and I want to give her a good slap or a shake. That said, I've never got through War and Peace. Too long and the language just doesn't do it for me. Neither have I got around to reading Captain Corelli's Mandolin.

I'm glad you have read and re-read Jane Eyre, there's more each time you go back to a book like that. Each age reveals a different truth as it were.


Germaine Reilly 5 years ago

"it's a truth universally acknowledged...." even the opening paragraph of P&P shows Austen's insight and understanding of human nature. After studying her at college, those words still ring in my ears today! Love Jane Eyre too and the Wide Sargasso Sea. Enjoyed your recommendations and it reminds me that I must read Midnight's Children.


home witch profile image

home witch 5 years ago from Manchester Author

Hello. I'm so glad you liked the list and the addition of Austen and Bronte. Yes, Midnight's Children is definitely worthy of your attention. It might take you a while to get into the book, but once you've been hooked, it is really a good read. I adore early Rushdie. Not so hot on his more recent stuff. Another good and much easier Rushdie read is his collection of short stories titled East West and his much simpler book which is a reaction to the fatwa, Haroun the the Sea of Stories.


Germaine Reilly 5 years ago

Thanks for the East West suggestion. I'm reading a collection of short stories by Angela Carter at the mo, much easier to dip and out of when time is short.


home witch profile image

home witch 5 years ago from Manchester Author

You're welcome. It's always cool to introduce someone to an author and then see how they find the work.

I've not read anything by Angela Carter. I shall have to give it a try. I'm currently reading Stephen Oppenhimer's really interesting work on the Origins of the British. He traces the gene flow of people into the British Isles from the Ice Age Refuses following the LGM. It is dense and tough going, but I'm finding it fascinating.


bogerk profile image

bogerk 5 years ago from Midwest

It depends on what you consider a "Classic" ... some of these might make my list, but more recent titles like "1984" or "The Great Gatsby" or "To Kill a Mockingbird" would also have to be included if any book every published had the potential to be a "Classic" ... but, no matter what, "The DaVinci Code" would not make the list.


home witch profile image

home witch 5 years ago from Manchester Author

True, everyone has their own definition of a 'Classic'. These are just mine. I do think your three titles are worthy additions to that collective.


Sarah Masson profile image

Sarah Masson 5 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

I've only read Jane Eyre out of these and I loved it!! What is Woman In white about and who is it by?


home witch profile image

home witch 5 years ago from Manchester Author

Woman in White is by Wilkie Collins and it could be said to be the first proper mystery/gothic romance novel. It's really good if you enjoy stuff like Jane Eyre.


Sarah Masson profile image

Sarah Masson 5 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

Okay thanks for that, sounds like I'll have to read it :)


home witch profile image

home witch 5 years ago from Manchester Author

Mmm... cool. Do let me know how you get on and if you do actually enjoy it. It has been a while since I read it. I think the start takes some time to get going, but once you're got into the story, I remember wanting desperately to see what happens next.

And do think about reading some of the Austens if you get a chance. They are all wonderful books.


Sarah Masson profile image

Sarah Masson 5 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

I will let you know. I do have some Austens in my books to read, I have so many but I do plan on reading them. Thanks again.


home witch profile image

home witch 5 years ago from Manchester Author

You're very welcome. Happy New Year btw.


Sarah Writes profile image

Sarah Writes 5 years ago from California

I absolutely love Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice is the first real adult novel that I ever read, back when I was ten years old. Since then I have read most of her work, but Pride and Prejudice is still my favorite piece of hers. Thanks for the great Hub, I feel we often overlook the classics almost forgetting them completely.


home witch profile image

home witch 5 years ago from Manchester Author

Hello Sarah,

I do agree. We often become so engrossed in reading easy fiction or the best sellers and put aside the 'oldies but goodies'.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 5 years ago from UK

home witch, what a great eclectic list! These are some of my absolute favourites - its nice to find a list that matches one's own. I read Jane Eyre when I was very young and was absolutely taken by its atmosphere. The women in white is a great mystery by the same author who wrote the Moonstone. It was a BBC series a few years ago and was also broadcast on PBS. Day of the Triffids got me into scifi and John Wyndham is an underrated British scifi author who has written some great short stories too.

As a fellow Manchestrian who started hubbing around the same time I am delighted you've chosen to hub. Thanks!


QHuman profile image

QHuman 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

I haven't read all of those books but I've read about half and I totally agree. Thanks for giving me more books to add to my list!


home witch profile image

home witch 5 years ago from Manchester Author

QHuman,

You're welcome. I do hope you enjoy the ones you've not read so far. x


St.Cyprian 5 years ago

Interesting list! With a couple of unexpected titles. Thanks for the info.!


Ivona Poyntz profile image

Ivona Poyntz 4 years ago from UK

Hi, I've read and enjoyed eight of these: and they are all on my keeper shelf. I particularly like the Picture of Dorian Gray and anything by Wilde. The Triffids, however, await!


Jenna Kunc profile image

Jenna Kunc 4 years ago from Colorado

I haven't read 9 or 10. Interesting and informative hub!


Rohan Shankar 4 years ago

That was an amazing list, Pride and Predjuice was one of the best. I would suggest you to go through this one

http://dietheight.blogspot.in/2012/09/bestselling-...


marwan asmar profile image

marwan asmar 3 years ago from Amman, Jordan

Good list but highly subjective don't you think. Many other people can come up with other lists and the case for that would be compelling. Nevertheless what you provide is thought provoking.


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 3 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

I'm searching for the best Classic novels and found your list very interesting... Well done. Now, on with my search. ...

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