ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Books, Literature, and Writing

Ten Must-Read Classics of Great Literature

Updated on September 25, 2017
Linda BookLady profile image

I'm a book blogger, the Book Lady at YouTube, and a memoir writer.

Classic Books
Classic Books | Source

Classic Novels You Won't Want to Miss Reading

I love to read good books. This page lists ten of my favorite must-read classics. Classic novels have enchanted and entertained readers for decades, and I am one of those who believes they're still worth reading.

One of the saddest effects of modern society has been to minimize the joy of reading great classic novels. Novels should still be loved as much as video games, television, and iPads.

Books are Like Friends

Books are special.

One of my friends had the habit of telling her kids, "Books are your friends!"

All young people should be introduced to great novels during their teen years if not before.

Never underestimate the lasting positive impact of a great classic book!

My novel-reading journey started when I was assigned a few great novels while in high school. At that time they were regularly distributed to students in English classes.

I don't know if they still are where you were educated, but I discovered that my youngest children were not assigned to read novels while in high school. This not only shocked and appalled me, but it actually frightened me.

What has our world come to if great literature is not valued? (There's more on my experience with novels, below.)

100 Must-Read Classic Novels - Plus 500 Extra Classic Novel Recommendations

100 Must-read Classic Novels (Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide S.)
100 Must-read Classic Novels (Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide S.)

This book is full of reviews of classic novels. It provides a list of 100 must-read classic novels, and also tells us about another 500 selections. All reviewed.

If you want a comprehensive list of great novels to read, this is it.

If you want to know ten of my favorite classic novels, read on. I'd like to read the top 100... they're classics because these books are really good and have withstood the test of time.


Try Reading the Classics

...I did and am so glad I made the effort!

When I graduated from high school in 1970 I was not into novels, or reading, or much of anything good. I drifted for a few years, unable to find what I wanted to do in life. One day I made the decision to quit smoking.

At the same approximate time I got hold of a copy of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. This amazing novel about the French revolution starts with the infamous line, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." For me, that was a true summation of my condition. It was the worst of times because I had to quit smoking. It was the best of times because I discovered the great joy of getting emotionally tied up in the pages of a great novel.

I've read many of the world's classics since then. Here are a few that I believe should be on everyone's must-read list, unless of course, you've already read them.

I'm going to give you a short review of each book. At the end of this page you can vote for the books you like best.

These are not presented in any particular order - in other words, I didn't put my favorites first.

I'm Guessing Most People Visiting This Page are Book Fans, but I'll Ask Anyway...

Do you love to read?

See results

I have read every one of these novels, and I recommend them. There are many great classic novels. These are a few I enjoyed, and I hope you'll enjoy them too.

Charles Dickens' Classic About the French Revolution

A Tale of Two Cities (Dover Thrift Editions)
A Tale of Two Cities (Dover Thrift Editions)

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."

To truly experience an event in history, the emotional involvement of reading a novel can help you feel it almost as intensely as if you were one of the characters in the story. In A Tale of Two Cities, you become part of an extremely turbulent part of history - the bloody, terrifying French Revolution. You're probably thinking, "Scary! I don't want to go there!" But what motivated these crazy people? Don't you want to find out? Meet Madame Defarge.

You'll learn what it was like to live in Paris at that time, juxtaposed with chapters about life in London. Besides the contrast in the two cities, you get a contrast between people - from the pure and innocent, to the wickedly hateful. The novel is not cheerful or light hearted, but is a good witness to the best and worst in the human condition.

Charles Dickens wrote many other wonderful novels. I'll also recommend A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist and David Copperfield.

Charles Dickens wrote his novels as serial stories in a magazine, so he had to write only one chapter at a time. Once that was published, he could write and edit the next chapter. Publishing a book in this way, one chapter at a time, over a period of many months, helped the magazines to sell, and lucky for us, his amazing novels have withstood the test of time.

The most recent Dickens novel I've read was The Christmas Carol, which is rather short compared to the others. If you're reading Dickens for the first time you might want to start with that familiar story. (Movies have been made from it, of course, so most of us already know the story.) I noticed while reading the book that Dickens had a marvelous grasp of the English language and an amazing vocabulary. You might want to keep a dictionary handy! I love authors who can challenge my reading skills and comprehension. Dickens lived in that era when vocabulary skills were greater than they seem to be now.

Back to talking about A Tale of Two Cities, my reading experience was memorable because it was the first large, thick novel I'd read since high school days. I read it when I was nineteen or twenty, while trying to quit smoking. This novel helped me along the road to recovery. Considering the trauma of the French Revolution, my little problem of nicotine withdrawal seemed insignificant.


A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Have you read it yet?

See results

Documentary About Charles Dickens

A Boy Discovers the Horrors of War

The Red Badge of Courage
The Red Badge of Courage

Heartbreaking! You will learn what it is like to be a lone soldier on a battlefield.

This short but emotionally charged classic novel is one of the greatest anti-war stories ever written. The year is 1863, the scene is the Battle of Chancellorsville during the American Civil War. A young soldier wanders around the battle area, at times taking part, and at times backing off. Critics have remarked that the story is amazingly realistic and true to historic detail.

If you are just starting to get into reading classics, this is an attention-grabbing short read that will bring you closer to an understanding of the reality of what the Civil War was like, and what all fighting is about.

The main character, Henry Fleming, is traumatized by battle and runs from the front lines in terror. Then he's filled with shame and distress because of his own cowardice. The scenes are chaotic.

I'm a slow reader and still got through this book in only a day or two - that's how short it is. Yet it remains an important novel through many decades. It was originally a serial story in newspapers in 1894, then was published as a book in 1895. I definitely recommend this book for teens and adults, but not for children under the age of about fifteen.

My heart hurts for the young people who have been terrorized by war, but forced to participate in it. A battle is a terrifying experience, and so many do not make it out alive.


The Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane

Have you read it yet?

See results

A Short Biography of Stephen Crane

Big Brother is Watching YOU

1984 (Signet Classics)
1984 (Signet Classics)

Read and discuss with your teenagers... they deserve to know. I read this book when I was a teenager - and read it out loud to my son when he was a teen. The more we live in a world where Big Brother is watching us, the more this novel gains significance because it tells us about the world we live in.

Orwell had a unique understanding of the political future planned for the world by powers we're not supposed to know about. He put this picture together in his horrifying novel about a society gone mad with control. The characters want to live normal lives, but are prevented at every turn by "Big Brother" - the eye of the government.

Orwell also wrote Animal Farm - a much shorter novel about how power corrupts. The characters are all animals - a strange thing in a novel intended for adults. I consider both his books to be VITAL reading for informed citizens. Animal Farm explains why socialism doesn't work, using a barnyard full of animals of various types to illustrate what happens and why.

1984 has come out as a movie, but I really believe that watching a movie doesn't replace reading the novel. Much is left out when screen writers step in to adapt a novel for the screen. I'll admit many people will benefit from the movie - because they never bother to pick up books and read them. What a shame! My preference is to read the book before watching the movie. I usually think the book was better.


1984, by George Orwell

Have you read it yet?

See results

Unauthorized Biography of George Orwell (He Didn't Want One!)


A Family's Survival Despite Abject Poverty

The Grapes of Wrath (Centennial Edition)
The Grapes of Wrath (Centennial Edition)

My family was from Oklahoma and came to California in the 30s. Naturally, I had to love this book.

I've read almost everything Steinbeck wrote, and loved it all. But to recommend just one of his books, I'll choose The Grapes of Wrath, a heart-wrenching story of a family forced to resettle - from dust-bowl Oklahoma to poverty-stricken California emigrant camps. Life isn't easy, but the human spirit overcomes all trials. If you read this, you'll be glad you have a roof over your head.

Of course I recommend all other Steinbeck stories and novels too, for example, Cannery Row and East of Eden. There's nothing John Steinbeck had published that is not worth reading. His first book, A Cup of Gold, was self-published, and is probably my least favorite because it is about pirates rather than about life in California, but even the pirate book had some genius phraseology and vocabulary that amazed me.

Grapes of Wrath is a book I read in my junior high school years. Maybe 9th grade, or 8th. Back then, great classics were a part of our English class experience. Later when my children attended high school I noticed they weren't reading books. What has happened to this civilization? I truly believe there's been a "dumbing down" agenda in public education, because my teens were not educated as thoroughly as what I experienced as a teen.

The Grapes of Wrath is a great book for a teenager to read (or anyone older) because it shows the ravages of poverty and what people went through earlier in the history of our country. Dust storms ruined farm life in the area of the Oklahoma panhandle and North Texas, forcing thousands of families to relocate so they'd no longer have to breathe and live in horrible, excessive dust and dirt that could no longer be cultivated. Teenagers need to know what real poverty looks and feels like, and that's why this novel is important, as a learning experience for the young.


The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck

Have you read it yet?

See results

A Mini Bio of John Steinbeck

A Woman Learns About Love The Hard Way

Gone with the Wind
Gone with the Wind

Scarlett O'Hara - what an amazing personality! I love the book more than the movie, if you can imagine that.

Do NOT do what I did, and wait until you're in your fifties to read this book. Gone With The Wind is the ultimate love story, the ultimate Civil War novel, and the ultimate late-night read. Wow - you've just got to read this one.

Forget the movie, it doesn't hold a candle to the real story. Reading the novel you get underneath the simpering movie-version of Scarlett O'Hara to find the person who changes from a silly and self-centered young rich girl to a woman totally capable of managing her life and accepting her fate. It takes a while - this is a long and rocky journey for Scarlett, but well-worth learning about.

Warning: You won't want this novel to end.

Gone With the Wind, written by Atlanta author Margaret Mitchell, is set in Clayton County, Georgia, and Atlanta, Georgia. It was originally published in 1936. The book is thick, but easy to read. I entered into Scarlett's story and night after night, as I read my chapters, I saw the world from her point of view and my life was enriched because of it.

She's a country belle whose world is decimated by the Civil War. General Sherman's "March to the Sea" devastates the plantation she calls home. The book explores her relationship with slaves, and has been considered controversial for that reason, but let's not throw out history - let's learn from it instead.

If I ever go to Atlanta, Georgia, one thing I'll definitely want to do is tour the Margaret Mitchell house there. What a great writer! Her book is a blessing to us all. In 2014 a Harris poll found that Gone With the Wind was the second most favorite book of Americans. The first, of course, was the Bible. That's how gripping the story of Gone With the Wind is. Definitely worth the time spent reading. I feel strongly about this classic novel. Can you tell?


Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell

Have you read it yet?

See results

Bio of Margaret Mitchell

Paramedic Falls in Love

A Farewell To Arms
A Farewell To Arms

I always wanted to know what "arms" Ernest Hemingway was saying farewell to, so I read the book.

Before I read this book I used to wonder what the title meant. I knew it was a war novel. Did it mean no more arms as in no more weapons of war? Or did it refer to someone who lost his arms due to war injuries? The suspense kept building as the meaning of the title didn't become obvious until the end of the novel.

This heart-wrenching war story takes place in Europe during World War I. The main character, Frederic Henry, an American ambulance driver serving the Italian army, falls in love with Catherine Barkley, a nurse. Through his somewhat detached viewpoint you see the terrors and traumas of war at that time. Hemingway was very young when he wrote this novel, but his unusual, unique writing style is something to learn from and enjoy.

A Farewell to Arms was Hemingway's second novel, published in 1929. It quickly became a bestseller. Hemingway worked as an ambulance driver, thus his main character in this novel reflected his personal life. His first novel, The Sun Also Rises, was autobiographical. This one is not. The relationship between Frederic and Catherine was based on something that happened in his life, but the outcome of the situation he experienced was much different than what he wrote for his fictional characters.

The novel is divided into five books, or sections. When Frederic first meets Catherine, he's not looking for a committed relationship. Later he is injured and sent to a hospital she works at, and their relationship deepens exponentially as the book goes on.

I also recommend The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway - a much shorter book, in case you want to start with something less intimidating than A Farewell to Arms.


Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway

Have you read it yet?

See results

Mini Bio of Ernest Hemingway

An Amazing Story of a Man Devoted to the Buddha


His journey took unusual side trips but in the end... [no spoilers!]

I read this novel long ago, when I was a teenager. It started me on a journey of reading everything by Hesse that I could get my hands on. Nothing stood up to the beauty and perfection of Siddhartha, in my memory. Words cannot say how touching and memorable this novel is. Even today I remember certain scenes with awe.

The Siddhartha in this novel was not the Buddha, but rather, he was a man searching for spiritual enlightenment during the same time the Buddha was alive. The Buddha's original name was Siddhartha Gautama, and in this book he is referred to as Gotama.

Siddhartha, the novel, takes place in the Kapilavastu district of Nepal, a small country on the northern edge of India, and on the southwest edge of China. In the beginning, Siddhartha and his friend, Govinda, leave home together to become ascetics, wandering in search of spiritual truth. They are homeless and without possessions, often fasting. They meet Gotama (the Buddha) and Govinda quickly decides to become a Buddhist monk. Siddhartha, however, is not convinced that the way he wants his life to go. Siddhartha's path will take him in a more worldly direction.

This novel is one of the first I read on my own as a teenager, outside of classroom assignments. It was suggested to me by a school librarian who followed a little-known Hindu guru she called Swami Ji. She loaned me one of her books, The Path of the Masters. I read that as well. I never joined her group or became a Buddhist, but I learned from these religions and searched through many others as well prior to becoming a Christian in 2013.


Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse

Have you read it yet?

See results

Hermann Hesse's Long Summer (part one)

A Man's Search for His Family

Cry, the Beloved Country
Cry, the Beloved Country

He looked for them, but they were not there.

Cry, the Beloved Country lets you travel through South Africa, to see it from the point of view of a dignified black minister, Reverend Stephen Kumalo. He receives a letter telling him is sister is ill, and needs him, so he travels to Johannesburg looking for his sister and his missing son, Absalom. He observes the way the country has changed, and is greatly saddened by what he experiences. It gives us a look at a land we may never have been to (most of us) and a time we will be glad we didn't experience (1940's Apartheid).

This is a trip through another culture, where human nature is examined and explored. For that reason, I'm glad I read it. I admired and cared about the main character who was so dedicated to looking for his lost relatives.

Alan Paton, the author of Cry, the Beloved Country, was a white anti-apartheid activist living in South Africa. He wrote two novels. The other one is Too Late the Phalarope. Cry, the Beloved Country was published in 1948, making it a fairly recent classic novel, but one definitely worth reading.

Novels can introduce us to lands we've never seen and experienced, and that' what Cry, the Beloved Country did for me. I've never been to Africa but wanted to learn what living there was like.


Cry, the Beloved Country, by Alan Paton

Have you read it yet?

See results

Alan Paton Speaks Out Against Apartheid (1960)

Alabama Coming of Age Story

To Kill a Mockingbird, 50th Anniversary Edition
To Kill a Mockingbird, 50th Anniversary Edition

Who can forget Boo Radley?

Ostensibly a middle grade novel with an elementary-school aged main character, this book will appeal to anyone looking for an easily readable, gripping, page-turning good story.

It is about disturbing events, love, and hometown life in the south.

The author's skill with description and characterization is palpable.

The book, published in 1960, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961. In 1999 the Library Journal voted To Kill A Mockingbird "Best Novel of the Century".


To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

Have you read it yet?

See results

Harper Lee's Phenomenal Book, To Kill A Mockingbird

Did You Ever Think From A Dog's Perspective?

The Call of the Wild
The Call of the Wild

I'm a die-hard Jack London fan from Oakland, where he lived when young.

I've read a lot of stories by Jack London, and I think this one qualifies as a short novel.

If you want to read about a dog challenged by the elements of nature, facing the cruelty of humans, living on the edge, seeking safety in the snow-bound wilderness of Alaska, this novel will take you there.

Jack London, once a citizen of the town in which I was born, Oakland, California, wrote all his amazing classic stories early in life, and died at the very young age of 40, in November 1916.


The Call of the Wild, by Jack London

Have you read it yet?

See results

A Short Biography of Jack London

Which of These Classic Books is Your Favorite?

Choose only one favorite.

See results

Your Turn to Recommend Your Favorite Classic Novels

In the comment section below, please let me know what you thought of those novels (if you've read them) or better yet, recommend a great classic novel for me to read!

Your comments are welcome! - ...I'd like to get to know you.

Submit a Comment

  • NonCopyBook profile image

    Nicholas Daly 3 years ago from NSW Australia

    Impressed by your writing on here and aim to write on similar topics (I'll read more in time- looks like you're a vegan? I was engaged also reading about the time in the cabin in the mountains...) Anyway as others have said my bigger tastes are outside America (Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Proust and others) but I am a fan of the books you have listed too. Thanks for writing (I think, on some level, I want to be you! Haha..). Cheers

  • NonCopyBook profile image

    Nicholas Daly 3 years ago from NSW Australia

    I think when they say "Evergreen" and HubPages writer they're referring to you...! I've had a look over what you've written (and will return when it's not late at night in more detail) as someone relatively new and you do have it covered very well, you don't need the praise, I'm just being honest here, and it appears too you're vegan (and lived in a cabin in the mountains for 13 years?)- I think I want to be you! Haha..

    (I am the vegan part and plan to write about it in some way, at some stage...)

    Before I forget, I recently wrote about my 5 great classic books too but it is ultimately I concede more grandiose (I mention "To Kill a Mockingbird" briefly as something that isn't accepted in "the canon," but it's something like most I'm uncomfortable about and uncertain with- for example some include "1984" in a "canon" and others (vehemently) wouldn't. I enjoyed most other books on your list (and Faulkner who you mention elsewhere, at least "The Sound and the Fury") but I do tend to like an epic element in storytelling with a certain kind of writing as well- anyway I will end this comment so it doesn't get any longer, all the best with continued success on here and hopefully away from the site too. Cheers

  • Niko Linni profile image

    Niko Linni 3 years ago from Long Beach, California

    I think the only book on this list I read was To Kill A Mockingbird. It's an interesting list, but personally I would've preferred to read more about the books themselves. I know you said that you would do reviews of each, but I still think a short blurb on the book and what it's about, possibly a sentence or two on why you enjoyed it, would help readers unfamiliar with these titles. I've heard of a lot of these books, but know little to anything about them. Just a thought I had. A good list nonetheless.

  • Aley Martin profile image

    Alice Lee Martin 3 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA

    Hello! I liked your list and that most, although not all, are American writers. While American writers are and were good, like Theodore Dreiser's" American Tragedy" and Zora Neale Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God" it is the World Literary works that can speak to the human universal and timeless tradition of literature! (I am trying here because I love and teach World Literature!!).

    I love W. Somerset Maugham's "Of Human Bondage" and DH Lawrence "Sons and Lovers" and "Women in Love". I also love Dickens and your choice of a "Tale of Two Cities" was choice. I also love "Bleak House" and "Dombey and Son" which are less discussed. My all time favorite is an 1100 page masterpiece called: The Forsythe Saga" which details generations of the Forsythe's, a family in England (fictitious).

    There are many other writers I enjoy for short stories, Anton Chekhov, Leo Tolstoy, Milan Kundera, Gabriel Marquez, and am just beginning to read "Middlemarch" by George Eliot. (a woman for some who did nto know)

    Thanks for writing this though because we who love books need to know there are other bibliophiles amongst us who appreciate the "Great" books and find them lovely.

    PS: A more recent book that "reads" like a classic is "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt. She has a flair for description.

    Best, Aley

  • Risha Linda profile image

    Risha Linda Mateos 3 years ago from Florida

    I absolutely love it when I find good books as I am an avid reader. One I did not see listed was East of Eden, by John Steinbeck which I found to be very entertaining. My favorites remain The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of The King by J.R.R. Tolkien and now a new author named George R.R. Martin who has written A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast For Crows, A Dance With Dragons and two more novels in the series yet to be published) I also Love Seven Years In Tibet by Heinrich Harrer and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. You are doing a great service by promoting reading and I thank you for your list of fabulous books.

  • Linda BookLady profile image

    Linda Jo Martin 3 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

    Thanks for the recommendation, Rebecca... the author sounds very talented ... I will look for his books.

  • profile image

    REBECCA HUMES 3 years ago

    I am now reading a series of books by Wendell Berry, a living author who still farms in Kentucky. His novels come out of the community life in a river town named Port William. The stories are rich, earthy and feel absolutely genuine. If you've had any life experience in a small farming community from 1900 through the 1950s these narratives will go straight to your heart. I recently finished reading "Jayber Crow". It is a whole-life tale of a boy growing up along the river, being orphaned, living in a religion oriented school-home for ten years, and feeling "called" to pursue training as a protestant minister. In time he realizes that his calling to the ministry was a misdirect and so he leaves, returning to take up a simple life in Port William. His life there is, by many standards, "sparse", and yet it's details reveal the richness of human struggles, joys and sorrows and found wisdom not to be surpassed by anything else I have ever read. I will think about this book for a long time.

  • Linda BookLady profile image

    Linda Jo Martin 3 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

    Silas Marner - now, that's a book I haven't read yet. Thanks for your recommendation, Barb!

  • BarbRad profile image

    Barbara Radisavljevic 3 years ago from Templeton, CA

    I've only read half of them. I loved Animal Farm, and, believe it or not, Silas Marner. I read most of the classics so long ago I've forgotten all the titles I read. I intend to catch up with some I've missed and reread some of them if the good Lord gives me enough time.

  • Linda BookLady profile image

    Linda Jo Martin 3 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

    Hi Janiece! I think novel reading is one of the most enjoyable homeschooling activities, for both parents and children or teens even.

  • JanieceTobey profile image

    JanieceTobey 3 years ago

    Congrats on LOTD!! My son and I have read several of these books for homeschool - and loved them! His favorite classics so far are Huckleberry Finn, The Grapes of Wrath, and The Great Gatsby.

  • Linda BookLady profile image

    Linda Jo Martin 3 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

    @verymary: I listened to Anna Karenina on audiobook, and it was still slow for me! I love Dickens though... his writing is deep and descriptive, and his characters jump off the page.

  • verymary profile image

    Mary 3 years ago from Chicago area

    I am finally reading Anna Karenina, but it will probably take me a year to finish, as I only read at night and tend to nod off after a few short chapters! But it's good so far & surprisingly "soapy" ;) I also want to get into Dickens more, as you've suggested.

  • scrapquilter profile image

    Myreda Johnson 3 years ago from Ohio USA

    I too would add Great Expectations to the list. There are so many wonderful books. It is a crying shame if novels are no longer being read in high school in this country.

  • Vilja profile image

    Vilja 3 years ago from Helsinki

    I saw this lens title and thought ah! a subject I know I'll be able to comment on! but it turns out I've only read two of the books on this list, 1984 and Gone With the Wind, and to be honest I'm not sure I finished Gone With the Wind. Consider me chastised.

    At least I could confidently upvote The Count of Monte Cristo, one of the best novels I've ever read, and one they never seem to quite capture in any film adaptation.

    Classic novels I would add/recomment: Middlemarch, The Winter of Our Discontent, The Lord of the Flies (1954 - is that too late to count as a classic?), Vanity Fair and Mrs Dalloway.

  • veg86 profile image

    veg86 3 years ago

    Love the list! You included some of my all-time favorites. One more I would add is Great Expectations.

  • jimbobsti profile image

    jimbobsti 3 years ago

    Hi Linda Jack London story is really interesting, just watched the video now, well done nice lens thanks for sharing.

  • Mark W Kuglin profile image

    Mark W Kuglin 3 years ago from Imperial Beach, California and Ensenada, Mexico

    A great lens and list. However, I would use your description of the books as a subtitle and include the actual book title as a lead.

    I respectfully suggest the above as a way to get more hits.

  • lewisgirl profile image

    lewisgirl 3 years ago

    Great choices. I have read half of them. Would love to get through Crime and Punishment one of these days!

  • Chocolatealchemy profile image

    Chocolatealchemy 3 years ago from London, United Kingdom

    Fab Lens - thanks for the reading list. I've read a few books from your list - my favourite is still Pride and Prejudice :)

  • Scott A Butler profile image

    Scott A. Butler 3 years ago from England

    May I suggest the book "Erewhon" to you by Samuel Butler? It's a Victorian classic. The author is a long-gone relative of mine. I have a lens about him if you haven't heard of him before - he's mostly popular in the UK and New Zealand.

  • mrinfo10 lm profile image

    mrinfo10 lm 3 years ago

    I've always been a big fan of Jules Verne - my favorite being The Mysterious Island, which is actually a sequel to 20,000 Leagues Ubnder The Sea - and Arthur Conan Doyle, my favorite of his being Hounds of the Baskerville.

  • MJ Martin profile image

    MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose 3 years ago from Washington State

    So many wonderful classics I've yet to read. The ones from your list that I have and love are: Call of the Wild, To Kill A Mockingbird, and the Grapes of Wrath. Some of the others I have seen in movie form, great list. Ray Bradbury's Illustrated Man I am still on the hunt for, haven't read that in years, one of my high school favorites.

  • GeorgeneMBramlage profile image

    Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 3 years ago from southwestern Virginia

    A very nice list of eminently readable books. I like your headings for each book and the ways in which you draw in lens' readers. My favorite is the George Orwell book "1984" in which you suggest that teenagers read and discuss this book because they need to know. I think that a definition of what makes a book "a classic" would have made a good addition to your introductory paragraph.

  • asereht1970 profile image

    asereht1970 3 years ago

    A nice list of great classics. Thanks for sharing.

  • Glenda Motsavage profile image

    Glenda Motsavage 3 years ago from The Sunshine State

    I love your choices! Some I have read (but not in recent years). The Call of the Wild will be next on my 'Classic' list. Really appreciated the Reviews!

  • profile image

    arlenematthews 3 years ago

    This is a very informative list, thank you for posting it!

  • profile image

    gingershehan 3 years ago

    My favorite classics are To Kill A Mockingbird( NOT written by Truman Capote) and Wuthering Heights.

  • profile image

    annastars 3 years ago

    I think alexandre dumas's the count of monte cristo, the three musketeers as well as the phantom of the opera by gaston lerux are page turners as well:)

  • profile image

    amolarankar 3 years ago

    An impressive content. I am also a great lover of books. In fact without the great novels my life would be empty. I have read A farewell to arms and To kill a mockingbird. To kill a mockingbird can be described as 'shocks after shocks' that teach you a lot!

  • topclimb lm profile image

    topclimb lm 3 years ago

    This is a really great lens. Reminds me of lots of high school and college reading (both assignments and pleasure). Thanks for taking the time to create the lens.

  • profile image

    chagen13 3 years ago

    Speaking of Gone With the Wind, after reading it last summer (I was 13 then), I felt that there must be more to the story. There is. Mead had Alexandra Ripley write a sequel, and I thought it was really good. Almost as good as the original. It is titled Scarlett, written in 1991

  • profile image

    matyboy 3 years ago


    Of the books listed that I know 1984, grapes, catcher, crime and pucishment, I agree :).

    I love those titles are there any decent authors like dostoyevsky writing today? I'd love to read stuff as good as crime and punishment!



  • profile image

    Embeegee 3 years ago

    Thomas Hardy has some great novels, as does D H Lawrence.

  • VioletteRose LM profile image

    VioletteRose LM 3 years ago

    Great collection, thanks for sharing :)

  • mistyriver profile image

    mistyriver 3 years ago

    I must admit that I've only read two off of your list! Gone With the Wind is my favorite and I'd like to read some of the others as well.

  • kimberlyschimmel profile image

    Kimberly Schimmel, MLS 4 years ago from Greensboro, NC

    Cry, the Beloved Country was so sad! Great book, though.

  • Scindhia H profile image

    Scindhia 4 years ago from Chennai

    Great lens. Thanks for sharing!

  • Gypzeerose profile image

    Rose Jones 4 years ago

    I love so many, Wuthering Heights, Siddhartha, To Kill a Mockingbird. I also adore anything by Carson McCullers. Pinned to my board "books worth reading."

  • asereht1970 profile image

    asereht1970 4 years ago

    I love Wuthering Heights and may I add, Silas Marner by George Eliot. Those two were my favorites in my growing up years. This is a great lens and thanks for the list. I'll be sure to check on them.

  • jmchaconne profile image

    jmchaconne 4 years ago

    Thank you for a great lens, It was surprising that I've read a good many of the books on your list, and many more are on my reading list. I'm a fan of historical fiction, especially about the American revolution. I just did a book review lens quest about Oliver Wiswell by Kenneth Roberts called the-american-revolutionary-version. It was fascinating to read the history from the perspective of Americans of the time loyal to the British Crown. Have you read the book? If so, Id be interested in hearing your take.

  • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

    Joanie Ruppel 4 years ago from Keller, Texas

    Our high school included every book on your list as required reading except Siddhartha, plus numerous others. Agree with you that we are losing this great interest. Enjoyed your lens, it's made me think about one of these I haven't yet read to be next on my list.

  • amandascloset0 profile image

    amandascloset0 4 years ago

    Very nice lens! Thanks for sharing

  • animerurisa profile image

    animerurisa 4 years ago

    I loved all of Jane Austen's works as I was growing up (I'm still growing though, so that doesn't account for much >.<) and my favourites from hers were "Pride & Prejudice", "Northanger Abbey" and "Sense & Sensibility" :)

    If you're not against a suggestion towards the modern classics, I also recommend Arundhati Roy's "God of Small Things" :) It really made an impact in my life and how I view it as a child.

  • profile image

    Donna Cook 4 years ago

    1984 and Fahrenheit 451 had a huge impact on me. I would add "Catch 22" as number 11. Great lens!

  • favored profile image

    Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

    Many of these selections I have as assigned reading in my classes. Some are wonderful classics.

  • Evelina Sa profile image

    Evelina 4 years ago from London / Frankfurt / Vilnius

    I really need and want to start reading those classics but somehow always find other things to read i.e. business books...

  • Sylvestermouse profile image

    Cynthia Sylvestermouse 4 years ago from United States

    There are so many classics that are just outstanding, it would be impossible for me to name my favorite. I had totally forgotten about "A Farewell to Arms" until you included it here. What a great book! I read it back in high school and I can still remember how much I loved it. I think it is time to read it again!

  • Flora Crew profile image

    Flora Crew 4 years ago from Evanston, Illinois

    I liked Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery I think the reason was that it was the first book I analyzed, and so I got to understand it a lot better than I would have if I had just read it.

  • lawrence01 profile image

    Lawrence Hebb 4 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

    It would be hard for me to pick a 'favorite' in the classics but probably closest would be the Lord of the Rings trilogy and 'The Hobbit' but also up there would be just about any Dickens novel.

  • profile image

    glowchick 4 years ago

    Although I have not read all of the books on your list, I think it's important to read classics :)

  • Charito1962 profile image

    Charito Maranan-Montecillo 4 years ago from Manila, Philippines

    Hi! I'm Ms. Charito from the Philippines, and I enjoyed reading "Siddhartha" and "Cry, the Beloved Country". This is a great lens. Very informative!

  • profile image

    JustinLCroft 4 years ago

    Awesome list! I love Tale of Two Cities. I would also have to add Huxley's Brave New World to the list.

  • profile image

    anonymous 4 years ago

    Great list! I have read many of these, but wish I had time to revisit again. Awesome lens and good snippets.

  • profile image

    TheMoralInstigator 4 years ago

    I don't read often. Granted I am more interested in the other forms of language, like body and computer language then I am with the classic write it down stuff.

  • Merrci profile image

    Merry Citarella 4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

    Good choices and good lens! thanks for sharing.

  • profile image

    kepezzo 4 years ago

    I wish I would have more time to read books..last one I read was by Jared Diamond - Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succed....

  • jmchaconne profile image

    jmchaconne 4 years ago

    The library was a sanctuary when I was a boy.You have brought back some great memories. I still read every day. Thanks for a great lens. My you do great work! Thank you.

  • profile image

    being_suman 4 years ago

    Simply spellbound! I wish to read all those.thanks a lot

  • profile image

    utkarshp 4 years ago

    @RandySturridge: welcome..!

  • ruthclark3 lm profile image

    ruthclark3 lm 4 years ago

    Awesome lens. Thank you. I checked all the books that I've either read or own. My personal library has grown and I have run out of room. I don't buy many books now, but rather check them out of our public library. Thanks again for a wonderful and informative lens.

  • profile image

    anonymous 4 years ago

    @anonymous: Orwell, Dickens, Paton and Hess are all non-American writers.

  • profile image

    anonymous 4 years ago

    My all time favorite is A Tree Grows In Brooklyn! I also love Frankenstein...

  • profile image

    anonymous 4 years ago

    To Kill A Mockingbird is on my top ten!

  • profile image

    anonymous 4 years ago

    This is a great lens! Thank you!

  • readty7 profile image

    readty7 4 years ago

    I love period films and novels

  • profile image

    anonymous 4 years ago

    This is a great list. I've read 6 out of the 10 books listed about. Will certainly add Persuasion to this. My most favorite of Jane Austen's

  • shilohtaylor profile image

    shilohtaylor 4 years ago

    thanks for the lens, i have a great love for books as well and i look forward to buying these in the future.

  • profile image

    anonymous 4 years ago

    i prefer george orwell, at least not as long winded as dickens

  • dbitterman profile image

    dbitterman 4 years ago

    So many (good) books, so little time. Fortunately, I've something of a head start in that I've read several on your list! More to do, however. More to do! Thank you for this great lens.

  • socialcx1 profile image

    socialcx1 4 years ago

    I have only read 2 so thanks for more ideas when at the library.

  • Swisstoons profile image

    Thomas F. Wuthrich 4 years ago from Michigan

    I have to admit to having watched more of these titles as movies rather than having read the books upon which the movies were based. I do read, but mainly non-fiction. My all-time favorite novel: "Catch 22."

  • hkhollands profile image

    hkhollands 4 years ago

    I've read all of your top 10 except Siddhartha. That book has been sitting on my shelf for years. Time for me to pick it up and read it :) Thanks for the suggestion.

  • suepogson profile image

    suepogson 4 years ago

    Great lens - I've read many of these but some I had never heard of and will look out for. Thanks

  • rainbow-fire profile image

    rainbow-fire 4 years ago

    I've read a lot of these, but you've just made me want to read more! It's a shame that not so many people read the classics these days...

  • mcsburlea profile image

    mcsburlea 4 years ago

    I love fiction because it takes me to a new world and love non-fiction because of all the info I can learn.

  • profile image

    MarcellaCarlton 4 years ago

    I love reading books! If you can read you can learn anything.

  • Linda BookLady profile image

    Linda Jo Martin 4 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

    @adiehltwin: Right! Usually I prefer a book or Kindle ebook, because reading for a long time on the computer screen causes me eye-strain. Project Gutenberg is a great resource!

  • profile image

    adiehltwin 4 years ago

    One of the great things about classic literature is that they are old enough to be out of copyright so you can read them for free on sites like or Although for my favorites, there is nothing like holding a real book in my hands.:-)

  • profile image

    anonymous 4 years ago

    Any Kurt Vonnegut? Love(d) him. Great humor and wisdom.

  • marvmac profile image

    marvmac 4 years ago

    Greatly enjoyed The Catcher in the Rye

  • wiseriverman profile image

    wiseriverman 4 years ago

    I loved My Childhood by Gorky.

  • profile image

    anonymous 4 years ago

    The John Dos Passos trilogy "USA" - amazing! This is a must read.

  • Meganhere profile image

    Meganhere 4 years ago

    I've read a lot of these, but a couple I've never heard of, like The Third Witch. Great lens!

  • amandascloset0 profile image

    amandascloset0 4 years ago

    Great lens, love the classics!

  • profile image

    anonymous 4 years ago

    I loved The Catcher in the Rye. Where do the ducks go in winter? Loved this book. I bet Holden knew the answer. Also, The Lord of the Flies was another favorite of mine. Just makes you think about society and bullies, and out of control power. I loved your list. Always afraid to read A Tale of Two Cities even though Dickens is my favorite classic author. I will try to read it know. Thanks.

  • profile image

    roy-paduwat 5 years ago

    Where's Shakespeare? I can't find him anywhere on the list. Very strange.

    He should be rated about a zillion times higher than some of the other authors who were nominated. .

    I added him to the list myself.

  • profile image

    BarbaraCasey 5 years ago

    I've read at least half the books on your top ten list... but you grabbed me with Dickens' Tale of Two Cities today. Time to get back to the classics.

  • Digory LM profile image

    Digory LM 5 years ago

    Great top ten list. I try to read at least two, hopefully more, classics a year.

  • profile image

    nikkiiidomingo 5 years ago

    What a great list! I hope to read all of these classics before I die. 1984 is definitely one of my favorites. :)

  • Linda BookLady profile image

    Linda Jo Martin 5 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

    @anonymous: A lens is what web pages are called on this site, Squidoo. I'm happy to hear you're going to be reading classics and that you picked out one of my favorites. I've been reading a lot more lately too.

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    Thank you for this list. I'm in my 50s and feel I'm not well-read at all, so I Googled classics to rectify the situation. That's how I found your list. I want to stop spending so much time on the computer and pass time in a different physical position, for my posture's sake, lol. Your list sounds so interesting I bookmarked it and picked out my first book to get and read. Thanks for the help :)

    Btw, everyone keeps saying "nice lens." What's a lens?

  • joseph-sottile-16 profile image

    joseph-sottile-16 5 years ago

    Catcher in the Rye was the best YA book ever written.

  • profile image

    BarbsSpot 5 years ago

    @Lensmaster...Ah, these are the great works by the great authors! Nice list! And, yes, I have thought from the perspective of the dog -- A Newfoundland Rescue Story -- and of the horse -- Horse Sense! It's a fun way to add spark to your story!

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    So... why is Lord of The Flies not in this list? Or 1984? Or Jane Eyre? They're classics too! I'm glad to see Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, and Of Mice and Men there. There some of my favourites!

  • Zhana21 profile image

    Zhana 5 years ago

    Great lens. As a Buddhist, I particularly like seeing "Siddhartha" on the list, although there are better Buddhist books. I'm also glad to see The Color Purple, and would like to see more books by Black authors listed. Things like the Twilight saga and 50 Shades are NOT classic novels.

  • profile image

    RajlakshmiHB 5 years ago

    I have read a few of them .. nice list

  • Teddi14 LM profile image

    Teddi14 LM 5 years ago

    Love this lens. I really enjoyed that you included a summary of the books! I will like it, pin it and bless it (if I still can). :-)

  • chocochipchip profile image

    chocochipchip 5 years ago

    I love the count of monte cristo by a.dumas

  • chocochipchip profile image

    chocochipchip 5 years ago

    I love the count of monte cristo by a.dumas


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: ""

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)