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Ten Great Novels I Love

Updated on October 10, 2014

Ten Great Books

How do you select just ten books to put in a top ten novels list? Well, if you are not a great reader then it is not difficult but I have read thousands of novels so choosing ten of the best took some time. However, the books that have selected are all ones that I have enjoyed enough to have read more than once and all of them have left a permanent impression on me.

When I was very young I struggled at first with reading but with a lot of help from my mother I quickly became an avid reader and have been collecting books since I was about ten years old. Somehow I find it very difficult to dispose of books, even ones that I did not enjoy very much.

I enjoy many types of books, but the ones I like the most are those that have an allegorical meaning; a message as well as a good story, although these need to be skilfully woven into the plot rather than contrived and too obvious. You will find many of these types of publications in my list of ten great novels.

If you are a book-lover and are looking for something new to read, check out my page about my Book Review Blog where there is information about my short book reviews, fiction and non-fiction.

Which Type Of Book Do You Like Reading? Fiction Or Non-fiction?

Do you enjoy reading Fiction or Non-fiction the most?

See results

The Life of Pi by Yann Martel

The Life of Pi begins with Pi's early life in a zoo in Pondicherry, India where he embraces three religions: Christianity, Hinduism and Islam. After his father decides to relocate the family to Canada, they are involved in a shipwreck after which Pi finds himself in a lifeboat with some of the zoo's animals; a zebra, an Orang-utan, a Hyena and a tiger named Richard Parker.

The Hyena eats both the Orang-utan and the zebra but is then eaten by Richard Parker. Pi then attempts to keep himself alive by catching enough food and supplying enough water for both himself and Richard Parker. Eventually, the castaways reach a floating island full of meerkats, but the island holds a terrible secret and both Pi and Richard Parker retreat to the lifeboat. Eventually they are washed up on the coast fo Mexico where the Japanese owners of the boat which sank question Pi on his story.

Finally, Pi offers an alternative story!

The Life of Pi was recommended to me by a friend and I was very pleased I listened to her recommendation. This is a very unusual and enthralling story with an ending that leaves the reader thinking for a long time after finishing the book.

Read my review of Life of Pi.

Candide by Voltaire

Candide is a philosophical novel in which Candide is banished from his home, the castle of Baron Thunder-ten-tronckh for a brief kiss with Baron's daughter, Cunegonde. Candide spends the rest of the novel wandering the globe, stumbling from tragedy to tragedy, all the time keeping a blind optimism on life due to the philosophy he has been taught; "everything is for the best, in this, the best of all worlds".

Whilst a novel by the French philosopher Voltaire may sound like it should be rather heavy and difficult to deal with, it is in fact very humorous and easy to read. The story contains some great satirical tragedy which is designed to highlight the flaws in not only philosophy but in European governments and organised religion. Basically, Candide is a novel which was written to be an anti-establishment protest.

Candide is a surprisingly easy-to-read book with great satirical humor and an incredible plot. It is a book I have read many times and recommended to many readers, all of whom have enjoyed it.

Read my review of Candide

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Suess

Sam-I-am torments a nameless sceptic with his constant proferring of Green Eggs and Ham, delicacies in many people's minds but not appealing to the nameless sceptic. The meal is offerred in a variety of locations and with a great number of companions, including a goat, a fox, in the rain, in a tree and, most famously, here or there.

Finally, after much harassment, the nameless sceptic agrees to try the Green Eggs and Ham, in the sea, surrounded by a crowd of expectant creatures, and he finds that indeed he does like Green Eggs and Ham.

Green Eggs and Ham is, in my opinion, the best book by Dr Suess. This book has an excellent message and funny rhyming text alongside wonderfully surreal illustrations.

Dr Seuss Lensography
Dr Seuss Lensography

Take A Look At My Green Eggs And Ham Pages

Green Eggs and Ham - All about the Dr Seuss book.

Green Eggs and Ham in 8 Languages - Information on the eight translations of the Dr Seuss story.

Green Eggs and Ham Video Clips - Video clips based on Green Eggs and Ham.

Green Eggs and Ham Recipe - How to cook Green Eggs and Ham.

Green Eggs and Ham Pictures - Poster prints of Green Eggs and Ham scenes and characters.

The Religion by Tim Willocks

The Religion is the fictional story of Matthias Tannhauser's involvment in the real-life seige of Malta, where the Turkish Empire held a fortress defended by The Knights Hospitaller to seige.

After coming up against the Inquisition, Tannhauser is forced to leave his business and decides to take up the request of a Maltese noblewoman to help find her son. This gets Tannhauser involved in the battle for Malta, and has he had served with the Turkish army in the past, he is in a unique position to obtain intelligence for the Christian Knights.

The story becomes intriguing when the Inquisition's agent joins the knights and attempts to infulence them and to complicate Tannhauser's mission.

I picked this novel up in a second-hand bookstore. I bought it because I had enjoyed other works of fiction by the same author, but this book stood out as something special. I found "The Religion" to be a gripping page turner, but written like a piece of classic literature.

Read my review of The Religion.

The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien

The Hobbit is a fantasy novel follows the adventures of a Hobbit, Bilbo, and twelve Dwarves under the guidance of Gandalf the wizard. The dwarves are on a quest to reclaim their mountain home, under occupation by an evil dragon named Smaug, and to win a share of the dragon's treasure.

Along the way Bilbo has adventurous encounters with giant spiders, trolls, goblins and wolves, but his most notable meeting is with Gollum, a disgusting cave-dwelling creature who covets a ring of invisibility which is found by Bilbo.

The story culminates in the "battle of five armies" in which men, elves and dwarves defeat goblins and wargs with the aid of giant eagles.

My father read this story to me when I was about 7 years old, doing different voices for all the characters. Gollum was the character that scared me the most and when he finally appeared in the movie "Lord of the Rings", his voice was exactly as my father used to do it.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Animal Farm is the story of a revolution by animals to oust the farmer and his employees from a farm because they are tired of the way that the farm is being run. With the promise of a better life for all the animals, the pigs take over running the farm but are soon corrupted by their new found power.

As the pigs change their own rules to suit themselves, they commit purges of animals that dare to question them and do deals with the humans. Using dogs as a sort of secret police and propoganda about the farm's production the pigs, under the rule of Napoleon, become worse than the farmer and by the end of the novel the other animals are unable to tell the difference between pigs and people.

Animal Farm is a really easy read and its political allegorical meaning is obvious. In a simple and effective way many aspects of government are satirised and apart from anything, this is a really good story.

Read my review of Animal Farm.

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

The Jungle is the story of Jurgis and his family, Lithuanians who migrate to America in search of high wages and a better life. However, they find that expenses are high too and there are corporations and individuals that are well equipped to take advantage of naive people from afar.

Jurgis is an honest, hardworking individual who finds pride in his part of the meat packing industry, but eventually he learns of its evils.

Jurgis has to deal with the death of most of his family members, unemployment, homelessness, prison and alcohol addiction but eventually finds solace in socialism, a cause into which he puts himself enthusiastically.

Possibly the most depressing book I have ever read but also one of the most compelling to read. I found that I really wanted to know what was going to happn next and could identify a lot of the injustices from this story in the modern world.

Read my review of The Jungle.

Tom Jones by Henry Fielding

This book follows the life of Tom Jones from his birth until the finding of his fortune.

Tom Jones is a foundling who is brought up by a kindly gentleman, however, due to his bawdy conduct, Tom has to leave home and embarks on a number of adventures. Starting with nothing, Tom Jones eventually finds his fortune, meeting a catalog of characters along the way, most of which reunite at the end of the story when the many plot lines all come together.

Tom Jones is a comic novel, and was criticized as being immoral on publication but has become one of the most acclaimed works of fictional literature in the English language - it is long but wonderful.

I love this book for the memorable characters and amazing vocabulary; before reading this book I had never heard of words such as niminy-piminy, rodomontade or ipse-dixit. Tom Jones has one of the most intricate plot of an work of fiction I have ever read.

Read my review of Tom Jones.

Making History by Stephen Fry

In Making History a student is preparing his thesis but instead becomes involved in an experimental project to change history by polluting the waters in an Austrian village in order to prevent the birth of Hitler and change history for the better. The experiment is successful in preventing Hitler's existence but there are consequences.

After a blackout, the novel's main character wakes up in a completely alternative reality in which the whole world's political affiliation is fascist. Realising his terrible mistake, he attempts to go back and ensure that Hitler is born after all.

This is a very original novel which I have read and enjoyed a couple of times. Amusing and thought-provoking but at the same time easy-to-read.

Read my review of Making History.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

A Clockwork Orange is an anarchistic novel in which a 15 year old gang member, Alex, commits a series of hideous crimes and random acts of violence which culminate in rape and murder. Although he and his gang members enjoy bragging about their exploits in a strange dialect, the police eventually capture him and prepare him for therapy.

Under encarceration Alex is exposed to the Ludovico technique in which he is repeatedly shown violent images and made to feel sick at them by the use of drugs. Eventually this makes him ill every time he thinks of commiting acts of violence.

This is a very original novel which I have read and enjoyed a couple of times. Amusing and thought-provoking but at the same time easy-to-read.

Read my review of A Clockwork Orange.

Vote for the Best Book - Which book do you like the most?

Which of these is the best work of fiction?

See results

Book Reviewing - My Lenses About Reviewing Books

Book Reviews
An introduction to my book review blog which attempts to create short reviews for all the books in my personal collection.

Book Reviews - Ten Quick Reviews
I have been an avid reader since I was a small child and have enjoyed all types of books. Here are micro reviews of ten books of varying genres.

How To Get Your Book Reviewed
I have been reviewing books on my book review blog for a few years now. This page explains how to get your own book reviewed and featured.

Acknowledgements - Thanks For The Help

A big thank you to lensmasters a_willow and Flynn_the_Cat for some very helpful critique on this lens. The advice they gave has been acted upon and the lens is definitely improved because of it.

What Did You Think Of My Top Ten Books? Please Leave A Comment

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    • TrinaSonnenberg profile image

      Trina Sonenberg 5 years ago from Nucla, Colorado

      This is such an awesome lens! Thank you for your insight and sharing your love of books. Words are beautiful things.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image

      Diana Grant 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Not sure I agree with your choice. I'm in the middle of reading Life of Pi, but left it to read Bleak House - one of the books I vowed to read before I die, so I'm running out of time.Loved Clockwork Orange and Animal Farm. Not read any of the others, but your description of The Jungle certainly tempts me to read it. I'm doing a top ten lens myself, but finding it difficult

    • profile image

      teatree 7 years ago

      I loved "Tom Jones" too. Those eighteenth century writers had a real sense of humour and earthiness (in contrast to the dreary nineteenth century novelists).

      You've not included any Austen? Is it because she only appeals to women? :-)

    • profile image

      Mohamed_Mughal 7 years ago

      A great list! I'd add in Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse 5," Camus' "The Stranger" (with a strong preference for Matthew Ward's translation over Stuart Gilbert's) and Steinbeck's "Cannery Row."

    • LadyFlashman profile image

      LadyFlashman 8 years ago from United Kingdom

      Candide is my favourite, it is funny and surreal as well as philosophical. I haven't read Life of Pi yet - will have to put that on my reading list!

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      Great collection of books.

      Thanks for sharing


    • Eklectik1 profile image

      Eklectik1 8 years ago

      My wife & I both love to read & have different favorite-- we always love to hear what others favorites are. Another Dr Suess book that we love and have read over & over to our kids is "Oh the Places you'll go"--a great one!!

    • divacratus 2 profile image

      divacratus 2 8 years ago

      I want to read Life of Pi! A great list...

    • profile image

      myraggededge 8 years ago

      I couldn't get into Life of Pi but now I think I'll give it another go - thanks!

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 8 years ago from Croatia

      I see here few books I've missed. :) Thanks for reviews. Looks like I'm adding to my reading list!

    • profile image

      EllenGraeger 8 years ago

      Very good books. I liked remembering some of them by reading your lens. What about Rita Mae Brown's Six Of One (see my lens or Fannie Flagg's "Fried Green Tomatoes..."

    • profile image

      Heath_Daniels 8 years ago

      Nice lens! This is a very interestng list of books to check out. I'd love for you to drop by my lens on the novelThree Kisses and say hello.

    • nickupton lm profile image

      nickupton lm 8 years ago

      Try animal farm, easy reading and such a well-crafted lesson.[in reply to Nataliewadel]

    • profile image

      Nataliewadel 8 years ago

      OH my goodness!! My favorite is Life of PI! I loved that book. I haven't read any of the others you have listed except i tried to read Clockwork Orange but it just wasn't my kind of book. I'll definitely have to read the others you have listed. Great stuff!