So which are YOUR Top Ten Fiction Novels?

Please take out pencil and a piece of paper.      Number from one to 10.   (It doesn’t matter what kind of paper, and the numbers should be 1-10 in a vertical column.)     You are to list (not necessarily in order) YOUR  top ten Greatest Fiction Books Ever Written.      You have 30 minutes to complete the list.

Wow!      Moments ago I read a page on selling books on eBay.    I actually do sell books on eBay, but mostly on other venues, mainly Amazon.     The list, which the author of the article noted was A list, not intended to be THE LIST of the all-time great books.

Here is the eBay writer’s list:

Top 10 Books of All Time Photo from the eBay page.  I am duly impressed!

I believe I have now on my shelves ALL of the ten works on the list.     I would like to say that I have read and studied every single one of these books…but since I am a very truthful person, I can’t make that claim.

I did read part of  Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, which I enjoyed.    The other classics are so much discussed and made into movies, and snippets (or pages) have appeared in various sources, that they are impressed upon my mind having read the novels  per se or not.

OK, in my defense, English and American Literature HAVE been included in my curriculum,  but during my college career the only course I remember that specifically dealt with “classic great modern literature” was a University of Akron  graduate seminar on Latin American Fiction.    That course, I recall, came as I was overwhelmed (pretty much) with heavy-duty studying and reading…so much so that I was   reading non-fiction textbooks on the History of all sorts of times and places—and did not have time for the luxury of reading my favorite “lawyer-books” and Sci-Fi, and light bedtime reading…I would fall asleep with a huge textbook, not a little paperback.     Reading those Latin American novels (Isabel Allende, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Garcia Lorca,)…was almost like cheating on the curriculum…a real treat.

Another seminar at Cleveland State dealt with Karl Marx and his assorted works.  Now this may sound stupid, but I was a tad shy at the time with my Essential Karl Marx paperback and reams of print-outs from reference books.   I mention that because one of the eBay writer’s TOP TEN GREAT BOOKS is the classic Vladimir Nabovosky book Lolita.    Well!  at the time I was in college ten-twenty years ago I would have kept THAT book in my book bag.      I have the book now for sale (I think.)   No, I haven’t been so inclined to read it.

While on that general subject, it always amuses me to recall that when I was a girl THE banned book (really…banned!) was Forever Amber,   by Kathleen Winsor.    Well, let me tell you…that book was not very interesting to me when I tried to read it years and years ago…and I never did find the titillating parts that I thought were hiding within the book.     Recently, like last year, I finally found out that the book was banned for political reasons…not for…well, you know…sexy stuff.  😉

So…good luck with those lists!

22 thoughts on “So which are YOUR Top Ten Fiction Novels?

  1. From the list given, I have read them or read from them or otherwise know them all. Aside from Frankenstein and Middlemarch, I wouldn’t put any on the list. It’s all relative to experience, certainly. My list (subject to change, which is a point) is of great works that also were read by me at a propitious time. This was fun to do. Thank you!

    top ten Greatest Fiction Books Ever Written
    (prompt by Gradmama)
    1 The Hobbit
    2 A Journey to the Center of the Earth
    3 The Martian Chronicles
    4 Macbeth (which I read as a singly published book)
    5 The Giver
    6 A Wrinkle in Time
    7 A Wizard of Earthsea
    8 Dune
    9 The Warlock in Spite of Himself
    10 Modern Times (Dickens)


  2. I’m too lazy to list the top 10 great books … but I’ll tell you the 10 I’d want with me if I were stranded on a desert island… 🙂 Oh, and I’m going to cheat – a series counts as one book!
    1. Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkein
    2. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
    3. The Discworld series – Terry Pratchett
    4. The Dirk Gently series – Douglas Adams
    5. Selected Works of TS Spivet – Reif Larsen
    6. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
    7. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
    8. The Bible
    9. Finnegan’s Wake – James Joyce (I’ve never read it, but if I were stranded I’d have time – and perhaps the inclination – to puzzle it out)
    10. Complete Works of WB Yeats

    As you can see, I’m a lazy reader with a taste for the funny and fantastical. I’ve read seven of the books on your list. Could never get into “War and Peace”, although I should try again; ditto Moby Dick, although I find it hard to enjoy a book that’s about killing whales (I know it’s about more than that but I can’t get past the bloody whale); had never heard of the Proust, although I’ve started Swann’s Way and, again, would like to try again… 🙂

    Banned books … yeah, I read “Lady Chatterley” expecting a thrill, but DH Lawrence’s turgid prose kinda squelched it. I went through a phase of loving his books, but got fed up at how darned excited he was about S. E. X.


    1. well the Bible is not usually classified as fiction 🙂 It can be in the stack though…which in my stack would also include a dictionary and thesaurus, and maybe a set of encyclopedias. Given a choice I’d write my own fiction…lol


      1. Certainly I’m still having to think about it a lot at present, although I am a believer and follower of Christ. (Not so keen to call myself a Christian, these days … but that’s a blog post for another day.) But even if I don’t open it often these days, I still wouldn’t want to be stranded on a desert island without it. It has served me too well for too many years to be left behind now… 🙂


      2. on-line reference books ==- to me —of very limited value. With online one only gets to what they specifically asked for, or links thereto. Of course, I’m from the old school. Yes, I do know my way around a computer, but to get my paper dictionaries they need to be pried out of my cold, dead….well you know. 🙂

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      3. As a kid I would spend hours at a time just browsing through my dictionary, or our family set of Encyclopedia Britannica. Still now when it comes to books I’m definitely happier with old-fashioned paper. But dictionaries? I LOVE being able to call up on my phone, and browse through what the different dictionaries have to say about a word. And from there it’s just a hop, skip, jump to – also a wonderful tool.

        I enjoy online research as well. Wikipedia is obviously limited, but I find it a good starting point that usually leads to other references. Or I simply type a question into Google and it’s amazing how quickly the answers pop up! The thing I like about that is that typically you will get an array of answers (if it’s the kind of topic about which one can have opinions, as opposed to simple data). I can explore the opinions, evaluate the source, footle around with more research, get gloriously distracted … and usually, in the end, come out with more knowledge than I went in.


      4. yes, yes, and yes! I do love the internet even with its limitations. I am a Historian by persuasion and education, so my collection includes lots of History. My first thought was Linguistics, but I got side-tracked into Latin American Studies… 🙂 I love Google too…as fir Wikipedia, it is only as good as its contributors…who are just folks like us (some of whom are wrong, but that’s beside the point 🙂


  3. A Confederacy of Dunces. The Old Man and the Sea. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Gone With The Wind. Madeline. The Cat in The Hat. Go, Dog, Go. Madeline and the Gypsies. Giles Goat Boy. Pipi Longstocking.


  4. A great list of books, a great post! My favorite books is Demian by Herman Hesse. The others will take some time to consider. THis one: The Lives of a Cell by Lewis Thomas. The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway. The English Patient, by Ondaatje.


      1. that is one of those words that I know but rarely use and am not sure of their “details.” The phrase “waiting with bated breath…” fairly common…could argue for “baited” in that context too. Now I have to look that up…frustrated Linguist that I am. 🙂

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