Updated: May 7, 2020
Today we're counting down our picks for the greatest novels of all time.While self-help books and short stories are appreciated our list focuses on novels by one specific author which means Hamlet failed to make the cut which is a play and not a novel.
"To kill a mockingbird' by Harper Lee.
Pulled by scout as a flashback to her childhood "To Kill a Mockingbird" is the story of her father morally upright lawyer Atticus Finch who defends an innocent black man against a rape charge and teaches his children about racial equality.Written by Truman Capote's childhood friend it was an instant classic that won the 1961Pulitzer Prize and defined a generation
"Don Quixote" by Miguel de Cervantes
Considered the most important piece of writing to emerge from Spain's Golden Age Don Quixote sees a middle-aged man attempt to restore the chivalry he's read about by going on a meandering quest with his trusty squire sancho panza by his side.
Translated into more languages than any other book except the Bible, Don Quixote was released in two volumes separated by ten years with shifting moralities, perspectives and narrations.This tale of honor and romance influenced many novels that followed it including Alexander Dumas, The Three Musketeers and Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
"In search of lost time" by Marcel Proust
Whoever knew that a Madeleine dipped in tea could stir such memories. over 14 years in the early 20th century one writer issued the notion that plot must push a novel along. Proust seven volumes of towering prose pervaded the collective consciousness of readers with dreamy imagery and reflective prose. Involuntary memory is the theme at the heart of the novel with human senses guiding the narrative.
Proust never stopped adding to his masterpiece until his untimely death but fortunately for readers in search of lost time provides a lifetime of enjoyment
"The Catcher in the Rye" by JD Salinger
For rebellious youths worldwide this post world war II novel offered a protagonist to identify with Holden Caulfield originated in Salinger's 1946 short story "slight rebellion off Madison" and he takes us with him after his expulsion from prep school with teen angst and disaffected at its core "The Catcher in the Rye" was controversial as it featured slang cursing and open discussions of teen sexuality .The most banned book in the u.s. between 1961 and 1982 it anti-establishment themes inspired a new wave of global writers and resulted in a cult following for the reclusive author
"Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain
After first appearing in the 1876 classic "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" social outcasts Huck Finn appeared eight years later in one of America's most controversial novels based in a fictional Missouri town Huckleberry. Finn takes us on a descriptive and educational trip along the Mississippi River accompanied by a runaway slave Jim.Written in colloquial speech Twain's novel was occasionally banned for its coarseness and critique of the South however it's sometimes satirical exploration of racism and societal pressures in pre-civil war America opened the door for endless debate regarding ethical and cultural conflicts.
"Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov
To be a young woman in the 1950s meant displaying the proper amount of grace beauty and respect for elders. Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov flipped the script on such ideals with his 1955 classic about a young temptress and the older man who desired her while critics often debate the predatory instincts of the characters. Lolita opened up international dialogue on sexual abuse literary morals and the comedic wordplay of Nabokov.Initially banned in parts of Europe it was adapted by film director Stanley Kubrick thus ensuring a lasting legacy in both media
"The great gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald
One of America's most beloved novels was born in the roaring 20s. Painting an opulent picture of life in the imagine town of West Egg Long Island Gatsby is a story about the fleeting nature of the American dream.With the enigmatic Jay Gatsby and his fixation with Daisy Buchanan at its center Fitzgerald's story of new money and love lost was not an immediate hit, only selling 20,000 copies in its first year but following World War two the story of flapper culture was reborn and found its way into high schools and popular culture
"war and peace" by Leo Tolstoy
Long before the word epic became associated with viral videos it was the perfect way to describe this 1869 Russian novel of incomparable power. Tolstoy undertook astounding historical research for war and peace acutely examining the French invasion of Russia while at the same time blending history with fiction into a work that defies categorization.With the narrative structure sometimes replaced by philosophical musings,War and peace studies what drives people during the best of times and the worst of times as they strive to discover the meaning of life weighty themes but lasting ones.
"Madame Bovary" by Gustav Flaubert
While all publicity didn't necessarily equal good publicity for first-time authors in mid 19th century France, it did work out well for one celebrated novelist Gustav Flaubert.Gustav Flaubert 1856 tale of rural life and bourgeois aspirations caught the attention of readers but the sexual conquests of its leading lady rubbed many the wrong way. The French author was ultimately acquitted of any wrongdoing as the focus shifted to his tight narrative structure exquisite details and juxtaposition of reality versus imagination.With each extraordinary sentence flow bath piece together a novel of endless fascination for readers
"Anna karenina" by Leo Tolstoy
With what he called his first true novel, Tolstoy not only pierced the collective consciousness of his native Russia he also developed techniques that inspired literary realism and writers worldwide.Set against the transformation in Russian culture occurring in the late 1800s Anna Karenina is on the surface, a story of infidelity and self-examination with family faith and death anchoring the plot as well.Pioneering the use of stream of consciousness to sinuously weave together tenuously associated thoughts Anna Karenina is an astounding display of realism that stands as the supreme giant of literature
Some honorable mentions
1."The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien
2. "Nineteen Eighty-Four" by George Orwell
3. "Middlemarch" by George Eliot.
4. "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens
5. "Moby-Dick:or, The Whale" by Herman Melville
Do you agree with our list.
What's your favorite novel of all time. Please do comment and for more mind-blowing content be sure to subscribe to our mailing list.