Five More of My Top Ten Greatest Novels

A few months back I joined a community on Google+ called "The 100 Greatest Novels of All Time". The moderator,  +Brandon Toropov   suggested that we post our Top Ten Greatest Novels of All Time list.

The novels I chose altered my views about life or influenced my worldview in some way when I first read them.

My Top Ten Greatest Novels 
  1. Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird 
  2. Fyodor Dostoevsky - Crime and Punishment 
  3. Charles Dickens - Great Expectations 
  4. Nathaniel Hawthorne - The Scarlet Letter 
  5. Charlotte Bronte - Jane Eyre 
  6. John Steinbeck - The Grapes of Wrath 
  7. Ernest Hemingway - The Sun Also Rises 
  8. Frank Herbert - Dune 
  9. J. R. R Tolkien - The Lord of the Rings 
  10. Herman Melville - Moby Dick

I covered why I chose the following novels for my Top Ten Novels in an earlier post here: To Kill a Mockingbird, Crime and Punishment, Great Expectations, The Scarlet Letter, and Jane Eyre.

Here I present the reasons why I chose these for the second five of my

Top Ten Greatest Novels # 6 -10.

6. The Grapes of Wrath is set in the Great Depression and describes how a family, the Joad’s, is driven from their farm in Oklahoma and details their journey to California. The suffering and hardship endured on this journey is moving and it made a lasting impression on me. The importance of dignity, the need to have meaningful work to live, and the struggle to build a future impacted me deeply when I read it.

7. In The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway presents a portrait of post-World War II life of lost Americans in Paris, France and Pamplona, Spain. His concise yet amazingly descriptive and dazzling prose reveals the angst and dissolute lives that were led at that time of history. His portrayal of love, masculinity, friendships moved and mesmerized me when I first read it. I went on to read many of his novels and short stories which continue to influence my ideas of writing and literature.

8. Dune, a science-fiction/fantasy revealed an incredible, interconnected complex feudal society. The religious, economic, social complexity portrayed a world of amazing depth. The images of giant sandworms riding through the desert, mining spices amazed me. The rivalry between the House Corrino and House Harkonnen is so incredibly described. The novel introduced me to the Arab and Islamic concepts especially the idea of jihad. The spiritual aspect of the novel and the progress in one’s spiritual life intrigued me. I devoured this and the subsequent five novels in the series as well as much of Frank Herbert’s novels and short stories.

9. The Lord of the Rings  J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantastical universe thoroughly captivated me when I first read The Hobbit. But it was The Lord of the Rings that affected me like the tales of old, such as Homer’s The Odyssey. Instead of muscular, epic, war-hardened men, the heroes were three little hobbits and other unlikely characters that were called upon to save Tolkien’s world. Frodo, Pippin, Sam, Gandalf and all the other characters became real to me. The imagery, the relationships, and the characters completely consumed me. I wished there were more and more of these morality tales. His writing has created a hunger to visit and experience as many fantastical worlds as possible.

10. Moby Dick presented a sea adventure with great characters, great themes and symbolism that carried me from start to finish. Told in the first person, Ishmael gives us a glimpse of 19th century sea-going life. The science and practice of whaling is described in great detail and truly interested me at the time I read it. The interaction of the characters, the madness of Ahab, the biblical names and symbolic nature of the characters swept me along the narrative. Ahab’s obsession showed me the importance of balance when of chasing a dream or ambition. His single-mindedness turned megalomania amazed me.

© 2013 ajwrites57
A Long

If you enjoyed this article, you may find this one interesting also: What Makes Great Novels Great?

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