Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature from The Broke and the Bookish.
I usually don’t like being asked about my favorite book (or my favorite film). There are so many books I love, and it’s difficult to give any answer. Do you say the book you’ve loved the longest (The Wizard of Oz)? The book that influenced you so much when you were growing up (The Diary of Anne Frank)? The series that you reread at least once a year because it’s still amazing (Harry Potter)? The series that blew your mind as a teenager (The Incarnations of Immortality)? Your favorite book by your favorite author (The Importance of Being Earnest and/or Emma)? The best contemporary novel you’ve read in a long time (White Teeth and/or Possession)? Your favorite modern classic (The Master and Margarita)? I have no idea how to judge this. Does poetry count? Do plays? Do you pick one per genre?
And then there’s the classic problem–that when asked this question I forget all the books that I’ve read. Or that I’ve ever read books. I just sit there.
I really need to prepare an answer to this question…
So when presented with this week’s topic–10 all time favorites–I knew I’d have to break it down by genre. So I chose classics. And to make it easier on myself I only picked classics that have been around for over a hundred years. And I didn’t include poetry, though a few plays snuck in. They couldn’t help themselves. They really wanted to be on this list.
Here we go. These are in chronological order.
- Don Quixote–Miguel de Cervantes (1605)
This book is great–it wasn’t an easy read in high school–but I love that it inspired it’s own adjective (quixotic) and that it talks about a man who believes his own fairy tales.
- Much Ado About Nothing–William Shakespeare (first performed 1612)
This is my favorite Shakespeare play. Benedick and Beatrice are so witty–I think this is Shakespeare’s most humorous work.
- Pride & Prejudice–Jane Austen (1813)
Can you even create a favorites list without this book?
- Emma–Jane Austen (1815)
My favorite Austen work. I have no idea why it speaks to me more than P&P (I honestly identify more with Lizzie). I think it might be because I love Mr. Knightley more than Mr. Darcy. Also the matchmaking is priceless.
- Jane Eyre–Charlotte Bronte (1847)
I only recently read this book, but it was everything I hoped it would be and now I have to read it again.
- The Portrait of a Lady–Henry James (1881)
This book was recommended to me by a professor and she was spot on. This book is amazing with a heroine that is as naive and hopeful as she is intelligent.
- One Thousand and One Nights–translated by Sir Richard Burton (1885)
These stories will always have a special place in my heart. I tend to collect different editions when I find them.
- The Picture of Dorian Gray–Oscar Wilde (1890)
O Wilde! I will love you forever. Your wit, your charm, your imagination…
- The Importance of Being Earnest–Oscar Wilde (1895)
Hands down one of the wittiest/silliest plays ever. It’s definitely more a product of its time than anything by Shakespeare, but it does its job so well. And it has the most quotable lines like “In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing.”
- Pygmalion–George Bernard Shaw (1913)
Maybe it’s because I’ve seen My Fair Lady far too many times. But really I don’t see how anyone could not like this play. It reads really well, and I love the way it discloses its source material right in the title.
Did one of your favorites pop up here? Did I miss your favorite classic? Let me know in the comments!