Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Classic Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and it's a way to share what you're loving in list form.  The topic changes every week, so there is always something new to discover!

This week's theme is:  Favorite Classic Books.  Now, classic is a subjective term in literature and can span quite a large selection.  So for this list I'm going to list my favorite classics published before 1900.

Here ya go:

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (published 1882)
  • I read this book while living in Vienna and quickly fell in love with it.  It must have been fate that I chose to read it when I did because during the holidays that year, the Vienna Opera House put on a ballet of the book.  Score!  It was phenomenal.
Sentimental Education by Gustave Flaubert (published 1869)
  • This is one of those strange books where you absolutely loathe ALL of the characters, but find the book fantastic.  Such a great read.
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (published 1862)
  • A hefty piece to get through, but completely worth it by the time you're finished.  The story of Jean Valjean, Cosette, and Fantine is one that shouldn't be missed.  The new film was actually quite good...aside from Russell Crowe...
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (published 1855)
  • Sacrilege...but I kind of love Elizabeth Gaskell more than Jane Austen.  This book is amazing.  Seriously, if you haven't read it yet, read it NOW!  And then go watch the BBC version starring Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe.
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (published 1837)
  • Poor Oliver!  I loved this books so much and felt terrible for Oliver and all the other children in the Poor House.  I really liked that there were humorous aspects and historically accurate descriptions of the social times.  It's a beautiful, though at times rushed, book.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (published 1813)
  • This is pretty self-explanatory in my opinion.  Austen is a literary force to be reckoned with and her first book is, perhaps, her best.  It has spawned several film versions and inspired much fan fiction/spin-offs.  If you've never read the story of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, you've been living under a very heavy rock! 
Hamlet by William Shakespeare (published 1602)
  • I've read a lot of Shakespeare, but this is probably my favorite for several reasons.  The madness, backstabbing, murder, ghosts, etc all appeal to me.  And it's got some of the best monologues!
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (published 1390)
  • If you've never read any of Chaucer's tales, then you're missing out.  They're raucous, hilarious, sentimental, raunchy, and awesome!  This book has inspired a lot of other writers and even films...hello, A Knight's Tale
Beowulf by Anonymous (442 BC)
  • Though the most famous and widely read translation of this story is by Seamus Heaney and was published in 2001, it is originally from the above time period so I'm counting it.  Also, it's an epic poem and not a book, but that's nit-picking!  Though this is required reading in a lot of educational settings, I promise that it is an excellent tale and worth your time.
Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire (published 1857)
  • If you're looking for something macabre, off-putting, putrid, and beautifully written, definitely check out Baudelaire's collection of poetry.  It's so good! 
And there you have it, folks.  My top ten classics published prior to 1900.  I could keep going and start working my way up to the 1950s, but then this would be a really, really long list.  So, what are some of you favorite classic books?

Also, look for next week's Top Ten:  Blogging Confessions

Happy reading!


  1. Shhh...I also like Elizabeth Gaskell better than Jane Austen. I won't tell if you won't. :)

    1. Your secret is safe with me ;)

  2. I was surprised to see so many lists include Gaskell. I put Wives and Daughters on my list of "top ten classics you might not have heard of," but I guess she is getting more attention than I had thought. Which is good!

    1. Yay! She's been so overlooked and I can't believe people hadn't heard of her. Such a great author :) Thanks for stopping by, Lory!

  3. Great List! I haven't read Hamlet yet, but I plan on reading it sometime this year. I really want to read Anna Karenina it seems really interesting and the plot seems right up my alley

    1. Anna Karenina is so amazing! I had never read anything by Tolstoy and I absolutely loved it. It's one that I recommend to people often. Thanks for stopping by!


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