Top 10 books of all time

Recently I realised that I've never written a post on my favourite books. I've written about my favourite endings, my favourite books of 2015 and even my favourite books about death. Way back in 2012, I wrote about the five books that shaped me, but they're not quite the same as my favourite books. So here it is: My top ten books of all time. 

Best books of all time
#10 THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY

Wilde makes my heart sing. His writing is so beautiful, so engrossing and clever. It's such a shame that he only wrote one novel since The Picture of Dorian Gray is so wonderful. It may not be perfect but it's a fantastically imaginative story with the most quotable dialogue ever!

Full review here // Buy The Picture of Dorian Gray here

#9 THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS

Generally speaking, young adult isn't my thing. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, although often classed as young adult, or even children's, literature, it's universal. For some reason, I don't have a review of this, even though I read it last year, so I'll be publishing one soon. A chilling story of the son of a concentration camp manager who befriends a Jewish boy on the other side of the fence, it's an important novel that everybody should read. With one of the most powerful endings I've ever read, I included it in my 5 best endings post.

Full review coming soon // Buy The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas here

#8 THE GREAT GATSBY

I'm going to save time now by pointing out that all of the books I chose for my favourite endings are in my top ten. I have a real thing for a good ending! The Great Gatsby is a book that I didn't get on with at all when I studied it at sixth form but, when I returned years later, I realised how wonderful it was. At first I wasn't too sure, as my review shows, but it quickly became apparent that this was a very special book for me. The language is just gorgeous and the nostalgic themes of time passing really resonated with me. 

Full review here // Buy The Great Gatsby here

#7 PERFUME

Oh, Perfume. I'd be lying if I said I didn't first discover this book because Alan Rickman was in the film adaptation. He was the only reason I watched the film but, when I absolutely loved it, I thought I'd try the book too. Thank you, Alan, for encouraging me to make such a great decision. Suskind's writing is beyond beautiful. His use of language in his descriptions are something else. Interestingly, it was originally written in German so I read a translation and wonder if this has had any impact on the original words. A gorgeous, gothicesque novel that is in equal parts dark and glorious.

Full review here // Buy Perfume here

#6 HIGH WINDOWS

Another book I first experienced on the sixth form syllabus, but this time I loved it straight away. As an angsty teenager, I related to Larkin's cynical poetry and his lines formed the mottos of my life. Even though I'm not as pessimistic as I was back then, I still adore his poetry and the way he saw the world.

Buy High Windows here

#5 ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT

Another book I studied at college! Evidently my English Literature A level had quite the impact on me. I read a lot of World War One literature but All Quiet on the Western Front is the one that stuck with me. Unlike the other works we studied, this one was written by a German. The protagonist is a German soldier and the enemies are the French and English. Of course, growing up in England, I've always been taught by society that the Germans were the enemy but they weren't really. Those in power, yes. But the German men that lost their lives in the battle? They were just doing exactly what our soldiers were doing- fighting for their country. This novel really brings that home and it taught me a lot about empathy for all.

Full review here //  Buy All Quiet on the Western Front here

#4 A CLOCKWORK ORANGE

Guess what? I discovered this book at sixth form too! 2004- 2006 were a good couple of years! This time, it wasn't one I studied myself, but one that my best friend did, and she recommended I read it. What a great recommendation that was! I had never- and haven't since- read a book with such innovative use of language. The sense of achievement I felt when I realised I was actually reading in, and understanding, this completely fictional language was immeasurable. Not only that, but the novel brought up some really thought-provoking topics that had me mulling over it for weeks. I still reread it on a regular basis and I'm as enchanted now as I was 11 years ago. 

Full review here //  Buy A Clockwork Orange here

#3 PLAYS

I guess I should always trust Marie's judgment because this was another book she recommended to me. As a drama student, Philip Ridley's Plays was one of the first texts she studied at university and she knew I'd fall for its darkness. She was right. Funnily enough, I've only read the actual plays in this volume once. What appeals to me is the incredibly twisted semi-autobiographical introduction. Reading this made me realise that I wasn't alone. I was in a dark place in my life at the time but I was confronted by this amazing piece of writing that was even more disturbed than my own thoughts. It's an odd one for certain, but it was everything I needed to read.

Buy Plays here

#2 OF MICE AND MEN

We all read it at school, right? Unlike so many other people I've spoken to, no matter how many times I reread it (which must be around 30 by now), no matter how much I picked it apart, no matter how many essays I had to write on it, I never got bored of Of Mice and Men. Steinbeck's descriptions of the landscape are so engrossing but it's his storytelling that really makes this book. The friendship- the love, even- between Lenny and George is so pure and that overhanging sense of inevitability, while horribly unnerving, is a true feat of writing. It's interesting because as much as I try to love Steinbeck, I can't help but feel all of his other books are dry and overworked. Of Mice and Men, at just over 100 pages, is absolutely perfect. It makes me cry every time without fail.

Full review here // Buy Of Mice and Men here

#1 A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN

I will never get tired of talking about this book. It holds such a special place in my heart and it taught me so much about life and how to be a good person. Francie is the most wonderful, tenacious character and every member of her family is a joy. This was the first book that taught me the joy of character-driven, rather than plot-driven, stories and I've never looked back. My full review goes into much greater detail about why this book is so special to me but, suffice to say, it makes me emotional every time.

Full review here // Buy A Tree Grows In Brooklyn here

I feel like this list sums up my reading taste pretty nicely! 

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10 comments:

  1. Every time I read one of your book posts, I think 'I really need to read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn'. This time is no different. I really do need to read it!

    Liz x
    Distract Me Now Please

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  2. I actually haven't read a lot of these which makes me very sad. I need to get on it after I finish my English degree.

    hellomissjordan.com xx

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  3. I really ought to read "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" as you speak so highly of it so often! I'll add it to my Amazon wishlist and pick it up when payday rolls around. "Of Mice and Men" "The Great Gatsby" and "A Clockwork Orange" are in my top ten favourite books of all time, too! x www.aimeeraindropwrites.co.uk x

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  4. I definitely need to check a few of these out - the only ones I've read are All Quiet On The Western Front and The Boy In Striped Pyjamas. I love the sound of Plays and A Clockwork Orange :)

    Jess xo | The Indigo Hours

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  5. This was the perfect post for me, thank you! I've been trying to read more & branch out into different genres & authors but really haven't known where to start! I studies Of Mice & Men for GCSE & I think The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas would upset me, but I'll definitely be picking the others up from the library! Xx

    Tania | When Tania Talks

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  6. I just stumbled across your blog and I think anyone who loves A Tree Grows in Brooklyn must be worth following. I still remember my mom giving me a copy when I was about 11. I still have that copy, actually. I reread it regularly and have been waiting for the right moment to introduce my daughter to it.

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  7. I'm surprised to say I've read most of these! :) Love The Great Gatsby to pieces and remember crying over The Boy In The Striped Pajamas... <3
    www.MARINASAYS.com

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  8. I frickin' love A Clockwork Orange! I studied it for English Literature A Level too, but it was definitely my favourite out of all the books we read. So thought provoking, and innovative, as you said and the language is brilliant. I've been so bad with reading recently, but your blog is really giving me a kick up the bum to make the time because I really do miss it.

    Kara

    ❤️

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  9. I just love The Great Gatsby!! I've been trying to collect a whole bunch of novels that I missed in high school or simply didn't get assigned to read so I will definitely be adding some of these to the list!! I was always fascinated by story of Dorian Grey but yet I never read it!! Thanks for the inspiration!!

    Melanie | Blog: Toots + Dill

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  10. Some great choices. I remember studying Of Mice and Men in school and I absolutely loved it. Immersed in their story - it's one you can read over and over as you said :) poor Lenny...

    I'd like to read The Great Gatsby and will recommend A Dorian Gray to anyone :)

    A nice mix of book choices x

    Alina from The Fairytale Pretty Picture and category manager at The Olive Fox

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