Reading fiction and classic literature makes it possible to comprehend and recognize other people’s feelings and ideas more easily. When you are in a position to empathize, you become more cooperative, individual, and kinder. You will also create an instinct about the best way to approach an individual and speak with them efficiently. If you are looking for the best seller in classic, then you’ve arrived at the perfect site. Penn Book will reveal all of the best classic books to read to investigate here!
Table of Contents
- 1 Must-Read Classic Novels, As Chosen By Our Readers
- 1.1 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960)
- 1.2 Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (1966)
- 1.3 The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)
- 1.4 One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez (1967)
- 1.5 Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1823)
- 1.6 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)
- 1.7 I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith (1948)
- 1.8 Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (1847)
- 1.9 The Call of the Wild by Jack London (1903)
- 1.10 The Chrysalids by John Wyndham (1955)
- 1.11 Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (1949)
- 1.12 The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
- 1.13 Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
- 1.14 Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
- 1.15 Beloved by Toni Morrison
- 1.16 Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
- 1.17 Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
- 1.18 The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
- 1.19 Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
- 1.20 The Death of Artemio Cruz by Carlos Fuentes
- 1.21 Thousand Cranes by Yasunari Kawabata
- 1.22 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (1950)
- 1.23 The Name Of The Rose by Umberto Eco
- 1.24 The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
- 1.25 Middlemarch by George Eliot
- 1.26 I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
- 1.27 Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
- 1.28 The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
- 1.29 1984 by George Orwell
- 1.30 Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
- 1.31 Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1868)
- 1.32 No-No Boy by John Okada
- 1.33 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
- 1.34 The Iliad by Homer (8th century BC)
- 1.35 Goodbye To All That by Robert Graves
- 1.36 Dracula by Bram Stoker
- 1.37 A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth by Vikram Seth
- 1.38 The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (1844)
- 1.39 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865)
- 1.40 White Nights by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1848)
- 1.41 Dune by Frank Herbert
- 1.42 Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih
- 1.43 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
- 1.44 My Ántonia by Willa Cather (1918)
- 1.45 The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson
- 1.46 The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni (1827)
- 1.47 One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1962)
- 1.48 Lord of the Flies by William Golding
- 1.49 The Dream of The Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin
- 1.50 The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
- 1.51 The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
- 1.52 Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
- 1.53 White Fang by Jack London
- 2 Other Must Read Classics Considered
Must-Read Classic Novels, As Chosen By Our Readers
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960)
We mentioned: A book ahead of its period, Harper Lee’s Pulitzer prize winner addresses race, inequality, and segregation with both fun and compassion. Told through the eyes of loveable rogues Scout and Jem, it also created one of the most beloved personalities, Atticus Finch, a guy who decided to correct the Deep South’s ancestral wrongs.
You said: A jarring & sounded fantastic story about how people treat each other.
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (1966)
We mentioned: Jean Rhys composed this feminist and anti colonial prequel to Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre, which chronicles the events of Mr. Rochester’s disastrous marriage to Antoinette Conway or Bertha as we come to understand her.
You explained: Rhys chose a character from a classic novel and also breathed new life into the madwoman in the attic according to her experiences/worldview. She superbly revealed the way the tales we read fold to our own lives to produce new stories.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)
Did you know that when The Great Gatsby was first released, it was a flop? Fitzgerald passed away when there were still unsold copies of the second printing. Nonetheless, Fitzgerald’s finest work was regarded as this. Nick Carraway narrates the story of self-made billionaire Jay Gatsby’s life and tragedy.
Gatsby was enjoying the American Dream while seeking to woo Daisy Buchanan, his true love. The story is set during the Jazz Age and deals with selfishness, bigotry, and snobbery. Reading The Great Gatsby taught me that consumerism has its limits. Contentment and living by ideals and good beliefs are the keys to happiness.
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez (1967)
This is a significant achievement. Spanish literature might just as well be headlined 100 Years on Everyone’s Must Read List — it’s a literary behemoth in world literature. We could go on and on about how amazing the storytelling approach is, how captivating the voice is, and how large the cast of characters is, spanning seven generations.
Its renowned first sentence could be enough to win you over: “Colonel Aureliano Buenda was to recall that faraway day when his father brought him to find ice many years later when he faced the firing squad.”
Magic realism at its very best. This novel left me to reflect for months about the relentless march of time, both funny and moving.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1823)
We mentioned: It was written when Mary Shelley was only 18 years old, but do not let this depress you. Frankenstein is a Gothic masterpiece using entertaining set pieces.
That being said: Choose for each of the questions it raises about consequences and accept responsibility for your activities; nature versus nurture; the worth of friendship. I really could go on.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)
We said: it’s a fact universally acknowledged that when many men and women think about Jane Austen, they think about the charming and funny story of love, complex families, along with the tricky job of locating a handsome husband with a fantastic fortune.
You explained: Philosophy, history, humor, and also the most ardent love story.
I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith (1948)
Cassandra Mortmain’s upbringing in a crumbling castle with her bizarre family might not be everybody’s expertise, but we could assure her coming of age story with all of its enchanting and disenchanting minutes will resonate for many.
A Children’s book’ that speaks volumes (ha) about unrequited love and dysfunctional families. Timeless. And funny. (and we want some laughs about the 100 Classics list!)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (1847)
We mentioned: One of the literature’s steeliest heroines in her brief life is Jane Eyre overcoming a traumatic youth only to be contested by secrets, strange sounds, and mysterious fires in her new residence of Thornfield Hall. All while falling in love with her company, Mr. Rochester. A Gothic masterpiece that was groundbreaking in its romantic utilization of the first person narrative.
You said: Since Jane is a role model: she stands up for herself, others, and what she believes, but is not too proud to provide second chances to people whose time is running out.
The Call of the Wild by Jack London (1903)
We stated: Jack London was a gold prospector in the Canadian wilderness and used his own experiences to write about a dog named Buck who becomes a pioneer of the crazy. With motifs exploring the character and the struggle for existence from the arctic Alaskan landscape.
You said: because everybody who enjoys the ground knows it is true.
The Chrysalids by John Wyndham (1955)
We mentioned: A allegorical dystopia composed in the aftermath of the Second World War, The Chrysalids cleverly tries to denounce yesteryear acts while adding a profound plea for tolerance.
That being said: A post apocalyptic publication about intolerance, friendship, loneliness, and what it means to be human. An excellent sci-fi publication, as important today as it had been from the 50s.
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (1949)
The fiction of an intensively surveilled dystopian society written by George Orwell was hailed as prophetic and had a lasting effect on popular culture and terminology (Room 101, Big Brother, and Doublethink, to name a few). Just read it for the sake of recognizing the allusions, which you’ll start to see all around.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Meet Holden Caulfield: a teen who decides to leave his boarding school in Pennsylvania and head back to New York without the programs in his mind. From The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger has generated possibly the original cynical adolescent along with a reflective story concerning the significance of youth.
Despite the fact that young adult literature did not exist in its present form when J.D. Salinger wrote the novel, it is widely regarded as one of the earliest adolescent novels. It is often included on high school reading lists.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Pip’s journey from a poor apprentice into a gentleman is now the substance of literary legend. First published in 1861, Great Expectations stays one of Charles Dickens’ most significant and most renowned works.
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
A young black guy grows up in the South before going to New York and becoming a spokesman for the Brotherhood in 1950s Harlem. Invisible Man is a critical component of American classic literature that probingly examines racism, black identity, and some invisible in society compared to many others.
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1988 and a finalist for the 1987 National Book Award, author, are Toni Morrison’s magnum opus about Sethe, a former slave whose home may or might not be haunted by the ghost of their infant she needed to murder. A peerless work about slavery, race, and the bonds of the family.
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
George Milton and Lennie Small create an odd bunch, functioning on California’s dusty ranches and dreaming of their shack. But all could be missing once they move to some other farm, even every other. This is Steinbeck at his peak in this heart-wrenching story about friendship and loss.
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
The first publication in an acclaimed trilogy, Things Fall Apart, is the seminal publication of the African American experience. Over that, it’s a wrenching tragedy of one man’s futile struggle against shift as British principle overcomes the property.
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
In this best short story, Santiago is a classic fisherman that day occurs upon a Marlin, which may have the ability to make him wealthy. Among Hemingway’s most delicate, ” The Old Man and the Sea won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1953.
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Catch-22 is a World War II book known for its wit in the face of peril, devastation, and madness. This classic is about Yossarian, a World War II pilot in Italy whose main worry isn’t his adversary but the pressure to accomplish perilous missions.
Yossarian is desperate for a way out, but he knows his request would be regarded insane if he continues to fly dangerous combat missions, yet sane and ineligible for relief if he requests resignation. This story provides a great picture of the chaotic, horrific, and exhausting elements of war, thanks to the author’s firsthand experience as a bombardier.
The Death of Artemio Cruz by Carlos Fuentes
Fuentes captures the reader’s attention with fascinating, visceral depictions of the title character dying hours: a complex tycoon, revolutionary, lover, and politician. Death is a symbol of corruption in this novel, as it is in many others, but it is also difficult to ignore as a physical fact. It’s a poignant narrative of the Mexican Revolution and a milestone in Latin-American writing, as well as a profound comment about death.
Thousand Cranes by Yasunari Kawabata
A young man succumbs to a longing that is both transgressive and powerful when he encounters his late father’s lover during a tea ceremony. Kawabata softly walks us through a realm of passion, regret, and beautiful beauty as the terrible repercussions of their love affair emerge. It’s no surprise that Thousand Cranes helped him win the Nobel Prize.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (1950)
With its fanciful world through the wardrobe, full of fauns, dwarfs, and anthropomorphized creatures, C.S. Lewis’ timeless tale grabbed the hearts of youngsters worldwide. We all wanted to put on a fur coat and go on a snowy adventure with Mr. Tumnus, whether we were Peter, Edmund, Susan, or Lucy.
For young and old alike, a wonderful timeless tale of innocence, wonder, and sacrifice. It was one of the first novels I read from beginning to end without pausing!
The Name Of The Rose by Umberto Eco
The Name of the Rose, which was originally published in Italian, is one of the most popular novels of all time, and for a good reason. From beginning to end, Umberto Eco takes the reader on a crazy ride: an erudite murder mystery that blends theology, semiotics, empiricism, biblical study, and layers of metanarratives into a dazzling labyrinth of a novel.
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
The 1997 book, which won the Booker Prize and became a New York Times bestseller, is about an Indian family in decline. The reader feels a feeling of dread from the start, as Arundhati Roy’s words and cadence convey a heartbreaking narrative that readers will not soon forget. It’s considered a modern classic, and it’s still as engrossing to read now as it was 25 years ago.
Middlemarch by George Eliot
This work, titled A Study of Provincial Life, is about people’s regular lives in the fictional town of Middlemarch in the early nineteenth century. It is praised for its representation of a period of enormous societal transformation and its shining idealism and boundless charity and compassion for humanity’s foibles.
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
You don’t have to be a sci-fi lover (or a Will Smith fan) to appreciate I, Robot’s cultural significance. However, if you are aware of the influence Isaac Asimov’s collection of short stories has had on successive generations of authors. These stories of artificial consciousness are razor-sharp and thought-provoking, and they’re still relevant today.
Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
Saleem Sinai, born in India’s first hour of freedom, has telepathy and a keen sense of smell. He quickly realizes that 1,001 others with comparable powers can assist Saleem in constructing a new India. Salman Rushdie’s groundbreaking novel is a victorious accomplishment of magical realism and was awarded the Booker Prize in 1981.
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
Meet John Singer, a deaf and nonverbal guy who spends every day at the same café. John encounters a variety of folks in the deep American South of the 1930s and serves as the quiet, gentle custodian of their tales — right up until an astonishing climax that will take your breath away. It’s hard to think McCullers wrote this Southern gothic masterpiece when she was just 23 years old.
1984 by George Orwell
George Orwell’s dystopian novel on the perils of totalitarianism has stood the test of time as one of the most influential books of the last century. The 1949 story was hauntingly predictive, using words like thought police and Big Brother. It does, in fact, read like a work of contemporary fiction. With these exceptional sci-fi novels, you may get a glimpse of the future.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Janie, sixteen, gets married off to an older man after being found dating down and out Johnny Taylor. Their Eyes Were Watching God is one of the quintessential classics of African American literature, chronicling her journey through youth, maturity, and a number of disappointing marriages with unflinching honesty.
Janie Crawford is an African-American lady who chronicles her life as she looks for her identity via her prior experiences. Their Eyes Were Watching God was out of print for over 30 years, until 1978, when it was reintroduced after readers were turned off by the book’s strong Black female protagonist.
This work is an astonishing account of one woman’s love for her husbands, her life, and her destiny through hardships and abuses that would normally shatter a spirit in Janie’s quest to be identified as anything other than property.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1868)
Louisa May Alcott set out to produce a novel in Little Women may see themselves represented truthfully. With their four very distinct personalities and objectives, the March sisters perfectly encapsulate both the trials of growing up and the unbreakable connection of sisterhood.
A story about a group of young girls growing up and changing as well as the world around them. This book is as lovely as it is ageless. Not only is the book a classic, but its several film adaptations have also become masterpieces in their own right.
No-No Boy by John Okada
“It is not enough to be only half an American and know that it is an empty half. I am not your son, and I am not Japanese and I am not American.”
This narrative, written by a Japanese American man about his stay in an internment camp and his unwillingness to fight for the United States—hence his label as a no-no boy—is about identity problems. Written in 1957, at the height of the Cold War and before Vietnam, the novel was far ahead of its time questioning one’s identity and patriotism. No-No Boy has now been recognized as a great work of literature, 65 years after its release.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
This groundbreaking book follows Maya Angelou’s formative years in the United States, from a tiny Southern village to San Francisco, as she faced everyday discrimination, racism, and misogyny. Maya Angelou’s voice, which made the book an instant classic in 1969 and has remained until this day, shines brightest on every page.
The Iliad by Homer (8th century BC)
It is one of the finest and most influential epic poems ever written and the earliest surviving piece of Western literature (together with The Odyssey). Despite the fact that the story centres on the pivotal events of the Trojan War’s last year, Homer also explores themes of humanity, compassion, and survival. This is the ultimate combat poetry, full of existential drama, heroic effort, death, and life’s purpose.
Goodbye To All That by Robert Graves
At 34, few individuals have enough raw material to write a memoir. After having lived through the First World War and the seismic alterations it wrought in English society and sensibility, Robert Graves mixes his somber chronicle of societal and personal anguish with unexpected humor. Graves wrote I, Claudius, a Roman Empire novel that is widely regarded as one of the best books ever written.
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Dracula is a gothic horror book that is significantly more nasty and deep than current vampire legends. The plot follows Count Dracula as he travels from Transylvania to England on a quest to spread the undead curse as a gang of people hunts him down via a succession of letters, newspaper articles, and journal entries.
This story is filled with gothic and horror elements, but it also conveys ideas about Victorian-era worries about sexuality and sickness.
A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth by Vikram Seth
A Suitable Boy is one of the newer novels on our list, but it has already earned classic status. It was recently turned into a popular drama by the BBC. The account of 19 year old Lata’s struggles to reject her family’s attempts to marry her off to a respectable lad is amazing in its execution and provides an eye opening look at class, religion, and gendered expectations in mid century India 1,500 pages.
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (1844)
Alexandre Dumas’ epic masterpiece will make you experience all the emotions – and is a prime example of the ancient saying that retribution is best served cold. The greatest classic story! A tale of innocence, passion, treachery, pain, retribution, and, above all, Man’s victory over everything that life has to offer.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865)
Alice is a no-nonsense, quick witted, and brave young girl, and we might all learn a thing or two from the clever little girl in Lewis Carroll’s story full of intriguing characters. At nearly 150 years old, it depicts a woman who is much ahead of her time in a dizzying plot filled with riddles, puns, and wordplay.
White Nights by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1848)
This short novella is broken into six portions and is one of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s lesser known works. It’s classic Dostoevsky, with themes of loneliness and unrequited love presented by a nameless narrator. This is a breathtakingly gorgeous and inspiring book. It should be read by everyone!
Dune by Frank Herbert
A brilliant epic science fiction classic, Dune developed a now-immortalized interplanetary civilization with a feud between numerous aristocratic houses. House Atreides oversees the manufacturing of the spice, a high demand substance on the desert world of Arrakis. As political tensions rise and new information about spices emerges, young heir Paul Atreides must push himself to the edge to rescue his world and his loved ones.
Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih
Season of Migration to the North, described by Edward Said as one of the major novels in the corpus of Arabic literature, is the revolutionary story of two individuals fighting to reclaim their Sudanese identities after the influence of British colonialism. Although it has been compared to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, it stands independently.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Arthur Dent is an Englishman who enjoys tea and is the only survivor of the Earth’s annihilation. Dent must now go via the cosmic bypass with the help of an extraterrestrial novelist to discover what’s going on. Douglas Adams’ masterwork popularized the concept that science fiction doesn’t have to be serious and straight faced, despite the fact that it was far from the first comedy genre novel.
My Ántonia by Willa Cather (1918)
The tale is about Jim Burden, an orphan boy, and Antonia Shimerda, transported to Nebraska as youngsters to be pioneers in the late 1800s. Willa Cather’s Great Plains trilogy concludes with this work hailed for bringing the American West to life.
The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson
This is a fictitious memoir that was first published anonymously in 1912 and serves as a portrayal of Black America at the time. After witnessing a horrendous incident of bigotry, the narrator, an anonymous guy, a biracial jazz pianist, hides his African-American identity and enables himself to pass as a white man.
The fantastic work that informed and inspired authors throughout the Harlem Renaissance, this masterpiece serves as a monument to the complexity of race in America at the turn of the century.
The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni (1827)
The narrative of two young lovers seeking to be together is told in Alessandro Manzoni’s work, which is set against the background of 17th century Italian culture. Many people believe The Betrothed to be the best Italian book ever written.
This book is almost forgotten by casual readers. Yet, it’s fascinating, socially and scientifically innovative for its time, has really touching, wonderfully written sections about bread riots and the plague, and has the finest surprise trope subversion at the conclusion.
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1962)
One of the greats of modern writing, this deeply personal and memorable description of a day in life at a Soviet labor camp in the 1950s is widely regarded. Solzhenitsyn’s work is a harsh, cruel masterpiece based on his firsthand experience of life/existence in a forced labor camp under Stalin’s communist rule.
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Lord of the Flies, a young adult book published in 1954, is still remembered as a morality story about a group of British boys who are stuck on an island following a mysterious aircraft accident. Though the absence of parental control is first celebrated, the lads soon strive to rule themselves, with any modest created order fast collapsing in the face of evil.
While this dark cautionary tale seems to be an exciting adventure narrative on the surface, it is a collection of tremendous contrasts: individuality vs. society mentalities, morality vs. immorality, and selfishness vs. altruism.
The Dream of The Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin
Dream of the Red Chamber is a renowned classic of Chinese literature that examines the darkest reaches of aristocratic society during the Qing Dynasty. It follows the lives of over forty major characters, including Jia Baoyu, the heir apparent, whose amorous beliefs may jeopardize the family’s destiny.
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Steinbeck’s masterpiece is a vivid image of Depression-era America, and about as depressing as it gets, as it follows one Oklahoma family’s trek out of the Dust Bowl in quest of a better life in California. The Grapes of Wrath is widely considered Steinbeck’s finest novel and a front runner for the title of The Great American Novel. It is both heartbreaking and awe-inspiring.
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Ray, Mole, Toad, and Badger are animal companions who go on summer picnics, field walks and relaxes by the fire on cold winter evenings. The story is set in the natural world and follows these friendships.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
The tumultuous story of Anna Karenina is told in Tolstoy’s classic book. When she meets Count Vronsky, a man who would alter her life forever, she’s married to a drab civil servant named Alexei Karenin. However, having an affair has a moral cost, and Anna’s life eventually becomes everything but pleasant.
White Fang by Jack London
In this adventure story, White Fang, the main character, is a fierce half canine and half wolf. The narrative depicts the adventures of this beautiful animal while living in the wild and seeking human contact.
Other Must Read Classics Considered
- The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
- The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
- Persuasion by Jane Austen (1818)
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