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A Great Story 10 Novels Everyone Should Read
This year, I have been slowly creating my list of “100 Fundamental Books.” These are the books that I believe can help someone become a more well-rounded person. A fewmonths ago, I identified 10 books on history, philosophy, and economics that belong on my list. But being a well-rounded person isn’t purely academic. Works of fiction in the form of great novels also help open our minds to new experiences. This month, I’m chronicling my top 10 novels — not including “Don Quixote” which is already on my overall top 10 books list. “The Tale of Genji” byMurasaki Shikibu I can’t have a list of the best novels of all time without including what is considered to be the world’s first novel. “The Tale of Genji” was written in the early 11th century by Japanese poet and noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu. This novel paints a picture of a societywe’re not used to hearing about in the United States, but while the culture is different, the people really aren’t that different. When you boil it down and look at the issues theywere dealing with, it’s all very familiar. No matter where you are in the world or what time period you’re in, people are still people. The thing I love most about Henry Fielding is he is so stinking funny. Fielding was a popular writer in the 1700s, and “Tom Jones,” which chronicles one man’s outrageous adventures, is considered his best work. Books like “Tom Jones” transformed writing from the styles of Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton, to the prose style we’re familiar with today. “The History of TomJones, a Foundling” by Henry Fielding
“War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy Plenty of people rank Leo Tolstoy’s other famous novel “Anna Karenina” over “War and Peace”, but I think you should read “War and Peace” first. By chronicling the French invasion of Russia through the stories of five aristocratic Russian families, Tolstoy gave us the epic story that introduced the world to what a novel can be with a sprawling picture of action and drama. What Tolstoy did with drama and epic, Fyodor Dostoevsky did with psychology. “The Brothers Karamazov” explores free will, morality, and God in a story about estranged relationships between a father and his sons. “Crime and Punishment” might be his most famous book, but “The Brothers Karamazov” is Dostoevsky’s best. “Pride and Prejudice” by JaneAusten Jane Austen has always been a popular writer, especially among women, and it’s not hard to see the reason why. Her writing is exceptional. Just by reading her novels, you learn how to write better. Any of Austen’s books could be on this list, but I’ve chosen “Pride and Prejudice” because “it’s a truth universally acknowledged” that this novel remains her most popular. “Middlemarch” by George Eliot George Eliot was a pseudonym used by Mary Ann Evans, one of the most prolific writers of the Victorian era. Her best novel is “Middlemarch.” Set in the fictional English town of Middlemarch, this novel deals with marriage, religion, and education, and is considered one of the greatest novels in the English language. “The Brothers Karamazov” by Fyodor Dostoevsky
“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald If you only remember “The Great Gatsby” as a book your high school teacher made you read, I encourage you to revisit this classic. Set in the Roaring Twenties, Fitzgerald’s story of a mysterious, obsessive millionaire really explores the harsh truth of the American Dream. It’s a great book, and really short — you could read it over one weekend! “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien When I’mworking on this list, I sometimes feel pressured to choose the “right” books. But then I remember that this is my list; these are the books that have been essential in my life. Of course, I have to include the story of a little hobbit and a band of dwarves that ignited my lifelong love of reading. “1984” by George Orwell I covered “1984” a fewmonths ago in another article, so I won’t spend too much time on it here. Let’s just say this book belongs on the list of top 10 novels for a reason. “Catch-22” by Joseph Heller There aren’t many funny stories to be found inWorldWar II, but that’s part of what makes Joseph Heller’s satirical novel “Catch-22” so great. It’s very entertaining and created a lot of idioms we still use in our language today. A good book stays with us long after we turn the last page, and I can saywith certainty that these are all very good books.
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