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Best novel of all time

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I love this thread. I'm making a list of all those I haven't read. I'm a Thomas Hardy fan. MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE and TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES are amazing, imo. I'm also a big JANE EYRE fan. But having said that, I'm not sure I could ever pick a "Best of All Time" novel. It would probably vary from day to day. But I didn't want these three books to go unrecognized. In a more recent time period, I might go with THE BOOK THIEF and ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE.
#61 - May 31, 2016, 01:11 PM
ALIENS GET THE SNIFFLES TOO! Candlewick, 2017
LOUD LULA, Two Lions 2015
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Anne, I grew up one town over from New Bedford and worked in the Whaling Museum there, and I still haven't read Moby-Dick.  :hiding

You really do have to be in the mood, Marissa. Some of it's tedious if you're just reading for plot, but it's also a novel about a slice of history seen from many different angles. I wasn't much of a fan the first time I read it, in an American Lit class, but I've read it a couple of times as an adult and my admiration only increases.
#62 - May 31, 2016, 04:27 PM

Well.... For me, the one I am currently writing. It is not that I can compare to any of the authors that have been mentioned of course. It is just that when I am writing, the story is all around me. I can see the whole intricate thing. Beautiful,  three dimensional, tactile. Real. The longer I work on it, the more consumed by the magical world I become. And when I finish....it shatters. *I* shatter. I know that the book will never be as intense to a reader as it was to me while I was writing it. But I always have the hope that next time, next time, I will succeed in sharing some of this. If I never do—well, I'll write again anyway. Because I need to get back to story!

I am sure this will not help at all with your list. But if someone wants the *best* story in the world, I think they might have to write it themselves! Because it will be different for every one of us. The 'best books' are the books that capture a little bit of all of us. They can't be chosen by one person--or even one generation. It is a kind of verdict from the heart of human kind. 

So, my offering for your list will be the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy.

:) EAB
#63 - May 31, 2016, 06:33 PM

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Aunty, I loved what you said and it's so very true. :hearts  This is why some books are like friends. They hold pieces of your heart. For me this book will always be Adventures in Two Worlds by A.J. Cronin. Not a novel, but a memoir. V.

#64 - May 31, 2016, 06:45 PM
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To kill a Mockingbird.
#65 - June 01, 2016, 06:40 AM

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Two more that I think haven't been mentioned yet, since it's so hard to stop at three...

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT and THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME.
#66 - June 01, 2016, 08:10 PM
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Betsy--I think your friend will have a terrific start-up list--or at least, an eclectic one! Great question with an impossible answer. Cheers! :D
#67 - June 02, 2016, 04:34 AM

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LORD OF THE FLIES.  Only wish there was some comic relief. Absolutely hate the movie versions because you really don't get to see the symbolism.
#68 - June 02, 2016, 10:47 AM
ROYALLY ENTITLED (inspirational/historical YA) and OOPS-A-DAISY (humorous MG) out now.  http://www.melodydelgado.com/

Of Mice and Men
In Cold Blood


Larry
#69 - June 03, 2016, 12:40 PM

Totally add those to my list, Larry. Great picks.

Ree
#70 - June 03, 2016, 12:58 PM

Thanks, Ree! That's the first time someone's agreed with me in quite a while! :stars3
#71 - June 03, 2016, 01:04 PM

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Uh oh! I see a few repeats in here so let me think about this one. I guess I'll go with what I know. I doubt these are "Great Books" for most but they are for me.

IT - Stephen King. An absolutely terrifying book. One that left me with a fear of clowns ever since. The characters were the best developed I can remember. I had an idea what they would say or do before they did. And Pennywise... I'll leave him/IT be for now but what a true monster. I hear they are remaking the movie.

Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road - Neil Peart. He is the drummer/lyricist for a band named Rush. In the late 90's within a 9 month period he lost his 18 year old daughter to a car wreck and then his wife to cancer. He felt he just needed to go away and he went on a motorcycle journey from Canada to Belize and Alaska and all points in-between. He writes about what he saw, who he met and how it made him feel along the way. Very emotional ups and downs which makes it an excellent book.

Watership Down - Richard Adams. Yes, it's about rabbits but it is something I think anyone should read. The characters and storyline are awesome and the ending had me reading it until I was finished. I could not put it down.

Clan of the Cave Bear - Jean M. Auel - A fascinating and detailed look at our prehistory when a clan of Neanderthals find a modern Cro-Magnon girl and take her into their own. It is a story of struggle, strength and survival in a harsh environment for the hero Ayla. She was clawed by a huge Cave Lion and she bears the scars. The Shaman of the Clan makes her spirit totem the Cave Lion and this infuriates the males of the Clan. A women cannot have such a strong totem. I don't want to give away any of the story but if you like a strong woman as the main character then you will like this book. I believe there are 3 more books in the series but this one is the best.
#72 - June 04, 2016, 10:15 AM
« Last Edit: June 04, 2016, 10:36 AM by Mark6b »
"Typically, it turned out to be a much bigger job than I anticipated, but—everything does, if you aim high enough."

Neil Peart on writing a book.

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Flowers For Algernon...heartbreakingly perfect.
#73 - June 04, 2016, 10:57 AM

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I loved different books at different ages. They were my friends, and each one spoke to me as if they were the best novel of all time. Here's a few:

Harriet the Spy -- at age ten
Jane Eyre -- at age sixteen

As an adult, I go back to Tolkien's books for comfort and joy, especially The Hobbit. Oh, to have a round front door.
 :dogwalk
#74 - June 04, 2016, 11:47 AM

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Watership Down - Richard Adams. Yes, it's about rabbits but it is something I think anyone should read. The characters and storyline are awesome and the ending had me reading it until I was finished. I could not put it down.
:running YES!

#75 - June 04, 2016, 12:12 PM
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 :bunny2 Watership Down. I loved that book, too. Headed to the library. Zoom! Zoom! Or rather...hop hop!
#76 - June 04, 2016, 12:49 PM
« Last Edit: June 04, 2016, 12:51 PM by Helen »

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I loved different books at different ages. They were my friends, and each one spoke to me as if they were the best novel of all time.

And so many favorites of mine mentioned already. This is my tribe and some of you could be my twins ::) Mark, Helen, Ree ...
#77 - June 04, 2016, 01:02 PM
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In terms of adult novels, my all-time favorite is JANE EYRE.  :love4 It is followed closely by THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy.  :gandalf :legolas
#78 - June 04, 2016, 09:15 PM
AN EYEBALL IN MY GARDEN, Marshall Cavendish Children's Books
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There's an interesting debate to be had about the difference between "best" and "greatest"...

Given the project as you described it, Ellen, here are some I would consider: Dicken's Bleak House, definitely Huck Finn... and Ursula LeGuin's The Left Hand of Darkness.
#79 - June 05, 2016, 07:40 AM
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(Aside to Marissa, I agree that Fire and Hemlock is probably "better" -- a dazzling tour de force. But I just love Howl and Sophie! )
#80 - June 05, 2016, 09:44 AM
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THE BOOK DRAGON, Sterling, October 2, 2018
MIRA FORECASTS THE FUTURE, Sterling, 2016

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Not sure about the best of all time, but some of my all time favourites I think not already mentioned are;
THE HANDMAID'S TALE by Margaret Atwood
THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J.D. Salinger
LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding
THE SNAPPER by Roddy Doyle
#81 - June 07, 2016, 11:33 AM

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 :goodthread
#82 - June 07, 2016, 02:12 PM
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I love this thread! 

I'm going with books that had the greatest influence on me in my youth.  These might not be the greatest books ever written (although I think a couple of them are), but they are novels that spoke to my soul and inspired me to read more, more, MORE. 

CHARLOTTE'S WEB

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE 

STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND

GREAT EXPECTATIONS

A CHRISTMAS CAROL

DANDELION WINE

And, for me, the winner is . . . CHARLOTTE'S WEB.

I'd like to add how much I enjoyed seeing THE STAND mentioned in this thread.  I have yet to read it, and I would not have expected to see it listed here. Though recommendations from friends, THE STAND begged me to read it for years, but I ignored it.  I finally downloaded it last month. I look forward to reading it this summer.  (Something tells me I will feel I put it off reading THE STAND for far too long.)

With thanks to everyone here, I've also been inspired to read novels I've neglected . . . and to reread books I have not read in a long time--THE GRAPES OF WRATH, for example.  It's been ages.

Thank you, everyone.






#83 - June 07, 2016, 10:08 PM
« Last Edit: June 07, 2016, 11:10 PM by lee-bernstein »

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Love so many of the ones you guys have mentioned!! But, I absolutely LOVE Walden, ~Thoreau, and keep reading it over and over! But I also love Cold Sassy Tree ~Olive Burns; The Help ~Kathryn Stockett ;  The Returned ~Jason Mott and too many others!

Children's Books: A Wrinkle in Time; Charlotte's Webb; The Graveyard Book; Liesel & Po; Where The Red Fern Grows and so many more.   
#84 - June 08, 2016, 05:37 AM

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Flowers For Algernon...heartbreakingly perfect.

Oh, yes!  I haven't thought about FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON in years.  Thank you for reminding me.  I'd like to read it again. 
#85 - June 08, 2016, 09:19 AM

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Absolutely adore CHARLOTTE"S WEB
#86 - June 08, 2016, 11:45 AM

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IT - Stephen King. An absolutely terrifying book. One that left me with a fear of clowns ever since. The characters were the best developed I can remember. I had an idea what they would say or do before they did. And Pennywise... I'll leave him/IT be for now but what a true monster. I hear they are remaking the movie.


100% yes! One of my favorite books ever. First time I read it was in one sitting, during high school on a 25-hour bus ride from CT to FL for a competition. I love Stephen King so much!

And also Watership Down!!!  :bunny2 :love5
#87 - June 08, 2016, 12:24 PM

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I keep thinking about this thread and coming back and reading others' best books. This is a wonderful thread. I still stand by my all-time favorite being To Kill a Mockingbird, but I have to add another thought. For a beautiful book which moved me both as I was reading it and later, I have to add Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton. When I finished it, I just wanted to sit and weep - both because it was such a moving story and because I had finished it.
#88 - June 08, 2016, 02:47 PM

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100% yes! One of my favorite books ever. First time I read it was in one sitting, during high school on a 25-hour bus ride from CT to FL for a competition. I love Stephen King so much!

And also Watership Down!!!  :bunny2 :love5

I got stuck on guard duty in the Army and read it in a 24 hour period. Now I think I should have taken a break because clowns REALLY creep me out.
#89 - June 18, 2016, 09:08 AM
"Typically, it turned out to be a much bigger job than I anticipated, but—everything does, if you aim high enough."

Neil Peart on writing a book.

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In and effort to improve, I'm reading Charlotte's Web in French. I'd forgotten how good it is. Just got to the part where Charlotte dies, and, yep, I cried all over again.

I loved Watership Down too.

#90 - June 18, 2016, 01:42 PM
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