Five Favorite Novels

THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy
McCarthy is hands-down my favorite novelist. I have yet to read one of his books and come away disappointed. From the blazing morality play in No Country for Old Men, to the violent poetry of Blood Meridian, McCarthy has long since established himself as one of the greats. That said, if I had to choose only one of his works to call my favorite, it would be The Road. It’s a post-apocalyptic saga, both epic and intimate – a tale of survival, depravity, and remarkable courage. Above all that, however, it’s a love story; fierce, beautiful, gritty depiction of the bond between father and son.
“My job is to take care of you. I was appointed to do that by God. I will kill anyone who touches you. Do you understand?”

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT by Fyodor Dostoevsky
My first taste of Dostoevsky, and what a taste it was! Crime and Punishment is one of those classic classics; a book I can’t help but recommend to every single person who crosses my path. It is at once a gut-wrenching morality play, a brilliant psychological study, and a gripping crime thriller  (not to mention a stunning refutation of Frederic Nietzche’s “Superman”). It’s dark and heavy, yes, but also shot through with hope; a story that affirms both the lostness of the human condition and the power of Christ to save.
“We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken.”

FAHRENHEIT 451 by Ray Bradbury
Bradbury one of those storytellers I can return to over and over again without tiring. He’s a master wordsmith, a spinner of tales wonderful, wise, and bizarre. And Fahrenheit 451 is his tour de force. It doesn’t revolve around aliens, robots, or mutating viruses. The primary focus is mankind… and the dangers inherent to a society that’s gone almost completely brain-dead. If you haven’t read it, you must. It’s an example science fiction at its very finest: thrilling, chilling, and smart.
“We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?”

THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak
The Book Thief is the literary equivalent of Roman Polanski’s film The Pianist: artful, absorbing, devastating, beautiful. Quite simply, unforgettable. And though it is classified in the Young Adult section of the bookstore, it deserves the consideration, not only of older teens, but of adults as well. It is a story of love and loss, tragedy and hope, wrapped in prose that will take your breath away.
“I’m always finding humans at their best and worst. I see their ugly and their beauty, and I wonder how the same thing can be both.”

This acclaimed novel is ostensibly a courtroom drama, but such a description does not really do this profound and multifaceted book justice. Through the eyes of a child, Lee explores the evils of racial prejudice with subtlety and power, gracing her story with an elegance so unspectacular it’s spectacular. More than once, I had to pause and read passages aloud, just for the pleasure of rolling them off my tongue.
“Before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”

So I’m curious… what are your favorite novels? Leave a comment below and share your choices with the rest of us!

40 thoughts on “Five Favorite Novels”

  1. Ooh, that’s a hard question. In no particular order, I’d say probably my favorite five are: Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell; The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins; Rebecca, Daphne DuMaurier; Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt, and a close tie for fifth, The Road by Cormac McCarthy and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

  2. I’m re-reading Mockingbird right now and yes, it is on my list, too. Also on my list — Peace Like a River by Leif Enger, Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner, Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, and anything by Dickens — Great Expectations probably.

  3. How is one supposed to pick only five out of every fantastic novel one has ever read?!?! And since nearly all my favorite novels are series’, I don’t think this is a list I can pull together under these conditions. If entire series’ could be counted as one entry, it’d be a cinch. :P

      1. :) Well, in that case, here they are (in no particular order):

        1. Ted Dekker’s Circle Series, which consists of the books Black, Red, White, and Green
        2. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series
        3. Madeline L’Engle’s Time Quintet
        4. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
        5. And my all-time favorite novel, Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card

        1. Ender’s Game is just bloody terrific, and would definitely make my top ten. Love Snicket, too. I’m not a big fan of Dekker (or Peretti, for that matter), but I may have to give the series you mentioned a try.

  4. It’s hard to narrow it down to 5 but….

    To Kill a Mockingbird, Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell, Gone With the Wind, can’t decide on which Jane Austen, Vanity Far by William Makepeace Thackery.

    1. Jane Austen is a category all her own, and I didn’t even include her, because there is no way I could choose. Although, I think of her books, I find Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility my favourites, followed by Persuasion.

    1. Brothers Karamazov is one I intend to read very soon – Dostoevsky has me hooked, and I can’t wait to explore more of his work. Never read Les Miserables, but I know I should. There are some books one simply *must* read.

  5. Oh, you make me want to go read these books… As a home school mom who is attempting to redeem her education while educating her young I have decided I needed to read the classics I never read in my youth. It has been such a treat! Finding out for myself why these authors have stood the test of time has challenged my self-discipline, sometimes you have to put the book down and cook dinner! Louisa May Alcott’s Under the Lilacs (considered a children’s book but very good), Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and all of Jane Austen’s books. After just finishing David Copperfield this week I’m afraid to start another book for fear of my family starving to death…

  6. Oooh…tough one. In no particular order other than precedence:
    1. Speaker for the Dead
    2. Shogun
    3. Well, I can’t think of what comes close. Maybe Alas, Babylon?

    BTW, this is different than the 5 *best* books you’ve ever read. Because The Road would definitely make that list for me, as well as Blindness by Jose Saramago, but neither would make my favorites list.

    1. I read Speaker earlier this year and was blown away. Terrific book, though I still love Ender’s Game slightly better. Alas, Babylon is brilliant, and I’ve been wanting to read Shogun for awhile now.

      Hmmm… for me, these books are the best novels I’ve ever read, as well as being my favorites. But I can see why some would choose to separate the two.

      1. Oh, it’s certainly possible for the lists to be the same. I loved The Road, but its subject matter is brutal enough to keep me from putting on a regular re-read rotation. Ditto Blindness, though I’ll probably re-read it at some point.

        I think I probably would have put King Rat on my list of favorites just based on how many times I’ve read it.

  7. Interesting, I hated Fahrenheit 451….perhaps I should reread it.
    In no particular order, LoTR, Pride and Prejudice, The Queen of Attolia (and all other books in that series) , Tolkien’s Silmarillion. I am absolutely not a Tolkien fan! whatever gave you that idea??
    Okay fine, but I blame it on my friend, dang you adopted brother.

      1. Hold on just a sec… you hated F451? Are you bloody kidding me? I’m sorry, Amy, but until you give it another read, we are not on speaking terms… ;)

        I love Wodehouse, too. Carry On, Jeeves is probably my favorite, with some of his Psmith books coming in second.

        1. Lol! Fine! but once I reread it, I reserve the right to rant about why I dislike it in the comment section of a completely unrelated blog post. :)

          By the way, you should definitely read the Brothers Karamazov.
          And yes, Carry On, Jeeves is definitely one of my favorites. Also “Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen” If only for the sake of the title.

  8. I just read TKAM for the first time a couple of years ago and loved it. I’ve always been a little daunted by Russian authors but I have seen C&P and W&P showing up in a lot of people’s recommendations lately. I may have to try one or both some time. I’ve been wanting to get to Fahrenheit 451, too.

    My favorite novels: Les Miserables, A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield, The Count of Monte Cristo, Jane Eyre for the classics. For modern fiction I’d say Words by Ginny Yttrup and all of Sarah Sundin’s books.

    1. I haven’t read W&P, but I can tell you this about C&P: it may look daunting, but it’s a breeze to read. It’s challenging, sure, but in a good way, and it’s so well-written and well-plotted you can’t help but keep reading. A true page-turner, if you ask me.

      I read A Tale of Two Cities last year and loved it (and that’s coming from a guy who generally isn’t too crazy about Dickens). :)

  9. Of these I have only read “To Kill a Mocking Bird”. While I completely understand why you like it (its my friend’s favorite book), it really did not appeal to me. I also found the movie to be worse because it removed the humor that was present in the book. My favorites books are The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Thrawn Trilogy, and Darth Plagueis. :)


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