My Top 50

Various people have produced lists of what they consider to be the greatest books ever (see the Bookmarks page for some examples).  Here is mine: my all-time 50 favourite novels.


  • The 50 novels are listed alphabetically by author.
  • As ever, novels that I have written a review for are listed with hyper links.
  • In the text list (below the photos), I have marked my absolute personal favourites in bold.

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood Pride and Prejudice by Jane AustenThe New York Trilogy by Paul Auster The Outsider by Albert Camus Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland / Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll Great Expectations by Charles Dickens The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerlad The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford Howards End by E. M. Forster A Passage to India by E. M. Forster A Room with a View by E. M. Forster  The Magus by John Fowles Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder Lord of the Flies by William Golding The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene The End of the Affair by Graham Greene The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac On the Road by Jack Kerouac To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel Embers by Sándor Márai Atonement by Ian McEwan Under the Net by Iris Murdoch The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov Appointment in Samarra by John O'Hara The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck East of Eden by John Steinbeck The Secret History by Donna Tartt Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf  Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

Here are the 50 novels presented as a text list:

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. herschelian
    Jun 04, 2016 @ 12:32:06

    As you keep reading – do you take some off this list and replace them with others which you think are better/greater? What are your criteria for including a book on your Top 50 list? I see Wolf Hall is there, what would have been there before Wolf Hall? I’m asking because I have tried to compile a list of my top 50 and keep changing my mind about what I should include!!!



    • novelreading
      Jun 05, 2016 @ 14:43:39

      Good question! As I’ve called the page “My Top 50”, I have rather restricted myself to this number of books, so yes, if I read a new book that I love and think deserves to be here (such as Woolf Hall), it does mean that I have to select another entry to remove.

      Each time I read a novel, I rate it from “A” (exceptional) to “D” (less than good) and as I have so far only given 38 novels my top “A” rating, these naturally all get a place in this list. It is a more difficult job deciding which of the many other great novels get to fill up the remaining spaces.

      I guess, in summary, that this is really just my own highly subjective view on things, so it’s perhaps nothing more than a list of the books that I have personally most loved reading (and in many cases re-reading).



  2. Appointment in Samarra by John O’Hara | novelreading
    Mar 11, 2015 @ 22:48:14

  3. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel | novelreading
    Feb 07, 2015 @ 23:03:18

  4. Don Royster
    Jul 21, 2014 @ 23:14:35

    Interesting in hearing what you have to say about Graham Greene and “The Heart of the Matter”. I read this one in college and it is still a favorite.Oh, and another favorite is Yasunari Kawabata’s “The Old Capital”.



  5. Cathy746books
    Apr 14, 2014 @ 15:48:29

    What a great idea! There are some in here that would definately make my Top 50 – The Secret History, the New York Trilogy and The Blind Assassin. You’ve got me thinking now….



  6. dimitrios
    Dec 10, 2013 @ 00:22:30

    I’ve read 27 of your list, many I agree are great — tho’ I detested Embers!



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