I’m going to experiment with something new this week: a ranked list of some of my favorite books. We see these lists all the time whether in end-of-year issues of favorite magazines, bestseller lists, and so on.
I got the idea to share a list when I recalled a 2015 100 greatest novels list I saw in college. In my ‘The Victorian Novel’ class, my professor shared with us a list put together by the BBC titled, “The 100 greatest British novels.” In it, BBC Culture contributor Jane Ciabattari spoke with 82 book critics all over the world (except the UK) about the greatest British novels. The numbers were tallied based on which novel was considered the greatest by each critic. Looking at the list, I was intrigued to see a couple novels I had read made the list (Sense and Sensibility, Wide Sargasso Sea, Villette, Bleak House, Frankenstein, and Middlemarch to name a couple).
As I write this, I wonder if the list has changed for 2018. Some books may have changed ranks over the years while some have not. New books would take the place of others. I also came across a 2012 list from Publishers Weekly ranking the best books by the Brontë sisters (whom I discussed in a post earlier this month about writing influences). If you use a reading journal, you may have found some lists for book recommendations.
However, I do find lists tricky. Rankings may depend on interest, genre, and so on. Plus, we all have books that we love and some do not. I still think lists are interesting because of that variety because you may end up reading a book you’d never thought you’d like until you saw it on a list.
Below is my top 20 list of favorite books. I felt a top 10 list would be more limited and harder to narrow down choices. Feel free to check out any books that catch your interest! Also note that this list is not limited by genre, topic, or time period. I also love all these books equally, so don’t worry if you disagree with a rank.
20) One Evening in Paris by Nicholas Barreau (2014)
19) The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton (1913)
18) Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade (2013)
17) Unlocked: A Love Story by Karen Kingsbury (2011)
16) Ocean Star: A Memoir by Christina DiMari (2006)
15) The Wedding Chapel by Rachel Hauck (2015)
14) Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom (1997)
13) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)
12) Bathsheba by Jill Eileen Smith (2011)
11) Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks (2010)
10) Bleak House by Charles Dickens (1853)
9) The Little French Bistro by Nina George (2017)
8) Paper Hearts by Courtney Walsh (2015)
7) The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks (2008)
6) Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy (1874)
5) Villette by Charlotte Brontë (1853)
4) Between Sundays by Karen Kingsbury (2008)
3) Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (1938)
2) Chords of Strength: A Memoir of Soul, Song and the Power of Perseverance by David Archuleta (2010)
1) The Reason by William Sirls (2012)
What are your top 20 favorite books? Share your thoughts in the comments!