The Blue and Gold

The Greatest Novels of All Time

Kylee Kim, Author

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“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies–The man who never reads lives only one.”

-George R.R. Martin

 

Reading is a hobby that promotes creativity and imagination. The following books are considered “Classics,” some of the greatest novels ever written. Read on to figure out what your next book might be.

 

War and Peace. Leo Tolstoy wrote many novels throughout the late 1800’s. It was originally published in 1867 as his first great novel, which took him six years to write. War and Peace has a total of 1,225 pages, making this long poetic novel is for more advanced readers. Leo Tolstoy, however, suggested that this wasn’t a novel, but a very long poem. War and Peace chronicles the French Invasion of Russia and the effect the Napoleonic era had on the Tsarist Autocracy.

Anna Karenina was Leo Tolstoy’s first novel after War and Peace. It was published in April of 1877 with 864 pages. It follows a variety of topics, but mostly the tragic story of Countess Anna Karenina, a noblewoman and socialite, married to Count Karenin. She creates an affair with cavalry officer, Count Vronsky. She is then given a choice between Vronsky or never seeing her young son again. The book reaches a lexile of 1080L, so if you enjoy tragedy and romance, Anna Karenina is for you. If you’re not much of a bookworm, there was a movie released in 2012, but be careful, it’s rated R.

The Great Gatsby was originally published in 1925, almost half a century after Leo Tolstoy’s two novels. It was written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, an American short-story writer, most famous for The Great Gatsby. It is told from the view of Nick Carraway, who was Jay Gatsby’s neighbor. Gatsby is a millionaire who has an affair with Daisy Buchanan, and the book mostly follows their relationship. Fitzgerald thought he was a failure and that all his work had been forgotten; however, his novels experienced a revival during World War Two. Fun fact : at the time of its publication, The Great Gatsby cost only two dollars. PS, there’s also a movie that was released in 2013.

Moby-Dick was written by Herman Melville, an American author, during the renaissance period.  He didn’t get any recognition for his books until after his death, much like Fitzgerald. The story is told by Ishmael, a new whaler, who meets Queequeg, whom he befriends while on shore. Back on the ship, Captain Ahab announces his wishes to kill Moby-Dick, the legendary great white whale, who took his leg. There is a version at Barnes and Noble with 752 pages.

To Kill a Mockingbird was written by Harper Lee, published in 1960. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush. It is told from the eyes of Scout Finch, to her father Atticus Finch, who is trying to defend an innocent black man on trial, accused of rape. To Kill a Mockingbird means to destroy innocence, which is where the book got its name. This book is a classic high school read, so 8th graders, try to get a headstart!

Wuthering Heights was published in 1847 by Emily Bronte. This was her only novel, since she died at 30 years of age. She never got to see how much fame her writing would receive. It follows the life of Heathcliff, from adoption at age seven to his early death in his late thirties. He pursues a young woman, who marries another man. When he later becomes successful and rich, he goes after the two families he believed ruined his life. From the view of an average reader, Wuthering Heights was a difficult read, so if you are an average reader like me, maybe try an easier book before you read this one.

 

Pride and Prejudice was written by Jane Austen and published in 1813. Her six novels critique and talk about the landed gentry, or wealthy and upperclassmen in the 18th century.  It is a romance about the development of Elizabeth Bennet, who learns the difference between the superficial and the essential during the British Regency period. Even though this is one of the greatest novels ever written, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte’s sister, said that Pride and Prejudice was a disappointment, unlike many other critics, who enjoyed the novel very much.

Gulliver’s Travels was written by Jonathan Swift, an irish poet and cleric. It was originally published in 1726. Lemuel Gulliver wakes after a shipwreck, bound by many tiny people, who are in awe of him, but protective of their island, Lilliput. Gulliver soon becomes an asset to the land’s army and helps them against their enemies, the Blefuscu, whom they hate based on their view of how to properly crack eggs. Gulliver is later convicted of treason when he urinates on the fire that was set on the palace, before his punishment, he rebuilds a boat and sets back to England.

Little Women was originally published in 1869, written by Louisa May Alcott. It follows the lives of four sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, from childhood, to adulthood. It is loosely based off of the author and her three sisters’ lives . In the middle of the American Civil War, their father who had recently lost his job, is posing as a pastor for the war. The eldest two have to learn to support their sisters and mother, despite the

Pilgrim’s Progress is a Christian Allegory by John Bunyan, an English writer and puritan preacher. He wrote over sixty titles, which were longer version of his sermons. It was originally published in 1678. The story follows the dreams of a man named Christian, from the City of Destruction, to the Celestial City, which is a symbol of heaven. He feels that his sins are dragging him down to hell after reading a certain book, presumably the bible. The book details the dangers that Christian and his allies go through.

 

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The Greatest Novels of All Time