Wanderer's Personal Canon


Now that I have completed my Quest to Read the 100 Greatest Novels of All Time, it is time for me to update my Personal Canon.


I can’t bring myself to call something that is personal to me, a “canon”. It’s contradictory. I know I should just accept the idiomatic meaning, but I can’t. It’s me – it isn’t you, so let’s just move on.


Instead, Here are MY TOP 100 NOVELS

1A Tale of Two CitiesCharles Dickens
2To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
3The Lord of the RingsJ. R. R. Tolkien 
4Gone With the Wind Margaret Mitchell
5The Little PrinceAntoine de Saint-Exupéry 
6The Count of Monte CristoAlexandre Dumas
7The Chronicles of NarniaC. S. Lewis
8Lord of the Flies William Golding
9The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck
10David CopperfieldCharles Dickens
4 1/2 STARS
11Atlas ShruggedAyn Rand
12The StandStephen King
13Deliverance James Dickey
14Jane EyreCharlotte Brontë
15Les MisérablesVictor Hugo
16Little WomenLouisa May Alcott
17Vanity FairWilliam Makepeace Thackeray
18DuneFrank Herbert
19The Oak OpeningsJames Fenimore Cooper
20Anna KareninaLeo Tolstoy 
21DraculaBram Stoker
22Watership DownRichard Adams
23Pride and PrejudiceJane Austen
24Bleak HouseCharles Dickens
25In Cold BloodTruman Capote
26The Tenant of Wildfell HallAnne Brontë
27Death Comes for the ArchbishopWilla Cather
28The Hitchhiker's Guide to the GalaxyDouglas Adams
29Blood MeridianCormac McCarthy
30Of Mice and MenJohn Steinbeck
31The Adventures of Tom SawyerMark Twain
32MiddlemarchGeorge Eliot
33The Man Who Was ThursdayG. K. Chesterton
34The Adventures of Huckleberry FinnMark Twain
35The Heart Is A Lonely HunterCarson McCullers
36A Christmas CarolCharles Dickens
37The Old Man and the SeaErnest Hemingway
38BelovedToni Morrison
39The Brothers Karamazov Fyodor Dostoyevsky
40NostromoJoseph Conrad
41Lost HorizonJames Hilton
42The Bridge of San Luis ReyThornton Wilder
43Wives and DaughtersElizabeth Gaskell
44Something Wicked This Way ComesRay Bradbury
45Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury
46War and PeaceLeo Tolstoy
47The Picture of Dorian GrayOscar Wilde
48All the King's MenRobert Penn Warren
49Invisible Man Ralph Ellison
50The Moon is a Harsh MistressRobert Heinlein
51The Valley of FearArthur Conan Doyle
52CoralineNeil Gaiman
53The Sea, The SeaIris Murdoch
54Cry, the Beloved CountryAlan Paton
55Nicholas NicklebyCharles Dickens
56The Ox-Bow IncidentWalter Van Tilburg Clark
57The Sheltering Sky Paul Bowles
58EmmaJane Austen
59The Country of the Pointed FirsSarah Orne Jewett
60The Call of the WildJack London
61Winnie the PoohA. A. Milne
62The House at Pooh CornerA. A. Milne
63Brideshead RevisitedEvelyn Waugh
64AtonementIan McEwan
65Great ExpectationsCharles Dickens
66If on a Winter's Night a Traveller Italo Calvino
67The Hound of the BaskervillesArthur Conan Doyle
68Ratman's Notebooks (Willard)Stephen Gilbert
69RagtimeE. L. Doctorow
70The Scarlet LetterNathaniel Hawthorne
71Tom JonesHenry Fielding
72One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez 
73Where the Red Fern GrowsWilson Rawls
74American PastoralPhilip Roth
75Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoyevsky
76Uncle Tom's CabinHarriet Beecher Stowe
77Hard TimesCharles Dickens
78The Narrative of Arthur Gordon PymEdgar Allan Poe
79An American TragedyTheodore Dreiser
80Pale Fire Vladimir Nabokov
81The French Lieutenant's Woman John Fowles
82The Adventures of Augie MarchSaul Bellow
83Go Tell it on the Mountain James Baldwin
84Native Son Richard Wright
85GadsbyErnest Vincent Wright
86The Old Curiosity ShopCharles Dickens
87An Antarctic Mysteryjules verne
88Riders of the Purple SageZane Grey
89The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic StoryHorace Walpole
90GerminalÉmile Zola 
3 1/2 STARS
91Catch-22 Joseph Heller
92One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Ken Kesey
93The Portrait of a Lady Henry James
94Murder on the Orient ExpressAgatha Christie
95The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald
96Nineteen Eighty FourGeorge Orwell
97Frankenstein Mary Shelley
98A Farewell to ArmsErnest Hemingway
99GreenmantleJohn Buchan
100Paddy Clarke Ha Ha HaRoddy Doyle


  1. Well, you did it...sort of. I like to think of my canon as my standard of literature, works that matter to me. But, yes, it is obviously very personal. Hence, "personal favorites" does the job.

    Ones we share: In Cold Blood, P&P, AK, Little Women, Jane Eyre, Tale of Two Cities, Gone With the Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Lord of the Flies. I still need to read: Little Prince, David Copperfield, Les Miz, Atlas Shrugged, and Bleak House! I have a feeling many of those will end up on my PC, too.

    1. I'm pretty sure you'll like all of those, except perhaps The Little Prince...but if I had to recommend one for you...I'd say Bleak House, the only Dickens novel written from a Female narrator's point of view. Thanks for checking out my list.

    2. I know, I need to stop being intimidated by these big books.

      I've tried reading The Little Price to my kids, and all of us were perplexed. So I quit. I mean to return to it, at least by myself.


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