Favorite Adult Fiction

I’ve done a post on favorite children’s books every adult should read. Now it’s time for a post to include favorite adult fiction. These are some of my favorites, not to be confused with the Western Canon.

Douglas Adams: The Hitchhiker’s Guide books, the Dirk Gently books

Richard Adams: Watership Down

Jane Austen: Persuasion, Mansfield Park, Pride and Prejudice

Ray Bradbury: most anthologies like R is for Rocket and The Illustrated Man, Fahrenheit 451

Charlotte Bronte: Jane Eyre

Daniel Defoe: Robinson Crusoe

Charles Dickens: Great Expectations

Arthur C. Doyle: The Lost World

Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose, How to Travel With a Salmon

Stella Gibbons: Cold Comfort Farm

William Goldman: The Princess Bride

Aldous Huxley: Brave New World

Ken Kesey: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Next

C.S. Lewis: Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength, Till We Have Faces, The Dark Tower

Arthur Miller: The Death of a Salesman

Margaret Mitchell: Gone With the Wind

George Orwell: 1984

Edgar Allen Poe: The Fall of the House of Usher (etc.)

Gene Stratton Porter: A Girl of the Limberlost

Chaim Potok: The Promise, The Chosen, My Name is Asher Lev, The Gift of Asher Lev

Saki (H.M. Monro): any of the short stories

William Shakespeare: Twelfth Night, The Taming of the Shrew

Alexander Solzhenitsyn: Cancer Ward

Jonathan Swift: Gulliver’s Travels

J.R.R. Tolkien: Leaf by Niggle, Farmer Giles of Ham, Smith of Wooten Major, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit

Mark Twain: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Jules Verne: The Mysterious Island

H.G. Wells: The Time Machine

P.G. Wodehouse: any of the Jeeves and Wooster or Psmith books

[I know I’ve left out lots, but there’s a limit as to how long I’ll spend working on a list like this when I have other things to do. Pitiful, but practical.]

And for a treat: anyone who loves Mark Twain and detests James Fenimore Cooper will adore this scathing review the former did of the latter, focusing on The Last of the Mohicans. The knives are sharpened, the vultures are circling…

5 thoughts on “Favorite Adult Fiction

  1. Twain's critique of the writings of James F. Cooper should be required reading for high school students.

    The rules of writing fiction “require that the author shall make the reader feel a deep interest in the personages of his tale and in their fate; and that he shall make the reader love the good people in the tale and hate the bad ones. But the reader of the “Deerslayer” tale dislikes the good people in it, is indifferent to the others, and wishes they would all get drowned together.”

    Priceless.

    – Fr. Benedict

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  2. Alexander Dumas's, The Count of Monte Cristo, unabridged, please. There are a couple of rather graphic chapters, but the Count, himself, is impeccable in character. Amazing, given the provocation he endures. A wonderful Christ figure–as his name rather implies, don't you think?

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  3. The C. of M. C. is a great book. Like I said, I didn't include *all* of the great ones, just my favorites – I don't always have the best literary taste! (For instance, I HATED The Scarlett Letter – that minister was such a wimp.)

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  4. C of MC was my “40 days reading” with #1, I think. 🙂

    I can't remember liking that one either. LOVED To Kill a Mocking Bird——I remember exclaiming to my Dad that THIS was a book required for English class that I actually couldn't put down, and he said something about there being a difference between good and bad literature. 🙂 My first glimpse of that distinction.

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  5. I love Steinbeck's East of Eden. I didn't read that until I was out of college and teaching English. It is a fantastically written book. It is long, but it doesn't feel long when you are reading it. I am a big Steinbeck fan, and I also love most of the books you put on your list… although, I am not the “Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.” 🙂

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