Narrowing my favourite novels down to just three was hard. But, I finally did it after lots of jigging my list around. I read quite often so I had lots of books to choose from, so I had to narrow it down to the stories I can re-read over and over again. No matter how many times I’ve read them they just never seem to get boring, and I believe that is the real test of what makes a good book. I know reading is a personal thing and you may think that some of the stories I mention aren’t your favourite, that’s okay! But if you haven’t read them I really suggest giving them a go.
So, book number one, my all time favourite and I’ve read it probably about six times, is Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. It’s a classic and everyone has heard of it. It’s a fierce story about love and revenge between the two main characters Heathcliff and Cathy. The story is set in 1801 in the Yorkshire moors, where Mr. Earnshaw returns home from Liverpool with a young orphan boy who he names Heathcliff. Cathy and Heathcliff fall desperately in love from a young age and grow up in Wuthering Heights together. After Mr. Earnshaw passes away Cathy’s’ older brother, Hindley inherits Wuthering Heights and forces Heathcliff to work as a servant at the house. Fed up with ‘not being good enough’ for Cathy, Heathcliff runs away to better himself. Upon returning, with riches, he discovers that Cathy has married Edgar Lipton. The love and revenge and even death that follows is a whirlwind of romance, evil and sorrow. It’s one of those books you can barely put down.
There is a beautiful film adaptation made in 1939 starring Laurence Olivier and the beautiful Merle Oberon. The movie is filmed in black and white and I definitely think it’s my favourite version of the film.
Emily Brontë was born in 1818 in Yorkshire. She was the second youngest of six children,
four sisters and one brother, although the two eldest daughters, Maria and Elizabeth died before they turned twelve years old due to tuberculosis in 1825. Her two sisters Anne and Charlotte were both poets and writers; famously writing Jane Eyre and Agnes Grey.
Wuthering Heights was Brontë’s first and only novel. It was published in 1847 under the pen name Ellis Bell. Brontë sadly died a year later in 1848 due to tuberculosis. Since her death Wuthering Heights has become a literary classic and is often used in schools and colleges.
Buy it here.
The Great Gatsby:
Set in the summer of 1922 The Great Gatsby is a roller-coaster of emotions from joy to sadness; with flamboyant parties and a secret love. Regrettably I watched the film before I read the book, but that didn’t take away from the beauty of the novel. The story follows Nick Caraway’s journey of finding out exactly who his mysterious neighbour is. The one who throws all of the huge parties the whole city attends in hope that his one true love, Daisy Buchanan, would walk through the door. It’s a tragic love story I can read over and over again. I don’t think I could ever get sick of it.
Everyone has seen the beautiful, colourful film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel. Baz Luhrmann did a phenomenal job of bringing this wonderful story to the big screen. The 2013 film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire. The film is a fun ride filled to the brim with brilliant music and gorgeous costumes. It’s fantastic right down to the last detail. It also doesn’t stray too far from the novel, which to me is a big fat plus. Definitely check it out if you haven’t yet.
F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in 1896 and has four finished published novels: The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful and Damned, Tender is the Night and This Side of Paradise. He also has an unfinished novel that was published after his death in 1941 called The Last Tycoon. The Beautiful and Damned is also a brilliant work of art, I highly recommend that story too! As well as novels Fitzgerald also wrote over 160 short stories for magazines and four collections of short stories. Since his death in 1940 he has been named one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century.
Buy it here.
Romeo & Juliet:
Arguably William Shakespeare’s most famous play Romeo & Juliet is a wonderful tale of forbidden love between two young members of rival gangs in Verona. I don’t need to say much about this story as I’m sure most, if not all, of you have studied this story in school or college. Everyone knows the plot to this twisted tragedy. Although not technically a novel I couldn’t leave it off my list. It’s a special story featuring love, death and a very fast marriage. I feel like I was the only one in my English class who actually enjoyed studying this story. Although I love all of Shakespeare’s works, this one really stuck out for me. I really hope to one day see it performed in the Globe Theatre in London.
William Shakespeare was born in 1564 in Stratford-Upon-Avon. He was a poet, playwright and actor. He wrote roughly 39 plays in his lifetime and over 150 sonnets. When he was 18 he married Anne Hathaway who he had three children with. He started his career as an actor but soon discovered his love for writing. There is lots we don’t actually know about Shakespeare as he kept his private life very low-key and there’s barely any records of him. Therefore, we have hardly any knowledge of his beliefs, sexuality or even his physical appearance, except the very famous portrait of him. There is speculation that Shakespeare was bisexual as the famous ‘Sonnet 18’ presumably written by William Shakespeare was dedicated to a Mr. W.H. Although it has never been confirmed that it was written my Shakespeare himself lots of people believe he liked the company of men as well as women. I like to think he was an open minded human being, based on his work.
Another Leonardo DiCaprio and Baz Luhrmann collaboration coming your way. Now, I don’t believe anyone when they say they’ve never seen the 1996 adaptation of Romeo & Juliet featuring Leo and Claire Danes. It’s an iconic movie with beautiful imagery. Again, the costumes are beautiful and classic with the magical touch of modern music perfectly placed.
Shakespeare sadly died in 1616 at the age of 52. A reason for his death has never been determined, although he died a week after signing his will in which he described himself as being in ‘perfect health’. Since his death he has been hailed literary genius and I believe he will always be loved for his work. He will stand the test of time with classics like Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummers Night Dream, Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet. I truly urge you to read at least one play by Shakespeare.
Buy it here.
Thank you for reading my list of favourite novels/stories (although if you ask me what they are they’re likely to change as I have so many). I highly recommend reading these stories to open your literary mind, and where better to start than absolute classics.