Top Ten “Older” Books I Don’t Want People to Forget About

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

In this list I included every book that can be taught at school, read on your own or found at a book shop but that, somehow seem to be forgotten by most readers out there! They are wide-known but little-read and I think they deserve much more attention than they usually get:

1. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.- I must admit I read this one as part of a course on the author and I was as terrified by it as many of you say. But, with some patience and the Modern English translation, these fourteen-century tales’ similarities with nowadays life are certainly uncanny.

2. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins.- This one is often referred to in modern Gothic books and has created an icon in English literature.

3. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.- Same as with number 2, this short novel’s influence in present day literature is unaccountable for, plus, it’s Sherlock Holmes!

4. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H Lawrence.- Criticized, banned, went to trial, finally got published and now is gone from most 20th century English Literature programs.

5. O Pioneers by Willa Cather.- If there is a novel about the American frontier and how women struggled, this is it. Cather’s character Alexandra “Alex” is the Edna Pontellier of the midwest.

6. The Master Builder by Henrik Ibsen.- Whenever someone says “Ibsen” we think of A Doll’s House although this one is pretty famous too. A lesson on life and desire.

7. Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell.- Sadly, Mrs. Gaskell is a forgotten author when talking about 19th century literature, although she was regarded by Dickens himself as a great writer. The cozy Cranford makes the perfect novel mixing wit, humour and criticism.

8. Howards End by E.M Forster.- I am reading it right now, but I’m in awe at how much I am learning, not about literature but about life, approaching problems and how your attitude is life-changing.

9. The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald.- A personal favourite of mine, I think it’s the modern Romeo and Juliet: a love story corrupted by money, the power of names, influence and obsession.

10. The Awakening by Kate Chopin.- Edna Pontellier showed me, at a key moment in my life, that one must never, ever, resign oneself to what others expect from you, even it those others are a whole society.

19 thoughts on “Top Ten “Older” Books I Don’t Want People to Forget About

  1. Love love love Gatsby, Lady Chatterly, and The Awakening! (I had to read the Canterbury Tales in the original Middle English, so we have a complicated relationship.) I’m blogging about Lady Chatterly later this week in honor of Banned Books Week, so I’m totally digging this list! 🙂

    1. That’s great! To be sincere, I didn’t find Lady Chatterley as… scandalous as I expected although I suppose it was quite revolutionary turn of the century England.

      Leave a link to your post for Banned Books week here if you please, I’d love to see it 😉

  2. I haven’t read Howards End, but I absolutely love A Room with a View, so I expect I would like it. As for Lady Chatterly’s Lover, I initally expected it to be more scandalous too, but for the time it must have been quite the read if you could get your hands on it!

    1. I expect to read A Room with a View as well, but for now I came across the new beautiful Penguin edition and had to buy it. Hope we can talk about both books when we’re done with them 🙂

  3. The Great Gatsby and The Awakening are among my favorites. I haven’t read Howard’s End, but I have two other E.M. Forster books on my TBR shelf — A Room With a View and A Passage to India. The things you’ve written about Howard’s End make me really excited to read them!

    1. E.M Forster was on my TBR list too and I thought “OK, this is it, it’s now or never!” and look at me now, completely in love with the book.

      I know you love Gatsby and The Awakening, talk about similiar reading tastes 😛

  4. Great list Elena! I’ve been busy today so I haven’t been able to sit down and think of 10 books for this week’s TTT but your list is fantastic =) I have yet to get to a number of them (the Sherlock mysteries, Kate Chopin) but I love The Woman in White, it was my first Wilkie Collins book–very haunting and mysterious!

    1. It’s a good sign you’re busy 😛

      Let me know when you get Chopin, I think it’s really interesting to read it while “growing up”, it helps with expectations and society in general 😉

  5. So glad to see these classicals since it’s easy to get forget these novels that set the standard for future writers. O Pioneers is a favorite of mine especially since Willa Cather was a non-conformist and way ahead of her times. She wore trousers when such things were unheard of for women. Talk about a scandal!

  6. Women such as Willa Cather and Kate Chopin had so much to lose but they pushed on anyway. What I especially admire about them is they probably didn’t think they were brave. They must have had moments of doubts — who doesn’t? Same for the editors who published their works. They had everything to lose, too.

    1. Maybe they didn’t think themselves brave, but they were definitely outcasts because of their ideas. You need to be brave to put your ideas out there like they did.

  7. Great list! I’m finally, finally reading The Woman in White right now. I haven’t read The Canterbury Tales (yet), but it’s one of my dad’s favorites, basically for the same reasons you give.

    1. The Woman in White is one of favourite novels, but I must admit it gets boring at certain points because of too detailed descriptions. Don’t give up!

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