You can’t deny it—we all have that one loved and treasured read that will forever hold its place as our favorite piece of literature. Whether it be a formative coming-of-age novel read at just the right moment of our adolescent years, or an escapist gem that you consistently count on to expand your imagination’s horizons, our favorite books will never outgrow our literature-loving hearts. With this in mind, we wanted to hear about your favorite reads that you consistently come back to time and time again. Which novel’s spine is the most worn on your shelf? Whose pages are dog-eared and annotated? Which story can you simply just not get enough of? Here are your—our readers’—answers.
THE GOOD EARTH, chosen as an Oprah’s Book Club read, paints a portrait of a vanishing China in the 1920s during the reign of the last emperor. Hardworking farmer Wang Lung and his devoted wife O-Lan lead a simple, honest life. Little do they know that their day-to-day life exists along the edge of impending social upheaval and political change that will rock the country they know and love, as well as the world beyond.
The timeless Pulitzer Prize–winning masterpiece following a humble farmer’s journey through 1920s China returns with this beautifully repackaged edition that celebrates its nearly ninety years as an American classic.
Travel to 1920s China, a time when the last emperor still ruled and the sweeping changes of the twentieth century were distant rumblings, with this timeless, evocative classic tale of the honest farmer Wang Lung and his family as they struggle to survive in the midst of vast political and social upheavals.
Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winner Pearl S. Buck traces the whole cycle of life: its terrors, its passions, its ambitions, and rewards. “A comment upon the meaning and tragedy of life as it is lived in any age in any quarter of the globe” (The New York Times), this brilliant novel—beloved by millions—is a universal tale of an ordinary family caught in the tide of history.
Fredrik Backman’s stories rightly hold a place on our favorites list. In this novel, Beartown, a small community nestled deep within the woods, slowly loses any semblance of a town. Its only redeeming factor is the ice rink that was built generations ago in its center, bringing a spark of happiness and excitement to the townspeople. Beartown’s junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national championships, which they have a fair shot at winning. But when the semifinal match is the catalyst for a violent act, accusations flood through the town.
Some consider this “the great American novel,” and we have to agree. In this quintessential novel about Jazz Age America, midwesterner Nick Carraway is invited into the lavish life of his cousin Daisy Buchanan and his Long Island neighbor Jay Gatsby. Despite the fact that Daisy is married to the boorish Tom Buchanan, she’s still attracted to Gatsby, her former lover. As Nick facilitates their budding affair, he finds that the sway power, prestige, and old aristocracy hold over what he thought was a modernizing world becomes hard to ignore.
Some consider it “the great American novel.” The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his powerful love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan is an exquisitely crafted tale that has been essential reading since it was published.
Read the full review here.
LITTLE WOMEN is a classic piece of literature that has withstood the test of time. Each March sister—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—has her own defining characteristics that set her apart from the others. As you read through their story, you’ll feel as though the four sisters are your own. Between their struggle to survive in New England during the Civil War and their unifying bond of sisterhood, readers fall in love with this story time and again.
A stunning new edition with deluxe cover treatments, ribbon markers, luxury endpapers and gilded edges. The unabridged text is accompanied by a Glossary of Victorian and Literary terms produced for the modern reader.
The lives of four teenage sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy – unfold in this treasured classic. Living in Massachusetts the March sisters are struggling though poverty and the effects of the American Civil War, which has taken away their father. Through happy and sad times, the sisters pull together with help from their mother, Marmee. Despite squabbles and desperate times, the sisters have a contagious sense of fun that leads to many adventures and eventually they learn exactly what it takes to grow up. Little Women was released in 1868 to commercial success and favourable reviews from critics. It has since become a true literary classic, made into countless adaptations, and a worldwide success that is loved by many.
The FLAME TREE COLLECTABLE CLASSICS are chosen to create a delightful and timeless home library.
THE SHELL SEEKERS follows Penelope Stern Keeling, an elderly British woman who returns home from the hospital after a heart attack. She relives her life through flashbacks from her point of view and those of her three children. Penelope’s most prized possession in THE SHELL SEEKERS is a painting done by her father. But when her children discover how much their grandfather’s painting is now worth, they each have their own opinion about what they mother should do with it. This enduring classic is a perfect read to return to time and again to relive the connection among Penelope’s family members.
THE HANDMAID’S TALE is a horrifying work of speculative fiction that depicts Gilead, a deeply repressive version of the United States where women are stripped of their rights and the few fertile women are subjected to the role of “handmaid.” This fine work of fiction has also garnered acclaim through its recent Hulu adaptation. This wild, crazy, and sinister tale will always hold its cherished spot on the shelves of readers.
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are only valued if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the days before, when she lived and made love with her husband Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now.... Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid's Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.
Widely considered one of Virginia Woolf’s greatest novels, TO THE LIGHTHOUSE is set in the remote and starkly beautiful Isle of Skye and told through the eyes of locals and guests. In this beloved and cherished novel, Virginia Woolf crafts an emotional world that explores the differences and relationships between men and women, family members, and community.
THE SNOW LEOPARD, a brilliant piece of nonfiction environmental literature, traces the story of author Peter Matthiessen and his journey to Nepal to study the Himalayan blue sheep and, possibly, glimpse the rare and beautiful snow leopard. Matthiessen is a Zen Buddhist at a time in his life where he feels this pilgrimage is necessary. A personal, physical, and spiritual journey, THE SNOW LEOPARD is a perfect book to meditate on the journey of the heart.
This remarkable novel follows main characters Kafka Tamura and Satoru Nakata. Kafka is on the run in Japan and Nakata is drawn to Kafka for reasons that he cannot fathom. As their paths converge, readers are immersed in a world where cats talk, fish fall from the sky, and spirits slip out of their bodies to make love or commit murder. For fans of magic and the surreal, this is a must-have story on your shelf.
This ambitious and expansive novel will amaze, entertain, and bewitch you. A tour de force of metaphysical reality, it is powered by two remarkable characters: a teenage boy who runs away from home and an aging simpleton who never recovered from a wartime affliction.
THE ALCHEMIST has touched the lives of people across the globe, and will continue to for years to come. Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd, yearns to travel in search of worldly treasure. But the treasures he finds along the way teach readers about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, above all, following our dreams.
Paulo Coelho’s universally admired masterpiece tells the story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. The story of the treasures Santiago finds along the way teaches us, as only a few stories can, about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, above all, following our dreams. With more than two million copies sold around the world, The Alchemist continues to change the lives of readers forever.
In this classic adventure, sailor Edmond Dantès is wrongfully imprisoned by his enemies. Over a decade later, he escapes from his captors with directions to an island full of treasure that helps him establish a new life. But by this point, he’s lost his career, and his true love has already married another. Under the guise of a different identity, he sets out to take revenge on those who wronged him. This is an epic tale of suspense, love, and retribution.
Young merchant sailor Edmond Dantès returns home to Marseille to marry his fiancée, but is betrayed by his best friends and unjustly imprisoned. After he manages to escape prison and discovers a secret fortune, Dantès sets out for revenge on those responsible.
THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE is stirring and terrifying, but also immensely groundbreaking. When a man visits his childhood home to attend a funeral, he is again drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. Now, again in this setting, the past comes flooding back. Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide at this farm at the end of the road. With this death, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible happened to the main character as a little boy. And Lettie had promised to protect him no matter what
photo credit: fotyma / iStock