Friday, September 15, 2017

Top Five Literary Novels

By Kelly Bridgewater

Every writer or reader has a number of authors who books grace their library. You know, the author who they follow on Facebook, praying for news of another book or book series. Of course, I have a number of them who have inspired and encouraged my personal writing, but they are also the writers who I LOVE reading and studied the structures of their novels to see how I can incorporate their skills into my novels.

Back in June, I shared my top ten favorite suspense authors. Last week, I shared my top ten favorite historical authors. Today, I want to share my love of literary fiction. Most of these stories were introduced to me in college classes or high school classes, but they hit a chord with me. Even though I read a lot of crap in college, some stuck with me.

So without further ado, I announce my top ten favorite literary authors with the novel that inspired me . . .

1.) Arthur Conan Doyle, The Complete Sherlock Holmes

From Amazon

I read Sherlock Holmes when I was in my last semester of undergraduate, and I have never looked back. I assumed that a novel that was written in the late nineteenth century, featuring a detective would not be that interesting. But . . . Boy was a I wrong! I loved the snarky, yet intelligent detective with his sidekick. I love watching the remakes and television adaptations of Doyle's work. Some of my favorite detective work.

Volume I includes the early novel A Study in Scarlet, which introduced the eccentric genius of Sherlock Holmes to the world. This baffling murder mystery, with the cryptic word Rache written in blood, first brought Holmes together with Dr. John Watson. Next, The Sign of Four presents Holmes’s famous “seven percent solution” and the strange puzzle of Mary Morstan in the quintessential locked-room mystery. Also included are Holmes’s feats of extraordinary detection in such famous cases as “The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” “The Musgrave Ritual,” and “The Five Orange Pips.”

2. Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

From Amazon

I was introduced to Alexandre Dumas when I was a freshman in high school. I signed up for a senior level Creative Writing course, and this was the textbook. We had the entire semester to read the book, which is a 1,000 + page book. I finished it the first week. The teacher was impressed. I read it three more times that semester. I love a book with justice, revenge, romance, and buried treasure. I still try to read it once a year.

In the post-Napoleonic era, Edmond Dant├Ęs, a young sailor from Marseilles, is poised to become captain of his own ship and to marry his beloved. But spiteful enemies provoke his arrest, condemning him to lifelong imprisonment. Then Edmond’s sole companion in prison reveals his secret plan of escape and a letter with directions to hidden riches on the island of Monte Cristo—a treasure trove that will eventually fund Edmund’s dream of creating a new identity for himself: the mysterious and powerful Count of Monte Cristo.

In The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas employed all the elements of compelling drama—suspense, intrigue, love, vengeance, rousing adventure, and the triumph of good over evil—that contribute to this classic story’s irresistible and timeless appeal.

3.) Frances Hodgson Burnett, A Little Princess
From Amazon
I was introduced to A Little Princess through the movie in the 1990's. I enjoyed the story. It was set during World War I. I enjoyed the close relationship between Sarah Crew and her father. I loved seeing her keep hope even when Miss Minchin tried to take it away from her. As a young girl, I would read this novel every single summer as soon as school released. Then run to the library to start my reading list.

A Little Princess is a 1905 children's novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It is a revised and expanded version of Burnett's 1888 serialised novel entitled Sara Crewe: or, What Happened at Miss Minchin's Boarding School, which was published in St. Nicholas Magazine. According to Burnett, she had been composing a play based on the story when she found out a lot of characters she had missed. The publisher asked her to publish a new, revised story of the novella, producing the novel.

4.) Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

From Amazon
Burnett created a lot of novels that made me happy as a little girl. Besides A Little Princess, I enjoyed reading and watching The Secret Garden. Burnett created a novel that took place around the same time period. I enjoyed seeing how Mary was taken to the huge house in England with no where to go, but this piece of the garden. It is a story of moving on and learning to love again. I enjoyed it and also read it every summer.

When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle, everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen. But this lonely girl's life is transformed when she finds the key to the secret garden. This book is reprinted to tie in with the release of a film.

5.) C. S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia

From Amazon
 My father purchased The Silver Chair, which introduced me to Narnia. I read the six other books before finding Lewis' other writings. I really enjoy Lewis perspective on literary fiction. He was a wonderful writer. I composed a number of papers on Lewis while in graduate school.


Read The Chronicles of Narnia in its entirety with this seven book box set, containing mass market paperback editions of C. S. Lewis's classic fantasy series. The box features stills from the third Narnia movie, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and the books have cover art by Cliff Nielsen.

C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia has captivated readers of all ages for over sixty years, enchanting them with a magical realm where worlds come and go at the toss of a ring, where boys and girls become kings and queens, where there are more talking creatures than people.

This box set includes all seven titles in The Chronicles of NarniaThe Magician's Nephew; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; The Horse and His Boy; Prince Caspian; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; The Silver Chair; and The Last Battle—with the original black-and-white interior illustrations by Pauline Baynes.

The journey begins even before the Dawn Treader sets sail and ends long after its voyage, so don't miss out on any part of this definitive fantasy series of our time!

What literary novels shaped you? Why have they stuck with you after all these years?

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