The Top 5 Most Important Novels According to Goodreads


Embark on a journey through the world of classic literature and acquire new perspectives on existence with our handpicked collection of literary masterpieces. Immerse yourself in the stories that have molded our perception of reality and persist in providing fresh insights into both our personal journeys and the lives of our peers. Come along as we delve into the finest novels that remain timeless.

The Top 5 Most Important Novels According to Goodreads

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

The first novel is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. It was published in 1813 and is a work of manners. The novel traces the growth of Elizabeth Bennet, the book’s protagonist, as she gains insight into the consequences of making rash judgements and gains a deeper understanding of the distinction between surface-level kindness and genuine goodness.

Mr. Bennet is the proprietor of the Longbourn estate located in Hertfordshire. He has five daughters. However, his estate is burdened with an encumbrance that restricts its inheritance to a male successor. In addition, his wife does not have any inheritance, which means that his family may face financial difficulties after his demise. Therefore, it is crucial for at least one of the daughters to marry well in order to provide financial support for the rest of the family. This is a significant driving force behind the plot.

Among literary scholars and the reading public, Pride and Prejudice has consistently ranked near the top of lists of “most-loved books.” With over 20 million copies sold, this novel has become one of the most popular works in English literature. Additionally, it has served as inspiration for numerous derivatives in modern literature. Pride and Prejudice has been adapted into various forms of media for over a century, including dramatic adaptations, reprints, unofficial sequels, films, and TV versions. These adaptations have successfully portrayed the memorable characters and themes of the novel, reaching mass audiences.

1984 by George Orwell

The second novel is George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. It is a cautionary tale and dystopian social science fiction novel. Orwell’s ninth and final book completed during his lifetime was published on June 8, 1949, by Secker & Warburg. The theme of the work revolves around the effects of totalitarianism, widespread surveillance, and oppressive control of individuals and their actions within a society. In his novel, Orwell, who was a democratic socialist, used Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany as models for the authoritarian state. The novel explores the significance of truth and facts in societies and how they can be manipulated.

The narrative is set in a hypothetical future, specifically in the year 1984, where a significant portion of the globe is engaged in an ongoing conflict. Airstrip One, formerly known as Great Britain, has been incorporated as a province of the totalitarian superstate Oceania. The Party’s Thought Police have created an intense cult of personality around Big Brother, the dictatorial leader of Oceania. The Party utilizes the Ministry of Truth to carry out widespread government surveillance, historical revisionism, and continuous propaganda in order to suppress individuality and free thought.

Winston Smith, the protagonist, works diligently as a mid-level employee at the Ministry of Truth. However, he secretly harbours hatred towards the Party and dreams of rebelling against it. Smith maintains a diary that is prohibited. He starts a romantic relationship with his colleague, Julia, and together they discover the existence of a mysterious resistance organization known as the Brotherhood. Unfortunately, Smith’s contact within the Brotherhood was actually a party agent, which led to his subsequent arrest. After enduring months of psychological manipulation and torture at the hands of the Ministry of Love, he is eventually released only after he has developed a deep love and loyalty towards Big Brother.

The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald

The third novel is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel, The Great Gatsby. It is a renowned piece of American literature. The novel is set in the Jazz Age on Long Island, near New York City. It follows the interactions between the first-person narrator, Nick Carraway, and the mysterious millionaire, Jay Gatsby. Gatsby is obsessed with reuniting with his former lover, Daisy Buchanan.

Fitzgerald’s novel was influenced by his youthful romance with socialite Ginevra King and the lively parties he experienced on Long Island’s North Shore in 1922. After relocating to the French Riviera, Fitzgerald managed to finish a preliminary version of the novel in 1924. Fitzgerald submitted the work to editor Maxwell Perkins, who convinced him to revise it during the following winter. Fitzgerald was content with the revised text, but still uncertain about the book’s title and contemplated various other options. Fitzgerald was greatly impressed by the dust jacket art of painter Francis Cugat and incorporated its imagery into the novel.

Upon its release by Scribner’s in April 1925, The Great Gatsby garnered mostly positive reviews, although a few literary critics felt that it did not quite measure up to Fitzgerald’s previous works. In contrast to his previous works, namely This Side of Paradise and The Beautiful and Damned, Gatsby did not perform well commercially. By October, the novel had sold less than 20,000 copies and Fitzgerald’s expectations of making a lot of money from it were not met. The author passed away in 1940 with the belief that he had failed and his work had been forgotten.

The novel gained sudden popularity during World War II when the Council on Books in Wartime provided free copies to American soldiers serving overseas. Following its newfound popularity, the work underwent a critical and scholarly re-examination and subsequently became an integral part of most American high school curricula and a prominent aspect of American popular culture. In the subsequent decades, there were numerous adaptations for both stage and film.

The enduring appeal of Gatsby is evident in its continued popularity among both the general public and academic circles. Modern scholars place great emphasis on the way the novel addresses issues of social class, the contrast between inherited and self-made wealth, gender and race, as well as environmentalism. Additionally, the novel’s cynical outlook on the American Dream is a notable aspect of its analysis. One frequently mentioned criticism is the accusation of perpetuating antisemitic stereotypes. The Great Gatsby is commonly regarded as a masterpiece of literature and a potential candidate for the distinction of being the Great American Novel.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

The fourth novel is Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. On October 19, 1847, Smith, Elder & Co. of London published the book under the pen name “Currer Bell.” Harper & Brothers of New York published the first American edition the following year. “Jane Eyre” is a Bildungsroman novel that narrates the journey of its protagonist, Jane Eyre, as she matures into adulthood and falls in love with Mr. Rochester, the enigmatic owner of Thornfield Hall.

The Top 5 Most Important Novels According to Goodreads

The novel was groundbreaking in its approach to prose fiction, as it was the first to center on the protagonist’s moral and spiritual growth through a personal first-person narrative. This style imbued actions and events with a heightened psychological intensity. Charlotte Brontë is often referred to as the “first historian of the private consciousness” and is considered a literary predecessor to writers such as Marcel Proust and James Joyce.

The book incorporates social criticism and is centered around Christian morality. It is often regarded as a groundbreaking work due to Jane’s independent personality and the novel’s treatment of themes such as class, sexuality, religion, and feminism. It is one of the most famous romance novels, alongside Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

The fifth and last novel is Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. It is a literary work of Russian origin. The novel was initially released in twelve monthly installments throughout 1866 in the literary journal, The Russian Messenger. It was subsequently compiled and released as a single volume. This novel is the second of Dostoevsky’s full-length works, which he wrote after his ten-year exile in Siberia. Crime and Punishment is widely regarded as the first significant novel of the author’s later writing career. The novel is frequently recognized as one of the greatest accomplishments in global literature.

Crime and Punishment is a novel that delves into the psychological turmoil and ethical quandaries of Rodion Raskolnikov, a destitute former student living in Saint Petersburg. Raskolnikov devises a plan to murder a deceitful pawnbroker, an elderly woman who hoards money and precious items in her flat. The individual has a theory that by obtaining a significant amount of money, they could escape poverty and accomplish remarkable feats. They attempt to rationalize that certain unlawful actions are acceptable if they serve the purpose of eliminating hindrances to the greater objectives of exceptional individuals. After completing the task, he experiences a sense of bewilderment, suspicion, and repulsion. As he grapples with guilt and horror, and faces the internal and external consequences of his actions, his theoretical justifications become powerless.


In fine, according to the Goodreads ranking, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, and Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky are the highest-rated novels. Expanding on the Goodreads rankings, these novels are not only highly rated but also represent a diverse array of genres and themes that have resonated with readers for generations. They offer profound insights into human nature, society, and the complexities of relationships. 

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