1. Great Expectations – Charles DickensJohn Irving is certainly a writer who has taken his favorites to heart and has reflected his admiration of those books in his own work. His novels have always reminded me of 19th century writers, especially Charles Dickens, so I was not at all surprised to find Great Expectations atop the list, nor to see the list dominated by other novels of that era. If you've ever wondered what Charles Dickens would write if he were alive today, just read Irving's The Cider House Rules and you'll have a pretty good idea.
2. Tess of the D’Urbevilles – Thomas Hardy
3. Moby Dick – Herman Melville
4. The Scarlet Letter – Nathanial Hawthorne
5. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
6. The Mayor of Casterbridge – Thomas Hardy
7. The Tin Drum – Gunter Grass
8. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
9. Fifth Business – Robertson Davies
10. Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
I've been reading a couple of chapters a day of Great Expectations lately and my enthusiasm for that great novel has been fired up again so I was particularly pleased to see it in Irving's top spot. For me, Dickens has always been, and always will be, the king.