In late 2017, just over a month before her death at 88, fantasy and science fiction author Ursula K. Le Guin shared her 6 favorite timeless novels with The Week. Of her selection, she wrote:

“I chose six novels, all more than a century old (and one over two centuries), but their authors’ love of life and passionate concern for lives that are ignored or unvalued keep them fresh year after year, reading after reading.”

Read on for Ursula K. Le Guin’s favorite classic books, and complement with one of her final interviews with EW, on her lifelong love of literature.


Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

“Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park is the least popular of her works. The heroine, Fanny Price, isn’t feisty, fiery, and likable — she’s poor, shy, insecure, introverted, and awfully law-abiding. But I love her for her courage. Despite shame and contempt, she holds to what she thinks is right. Her story, like the others here, has given me deep pleasure and a whole lot to think about.” -UKLG

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (also rec’d by Jane Goodall & Rose McGowan)

“Of Jane Eyre, I just want to say that if you think you know the book because you’ve seen a movie based on it, do think again.” -UKLG

Silas Marner by George Eliot

“Silas Marner was probably on the 1945 high school curriculum because it was short and not about sex. I hated it — didn’t have a clue what it wasabout. Eliot (real name Mary Ann Evans) writes with a dry, adult humor and depth of experience of pain I could only appreciate when I finally finished growing up.” -UKLG

Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell

“Gaskell’s first novel, the tale of a working-class girl in Manchester during the Industrial Revolution, probably isn’t her best, but I’ve not yet got through it without tears. It’s so alive with indignation, sympathy, and compassion.” -UKLG

The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett

“An 1849 story suite about a village on the coast of Maine. Its setting and characters are so vivid that I think of Dunnet Landing as a place I’ve been, where I’m very fond of the people. And the beauty of it is, I can go back there whenever I want.” -UKLG

Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

“Uncle Tom’s Cabin may be, today, the most misunderstood, misread American novel. I hope its vitality, generosity, and human warmth will carry it on past this period of prejudice and eclipse.” -UKLG

(via The Week)

Categories: Writers

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