Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My Top Tens: Big Epic Family Sagas

Anyone love big epic family sagas like I do? It's been awhile since I've read one, but I was thinking about them last night and so I thought I'd come up with a Top Ten list of some of my favorites.

But first, maybe we should define what I'm thinking of when I say big epic family saga! Usually, it's a big fat book. It's about a family over the course of several generations (usually).... or even maybe several families that live in a common area. It spans many many years (usually). And it's a wonderful soap opera of sorts with lots of intricate relationships between characters (always!)

Ten of my favorites would include:

1. Chesapeake by James Michener
2. Sarum by Edward Rutherford
3. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
4. North and South by John Jakes
5. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
6. The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy
7. The Winds of War by Herman Wouk
8. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
9. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
10. Middlemarch by George Eliot

Roots by Alex Haley should be on this list, but sadly, I haven't read it.... yet. (However, I will never ever forget the experience of watching it on TV!)

Do you love Big Epic Family Sagas? Which ones would you include on this list? Did I forget some really obvious ones?


  1. I have read The Thorn Birds and East of Eden and yes I would desbribe them as sweeping family dramas. I like them every now and again but as they tend to be long and quite involved I have to be in the right mood for them.

  2. I have read and enjoyed Pillars of the Earth, GWTW and Thorn Birds. I find that I am liking them more now that I am getting older. East od Eden and Middlemarch are on my TBR.

  3. My all time favorite book would fit this category - AND LADIES OF THE CLUB by Helen Hooven Santmyer. It's a whopping 1000+ pages of tiny print that follows a few families through about 3 generations.

    Loved PILLARS OF THE EARTH, GONE WITH THE WIND, and EAST OF EDEN. Wasn't too thrilled with THE FORSYTE SAGA. And you really should read ROOTS.

  4. Of your list, I have only read Gone with the Wind, Pillars of the Earth and East of Eden. I loved all three!

  5. I would add R.F. Delderfield's "God is an Englishman" trilogy which is 3 huge fat books. And my favourite of Rutherford's is Russka, maybe because it was the first I read. Of Michener's I haven't read Chesapeake so my favourite would be Alaska.

    Of the ones you mention I've read:
    Sarum, Forsyte Saga, Winds of War, GWTW, and Thorn Birds.

    And I'd love to read Roots sometime too!

  6. Does The Godfather count? I loved that book. I also really enjoyed Pillars of the Earth.

  7. Of your list, I’ve read 1, 2, 5, and 8, and seen the excellent tv version of 3. Those are all fantastic books! And I’ve at least heard of all the others except for 7 – that one is totally new to me.

    And can you believe that I have neither read nor seen Roots?! My mom loved the tv series but I was *gasp* too young to see it when it came out. :)

  8. I would definitely add "Ada, or Ardor" by Vladimir Nabokov. It most certainly fits the category and is a both excellent and disturbing read.



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