The Best Novels Ever Written

108k votes 5k voters 120k views 1,180 items tags f p @

List Criteria: Only fiction

This is the ultimate list of the best novels of all time, which is based on influence, originality, popularity, and personal affections. You can make the case for many books to be on this list, but only a few can be considered the best novel ever written. For as long as books have been around, there has been debate amongst book enthusiasts over what truly is the best book ever. The one criteria on this list is that we are only taking fiction books into account. Anything should not be on here.

Classics like Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, Herman Melville's Moby Dick, Charles Dickens' Tale of Two Cities and John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath are all on here and deservedly so as they've stood the test of the time and have become important pieces of literature. That's not to say that modern books are neglected, in fact, they're well represented as well. Recent classics like J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Dan Brown's Angels and Demons, Thomas Pynchon's Gravity Rainbow and Stephen King's The Waste Lands are on here.

It's up to you to vote on or even add a book that isn't on this list. Otherwise, decide what the best book of all time is by going this list and voting on what you think is a worthy choice.
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  • 39 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 1,484
    - 661

    the people's #1
    Harper Lee

    ;
  2. 2
    + 952
    - 660

    most listed
    George Orwell

    ;
  3. 3
    + 1,362
    - 528


    J. R. R. Tolkien

    ;
  4. 4
    + 1,066
    - 395


    George Orwell

    ;
  5. 5
    + 932
    - 447


    John Steinbeck

    ;
  6. 6
    + 978
    - 552


    F. Scott Fitzgerald

    ;
  7. 7
    + 703
    - 403

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    John Steinbeck

    ;
  8. 8
    + 746
    - 489

    often listed
    William Golding

    ;
  9. 9
    + 961
    - 280

    added by wawwhite1
    Jane Austen

    ;
  10. 10
    + 766
    - 267

    ranked low on reranks
    Charles Dickens

    ;
  11. 11
    + 779
    - 311


    Lewis Carroll, William Glennon

    ;
  12. 12
    + 1,109
    - 435


    J. R. R. Tolkien

    ;
  13. 13
    + 656
    - 271


    Charles Dickens

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  14. 14
    + 614
    - 316

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Aldous Huxley

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  15. 15
    + 458
    - 264


    Miguel de Cervantes

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  16. 16
    + 544
    - 365

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Herman Melville

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  17. 17
    + 867
    - 243

    ranked low on reranks
    Mark Twain

    ;
  18. 18
    + 701
    - 243

    ranked low on reranks
    Mark Twain

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  19. 19
    + 679
    - 350


    Douglas Adams

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  20. 20
    + 793
    - 412


    J. D. Salinger

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  21. 21
    + 627
    - 242

    ranked low on reranks
    Victor Hugo

    ;
  22. 22
    + 475
    - 215


    Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    ;
  23. 23
    + 605
    - 254


    Charles Dickens

    ;
  24. 24
    + 726
    - 242

    ranked low on reranks
    Ray Bradbury

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  25. 25
    + 495
    - 269

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Joseph Heller

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  26. 26
    + 522
    - 292

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Kurt Vonnegut

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  27. 27
    + 625
    - 305


    William Shakespeare

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  28. 28
    + 589
    - 217

    ranked low on reranks
    Alexandre Dumas, Auguste Maquet

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  29. 29
    + 553
    - 189

    ranked low on reranks
    Arthur Conan Doyle

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  30. 30
    + 589
    - 265


    Emily Brontë

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  31. 31
    + 429
    - 224

    ranked high on reranks
    Leo Tolstoy

    ;
  32. 32
    + 515
    - 225


    Jack London

    ;
  33. 33
    + 743
    - 222

    ranked low on reranks & added by pigonthewing
    C. S. Lewis

    ;
  34. 34
    + 536
    - 203


    Oscar Wilde

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  35. 35
    + 354
    - 196

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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  36. 36
    + 353
    - 292

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    James Joyce

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  37. 37
    + 358
    - 215

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Lois Lowry

    ;
  38. 38
    + 658
    - 255

    ranked low on reranks & added by jmmikkola
    J. K. Rowling

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  39. 39
    + 418
    - 85

    ranked low on reranks & added by but chickens double d
    Arthur Conan Doyle

    ;
  40. 40
    + 721
    - 278


    Charlotte Brontë

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  41. 41
    + 476
    - 168


    Robert Louis Stevenson

    ;
  42. 42
    + 642
    - 302


    Louisa May Alcott

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  43. 43
    + 608
    - 178

    ranked low on reranks
    Mary Shelley

    ;
  44. 44
    + 341
    - 149


    H. G. Wells

    ;
  45. 45
    + 610
    - 191

    ranked low on reranks
    Bram Stoker

    ;
  46. 46
    + 396
    - 211


    Richard Adams

    ;
  47. 47
    + 431
    - 298

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Frank Herbert

    ;
  48. 48
    + 479
    - 219


    Ernest Hemingway

    ;
  49. 49
    + 435
    - 161

    ranked low on reranks & added by but chickens double d
    E. B. White

    ;
  50. 50
    + 364
    - 236


    Joseph Conrad

    ;
1181 +

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