The Best Novels Ever Written Books
Ultimate List
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The Best Novels Ever Written

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.
List is ranked by a combination of each item's votes & positioning in reranks
  • 12 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    Up 103
    Down 37

    George Orwell

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  2. 2
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    Down 46

    Harper Lee

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  3. 3
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    J. R. R. Tolkien

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  4. 4
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    William Golding

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  5. 5
    Up 76
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    most listed George Orwell

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  6. 6
    Up 72
    Down 36

    John Steinbeck

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  7. 7
    Up 70
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    John Steinbeck

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  8. 8
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    ranked low on reranks J. R. R. Tolkien

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  9. 9
    Up 54
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Charles Dickens

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  10. 10
    Up 84
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    F. Scott Fitzgerald

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  11. 11
    Up 70
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    ranked low on reranks Mark Twain

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  12. 12
    Up 62
    Down 15

    ranked low on reranks Mark Twain

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  13. 13
    Up 50
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    Herman Melville

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  14. 14
    Up 52
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    Charles Dickens

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  15. 15
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    J. D. Salinger

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  16. 16
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    Lewis Carroll

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  17. 17
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    Victor Hugo

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  18. 18
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    Aldous Huxley

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  19. 19
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    Douglas Adams

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  20. 20
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    Arthur Conan Doyle

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  21. 21
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    Joseph Heller

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  22. 22
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    Ray Bradbury

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  23. 23
    Up 27
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    Washington Irving

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  24. 24
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    James Joyce

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  25. 25
    Up 44
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    Jack London

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  26. 26
    Up 37
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Mario Puzo

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  27. 27
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    Oscar Wilde

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  28. 28
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    Alexandre Dumas, Auguste Maquet

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  29. 29
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    Down 10

    Charles Dickens

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  30. 30
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    William Shakespeare

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  31. 31
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    Down 14

    Bram Stoker

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  32. 32
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    Emily Brontë

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  33. 33
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    Kurt Vonnegut

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  34. 34
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    Ernest Hemingway

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  35. 35
    Up 48
    Down 28

    Frank Herbert

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  36. 36
    Up 27
    Down 8

    H. G. Wells

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  37. 37
    Up 29
    Down 10

    Robert Louis Stevenson

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  38. 38
    Up 40
    Down 21

    Dante Alighieri

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  39. 39
    Up 22
    Down 12

    Jules Verne

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  40. 40
    Up 32
    Down 14

    Ernest Hemingway

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  41. 41
    Up 33
    Down 15

    Mary Shelley

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  42. 42
    Up 21
    Down 15

    Dashiell Hammett

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  43. 43
    Up 25
    Down 9

    Robert Louis Stevenson

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  44. 44
    Up 40
    Down 36

    Anthony Burgess

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  45. 45
    Up 39
    Down 26

    Leo Tolstoy

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  46. 46
    Up 21
    Down 16

    Joseph Conrad

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  47. 47
    Up 45
    Down 22

    ranked low on reranks Charles Dickens

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  48. 48
    Up 27
    Down 17

    Ernest Hemingway

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  49. 49
    Up 23
    Down 14

    H. G. Wells

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  50. 50
    Up 25
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    John Milton

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