The Best Novels Ever Written

110k votes 5.1k voters 122k views 1,185 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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  1. 1
    + 1,510
    - 679

    the people's #1
    Harper Lee

    ;
  2. 2
    + 971
    - 678

    most listed
    George Orwell

    ;
  3. 3
    + 1,397
    - 543


    J. R. R. Tolkien

    ;
  4. 4
    + 953
    - 456


    John Steinbeck

    ;
  5. 5
    + 1,089
    - 404

    ranked low on reranks
    George Orwell

    ;
  6. 6
    + 1,004
    - 569

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    F. Scott Fitzgerald

    ;
  7. 7
    + 719
    - 412

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    John Steinbeck

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  8. 8
    + 755
    - 502

    often listed
    William Golding

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  9. 9
    + 794
    - 320

    ranked low on reranks
    Lewis Carroll, William Glennon

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  10. 10
    + 784
    - 274


    Charles Dickens

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  11. 11
    + 984
    - 289

    ranked low on reranks & added by wawwhite1
    Jane Austen

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  12. 12
    + 1,133
    - 447


    J. R. R. Tolkien

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  13. 13
    + 667
    - 279


    Charles Dickens

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  14. 14
    + 477
    - 268

    often listed
    Miguel de Cervantes

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  15. 15
    + 561
    - 368

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Herman Melville

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  16. 16
    + 888
    - 249

    ranked low on reranks
    Mark Twain

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  17. 17
    + 627
    - 322

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Aldous Huxley

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  18. 18
    + 717
    - 251

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    Mark Twain

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  19. 19
    + 810
    - 420


    J. D. Salinger

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  20. 20
    + 692
    - 361


    Douglas Adams

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  21. 21
    + 636
    - 247

    ranked low on reranks
    Victor Hugo

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  22. 22
    + 487
    - 221


    Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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  23. 23
    + 615
    - 260


    Charles Dickens

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  24. 24
    + 641
    - 310


    William Shakespeare

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  25. 25
    + 609
    - 220


    Alexandre Dumas, Auguste Maquet

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  26. 26
    + 502
    - 275

    often listed
    Joseph Heller

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  27. 27
    + 439
    - 229

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Leo Tolstoy

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  28. 28
    + 740
    - 248

    ranked low on reranks
    Ray Bradbury

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  29. 29
    + 763
    - 225

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

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  30. 30
    + 538
    - 297

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Kurt Vonnegut

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  31. 31
    + 563
    - 196

    ranked low on reranks
    Arthur Conan Doyle

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  32. 32
    + 601
    - 273


    Emily Brontë

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  33. 33
    + 429
    - 92

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

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  34. 34
    + 529
    - 227


    Jack London

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  35. 35
    + 674
    - 267

    added by jmmikkola
    J. K. Rowling

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  36. 36
    + 543
    - 206


    Oscar Wilde

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  37. 37
    + 483
    - 172


    Robert Louis Stevenson

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  38. 38
    + 625
    - 187

    ranked low on reranks
    Mary Shelley

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  39. 39
    + 623
    - 195


    Bram Stoker

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  40. 40
    + 404
    - 215


    Richard Adams

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  41. 41
    + 656
    - 305


    Louisa May Alcott

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  42. 42
    + 365
    - 202


    Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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  43. 43
    + 350
    - 152


    H. G. Wells

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  44. 44
    + 370
    - 219

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Lois Lowry

    ;
  45. 45
    + 737
    - 282

    ranked low on reranks
    Charlotte Brontë

    ;
  46. 46
    + 357
    - 297

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    James Joyce

    ;
  47. 47
    + 489
    - 223

    ranked low on reranks
    Ernest Hemingway

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  48. 48
    + 441
    - 302

    ranked high on reranks
    Frank Herbert

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  49. 49
    + 452
    - 163

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

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  50. 50
    + 350
    - 172

    often listed but ranked low on reranks
    Nathaniel Hawthorne

    ;
1186 +

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