Literature The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time  

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Originally by Ranker Community
366.3k votes 13.1k voters 498.5k views 388 items

List Rules Must-Read Books everyone should read

Need a good read? Take a look at this list of the best must-read books of all time, suitable for every one of all ages, creeds and color. Featuring the newest YA novels reviewed by popular literary channels on YouTube, these are the novels, autobiographies, and short books that you should consider when you ask yourself, "What book should I read next?" If you somehow made it through school without reading the classic - or you're still in school - be sure to check them out to expand your literary horizons.

An eclectic mix that does not cater solely to the sensibilities of the literati, culturati, illuminati or even paparazzi. With some hidden gems in here, it's a great list to consider when looking for something to read next.  

"Tell me what you read and I'll tell you who you are" is true enough, but I'd know you better if you told me what you reread' - François Mauriac. Give fellow voters the best tips you can on the top books of all time that they must read by voting on your personal favorites and downvoting those you didn't enjoy.

 

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51
1,456 519
Oliver Twist is listed (or ranked) 51 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Oliver Twist Charles Dickens Oliver Twist, or The Parish Boy's Progress, is the second novel by Charles Dickens, and was first published as a serial 1837–9. The story is of the orphan Oliver Twist, who starts his life in a ...more

52
718 829
The Brothers Karamazov is listed (or ranked) 52 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
The Brothers Karamazov Fyodor Dostoyevsky The Brothers Karamazov, sometimes also translated as The Karamazov Brothers, is the final novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Dostoyevsky spent nearly two years writing The Brothers ...more

53
2,130 288
The Lion, the Witch and the Wa... is listed (or ranked) 53 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe C. S. Lewis The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a high fantasy novel for children by C. S. Lewis, published by Geoffrey Bles in 1950. It was the first published of seven novels in The Chronicles of ...more

54
1,574 257
Macbeth is listed (or ranked) 54 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Macbeth William Shakespeare Macbeth is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare, and is considered one of his darkest and most powerful works. Set in Scotland, the play dramatizes the corrosive psychological and political ...more

55
1,108 544
And Then There Were None is listed (or ranked) 55 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
ThomZ added And Then There Were None Agatha Christie And Then There Were None is a mystery novel by Agatha Christie, widely considered her masterpiece and described by her as the most difficult of her books to write. It was first published in the ...more

56
1,330 506
Gulliver's Travels is listed (or ranked) 56 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Gulliver's Travels Jonathan Swift Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World. In Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships, commonly known as Gulliver's Travels, is a satire by ...more

57
1,200 496
Robinson Crusoe is listed (or ranked) 57 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Robinson Crusoe Daniel Defoe Robinson Crusoe is a novel by Daniel Defoe, first published on 25 April 1719. This first edition credited the work's fictional protagonist Robinson Crusoe as its author, leading many readers to ...more

58
1,102 645
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale is listed (or ranked) 58 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale Herman Melville Moby-Dick; or, The Whale is a novel by Herman Melville considered an outstanding work of Romanticism and the American Renaissance. Ishmael narrates the monomaniacal quest of Ahab, captain of the ...more

59
1,317 662
Slaughterhouse-Five is listed (or ranked) 59 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death is a satirical novel by Kurt Vonnegut about World War II experiences and journeys through time of a soldier named Billy ...more

60
1,360 273
Aesop's Fables is listed (or ranked) 60 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
but chickens double d added Aesop's Fables Aesop Aesop's Fables or the Aesopica is a collection of fables credited to Aesop, a slave and storyteller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 560 BCE. Of diverse origins, the ...more

61
1,857 239
Winnie-the-Pooh is listed (or ranked) 61 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
but chickens double d added Winnie-the-Pooh A. A. Milne Winnie-the-Pooh is the first volume of stories about Winnie-the-Pooh, by A. A. Milne. It is followed by The House at Pooh Corner. The book focuses on the adventures of a teddy bear called ...more

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2,187 291
Where the Wild Things Are is listed (or ranked) 62 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
but chickens double d added Where the Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak Where the Wild Things Are is a 1963 children's picture book by American writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak, originally published by Harper & Row. The book has been adapted into other ...more

63
1,085 561
Uncle Tom's Cabin is listed (or ranked) 63 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Uncle Tom's Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly, is an anti-slavery novel by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe. Published in 1852, the novel "helped lay the groundwork for the Civil ...more

64
1,115 411
The Wind in the Willows is listed (or ranked) 64 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
but chickens double d added The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame The Wind in the Willows is a children's novel by Kenneth Grahame, first published in 1908. Alternately slow moving and fast paced, it focuses on four anthropomorphised animals in a pastoral ...more

65
2,081 956
The Bible is listed (or ranked) 65 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
The Holy Bible The Bible is a canonical collection of texts sacred in Judaism and Christianity. There is no single canonical Bible and various religious traditions have produced different recensions with ...more

66
2,266 234
Green Eggs and Ham is listed (or ranked) 66 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
but chickens double d added Green Eggs and Ham Dr. Seuss Green Eggs and Ham is a best-selling and critically acclaimed children's book by Dr. Seuss, first published on August 12, 1960. As of 2001, according to Publishers Weekly, it was the fourth ...more

67
2,080 225
How the Grinch Stole Christmas... is listed (or ranked) 67 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
but chickens double d added How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Dr. Seuss How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a children's story by Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel written in rhymed verse with illustrations by the author. It follows the Grinch, a grouchy, solitary ...more

68
763 571
One Thousand and One Nights is listed (or ranked) 68 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Arabian Nights One Thousand and One Nights is a collection of West and South Asian stories and folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. It is often known in English as the Arabian Nights, ...more

69
653 744
On the Road is listed (or ranked) 69 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
On the Road Jack Kerouac On the Road is a novel by American writer Jack Kerouac, based on the travels of Kerouac and his friends across America. It is considered a defining work of the postwar Beat and Counterculture ...more

70
1,004 569
Jurassic Park is listed (or ranked) 70 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
bjr24 added Jurassic Park Michael Crichton Jurassic Park is a science fiction novel written by Michael Crichton, divided into seven sections. Often considered a cautionary tale on unconsidered biological tinkering in the same spirit as ...more

71
1,595 450
The Outsiders is listed (or ranked) 71 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
The Outsiders S. E. Hinton The Outsiders is a coming-of-age novel by S. E. Hinton, first published in 1967 by Viking Press. Hinton was 15 when she started writing the novel, but did most of the work when she was 16 and a ...more

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831 618
Heart of Darkness is listed (or ranked) 72 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness is a novella by Anglo-Polish novelist Joseph Conrad, written as a frame narrative, about Charles Marlow's experience as an ivory transporter down the Congo River in Central ...more

73
1,877 447
The Giving Tree is listed (or ranked) 73 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
The Giving Tree Shel Silverstein The Giving Tree is a children's picture book written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein. First published in 1964 by Harper & Row, it has become one of Silverstein's best known titles and ...more

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1,455 326
The Diary of a Young Girl is listed (or ranked) 74 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Riot18 added The Diary of a Young Girl Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl is a book of the writings from the Dutch language diary kept by Anne Frank while she was in hiding for two years with her family during the Nazi occupation of the ...more

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850 622
A Clockwork Orange is listed (or ranked) 75 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
A Clockwork Orange Anthony Burgess A Clockwork Orange is a dystopian novella by Anthony Burgess published in 1962. Set in a near future English society that has a subculture of extreme youth violence, the novella has a teenage ...more

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770 473
David Copperfield is listed (or ranked) 76 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
David Copperfield Charles Dickens David Copperfield, . is the eighth novel by Charles Dickens. It was first published as a serial 1849–50, and as a book in 1850. Many elements of the novel follow events in Dickens' own life, and ...more

77
1,084 607
The Kite Runner is listed (or ranked) 77 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini The Kite Runner is the first novel by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini. Published in 2003 by Riverhead Books, it tells the story of Amir, a young boy from the Wazir Akbar Khan district of ...more

78
1,319 282
The Call of the Wild is listed (or ranked) 78 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
but chickens double d added The Call of the Wild Jack London The Call of the Wild is a novel by Jack London published in 1903. The story is set in the Yukon during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush—a period in which strong sled dogs were in high demand. The ...more

79
1,626 341
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is listed (or ranked) 79 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
but chickens double d added The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eric Carle The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a children's picture book designed, illustrated and written by Eric Carle, first published by the World Publishing Company in 1969, later published by Penguin ...more

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1,190 253
A Midsummer Night's Dream is listed (or ranked) 80 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
A Midsummer Night's Dream William Shakespeare A Midsummer Night's Dream is a comedy play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1590 and 1596. It portrays the events surrounding the marriage of the Duke of Athens, ...more

81
458 682
The Idiot is listed (or ranked) 81 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
The Idiot Fyodor Dostoyevsky The Idiot is a novel written by the 19th-century Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It was first published serially in The Russian Messenger between 1868 and 1869. The Idiot, alongside some of ...more

82
996 325
The Canterbury Tales is listed (or ranked) 82 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
The Canterbury Tales Geoffrey Chaucer The Canterbury Tales is a collection of over 20 stories written in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer at the end of the 14th century, during the time of the Hundred Years' War. The tales are ...more

83
922 397
Murder on the Orient Express is listed (or ranked) 83 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
slaphappy4sfg added Murder on the Orient Express Agatha Christie Murder on the Orient Express is a detective novel by Agatha Christie featuring the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. It was first published in the United Kingdom by the Collins Crime Club on 1 ...more

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740 662
Lolita is listed (or ranked) 84 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Lolita Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov Lolita is a novel by Vladimir Nabokov, written in English and published in 1955 in Paris, in 1958 in New York, and in 1959 in London. It was later translated by its Russian-native author into ...more

85
801 576
The Metamorphosis is listed (or ranked) 85 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
FlorissaGlen added The Metamorphosis Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis is a novella by Franz Kafka, first published in 1915. It has been cited as one of the seminal works of fiction of the 20th century and is studied in colleges and universities ...more

86
1,446 432
Gone with the Wind is listed (or ranked) 86 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell Gone with the Wind is a novel written by Margaret Mitchell, first published in 1936. The story is set in Clayton County, Georgia, and Atlanta during the American Civil War and Reconstruction ...more

87
1,663 248
Horton Hears a Who! is listed (or ranked) 87 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
but chickens double d added Horton Hears a Who! Dr. Seuss Horton Hears a Who! is a children's book written and illustrated by Theodor Seuss Geisel under the name Dr. Seuss and published in 1954 by Random House. It is the second Dr. Seuss book to ...more

88
789 544
The Godfather is listed (or ranked) 88 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
ThomZ added The Godfather Mario Puzo The Godfather is a crime novel written by Italian American author Mario Puzo, originally published in 1969 by G. P. Putnam's Sons. It details the story of a fictitious Mafia family based in New ...more

89
1,659 238
One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blu... is listed (or ranked) 89 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
but chickens double d added One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish Dr. Seuss One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish is a 1960 children's book by Dr. Seuss. It is a simple rhyming book for beginning readers, with a freewheeling plot about a boy and a girl and the many ...more

90
1,124 458
Beowulf is listed (or ranked) 90 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
gsbookseller added Beowulf Welwyn Wilton Katz

91
909 430
Mary Poppins is listed (or ranked) 91 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Mary Poppins P. L. Travers

92
1,217 368
Flowers for Algernon is listed (or ranked) 92 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Flowers for Algernon Daniel Keyes Flowers for Algernon is a science fiction short story and subsequent novel written by Daniel Keyes. The short story, written in 1958 and first published in the April 1959 issue of The Magazine ...more

93
1,399 299
Charlie and the Chocolate Fact... is listed (or ranked) 93 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
but chickens double d added Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Roald Dahl Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a 1964 children's book by British author Roald Dahl. The story features the adventures of young Charlie Bucket inside the chocolate factory of eccentric ...more

94
863 320
Iliad is listed (or ranked) 94 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
but chickens double d added Iliad Homer The Iliad is an ancient Greek epic poem in dactylic hexameter, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek ...more

95
1,347 245
The Lorax is listed (or ranked) 95 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
but chickens double d added The Lorax Dr. Seuss The Lorax is a children's book written by Dr. Seuss and first published in 1971. It chronicles the plight of the environment and the Lorax, who speaks for the trees against the greedy Once-ler. ...more

96
527 502
The Stranger is listed (or ranked) 96 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
The Stranger Albert Camus L'étranger is a novel written by Albert Camus.

97
710 418
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is listed (or ranked) 97 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
The Hunchback of Notre Dame Victor Hugo Notre-Dame De Paris is written by Victor Hugo.

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1,017 387
Sense and Sensibility is listed (or ranked) 98 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Sense and Sensibility Jane Austen Sense and Sensibility is a novel by Jane Austen, and was her first published work when it appeared in 1811 under the pseudonym "A Lady". A work of romantic fiction, better known as a ...more

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773 432
For Whom the Bell Tolls is listed (or ranked) 99 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
For Whom the Bell Tolls Ernest Hemingway For Whom the Bell Tolls is a novel by Ernest Hemingway published in 1940. It tells the story of Robert Jordan, a young American in the International Brigades attached to a republican guerrilla ...more

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1,100 339
Black Beauty is listed (or ranked) 100 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
ThomZ added Black Beauty Anna Sewell Black Beauty is an 1877 novel by English author Anna Sewell. It was composed in the last years of her life, during which she remained in her house as an invalid. The novel became an immediate ...more