Culture

The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
425k votes 16.2k voters 569.4k views 339 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.

 

Ranker may collect a commission from links on this page.
list ordered by
1
To Kill a Mockingbird is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Harper Lee
To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel by Harper Lee published in 1960. It was immediately successful, winning the Pulitzer Prize, and has become a classic of modern American literature. The plot and ...more
2
Nineteen Eighty-Four is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
George Orwell
Nineteen Eighty-Four, sometimes published as 1984, is a dystopian novel by English author George Orwell published in 1949. The novel is set in Airstrip One, a province of the superstate Oceania ...more
3
The Lord of the Rings is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
J. R. R. Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings is an epic high-fantasy novel written by English author J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's 1937 fantasy novel The Hobbit, but eventually developed ...more
4
Animal Farm is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
George Orwell
Animal Farm is an allegorical and dystopian novella by George Orwell, first published in England on 17 August 1945. According to Orwell, the book reflects events leading up to the Russian ...more
5
The Catcher in the Rye is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
J. D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye is a 1951 novel by J. D. Salinger. A controversial novel originally published for adults, it has since become popular with adolescent readers for its themes of teenage ...more
6
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Mark Twain
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel by Mark Twain, first published in the United Kingdom in December 1884 and in the United States in February 1885. Commonly named among the Great American ...more
7
A Christmas Carol is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Charles Dickens
A Christmas Carol is a novella by Charles Dickens, first published in London by Chapman & Hall on 19 December 1843. The novella met with instant success and critical acclaim. Carol tells the ...more
8
The Adventures of Sherlock Hol... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Arthur Conan Doyle
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is a collection of twelve stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle, featuring his famous detective, and illustrated by Sidney Paget.
9
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the ... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Douglas Adams
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is the first of five books in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy comedy science fiction "trilogy" by Douglas Adams. The novel is an adaptation of ...more
10
The Cat in the Hat is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
but chickens double d added Dr. Seuss
The Cat in the Hat is a children's book written and illustrated by Theodor Geisel under the pen name Dr. Seuss and first published in 1957. The story centers on a tall anthropomorphic cat, who ...more
11
Lord of the Flies is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
William Golding
Lord of the Flies is a 1954 dystopian novel by Nobel Prize-winning English author William Golding about a group of British boys stuck on an uninhabited island who try to govern themselves with ...more
12
The Great Gatsby is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby is a 1925 novel written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald that follows a cast of characters living in the fictional town of West Egg on prosperous Long Island in the summer ...more
13
Romeo and Juliet is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
but chickens double d added William Shakespeare
Romeo and Juliet is a play by William Shakespeare.
14
Fahrenheit 451 is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury published in 1953. It is regarded as one of his best works. The novel presents a future American society where books are outlawed and ...more
15
Alice in Wonderland is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Lewis Carroll, William Glennon
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland) is an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells of a ...more
16
The Grapes of Wrath is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
John Steinbeck
The Grapes of Wrath is an American realist novel written by John Steinbeck and published in 1939. The book won the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and it was cited ...more
17
Grimm's Fairy Tales is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
but chickens double d added Wilhelm Grimm, Jacob Grimm
Children's and Household Tales is a collection of German fairy tales first published in 1812 by the Grimm brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm. The collection is commonly known in English as Grimm's ...more
18
Hamlet is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Skojare added William Shakespeare
The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, often shortened to Hamlet, is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare at an uncertain date between 1599 and 1602. Set in the Kingdom of Denmark, the ...more
19
The Hobbit is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
J. R. R. Tolkien
The Hobbit, or There and Back Again is a fantasy novel and children's book by English author J. R. R. Tolkien. It was published on 21 September 1937 to wide critical acclaim, being nominated for ...more
20
Catch-22 is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Joseph Heller
Catch-22 is a satirical novel by the American author Joseph Heller. He began writing it in 1953; the novel was first published in 1961. It is frequently cited as one of the greatest literary ...more
21
Green Eggs and Ham is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
but chickens double d added 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
22
Of Mice and Men is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
John Steinbeck
Of Mice and Men is a novella written by Nobel Prize–winning author John Steinbeck. Published in 1937, it tells the story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers, ...more
23
How the Grinch Stole Christmas... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
but chickens double d added 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
24
The Old Man and the Sea is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Ernest Hemingway
The Old Man and the Sea is a novel written by the American author Ernest Hemingway in 1951 in Cuba, and published in 1952. It was the last major work of fiction to be produced by Hemingway and ...more
25
Macbeth is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
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