literature The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time  

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List Rules Must-Read Books everyone should read

A list of the best must-read books of all time, suitable for every one of all ages, creeds and color. 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.


list ordered by

1
4,172 979
To Kill a Mockingbird is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
To Kill A Mockingbird 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
3,381 716
Nineteen Eighty-Four is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Nineteen Eighty-Four 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
3,140 800
Animal Farm is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Animal Farm 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

4
3,108 1,057
The Lord of the Rings is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy 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

5
1,992 929
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the ... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy 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

6
2,640 942
Lord of the Flies is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Lord of the Flies 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

7
2,365 958
The Catcher in the Rye is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Catcher In The Rye 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

8
2,709 979
The Great Gatsby is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
The Great Gatsby 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

9
2,284 668
Fahrenheit 451 is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Fahrenheit 451 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

10
2,488 671
A Christmas Carol is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
A Christmas Carol 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

11
1,995 617
The Adventures of Sherlock Hol... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 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.

12
1,991 670
The Grapes of Wrath is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
The Grapes of Wrath 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

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13
2,467 413
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 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

14
2,734 708
The Hobbit is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
The Hobbit 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

15
2,168 500
Alice in Wonderland is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Alice in Wonderland Lewis Carroll, William Glennon

16
2,532 506
Of Mice and Men is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Of Mice and Men 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

17
2,051 400
Hamlet is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Skojare added Hamlet 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

20 Books to Read in Your 20s

18
1,425 670
Catch-22 is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Catch-22 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

19
1,624 662
Brave New World is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Brave New World Aldous Huxley Brave New World is a novel written in 1931 by Aldous Huxley and published in 1932. Set in London of AD 2540, the novel anticipates developments in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, ...more

20
1,628 686
The Count of Monte Cristo is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
The Count of Monte Cristo Alexandre Dumas, Auguste Maquet The Count of Monte Cristo is an adventure novel by French author Alexandre Dumas completed in 1844. It is one of the author's most popular works, along with The Three Musketeers. Like many of ...more

21
1,049 724
Don Quixote is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Don Quixote Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote, fully titled The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, is a Spanish novel by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. It follows the adventures of a nameless hidalgo who reads so many ...more

22
1,552 534
Dracula is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Dracula Bram Stoker Dracula is an 1897 Gothic horror novel by Irish author Bram Stoker. Famous for introducing the character of the vampire Count Dracula, the novel tells the story of Dracula's attempt to move from ...more

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23
2,273 621
Pride and Prejudice is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice is a novel of manners by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story follows the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, ...more

24
1,414 632
The Picture of Dorian Gray is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde The Picture of Dorian Gray is an 1891 philosophical novel by writer and playwright Oscar Wilde. First published as a complete story in the July 1890 issue of Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, the ...more

25
1,117 684
Crime and Punishment is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoyevsky Crime and Punishment is a novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It was first published in the literary journal The Russian Messenger in twelve monthly installments during 1866. It was ...more

26
1,944 585
The Scarlet Letter is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne The Scarlet Letter is an 1850 romantic work of fiction in a historical setting, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and is considered to be his magnum opus. Set in 17th-century Puritan Boston, ...more

27
1,615 466
Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Odyssey Homer The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern ...more

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28
882 693
War and Peace is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Skojare added War and Peace Leo Tolstoy War and Peace is a novel by the Russian author Leo Tolstoy, first published in 1869. The work is epic in scale and is regarded as one of the most important works of world literature. It is ...more

29
1,854 566
The Little Prince is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
FlorissaGlen added The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupéry The Little Prince, first published in 1943, is a novella and the most famous work of the French aristocrat, writer, poet and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The novella is ...more

30
1,811 522
Jane Eyre is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë Jane Eyre is a novel by English writer Charlotte Brontë. It was published on 16 October 1847 by Smith, Elder & Co. of London, England, under the pen name "Currer Bell." The ...more

31
1,539 645
The Old Man and the Sea is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
The Old Man and The Sea 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

32
2,085 340
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Mark Twain The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is an 1876 novel about a young boy growing up along the Mississippi River. The story is set in the fictional town of St. Petersburg, inspired by ...more

Times The Tabloids Broke Real Stories That Weren't Fake

33
1,559 460
Frankenstein is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Frankenstein Mary Shelley Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, is a novel written by English author Mary Shelley about the young student of science Victor Frankenstein, who creates a grotesque but sentient creature ...more

34
1,366 679
The Book Thief is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
The Book Thief Markus Zusak The Book Thief is a novel by Australian author Markus Zusak. First published in 2005, the book has won numerous awards and was listed on The New York Times Best Seller list for over 230 weeks.

35
944 675
Anna Karenina is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy Anna Karenina is a novel by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, published in serial installments from 1873 to 1877 in the periodical The Russian Messenger. Tolstoy clashed with editor Mikhail Katkov ...more

36
1,575 254
Grimm's Fairy Tales is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
but chickens double d added Grimm's Fairy Tales 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

37
852 572
The Divine Comedy is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Skojare added The Divine Comedy Dante Alighieri The Divine Comedy is an epic poem by Dante Alighieri, begun c. 1308 and completed 1320, a year before his death in 1321. It is widely considered the preeminent work of Italian literature and is ...more

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38
1,032 365
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and ... is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Robert Louis Stevenson Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is the original title of a novella written by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson that was first published in 1886. The work is commonly known ...more

39
1,019 442
The Time Machine is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Riot18 added The Time Machine H. G. Wells The Time Machine is a science fiction novel by H. G. Wells, published in 1895. Wells is generally credited with the popularization of the concept of time travel by using a vehicle that allows an ...more

40
1,415 456
Great Expectations is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Great Expectations Charles Dickens Great Expectations is Charles Dickens' thirteenth novel and his penultimate novel; a bildungsroman which depicts the personal growth and personal development of an orphan nicknamed Pip. It is ...more

41
1,349 472
The Hound of the Baskervilles is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
The Hound of the Baskervilles Arthur Conan Doyle The Hound of the Baskervilles is the third of the crime novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle featuring the detective Sherlock Holmes. Originally serialised in The Strand Magazine from August ...more

42
1,152 521
Les Misérables is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
Les Misérables Victor Hugo Les Misérables is a French historical novel by Victor Hugo, first published in 1862, that is considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th century. In the English-speaking world, the ...more

Books That Changed My Life

43
1,446 442
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nes... is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Ken Kesey One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a novel written by Ken Kesey. Set in an Oregon psychiatric hospital, the narrative serves as a study of the institutional processes and the human mind as well ...more

44
1,312 426
Oliver Twist is listed (or ranked) 44 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

45
1,021 505
20,000 leagues under the sea is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Jules Verne, Pauline Francis

46
640 704
The Brothers Karamazov is listed (or ranked) 46 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

47
1,119 307
Treasure Island is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
slaphappy4sfg added Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson Treasure Island is an adventure novel by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, narrating a tale of "buccaneers and buried gold". First published as a book on 14 November 1883 by ...more

48
2,159 209
The Cat in the Hat is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
but chickens double d added The Cat in the Hat 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

49
986 433
The Three Musketeers is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
The Three Musketeers Alexandre Dumas The Three Musketeers is a novel by Alexandre Dumas. Set in the 17th century, it recounts the adventures of a young man named d'Artagnan after he leaves home to travel to Paris, to join the ...more

50
1,272 350
A Tale of Two Cities is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time
ThomZ added A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities is a novel by Charles Dickens, set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. The novel depicts the plight of the French peasantry demoralised by the ...more