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The Top Must-Read Books of All Time

Updated January 21, 2020 548.4k votes 21.9k voters 726.5k views331 items

List RulesMust-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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  • 1
    Nineteen Eighty-Four is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
    7,326
    1,710

    First Published1949-06-08

    SubjectsBrainwashing, Literature, Classics, English Language, English Literature

    Genres (Book)Utopian and dystopian fiction, Social science fiction, Political fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Nineteen Eighty-Four, sometimes published as 1984, is a dystopian novel by English author... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 2
    Animal Farm is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
    6,517
    1,800

    Animal Farm

    George Orwell

    First Published1945-08-17

    SubjectsMonarch, Literary, Literature, Classics, Drama

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Roman à clef, Satire, Children's literature, Fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Animal Farm is an allegorical and dystopian novella by George Orwell, first published in... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 3
    Of Mice and Men is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
    5,013
    1,171

    Of Mice and Men

    John Steinbeck

    First Published1937

    SubjectsCalifornia, Drama

    Genres (Book)Novella

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Of Mice and Men is a novella written by Nobel Prize–winning author John Steinbeck. Published... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 4
    The tell-tale heart and other  is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
    amazon buy button
  • 5
    The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All Time

    First Published1876

    SubjectsEducation, Linguistics, 19th century, Mississippi River, Men

    Genres (Book)Bildungsroman, Children's literature, Fiction, Reference

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is an 1876 novel about a young boy growing up along... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 6
    Grimm's Fairy Tales is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
    3,545
    792

    Grimm's Fairy Tales

    Wilhelm Grimm, Jacob Grimm

    First Published1812

    SubjectsFairy tales

    Genres (Book)Fairy tale

    Original LanguageGerman Language

    Children's and Household Tales is a collection of German fairy tales first published in 1812... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 7
    Romeo and Juliet is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
    4,179
    1,179

    Romeo and Juliet

    William Shakespeare

    First Published1597

    SubjectsPopular literature, Star-crossed

    Genres (Book)Play, Tragedy

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Romeo and Juliet is a play by William Shakespeare.amazon buy button
  • 8
    Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
    3,350
    1,029

    Odyssey

    Homer

    Genres (Book)Epic poetry

    Original LanguageAncient Greek

    The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part,... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 9
    Macbeth is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
    2,961
    805

    Macbeth

    William Shakespeare

    Subjects11th Century Scotland

    Genres (Book)Tragedy

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Macbeth is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare, and is considered one of his darkest and... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 10
    Hamlet is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
    4,174
    1,322

    Hamlet

    William Shakespeare

    Genres (Book)Tragedy

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, often shortened to Hamlet, is a tragedy written by... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 11
    The Call of the Wild is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
    2,257
    649

    First Published1903

    SubjectsNature, Animal welfare, Animal, Dog

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Children's literature, Historical fiction, Fiction, Adventure film

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Call of the Wild is a novel by Jack London published in 1903. The story is set in the... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 12
    Frankenstein is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
    3,329
    1,023

    Frankenstein

    Mary Shelley

    First Published1818-01-01

    SubjectsScience, Love

    Genres (Book)Romance novel, Speculative fiction, Suspense, Horror Film, Romanticism

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, is a novel written by English author Mary Shelley... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 13
    A Christmas Carol is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
    4,802
    1,547

    A Christmas Carol

    Charles Dickens

    First Published1843-12-19

    SubjectsLiterary, Holiday, Ghost, Redemption, Classics

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Morality play, Ghost story, Fiction, Fairy tale

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    A Christmas Carol is a novella by Charles Dickens, first published in London by Chapman & Hall... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 14
    A Midsummer Night's Dream is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
    2,022
    701

    A Midsummer Night's Dream

    William Shakespeare

    First Published1596

    SubjectsPopular literature

    Genres (Book)Comedy, Fantasy

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    A Midsummer Night's Dream is a comedy play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 15
    Fahrenheit 451 is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
    4,602
    1,521

    Fahrenheit 451

    Ray Bradbury

    First Published1953

    SubjectsBibliophilia, American science fiction, Literature, Book burning, Classics

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Utopian and dystopian fiction, Children's literature, Dystopia, Fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury published in 1953. It is regarded as one... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 16
    Treasure Island is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
    2,315
    766

    Treasure Island

    Robert Louis Stevenson

    First Published1883

    SubjectsMonarch, Literary, Piracy, 18th century, Places

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Children's literature, Fiction, Adventure fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Treasure Island is an adventure novel by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, narrating a... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 17
    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
    5,128
    1,208

    First Published1884-12

    SubjectsPopular literature, Education, 19th century, Slavery, Mississippi River

    Genres (Book)Humour, Satire, Children's literature, Fiction, Adventure fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel by Mark Twain, first published in the United Kingdom... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 18
    The Adventures of Sherlock Hol is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
    3,971
    1,483

    First Published1892

    SubjectsEngland

    Genres (Book)Short story, Detective fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is a collection of twelve stories written by Arthur Conan... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 19
    The Lion, the Witch and the Wa is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All Time

    First Published1950

    SubjectsEvacuations of civilians in Britain during World War II

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Children's literature, Fantasy

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a high fantasy novel for children by C. S. Lewis,... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 20
    To Kill A Mockingbird is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
    8,428
    2,208

    First Published1960-07-11

    SubjectsMonarch, Literary, Literature, Classics, Drama

    Genres (Book)Fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel by Harper Lee published in 1960. It was immediately... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 21
    Dracula is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
    3,175
    1,093

    Dracula

    Bram Stoker

    First Published1897-05-27

    SubjectsLiterary, Ghost, 19th century, Vampire, British Cuisine

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Horror Film, Mystery, Fiction, Epistolary novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Dracula is an 1897 Gothic horror novel by Irish author Bram Stoker. Famous for introducing the... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 22
    The Diary of a Young Girl is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
    2,310
    685

    First Published1947

    SubjectsNetherlands in World War II, Otto Frank, World War II, Hannah Pik-Goslar, Sol Kimel

    Genres (Book)Children's literature, Biography, Autobiography, High fantasy

    Original LanguageDutch Language

    The Diary of a Young Girl is a book of the writings from the Dutch language diary kept by Anne... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 23
    The Scarlet Letter is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
    3,370
    1,215

    The Scarlet Letter

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

    First Published1850

    SubjectsMonarch, Popular literature, Literary, Revenge, New England

    Genres (Book)Romance novel, Children's literature, Romanticism, Fiction, Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Scarlet Letter is an 1850 romantic work of fiction in a historical setting, written by... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 24
    Pride and Prejudice is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
    3,913
    1,463

    First Published1813-01-28

    SubjectsPopular literature, Literary, Education, 19th century, English Language

    Genres (Book)Romance novel, Satire, Novel of manners, Fiction, Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Pride and Prejudice is a novel of manners by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 25
    Iliad is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
    1,779
    666

    Iliad

    Homer

    SubjectsMusic, Poetry, Trojan War

    Genres (Book)Poetry

    Original LanguageAncient Greek

    The Iliad is an ancient Greek epic poem in dactylic hexameter, traditionally attributed to... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
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