The Best Novels Ever Written

List Rules
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 voting up what you think is a worthy choice.

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Ranked by
  • Frankenstein
    1
    Mary Shelley
    3,865 votes
    • First Published: 1818-01-01
    • Original Language: English Language
    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 in an ...more
  • The Fellowship of the Ring
    2
    1,920 votes
    • First Published: 1954-07-24
    • Original Language: English Language
    The Fellowship of the Ring is the first of three volumes of the epic novel The Lord of the Rings by the English author J. R. R. Tolkien. It takes place in the fictional universe of Middle-earth. It ...more
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four
    3
    7,700 votes
    • First Published: 1949-06-08
    • Original Language: English Language
    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 in a ...more
  • The Return of the King
    4
    J. R. R. Tolkien
    1,511 votes
    • First Published: 1955-10-20
    • Original Language: English Language
    The Return of the King is the third and final volume of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, following The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. The story begins in the kingdom of Gondor, ...more