20.4k voters

The Best Novels Ever Written

Updated January 8, 2021 405.5k votes 20.4k voters 329.0k views1.2k items

List RulesOnly 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.

  • 1
    Nineteen Eighty-Four, sometimes published as 1984, is a dystopian novel by English author...  more

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  • 2

    The Lord of the Rings

    J. R. R. Tolkien
    The Lord of the Rings is an epic high-fantasy novel written by English author J. R. R....  more

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  • 3

    Crime and Punishment

    Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    Crime and Punishment is a novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It was first...  more
  • 4

    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...  more

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  • 5
    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel by Mark Twain, first published in the United Kingdom...  more

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  • 6

    Fahrenheit 451

    Ray Bradbury
    Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury published in 1953. It is regarded as one...  more

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  • 7

    A Christmas Carol

    Charles Dickens
    A Christmas Carol is a novella by Charles Dickens, first published in London by Chapman & Hall...  more

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  • 8

    The Hobbit

    J. R. R. Tolkien
    The Hobbit, or There and Back Again is a fantasy novel and children's book by English author...  more

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  • 9


    Mary Shelley
    Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, is a novel written by English author Mary Shelley...  more

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    #38 of 186 The Scariest Horror Books of All Time#19 of 110 The Scariest Novels of All Time

  • 10


    Bram Stoker
    Dracula is an 1897 Gothic horror novel by Irish author Bram Stoker. Famous for introducing the...  more

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  • 11
    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a high fantasy novel for children by C. S. Lewis,...  more

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  • 12
    Pride and Prejudice is a novel of manners by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story...  more

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  • 13

    Jane Eyre

    Charlotte Brontë
    Jane Eyre is a novel by English writer Charlotte Brontë. It was published on 16 October 1847...  more

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  • 14

    Of Mice and Men

    John Steinbeck
    Of Mice and Men is a novella written by Nobel Prize–winning author John Steinbeck. Published...  more

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  • 15
    The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is an 1876 novel about a young boy growing up along...  more

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  • 16
    The Picture of Dorian Gray is an 1891 philosophical novel by writer and playwright Oscar...  more

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  • 17

    Anna Karenina

    Leo Tolstoy
    Anna Karenina is a novel by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, published in serial installments...  more

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    #4 of 40 The Best Russian Novels#37 of 117 The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written

  • 18

    Treasure Island

    Robert Louis Stevenson
    Treasure Island is an adventure novel by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, narrating a...  more
  • 19
    The Hound of the Baskervilles is the third of the crime novels written by Sir Arthur Conan...  more

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  • 20
    To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel by Harper Lee published in 1960. It was immediately...  more

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  • 21
    Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is the original title of a novella written by the...  more
  • 22

    The Secret Garden

    Frances Hodgson Burnett
    The Secret Garden is a novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It was initially published in serial...  more

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  • 23

    Alice in Wonderland

    Lewis Carroll, William Glennon
    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland) is an 1865 novel...  more

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    #3 of 52 The Best Absurdist Fiction Novels#26 of 97 The Greatest Books to Read to Kids

  • 24
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a novel written by Ken Kesey. Set in an Oregon psychiatric...  more

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  • 25

    Charlotte's Web

    E. B. White
    Charlotte's Web is a children's novel by American author E. B. White and illustrated by Garth...  more

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