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The Best Novels Ever Written

Updated September 30, 2020 401.9k votes 19.7k voters 316.4k 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.

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  • 1
    The Lord of the Rings is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Novels Ever Written
    5,164
    2,094

    The Lord of the Rings

    J. R. R. Tolkien

    First Published1954-07-29

    SubjectsLiterary, Epic film, Literature, Classics, Drama

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Chivalric romance, Fiction, Adventure fiction, Fantasy

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Lord of the Rings is an epic high-fantasy novel written by English author J. R. R.... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 2
    Bin dokuz Yüz Seksen Dört is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Novels Ever Written
    4,742
    1,935

    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

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    #48 of 103 The Best Selling Books of All Time#1 of 179 The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time

  • 3
    Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Novels Ever Written
    3,109
    1,243

    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
  • 4
    Fahrenheit 451 is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Novels Ever Written
    2,697
    1,046

    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
  • 5
    Pride and Prejudice is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Novels Ever Written
    3,343
    1,404

    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

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    #16 of 171 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read#24 of 331 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time

  • 6
    The Count of Monte Cristo is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Novels Ever Written
    2,234
    889

    The Count of Monte Cristo

    Alexandre Dumas, Auguste Maquet

    First Published1844

    SubjectsRevenge, France, Redemption, Classics, Wrongly Accused

    Genres (Book)Romance novel, Fiction, Historical novel, Adventure fiction

    Original LanguageFrench Language

    The Count of Monte Cristo is an adventure novel by French author Alexandre Dumas completed in... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 7
    Frankenstein is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Novels Ever Written
    2,360
    716

    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
  • 8
    A Christmas Carol is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Novels Ever Written
    2,708
    1,127

    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

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    #20 of 32 The Best Novels About Prep School#6 of 26 The Best Audiobooks On Librivox

  • 9
    Dracula is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Novels Ever Written
    2,076
    742

    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
  • 10
    The Lion, the Witch and the Wa is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Novels Ever Written

    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
  • 11
    Jane Eyre is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Novels Ever Written
    2,238
    891

    Jane Eyre

    Charlotte Brontë

    First Published1847-10-16

    SubjectsPopular literature, Social class, Morality, England

    Genres (Book)Romance novel, Bildungsroman, Fiction, Novel, Gothic fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Jane Eyre is a novel by English writer Charlotte Brontë. It was published on 16 October 1847... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 12
    The Hobbit is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Novels Ever Written
    4,022
    1,702

    The Hobbit

    J. R. R. Tolkien

    First Published1937-09-21

    SubjectsWizards, Literary, Epic film, Literature, Classics

    Genres (Book)Children's literature, Fiction, Epic, Fantasy

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Hobbit, or There and Back Again is a fantasy novel and children's book by English author... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 13
    The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Novels Ever Written

    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
  • 14
    The Picture of Dorian Gray is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Novels Ever Written
    1,851
    763

    First Published1890

    SubjectsMusic, Popular literature, Supernatural, Literature, Classics

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Fiction, Gothic fiction, Philosophical fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Picture of Dorian Gray is an 1891 philosophical novel by writer and playwright Oscar... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 15
    Crime and Punishment is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Novels Ever Written
    2,237
    968

    Crime and Punishment

    Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    First Published1866

    SubjectsPopular literature, Conscience, Classics, Murder

    Genres (Book)Crime Fiction, Suspense, Fiction, Novel

    Original LanguageRussian Language

    Crime and Punishment is a novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It was first... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 16
    Of Mice and Men is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Novels Ever Written
    3,380
    1,524

    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
  • 17
    The Hound of the Baskervilles is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Novels Ever Written
    1,773
    742

    First Published1901

    SubjectsMusic, Popular literature, Dartmoor, England

    Genres (Book)Crime Fiction, Mystery, Novel, Detective fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Hound of the Baskervilles is the third of the crime novels written by Sir Arthur Conan... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 18
    Treasure Island is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Novels Ever Written
    1,719
    642

    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
  • 19
    The Secret Garden is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Novels Ever Written
    1,534
    579

    The Secret Garden

    Frances Hodgson Burnett

    First Published1911

    SubjectsLiterary, Education, Women, 19th century, Family

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

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

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    #39 of 300 The Greatest Children's Books That Were Made Into Movies#5 of 28 The Best Inspirational Books for Young Adults

  • 20
    Charlotte's Web is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Novels Ever Written
    2,177
    763

    Charlotte's Web

    E. B. White

    First Published1952

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Children's literature

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Charlotte's Web is a children's novel by American author E. B. White and illustrated by Garth... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 21
    Little Women is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Novels Ever Written
    2,112
    939

    Little Women

    Louisa May Alcott

    First Published1868

    SubjectsLiterary, Adolescence, New England, Women, 19th century

    Genres (Book)Coming of age, Fiction, Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Little Women is a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott, which was originally published... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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    How Louisa May Alcott's Real Life Inspired 'Little Women'How Greta Gerwig’s ‘Little Women’ Handled Important Moments Compared To The 1994 Film And The Novel

  • 22
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nes is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Novels Ever Written

    SubjectsMedical, Literary, Literature, Classics, English Language

    Genres (Book)Drama, Children's literature, Fiction, Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a novel written by Ken Kesey. Set in an Oregon psychiatric... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 23
    Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and  is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Novels Ever Written
    1,289
    524

    First Published1886-01-05

    SubjectsMedical, Literary, Supernatural, Education, Literature

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Drama, Children's literature, Horror Film, Thriller

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is the original title of a novella written by the... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 24
    To Kill a Mockingbird is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Novels Ever Written
    5,389
    2,602

    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
  • 25
    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Novels Ever Written
    1,227
    505

    First Published1900-05-17

    SubjectsMusic, Wizards, United States of America, 20th century, History

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a children's novel written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
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