Culture
8.7k voters

Books That Changed Your Life

Updated November 21, 2019 157.8k votes 8.7k voters 317.1k views704 items

The most life changing books, ranked by the wisdom of the crowd of hundreds of people. If you are looking for books that will change your life, these have the themes, characters and story-arcs to do it. From the courage and determination of Frodo as he ventures into Mordor to the conviction of Atticus as he defends a man a whole town has already condemned, there are countless books to add to your list of books to read to change your life.

From teens to adults, anyone can add their picks to this list of life changing novels, making it an accurate, real-time ranking of the best life changing books, as picked by the people who love them. Ask yourself the question "what are the most life-changing books?" and "which books have affected my life the most" and then vote for the books that you read cover to cover (maybe even multiple times), the novels that changed the way you see the world, and the stories you still can't stop thinking about. Share your favorites and see how your taste stacks up against other readers.
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  • 1
    1,627
    436

    1984

    George Orwell

    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 George Orwell published in 1949. The novel is set in Airstrip One, a province of the superstate Oceania in a...  more
  • 2
    1,389
    483

    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 England on 17 August 1945. According to Orwell, the book reflects events leading up to the Russian Revolution...  more
  • 3

    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, published by Geoffrey Bles in 1950. It was the first published of seven novels in The Chronicles of Narnia...  more
  • 4
    624
    170

    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 Williams; it was published on October 15, 1952, by Harper & Brothers. The novel tells the story of a...  more
  • 5
    1,782
    717

    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 successful, winning the Pulitzer Prize, and has become a classic of modern American literature. The plot and...  more
  • 6

    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 Frank while she was in hiding for two years with her family during the Nazi occupation of the...  more
  • 7
    1,016
    410

    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 of his best works. The novel presents a future American society where books are outlawed and "firemen"...  more
  • 8
    1,188
    501

    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 J. R. R. Tolkien. It was published on 21 September 1937 to wide critical acclaim, being nominated for the...  more
  • 9
    636
    223

    First Published1963

    SubjectsEducation, Games, Classics, Adventure, Children's film

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Where the Wild Things Are is a 1963 children's picture book by American writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak, originally published by Harper & Row. The book has been adapted into other media several...  more
  • 10
    782
    330

    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 William Shakespeare at an uncertain date between 1599 and 1602. Set in the Kingdom of Denmark, the play...  more
  • 11
    472
    145

    The Outsiders

    S. E. Hinton

    SubjectsLiterature, Young adult, Adolescence, Classics, Family

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Outsiders is a coming-of-age novel by S. E. Hinton, first published in 1967 by Viking Press. Hinton was 15 when she started writing the novel, but did most of the work when she was 16 and a...  more
  • 12
    597
    241

    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 Doyle, featuring his famous detective, and illustrated by Sidney Paget....  more
  • 13
    1,035
    361

    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 in 1937, it tells the story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers, who...  more
  • 14

    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 in December 1884 and in the United States in February 1885. Commonly named among the Great American...  more
  • 15
    1,484
    771

    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. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's 1937 fantasy novel The Hobbit, but eventually developed into a...  more
  • 16
    704
    280

    First Published1957-12-22

    SubjectsCat, Anthropomorphism

    Genres (Book)Picture book, Children's literature

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    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 wears...  more
  • 17
    698
    214

    Where the Sidewalk Ends

    Shel Silverstein

    First Published1974

    SubjectsClassics, English Literature

    Genres (Book)Poetry, Children's literature, Fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Where the Sidewalk Ends is a collection of children's poetry written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein and published by Harper and Row Publishers. The book's poems address many common childhood...  more
  • 18

    First Published1964

    SubjectsChocolate, Classics, Adventure, Family, Folklore

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

    Original LanguageWelsh Language, English Language

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a 1964 children's book by British author Roald Dahl. The story features the adventures of young Charlie Bucket inside the chocolate factory of eccentric...  more
  • 19
    945
    478

    Brave New World

    Aldous Huxley

    SubjectsLiterary, Technology, Brainwashing, Literature, Classics

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    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

    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 the Mississippi River. The story is set in the fictional town of St. Petersburg, inspired by Hannibal,...  more
  • 21

    First Published1997-06-26

    SubjectsWizards, Education, Adventure, Friendship, Schools

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is the first novel in the Harry Potter series and J. K. Rowling's debut novel. The plot follows Harry Potter, a young wizard who discovers his magical...  more
  • 22
    503
    226

    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, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western...  more
  • 23
    777
    406

    Alice in Wonderland

    Lewis Carroll, William Glennon

    First Published1865

    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland) is an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells of a girl...  more
  • 24

    First Published1990-01-22

    Genres (Book)Children's literature

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Oh, the Places You'll Go! is a book written and illustrated by children's author Dr. Seuss. It was first published by Random House on January 22, 1990, making it his last book published in his...  more
  • 25
    508
    211

    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 follows the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality,...  more