This is a list of best books that you can find in every bookstore under the ‘best books to read’ category.
If you are an avid reader, then you must read these books in your lifetime from the great writers of all times.
The only thing left is to decide in which order you are going to read these books. So without further ado, let’s start looking at the list of great books to read at least once in your lifetime.
List of best books of all time
|Book Name||Author||Date Published||Vowelor Rating|
|The Lord of the Rings||J. R. R. Tolkien||1954||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|To Kill a Mocking Bird||Harper Lee||1960||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|The Grapes of Wrath||John Steinbeck||1938||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|A Bend in the River||V.S Naipaul||1979||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Life of Pi||Yann Martel||2001||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|The Time Traveler’s Wife||Audrey Niffenegger||2003||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|War And Peace||Leo Tolstoy||1865-69||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Catch 22||Joseph Heller||1961||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|The Kite Runner||Khaled Hosseini||2003||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|The Book Thief||Markus Zusak||2005||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|The Handmaid’s Tale||Margaret Atwood||1985||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing||Maya Angelou||1969||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Don Quixote||Miguel De Cervantes||1605||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|All The Light We Cannot See||Anthony Doerr||2015||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|The Slaughterhouse Five||Kurt Vonnegut||1969||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|The Colour Purple||Alice Walker||1982||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|The Satanic Verses||Salman Rushdie||1988||⭐⭐⭐|
|Norwegian Woods||Haruki Murakami||1987||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Never Let Me Go||Kazuo Ishiguro||2005||⭐⭐⭐|
|Love in the Time of Cholera||Gabriel Garcia Marquez||1985||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Mrs. Dalloway||Virginia Woolf||1925||⭐⭐⭐|
|Things Fall Apart||Chinua Achebe||1958||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|A Brief History of Time||Stephen Hawking||1988||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|The Bell Jar||Sylvia Plath||1963||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|The Lovely Bones||Alice Sebold||2002||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|One Hundred Years of Solitude||Gabriel Garcia Marquez||1967||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Little Women||Louisa May Alcott||1868||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Fahrenheit 451||Ray Bradbury||1953||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Wuthering Heights||Emily Bronte||1847||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Lord of the Flies||William Golding||1954||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Water for Elephants||Sara Gruen||2006||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Pride and Prejudice||Jane Austin||1813||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Hamlet||William Shakespeare||1599 & 1602||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|The Diary of a Young Girl||Anne Frank||1947||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|The Catcher in the Rye||J.D. Salinger||1951||⭐⭐⭐|
|A Passage to India||E.M. Forster||1924||⭐⭐⭐|
|The Great Gatsby||F. Scott Fitzgerald||1925||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Men Without Women||Ernest Hemingway||1927||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Harry Potter Series||J.K. Rowling||1997||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐|
1. Ulysses by James Joyce
Ulysses was once banned due to its controversial analysis and now it is considered as one of the best books to read.
The plot is set in Dublin where events are centrally depended on the three characters of the books: Stephen Dedalus, Molly Bloom, and Leopold Bloom.
It might be the toughest novel to read but the immensity of the book will give all bibliophiles the great reading pleasures.
2. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
The book is written by famous English Author J.R.R. Tolkien. The Lord of the Rings is an epic fantasy novel. The title of the Story refers to the main antagonist of the novel, who had in ancient age created the one ring to rule all rings of power as the ultimate weapon in the book.
If you are a die-hard fan of fantasy fiction, then this book is essentially the must-read book before you die.
3. To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee
It is a book written by Pulitzer Prize winner Harper Lee. ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is based on Harper Lee’s observations based on her real life.
This book is famous for its unique humor, despite dealing with the serious issues of rape and racism, the sensitive issues depicted in the book makes it famous among the readers and because of that it is at the top ranks among the best books to read before you die.
4. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Pulitzer Award winner, Grapes of Wrath is a story formed in the times of the Great Depression in America.
The story revolves around the protagonist Tom Joad, who leaves his native place Oklahoma with his family in the quest of a better job and better life in California.
This book will let you peep into the harsh realities of great depression where you could sense the difficulties faced by the people, making it among the must-read books of all time.
5. A Bend in the River by V.S Naipaul
A Bend in the River is one of the best works from Nobel Prize laureate V.S Naipaul. When Salim, a young protagonist abandons his family, he is offered business in Central Africa.
After this, chronicle folds itself and the story of emerging Africa, poverty, corruption and politics is narrated making it the best book to read ever.
6. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
With its brilliant storyline and storytelling telling technique Life of Pi has undoubtedly made its place in the list of the best book you must read. It is a fantasy adventure novel about a boy who sets his ship in the vast Pacific.
After the tragic sinking of the ship, the crew of the surviving vessel consists of a hyena, one zebra (with a broken leg), an orang-utan, a 450-pound Royal Bengal Tiger named Richard Parker and Pi, a 16-year-old Indian boy. It is a story of faith, survival, and adventure.
7. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
It is hard to believe that this magical novel is the first novel of the author Audrey Niffenegger. Clare meets the love of her life, Henry, when she was six and Henry, was thirty-six.
Their love never changes even when she came to know that Henry has a rare disease named Chrono-Displacement Disorder that changes his genetic clock periodically. Clare and Henry make their relationship work in such odd circumstances which can inspire many to stick to their love.
8. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay is the third book of the trilogy of Hunger Games. It is a dystopian novel, that is, it will take you to the imaginary lands of the character and the author.
The book chronicles the story of Katniss Everdeen who after completing her second year in the games reluctantly accepts a proposal from District 13.
It is a group behind the rebellion in Panem, by agreeing to be ‘Mockingjay’, the symbol representing the rebellion spearheaded by them, and their president Alma Coin. This novel is a blend of sci-fi, romance, adventure, and action, counting it as the best new books to read.
9. War And Peace by Leo Tolstoy
This book was originally published in Russian and French language and is one of the world’s greatest novels and one of the most recommended books to read.
Leo Tolstoy writes about five families whose story gets intertwined during the war and the peace in Russia. War And Peace is a story of love, sufferings, punishments, suicides, and of human behavior during war and peace.
10. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
Moby Dick or The Whale is a story of Captain Ahab who sets out his sail in the ocean in search of a creature which is not yet seen by anyone and can be giant to the size of the sea.
The Captain decides to kill the whale after his first voyage into the sea when a whale had made him handicapped and now he takes revenge for it.
It is not only about whaling and sea life incidents but also raises questions about good and evil, justice and vengeance, and life and death.
11. Beloved by Toni Morrison
Beloved is one of the best works of American fiction between 1981 to 2006 as surveyed by the New York Times.
The story revolves around an African-American lady, Sethe who was a slave and ran to a free state Ohio. She lives in a new home haunted by the ghost of her baby whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved.
Toni Morrison won Pulitzer Award for this spellbinding novel and this should be on the top of one of the best novels to read before you die.
12. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
The plot set in WW II from 1942 to 1944, Catch 22 is a chronicle of US army officer named Captain John Yossarian.
The story mainly follows his journey and the fictional squadron who is posted in the West of Italy during the war. The book talks about the life of WW II soldiers and how they used to maintain their mental balance and the longings to go back home.
It is a satirical novel with complex and humorous writing.
13. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Khaled Hosseini writes about Afghanistan’s war scenario which is so beautifully written and yet so painful.
Kite Runner is the story of a boy, Amir who is the son of a wealthy merchant and his best friend Hassan who is from a poor family. But their bond of friendship was distorted due to the political tensions in the country.
It is one of the interesting books to read as it so gracefully narrates the power of love, relationships, and family.
14. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Book Thief is a story narrated by death about life and this is enough reason to add it in the list of most important books to read.
The book is about a young girl, Liesel Meminger and his life journey after her brother dies. She was sent to her foster parents during the Nazi Germany rule in the country. After that story reveals various characters and her relationships with them.
The book will convince you that words have the power to change their lives.
15. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Lolita, a private name given by Humbert Humbert to a 12 year-old-girl, Dolores Haze with whom he falls in love. The protagonist is so much in love with his landlady’s daughter that he reluctantly marries her so that he can be near to her daughter.
This is a story of love, desperation, and lust written in a humorous style where Humbert Humbert is referred to as a ‘funny monster’.
16. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid’s tale is dark and relevant to modern times dystopian fiction novel. A story of a slaved maid, Offred who is now owned by The Commander Fred Waterford. She was assigned to a single task, that is, to breed and if she refuses to any sexual servitude then she would be hanged till death.
In the story, she yearns to go back to the times when she used to live happily with her loving husband and daughter and hopes that one day she will again lead a normal life.
17. I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing by Maya Angelou
I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing is the first autobiography written by Maya Angelou describing her early days of childhood with her grandmother, followed by six other parts of her autobiography. She narrates the difficulties she has faced being a black woman and a writer. The book has also made its place among the self-help books for women.
Maya Angelou elucidates how the love of literature can overcome racism and trauma and how it can help in strengthening the individual’s character. This book will touch many hearts and change the mind of its readers.
18. Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes
Without this vintage classic novel, no list of top books to read is complete. The book is about a young and poor Spanish gentleman who is obsessed with the idea of the chivalrous romantic novel and decides to be a knight-errant.
He was accompanied by his faithful squire Sancho Panza and they both set their journey to defend the helpless and destroy the wicked.
You will find this book poignant, powerful, profound and hilarious at the same time.
19. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Set in the time period of World War II, Anthony Doerr took 10 years to write this Pulitzer Award-winning novel, All the Light We Cannot see.
This is a story about two kids who suffered through WW II. Marie Laure is a blind girl who knew each and every street of Paris as his father has made a model of the city to make her familiar. On the other side of the world in Germany, an orphaned boy named Werner lives with her sister and had a talent for fixing radios.
When they cross each other paths a beautiful story unfolds itself and the world got to read the best book of all time. It is one of the best new books to read.
20. The Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
The Slaughterhouse Five is said to be one of the greatest anti-war novels in the world. Billy Pilgrims who travel time and experiences the pre and post world war condition.
Billy has no control over what was happening in his life and in the war. He gets captured by Germans as he hates war and confiscates to fight. Kurt Vonnegut writes about the central event of Firebombing of Dresden and the concept of war making it a page-turner novel.
21. The Colour Purple by Alice Walker
Alice Walker narrates the story of African-American women in one of the greatest novel, The Colour Purple. It is a tale of a young and poverty-stricken girl named, Celie.
The Tragic story of Celie unleashes when she was separated from her sister, her two children and was struck in an ugly marriage. During the journey of loss and pain, she meets a singer who has unlike Celie taken charge of her own destiny.
It is a chronicle of a young woman fighting back against all the odds and seeking empowerment from within and hence, it is said to be one of the best self-improvement books to read for women.
22. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
The Satanic Verses is one of the most controversial novels written by the acclaimed writer, Salman Rushdie. This book is a narration of two characters both Indian Muslims. One of them is a film actor and the other one is a voice actor. Their lives change when their airplane is hijacked by terrorists and they are the sole survivors struck on the Atlantic Ocean.
The publication of this book issued a Fatwa against the author and many book stores were burnt protesting against the book.
23. Norwegian Woods by Haruki Murakami
After the suicide of the only friend and best friend, Toru Watanabe has learned to live in isolation. He had left his native place for higher studies and crossed his path with his dead friend’s girlfriend.
Naoko is a young and beautiful girl living in Tokyo. They met every Sunday and found comfort in each others company. As Naoko retreats herself to another world, curing her mental illness, Toru faces new challenges and losses. It is a tale of nostalgia, loss, love, and hope.
24. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
The author, Jack Kerouac is himself the protagonist of the novel. On the Road is the autobiography of Jack about his road trip in North America along with his other friends. On their journey, they explore raw America a place where living is hard, but ‘life is holy and every moment is precious’.
This book is beautifully written and the journey of 20th century America makes it to the best books to read right now.
25. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Never Let me Go is a dystopian fiction novel where Kathy a student of Hailsham Boarding School narrates the story. The students of Hailsham are trained in all sorts of studies, arts, and literature like other children but they are never allowed to have any contact with the outside world.
This sci-fi novel is about love, friendship, and disappointment. It breaks through the boundaries of the literary novel.
26. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
At a very young age, Fermina and Florentino fall passionately in love with each other. When Fermina’s father asked her to cease her feelings for Florentino, she refuses to do so and was forced to live in another city. After a period of time, Fermina marries a wealthy doctor and Florentino waits for his love and after five decades he again proposes his love for Fermina.
This novel is a sentimental story about the enduring power of true love and is one of the best romantic novels to read for all the lovers.
27. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
The best thing about this book is that its plot is set for a single day of Mrs. Dalloway’s life. Therefore, this is what makes Virginia Woolf a great novelist and this book as one of the best classic books of all time.
It is a normal day in Mrs. Dalloway’s life. She is preparing for a party at her home when certain events take place and she ponders over her decision about life and love.
This is an unconventional novel and a must-read classic for all the book lovers.
28. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Things Fall Apart sets in the south-eastern part of Nigeria. It is the first novel of the African Trilogy by the author, The story chronicles about a man from Okonkwo who is a wrestling champion of his community.
The novel talks about emerging Africa from the events happening in the life of its protagonist. More than 20 million copies have been sold in 57 languages narrating the illuminating story by Chinua Achebe.
29. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
A Brief History of Time is written by one of the greatest scientists of our time. In this novel, he has tried to give answers to all the unending questions about the cosmology. His easy writing style makes this novel fathomable even to the non-science readers.
With exciting images and profound imagination, Stephen Hawking brings us closer to the ultimate secrets at the very heart of creation.
30. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The Bell Jar is the only novel written by the writer and poet, Sylvia Plath under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. It is the semi-autobiography of the author with changed names of people and places.
Esther Greenwood, the protagonist of the story is a young beautiful, brilliant and talented woman who did suicide after her mental illness.
This is the shocking, realistic and intense story of a woman battling the social pressure.
31. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The Lovely Bones is a story of a teenage girl who is kidnapped, raped and murdered by a serial killer. The story is narrated by the girl as she watches her family from her personal heaven and this narration makes it one of the best books of all time.
As Susie Salmon, the victim refuses to give up on the life in the beautiful heaven, she vigil her family. The lost, the grieving of her family and the vengeance will also grab the readers.
32. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
One Hundred Years of Solitude was originally written in Spanish Language and now it has been translated into thirty-seven other languages with over 30 million copies sold across the globe.
The story plot is set into the times of Latin America and the events societies had witnessed then. It is about the two families and their ancient family names which have lived through centuries. The families who were obsessed with their pasts were most certainly doomed in the future.
33. The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien
The Hobbit is a timeless classic in the fantasy fiction category. It became one of the best fiction novels for children as soon as it was published in the year 1937.
It is a story of a hobbit who lives in a hole and loves his comfort life. Things got to change when the hobbit decides to fight with the dragon named Smaug and steal the treasure from it.
This book can give thrilling adventures to its readers.
34. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Little Women is a story of four girls living in America during the Civil War New England. This novel is a classic American novel where independent, tomboyish Jo; delicate, loving Beth; pretty, kind Meg; or precocious and artistic Amy, the baby of the family and their mother Marmee faces hardships and enjoys the adventures of the war. It is May Alcott’s most popular and enduring novel.
35. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel and one of the best works of the author, Ray Bradbury. Montag is a fireman and in his world fireman is the one who sets the fire.
All books or the commodities related to the literature is destroyed by Montag and Television is the one which rules. Soon after meeting his new neighbor Clarisse, Montag realizes how important books were used to be in the past.
This book is one of the great books to read and will give you an enthralling reading experience.
36. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights is the only novel written by Emily Bronte and now it is one of the best classic books to read. Lockwood who is a tenant in Thrushcross Grange in Yorkshire visits his landlord, Heathcliff who lives in Wuthering Heights. He was forced to spend a night at Wuthering Heights due to the bad weather. Lockwood suspects that there must be a story buried in these walls.
This book is an unusual & beyond the bounds love story.
37. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
A plane crashes on an unnamed island with a bunch of boys who survived the crash. Earlier they realized that they could do anything with no supervision of an adult and they started celebrating their freedom. As time passed, the thrilling adventures were turned into the horror and they all hoped to be rescued.
It is a tale of a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse.
This novel is one of the most memorable and one of the amazing books to read.
38. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Water for Elephants is a chronicle of Jacob who is a veterinarian practitioner. After he had lost his parents in an accident he withdraws from the Ivy School League and accidentally gets on the circus train.
The circus owner offered him a job as a veterinarian and after that, his life changed. It is the page-turning novel and one of the best books to read.
39. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
We cannot end our list of best books to read before you die without the finest work written by Jane Austin in 1813.
‘Pride and Prejudice’ is about a girl named Elizabeth Bennet, who learns the harms of making judgments without much thinking of the consequences and later on, she appreciates the difference between the illusion and Reality.
40. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Hamlet was written by the famous author also known as the ‘God of Literature’, William Shakespeare. This book is one of the best examples of tragedy drama playwriting. The Play dramatizes the revenge Prince Hamlet is called to his inflict uncle, Claudius.
Hamlet is considered as the longest play and the most quoted in the English Language. Since the 400 years of inception, it is the most performed and influential work of William Shakespeare.
41. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
The Diary of a Young Girl is the imagination of a little girl, Anne Frank. While she was in hiding for two years with her family in the Netherland during World War II. In this diary, you will find every emotion of hope, strength and young dreams which were suffering during the war.
If you are looking for a good book that leaves an everlasting impression, then, you must add this book on your list of best books to read before you die.
42. Holy Bible
The Bible is a collection of sacred texts or scriptures that Jews and Christians consider to be a product of divine inspiration and a record of the relationship between God and humans.
The Bible is the God of all the books. If you have given a life to live by the god and you forgot to read the book written by God himself, then you are missing so much in your life. This book so far is the most famous book on the earth and you cannot afford to die before reading this classic work.
43. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Anna Karenina is a novel written by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy. It is widely recognized as a pinnacle in realistic fiction. It is a tragic story of a married social active Aristocrat and her affair with the wealthy lover Count Vronsky.
Struck in the societal norms, laws, and the Orthodox Church, Anna struggles to find the balance between her wishes and the Russian mores.
The book is many a time adapted into films, operas, ballet, and television and radio dramas and continues to ensnare its audience.
44. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
It is the most controversial novel of all times. Initially, it was only published for adults and it has since become popular with the adolescent’s readers for its unique theme. It was listed at #15 on the BBC’s survey The Big Reads.
The Catcher in the Rye deals with the complex issue of identity, connection, and personal loss. It is considered as one of the best books to read in your 20s.
45. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
This book is about the backdrop of British Rule and the Indian Independence Movement in the 1920s of India. It was also selected as one of the 100 great works of the 20th Century.
Time Magazine included ‘A Passage to India’ in the “All Time 100 Novels” List.
46. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
This is another amazing book from the list of best books you must read. The Great Gatsby about a cast of characters living in the fictional town of West Egg.
The Story main plot is about the life young and a mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and his passionate love for the beautiful former debutante Daisy Buchanan.
47. Men Without Women by Ernest Hemingway
Men Without Women is the collection of Short Stories. The Subject of the Story collection includes bullfighting, prizefighting, infidelity, divorce, and death. If you are a fan of Ernest Hemingway, then you should add this book to the list of non-fiction books to read.
Ernest did magic with his simple words and with every story, he recreates the absolute truth of life. If you are a fan of Ernest Hemingway, then you should add this book to the list of non-fiction books to read.
48. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter is the series of fictions written by the most famous author of the 21st century, J.K. Rowling. Well, I don’t think I gotta explain much about it.
This book is about the life of a young wizard harry potter and his friends. The main story revolves around the struggle of Harry Potter against the dark wizard, Lorde Voldemort.
If you belong to the readers of 21st-century generation, then you must read this record-breaking novel before you die.
49. 1984 by George Orwell
It is among the best works of George Orwell. 1984 is one of those perfect novels that not only entertains but forces one to think about the danger associated with giving any one person or entity too much power or control over our lives.
Being working with the government, Winston gets the duty to distort the historical facts, photos or any other source. He developed a keen interest in real history and joins a secret journal criticizing the Government.
This novel is banned and criticized many times because of the true and rebellious writing of George Orwell.
I don’t think that now you would ever ask someone, ‘What should I Read?’.
We have given you the list of best books which is a must-read for every bibliophile or else don’t consider yourself a bibliophile.
These books are the laurels in the history of literature and everyone should read them once in their lifetime.
The best part is, you are going to live many lives and centuries with these books. So, don’t miss out the fun of being a book lover.
Tell us about your best book you have read lately in the comment section below