Exploring different lists online is a great way to discover new books. Many of these lists have books that always confuse me but that is also the allure for me. Today, we will be looking at Refinery29’s 51 best books of all time.
Why Refinery29 Chose to List 51 Books
Right off the bat, this list already grabs my attention by choosing 51 books instead of 50. The reason for this is that odd numbers tend to get more clicks than even numbers. It also separates them from all the other lists by choosing a number that isn’t chosen often.
Some of you may be asking what is Refinery29? According to the website, they are “The leading next-gen media and entertainment platform focused on women and underrepresented voices pushing the status quo, in their lives and in the world.”
How will that affect their list is my question. We will find out soon enough. You can see their picks below, separated by categories.
The Best Classic Books Of All Time
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Emma by Jane Austen
- The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde
- Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
- Hamlet by William Shakespeare
The Best Fantasy Books Of All Time
- A Game Of Thrones by George R. Martin
- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
- Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson
- A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin
- The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King
- Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
- The Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin
- The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson
- Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
The Best Fiction Books Of All Time
- My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Otessa Moshfegh
- No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood
- The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
- After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell
- The Secret History by Donna Tartt
- The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
- We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
- Normal People by Sally Rooney
- Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
The Best Memoirs Of All Time
- Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson
- Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino
- Yes Please by Amy Poehler
- On Writing by Stephen King
- I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
- Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim – David Sedaris
- Just Kids by Patti Smith
- Know My Name by Chanel Miller
- The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
- Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
- Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
The Best Non-Fiction Books Of All Time
- Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski
- Burnout: The Secret To Unlocking The Stress Cycle by Amelia Nagoski and Emily Nagoski
- Period Power by Maisie Hill
- The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday
- Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
- Ariel by Sylvia Plath
- De Profundis by Oscar Wilde
The Best Romance Books Of All Time
- Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
- Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall
- The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas
- The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
- To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
- Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
A Solid List
After going through the list, I can honestly say I have no qualms about it. I obviously have some books that I would have included that they didn’t. That is fine since their picks are pretty good in my opinion. I will say that 51 picks doesn’t seem like enough. There are many classics that should have made it but didn’t because the list is divided into categories.
One can argue that 1984 by George Orwell should have been included over some of the fantasy books chosen. This list does seem to include a lot of modern books and I give them props for being bold. But that ends up leaving off some books that are beloved by many.
Overall, I like this list a lot because it is daring and includes a lot of recent books that will be highly regarded in years to come. Yes, some classics are left out but that is always going to be the case. No list is going to get it right so might as well come swinging.
What books should have been included in Refinery29’s 51 best books of all-time list? Let us know in the comments below. Until next time, happy reading!
3 thoughts on “Refinery29’s 51 Best Books of All Time ”
Sorry to say your List leaves A LOT to be desired. Now I know part of the reason for Best of Lists is to Create Controversy so Your List gets talked about etc. With only one run through there are 2 Glaring Omissions Ulysses by James Joyce & Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. I have Read both books 4 times each & in the case of Crime and Punishment in 3 different translations with the Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky (whom I also think have the best translation of Anna Karenina) translation by far the Best.
One could also make the case for The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky also being on the List. As far as Mr. Joyce & Ulysses is concerned I know its not an easy read & after a number of false starts I finally pushed my way through & found it an Incredible Read without any Companion Books to help me through it, which I corrected almost immediately by Reading it again along with Annotations & I could not believe How Much Joyce had Incorporated into his Monumental Book. I next joined a Joyce Reading Group in Santa Fe with some pretty smart people which only further opened up the Wonders of Ulysses.
One last Oversight on your Weak (and apparently getting Weaker all the time) List, as I said I only read through it once & was Thrown for a Loop by the 2 Omissions already mentioned, but now that I think about it your List again Failed Miserably in the Nonfiction section by Not Listing any book by Robert Caro??? Not his Masterful Series on LBJ or his first book about Robert Moses – How SAD!!!
IMO the best book of all time is “The Brothers Karamzov”. Yet it doesn’t make your top 50 🤔
It doesn’t sound like you read the article as it clearly states that this list is refinery29’s. It’s even in the title…