Some of the best books are fiction novels and it is a crowded field. Each year, new amazing fiction books are released and make it harder to pick just a few. That made us want to create a list for the ten best fiction books of all time!
Recently, we released a list of the best fiction books of all time and that list was easier to make. Any book that had a big impact or was more than just another book was added to the list. Here, we were only allowed to choose ten. Choosing only ten fiction books to represent the whole genre is difficult but we did it somehow. You can see the list below.
The Ten Best Fiction Books of All Time
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
- The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
- Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
- The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
- Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker’s Guide, #1) by Douglas Adams
- 1984 by George Orwell
- A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
How I Chose the Books
There is no particular order but having To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee was intentional. That is one of my all-time favorite books and it has had an amazing impact on society since was released in 1960. It has been over 60 years since the book was released and the book is as popular as ever.
The list contains all of the books that I enjoyed a lot and still think about often. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is an amazing book that I visit annually as it is that good. Other gems on the list include epic novels like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, Ender’s Game by Orsen Scott Card, and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.
Three of the other books made the list because they are timeless classics such as The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker’s Guide, #1) by Douglas Adams, and 1984 by George Orwell. These books are outstanding and should be read by everyone at least once.
You may be thinking to yourself that you only counted nine books in the previous paragraphs. That is because the last book that I added to this list, A Confederacy of Dunces by deservesJohn Kennedy Toole, deserves its own explanation.
Unlike the nine other books on the list, this one won’t make it to many lists because it is not regarded as impactful. Yet it is some of the best writing that I have ever come across. Not only is the writing great, but it is criminally funny. To this day, I still think about this book and just makes my cut for the ten best fiction books of all time.
That wraps up this list. It was a bit hard to condense it to only ten books but I am happy with the books that made the list. Not everyone is going to agree and that is okay. Everyone has their own preferences but all ten of these books are great reads at the end of the day. What book or book do you think should have made the list? Let us know in the comments below!
48 thoughts on “<strong>The Ten Best Fiction Books of All Time</strong>”
I don’t think I could cut it down to 10. I had a really hard time paring things down to 50 after all 🙂
It is challenging for sure. I’ll be making the top hundred books list of all time which is a lot easier to work with than just 10
I’m going to assume you haven’t read The Brothers Karamazov.
3 of those books would make my top 10.
To kill a mockingbird
Lord of the Rings
and The Book Thief.
I have read 1984 and Confederacy of Dunces and enjoyed them but definitely not in my top 25.
Since I really liked those 5, I am going to get the other 5 and read in the future.
Thanks for the recommendation.
Anyone reading this: If you have not read To kill a mockingbird or the Book Thief, you need to make those a priority.
The list is a little heavy on science fiction.
This is a cute list- impossible to seriously defend, but there’s a lot of fun reading here! To Kill a Mockingbird, now that really is a classic. You should check out Moby Dick, Huckleberry Finn, or Catcher in the Rye. They’re pretty weighty reads with a great deal of subtext and broad themes. I highly recommend The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. A series of interconnected short stories worth reading. Very thought provoking.
Good job though!
What about the National Book Award’s Book of the Century, Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie? I would say it’s a better piece of literature than half of these books.
I agree 100% with A Confederacy of Dunces. Brilliant novel with stellar writing. I’m not sure I agree with Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep; it’s his most well-known novel but perhaps not his best. As for Lord of the Rings, I give it high marks for originally. Tolkien basically created the fantasy genre. But still, since then, the epic fantasy has been done better by others. LotR is the only item on this list that I would not hesitate for even a second to eliminate. I’m not sure what I would replace it with; possibly a fantasy by a modern author of possibly not a fantasy at all. Jules Verne probably belongs on this list somewhere.
I haven’t read other Philip k. Dick books but I will get around to that soon. Lord of the Rings deserves to be in the list not only because it is a great trilogy but it has inspired hundreds of works and the fantasy genre would be different without it.
Jules Vernes is difficult because while his books are iconic, they were great for their time because there was nothing like them. Compared to other books, they didn’t have the same impact. Otherwise I’d have to include books like Frankenstein and Dracula because of their success during their times. No list is going to be perfect and this one has its own flaws and biases. Many of the books I added were because of the impact they had on me while reading them.
No Tolstoy? One could argue Dune and Stranger in a Strange Land over Androids and Hitchhiker’s. And for sure, Sometimes a Great Notion over the silliness of Dunces.
totally agree with mitchell about keysey’s great pacific northwestern epic. and in my opinion, no list of greatest fiction is complete without gabriel garcia-marquez’s masterpiece ‘100 years of solitude.’
I am dismayed by the dearth of women writers in your list.
That’s a fair criticism. I wasn’t thinking about the gender of the authors when making the list. I debated certain books like the handmaid’s tale and while I think it was good, it didn’t leave as big an imprint as the books on the list. If I included more recent fiction books, then there would be more female authors but I didn’t see them as more impactful than the books on the list.
Quite understandable. Too many good works, including short fiction,to narrow it down to 10. But the first thing I noticed was that there is not one mention of a Jane Austen book. Wow. Not as any Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre is mentioned ; nor John Dickson Carr, Ngaio Marsh, Agatha Christie, Edgar Allan Poe. Some major exclusions here.
No Homer, no Dante, no Sylvia Plath or Shirley Jackson, no no no
I would add East of Eden by Steinbeck The Lincoln Highway and A Gentleman in Moscow both by Amor Towles. I can see where you had to limit it to 10.
I still haven’t read East of Eden so can’t say much about that. Amor Towles is an amazing writer but I don’t know if I can justify removing any book and adding him in there.
I finished reading the Unabridged version of The Count of Monte Cristo an East of Eden back to back.
The clunkiness of the beginning of East of Eden held it back a little, but it was still a great book. The beginning of the book feels like reading notes from when he was outlining the novel prior to writing.
Honestly, 100 years of solitude is a book that pretentious people like to brag they read. It’s like reading about someone describing paint dry.
No Tolstoy, Dostoesvski, Dickenson, Cervantes, give me a break
I am partial to Fahrenheit 451 and from my “kidhood” Something Wicked This Way Comes
Not even close. Try again.
I think the title of the article should be “MY (not necessarily your) Top Ten Fiction Books” etc. I may have included Mockingbird and 1984 but would not have included any of the others, and my bet is the author may not have read any if all of my remaining top ten. Twain, Bellow, Rushdie, Joyce, Norman Rush, even Alice Munro are all superior to Tolkien and Adams et al
All book lists are biased and there is no one right answer. These are the books that I felt deserved to be on the list. And yeah, besides Twain, I haven’t really read books from those authors. The title has to be that for SEO purposes and I do make clear that this is my list in the article.
I love Davinci Code. I understand why it’s not on anyone’s top 10 in this thread, but I just loved it.
This list is missing some novels that are monumental. I cannot agree with it. I appreciate your motives but this is a terrible list. For one thing, To Kill A Mockingbird is a book that makes white people feel good about American history. Bad choice.
Great work, thanks! I enjoyed the Alchemist as well. You’ve inspired me to reread.
Glad to hear that! Good luck 👍
“The Ten Books I Have Read. “
What about hispanic literature? I didn’t see Don Quijote de la Mancha by Miguel Cervantes, or a hundred years of solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I do not question the Brooks you mention, but…
without a doubt, the greatest (modern) piece of fiction written is “Winter’s Tale”, by Mark Helprin
Wow! All male. Almost all English speakers. Alll caucasian. Little diversity of Outlook or context. If you’re going to put best books ever, maybe there should be a diverse group of people making that judgment.
Sorry one female
A more meaningful and appropriate title for your article would have been something like “My ten favourite books that I’ve ever read”. Unless you’ve actually read all books that’s ever been published (and all books that’s not published yet – an impossibility) and critically evaluated each one across universally accepted criteria, can you really come up with a list of the best books of “all time”? 🙂
Lolita and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao are my bids for 2 of the greatest novels of all time, and for me, who hasn’t read Tolstoy or East of Eden, Lolita is the masterpiece.
One would think the bible would be included. Can’t think of a more influential fictional work that.that.
Hands down the worst list of its kind I’ve ever seen.
Shut your biblical mouth
There are so many other books. One that I would have put on the list is Twilight Eyes by Dean Koontz. Also Flight of the Intruder by Stephen Coonts, though the sequel Intruders is better.
All you fucking hipster, know-it-all, “ME ME MEEE” generation, self righteous cunts think you know better. You can’t stop yourselves to criticise the list and enforce your own opinions upon everyone else. It’s just this fellas opinion about what he thinks top 10 is and that’s all there’s to it. It’s not a 100m race where you can choose the winners without the shadow of a doubt.
So calm the fuck down. Get off of your high fucking horses. Shut your fucking mouths and move on.
In all of my travels with all of the best of lists I have ever seen, I have never seen a sci-fi/fantasy list that didn’t have Dune directly behind lord of the rings. Ender’s game is usually 4th or 5th sometimes even further down. In other words, this is the first time I can remember with someone saying ender’s game is better than Dune. I can only believe this person either didn’t read Dune or didn’t understand it. I take issue with much of the rest of this list as well. But since most of it is just personal opinion I’m not going to harp on it except for the alchemist. That’s not even a novel. it’s like an allegory you can read it on a plane ride from Denver to Houston. It’s a cute story but I’m not even convinced I would put it in my top 100. It’s cute.
Read Dan Simmons. Maybe Hyperion. Then come back.