With so many books to read from, knowing which books to read can be difficult. There are hundreds of classics and amazing modern novels. Which books should you read? We have compiled a list of the 23 books that everyone should read at least once in their lives. Keep reading to find out which 23 books made the list!
To any reader, I would say read whatever makes you happy. But not everyone is an avid reader. Some readers want to check off the must-read books and see what books everyone is talking about. This list includes many great books but it also is missing many more books. While 23 books doesn’t cover all the great books, it is a great start.
23 Books That Everyone Should Read At Least Once in Their Lives
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- 1984 by George Orwell
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
- The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
- Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
- Dracula by Bram Stoker
New and Old Classics
This list is a great highlight of the 23 books that everyone should read at least once. Classics such as To Kill a Mockingbird, Jane Eyre, and The Catcher in the Rye are books that everyone needs to read. Even if you don’t enjoy them, their impact and message is worth it.
My personal favorites include The Book Thief, The Lord of the Rings, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. These novels are monumental and the latter two have inspired many novels. Tolkien is regarded as the father of fantasy for good reason. And it is hard to disregard Adams novels that are considered some of the best science fiction books of all time.
These are the 23 must read books. What did you think of the list? What novels should have been included on the list? Let us know in the comments below!
150 thoughts on “23 Books That Everyone Should Read At Least Once in Their Lives ”
Where is the poetry?
(And yes, Bronte is my real name.)
From Bronte again —
S0RRY I did not catch Romeo & Juliet on the list, ’cause that IS poetry!
The Prophet by Khalil Gibran should definitely be on the list. Essential.
“A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles is sublime.
Fully agree with you Anonymou.
No reason to apologise 😉 It may be pure poetry to you, but it’s a theatre play and should be enjoyed as such. So it doesnt count. Your criticism stands.
Great list if you believe that white Christians from Great Britain dominate great fiction in English. Few Black or Brown writers, no Jews, few women, and one Afghani physician. L A M E.
I have read many of those books.I liked those books.what about little women.How about Harry Potter.How about Twilight books.How about Up from Slavery.A must by Booker T Washington.
You could have added Moby Dick, Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Dostoevsky’s The Idiot.
Quiters Inc. By Stephen King
Where the Red Fern grows. Being from Oklahoma I have to nominate this book .
Night by Elie Weisel
The Diary of Anne Frank
In Our Time by Hemingway
Their Eyes Were Watching G-d by Zora Neale Hurston
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
The Sound and the Fury by Faulkner
Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou
A new release that is a must read is Hustling Backward by Stephen P Hargrave. A timeless book.
A Brave New World was much more forward thinking than 1984.
You put 1984 in several post. Why is this book meant so much for you?
Not much diversity but then again, so many books are being banned because of the truths they contain. Shameful!!
Catch 22 personal favorite
You could add A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth.
Two books by Jean Paul Sartre:
Existentialism and Human Emotions; The Devil and The Good Lord.
Two books by Simone de Beauvoir:
The Second Sex; and All Men Are Mortal.
Serious omission…Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain !
I am very surprised that Ahaqir did not recommend the most read book worldwide : The Prophet by Gibran Khalil Gibran. A very serious omission..
Stockholm – Sweden
I must add that Gibran book the Prophet has been translated into over 100 different languages, making it one of the most translated book in history, as well as one of the best selling book of all times.
Looks like a 70’s high school list
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn
A favorite book of mine is “Watership Down” by Richard Adams. I had to read it in junior college in my 20’s. I didn’t care much for it. A rabbit society, for goodness sake! I decided to read it again in my late 50’s. I loved it. Being much older, I understood it on a much deeper level.
Paulo Coelho’s the Alchemist should be on this list.
Definitely should be on the list
Silent spring, Rachel, Carson, Shepherd of the Hills, Harold Bell Wright
It seems like a bit of a “classics list” rather than actual must read books. You probably should have included something from current authors who are considered the greatest of our time. Authors like Stephen King or Haruki Murakami.
Where is Gabriel Garcia Marques??? Where are the russian writers???
I would add The Little Price on top of the list
Heinlein, Tolstoy, Dickens, Rand, King, Twain, Asimov, Clarke, Lewis, Verne, etc. Crime and punishment, clockwork orange, grapes of wrath. Bottom line this list doesn’t exist as there are too many great books in various categories that have equal weight
Fathima , I think dreams from my father is am good read .
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver is the most beautiful use of language I have experienced
Who Moved My Cheese should be on this list.
Most of those have been banned here in Florida by the book Nazis.
All these books are available here in FLorida, stop ur p[ropaganda
Ray Bradbury’s masterpieces Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles belong on this list.
-Mark Gray, Bradbury Scholar
Where is Alchemist.
To all you critics of the list….just consider it a ‘suggestion’, not ‘the truth, the light, and the way.’ That said, I just read, for the first time, “Catcher in the Rye,” and I have to say….I just don’t GET it. Why is this book such a treasure? I found it boring, repetitive, and uninteresting. Also, please explain to me why “Dracula” is seen as such a scary novel; nothing in this book was frightening to me. Maybe if I lived in the 1800s…?
Wtf! Gone with the Wind! There’s nothing remotely laudable or romantic about slavery. You should”ve subbed The Polsonwood Bible or The Bluest Eyes or or The Kitchen God’s wife or a mullion other more worthy books
Reading books is like looking for a soulmate. The person you meet might be great, but not for you because your instinct tells you that your close frind is still to be found. Books are like humans ….
Books from Asian, African and Middle African writers are shockingly absent from this list, as well as great works by American Black avd Hispanic writers. Please revise to include a broader spectrum to educate all of us.
Papillon, Pathfinder, Bounty Trilogy should be there as well as Independent People.
For true book lovers this list would be endless.
To Debbie. Agree! And that’s what I love about this list. It gives me a sense of eternity.
Unbearable Lightness of Being, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Invisible Man, The Sun Also Rises, Our Mutual Friend, The Magic Mountain, Doctor Zhivago, A Bend in the River, All Quiet on the Western Front, Being There, The Tin Drum, The Man Who Loved Children, The Souls of Black Folk, The Fire Next Time, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, The Awakening, The Ambassadors, The.Age of Innocence.
I’ve read ALL books mentioned above, but am still impressed with SHANTARAM, by Gregory David Roberts and tell all book lovers I meet about it. It’s truly an unforgettable reading experience!
Ben Hur – Lew Wallace –
Making people *read* Shakespeare’s plays is not a good idea. They are plays and should ideally be experienced in a theater. Avatar is a great film, but you would hardly recommend somebody get hold of the film script.