One of the most important steps in starting to read is to find the right book. As J.K. Rowling said:
“If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.”
And finding the right books means finding the best books of all time that will get you into reading, transport you to new worlds and different times, and also take you back to the important moments in your own lives.
So, it’s time to expand your horizons and go on a journey of discovery, entertainment, and fun.
To get you started, we’ve put together a compulsively readable list of some of the best books of all time, from modern to classics. These books will definitely make you fall in love with reading and craving for more. They are so addictive that you’ll flip through their pages in no time flat, and they’ll also have you running out and buying absolutely every other thing their author has ever published.
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22 of the Best Books Of All Time You Must Read
Whether you’re an avid reader or a beginner in reading books, we hope you’ll enjoy our collection of 22 of the best books of all time, modern as well as classics.
1. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
One of those stories that will stay with you for a long time, It Ends With Us is an easy but powerful read. The story revolves around Lily, her childhood and adulthood, from her upbringing, first love and then growth into a woman meeting the man of her dreams. It’s a story written with much passion, a social message that shakes you to your very core, and well-drafted paragraphs that make a lasting impression in readers’ hearts forever.
2. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
A coming of age story with a touch of romance and murder mystery, Where the Crawdads Sing is one of the best books of all time. It tells an evocative tale of a child abandoned by family and shunned by others. Kya, the Marsh Girl, grows on her own and becomes one with nature in her marshland home. The book has absolutely everything you could ever need in a novel. It is beautifully written, unbelievably descriptive, and hauntingly touching.
3. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library is a fabulous read for those who may need a little magic and hope in their life. Nora Seed is tired of living, and so she tries to take her own life, only to find herself in the ‘Midnight Library’. It’s the library which sits somewhere between life and death, offering Nora a chance to live out all the different lives she could have had based on the choices she has made. Unique, poignant, and engrossing, it’s definitely a book worth reading!
4. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
A page turner for sure, The Silent Patient is a great read that keeps you engaged right up until the end. The book has enough creepiness and a whole lot of mystery which the author untangles wonderfully. Alicia lived a seemingly perfect life until one day six years ago when she shot her husband in the head five times. Since then she hasn’t uttered a single word and it’s time to find out why. A thrilling read, The Silent Patient is indeed one of the best books of all time.
5. Normal People by Sally Rooney
Considered as a ‘future classic’, Normal People is a coming of age story of two individuals, Connell and Marianne and their journey from being strangers in school to developing a deep connection with each other. The book is presented as a novella that encapsulates the struggle, pain and suffering of real life. It’s definitely a simple story, but on the par with complexity. Rooney’s writing is sharp, witty, and realistic without any pretentiousness.
6. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
One of the most interesting and thought-provoking books, Sapiens is a must-read of the year. The book, although revolves around a beautiful chronological sequence of the evolution of the human species, brings explanations, reasons and critique about the tangent acts in the formation of society. It has biology, history, geography, anthropology, communism and whatnot. A full bundle of knowledge, Sapiens is for sure one of the greatest books of all time.
7. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
An absolute masterpiece, The Song of Achilles is for anyone who loves long sagas, Greek mythology/epic, and love that stands the test of time. From the well-known author of Circe, it’s an amazing retelling of Homer’s the Iliad and told from the perspective of Achilles’ companion, Patroclus. The story focuses on the evolution of their relationship from the time they’re boys to full grown men, fighting in the Trojan War. It’s a truly beautiful, heartbreaking story about love, war and sacrifice.
8. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Splendid, beautiful and heart-wrenching story, A Thousand Splendid Suns is one of the most wonderful books of all time. Set in Afghanistan over a period of about 30 years, the book unfolds the story of two women’s suffering, both in their household and from the Taliban. Laila and Mariam show bravery, determination and a hunger to continue surviving as we follow them through their childhood until their lives cleverly cross over at a pivotal experience. A truly unforgettable story!
9. Ikigai by Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia
A wonderful must-read, Ikigai is based on the Japanese secret to a long and happy life. The book shares life-changing concepts and secrets on how to live a healthy, meaningful life. ‘Ikigai’ is what you live for. It can be a person, a particular work, a habit or anything. This book talks about finding your own Ikigai and empowers you with the tools necessary to alter your life. Moreover, it offers good practical solutions for better mood, better life and managing problems. An amazing book that you won’t regret reading!
10. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian is one of the most powerful novels of all time. Combining real life events, people and fictional characters, this historical novel set in the Old West is about a boy, simply called ‘The Kid’, who joins a group of scalp hunters, men who hunt and kill Native Americans for their scalps, led by a seemingly inhuman man named Judge Holden. Written in a poetic way and in specific McCarthy’s style, it’s a really dark and violently powerful novel, one that’ll make you think for a long time even after completing the book.
11. Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin
Powerful, intricate and insightful, Dream of the Red Chamber, also called The Story of the Stone, is one of China’s greatest classical novels. Written in the mid-18th century during the rule of Qing dynasty, the novel is generally acknowledged to be one of the pinnacles of Chinese fiction. It is usually believed to be semi autobiographical, featuring the rise and decline of the author’s own family and, by extension, of the great Qing dynasty. Sincere and intense, it’s undoubtedly one of the best books of all time!
12. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
Poignant and thought provoking, Man’s Search for Meaning is a book worth reading as a reminder of life’s important realities. It’s a Jewish man’s memoir about his time in Auschwitz during the Holocaust and what he learned from it. The book certainly helps you keep things in perspective when you read about people who found hope, kindness and meaning in one of the most desperate situations in modern history. A deeply philosophical, enlightening and transformational book that I would recommend everyone to read even if it’s the only book they’ll ever read.
13. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
One of the highly acclaimed classics, The Catcher In The Rye is a bildungsroman featuring an angry, depressed and confused protagonist. Holden is a lost teenager, who doesn’t really know what he wants in life. He despises almost everyone and everything around him. He finds everyone phony and everything corny. Teenagers can see themselves in Holden. Adults can see their children in Holden. So read this book as if your child was talking to you, and listen. The book has something for everyone.
14. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
A pillar of historical fiction in literature, Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief is utterly phenomenal. Set in Nazi Germany and narrated by DEATH, it focuses on Liesel, a girl who has seen nothing but sadness in her life. Her love for literature is precious even though it was borne from her stealing a book. Her foster father gives her the greatest gift you can give to someone…the ability to read. The book is methodically written and each character is given just the right amount of casting energy. Poignant, profound and heartbreaking, it’s one of the best books of all time.
15. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
A mysterious and thrilling novel, The Da Vinci Code tells the story of Robert Langdon during his accidental pursuit of the Holy Grail, which is later known as the bloodline of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. Accomplished by codes, symbols, accusations, researches, secret links and much more, the book leaves the reader spellbound. Also, the author has so wonderfully blurred the lines between reality and fiction in this thrilling book. And yes, there’s lots of controversy surrounding how accurate it is. Despite this, it’s a masterpiece that everyone must read at least once in a lifetime.
16. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
One of the best books on finance intelligence, Rich Dad Poor Dad will help you open up something new in your perspective. It teaches the importance of financial literacy and building wealth through investing in assets, while Robert Kiyosaki also clears the difference between assets and liabilities. It really gets you thinking about your view towards money or how money works, how a rich man thinks, what stops a poor man from becoming a rich person. A fantastic read for those looking into investing and finance, and anyone trying to learn various perspectives about increasing wealth.
17. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Written in 1953 by an author who greatly contributed to the revamp of the science fiction genre by introducing elements of social and political criticism, Fahrenheit 451 is a novel or dystopian, set in an undefined future. The protagonist Guy Montag is a firefighter who instead of putting out fires sets them: his job in fact consists of burning books, objects that are now illegal. A short but powerful read, it is one of the stunning and frightening books of all time.
18. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is a dystopian book that highlights how depressing and frightening governmental ideologies can be. In the year 1984, Oceana—the totalitarian superstate—was ruled by Big Brother; an omnipotent and omniscient dictatorship led by the Party attempting to suppress independent thought. We follow Winston Smith—a man who hates the Party—in an attempt to revolt against it. It’s one of the most influential works of the 20th century, which introduced the concept of Big Brother, and is very much still relevant today.
19. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
First published in 1818, Frankenstein is one of the greatest Gothic novels of all time that started a whole new genre of fiction, inspired thousands of other creative works, and remains a forever favorite. During an Arctic expedition, explorer Robert Walton and his crew rescue Victor Frankenstein, who begins to narrate his life and the extraordinary story of how he created and brought life to a creature in human form. Mary Shelley has succeeded in unnerving her readers for centuries with complex themes of revenge, pursuit of knowledge, isolation and science-fiction.
20. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
A monumental classic often remembered for its epic film version, Gone with the Wind is considered by many to be not only the greatest love story ever written, but also the greatest Civil War saga. Generally regarded as the greatest American novel, it explores the depth of human passions with an intensity as bold as its setting in the red hills of Georgia. Since its publication, it has won several awards including the Pulitzer Prize, and more than 30 million copies of the book have been sold worldwide.
21. The Outsider by Albert Camus
A short and extremely readable classic, The Outsider touches on so many underlying themes. Meursault is an outsider to the society in which he lives, he is convicted of murder yet this is not what condemns him, it is his failure to cry at his mother’s funeral. The book takes us through an absurd journey of Meursault’s life. It’s the perfect representation of the absurdity of human life, and is a companion novella to Camus’ philosophical essay ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’. If you want some food for thought, things to mull over while drinking a cup of tea, then this book is a must read.
22. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
If you like revenge tales, The Count of Monte Cristo is the mother of all revenge tales, with a fascinating plot enclosed in a compelling narrative. Edmond Dantes plays the ultimate long game with a plan for revenge that’s intricately detailed and purposefully structured to absolutely ruin the people who wronged him. He’s a good person who has horrible things done to him and then takes matters into his own hands—but at what cost? It’s a great novel worth reading if you’re looking for a new classic and want to diversify your range of authors outside of British/American literature.
Read On, Readers!
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