The Greatest Books of All Time

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books in literature. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 200 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed literary works. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details about the selection process can be found on the rankings page .

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1. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Cover of 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

This novel is a multi-generational saga that focuses on the Buendía family, who founded the fictional town of Macondo. It explores themes of love, loss, family, and the cyclical nature of history. The story is filled with magical realism, blending the supernatural with the ordinary, as it chronicles the family's experiences, including civil war, marriages, births, and deaths. The book is renowned for its narrative style and its exploration of solitude, fate, and the inevitability of repetition in history.

2. Ulysses by James Joyce

Cover of 'Ulysses' by James Joyce

Set in Dublin, the novel follows a day in the life of Leopold Bloom, an advertising salesman, as he navigates the city. The narrative, heavily influenced by Homer's Odyssey, explores themes of identity, heroism, and the complexities of everyday life. It is renowned for its stream-of-consciousness style and complex structure, making it a challenging but rewarding read.

3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Cover of 'The Great Gatsby' by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Set in the summer of 1922, the novel follows the life of a young and mysterious millionaire, his extravagant lifestyle in Long Island, and his obsessive love for a beautiful former debutante. As the story unfolds, the millionaire's dark secrets and the corrupt reality of the American dream during the Jazz Age are revealed. The narrative is a critique of the hedonistic excess and moral decay of the era, ultimately leading to tragic consequences.

4. In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust

Cover of 'In Search of Lost Time' by Marcel Proust

This renowned novel is a sweeping exploration of memory, love, art, and the passage of time, told through the narrator's recollections of his childhood and experiences into adulthood in the late 19th and early 20th century aristocratic France. The narrative is notable for its lengthy and intricate involuntary memory episodes, the most famous being the "madeleine episode". It explores the themes of time, space and memory, but also raises questions about the nature of art and literature, and the complex relationships between love, sexuality, and possession.

5. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Cover of 'Don Quixote' by Miguel de Cervantes

This classic novel follows the adventures of a man who, driven mad by reading too many chivalric romances, decides to become a knight-errant and roam the world righting wrongs under the name Don Quixote. Accompanied by his loyal squire, Sancho Panza, he battles windmills he believes to be giants and champions the virtuous lady Dulcinea, who is in reality a simple peasant girl. The book is a richly layered critique of the popular literature of Cervantes' time and a profound exploration of reality and illusion, madness and sanity.

6. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

Cover of 'The Catcher in the Rye' by J. D. Salinger

The novel follows the story of a teenager named Holden Caulfield, who has just been expelled from his prep school. The narrative unfolds over the course of three days, during which Holden experiences various forms of alienation and his mental state continues to unravel. He criticizes the adult world as "phony" and struggles with his own transition into adulthood. The book is a profound exploration of teenage rebellion, alienation, and the loss of innocence.

7. Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Cover of 'Moby Dick' by Herman Melville

The novel is a detailed narrative of a vengeful sea captain's obsessive quest to hunt down a giant white sperm whale that bit off his leg. The captain's relentless pursuit, despite the warnings and concerns of his crew, leads them on a dangerous journey across the seas. The story is a complex exploration of good and evil, obsession, and the nature of reality, filled with rich descriptions of whaling and the sea.

8. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Cover of 'Crime and Punishment' by Fyodor Dostoevsky

A young, impoverished former student in Saint Petersburg, Russia, formulates a plan to kill an unscrupulous pawnbroker to redistribute her wealth among the needy. However, after carrying out the act, he is consumed by guilt and paranoia, leading to a psychological battle within himself. As he grapples with his actions, he also navigates complex relationships with a variety of characters, including a virtuous prostitute, his sister, and a relentless detective. The narrative explores themes of morality, redemption, and the psychological impacts of crime.

9. Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell

Cover of 'Nineteen Eighty Four' by George Orwell

Set in a dystopian future, the novel presents a society under the total control of a totalitarian regime, led by the omnipresent Big Brother. The protagonist, a low-ranking member of 'the Party', begins to question the regime and falls in love with a woman, an act of rebellion in a world where independent thought, dissent, and love are prohibited. The novel explores themes of surveillance, censorship, and the manipulation of truth.

10. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Cover of 'War and Peace' by Leo Tolstoy

Set in the backdrop of the Napoleonic era, the novel presents a panorama of Russian society and its descent into the chaos of war. It follows the interconnected lives of five aristocratic families, their struggles, romances, and personal journeys through the tumultuous period of history. The narrative explores themes of love, war, and the meaning of life, as it weaves together historical events with the personal stories of its characters.

11. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Cover of 'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Brontë

This classic novel is a tale of love, revenge and social class set in the Yorkshire moors. It revolves around the intense, complex relationship between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, an orphan adopted by Catherine's father. Despite their deep affection for each other, Catherine marries Edgar Linton, a wealthy neighbor, leading Heathcliff to seek revenge on the two families. The story unfolds over two generations, reflecting the consequences of their choices and the destructive power of obsessive love.

12. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Cover of 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' by Lewis Carroll

This novel follows the story of a young girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantastical world full of peculiar creatures and bizarre experiences. As she navigates through this strange land, she encounters a series of nonsensical events, including a tea party with a Mad Hatter, a pool of tears, and a trial over stolen tarts. The book is renowned for its playful use of language, logic, and its exploration of the boundaries of reality.

13. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Cover of 'Pride and Prejudice' by Jane Austen

Set in early 19th-century England, this classic novel revolves around the lives of the Bennet family, particularly the five unmarried daughters. The narrative explores themes of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage within the society of the landed gentry. It follows the romantic entanglements of Elizabeth Bennet, the second eldest daughter, who is intelligent, lively, and quick-witted, and her tumultuous relationship with the proud, wealthy, and seemingly aloof Mr. Darcy. Their story unfolds as they navigate societal expectations, personal misunderstandings, and their own pride and prejudice.

14. The Bible by Christian Church

Cover of 'The Bible' by Christian Church

This religious text is a compilation of 66 books divided into the Old and New Testaments, forming the central narrative for Christianity. It encompasses a variety of genres, including historical accounts, poetry, prophecy, and teaching, telling the story of God's relationship with humanity, from creation to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the early Christian church. It is considered by believers to be divinely inspired and serves as a guide for faith and practice.

15. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Cover of 'Lolita' by Vladimir Nabokov

The novel tells the story of Humbert Humbert, a man with a disturbing obsession for young girls, or "nymphets" as he calls them. His obsession leads him to engage in a manipulative and destructive relationship with his 12-year-old stepdaughter, Lolita. The narrative is a controversial exploration of manipulation, obsession, and unreliable narration, as Humbert attempts to justify his actions and feelings throughout the story.

16. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri

Cover of 'The Divine Comedy' by Dante Alighieri

In this epic poem, the protagonist embarks on an extraordinary journey through Hell (Inferno), Purgatory (Purgatorio), and Paradise (Paradiso). Guided by the ancient Roman poet Virgil and his beloved Beatrice, he encounters various historical and mythological figures in each realm, witnessing the eternal consequences of earthly sins and virtues. The journey serves as an allegory for the soul's progression towards God, offering profound insights into the nature of good and evil, free will, and divine justice.

17. The Odyssey by Homer

Cover of 'The Odyssey' by Homer

This epic poem follows the Greek hero Odysseus on his journey home after the fall of Troy. It takes Odysseus ten years to reach Ithaca after the ten-year Trojan War. Along the way, he encounters many obstacles including mythical creatures, divine beings, and natural disasters. Meanwhile, back in Ithaca, his wife Penelope and son Telemachus fend off suitors vying for Penelope's hand in marriage, believing Odysseus to be dead. The story concludes with Odysseus's return, his slaughter of the suitors, and his reunion with his family.

18. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Cover of 'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn' by Mark Twain

The novel follows the journey of a young boy named Huckleberry Finn and a runaway slave named Jim as they travel down the Mississippi River on a raft. Set in the American South before the Civil War, the story explores themes of friendship, freedom, and the hypocrisy of society. Through various adventures and encounters with a host of colorful characters, Huck grapples with his personal values, often clashing with the societal norms of the time.

19. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Cover of 'The Brothers Karamazov' by Fyodor Dostoevsky

This classic novel explores the complex, passionate, and troubled relationship between four brothers and their father in 19th century Russia. The narrative delves into the themes of faith, doubt, morality, and redemption, as each brother grapples with personal dilemmas and family conflicts. The story culminates in a dramatic trial following a murder, which serves as a microcosm of the moral and philosophical struggles faced by each character, and by extension, humanity itself.

20. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Cover of 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee

Set in the racially charged South during the Depression, the novel follows a young girl and her older brother as they navigate their small town's societal norms and prejudices. Their father, a lawyer, is appointed to defend a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman, forcing the children to confront the harsh realities of racism and injustice. The story explores themes of morality, innocence, and the loss of innocence through the eyes of the young protagonists.

21. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Cover of 'Heart of Darkness' by Joseph Conrad

This classic novel follows the journey of a seaman who travels up the Congo River into the African interior to meet a mysterious ivory trader. Throughout his journey, he encounters the harsh realities of imperialism, the brutal treatment of native Africans, and the depths of human cruelty and madness. The protagonist's journey into the 'heart of darkness' serves as both a physical exploration of the African continent and a metaphorical exploration into the depths of human nature.

22. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Cover of 'Anna Karenina' by Leo Tolstoy

Set in 19th-century Russia, this novel revolves around the life of Anna Karenina, a high-society woman who, dissatisfied with her loveless marriage, embarks on a passionate affair with a charming officer named Count Vronsky. This scandalous affair leads to her social downfall, while parallel to this, the novel also explores the rural life and struggles of Levin, a landowner who seeks the meaning of life and true happiness. The book explores themes such as love, marriage, fidelity, societal norms, and the human quest for happiness.

23. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Cover of 'Madame Bovary' by Gustave Flaubert

Madame Bovary is a tragic novel about a young woman, Emma Bovary, who is married to a dull, but kind-hearted doctor. Dissatisfied with her life, she embarks on a series of extramarital affairs and indulges in a luxurious lifestyle in an attempt to escape the banalities and emptiness of provincial life. Her desire for passion and excitement leads her down a path of financial ruin and despair, ultimately resulting in a tragic end.

24. The Iliad by Homer

Cover of 'The Iliad' by Homer

This epic poem focuses on the final weeks of the Trojan War, a conflict between the city of Troy and the Greek city-states. The story explores themes of war, honor, wrath, and divine intervention, with a particular focus on the Greek hero Achilles, whose anger and refusal to fight have devastating consequences. The narrative also delves into the lives of the gods, their relationships with humans, and their influence on the course of events.

25. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Cover of 'Catch-22' by Joseph Heller

The book is a satirical critique of military bureaucracy and the illogical nature of war, set during World War II. The story follows a U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 bombardier stationed in Italy, who is trying to maintain his sanity while fulfilling his service requirements so that he can go home. The novel explores the absurdity of war and military life through the experiences of the protagonist, who discovers that a bureaucratic rule, the "Catch-22", makes it impossible for him to escape his dangerous situation. The more he tries to avoid his military assignments, the deeper he gets sucked into the irrational world of military rule.

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MARK MANSON

The 47 Best Fiction Books of All Time

If you’re looking for a good novel or story to read, here’s my list of the 47 best fiction books of all time—in no particular order.

  • Ulysses by James Joyce – Banned for obscenity in the United States, a stream of consciousness classic that follows one Irish man’s every thought for an entire day.
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy – Often called the best novel ever written. Dozens of characters, stretching from Muscovite peasants all the way to Napoleon himself. The modern epic.
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – A hundred years ahead of its time, Tolstoy’s investigation of the silent, stifling life of women is an all-time great.
  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert – A classic of 19th century realism. A cautionary tale about romanticism.
  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway – Often considered Hemingway’s greatest work. A short novella about a Cuban fisherman. Hemingway won his Nobel Prize for this.
  • The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner – A novel told from the perspective of different members of the same family, including the mentally handicapped main character. Stretches all boundaries and brilliantly written.
  • East of Eden by John Steinbeck – A refashioning of the biblical Cain and Abel story based on a family that settles in California. Steinbeck’s masterpiece.
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov – The scandalous love story of a man and a 12-year-old girl. As beautifully written as it is disturbing.
  • Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger – As if high school angst was chopped up, splattered onto pages and glued to binding.
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – One of the “Great American Novels.” Timeless story of class divisions, love and the inevitability of loneliness.
  • 1984 by George Orwell – Orwell’s dystopian tale of a totalitarian government enabled by futuristic technology.
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison – A tale about an escaped slave who would go to any length to guarantee her and her children’s freedom. Winner of a Nobel Prize.
  • 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Another Nobel Prize winner. No other book is even remotely like it. Descriptions don’t do it justice.
  • The Iliad by Homer – The classic Greek epic and possibly the oldest story of western civilization.
  • The Odyssey by Homer – See above.
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky – A character study of a man driven to murder for no rational reason and the aftermath. Russian novelists tend to be psychological and this may be the most psychological of all the Russian classics.
  • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky – A grand and beautiful portrait of a frayed family–three brothers struggling to understand and accept each other.
  • Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes – Considered the first novel ever written. Cervantes’ classic story tells of a man who imagines himself a knight, heroically defending the land.
  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens – One of the most universally loved novels in the English language, it’s still revered today.
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens – The best-selling English language novel of all time and a historical fiction about an English doctor who finds himself caught up in the French Revolution and Reign of Terror.
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – The coming of age of a young woman, this is considered the first book to ever follow a single person’s psychological and spiritual growth throughout their lives from the first person.
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – The timeless classic about love, romance, money, class, and family. Still as relevant as ever.
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte – A shockingly dark and twisted book critical of the stifling morals of 19th century England. Published posthumously, the book came under heavy attack at the time, but is considered prescient now.
  • In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust – The longest novel ever written, clocking in at an astounding 4,200 pages. You really will search for your lost time if you make it through this whole thing.
  • Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain – Another candidate for the “Great American Novel,” Huck Finn is about an homeless boy who befriends an escaped slave. An odd yet powerful friendship emerges.
  • To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf – A novel that challenged and broke all traditional forms and expectations for what a novel should be. Part philosophical musings, part emotional meanderings, part story, the book defined a style of its own.
  • The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka – An investigation into the absurd. A man wakes up one morning to find himself transformed into a giant beetle. His family is… not supportive.
  • The Stranger by Albert Camus – A novel that follows a nihilistic main character through situations, both extreme and mundane. Throughout, his lack of emotional response challenges our sense of what is actually meaningful and what is not. Camus won a Nobel Prize for this book.
  • Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie – A dizzying display of brilliance from the first-time novelist. This book would cement Rushdie as one of the top authors of his generation.
  • Candide by Voltaire – A satirical classic of a wealthy young man, brought up to be naive and optimistic about the world, is repeatedly confronted with harsh truth after harsh truth.
  • Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe – The great African novel about the experiences of Africans during the colonial years.
  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare – To be or not to be… that is one of many questions.
  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare – Spoiler: everybody dies.
  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo – Before Hugh Jackman danced around singing it, Hugo’s classic was a brooding investigation into the nature of law, society, love and family.
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas – A modern adventure epic written on the scale of one of the ancient Greek or Roman poems. Not only is it readable but it’s impossible to put down at times.
  • Oedipus the King by Sophocles – The most famous Greek tragedy. Even today, reading it is unforgettable.
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley – Huxley’s take on a dystopian future where populations are not controlled by fear, but rather, controlled by pleasure.
  • Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut – Considered the ultimate anti-war novel, this book is based on Vonnegut’s own experiences in World War II. Hilarious and heartwarming.
  • The Master and Margarita by Mihkail Bulgakov – Considered both the best Russian novel of the 20th century and the best piece of Soviet-era criticism and satire, it took 20 years for this book to be published uncensored. And even then, it was after the author had died.
  • The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen – The consummate criticism of middle American suburban life in the 21st century. One of my favorite books ever written. National Book Award winner.
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston – A tale of a young black woman’s empowerment in 1920s United States. A huge influence on both the later civil rights movements.
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – Considered the first true science fiction story ever told. Shelley was a mere 18 years old when she wrote it. It continues to be a classic.
  • White Noise by Don DeLillo – A breakout novel in the 80s and one of the first great pieces of fiction to criticize consumer culture and modern entertainment.
  • Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – A feminist dystopia where women are mere vessels for childbirth and everything is controlled by a bizarre religion. Now a famous Hulu series.
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath – Published a month before she committed suicide, The Bell Jar broke open the public discussion of mental health, depression and suicide and cemented Plath as one of the centuries greatest talents.
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy – Perhaps the darkest and yet most powerful book about parenthood. A father fights to keep his boy alive in a post-apocalyptic world.
  • Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace – As long as it is brilliant and funny. Most people can’t finish it as it seems, well, infinite. Considered the hallmark novel of Generation X, Wallace’s critique of technology and our obsession with entertainment only grows more relevant each year.

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top fiction books of all times

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The 60 best fiction books of all time

From gripping sequels to debuts by fresh new voices, discover the best new fiction books of 2024. we also look back at the best fiction books of 2023 and share our edit of some of the best novels of all time..

top fiction books of all times

Albert Camus once said that ‘fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth’, and with these eight words he perfectly encapsulated the immense power of the novel. The best fiction teaches us history that the curriculum never did, sees us break in a new pair of shoes in a new city, breaks our heart and mends it –⁠ sometimes in the same chapter. It lets us breathe in a past era, step into fantasy worlds and even offers glimpses into dystopian futures. As 2024 marks another exciting year of new books, we've also collected the best fiction of 2023, and of all time. 

The best new fiction of 2024

By nathan hill.

Book cover for Wellness

Six years on from his debut The Nix , Nathan Hill is back with another razor-sharp novel, which focuses its lens on a modern marriage, and the absurdity of our tech and health-obsessed culture. A gripping love story told over two decades, from first love and the excitement of youth to the quietness and introspection that comes with middle age, Wellness will make you look at your own life in a new way thanks to Hill’s ironic and insightful prose. 

by Kristin Hannah

Book cover for The Women

Start your reading year with the compelling new novel from bestselling author Kristin Hannah . When her brother enlists in the Army at the start of the Vietnam War, young nursing student Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s life changes in ways she could have never imagined. Following her brother to Asia to serve in the Army Nursing Corps, Frances soon realises that women can be heroes too. Charting a young woman's experience of the power of female friendship and the bittersweet experience of first love, The Women is truly unputdownable. 

Maude Horton’s Glorious Revenge

By lizzie pook.

Book cover for Maude Horton’s Glorious Revenge

A historical thriller set in the heart of Victorian London’s seedy underbelly, this is must read for fans of all things gothic crime. When young Constance Horton disappears without a trace, her older sister Maude vows to find her. As she devours the the journal her sister left behind, Maude soon realises that a sinister secret is being hidden by dangerous forces and by some of the city’s most powerful men. Will she find Constance before it’s too late? This deliciously dark story is the perfect way to wile away cosy winter nights. 

Where There Was Fire

By john manuel arias.

Book cover for Where There Was Fire

Teresa Cepeda Valverde is a woman on a mission. Almost three decades after a massive fire on the Costa Rican banana plantation on which she lived and worked killed her family, she is still seeking answers about what happened that fateful night. As she and her daughter Lyra seek to find out what caused the fire, another family is doing their utmost to hide their generations of corruption. A redemption story about love, heritage and the forces of nature, Where There Was Fire is an atmospheric and beautiful novel which will whisk you away to another world this winter. 

How I Won A Nobel Prize

By julius taranto.

Book cover for How I Won A Nobel Prize

Helen is one of the best minds of her generation. But when her irreplaceable advisor’s student sex scandal is exposed, she must choose whether to give up on her work or accompany him to RIP, a research institute which grants safe harbour to the disgraced and the deplorable. As Helen settles into life at the institute alongside her partner Hew, she develops a crush on an older novelist, while he is drawn to an increasingly violent protest movement. As the rift between them deepens, they both face major – and potentially world-altering – choices.

by Kate Morton

Book cover for Homecoming

A gripping mystery set between Australia and London, Homecoming , by Kate Morton is soon to be available in paperback. When 89-year-old Nora's health takes an unexpected turn for the worse, Jess boards the first plane out of London, her home of twenty years, to be by her grandmother's bedside in Sydney. Soon, she discovers that the usually stoic Nora has been hiding a family secret and vows to get to the heart of the mystery of what happened on a fateful Christmas Eve sixty years before. 

Never Too Late

By danielle steel.

Book cover for Never Too Late

After relocating from San Francisco to Manhattan after her husband's death, Kezia is watching the 4th July firework display from her terrace, when she sees smoke and flames pouring from famous landmarks across New York City. Her neighbour, the famous movie star Sam Stewart, is also aware of the crisis, and watches in horror as the terrifying drama unfolds. They rush to the affected site and join the rescue operations. The harrowing event and their intense shared experiences in the following weeks foster a profound bond between Kezia and Sam, offering a touching tale about human connection and courage amidst crisis.

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Discover more anticipated reads for 2024

The best fiction of 2023, by hernan diaz.

Book cover for Trust

Winner of the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Trust is undoubtedly one of the novels of the year. Everyone in 1920s New York knows of Benjamin and Helen Rask, the Wall Street tycoon and the daughter of bohemian aristocrats. They live in a sphere of untold wealth, but what is the true cost of their fortune? This mystery sits at the heart of a bestselling novel that all of New York has read. But, like all stories, there are different perspectives. Hernan Diaz tracks these narratives across a century and documents the truth-bending power of money, with provocative revelations at each turn.

Western Lane

By chetna maroo.

Book cover for Western Lane

Exploring themes of grief and sisterhood, this debut coming-of-age story packs all the feels into just 176 pages. Eleven-year-old Gopi has been playing squash for as long as she can remember. When her mother dies, her father enlists her in a brutal training regimen. Soon, the game has become her entire world, causing a rift between Gopi and her sisters. But on the court, governed by the rhythms of the sport, she feels alive. This novel beautifully captures the ordinary and annihilates it with beauty as we follow a young athlete's struggle to transcend herself. 

Everything's Fine

By cecilia rabess.

Book cover for Everything's Fine

This stunning debut is a whip-smart exploration of an age-old question: what have you got to lose when you fall in love? When Jess first meets Josh at their Ivy League college she dislikes him immediately: an entitled guy in chinos, ready to take over the world. Meanwhile, Jess is almost always the only Black woman in their class. And Josh can’t accept that life might be easier for him because he’s white. But when they end up working for the same investment bank, their tempestuous friendship soon turns into an electrifying romance, forcing Jess to question who she is and what she's willing to compromise for love. 

‘ The book of the moment . . It’s so good — funny, sexy, unafraid, brilliantly nuanced, completely unputdownable. ’ The Times on Everything's Fine

Atlas: The Story of Pa Salt

By lucinda riley.

Book cover for Atlas: The Story of Pa Salt

Paris, 1928. A boy is found, moments from death, and taken in by a kindly family who gives him a life he could never have dreamed of, but he refuses to tell anyone who he truly is. As he grows into a young man, an evil is rising across Europe and he knows he must soon flee again. The final novel in the Seven Sisters series ,  Atlas: The Story of Pa Salt,  reveals how the sisters came to be adopted by their beloved, mysterious father, drawing the epic series to a stunning, unforgettable conclusion. Finally, readers will know the answer to the ultimate question: who is Pa Salt?

The Seven Sisters books in order: a complete guide

To paradise, by hanya yanagihara.

Book cover for To Paradise

This novel from the author of A Little Life spans stories of love, family, and loss over three centuries. 1893: New York is part of the Free States, and a member of a privileged family falls for an impoverished music teacher. 1993: Manhattan is being swept by the AIDS epidemic, and a Hawaiian man with a wealthy older partner must hide his family background. 2093: a world where plague and totalitarian rule is rife, a woman tries to solve the mystery of her husband's disappearance. This symphonic vision of America is a demonstration of Hanya Yanagihara's literary genius as she weaves three stories together. 

Bright Young Women

By jessica knoll.

Book cover for Bright Young Women

January 1978. Tallahassee. When sorority president Pamela Schumacher is startled awake at 3 a.m. by a strange sound, she’s shocked to encounter a scene of implausible violence – two of her friends dead and two others, maimed. The only person to see the man responsible, she is thrust into a terrifying mystery, entangled in a crime that captivates public interest for more than four decades. This extraordinary novel is inspired by the real-life sorority targeted by America's first celebrity serial killer in his final murderous spree. 

by Jane Harper

Book cover for Exiles

Small-town detective Aaron Falk returns in Exiles , the new novel from the bestselling author of The Dry , Jane Harper. When a young mother disappears on a warm spring night, leaving her baby alone in her pram at a busy festival, Falk begins to suspect that this is more than a cut-and-dry missing person’s case. A thrilling mystery novel with an evocative outback setting and heart-pounding twists, Exiles is a book you’ll want to discuss with everyone you know. 

Jane Harper's books in order: a complete guide

Before the coffee gets cold, by toshikazu kawaguchi.

Book cover for Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Translated by Geoffrey Trousselot

First published in the UK in 2019, this million-copy bestseller is now available in a beautiful collectible hardback edition – the perfect gift. In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a café which has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time. This opportunity is not without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, they cannot leave the café, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold. Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s beautiful novel has stolen the hearts of readers the world over. Through it, we meet four visitors to the café and explore the age-old question: what would you change if you could travel back in time?

Sword Catcher

By cassandra clare.

Book cover for Sword Catcher

Two outcasts find themselves at the centre of world-altering change. In Castellane, Kel is stolen to become Prince Conor Aurelian’s body-double. As his ‘Sword Catcher', Kel lives for one purpose: to die for Conor. Lin Caster is an Ashkar physician, part of a community ostracised for its rare magical abilities. But events pull her and Kel together and into the web of the mysterious Ragpicker King who rules Castellane’s criminal underworld. Together, they’ll discover an extraordinary conspiracy. But can forbidden love bring down a kingdom? 

How (Not) to Have an Arranged Marriage

By amir khan.

Book cover for How (Not) to Have an Arranged Marriage

From Dr Amir Khan, this is a timely, heartfelt novel which looks at all aspects of modern arranged marriages. The golden child of his strict Pakistani parents, Yousef has his life planned out for him – medical degree, wife chosen by his family. . . Then Yousef meets Jess. A fellow medical student, Jess presents a complication to the plan. Suddenly, Yousef finds himself torn between two worlds – keeping each a secret from the other. Then, as graduation looms, Yousef’s mother informs him that she’s started looking for his wife.

The House of Fortune

By jessie burton.

Book cover for The House of Fortune

A glorious, sweeping story of fate and ambition, The House of Fortune is the sequel to Jessie Burton’s bestseller  The Miniaturist . Amsterdam, 1705. Thea Brandt is about to turn eighteen and she can't wait to become an adult. Walter, her true love, awaits Thea at the city's theatre. But at home on the Herengracht things are tense. Her father Otto and Aunt Nella bicker incessantly and are selling furniture so the family can eat. And, on her birthday secrets from Thea's past threaten to eclipse the present. Nella is feeling a prickling sensation in her neck, which recalls the miniaturist who toyed with her life eighteen years ago.

More Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up

By alexandra potter.

Book cover for More Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up

Thought things were all wrapped up for Nell? Think again. Falling in love may be easy, staying in love, however, can take work. . . Friendships are tested, the past won't stay there, celebrity-scented candles and Instagram filters are simply not working hard enough and it's time for Nell to escape to LA with her eighty-something best friend. Fortunately for us, it seems she has some more confessions to share. 

‘ The story of Nell Stevens’ struggle through her imperfect, messy life doesn’t just make brilliant fiction, it’s turning into a cultural revolution! ’ Matt Cain

A complete guide to Alexandra Potter's books

Christmas by candlelight, by karen swan.

Book cover for Christmas By Candlelight

As Christmas approaches and snow falls, high-flier Libby and her new boyfriend head home from a wedding to attend her university reunion at Archie Templeton's grand family estate. Stranded by the snowstorm, they're forced to spend the night. At first, being snowed in together is fun as the old friends wait in high spirits for the farmer to clear a path. But as hours pass with no news, everyone grows restless. Then the power goes out. Hunkered down together by candlelight, they reminisce about old times, and tensions soon start to rise. Secrets from the past begin to unravel and Libby is confronted with a truth she has long tried to deny.

The Theory of (Not Quite) Everything

By kara gnodde.

Book cover for The Theory of (Not Quite) Everything

Devoted siblings Mimi and Art Brotherton have always come as a pair, bound together by the tragic death of their parents. Art is a mathematical genius, and believes everything – even love –  can be boiled down to equations and algorithms. Then Mimi meets Frank, who definitely isn't algorithm approved and soon the siblings' relationship is pushed to breaking point. Something about Frank doesn't quite add up, and only Art can see it. This tale of love and loss is unique, funny and uplifting – true love, in all its forms, is more than a numbers game.  

by Sarah May

Book cover for Becky

Aspiring journalist Becky Sharp has one goal: to reach the top of the career ladder at the  Mercury , London’s top tabloid during the industry’s celebrity-obsessed 1990s heyday. But for Becky, no matter how many champagne-fuelled parties she covers or celebrity scoops she publishes, her past threatens to stop her from bagging her dream job. A nostalgia-filled trip through the heady, Britpop-obsessed world of 90s London Becky is a dark, witty novel that you won’t want to put down.

Young Mungo

By douglas stuart.

Book cover for Young Mungo

The extraordinary, powerful second novel from the Booker prize-winning author of  Shuggie Bain ,  Young Mungo  is both a vivid portrayal of working-class life and the deeply moving story of the dangerous first love of two young men: Mungo and James. Young Mungo  is a gripping and revealing story about the meaning of masculinity, the push and pull of family, the violence faced by so many queer people, and the dangers of loving someone too much.

Douglas Stuart on his favourite LGBTQIA+ books

Once a monster, by robert dinsdale.

Book cover for Once a Monster

Perfect for historical fiction fans who love a mythical twist, this imaginative retelling of the story of the Minotaur is steeped in the grime of Victorian London. Ten-year-old mudlark Nell discovers a body on the shore. It’s not the first corpse she’s encountered, but by far the strangest. Nearly seven feet tall, the creature has matted hair covering his legs, and on his head are the suggestion of horns. Nell’s fellow foragers urge her to steal his boots and rifle his pockets, but as she ventures closer it becomes clear that the figure is not dead after all. 

Stone Blind

By natalie haynes.

Book cover for Stone Blind

Longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2023, this retelling of the famed myth of Medusa asks who the real monsters are. The sole mortal raised in a family of gods, Medusa is alone in her ability to experience change and to be hurt. Then, when the sea god Poseidon commits an unforgivable act in the temple of Athene, the goddess takes her revenge where she can – and she is changed forever. Writhing snakes replace her hair, and her gaze now turns any living creature to stone. Unable to control her new power, she is condemned to a life of shadows and darkness. Until Perseus embarks upon a quest . . .

by Ayesha Manazir Siddiqi

Book cover for The Centre

Anisa spends her days writing subtitles for Bollywood films in her London flat, longing to be a translator of literature. Her boyfriend, Adam, on the other hand, has an extraordinary aptitude for language – or so Anisa thinks. But after learning to speak Urdu practically overnight, Adam reveals his secret – the Centre: an elite programme that guarantees fluency in any language in just ten days. Anisa can't help but enrol and is quickly seduced by all that it's made possible, however, she soon realizes the disturbing, hidden cost of its services. This page-turning debut announces the arrival of an extraordinary new talent. 

Open Throat

By henry hoke.

Book cover for Open Throat

A queer and dangerously hungry mountain lion narrates this fever dream of a novel, carrying us on a universal journey through a wondrous and menacing modern day L.A. The lion spends their days protecting a nearby homeless encampment, observing hikers and grappling with the complexities of their own identity. When a man-made fire engulfs the encampment, the lion is forced from the hills down into the city where they confront the cruel inequalities of Los Angeles. But even when salvation finally seems within reach, they are forced to face the question: do they want to eat a person, or become one?

The Passenger

By cormac mccarthy.

Book cover for The Passenger

A sunken jet. Nine passengers. A missing body. The Passenger  is the story of a salvage diver, haunted by loss, afraid of the watery deep, pursued for a conspiracy beyond his understanding, and longing for a death he cannot reconcile with God. The first of two eagerly anticipated novels from literary great Cormac McCarthy The Passenger is followed by Stella Maris  –  both are too good to be missed. 

A guide to the literary great: Cormac McCarthy

The minuscule mansion of myra malone, by audrey burges.

Book cover for The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone

The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone  is a charming and magical debut novel, with a love story at its heart. Thirty-four year-old Myra Malone blogs about a dolls' house online. Across the country, Alex Rakes, heir of a furniture business, encounters two Mansion fans trying to recreate a room from Myra's stories. To his disbelief, Alex soon recognizes that it's his own bedroom being recreated, in minute scale. Searching for answers, Alex begins corresponding with Myra. Together, the two unwind the lonely paths of their twin worlds. 

by Kate Foster

Book cover for The Maiden

Edinburgh, October 1679. Lady Christian is arrested and charged with the murder of her lover, James Forrester. News of her imprisonment and subsequent trial is splashed across the broadsides, with headlines that leave little room for doubt:  Adulteress. Whore. Murderess. Only a year before, Lady Christian was newly married, leading a life of privilege and respectability. What led her to risk everything for an affair? And does that make her guilty of murder? Inspired by a real-life case, this is a remarkable story with a feminist revisionist twist, giving a voice to women otherwise silenced by history.

The Square of Sevens

By laura shepherd-robinson.

Book cover for The Square of Sevens

A historical fiction novel packed with fortune-telling, travels and mystery, The Sqaure of Sevens an epic and sweeping novel set in Georgian high society. A girl known only as Red, the daughter of a Cornish fortune-teller, travels with her father making a living predicting fortunes using the ancient method: the Square of Sevens. When her father suddenly dies, Red becomes the ward of a gentleman scholar. But soon, she can't ignore the burning questions about her family. The pursuit of these mysteries takes her across the country in an tale of intrigue, heartbreak and audacious twists. 

‘ Can you name a book you have read so far this year that you know is 100% going to be in your top 10 books of the year list? This is mine. ’ @bookishreadsandme

Promise Boys

By nick brooks.

Book cover for Promise Boys

Thought-provoking and timely, Promise Boys is the new YA mystery novel that will have everyone talking in 2023. For J.B., Ramón, and Trey, attending the prestigious and ultra-strict Urban Promise Prep School is a golden ticket to college and avoiding the fates of many of the men they grew up around. That is until their principal is brutally murdered, and the boys emerge as the police’s main suspects. As they fight to investigate the crime and fight the prejudice of those around them, the trio are locked in a battle to find the real culprit and clear their names before it’s too late.

by J.F. Murray

Book cover for Fling

When Tara and Colin’s marriage starts to fall apart, they both find themselves looking to a controversial new dating app called Fling to find someone new. After meeting someone who is a 100% match, they both embark on affairs with who they believe are exciting new partners. A hilarious romance novel that will make you question what true love really means, Fling is a novel that asks – what if the person you were looking for was in front of you all along?

by Juan Gómez-Jurado

Book cover for Red Queen

Soon to be a major TV series, this serial-killer thriller is packed full of mystery with a fascinating lead character. Antonia doesn’t go outside much. Why would she when she can solve crimes from her attic in Madrid? She also never gets visitors. That's why she really doesn't like it when she hears unknown footsteps coming up the stairs. And whoever it is, Antonia is sure that they are coming to look for her. . .

Other Women

By emma flint.

Book cover for Other Women

Emma Flint’s evocative historical novels transport you to another time and place. In her new book, Other Women , the destination is London, devastated by the impact of the Great War. For unmarried Beatrice Cade, the war has robbed her of the chance to find true love and have a family, just like it has for millions of others. One day a chance encounter changes her life, and she falls head over heels in love with someone she should never have met. An enthralling tale of obsession, murder and lives intertwined by forbidden love, Other Women is a novel that you won’t be able to put down. 

Lessons in Chemistry

By bonnie garmus.

Book cover for Lessons in Chemistry

In the 1960s, Elizabeth Zott, a brilliant chemist, defies gender norms at Hastings Research Institute. Her unique bond with Calvin Evans, a Nobel-nominated scientist, sparks true chemistry. Later, she becomes an unlikely star on "Supper at Six," revolutionizing cooking with science. As her fame grows, she challenges the status quo, daring women to break barriers. Resistance follows, but Elizabeth remains unwavering in her quest for empowerment.

The best fiction of 2022

The atlas six, by olivie blake.

Book cover for The Atlas Six

Bestselling fantasy  sensation The Atlas Six  follows six young magical practitioners as they compete to join the secretive Alexandrian Society, whose custodians guard lost knowledge from ancient civilizations. Their members enjoy a lifetime of power and prestige. Yet each decade, only six practitioners are invited – to fill five places. Following recruitment by the mysterious Atlas Blakely, they travel to the Society’s London headquarters. Here, each must study and innovate within esoteric subject areas. And if they can prove themselves, over the course of a year, they’ll survive. Most of them.

Discover more unmissable reads from Olivie Blake

The lamplighters, by emma stonex.

Book cover for The Lamplighters

Inspired by true events, Emma Stonex’s debut novel is a riveting mystery which will grip the reader, and a beautifully written exploration of love and grief. In Cornwall in 1972, three keepers vanish from a remote lighthouse, miles from shore. The door is locked from the inside, and the clocks have stopped. What happened to those men, and to the women they left behind? 

The Murders at Fleat House

Book cover for The Murders at Fleat House

When a pupil suddenly dies at an exclusive boarding school in deepest Norfolk, the headmaster is keen to brand it a tragic accident. But the local police are not so sure, and Detective Inspector Jazmine ‘Jazz’ Hunter returns to the force to investigate. Together with trusty sergeant Alastair Miles, she enters the closed universe of the school. And as Jazz begins to probe Charlie Cavendish’s unsettling demise, things take a deeply troubling turn.

Discover Lucinda Riley's standalone books

By raven leilani.

Book cover for Luster

Raven Leilani is a funny and original new voice in fiction. Her razor-sharp yet surprisingly tender debut is an essential novel about what it means to be young now. Edie is messing up her life, and no one seems to care. Then she meets Eric, who is white, middle-aged and comes with a wife who has sort-of-agreed to an open marriage and an adopted black daughter who doesn’t have a single person in her life who can show her how to do her hair. And as if life wasn’t hard enough, Edie finds herself falling head-first into Eric’s family.

The Christie Affair

By nina de gramont.

Book cover for The Christie Affair

In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared for eleven days. Only one person knows the truth of her disappearance – her husband's mistress. The world of Agatha Christie is glamourous parties full of socialites, and country house weekends. But the world of Nan O'Dea is very different. A tough London upbringing followed by a life in Ireland marred by tragedy, Nan has fought her way back to England – with her sights set on Agatha. Despite their differences, the two women will become the most unlikely of allies. And during the mysterious eleven days that Agatha goes missing, they will unravel a dark secret that only Nan holds the key to . . .

Disorientation

By elaine hsieh chou.

Book cover for Disorientation

When twenty-nine-year-old Ingrid Yang finally completes her dissertation on canonical poet Xiao-Wen Chou she never wants to hear about 'Chinese-y' things ever again. Finding a strange note in the Chou archives, she thinks she has found a way out of the academic labyrinth. But Ingrid is accidentally in deep, and the note leads to a huge discovery, one which upsets her life and the lives of those around her. With two trusty friends Ingrid sets off on a rollercoaster of campus protests and drug hallucinations, leading her to confront her relationships with white men and institutions – and herself.

The Attic Child

By lola jaye.

Book cover for The Attic Child

It's 1907, and twelve-year-old Celestine is locked in the attic of a house by the sea. He has been forcibly removed from his home in Africa and is treated as a servant. He dreams of home and family, even as his mother's face, and his real name, begin to fade. Decades later a young orphan girl is banished to the same attic. Under the floorboards she finds mysterious artefacts, and on a wall there is a sentence etched in a language she does not recognise. What she does recognise though, is that she is not the first child to be held captive in the attic. This must-read novel is a tale of love, loss and family secrets that shines a light on the early Black British experience. 

The Dance Tree

By kiran millwood hargrave.

Book cover for The Dance Tree

It's 1518 in Strasbourg, and in the intense summer heat a solitary woman starts to dance in the main square. She dances for days without rest, and is joined by hundreds of other women. The city authorities declare a state of emergency, and bring in musicians to play the devil out of the dancing women. Meanwhile pregnant Lisbet, who lives at the edge of the city, is tending to the family's bees. The dancing plague intensifies, as Lisbet is drawn into a net of secret passions and deceptions. Inspired by true events, this is a compelling story of superstition, transformative change and women pushed to their limits.

The Exhibitionist

By charlotte mendelson.

Book cover for The Exhibitionist

Longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2022, in The Exhibitionist we meet the Hanrahan family. They are gathering for a momentous weekend as famous artist and notorious egoist Ray Hanrahan prepares for a new exhibition of his art. His three children will be there: beautiful Leah, sensitive Patrick, and insecure Jess. And what of Lucia, Ray’s steadfast and selfless wife? She is an artist, too, but has always had to put her roles as wife and mother first. But Lucia is hiding secrets of her own, and as the weekend unfolds and the exhibition approaches, she must finally make a choice. 

The Four Winds

Book cover for The Four Winds

Delia Owens, author of Where the Crawdads Sing , called Kristin Hannah's novel ‘powerful and compelling.’ Elsa Martinelli finally has everything she had wished for – a family, a home and a livelihood on a farm on the Great Plains. But when drought threatens her family and community, Elsa must decide whether to stay and fight for the land she loves or flee to California in search of a better life. 

A Guide to Kristin Hannah's books

By sally hinchcliffe.

Book cover for Hare House

On a crisp autumn day a woman travels to London, having left her post at a London girls school in murky circumstances. She starts to explore the land around her cottage on the isolated Hare House estate, walking the moors and woodland. And she begins to hear unsettling stories, of witches, strange clay figures, and young men scared out of their wits. Having made friends with her landlord Grant and his sister Cass, doubts begin to descend. And when a snowfall traps the inhabitants of the house together, the tension escalates . . .

The Paper Palace

By miranda cowley heller.

Book cover for The Paper Palace

In a picturesque Cape Cod setting, Elle Bishop starts her day with a swim near The Paper Palace, her family's vacation home as memories of a passionate secret encounter from the night before flood her mind. This defining moment sets off a chain of events that span twenty-four hours and fifty years, leading Elle to make a life-altering decision after a shocking betrayal. This page-turning summer read is both a No. 1 New York Times bestseller and a Reese Witherspoon Bookclub pick. 

How to Kill Your Family

By bella mackie.

Book cover for How to Kill Your Family

I have killed several people (some brutally, others calmly) and yet I currently languish in jail for a murder I did not commit. In prison, Grace Bernard reflects on her past actions with an unsettling mix of sadness and pride. Having taken the lives of several family members as revenge for her absentee millionaire father's callousness, Grace once reveled in her dark mission. With a calm ruthlessness, she executed her plan, leaving a chilling trail of death. However, fate now finds her behind bars, wondering if her twisted tale will ever be discovered – a story of vengeance, class, family, love, and murder.

The best fiction books of all time

By emma donoghue.

Book cover for Room

Shortlisted for both the Booker Prize and the Women’s Prize for fiction, Room is a unique novel, about survival and innocence. Jack lives with his Ma in Room, which has a locked door and a skylight, and measures 11 feet by 11 feet. He loves watching TV, and the cartoon characters he calls friends, but he knows that nothing he sees on screen is truly real – only him, Ma and the things in Room. Until the day Ma admits that there’s a world outside. Now also a major film, Room is the story of a mother and son, told in Jack's voice, whose love lets them survive the impossible. 

A complete guide to Emma Donoghue's books

A little life.

Book cover for A Little Life

Shortlisted for both the Booker Prize and the Women's Prize and now adapted into a West End play , A Little Life is undoubtedly one of the novels of the century. Hanya Yanagihara's flawless character development transports us into the lives of Jude, Willem, JB and Malcolm. We follow the central characters as they try to make their way in New York. Gradually, it is Jude and his unspeakable childhood that is revealed. By midlife he is both a terrifyingly talented litigator and an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by trauma. The book follows Jude for decades, yet ultimately tells a story of love and friendship. 

The Miniaturist

Book cover for The Miniaturist

Beautiful, intoxicating and filled with heart-pounding suspense, Jessie Burton's historical novel set in Amsterdam is both a bestseller and a major BBC TV series. In 1686, Nella Oortman arrives at a lavish house to marry merchant trader Johannes Brandt. Instead of a warm welcome, she encounters his sharp-tongued sister, Marin. Johannes gifts her an intricate miniature replica of their home, to be furnished by a mysterious miniaturist whose creations eerily reflect reality. As Nella delves into the secrets of the Brandt household, she unveils escalating dangers. Is the miniaturist holding their fate?

Station Eleven

By emily st. john mandel.

Book cover for Station Eleven

On a snowy night in Toronto, renowned actor Arthur Leander dies on stage, coinciding with the arrival of a devastating virus in North America. Two decades later, Kirsten, a member of the Travelling Symphony, brings Shakespeare's words to life in the settlements that have emerged post-collapse. However, her newfound hope is jeopardized, prompting a critical question: in a world devoid of civilization, what is worth safeguarding? And to what lengths would one go to ensure its preservation? A dreamily atmospheric novel set in the eerie days of civilization's collapse, Emily St John Mandel's Station Eleven is also an HBO TV series. 

Emily St. John Mandel's books in order

Shuggie bain.

Book cover for Shuggie Bain

Douglas Stuart’s blistering, Booker Prize-winning debut is set in a poverty-stricken Glasgow in the early 1980s. Agnes Bain has always dreamed of greater things, but when her husband abandons her she finds herself trapped in a decimated mining town with her three children, and descends deeper and deeper into drink. Her son Shuggie tries to help Agnes long after her other children have fled, but he too must abandon her to save himself. But he believes that if he tries his hardest he can be like other boys and escape this hopeless place.

A Thousand Ships

Book cover for A Thousand Ships

While the names Odysseus, Achilles and Agamemnon are synonymous with epic tales of battle and bravery, the women of Homer’s epics have largely been sidelined, if not entirely forgotten. From Helen to Penelope, Natalie Haynes gives a voice to the women, girls and goddesses who have been silenced for so long in this retelling of the story of the Trojan War from an all-female perspective. Shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction, A Thousand Ships is a historical must read and a feminist masterpiece . 

The Shape of Water

By andrea camilleri.

Book cover for The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water  is the first in Andrea Camilleri's wry, brilliantly compelling Sicilian crime series, featuring Inspector Montalbano. When two employees of the Splendour Refuse Collection Company discover the body of engineer Silvio Luparello, one of the local movers and shakers, apparently deceased  in flagrante  at the Pasture, the coroner's verdict is death from natural causes. But Inspector Salvo Montalbano, as honest as he is streetwise and as scathing to fools and villains as he is compassionate to their victims, is not ready to close the case – even though he's being pressured by Vigàta's police chief, judge, and bishop.

All the books in Andrea Camilleri's Inspector Montalbano series

Normal people, by sally rooney.

Book cover for Normal People

Normal People has sold over one million copies and been adapted into a hit TV series. The story follows Connell and Marianne who, despite being from different worlds, form an unspoken connection at school which then follows them to Trinity College. Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically drawn back together. Then, as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other. Sally Rooney's characteristically subtle yet intense prose marks her as one of the best writers of our times. 

Nineteen Eighty-Four

By george orwell.

Book cover for Nineteen Eighty-Four

One of the most influential fiction books of all time, 1984 is George Orwell's terrifying vision of a totalitarian future in which everything and everyone is slave to a tyrannical regime led by The Party. The novel has a fascinating history, from the phenomenon it became on publication to the impact it has had on the English language.

The Handmaid's Tale

By margaret atwood.

Book cover for The Handmaid's Tale

This novel has become a cultural byword for all things dystopian. The book is set in the fictional Republic of Gilead, a religious totalitarian state in what was formerly known as the United States. In an age of declining birth rates, Offred, along with her fellow Handmaids, are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Yet even a repressive state cannot eradicate hope and desire. Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing,  The Handmaid's Tale  is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.

The Great Gatsby

By f. scott fitzgerald.

Book cover for The Great Gatsby

Evoking the glitz, glamour and the dark side of 1920s,  The Great Gatsby  is a cynical look at the limits of the American Dream and a must read for all fans of fiction. Gatsby lives mysteriously in a luxurious Long Island mansion, playing lavish host to hundreds of people. And yet no one seems to know him or how he became so rich. He is rumoured to be everything from a German spy to a war hero. People clamour for invitations to his wild parties. But Jay Gatsby doesn't heed them. He cares for one person alone – Daisy Buchanan, the woman he has waited for all his life. Little does he know that his infatuation will lead to tragedy and end in murder.

Classic books to read at least once in your lifetime

By gillian flynn.

Book cover for Gone Girl

This twisty psychological thriller became a phenomenon when it was published, selling over twenty million copies worldwide and being adapted into a hit film starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. When Nick Dunne wakes up on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary to find his wife missing, he quickly becomes the police’s chief suspect. Amy’s friends reveal she was afraid of him, there are strange searches on his computer and persistent calls to his mobile phone, but Ben swears he knows nothing about any of this. So what really happened to Amy Dunne? 

Girl, Woman, Other

By bernardine evaristo.

Book cover for Girl, Woman, Other

This 2019 Booker Prize winner follows twelve characters on their personal journeys over the last one hundred years. From Newcastle to Cornwall and the beginning of the twentieth century to the modern day, each of them is searching for something. These wonderful interwoven stories address issues of race, identity and womanhood. Joyfully polyphonic and vibrantly contemporary, this is a gloriously new kind of history, a novel of our times: celebratory, ever-dynamic and utterly irresistible.

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The 115 Best Books of All Time

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Blog – Posted on Wednesday, May 20

The 115 best books of all time.

The 115 Best Books of All Time

The written word is a pillar of human civilization — it signals complex thinking, it’s a tool to record history, and it allows for the development of ideas. Throughout our existence, so much has been written down, whether carved into stone or printed on paper, immortalizing thrilling tales and imparting wisdom. Many are lost, weathered by time or withered in flames like in the case of the Library of Alexandria; though plenty remain for us to peruse.

Let’s take a trip through time and discover the world’s literary trends by looking at 115 of the best books of all time! It took a while to compile this list (there is simply too much great writing!) but you’ll see that there’s a bit of everything: from poetry to plays to novels, from Chinese classics to Renaissance gems.

Feel free to skip to your favorite era using this table of contents:

Ancient civilizations

1. the story of sinuhe by unknown (c. 1800 bc) .

More than three thousand years before the Bard was born, the Egyptian Shakespeare wrote the Hathor worshipper’s answer to Hamlet — and we don’t even know their name. Anonymously authored, the elegant and haunting Story of Sinuhe has been hailed as ancient Egypt’s best. This epic poem follows the titular Sinuhe, an official who goes AWOL when he gets some explosive intel about the assassination of his king. His new life in Canaan brings him glorious victories, a high-society marriage, and honorable sons…. but the guilt of his exit continues to eat away at him, and he never stops longing for his homeland. 

2. Epic of Gilgamesh by Sin-liqe-unninni (c. 1700 BC) 

This four thousand year-old page-turner flies under the radar compared to high school staples like the Odyssey, but the Epic of Gilgamesh is nothing short of, well, epic . It’s a must-read whether you love the redemptive power of a good bromance or have a taste for quirky math (the titular Gilgamesh is one-third moral and two-thirds divine)! Our genetically improbable protagonist begins the story as a a king who brutalizes his people — in other words, a true antihero. He rules over the city of Uruk with an iron fist until the gods themselves mold the wild man Enkidu out of clay and water to strike the wicked king down. But when Enkidu  finally confronts his target, the two destined enemies become fast friends — inspiring Gilgamesh to mend his ways and go on a monster-hunting quest with his new bestie. 

3. The Odyssey by Homer (c. 700 BC) 

top fiction books of all times

4. Aesop’s Fables by Aesop (c. 500 BC)

City mouse and country mouse. Sour grapes. Slow and steady wins the race. Brought to life by an enslaved prisoner of war, Aesop’s Fables have shaped our everyday idioms and helped define how we see the world. These deceptively simple tales have clear moral messages that are served with a dash of darkness: in Aesop’s starkly enchanted world, anthropomorphic animals cavort, gambol, and sometimes die ignoble deaths, struck down by their own foolishness and arrogance. Whether you’re in the mood for Tweet-brief bedtime reading or hankering for a blunt reminder of life’s harshness, these timeless tales that have enriched the worlds of toddlers and philosophers alike will have you covered.

5. Oedipus the King by Sophocles (430 BC) 

This bleak masterclass in dramatic irony gave its name to the most famous of Freudian complexes, and it’s been reminding readers — and playgoers — for ages that sometimes you just can’t fight fate. The great tragedian Sophocles wrote it more than 2,000 years ago, so forgive us if we don’t issue any spoiler warnings. In any case, we all know how this story ends — with the unlucky Oedipus blinded and weeping blood, after accidentally killing his father and marrying his mother. The bitter fascination of reading Oedipus the King lies in following him to that grisly and inevitable conclusion. Trust us — the dread that grips you because you know exactly what’s coming will make your blood run colder than many a horror movie. 

6. The Mahabharata by Vyasa (c. 300 BC)

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If you’re not quite sure where to start, we recommend diving into the Bhagavad Gita . In this philosophically rich, 700-verse passage from the sixth book, the warrior prince Arjuna struggles to master his emotions on the eve of battle. His enemies, after all, are also his own kinsmen. Can his friend and charioteer — who also happens to be a reincarnated god — help him find a way out of his turmoil?

7. Adelphoe by Terence (160 BC)

This quirky Roman classic proves two things: the ancients knew how to get a laugh out of theatergoers, and bumbling fathers and rebellious sons are literally) an age-old recipe for comedy. Adelphoe kicks off with a parenting experiment: rural patriarch Demea has two sons, and he sends one to be raised by his city-dwelling brother Micio while rearing the other himself. Thus the two brothers grow up apart: Ctesipho lives it up in Athens with his indulgent uncle, while Aeschinus stays in the countryside, under his despotic father’s thumb. In short, one brother becomes repressed, and the other has become a louche. But when Ctesipho falls in love with an enslaved musician, he turns to his brother for help. When Demea and Micio find out what their boys are up to, will they finally agree on the right way to raise kids?

8. The Aeneid by Virgil (c. 20 BC)

For Odysseus, the Trojan War led to a ten-year nightmare involving six-headed monsters, vengeful sea-gods, and a scorned witch capable of turning men into pigs — and he was one of the winners! Which makes you wonder what it was like to be on the losing side. Let’s just ask the Trojan hero Aeneas, whose own post-war adventures spawned another epic poem.

The star of the Aeneid , he flees Troy just after the murder of its king. For a while, destiny seems to be on Aeneas’ side: a prophecy dictates he’ll establish a glorious nation in Rome, and his own mother is none other than Venus herself. But even with divine blood flowing through him, he can’t count on support from all the gods: Juno, in particular, seems intent on turning his journey to Italy into a real ordeal. We know that Aeneas will make it to Rome. But what will he suffer in the process — and who will suffer with him?

9. The Satyricon by Petronius (c. 90 AD) 

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10. The Tale of an Anklet by Unknown (c. 450 AD)

This Tamil answer to the Odyssey features one unforgettable heroine. Kannaki starts out as a long-suffering wife, but by the time the story’s done, she’s transformed into a goddess who sets cities on fire with her rage. But let’s rewind quickly to the start of The Tale of an Anklet , where she and the handsome Kovalan are married and living in bliss — as far as she’s concerned. Kovalan seems to feel differently: why else would he leave his wife at home to take up with a beautiful courtesan? 

But when Kovalan faces financial ruin, Kannaki swallows her betrayal and prepares to bail him out. She offers him a jeweled anklet to pawn — but he’s falsely accused of stealing it from the queen. Can Kannaki save him from a flawed justice system, or will she be forced to seek revenge for the husband who broke her heart? From the bitterness of love to the brokenness of law, this gorgeous, heartrending drama brings age-old issues to passionate life.

Post-classical literature

11. one thousand and one nights by unknown (c. 700)  .

This collection of Arabic-language folk tales shows the transformative power of a good cliffhanger — used right, it can apparently save your life! Over the course of, well, a thousand and one nights, the quick-witted storyteller Scheherazade (the latest in a long succession of King Shahryar’s unfortunate brides) draws on her imagination to stave off death. Embittered by a previous wife’s infidelity, King Shahryar has been marrying a new one every night — only to put her to death the next morning. Scheherazade, though, is different from these other one-night queens: she actually volunteered for the job. Every night, she regales her paranoid husband with a story but refuses to finish it — forcing him to push back her beheading in favor of the grand finale. And then she starts another one to keep him on the hook.

One Thousand and One Nights lets you listen in on these high-stakes bedtime stories. Scheherazade’s repertoire spans the spectrum from cozy childhood favorites ( Aladdin , anyone?) to historical, tragic, and erotic tales fit to stir a royal imagination. It turns out, the way to a king’s heart isn’t through his stomach — it’s through the magic of plot!

12. The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu (c. 1010)

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Unfortunately for Genji, his gifts seem to bring him more sorrow than joy: he falls in love with the worst possible woman — his own stepmother, Lady Fujitsubo. Unable to forget her, he kidnaps her niece, the preteen Murasaki, to raise as a replacement Fujitsubo — all while continuing his affair with the real Fujitsubo. Elegant, immersive, and dense, this strange and captivating classic blurs the line between truth and fiction. Did Murasaki, the author, name herself after her heroine? Or is Muraski the character a reflection of the woman who brought her to life?

14. Lais by Marie de France (c. 1100) 

If you’ve ever wanted to live out a courtly romance or daydreamed about saving lives as a dragon-slaying knight, you can thank Marie. This 12th-century poet — the first woman in French history to write verse — virtually invented chivalry through her Lais . Though we sadly don’t even know her real name today, we do know that her view of romance was subtle and even sometimes sinister — never sappy. In these twelve short narrative poems, werewolves suffer heartbreak, vassals betray their lords, and jealous husbands lash out against innocent wives with unimaginable cruelty. Love, Marie knew, could be as corrupting as it was powerful, making cunning and sophisticated beasts out of men. 

15. The Knight in Panther’s Skin by Shota Rusteveli (c. 1190) 

Up to a century ago, The Knight in Panther’s Skin was a part of every Georgian bride’s dowry. In this heart-stirring epic, medieval Georgia’s premiere poet uses a fictionalized Middle Eastern setting to glorify Queen Tamar, who presided over the kingdom’s golden age.

The poem opens on the warrior Avtandil as he takes on an unusual mission. Normally tasked with commanding the Arabian king’s armies, he’s been asked to spearhead a strange manhunt. His target? A mysterious knight dressed in a panther’s skin, whom the king’s men found weeping by a river — before he killed them and disappeared. Dangerous as he is, is this shadowy stranger a friend or a foe? The answer may surprise the noble Avtandil — and force him to turn against the king he’s served so faithfully.

16. The Song of the Nibelungs by Unknown (c. 1200) 

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Beyond the fascinating plot, this poem immortalized Siegfried and Hagen, Gunther’s loyal right-hand man, as the embodiment of the German spirit when the country unified in the late 1800s. Its influence on European culture attests to its status as one of the most impressive works of German Medieval literature ever created. 

17. The Poetic Edda by Unknown (13th century) 

You can thank this anonymous batch of poems for The Hobbit — not to mention the superhero Thor. The Poetic Edda , one of the most important sources for Nose mythology, surfaced in Iceland sometime during the 13th century. It’s since cast a vast shadow on western literature, with writers from Tolkien to Jorge Luis Borges touting it as a major influence.

This verse collection brings the deeds of gods and heroes to life. You’ll hear a witch’s prophecy foretelling Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods, see the All-father Odin match wits with the wisest of giants, and follow Heimdall, the divine watchmen, as he journeys through the land of mortals — fathering many children along the way. In the starkly beautiful world these poems sketch out, vows are binding, honor is everything, and not even the gods are safe from a painful death. 

17. Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong (c. 1300)

If this glorious tale had to be described in three words, they would be: epic, tragic, and historical. One of the pillars of Chinese classical literature, Romance of the Three Kingdoms is a mythicized account of 80 years of political intrigue and warfare between three dynastic families over rulership of Northern China. As beloved generals and cunning strategists form leagues and battle it out, we learn of their love, their righteousness, and their camaraderie. The riveting plot ends with a twist that’s too well-crafted to be true — although the story is based on real events. 

This masterpiece and its philosophical explorations transcends time and borders, and it remains one of the most well-known novels in East Asian cultures today.  

18. Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri (1320)

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Dante’s lyrical and intricate depictions of immorality are pertinent throughout history, inspiring writers in the craft of storytelling while provoking reflection among readers. It’s truly one of the greatest literary works of all time.

19. Piers Plowman by William Langland (c. 1380)

Taking a large leap across France, Spain and the Channel from Italy we arrive in England, where Langland recorded his take on Christianity in a colossal, alliterated poem.

Rather than delving into death as Dante had several decades prior, this poem explores human behaviors and morality through the visions of a man called Will. In his dreamscape, Will meets all kinds of “people” who are personified virtues — from the Seven Deadly Sins to Dowel (“do well”) and Dobet (“do better”). The metafictional quality of presenting vision within vision, the complexity of Middle English literature, and the depth of theological knowledge make Piers Plowman a difficult but very rich and sophisticated text. 

20. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1400)

From knights to monks to cooks — Chaucer’s elaborate collection of 24 stories unravels the journey that people make to Canterbury and its majestic cathedral. While they embark on the same journey, the protagonists of these tales are as different as can be — each hails from a different background and represents a different tier in the social hierarchy of feudal society. 

The Canterbury Tales are fascinating to read on their own, providing a magical portal to medieval villages and quests that came to be the inspiration for countless Hollywood movies. These odysseys shine the most, however, when they are experienced together, because that’s when Chaucer’s brilliance at displaying the complexities of society reveals itself. 

21. The Book of the City of Ladies by Christine de Pizan (c. 1405)

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In The Book of the City of Ladies ,  Reason, Rectitude, and Justice appear to the narrator — Pizan herself — and ask her to build a city just for women. It turns out that building this city requires the dismantling of the narrator’s own preconceived notions of gender and societal norms. 

The resulting monumental literary work includes stories of legendary female figures in history and mythology — from the Virgin Mary to Helen of Troy — as Pizan reveals to readers that women are every bit as capable as men. Elegantly written and daringly conceived, this book will be a place of refuge for believers of gender equality. 

22. Hamlet by William Shakespeare (c. 1601)

Though you may be familiar with the plot by virtue of The Lion King, it’s always worth getting back to basics with the source material — inasmuch as you can call Shakespeare’s longest and arguably most influential play “basic.”

For those unfamiliar, we’ll back it up: Hamlet is the son of the recently deceased king of Denmark, whose sudden death has been hastily papered over by his brother and successor, Claudius. Hamlet, of course, is suspicious, especially after a vision of his father claims that Claudius murdered him to take the throne. To distract others from his plan of revenge, Hamlet pretends that he’s gone mad, and what follows is a tangled web of deceit, violence, and tragedy for the royal family and their compatriots — especially as it becomes increasingly difficult to tell whether Hamlet is still faking his madness, or has genuinely gone off the deep end.

23. The Plum in the Golden Vase by Unknown (c. 1610) 

Arguably the world’s most famous erotic novel, The Plum in the Golden Vase seems to shape-shift depending on the angle you view it from. It’s a lavishly illustrated handbook of sexual peccadilloes and a harshly punitive morality tale; an irreverent fanfic for a foundational novel and an eminent classic in its own right. You can think of it as the late Ming answer to Lolita : artful in its execution, perverse and learned in its tone.

The Plum in the Golden Vase shines a spotlight (or a blacklight) on a minor figure from The Water Margin , the adventuresome ancestor of Chinese martial arts fiction. This, however, is a very different novel: light on honor among thieves and heavy on steamy social satire, its characters are much more likely to die by aphrodisiac poisoning than by the sword. The fabulously wealthy, fatally dissolute merchant Ximen Qing shares his bed with a rotating cast of six lovers — and counting. Needless to say, his appetites don’t always make for the most…  harmonious of households. As the novel tracks his social life with savage wit, the women around him take center stage, in all their cruel, bawdy complexity. 

24. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (1615)

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Part two of the novel introduces an impostor — a writer who pretends to be Don Quixote the knight and publishes recounts of his imaginary adventures. As the metafiction develops, the lines and meanings of imagination and reality blurs even more, leaving only one thing crystal clear: Cervantes’ mastery of the art of storytelling. 

25. The Imposter by Molière (1644)

The Imposter is a satirical play that stars Tartuffe, a pious and well-respected man who has won the love and adoration of Orgon, the head of a well-to-do family. As Tartuffe wines and dines with this family, it quickly comes to light that Tartuffe is not who he pretends to be; that behind his facade of civility is an array of selfish intentions. As the story goes on, Orgon’s family make many attempts to reveal Tartuffe’s true nature.

In a time when religiousness was never a quality not deserving of respect, the preachy and pretentious character of Tartuffe was so well-crafted that his name came to mean “hypocrite” in contemporary French. Molière also faced backlash from the Church and Christain community at the time, but his brilliance as a playwright refuses to be disregarded, and his play stands as a literary classic. 

Literature in the modern age

26. robinson crusoe by daniel defoe (1719).

In a rebellious act that has inspired the wanderlust of many, Robinson Crusoe denies the stability of life in England to travel the world. Thankfully, his colonial adventures feature encounters foreign to modern travellers: slave trades, cannibalism, and shipwrecks on foreign islands. Through this flurry of events, Crusoe comes to appreciate his own upbringing and culture more.

First published under the pseudonym Robinson Crusoe, Defoe’s vivid narration fooled many of its contemporary readers into thinking it was a travel memoir, which back then was a very popular genre. Defoe’s creativity marks this stunning novel as a trailblazer for adventure fiction .

27. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (1726)

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28. Tom Jones by Henry Fielding (1749)

Widely considered to be one of the earliest English comic novels, Tom Jones is also an elaborate bildungsroman detailing the upbringing of the titular Tom. Born to an unwed mother and raised by the kindhearted squire Allworthy, Tom grows into a spirited but similarly compassionate young man, eventually falling in love with a neighboring squire’s daughter, Sophia. But after being foiled by a rival for her affections, Tom sets off on a series of adventures through England that are equal parts thrilling and purely comical, from accidental encounters with both of his alleged parents to a very Oscar Wilde-esque ending (though of course, Fielding preceded Wilde by 150 years!) wherein his true parentage is revealed at last.

29. Candide by Voltaire (1759)

As a boy, Candide was taught that everything in the world happens for a reason: that things good and bad serve their purpose in the grand scheme of it all. But as he ventures out into the world and comes face to face with hardships and sufferings, Candide begins to wonder if this optimistic philosophy is a manifestation of ignorance and indifference. 

Underneath this coming-of-age story is Voltaire’s brave effort to hold a mirror up to society, and make it examine its flaws. Hardly any author in his time dared to oppose the accepted virtues of the educated class  — Voltaire even refused to take credit for this masterpiece until years after the publication — and none did it with as much wit and passion as Voltaire did. 

30. Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne (c. 1767)

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31. Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin (1791) 

One of the longest and most treasured classics of Chinese literature, Dream of the Red Chamber centers around the life and loves of Jia Baoyu — heir of one of the most powerful families in the land. As with every dynastic family, there will always come a decline. And the Jias’ final days seem to be around the corner, as the political arena shifts and its heir appears bent on listening to his heart rather than his parents. 

From battles of the matriarchs, to noble garden parties and corrupt murder trials, this tale unravels the deepest and darkest corners of Chinese high society in the time of the Qing dynasty — all inspired by the author’s own prestigious upbringing. Dream of the Red Chamber ’s fame as a pillar of Chinese fiction extends far beyond its culture, astounding readers throughout the world with its thematic depth and allegorical intricacies. 

32. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)

You are probably familiar with Pride and Prejudice , the love story of the bright and beautiful Elizabeth Bennet and the stoic and aristocratic Mr. Darcy. If you read it when you were younger, it perhaps presented itself as a mere love story set in Regency England. But of course, that barely scratches the surface of all the book holds. Austen had gracefully weaved snarky commentary about wealth, social class, and individuality into the narrative. Austen’s attention to detail and her wonderful wit ultimately show how thought-provoking and entertaining a story can become if it falls into the hands of the right author. 

33. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818)

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34. Ivanhoe by Walter Scott (1819)

Often credited with renewing modern interest in the medieval period and its “romantic” culture, Ivanhoe tracks the adventures of its eponymous hero, who is disinherited by his Anglo-Saxon father for his allegiance to Richard the Lionheart. Undeterred, Ivanhoe accompanies his king on the Crusades as tensions mount back in England — and this is only the beginning of a rollicking ride full of trials and tournaments, secret identities and stormed castles, hard-won loves and loyalties, and much more. Coupling nineteenth-century sensibilities and style with a story that could otherwise have come straight from the quill of Chrétien de Troyes, Ivanhoe is a historical masterpiece that will enthrall fans of action, politics, and chivalric romance alike.

35. Faust by Goethe (1832)

We’ve all heard the phrase “a deal with the devil” — or, if you’re sufficiently literary, “a Faustian bargain.” The notion of a cursed contract did indeed originate with Faust, and was immortalized in this play by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (though the story has much earlier roots). Goethe’s Faust, as he’s referred to, is a voracious scholar who desires to learn and achieve all that is possible in the human realm — yet suffers for the knowledge that he cannot. As another axiom goes, be careful what you wish for; Mephistopheles then appears to Faust, offering him all the worldly knowledge and pleasures that he can imagine, in exchange for Faust’s service in hell after death. Famously signing the contract in his own blood, Faust agrees… but how will their pact actually unfold? You’ll have to read this mesmerizing play to find out.

36. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (1844)

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37. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (1847)

Arguably the first ever female bildungsroman, Jane Eyre is the story of a frail orphan girl who grows into a highly principled young woman. After a difficult childhood, Jane’s luck takes a turn when she’s employed by the wealthy and mysterious Edward Rochester, whose company she comes to enjoy a great deal. But just as Jane and Rochester become engaged to be married, increasingly frequent and disturbing occurrences take a toll on their relationship, and the revelation of a shocking secret forces Jane to reevaluate everything she once believed. (But fear not, dear reader; for all its Gothic overtones, this novel is still a superb romance above all.)

38. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery (1848)

An incisive satirist, William Makepeace Thackery intended this book as both social commentary and a deconstruction of conventional literary heroism. Vanity Fair follows the intertwined lives of two women, Amelia Sedley and Becky Sharp, as they forge their own paths in Regency society. Amelia is a sweet, simple girl who devotes herself to her husband, despite his flaws; Becky is a savvy social climber who uses her feminine wiles to further her personal interests, even after she is married. The stark contrast between them serves not so much to ridicule the characters, however, as to criticize the society that would make respectability so impossible — and to point out the rife ignorance, hypocrisy, and opportunism even in supposedly upper-class circles.

39. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (1850)

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40. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (1851)

“I hate metaphors. That’s why my favorite book is Moby-Dick .” Of course, anyone who’s actually read Moby-Dick will recognize the irony of this Ron Swanson quote — not only is the book packed with symbolism, but Melville’s prose is wonderfully ornate (albeit a little too descriptive when he gets into cetology, the study of whales). The surface story of Moby-Dick is thus: our narrator, Ishmael, boards a whaling ship and quickly discovers its maimed captain is bent on a mission of revenge. The captain, Ahab, spends the next three years searching for the white whale, Moby-Dick, unable to shake his convictions even as he and his crew start to unravel. A timeless tale of delusion and destruction, Moby-Dick does a particularly good job of juxtaposing the gritty everyday realities of whaling with the philosophical allegory of Ahab’s pursuit.

41. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo (1862)

Though a 1,500-page tome promising certain misery might sound like an untenable read, we implore you to tackle this brick of a book for Victor Hugo’s glorious and masterful depiction of politics and the inherent tragedy of the human condition. The plot incites, as many likely know, with the peasant Jean Valjean stealing bread to feed his family and being imprisoned for 19 years. Upon his release, he remakes himself as an honest businessman, eventually growing wealthy and even rescuing a young girl, Cosette, from her abusive caretakers the Thénardiers.

All this occurs on the brink of Paris’s June Rebellion of 1832, a cause for which a young revolutionary named Marius risks his life. This event unexpectedly and movingly brings together a number of figures from the rest of the book… which is honestly impossible to explain in a mere synopsis. Just know this: for all the astonishing beauty and gut-wrenching emotion of the musical, Hugo’s source material makes it look like a joke on a candy bar wrapper. If you’re interested in a truly transcendent portrayal of humanity and history (and have enough time on your hands to fully appreciate it), please read Les Misérables .

42. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865)

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43. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1866)

What is the true nature of man? According to Dostoyevsky, the answer might be “dark and twisted, yet still plagued by his conscience.” This is the tragic combination that befalls Rodion Raskolnikov, an impoverished young man who believes that he can rob and murder an elderly pawnbroker without any psychological consequences… only to botch the job and immediately begin agonizing over it (the “punishment” to which the title refers). As Raskolnikov descends further into madness and misery, he grapples with whether to turn himself in, especially with a policeman on his tail and his mother and sister’s reputations at risk. This classic tale of morality, mentality, and social values aptly criticizes the then-prominent notions of nihilism and egoism, while also making profound statements about what it means to be human.

44. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1877)

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Such is stated the first of many contentious issues addressed in Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina , considered by many to be the greatest and best book of all time. The plot revolves around a tumultuous affair between the high-society Anna and cavalry officer Vronsky, with a parallel narrative detailing the religious and ethical quandaries of country landowner Levin. But even as these characters’ lives become increasingly intertwined, and their circumstances increasingly desperate — especially for Anna, whose fate has become a well-known literary reference point — this novel is so much more than an 800-page soap opera. Tolstoy’s exploration of relationships, family, sin, virtue, and the cultural contrast between city and country produces incredibly nuanced and brilliant ideas, many of which are still relevant today.

45. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (1884)

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46. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (1886)

If you’ve ever heard someone referred to as “a real Jekyll and Hyde character,” you probably know this story has something to do with the duality of man… but what you may not know is how this duality comes to be. In Stevenson’s gothic novella , it’s the result of the scientific Dr. Jekyll’s attempts to indulge in his vices undetected — specifically, by drinking a potion that transforms him into the horrific Mr. Hyde. But the more frequently Jekyll yields to his alter-ego, the more powerful Hyde becomes, until even Jekyll cannot control him. The ensuing tale is both a thrilling feat of supernatural horror and a potent allegory that warns against giving into one’s dark side, even occasionally, for fear that one may never escape its compulsions.

47. Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897)

Long before Twilight and True Blood, vampires were no cause for swooning — or rather, they were, but in a manner more alarming than amorous. This is the iteration of vampires introduced by Bram Stoker’s genre-defining Dracula , an epistolary novel that traces the history and horrific deeds of the one and only Count Dracula. As more humans come into contact with Dracula, they start to understand what he is, and that he aims to infect and drink the blood of as many people as possible. Only Abraham van Helsing, a professor and bona fide vampire expert, has the power to stop him — and aided by his intrepid cohorts, that’s exactly what they set out to do.

48. The Call of the Wild by Jack London (1903)

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49. Nostromo by Joseph Conrad (1904)

F. Scott Fitzgerald once said of this book, "I'd rather have written Nostromo than any other novel.” The story commences with the titular Nostromo, an Italian seaman, transporting a wealth of silver so that it cannot corrupt the local affairs of Sulaco (a port city in a fictional Colombia-like country). But when Nostromo’s ship is compromised, he stashes the silver on a nearby island, leading everyone to believe it was lost at sea. What follows is an incredibly affecting account of Nostromo’s increasing disillusionment and paranoia, as he realizes that other men see him as a pawn and grows obsessed with his hoarded silver. If you loved The Great Gatsby , but wanted it to be even darker and more geopolitical — as Fitzgerald apparently did — you’ll devour Nostromo faster than you can say “quicksilver.”

50. Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence (1913)

The third of his published novels, Sons and Lovers brought D.H. Lawrence a new level of success and acclaim. It also established his reputation for bucking social mores — a talent which would eventually see him indicted for obscenity. Drawing from the author’s working-class upbringing, the book tells the story of Paul Morel, the son of an abusive father and a beloved mother. Escaping the trappings of the mining town where he grew up, Paul leaves for London and begins climbing the social ladder, even finding romance. But as the book’s title suggests, his attempts to separate his emotional identities of son and lover are futile, especially as his mother’s once-treasured affection poisons Paul against other women.

51. The Trial by Franz Kafka (1915)

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52. Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham (1915)

A wrenching, partially autobiographical account of the author’s own life, Of Human Bondage follows young Englishman Philip Carey in his quest to find meaning and love. Traumatized by the deaths of his parents, Philip struggles throughout his childhood; in later years, he rebels and pursues art instead of attending Oxford, but eventually returns to England for medical school. It is there that he meets his femme fatale, Mildred Rogers, who will break his heart over and over as Philip flits from job to job. But this sorrowful tale has a surprisingly uplifting ending, containing a powerful message about the bonds of society and expectations and how we can shed them by taking life one day at a time.

53. The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford (1915)

With this book, Ford Madox Ford reinvigorated two crucial narrative elements that would go on to become huge parts of modern literature: flashbacks and the unreliable narrator. Basically, he was the original Gillian Flynn — a comparison that seems even more apt upon knowing the plot of The Good Soldier . It consists of domestic drama between two seemingly perfect couples: John and Florence Dowell, and Leonora and Edward Ashburnham. Edward, the soldier, seems committed to Leonora, but in truth she manipulates and controls him; Edward, meanwhile, is actually having an affair with Florence. John, the narrator, gravely recounts the deterioration of both marriages and the tragic repercussions of their repressive Edwardian era… but also, all is not as it seems, and what’s on the page is seen in a whole new light by the book’s end.

54. The Real Story of Ah-Q by Lu Xun (c. 1920)

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Accompanying The Real Story of Ah-Q in this collection are short stories just as poignant and impactful. Lu Xun’s unconventional view of development and his ability to flesh out nuances from simple plots makes his stories bleakly insightful.  

55. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (1920)

Newland Archer — one of 1900s New York’s most eligible bachelors, with his upper-crust background and his established career as a lawyer — has been looking for a beautiful, traditional wife, and it appears May Welland is just the girl. She also grew up in high society, understands etiquette, and fits perfectly into his picture-perfect family. And yet, it is May’s cousin, Ellen Olenska — a dynamic character returning from her failed marriage in Europe — who catches Newland’s attention. The Age of Innocence follows Newland and his unprecedented dilemma between the two women — and by extension his struggle between upholding the prestige of old money, and seeking the real value behind the labels of social class. 

56. Ulysses by James Joyce (1922)

If you are only going to read one book from this elephantine list, it should be James Joyce’s literary jewel Ulysses . The tale mirrors that of Homer’s the Odyssey (hence the title), only this time, it’s set entirely during one of Leopold Bloom’s days in Dublin. A cast of characters — namely Bloom’s friends and wife — make up others who draw comparisons to the mythical ones in the Odyssey. While Joyce’s ability to bring a literary classic and its themes into modernity is astounding, the true beauty of this action-packed novel is its writing. Scattered across his paragraphs are intertwining perspectives and puzzles enamelled with pun and alliterations. Joyce’s illustration of the human mind, its processes, and its guardians is impeccable and unmatchable. 

57. A Passage to India by E. M. Foster (1924)

top fiction books of all times

58. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)

Is it possible to now think of the Roaring Twenties and not think of The Great Gatsby ? Fitzgerald’s magnum opus has been adapted to the big screen numerous times, and its “green light at the end of the dock” symbolism is perhaps too well-known to all of us. But let’s still go through a quick summary: Nick Carraway moves to West Egg in Long Island and learns about his new, mysteriously well-to-do neighbor, Jay Gastby. Through endless house parties, Nick comes to know this man, his odd past, and his tragic love story with the lady of East Egg, Daisy Buchanan. Fitzgerald’s tale of sightless dream-chasing is the epitome of something small and yet mighty: with his succinct prose, the extravagance of post-WWI America is stripped bare, revealing the heartlessness underneath it all. 

59. Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (1925)

When Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself, she had no idea what a momentous day was in store for her — though of course, much of this book’s momentousness must be attributed to Virginia Woolf’s brilliant prose. But even besides the writing, it’s a fantastic little slice-of-life story: Clarissa Dalloway, an upper-class, middle-aged woman in London, decides to host a party for her fellow society people, and spends most of the day prepping for said party. But what would have been a mundane tale in the hands of a less thoughtful author becomes remarkable in Woolf’s, her stream-of-consciousness narrative shifting ever so subtly between past and present, and rendering Clarissa’s emotions with unprecedented vibrancy.

60. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (1926)

top fiction books of all times

61. In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust (c. 1927)

Composed of seven volumes written throughout a decade, In Search of Lost Time is a long novel detailing the development of the unnamed narrator from childhood to adulthood and his struggles to define himself. Said protagonist desires to be an author but is unsure of how to get there, he is seeing his relationships with his family in a new light while he’s discovering new connections with others. Memory is a recurring theme in this novel, especially the involuntary ones, whereby Proust shows how little details can trigger an outpour of thoughts and emotions. His impressive narrative revolutionized the way novels are written — Proust’s emphasis lies not in creating an airtight and sensational plot, but in exploring with astonishing depth the emotional experiences and development of his protagonist. 

62. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (1929)

This classic Southern gothic novel might seem like a typical family saga, but its grim conditions and dark twists are unlike those of other tales. The story of The Sound and the Fury proceeds as follows: the Compson family are disgraced former aristocrats attempting to adapt now that they’ve lost their money, religion, and elevated reputation. Unfortunately, the four children of the Compson family perpetuate its fatal flaws of greed, selfishness, and outdated values and ideas about the world at large. As the story shifts among them, as well as back and forth in time, it becomes clear that the Compsons are beyond repair — but nevertheless, they continue to press on. With a tragic story on par with Macbeth (from which the book takes its title) and Faulkner’s revolutionary prose, it’s no wonder this story still looms so large in American literature.

63. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932)

top fiction books of all times

64. I, Claudius by Robert Graves (1934)

When it comes to historical novels, none is as well-celebrated as Robert Graves’s story of the Roman emperor, Claudius. Written in the first person perspective, this novel feigns an autobiography written by the nervous leader. Claudius is unlike his predecessors — he critically examined theirs and the corrupt system’s failures, exposing all the dramatic intrigue and high politics of this lauded empire to the world. He himself is spun into this entangled battle for the throne, although perhaps less willingly that his opponents. If you enjoy the political battles of Game of Thrones , you’ll without a doubt enjoy this novel , which would not only provide you with a good bit of entertainment, but also introduce to you the intricate structures of Roman civilization. 

65. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller (1934)

Miller’s sombre novel was not well-received when it was first published — in fact it was banned in the US and not published until the late 1960s, decades after its conception. The basic storyline is simple — it’s a blend of Miller’s memories as a struggling writer in Paris, and fictional elements that he added. Miller focused on his feelings and perceptions, propelling the stream-of-consciousness style of writing that was gaining popularity among writers of the time. What made the book so controversial was its featuring of sexuality, which, along with descriptions of the desperation, the poverty, and the grief present in the lives of those without a clear sense of direction, is part of Miller’s candor. If a book can hold the soul of a writer, perhaps none is as potent as Tropic of Cancer . 

66. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (1936) 

top fiction books of all times

67. Scoop by Evelyn Waugh (1938)

The controversial author of Brideshead Revisited , Evelyn Waugh also wrote this rip-roaring satire that made waves when it was published in 1938. This time, Waugh’s target is the media, particularly the newspaper industry. As a promising little civil war erupts in the African Republic of Ishmaelia, Lord Copper sends his reporter in the continent to cover it — to hilarious consequences. Wickedly funny and not at all politically correct as it skewers Fleet Street and its overeager occupants, Scoop is a comedy that will never be old news. 

68. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (1939) 

First, there were ten who arrived on the island. Among the guests of the house in And Then There Were None were Mrs. Rogers, a homely cook; Anthony Marston, a handsome and irresponsible young man; Emily Caroline Brent, an old and religious spinster; Dr. Armstrong, a Harley Street doctor; and Philip Lombard, a soldier with money. Strangers to one another, they nevertheless shared one similarity: they had all murdered in the past. And when people begin dropping like flies and their numbers begin to thin on the island, they begin to suspect that they are the ones being murdered. But who is the murderer in their midst? That’s the question that will leave your head spinning in this timeless example of a mystery novel done right by no other than the Queen of Mystery herself.

Contemporary literature

69. native son by richard wright (1940).

top fiction books of all times

70. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers (1940)

Carson McCullers’ debut novel — written when she was only 23! — was an instant classic when it was published. The author’s sheer prodigiousness is astonishing enough, but it is the rich wisdom and gentle insight that makes The Heart is a Lonely Hunter truly remarkable. You’ll probably never meet a protagonist quite as memorable as John Singer, a deaf and nonverbal man who sits in the same café every day. Here, in the deep American South of the 1930s, John meets an assortment of people: the café owner, Biff Brannon; Mick Kelly, a young girl who wants nothing more than to play music; Jake Blount, a desperate alcoholic; and Dr. Copeland, a frustrated and idealistic black doctor. 

John is the silent, kind keeper of their stories — right up until an unforgettable ending that will blow you away, placing The Heart is a Lonely Hunter squarely beside such southern classics as Grapes of Wrath and To Kill a Mockingbird. 

71. The Stranger by Albert Camus (1942)

Albert Camus’ own summary of The Stranger is perhaps the best way to describe this iconic book: “I summarized The Stranger a long time ago, with a remark I admit was highly paradoxical: ‘In our society any man who does not weep at his mother's funeral runs the risk of being sentenced to death.’ I only meant that the hero of my book is condemned because he does not play the game.” And so The Stranger duly opens with Meursault, our hero, learning of the death of his mother. From this point onward, the reader is led in a strange dance of absurdism and existentialism that makes Meursault confront something even crueler than mortality: society’s expectations. 

72. The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene (1948)

top fiction books of all times

73. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (1949)

Big Brother is watching you: both the governmental slogan that has become synonymous with this iconic novel, and the eerie sense you’ll get as you’re reading it. George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is a landmark work in the dystopian genre for its affecting portrayal of a totalitarian state that strictly controls and surveils its citizens — though of course, few are content with such an existence. Our narrator, Winston Smith, is one such citizen; employed by the “Ministry of Truth” (which actually serves the opposite cause), Winston fully grasps the corruption of the government, yet feels powerless to stop it. Yet what’s most compelling about this book isn’t Winston’s individual experience, but the exceptional detail and social commentary Orwell injects into the story — potently warning readers of a reality that could all too easily come to pass.

74. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (1951)

One of the most iconic coming-of-age novels in literature, J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye is still a must-read today — and Holden Caulfield is still one of the most recognizable protagonists ever. Told from Holden’s point of view, this classic at first seems like a simple tale about a boy wandering the streets of New York with no plan in mind and nothing to do. Yet any reader who digs deeper will encounter a cry of teenage disillusionment — not to mention a moving story that confronts the reality of growing up. 

75. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (1952) 

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76. East of Eden by John Steinbeck (1952) 

One of the perennial staples on “Books You Must Read Before You Die” lists, and possibly the best of John Steinbeck's books , East of Eden fully deserves its acclaimed place in American literature today. A family saga that spans generations, it follows two families — the Trasks and the Hamiltons — whose fates desperately entwine in the wild American West. It’s also a modern retelling of the Book of Genesis — particularly the fabled and tragic story of Cain and Abel. Ambitiously epic and thought-provoking, East of Eden is simply Steinbeck at his masterful, astonishing best. 

77. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953)

Firemen mean something different in Guy Montag’s world: they start fires. And (every bookworm out there, cover your eyes now) books are the illegal, radical property to be burned. As one such fireman, Guy is in charge of destroying every book remaining… until a series of events occurs in rapid succession, making Guy question the job for the first time. This is one of the most famous books ever written — a revolutionary and fiery work about the cost of censoring knowledge and the beauty of the written world. Just don’t read it next to your stove, because what’s the temperature at which books burn? Well, Fahrenheit 451 . 

78. In the Castle of My Skin by George Lamming (1953)

top fiction books of all times

Don’t walk into it expecting a straightforward story: Lammings’ style could be termed impressionistic, and he narrates many of his personal anecdotes and vignettes from the perspective of others. But this experimental effect is often dazzling, and it’s made In the Castle of My Skin one of the most important works of postcolonial literature in history. 

79. Lord of the Flies by William Golding (1954) 

Though William Golding’s Lord of the Flies wasn’t initially well-received and sold poorly, Golding had the last laugh: Lord of the Flies is today one of the must-read books in every school curriculum. Its story about a group of schoolboys who have crashed on a lonely island is enduring not only for its shocking plot developments, but also the way that it reveals the truths of human nature at our basest. Today, it remains one of the most terrifying depictions of how quickly a society can fail — and a reminder of the fragility of the systems that we build to reassure ourselves. 

80. Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (c .1955) 

Lord of the Rings may be one of the most influential series ever written — not least for the way that it basically created the modern fantasy genre as we know it. The towering shadow that J.R.R. Tolkien cast over all fantasy books that followed in its path aside, Lord of the Rings should be read simply because it’s a rollicking good story. So if you also fall under the spell of Middle-Earth as you venture into Mordor with Frodo and his companions, don’t fear: there’s still a prequel ( The Hobbit ) and an origin story ( The Silmarillion ) to go. 

81. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (1955)

top fiction books of all times

82. On the Road by Jack Kerouac (1957)

On the Road is the example of a good book that didn’t take years and years to produce: Jack Kerouac wrote it all in a mad three-week period in 1951. Decades later, it is regarded as a classic of the postwar Beat movement that captures the heart and soul of an entire generation. You’ll meet Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty: alter egos for Kerouac himself and his friend, Neal Cassady — On the Road is, at its heart, a semi-autobiographical account of Kerouac’s own travels across America. From New York to San Francisco, Sal and Dean tear through the streets  to a jazz rhythm all their own. Do they have any inkling of what they’re going to do with their lives? Heck no — but that’s the charm of On the Road , which will speak to the wanderlust in you, as it has done to millions of other readers since 1957.

83. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (1958) 

As the name of the novel suggests, protagonist Okonkwo might’ve had a good start in his youth as wrestling champion of his clan, but horrid things are waiting on the horizon for him. As he climbs to the top of the social hierarchy, Okonkwo faces tough decisions between his pride and his morality. Things become complicated as white men come in and begin tearing apart the fabric of his society. 

Things Fall Apart is a modern African classic: it’s poignant, nuanced, and moving. Okonkwo is not different from ancient literary heroes — he has virtues, he has gods to please, and he has obstacles to overcome. That’s a thought many wouldn’t have about Africans in the 50s and 60s, and Achebe was amongst the first writers who sought to challenge this. 

84. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960)

top fiction books of all times

Set in rural Alabama, this book centers around Scout as her father, Atticus Finch, takes on an important trial. He’s been tasked with defending a black man falsely accused of sexually assaulting a white woman — not an easy case in the South in the 30s. Scout’s innocence may have been shaken by these events, but she comes to ground herself watching Atticus’s passionate defense, something that continues to inspire lawyers to this day. 

85. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961) 

Although it takes place in World War II (and was loosely based on Heller’s own experiences), Catch-22 was actually a reaction to the Korean war and McCarthyism. This iconic satire follows Captain Yossarian, a bombardier who, along with his fellow service people, is attempting to navigate the absurdities of war in order to fulfill their service requirements so they can be sent home. Told in a non-linear, third person omniscient with plenty of anachronisms, it can seem a bit much to follow at first, but we promise it’s well worth the effort. This novel has been a staple of anti-war literature for decades, and with its perfectly tuned wit and wisdom, it’s not likely to be going anywhere anytime soon.

86. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark (1961)

It’s tempting to describe The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie as gender-bent Dead Poets Society , but that would be doing Jean Brodie a disservice — she predated the Robin Williams film by nearly three decades! Still, the comparison isn’t a bad one: set in Edinburgh during the 1920s and 30s, the novel explores what happens when a young teacher decides to take an active and unconventional interest in the futures of six of her students. Told through the eyes of these students, and full of tantalizing flashforwards, this book is a complicated, nuanced portrayal of mentorship and coming of age.

87. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey (1962)

top fiction books of all times

88. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (1962)

Following in the chilling tradition set by 1984 and A Brave New World, Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange is its own terrifying vision of the future. In Anthony Burgess’ dystopia, the world is overrun by juvenile delinquents and ultra-violent gangs in the city. Anarchy reigns on any given day, but when Alex — a sociopathic “droog” who nevertheless longs for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony— is captured and taken in by the authorities, he’ll have to confront what free will really means to him, and what he’d give up himself to keep it. 

89. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (1967)

Written at the height of Stalin’s regime, The Master and Margarita is a daring, defiant satire that weaves together the spiritual and the supernatural to create a fantasy world at once chillingly real and utterly unique.

The story begins with the Devil arriving in atheistic Soviet Moscow, though the plot is split between those events and another thread taking place in ancient Jerusalem. As if that wasn’t surreal enough, there’s also a walking, talking black cat in league with the Devil, causing all sorts of trouble. This novel is a vivid portrait of life under Soviet regime, and an important reminder of the need for unfettered artistic expression.

90. Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay (1967)

top fiction books of all times

What follows is a gripping account of both the investigation as well as the impacts this event has upon the fate of the college itself. It’s a fascinating look into the impact that tragedy can have on ordinary circumstances, and a mystery that will leave you aching for answers that will never come.

91. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1967) 

In this surrealist tale, José Arcadio Buendía flees his city with his wife after committing murder, and is now seeking refuge. Rather than finding life in a new city, he decides to found his own utopia — Macondo. This little town functions in its own odd way, separate from the rest of the world, save for a few interactions via a band of gypsies. But solitude doesn’t necessarily mean peace, as José’s descendants would discover, and neither can that solitude remain forever… 

One Hundred Years of Solitude is an outstanding blend of the fantastical and the real. Marquez’s prose will take you on a magical and sensational journey to discover the complex political developments of Latin America .

92. The Forever War by Joe Haldeman (1974) 

In this rendition of reality, Earth is at war with the alien-kind called Taurans. In preparation for this drawn out conflict, William Mandella is drafted and enters a rigorous training program, starting first on Earth and then later on a foreign planet. Mandella hopes to survive the training and the war to return to his family, but his life will never be the same again, whether because of the time dilation between the planets, or because of the new lens that he will see life through, after participating in a lengthy and pointless war. 

Hats off to Haldeman for his creativity: he spectacularly spun his experiences as a drafted soldier in the Vietnam war into the moving interstellar story of The Forever War . 

93. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (1978) 

top fiction books of all times

94. So Long A Letter by Mariama Ba (1979)

So Long A Letter is a book of letters written by a Senegalese widow, Ramatoulaye Fall, to her friend during the time — four months and ten day, to be exact, as dictated by her religion and tradition — that she mourns her husband. As she explores her own emotions, Ramatoulaye reveals the complexities of the polygamous society that she lived in. Personal, raw, and unexpectedly relatable, this elegant novella extends beyond the illustration of the plight of women in 20th century Africa; Ramatoulaye’s sentiments and wonders are felt by all women. 

95. Collected Poems by Sylvia Plath (1981) 

Sylvia Plath’s Collected Poems collates 274 pieces that she wrote from 1956 to the time of her death. Her poetry is intense and personal; in her writing she explored her relationships with her family and the state of her mentality. At a time where depression and bipolar disorder is hardly talked about as serious conditions, Plath’s verses bring ringing clarity to the detrimental effects that they may have on a person’s life. If you are a lover of poems , if you want to be moved by powerful, intricate images, then you will not want to miss out on this collection of poems. 

96. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (1981)

top fiction books of all times

Using magical realism as a way to make the notion of common identity more tangible, Rushdie’s novel provides a fascinating inroad into the transition into modernity of a culture that has existed for many centuries. 

97. The Color Purple by Alice Walker (1982)

Set in early 1900s Georgia, The Color Purple is a striking story about the debilitating conditions of black women during the years of intense segregation. Celie and Nettie grew up in a broken household, and have long been separated and are living disparate lives. Despite the distance between them, they seek solace in one another through letters, and support each other through the abuses of domestic life and social tensions that they undergo as African American women. 

The Color Purple deservedly won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for Walker’s refusal to shy away from the difficult issues of violence and sexual abuse — problems that she presented from the perspective of the victims in the rawest and most powerful form available.

98. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (1984)

In this philosophical novel, readers follow the “light” life of surgeon and womanizer Tomas. He lives to enjoy himself as much as possible because he believes his experience is a one-time and completely unique thing. In stark contrast to that is the perspective of Tereza, his wife, who’s a photographer who is faithful and puts “weight” on her every decision. Through the couple's struggles to harmonize themselves, with 1960s Czechoslovakia’s internal turmoil rife in the background, The Unbearable Lightness of Being reflects the intellectual rediscovery and transition into postmodernity that Eastern Europe at that historic time. 

99. Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987) 

top fiction books of all times

It follows Sethe, a woman who escaped slavery by fleeing to Ohio eighteen years before the novel starts. Still, “Sweet Home,” the picturesque farm that was the scene of her many living nightmares, continues to haunt her. And it’s not the only shadow casted over her life. Sethe’s home is also haunted by the ghost of her baby whose tombstone displays a lone word: Beloved.

Beloved is a suspenseful, heartbreaking, and intimate story. It deserves a spot on all “best books of all time” lists for the way it stands as a monument to the “Sixty Million and More,” as the book’s dedication reads, who lost their lives to the Atlantic slave trade.

100. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (1989)

Kazuo Ishiguro is a Nobel Prize-winning author, and The Remains of the Day is a Man Booker Prize winner with a film adaptation starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson, and which received eight Oscar nominations. No big deal, right?

Ishiguro’s impressive novel centres on Stevens, a butler who’s spent most of his life in service at Darlington Hall, a stately home near Oxford, England. When Stevens receives a letter from an old colleague who now lives in Cornwall, he decides to set out on a motoring trip through the West Country to visit her. Along the way, he reflects on England’s past, his own past, and his long-standing career serving Lord Darlington.

101. Angels in America by Tony Kushner (1991)

Angels in America is a two-part play and exploration of homosexuality and the AIDS crisis in America in the 1980s. The plays can be presented together or separately, and have been adapted for Broadway and as an HBO miniseries. 

The story starts with a gay couple living in Manhattan — Prior and Louis. When Louis discovers that Prior has AIDS, he finds himself unable to cope. He leaves Prior to have an affair with Joe, a Mormon, Republican clerk whose valium-addicted, agoraphobic wife is desperate to save their marriage. Several other storylines blossom as the play unfolds, many of which intersect and involve angels and ghosts.

If you need any more convincing of the power behind Kushner’s work, John M. Clum, a playwright and professor of theatre studies has called Angels in America , "A turning point in the history of gay drama, the history of American drama, and of American literary culture.” 

102. The Secret History by Donna Tartt (1992)

top fiction books of all times

The six protagonists of The Secret History are a group of Classics students studying at a small, elite college in Vermont. Under the guidance of their favorite professor, the students begin to collectively challenge the norms of academia and society as a whole, questioning the way they’ve been taught to see the world. They blur the lines between good and evil, looking for the morally grey around them. But as they start to push the boundaries they’ve always known, their own moral compasses begin to veer, and unspeakable acts follow.

103. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (1995) 

It’s 1975, and India has just declared a State of Emergency. In the midst of this bleak upheaval and political turmoil, the fates of four unlikely strangers intertwine: a courageous widow, a young, uprooted student, and two sailors who have escaped the violence of their native village — who all end up living in one, small apartment as they contend with their uncertain futures.

Just as the title suggests, A Fine Balance does a wonderful job paralleling the realism of the testing, cruel, and corrupt circumstances with compassion, humor, and insight into the power of love and friendship.

104. Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels (1996)

Written by Canadian poet Anne Michaels, Fugitive Pieces is a two-part novel that begins with an absolutely heart wrenching image: the war has just swept through a Polish city where seven-year old Jakob Beer’s family has just been murdered. The only reason he has survived is because he buried himself under mud until the coast was clear. A Greek geologist eventually comes across Jakob and rescues him — but the man doesn’t actually realize that Jakob is a human until the boy begins to weep.

The first part of the book continues to follow Jakob as he becomes a traveling artist, while the second explores different facets of WWII’s repercussions: it centers around Ben, a Canadian professor whose parents both survived the Holocaust. 

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Winner of the Lannan Literary Fiction Award, and Winner of the Guardian Fiction Award, Fugitive Pieces depicts tough subject matters with captivating elements of mystery and evocative prose. 

105. The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy (1999)

top fiction books of all times

The World’s Wife is a modern, feminist reflection on many of history’s most well-known figures. Or rather, the great women behind those historical figures. From Mrs. Darwin to Queen Kong and Mrs. Midas, the counterparts of famous men are finally getting their day in the sun! 

Take it from publisher Pan Macmillan: “Original, subversive, full of imagination and quicksilver wit, The World's Wife is Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy at her beguiling best.”

106. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (1999)

Interpreter of Maladies is a collection of nine short stories, and winner of both the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award.

From marriage problems to the peculiar experience of returning to a home you hardly remember, these stories provide a window into the culturally complex lives of first and second generation immigrants. The thread that weaves the story together is that of adaptation: they portray the lives of Indians and Indian Americans striving to find a connection between their roots and the “new world.”In the title short story, an Indian American family tours the India of their ancestors, accompanied by an interpreter who gets an unexpected insight into the family’s life. 

107. Atonement by Ian McEwan (2001) 

On a hot summer day in post-World War Two England, 13-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses — and misinterprets — a private moment between her older sister Cecilia, and the son of their housekeeper, Robbie Turner. But with the precocious confidence of a young storyteller, Briony begins to weave what she believes she saw into fantasies that have long-lasting and rippling effects on her family. Told in three parts — the latter two during the Second World War and present-day England — Atonement is a brilliant and provocative reflection on the nature of writing itself.

108. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (2002) 

top fiction books of all times

The even-numbered chapters are about an aging war-vet called Nakata, who has an uncanny ability to find lost cats. One of his searches leads him out onto the road for the first time.

Both odysseys are vividly mysterious, and populated with imaginative accomplices and unexpected encounters that are characteristic of Murakami’s distinct and bizarre style .

109. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon (2003) 

15 year-old Christopher John Francis Boone hates the color yellow and being touched by others. In fact, he’d much rather spend his time around animals and avoid complicated human emotions. He can also fire off all the countries of the world, their capitals, and every prime number up to 7,057. He thrives on logic, patterns, and carefully laid out rules. 

One day, in an unexpected turn of events, his neighbor’s dog dies. While Christopher is not a fan of plot twists, he decides to take a leaf out of his favorite, deerstalker-wearing detective’s book, and to solve — you guessed it — The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time .

110. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (2003) 

Set against a backdrop of chaos and tumult — such as the fall of Afghanistan's monarchy through the Soviet military intervention, the exodus of refugees to Pakistan and the United States, and the rise of the Taliban regime — this story details the unlikely friendship between Amir, the son of a well-to-do-family, and Hassan, the son of Amir’s father’s servant. 

A sweeping tale of family, love, and friendship, it’s not uncommon for someone to clutch their heart or take on a sombre expression when someone brings up The Kite Runner . It’s an emotionally devastating read that stays with you long after you’ve finished it.

111. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2005)

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Zusak’s spectacular humanization of this ominous narrator emphasizes perfectly the inhumanity of war and discrimination in a never seen before lightm despite this commonly-used setting. 

112. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2006) 

“Epic,” “ambitious,” “triumphant,” “masterful” are all adjectives that have widely been used to describe Half of a Yellow Sun — and for good reason! Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s haunting (another adjective for you!) novel is dedicated to retelling a seminal moment in modern African history: the Nigerian Civil War in the 1960s, and Biafra’s struggle to establish an independent republic in Nigeria. 

Readers are guided through this conflict from the perspectives of three main characters: 13 year-old Ugwu, a revolutionary-minded houseboy who works for a university professor; Olanna, a young woman who’s abandoned her cushy life in Lagos to take up a passionate affair with said university professor; and Richard, a shy Englishman who quietly falls in love with Olanna’s twin sister. 

As the war unfurls around them, Ugwa, Olanna, and Richard are all forced to flee for their lives, facing challenges and struggles that test their spirits, ideals, and trust for one another.

113. The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (2007)

Oscar Wao has big dreams: he wants to become the Dominican J. R. R. Tolkien, and to fall in love. But the fukú curse stands in his way, as it has for generations of Waos, dooming his family to ill fates for centuries. 

Told from the perspective of multiple characters, and interspersed with plenty of fantasy and sci-fi references, The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao manages to capture a number of themes with warmth and honesty — from heartbreak to loss, and most strikingly, the Domincan-American experience — earning it the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

114. The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak (2009)

top fiction books of all times

One takes place in the thirteenth century, detailing the experiences of Rumi when he first met Shams of Tabriz, his mentor.

The other story is set in present day, and is about Ella Rubenstein, an unhappily married woman who’s just landed a job as a reader for a literary agent. One of the books she’s tasked to read is about Shams of Tabriz’s search for Rumi, and the transformation of the latter from an unhappy cleric into a passionate advocate of love. Ella becomes fascinated by the book, and as she reads, she can’t help but feel as though this book landed in her hands for a reason... 

115. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (2014)

When performing King Lear on stage one night, a Hollywood actor drops dead. Shortly after, civilization begins to collapse. This event is the middleground of Station Eleven , as the book pendulates back and forth between the actor’s early years and a dystopian future in which the world as we know it has changed forever. 

Hauntingly real and spellbindingly imaginative, it charts a theatre troupe called the Traveling Symphony as they roam wastelands and attempt to hold onto what it means to be human.

If you’d rather look at the latest hits, check out the 21 best books written in this century . Also, you might find the Kindle Cloud Reader useful in helping you make a dent to your reading lists. 

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top fiction books of all times

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The Best Novels Ever Written

The Best Novels Ever Written

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As you embark on a quest to uncover the best novels of all time, you will find a treasure trove of literary masterpieces that have left indelible marks on the hearts of readers. Delving into the pages of these renowned works offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore the depths of artistic expression and creativity that have shaped the world of fiction. 

The realm of the best novels of all time is populated by immensely powerful works of fiction, capturing hearts and minds alike with their unparalleled storytelling and captivating themes. Their gripping narratives, unforgettable characters, and profound themes captivate audiences, transporting them to realms of imagination and insight. From epic sagas to thought-provoking dystopias, these books represent the pinnacle of literary brilliance, captivating the hearts and minds of generations with their rich, immersive stories. 

The best books of all time include masterpieces like Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Lord of the Rings , and Frankenstein. Nineteen Eighty-Four 's harrowing portrayal of totalitarianism has proven hauntingly relevant, while The Lord of the Rings remains an enduring testament to the power of friendship and courage amid an epic battle between good and evil. Frankenstein , meanwhile, birthed the modern science fiction genre with its riveting tale of ambition, morality, and the consequences of playing God. The enduring appeal of these best novels is further evidenced by the numerous successful movie adaptations that cement their status in popular culture. 

Shining like beacons in the literary landscape, the best novels of all time illuminate the path towards understanding the complexity and beauty of human existence in all its forms. As they lure readers into their worlds, they offer vital insights into humanity's triumphs and struggles, enriching lives with their wisdom and beauty. While countless novels have graced the shelves of libraries and bookstores, these best books of all time remain unrivaled, continuing to inspire and enthrall generations of readers with their timeless allure. 

The Iliad / The Odyssey

The Iliad / The Odyssey

Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment

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Nineteen Eighty-Four

Nineteen Eighty-Four

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  • # 8 of 271 on The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
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The Count of Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte Cristo

  • # 67 of 271 on The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
  • # 35 of 85 on 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read
  • # 67 of 329 on Books That Changed Your Life

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol

  • # 3 of 72 on The 70+ Best Fairy Tale Books To Read
  • # 3 of 192 on The 190+ Best Novellas To Read
  • # 30 of 271 on The Top Must-Read Books of All Time

The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings

  • # 1 of 92 on The 90+ Best High Fantasy Books You Should Read
  • # 46 of 271 on The Top Must-Read Books of All Time

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

  • # 3 of 154 on The Greatest American Novels
  • # 10 of 271 on The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
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The Hobbit

  • # 23 of 271 on The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
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Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men

  • # 4 of 192 on The 190+ Best Novellas To Read
  • # 4 of 154 on The Greatest American Novels
  • # 12 of 271 on The Top Must-Read Books of All Time

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird

  • # 1 of 62 on The Best Pulitzer Prize Winning Novels
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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

  • # 3 of 63 on The 60+ Best Bildungsroman Books Everyone Should Read
  • # 12 of 154 on The Greatest American Novels
  • # 15 of 271 on The Top Must-Read Books of All Time

Frankenstein

Frankenstein

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Dracula

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Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland

  • # 24 of 271 on The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
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The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451

  • # 1 of 162 on The 160+ Best Dystopian Novels To Prep For The End Of The World
  • # 13 of 154 on The Greatest American Novels
  • # 38 of 271 on The Top Must-Read Books of All Time

A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities

  • # 58 of 271 on The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
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Jane Eyre

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  • # 65 of 271 on The Top Must-Read Books of All Time

The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray

  • # 3 of 134 on The 130+ Best Gothic Fiction Books You Should Read
  • # 79 of 271 on The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
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Great Expectations

Great Expectations

  • # 70 of 271 on The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
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Treasure Island

Treasure Island

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Animal Farm

Animal Farm

  • # 3 of 72 on The Greatest Dystopian Novels
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Charlotte's Web

Charlotte's Web

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

  • # 14 of 91 on The 90+ Best The Best Drama Books Everyone Should Read
  • # 57 of 271 on The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
  • # 39 of 124 on The Scariest Horror Books of All Time

The Fellowship of the Ring

The Fellowship of the Ring

The Return of the King

The Return of the King

Les Misérables

Les Misérables

  • # 101 of 271 on The Top Must-Read Books of All Time
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The Call of the Wild

The Call of the Wild

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The Hound of the Baskervilles

The Hound of the Baskervilles

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37 Paperback Books We Think Are Must Reads

In life, there are things you could do, things you should do, and things you must do. These same categories apply to the choice of book you read next. You could read any number of books, for reasons ranging from guilty pleasure to the fact that your book club meets in two days. You should probably read any number of classic novels that will expand your literary palate or teach you a thing or two. And then, there are the books you must read, best books of all time we daresay, no matter who you are. There are a lot of reasons books becomes must-reads, and it’s not necessarily just their literary quality or fame. When asking yourself “what are the best books to read?”, these 37 best books of all time have much to offer anyone who picks them up.

Love in the Time of Cholera

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Love in the Time of Cholera

By Gabriel García Márquez Translator Edith Grossman

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Featuring a main protagonist whose methods and motives may be seen as somewhat controversial by today’s standards, this is one of those beautifully written, classic stories that keeps us hopeful about the possibility of love finding us in whatever stage of life we’re in. First translated to English in 1988,  Love in the Time of Cholera  was written by the Nobel Prize-winning author of  One Hundred Years of Solitude   Gabriel Garcia Marquez and is a romance that  Newsweek  calls “[a] love story of astonishing power.”

The Talented Mr. Ripley (B&N Exclusive Edition)

Paperback $12.95 $15.95

The Talented Mr. Ripley (B&N Exclusive Edition)

By Patricia Highsmith

Many of us dream of winning the lottery and changing our lives. Some of us fantasize about being another person; losing one’s identity to someone else “better.” And then, there are very, very few people who will risk life and limb (their own or another’s) to make such a change. Have ANY of those thoughts ever entered your mind? If so, then we introduce you to the next novel on our list of the best books of all time,  The Talented Mr. Ripley .

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Paperback $7.99 $8.99

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

By E. L. Konigsburg

Who hasn’t dreamt of spending the night in their favorite museum, surrounded by a vast collection of ancient artifacts and beautiful artwork?  From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler  follows siblings Claudia and Jamie as they run away from their suburban Connecticut home to the revered Metropolitan Museum of Art in bustling New York City. This clever and charming tale is equal parts adventure, mystery, wisdom and wit, and is just as enjoyable today as it was when it was originally published in 1967.

Rebecca

Paperback $8.99

By Daphne du Maurier

Daphne du Maurier’s classic gothic novel Rebecca is about a woman unraveling the truth about her new husband’s dead first wife. Du Maurier deftly blurs the line between dreams and reality in this haunting, unforgettable tale.  

Holes

By Louis Sachar

Quirky, fun, and mysterious all at once,  Holes  is a modern classic worthy of a spot on every young reader’s bookshelf. Louis Sachar deftly weaves together stories from the past and present, creating a brilliant and thought-provoking tale about Stanley Yelnats, Camp Green Lake, and the power of strength and perseverance in the face of adversity. A must-read book at any age.

Atonement

By Ian McEwan

When an intimate moment is misinterpreted by a young girl, the consequences are tragic. Ian McEwan’s novel of two lovers separated by an imagined crime, explores the redemptive nature of storytelling.

Kindred

Hardcover $26.95

By Octavia Butler

While many early Black classics center around slavery or its aftermath, Octavia Butler took a unique approach with her 1979 novel,  Kindred . This must read book is a neo-slave narrative that crosses genre lines mixing in Butler’s usual science fiction elements left many people scratching their heads about how to classify it. Her unique perspective to a largely white genre is one that  Essence  calls “truly terrifying . . . a book you’ll find hard to put down.” 

Play It As It Lays

Paperback $16.49 $18.00

Play It As It Lays

By Joan Didion Introduction David Thomson

Told in flashbacks as the story cuts between Hollywood, Las Vegas and a film shoot in the Mojave Desert,  Play It As It Lays  is the indelible story of Maria Wyeth, a woman whose marriage and acting career are both failing. She’s become an alien in her own world, endlessly driving the freeways of Los Angeles (and cracking hard-boiled eggs on the steering wheel) because that’s the only true comfort she can find. Is her world the problem? Or is she?

The Phantom Tollbooth

The Phantom Tollbooth

By Norton Juster Illustrator Jules Feiffer

“So many things are possible just as long as you don’t know they’re impossible.” Generations of readers discovered that life is full of adventure as they journeyed with Milo to the Lands Beyond in this beloved classic, a must read for any book lover. Published 60 years ago, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster is a beguiling read ― whether it’s your first or your 50th.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

Paperback $15.99 $18.00

We Have Always Lived in the Castle: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

By Shirley Jackson Afterword Jonathan Lethem Illustrator Thomas Ott

Written from the point of view of 18-year-old Mary Katherine “Merricat” Blackwood who lives in isolation with her older sister, Constance, and uncle, Julian,  We Have Always Lived in the Castle  is a timeless story about feeling unwelcome in the world and finding solace in the confines of one’s home. For those of us coming out of quarantine and those of us weary to return to normalcy, this is the perfect and timely read. If you’ve read Shirley Jackson’s psychological horror novel,  The Haunting of Hill House , you already know you’re in for a treat with this one.

The Westing Game

Paperback $9.99

The Westing Game

By Ellen Raskin

For over thirty-five years, Ellen Raskin’s Newbery Medal-winning The Westing Game has been an enduring favorite. Samuel W. Westing’s vast fortune is up for grabs. How to acquire it? Play the mysterious and dangerous games laid out in his will. The winner walks away a millionaire.

Address Unknown: A Novel

Paperback $13.99 $16.99

Address Unknown: A Novel

By Kathrine Kressmann Taylor Introduction Margot Livesey

A searing, heartbreaking tale told in letters; author Kathrine Kressmann Taylor chronicles the catastrophic destruction of a friendship through pernicious ideologies. A slim novel originally written in the 1930s,  Address Unknown  cautioned readers to the splintering of humanity and the rise of hateful moralities ahead of World War II. A tale of vengeance, a classic and a literary triumph.

The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963

The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963

By Christopher Paul Curtis

In  The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 , Christopher Paul Curtis has expertly crafted a story that stands the test of time. Though originally published in 1995, its nuanced depiction of a Black family at the height of the civil rights movement gives young readers important insight into a period they typically only read about in history books.

The Hustler

Paperback $14.00 $16.00

The Hustler

By Walter Tevis

A taut novel full of suspense, smoke, and pool sharks. “Fast” Eddie Felson is ready to make it in the big times of competitive pool playing but needs to best top player Minnesota Fats to do it. From the author of  The Queen’s Gambit ,  The Hustler  ruminates once again on the importance, and cost, of winning it big.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (George Smiley Series)

Paperback $16.99 $19.00

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (George Smiley Series)

By John le Carré

John le Carré’s brilliant 1974 novel ratchets up tension so deliberately and subtly it’s almost supernatural. The hunt for a Soviet spy deeply embedded in a position of influence in the British secret service and the retired spy, George Smiley, charged with identifying him. This is not a spy thriller composed of fisticuffs and gun fights, but rather meticulous spycraft and the quietly fascinating work of piecing together a puzzle.

Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Moving Castle Series #1)

Paperback $11.99

Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Moving Castle Series #1)

By Diana Wynne Jones

An irresistible character who comes to town, stealing hearts? That’s pretty much a spot-on description of Wizard Howl — at least in his heart-stealing days, before he runs into Sophie Hatter.

Beloved (Pulitzer Prize Winner)

Paperback $14.99 $17.00

Beloved (Pulitzer Prize Winner)

By Toni Morrison

A lot of classic writers lived in an age before many of us existed. But not Toni Morrison; her death was monumental for generations of readers. She wrote for Black people, specifically Black women, and she was the first black woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.   Inspired by a true story,  Beloved  is about an enslaved woman who believes that killing her child would be a better life than having them grow up as a slave. Many different themes are explored when the ghost of her baby comes back to her 18 years later. In 1988,  Beloved  won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and we still love it — making it onto our list of the best books of all time. 

The God of Small Things

The God of Small Things

By Arundhati Roy

With nearly 800,000 copies sold and 40 different language translations, winner of the the Man Booker Prize for fiction, The God of Small Things tells the story of fraternal twins that explored how even the smallest of instances can affect our lives and change us forever.

The Bell Jar (P.S. Series)

Paperback $18.00 $20.00

The Bell Jar (P.S. Series)

By Sylvia Plath

This novel, which explores the pangs of teenage love and rejection, along with the pressures to achieve perfection in a competitive world, is a timeless, must read story.

Life of Pi: A Novel

Paperback $16.99 $18.99

Life of Pi: A Novel

By Yann Martel

A tiger, a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan, and a boy named Pi are the lone survivors of a shipwreck. In time, only the boy and the tiger remain. The two survive for months at sea before landing in Mexico. Pi is eager to tell his story, but will anyone believe him?

Things Fall Apart

Paperback $13.49 $15.00

Things Fall Apart

By Chinua Achebe

One of the first African novels to be widely studied and read in the English-speaking world, Achebe’s book remains a must-read for the uniqueness of its literary vision and characters. Focused on a fictional village in Nigeria, the book’s epic scope traces how life changes from pre-colonial times to post-colonial modernity (for the time; the novel was published in 1958).

The Color Purple

The Color Purple

By Alice Walker

Brutal, harsh, yet somehow raggedly beautiful, Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is a must read because its subject matter, focused on the grim lives of African-American women in 1930s rural Georgia, shouldn’t be turned away from. Exploring the long ragged scars of racism, slavery, and class inequality, it’s one of those novels people are always trying to get banned—and you know what? Any book certain people don’t want you to read is a book you must read.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

By Maya Angelou Foreword by Oprah Winfrey

Maya Angelou’s autobiography is, in a word, breathtaking. In several words, it’s poignant, brutal, honest, warm, funny, devastating, and powerful. Drawing from her experiences growing up largely in Stamps, Arkansas, poet and civil rights activist Angelou has woven together a narrative about the loneliness of childhood and her subsequent search for identity all while having to navigate the injustices of racism and segregation.

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Paperback $15.49 $17.99

Their Eyes Were Watching God

By Zora Neale Hurston

With hauntingly lyrical prose and characters so real they practically leap off the page, Zora Neale Hurston’s famous book about love and independence has no business languishing unread on your shelf. Published in 1937, Their Eyes Were Watching God went largely unappreciated until author Alice Walker revived public interest in Hurston in the 1970s, giving both the book and its author the acclaim they dearly deserved.

1984: 75th Anniversary

Paperback $8.99 $9.99

1984: 75th Anniversary

By George Orwell Introduction Dolen Perkins-Valdez Afterword Sandra Newman

Orwell’s imagination of what a future society might look like at its worst has some shocking similarities to modern times. In this dystopian tale, mindless obedience rules, and as the main character finds himself straying, the regime crushes in. Although written in 1949, Orwell makes indirect references to “fake news,” “facetime,” “social media,” and more. Big Brother is watching!

The Book Thief

Paperback $12.99 $14.99

The Book Thief

By Markus Zusak

For a novel narrated by Death (yes, you read that right), this book sure has a lot of heart. Published in 2003 but set in Germany during World War II, Zusak’s historical novel follows young Liesel as her world is expanded by two things: the books she steals and loves, and the connection she forms with Max, the Jewish man her family hides from the Nazis. Due to its wholly original style and themes of the power of kindness and sacrificial love, The Book Thief has quickly become an enduring must read classic.

The Kite Runner (10th Anniversary Edition)

Paperback $15.49 $18.00

The Kite Runner (10th Anniversary Edition)

By Khaled Hosseini

While the title of this one holds promise of childhood whimsy, Khaled Hosseini’s 2003 novel actually tells a heartbreaking tale of betrayal, devastation, and—ultimately—redemption. Set against the backdrop of Afghanistan’s tumultuous history, The Kite Runner centers on Amir, the main character who wrestles in the aftermath of witnessing and allowing the sexual assault of his friend. Because of its universal themes of friendship, guilt, and atonement, The Kite Runner has deeply resonated with readers of varying cultural backgrounds, as evidenced by the seven-million-plus copies that have been sold in the United States alone.

Invisible Man

Invisible Man

By Ralph Ellison

Ellison combines a fluid, compelling writing style with a robust exploration of life as a black man in mid-century America. The unnamed narrator tells his story from his youth in a small Southern town, where he wins a scholarship to college that he can secure only after taking part in a brutal fight for the amusement of rich white sponsors, to his engagement with rising black nationalism and his realization that his color renders him, for all practical purposes, invisible to society at large.

Jane Eyre (Signature Classics)

Paperback $14.99

Jane Eyre (Signature Classics)

By Charlotte Brontë

A coming-of-age story, a mystery, a romance, and a Gothic horror novel all rolled into one, this darkly atmospheric Charlotte Brontë classic is a timeless tale of twisted love that’s full of passion, drama, and things that go bump in the night. Jean Rhys’ last novel, The Wide Sargasso Sea , is a feminist and anti-colonial response to Charlotte Brontë’s  Jane Eyre , telling the story of Antoinette Cosway, a Creole heiress who is sold into a marriage to Mr. Rochester. Rhys highlights the oppression of women and people of color under the white supremacist patriarchy of the mid-1800s.

Watchmen

Paperback $19.99

By Alan Moore Illustrator Dave Gibbons

Watchmen  a graphic novel that demonstrates the true potential of the format. If you think comic books are just for kids, this is the book that will change your mind. Even better, if you have a vast collection of comics and graphic novels, it can be appreciated as a story that simultaneously celebrates and deconstructs superhero tropes.

Lord of the Flies

Paperback $9.99 $12.00

Lord of the Flies

By William Golding Afterword Lois Lowry Contribution by Jennifer Buehler

What happens when a group of boys who are stranded on a deserted island have to learn how to survive? With politics, clashing personalities, and strong survival instincts comes a story of morality and immorality. Golding’s account of children stranded on an island without supplies or adult supervision is absolutely terrifying for one simple reason: there’s nothing supernatural going on. It’s a story about insufficiently socialized humans descending into savagery because that’s our fundamental nature. You look into the abyss at the center of this novel and the abyss looks back.

Frankenstein (Signature Classics)

Frankenstein (Signature Classics)

By Mary Shelley

Surely you know the story of Frankenstein by now, or at least the concept. Whether you’ve never read the book or it’s been too long to remember the details, this classic horror story is one to add to your to-be-read list.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide Series #1)

Paperback $7.99

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide Series #1)

By Douglas Adams

This hilarious sci-fi is the perfect book for some light reading, despite its lengthy size. Featuring a sarcastic man from Earth, a depressed robot, and some wacky interstellar travelers who hitchhike through space, this slightly absurd comedy is one that will have you asking, “what is the answer to the universe?” Already read it? Start the 2nd book in the series, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe .

Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death

Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death

By Kurt Vonnegut

It’s strange to call a critically acclaimed science fiction, anti-war novel  quirky , but Kurt Vonnegut’s  Slaughterhouse-Five  is definitely quirky. Published in 1969, the story follows the life and experiences of an American Veteran, Billy Pilgrim, his life as a prisoner of war in Dresden during WWII and his life postwar as a successful optometrist. With non-linear order, time travel, and an unreliable narrator, Vonnegut tells his readers important messages on the brutality of war, illusion of free will, and existentialism in a disorganized, yet straightforward way.

Giovanni's Room

Paperback $14.40 $16.00

Giovanni's Room

By James Baldwin

The list of mainstream fiction that deals with homosexuality in a sincere and powerful way remains woefully short, but at the top of it is this remarkable novel by Baldwin, one of the most complex examinations of a gay character (now more accurately considered a bisexual character) of its era. The story of an American’s affair with a Parisian man who is eventually executed for murder is a fantastic story and a crucial example of representation.

Pride and Prejudice

Paperback $9.00

Pride and Prejudice

By Jane Austen Editor Vivien Jones Introduction Vivien Jones Noted by Vivien Jones

Pride and Prejudice is one of the most popular novels in English literature to illustrate social issues. Featuring a strong female character, Lizzy’s intelligence, charm, and resilience shows off a feminist perspective and social class deconstruction that was rare in the 19th century. If that isn’t enough to want to read this popular classic, how about an enchanting romance story and comedy, too?

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100 Best Books of All Time: The World Library List

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  • Below are the 20 most popular books of all time, ranked by Goodreads members. 
  • Want more books? Check out the most popular books of 2021, based on Goodreads .

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Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers to rate and review their favorite books and authors , track their reading, participate in challenges, and discover new book recommendations. No matter what you like to read, you can find it on Goodreads along with tons of fellow readers who love the same books. 

With millions of ratings and community reviews, readers are encouraged to share their opinions to help others determine their next read. We used the number of ratings of each book to determine the most popular books amongst Goodreads members, so whether you're curious if your favorite book made the list or are looking for a new read with millions of recommendations , here are the top 20 most popular books on Goodreads. 

The 20 most popular books of all time on Goodreads:

"harry potter and the sorcerer's stone" by j.k. rowling.

top fiction books of all times

"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" by J.K. Rowling, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $6.98

With nearly 8 million ratings, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" is the most popular book of all time on Goodreads and has sold over 120 million copies. In this first book of the "Harry Potter" series, readers meet a young orphan boy who learns he's a wizard and begins his magical training at Hogwarts, a special school for witches and wizards.

"The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins

top fiction books of all times

"The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $11.69

With almost 7 million ratings on Goodreads, "The Hunger Games" is the first book in a young adult dystopian series where the country is divided up into districts that annually select one boy and one girl to fight to the death in a highly publicized arena. When Katniss's little sister is chosen for the games, she volunteers in her sister's place and immediately begins training before entering the deadly arena.

"Twilight" by Stephenie Meyer

top fiction books of all times

"Twilight" by Stephenie Meyer, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $10.16

"Twilight" is an iconic young adult vampire romance novel about a high school girl named Bella who falls in love with a mysterious boy named Edward and quickly finds out he's a vampire. As the threat of a nearby nomadic vampire looms, Bella chooses to be with Edward and discovers the secrets of his world, despite the nearly constant risks to her life. 

"To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee

top fiction books of all times

"To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $7.19

"To Kill A Mockingbird" is an American classic from 1960, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and frequently voted as one of the best books of the 20th century . It's about a young girl named Scout who's growing up in a time of racial division, amplified as her lawyer father defends an innocent Black man wrongly accused of a horrible crime. 

"The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald

top fiction books of all times

"The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $5.97

First published in 1925, "The Great Gatsby" is a classic Jazz Age novel about millionaire Jay Gatsby and his love for Daisy Buchanan. Narrated by Gatsby's neighbor, Nick Carraway, the novel follows Gatsby's shady business dealings, extravagant parties, and pursuit of Daisy's affection. 

"The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green

top fiction books of all times

"The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $6.10

In this absolute tear-jerker, Hazel is battling a terminal cancer diagnosis, offered a few extra years by a miracle medical advancement. In her cancer support group, she meets Augustus Waters and they immediately begin to fall for each other in this tragic and beautiful young adult love story. 

"1984" by George Orwell

top fiction books of all times

"1984" by George Orwell, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $7.48

In this novel predicting a dystopian future from its original publication in 1949, Winston Smith is living in a totalitarian world defined by strict mass surveillance and inundating propaganda. Winston works at the Ministry of Truth, rewriting history to fit the government's narrative, and can't help but wonder what the world was truly like before the revolution. 

"Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen

top fiction books of all times

"Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $5.47

"Pride and Prejudice" is an 1813 romantic classic about Elizabeth Bennet, a young woman who is pressured to marry a wealthy man in order to provide for her family. She meets the brooding Mr. Darcy, with whom she begins a witty but civilized sparring banter as they slowly fall for each other in this novel about the influences of class and the importance of being true to yourself. 

"Divergent" by Veronica Roth

top fiction books of all times

"Divergent" by Veronica Roth, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $8.46

In the dystopian science fiction world of "Divergent," all 16-year-olds must devote themselves to one of five factions in society, each dedicated to a virtue. Beatrice Prior is torn between staying with her family and being true to herself, so she makes a daring and shocking decision, thrusting her into an intense initiation and transformation while keeping a potentially deadly secret and discovering the growing conflict within her seemingly flawless society. 

"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" by J.K. Rowling

top fiction books of all times

"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" by J.K. Rowling, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $8.78

When a murderer named Sirius Black escapes the wizarding world's highest security prison, rumor says he's headed to kill Harry since the dark Lord Voldemort's downfall was his as well. Even with the soulless prison guards searching the castle for Sirius, danger seems to follow Harry at every turn. 

"The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien

top fiction books of all times

"The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $14.37

This fantastical classic introduces readers to magical Middle-Earth where Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, sets out on a quest to win a treasure guarded by a dragon. Initially written for the author's children, this adventure novel is a prequel to the epic "Lord of the Rings" series and is a charming favorite with over three million ratings and 1.6 million five-star reviews on Goodreads.  

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" by J.K. Rowling

top fiction books of all times

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" by J.K. Rowling, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $9.98

In the final book of the "Harry Potter" series, Harry and his two best friends are on a cross-country journey to find the final answers that will help them defeat the dark wizard Lord Voldemort. Cumulating in an epic and devastating battle at Hogwarts, this intense novel closes the fantastical series with a shocking and emotional resolution. 

"Animal Farm" by George Orwell

top fiction books of all times

"Animal Farm" by George Orwell, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $7.48

"Animal Farm" is a classic satirical novel about a group of mistreated farm animals who rebel against the human farmer to take over the farm and attempt to create a system where all animals are free and equal. But when the community is betrayed and collapses under a single dictator, the animals' hopes for equality diminish. 

"The Diary of a Young Girl" by Anne Frank

top fiction books of all times

"The Diary of a Young Girl" by Anne Frank, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $7.35

Written by Anne Frank during the Nazi occupation of Holland, this diary is a firsthand, nonfiction account of the two years Anne and her family spent hiding in a secret annex of an old office building. With thoughtful insight and emotional impressions of the time, Anne's diary is a testament to her courage during the final years of her life. 

"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" by J.K. Rowling

top fiction books of all times

"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" by J.K. Rowling, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $6.98

Before returning to Hogwarts for his second year of school, Harry receives an ominous message of the danger that awaits him if he's to return. Needing to escape his dreadful aunt and uncle, Harry ignores the warning and happily returns to school — until students begin to turn to stone and a strange voice in the wall means Harry might be the only one who can save them.

"The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger

top fiction books of all times

"The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $5.21

"The Catcher in the Rye" is a young adult classic about a 16-year-old boy named Holden Caulfield and his three-day adventure through New York City. Heavily impacted by his experiences, Holden is an example of teenage rebellion as he navigates complex feelings about innocence, connection, and loss. 

"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" by J.K. Rowling

top fiction books of all times

"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" by J.K. Rowling, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $6.92

In this fourth book of the "Harry Potter" series, Hogwarts is one of three schools participating in a Triwizard Tournament where one representative witch or wizard from each school must complete three extremely challenging tasks. When Harry's name is picked in addition to the three competitors, he must compete in the tournament, despite not knowing how he was entered. 

"Angels & Demons" by Dan Brown

top fiction books of all times

"Angels & Demons" by Dan Brown, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $16.20

"Angels & Demons" is the first book in the "DaVinci Code" series, a thrilling mystery novel where readers meet world-renowned symbologist Robert Langdon as he's called to help explain the mysterious symbols left seared into the chest of a murdered physicist. His research takes him through an intense investigation that leads him towards a deadly vendetta from the Illuminati. 

"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson

top fiction books of all times

"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" by Stieg Larsson, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $9.19

In this international psychological thriller, Henrik Vanger is a billionaire whose niece disappeared over 40 years ago. Still searching for answers, he hires Mikal Blomkvist, a renowned journalist who recently lost a libel lawsuit, along with Lisbeth Salander, a mysterious but brilliant computer hacker. As the duo digs deeper into the investigation, they uncover a complex weave of family and financial secrets in this captivating Swedish thriller. 

"Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins

top fiction books of all times

"Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins, available on Amazon and Bookshop , from $7.98

The second book in the "Hunger Games" saga follows Katniss and her public love interest, Peeta, after their historic arena win. Though they should be celebrating, rumors of a growing rebellion infuriate the Capitol and threaten their safety in this fast-paced, science-fiction sequel.

top fiction books of all times

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Our Curated List Of The 75 Best Books Of All Time

The ultimate book bucket list: the 75 best books of all time, the best classic books of all time, jane eyre - charlotte brontë, emma - jane austen, the great gatsby - f. scott fitzgerald, the picture of dorian grey - oscar wilde, black beauty - anna sewell, anna karenina - leo tolstoy, hamlet - william shakespeare, the best fantasy books of all time, a game of thrones - george r. martin, the lord of the rings trilogy - j.r.r. tolkien, wheel of time series - robert jordan, brandon sanderson, a wizard of earthsea - ursula le guin, the eyes of the dragon - stephen king, name of the wind - patrick rothfuss, the broken earth trilogy - n.k. jemisin, the stormlight archive - brandon sanderson, children of blood and bone - tomi adeyemi, the best fiction books of all time, little women - louisa may alcott, my year of rest and relaxation - otessa moshfegh, no one is talking about this - patricia lockwood, the lovely bones - alice sebold, after you’d gone - maggie o’farrell, the secret history - donna tartt, the amazing adventures of kavalier and clay - michael chabon, gone girl - gillian flynn, we need to talk about kevin - lionel shriver, normal people - sally rooney, slaughterhouse-five - kurt vonnegut, betty - tiffany mcdaniel, invisible cities - italo calvino, based on a true story - norm macdonald, girl, woman, other - bernardine evaristo, the book thief - markus zusak, a little life - hanya yanagihara, they can't kill us until they kill us – hanif abdurraqib, the alchemist - paulo coelho, one hundred years of solitude - gabriel garcía márque, to kill a mockingbird - harper lee, my brilliant friend - elena ferrante, the underground railroad - colson whitehead, white teeth - zadi smith, the best memoirs of all time, why be happy when you could be normal - jeanette winterson, trick mirror - jia tolentino, yes please - amy poehler, on writing - stephen king, i’m glad my mom died - jennette mccurdy, dress your family in corduroy and denim - david sedaris, just kids - patti smith, know my name - chanel miller, the year of magical thinking - joan didion, crying in h mart - michelle zauner, kitchen confidential - anthony bourdain, the best non-fiction books of all time, thinking, fast & slow - daniel kahneman, come as you are - emily nagoski, burnout: the secret to unlocking the stress cycle - amelia nagoski and emily nagoski, period power - maisie hill, the obstacle is the way - ryan holiday, into thin air - jon krakauer, ariel - sylvia plath, de profundis - oscar wilde, sapiens: a brief history of humankind - yuval noah harari, why i'm no longer talking to white people about race - reni eddo-lodge, all about love: new visions - bell hooks, the best romance books of all time, book lovers - emily henry, red, white & royal blue - casey mcquiston, boyfriend material - alexis hall, the spanish love deception - elena armas, the duke and i - julia quinn, to all the boys i’ve loved before - jenny han, call me by your name - andré aciman, wuthering heights - emily bronte, the best dystopian books of all time, the handmaid’s tale - margaret atwood, station eleven - emily st. john mandel , klara and the sun - kazuo ishiguro, the road - cormac mccarthy, nineteen eighty-four - george orwell, more from books & art.

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The 30 best classic novels everyone should read.

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"The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison is one of the best classic novels ever written.

Classic books stand the test of time by capturing readers’ attention generation after generation. They focus on themes that people across continents, religious backgrounds, socioeconomic circumstances and education levels can all relate to, such as love and loss. Many classic novels explore familial relationships and how life circumstances can change on a dime. The best classic literature endures because it is well-written and appeals to a wide swath of readers who want to travel to far-away locations, laugh at the improbable, or feel heart-pumping excitement—all vicariously. A list of the best classic novels should transport the reader to times in the past, future or present that give them new things to aspire to and ponder.

Must-Read Classics

The best classic novels remain relevant and accessible decade after decade. Classic literature is not a genre—it encompasses romance, science fiction, humor and any other type of book. Instead, what makes a book a classic is expressing something fundamental about the human condition. These novels are relatable.

Some of the best-known authors of classic literature wrote more than a century ago, including Mary Shelley, Daniel Defoe and Miguel de Cervantes, who penned the oldest book on the list. More contemporary authors include Toni Morrison, Alex Haley, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. This list covers 30 books representing the best in literature. While most of these must-read classics are older, a few are just a couple decades old and have already become beloved by multiple generations.

Chinua Achebe, a Nigerian-born novelist and poet, poses at his home on the campus of Bard College in ... [+] Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., where he was a professor. He wrote one of the best classic books, "Things Fall Apart."

30. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (1958)

Nigerian author Chinua Achebe’s first novel explores the colonization of Africa through the eyes of Okonkwo, a young Igbo man whose world changes for the worse as his culture is eradicated. The book deals with themes of decolonization, nationalism and family, which remain relevant today.

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You can read Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart by ordering through publisher Penguin Random House .

29. Native Son by Richard Wright (1940)

The author of the acclaimed memoir Black Boy first published this novel about Bigger Thomas, a young Black man in Chicago who accidentally kills a white woman, then commits another murder to cover up the crime. The book deals with racism and classism, forcing Bigger to confront the consequences of his violent acts.

You can read Richard Wright’s Native Son by ordering through publisher HarperCollins .

28. Roots by Alex Haley (1976)

Before the hugely successful Roots miniseries came Alex Haley’s bestselling novel, which follows Kunta Kinte, a man brought from Africa to America to be enslaved. The book also follows his descendants, including Haley. Roots reckons with the U.S.’s shameful history of slavery and examines how it continues to impact race relations centuries later.

You can read Alex Haley ’s Roots by ordering through publisher DaCapo Press .

The film adaptation of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1976.

27. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey (1962)

Ken Kesey’s novel, which became an Oscar-winning film starring Jack Nicholson, follows what happens when a rebellious patient named Randle Patrick “Mac” McMurphy is sent to a psychiatric hospital ruled by the iron will of Nurse Ratched. The book is told from the perspective of an observant (and supposedly mute) Native American patient.

The book questions the wisdom of authority amid an era of deinstitutionalization, and it sparks questions about individualism and who deserves power. You can read Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by ordering through publisher Penguin Random House .

26. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (1967)

The precursor to modern-day young adult novels , The Outsiders presents the conflict between teenage gangs from differing socioeconomic backgrounds: the wealthy Socials (Socs) and the blue-collar Greasers. One of the Greasers, Ponyboy, narrates the book, which perfectly captures the pain, confusion and frustration of being a teenager. It also explores dysfunctional families and friendship ties.

You can read S.E. Hinton ’s The Outsiders , which she published when she was only 18, by ordering through publisher Penguin Random House .

25. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)

Like so many Jane Austen novels, Pride and Prejudice relies on humor and a relatable protagonist to critique social norms of the day, including marriage, the class system and morality. It tells the love story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, who nearly remain estranged due to their pride and prejudices.

Some famous quotes from the book include, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife” and “My good opinion once lost is lost forever.” You can read Jane Austen ’s Pride and Prejudice by ordering through publisher Penguin Random House .

24. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818)

Frankenstein is one of the most influential novels ever published. Its gothic and romantic elements combine with the science fiction-style plot for a book that appeals to all types of readers. Scientist Victor Frankenstein’s experiments yield a man made of others’ parts—or is he a monster?

The book is a classic man vs. nature tale, raising questions about morality as well as mortality and what we owe those we leave behind. You can read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein by ordering through publisher Dover Publishing .

23. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (1952)

A searing depiction of the psychological and societal consequences of racism, Invisible Man follows an unnamed Black protagonist as he navigates the world in both the South and the North, where he suffers from “invisibility”—not a physical condition but one rendered when others willfully fail to see him. The societal observations hold true today.

You can read Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man by ordering through publisher Penguin Random House .

President Bush, left, presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to author Harper Lee, the elusive ... [+] author of best-seller "To Kill a Mockingbird," one of the best classic books.

22. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960)

Another book dealing with the entrenched racism in the United States, To Kill a Mockingbird follows attorney Atticus Finch, a white lawyer who defends a Black man, Tom Robinson, charged with raping a white woman. The book is told through the eyes of Scout, Atticus’s 8-year-old daughter, offering a child’s perspective on harsh societal realities.

You can read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird by ordering through publisher Hachette Book Group .

21. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (1951)

J.D. Salinger gave voice to teenage angst and anger in this tome about Holden Caulfield, a rebellious teen recently expelled from boarding school. Holden rails against the phonies while struggling to connect with others despite his loneliness. The book is a classic coming-of-age tale turned on its head, since Holden doesn’t mature.

You can read J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye by ordering through publisher Hachette Book Group .

20. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (1605)

The phrase “tilting at windmills” comes from Miguel de Cervantes’ novel about a man who decides to become a knight-errant in order to live out his fantasies—which he has a difficult time separating from reality. It pokes fun at outdated beliefs and embraces the value of all people rather than just the upper class.

You can read Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote by ordering through publisher Penguin Random House .

John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" was a Broadway play starring James Franco, Chris O'Dowd, Leighton ... [+] Meester and Jim Norton in 2014.

19. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (1937)

Farm workers Lennie and George deal with their tough lot in life by dreaming of purchasing a farm. Lennie’s intellectual disability presents additional challenges. John Steinbeck questions the validity and wiseness of pursuing a dream in a nation that, the author argues, doesn’t value everyone equally.

You can read John Steinbeck ’s Of Mice and Men by ordering through publisher Penguin Random House .

18. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961)

Joseph Heller’s insightful book about war coined the phrase “catch-22.” It describes the inescapable situation that pilot Yossarian finds himself in when he pretends to have mental issues to get out of flying missions—but his scheming proves his sanity because who would want to fly dangerous missions? The book explores why war is hell.

You can read Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 by ordering through publisher Simon & Schuster .

17. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia-Marquez (1967)

Colombian author and Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia-Marquez uses magical realism to trace the evolution of the town of Macondo as experienced by generations of the Buendiá family. Garcia-Marquez plays with the constructs of time and the supernatural to probe themes like love and family.

You can read Gabriel Garcia-Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude by ordering through publisher HarperCollins .

16. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937)

A brilliant combination of love story, remembrance of coming of age, and critique of American gender roles and race relations, Zora Neale Hurston’s dialogue is written in dialect, giving the characters believability. Her insights on masculinity and femininity continue to be discussed by scholars almost a century later.

You can read Zora Neale Hurston ’s Their Eyes Were Watching God by ordering through publisher HarperCollins .

Sir Anthony Hopkins and Christopher Reeve during the filming of "The Remains of the Day" in 1992.

15. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (1989)

British author Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel listens in on a longtime servant recounting the events of his life with a former colleague, offering a post-war critique of British manners and dignity. The novel, which won the Booker Prize, asks where you should aim your focus, on the past or on the future.

You can read Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day by ordering through publisher Penguin Random House .

14. My Antonia by Willa Cather (1918)

During the Great Migration, orphan Jim and immigrant Antonia move west, where they become pioneers on differing life paths. Cather’s novel was one of the first to center the American West and make it a character of itself in a book, which also features the author’s thoughts on women’s rights.

You can read Willa Cather ’s My Antonia by ordering through publisher Penguin Random House .

13. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1868)

The four precocious March daughters (Jo, Amy, Meg and Beth) use their talents to help their mother while their father is away. They come of age with a purpose and goals. The book plays with the 1800s idea of domesticity and explores different paths to love.

You can read Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women by ordering through publisher Penguin Random House .

12. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh (1945)

A sharp takedown of religion using irony and wit, Brideshead Revisited follows Charles Ryder’s obsession with the family who owns the Brideshead estate. He is especially drawn to classmate Sebastian, who appears to be gay but never confirms it. Their relationship has been the subject of endless literary speculation.

You can read Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited by ordering through publisher Hachette Book Group .

11. Lord of the Flies by William Golding (1954)

When middle school boys become stranded on an island with no supervision, anarchy reigns and paranoia follows. The tale has become a touchstone for the unfortunate tendencies of human behavior, exploring themes of groupthink and the end of innocence.

You can read William Golding’s Lord of the Flies by ordering through publisher Penguin Random House .

Actress Sofia Boutella and executive producer/director/co-writer Ramin Bahrani discuss the TV ... [+] adaptation of "Fahrenheit 451" in 2018.

10. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953)

With the recent rise of book bans , Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel couldn’t feel more relevant. It predicts a future where books are illegal and any found are burned by fire fighters, including one who grows a conscience and begins fighting censorship. Book burnings in Nazi Germany and the McCarthy hearings in the U.S. inspired the plot.

You can read Ray Bradbury ’s Fahrenheit 451 by ordering through publisher Simon & Schuster .

9. The Color Purple by Alice Walker (1982)

Sparking not one but two hit movie adaptations , The Color Purple is Alice Walker’s meditation on race and gender dynamics through the eyes of Celie, a poor Black woman navigating a nightmarish upbringing and abusive marriage in the 1900s. It won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award.

You can read Alice Walker ’s The Color Purple by ordering through publisher Penguin Random House .

8. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (1719)

After British sailor Robinson’s years of adventuring, his boat crashes on a remote island, where he learns to survive by his wits and using nature. He battles the elements, cannibals and loneliness. Defoe’s book spawned the realistic fiction genre and was an early bestseller.

You can read Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe by ordering through publisher Penguin Random House .

7. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (1952)

The wise spider Charlotte teaches prized pig Wilbur lessons about life and found family in this beloved, insightful children’s book. Charlotte’s Web earned a Newbery Honor and remains one of the most popular kids’ novels for its enduring themes of sacrifice and compassion.

You can read E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web by ordering through publisher HarperCollins .

Actors Richard Dempsey, Sophie Wilcox, Jonathan R. Scott and Sophie Cook in a scene from "The Lion, ... [+] the Witch and the Wardrobe," part of the BBC television serial "The Chronicles of Narnia."

6. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (1950)

Another classic children’s tale, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a Christian parable wherein mighty lion Aslan must sacrifice himself to end the endless winter brought on by the evil White Witch. It’s the first in a series of books about the Pevensie children and others set in the magical land of Narnia.

You can read C.S. Lewis ’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by ordering through publisher HarperCollins .

5. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (1847)

Emily Brontë helped birth the gothic novel with this story of the doomed love between Catherine and Heathcliff, whose tortured life amid the moors culminates in avenging those who kept them apart by acquiring the home of Thrushcross Grange from Catherine’s husband. The novel illustrates the good and evil living inside all of us.

You can read Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights by ordering through publisher Penguin Random House .

4. Middlemarch by George Eliot (1871)

Subtitled “A Study of Provincial Life,” this novel follows the lives of characters in the fictional town of Middlemarch over a three-year period that includes a clear-eyed look at real-life British events. George Eliot’s characters address gender roles, political reform, self-interest vs. idealism and more.

You can read George Eliot’s Middlemarch by ordering through publisher Penguin Random House .

3. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (1920)

Set in New York’s high society during the Gilded Age, The Age of Innocence became the first novel written by a woman to win the Pulitzer Prize. It follows May and Newland as they ready to marry, a match thwarted by May’s scandalous cousin Ellen. The novel explores class expectations, reputation and social mores.

You can read Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence by ordering through publisher Penguin Random House .

2. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (1937)

One of the greatest fantasy novels ever, The Hobbit is nominally a children’s book but appeals to people of all ages. It is a classic quest novel: Bilbo Baggins sets off on a journey with the wizard Gandalf to help some dwarves get their homes back from a fierce dragon named Smaug.

The critically lauded book earned the Carnegie Medal and has been adapted into hit movies . You can read J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit by ordering through publisher Simon & Schuster .

"The Bluest Eye" author Toni Morrison attends the Carl Sandburg literary awards dinner at the ... [+] University of Illinois at Chicago Forum on October 20, 2010.

1. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (1970)

Any of Toni Morrison’s novels could easily make the list, but her first, delving into issues of race, socioeconomics and socialization, is unrivaled. The story of Pecola, a Black girl growing up during the Great Depression who’s abused by her father, is both heartbreaking and so believable it hurts.

You can read Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye by ordering through publisher Penguin Random House .

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15 Best Fiction Books of All Time That Will Stay With You

Want to escape to another world with a classic novel that will stay with you forever? Here are the best fiction books of all time you probably should have read already.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I will earn a small commission if you purchase through my link at no extra cost to you.

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Many famous novels have impacted our culture, lifestyles, and the world as a whole. But how can you determine which ones are the best fiction books to read for you?

Well, the best fiction novels are the ones that you will want to re-read over and over again, and that will stay with you long after you've finished reading.

Whether you are looking for good fiction books to read this year, good books to expand your library, or the best fiction books to start reading habit, I've got you covered! This post will introduce you to some of the best fiction books of all time that have inspired many eras and stood the test of time.

15 Best Books of All Time (Fiction)

Below are some of the best fiction books of all time loved by readers for generations after generations:

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960)

top fiction books of all times

GENRE: Southern Gothic, Thriller, Domestic Fiction

A classic that you probably read in High School written by American author Harper Lee. To Kill a Mockingbird is set in the South in the mid-1930s. The book might be considered a work of fiction. It is, however, based on real-life people. The story has been told from the perspective of a young girl named Scout - raised by Atticus Finch, her father and an attorney who tries to prove the innocence of a black man. The book is still relevant today and definitely something you would always want to revisit.

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2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)

top fiction books of all times

GENRE: Romance Fiction, Satire, Novel of Manners

Jane Austen's beloved classic, with the most iconic opening line, hooks you right away. It tells the story of quick-witted Elizabeth Bennet's love/hate relationship with socially awkward Mr. Darcy. And how they overcome their pride and prejudice. The novel offers a pure joy of reading throughout and is definitely worth revisiting.

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2005)

top fiction books of all times

GENRE: Historical Fiction, Bildungsroman

This historical fiction novel by Markus Zusak is an engaging read about the life of people amidst World War II, with brilliantly portrayed characters. The book begins with an unusual opening in which the narrator introduces himself as Death...! It follows the story of Liesel, a little girl growing up in Germany during the war. Her only escape from the war was the solace she found in the books she collected.

4. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (1988)

top fiction books of all times

GENRE: Quest, Fantasy, Drama, Adventure

Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist is a book that not everyone will connect with in the same way. It is, nevertheless, jam-packed with wisdom and thought-provoking experiences. It tells the story of Santiago, a humble shepherd boy troubled by a recurring dream, who is set on a journey to the pyramids. The book will surely inspire you to be passionate and always listen to your heart.

5. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien (1954)

top fiction books of all times

GENRE: Fantasy, Action, Adventure

The Fellowship of the Ring is the first of the three volumes of The Lord of the Rings fantasy series by J.R.R. Tolkien. It is set in Middle-earth (a fictional world). The story revolves around the Dark Lord's one long-lost ring that holds much of his power. And so begins the quest of young Frodo Baggins (the ring bearer) and his friends to destroy the ring and overcome its dark power.

You probably might have already watched The Lord of the Rings movies, but don't be mistaken that it would spoil your experience of reading this epic tale.

6. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K Rowling (1997)

top fiction books of all times

GENRE: Fantasy Fiction

Yet another epic fantasy series - this book, also known as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is the first installment of the Harry Potter Book Series by J.K Rowling. As young Harry joins Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, this book will truly introduce you to the world of magic. If you haven't already read this book, now is the time - after all, you are never too old to read Harry Potter!!

7. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (2018)

top fiction books of all times

GENRE: Mystery, Literary Fiction

Delia Owen's first novel Where the Crawdads Sing makes a great summer read. The book follows a captivating tale of Kya (the 'marsh girl' as they call her). She has survived alone in the marshes of North Carolina for years after being abandoned by her mother at a young age. It is a coming-of-age story of bravery and survival, with a mix of mystery and adventure.

RELATED POST: 19 Best Gifts for Book Lovers That Aren’t Books

8. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)

top fiction books of all times

GENRE: Literary Fiction, Modernism

A beautifully written book by American novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald set in the Jazz Age. The Great Gatsby is a tragic tale of self-made Jay Gatsby rising from poverty to wealth and his obsession with his old sweetheart, a demure Daisy Buchanan, from a family of the American elite. It's a story you'll want to read again and again.

9. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1868)

top fiction books of all times

GENRE: Bildungsroman, Domestic Fiction

One of the most famous novels of Louisa May Alcott, which you most likely read as a child, is partly based on the author's own life. It follows the journey of four March sisters - Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy - from childhood to womanhood. This book inspired numerous movies, including the latest Greta Gerwig's 2019 adaptation of the same name.

10. Animal Farm by George Orwell (1945)

top fiction books of all times

GENRE: Allegory, Political Satire, Dystopian Fiction

This classic political satire by George Orwell is a short novel that may appear to be one of those children's books at first. However, if you go deeper into it, you'll realize it has a powerful message to convey to its readers. Animal Farm is a story of a group of farm animals who revolt against their owner and take control of their farm. The book illustrates how the ambition to build an ideal society is corrupted by greed for power.

11. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (1847)

top fiction books of all times

GENRE: Bildungsroman Romance, Gothic Fiction

Charlotte Bronte's beloved novel Jane Eyre was partly inspired by her own life with an inspiring, passionate, and tragic narrative set in Northern England. It follows the story of Jane as she struggles through life to find happiness.

12. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (2003)

top fiction books of all times

GENRE: Drama, Bildungsroman, Literary Realism

The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini's debut novel, is not for the faint-hearted. The story revolves around Amir, who grew up in a wealthy family, and his friendship with Hassan, the son of the household servant. It's a moving narrative of friendship, love, lies, guilt, sacrifice, tragedy, and forgiveness.

13. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle (1892)

top fiction books of all times

GENRE: Mystery, Detective Novel, Crime Fiction

If you like reading mystery and crime fiction; or want to start reading without being intimidated, then The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes could be just what you need. It is a compilation of twelve short stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle. Each of the stories features criminal investigations; the only common characters who appear in all of them are Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. The stories are not in any sort of order, so you can read as you please.

14. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (1861)

top fiction books of all times

GENRE: Bildungsroman, Fictional Autobiography

Great Expectations is one of Charles Dickens' finest accomplishments, with remarkable characters and their development. It follows the story of Pip (from his childhood) and his great expectations in life. The book explains that loyalty and integrity are always greater than wealth and social status.

15. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (2012)

top fiction books of all times

GENRE: Comedy, Drama

Fredrik Backman's A Man Called Ove is a story of a grumpy old man who has a hidden heart of gold. Ove is a 59-year-old widower struggling to find purpose in his life. The book is hilarious and very moving at the same time. It will definitely make you laugh and cry, and both at times!

This concludes my list of the best books of all time. I hope this post on the best fiction books of all time has helped you find a good book for yourself.

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Composite for the 100 best nonfiction books of all time list

The 100 best nonfiction books of all time: the full list

After two years of careful reading, moving backwards through time, Robert McCrum has concluded his selection of the 100 greatest nonfiction books. Take a quick look at five centuries of great writing

  • Robert McCrum reflects on his 100 greatest nonfiction books list
  • The 100 best novels written in English: the full list
  • What did Robert miss? Leave your thoughts in the comments

1. The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert (2014) An engrossing account of the looming catastrophe caused by ecology’s “neighbours from hell” – mankind.

2. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (2005) This steely and devastating examination of the author’s grief following the sudden death of her husband changed the nature of writing about bereavement.

3. No Logo by Naomi Klein (1999) Naomi Klein’s timely anti-branding bible combined a fresh approach to corporate hegemony with potent reportage from the dark side of capitalism.

4. Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes (1998) These passionate, audacious poems addressed to Hughes’s late wife, Sylvia Plath, contribute to the couple’s mythology and are a landmark in English poetry.

5. Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama (1995) This remarkably candid memoir revealed not only a literary talent, but a force that would change the face of US politics for ever.

6. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking (1988) The theoretical physicist’s mega-selling account of the origins of the universe is a masterpiece of scientific inquiry that has influenced the minds of a generation.

7. The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe (1979) Tom Wolfe raised reportage to dazzling new levels in his quest to discover what makes a man fly to the moon.

8. Orientalism by Edward Said (1978) This polemical masterpiece challenging western attitudes to the east is as topical today as it was on publication.

9. Dispatches by Michael Herr (1977) A compelling sense of urgency and a unique voice make Herr’s Vietnam memoir the definitive account of war in our time.

10. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins (1976) An intoxicating renewal of evolutionary theory that coined the idea of the meme and paved the way for Professor Dawkins’s later, more polemical works.

Tom Wolfe.

11. North by Seamus Heaney (1975) This raw, tender, unguarded collection transcends politics, reflecting Heaney’s desire to move “like a double agent among the big concepts”.

12. Awakenings by Oliver Sacks (1973) Sacks’s moving account of how, as a doctor in the late 1960s, he revived patients who had been neurologically “frozen” by sleeping sickness reverberates to this day.

13. The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer (1970) The Australian feminist’s famous polemic remains a masterpiece of passionate free expression in which she challenges a woman’s role in society.

14. Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom by Nik Cohn (1969) This passionate account of how rock’n’roll changed the world was written with the wild energy of its subject matter.

15. The Double Helix by James D Watson (1968) An astonishingly personal and accessible account of how Cambridge scientists Watson and Francis Crick unlocked the secrets of DNA and transformed our understanding of life.

16. Against Interpretation by Susan Sontag (1966) The American novelist’s early essays provide the quintessential commentary on the 1960s.

17. Ariel by Sylvia Plath (1965) The groundbreaking collection, revolving around the poet’s fascination with her own death, established Plath as one of the last century’s most original and gifted poets.

18. The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan (1963) The book that ignited second-wave feminism captured the frustration of a generation of middle-class American housewives by daring to ask: “Is this all?”

19. The Making of the English Working Class by EP Thompson (1963) This influential, painstakingly compiled masterpiece reads as an anatomy of pre-industrial Britain – and a description of the lost experience of the common man.

20. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (1962) This classic of American advocacy sparked a nationwide outcry against the use of pesticides, inspired legislation that would endeavour to control pollution, and launched the modern environmental movement in the US.

Susan Sontag 1975

21. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S Kuhn (1962) The American physicist and philosopher of science coined the phrase “paradigm shift” in a book that is seen as a milestone in scientific theory.

22. A Grief Observed by CS Lewis (1961) This powerful study of loss asks: “Where is God?” and explores the feeling of solitude and sense of betrayal that even non-believers will recognise.

23. The Elements of Style by William Strunk and EB White (1959) Dorothy Parker and Stephen King have both urged aspiring writers towards this crisp guide to the English language where brevity is key.

24. The Affluent Society by John Kenneth Galbraith (1958) An optimistic bestseller, in which JFK’s favoured economist promotes investment in both the public and private sectors.

25. The Uses of Literacy: Aspects of Working-Class Life by Richard Hoggart (1957) This influential cultural study of postwar Britain offers pertinent truths on mass communication and the interaction between ordinary people and the elites.

26. Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin (1955) Baldwin’s landmark collection of essays explores, in telling language, what it means to be a black man in modern America.

27. The Nude: A Study of Ideal Art by Kenneth Clark (1956) Clark’s survey of the nude from the Greeks to Picasso foreshadows the critic’s towering claims for humanity in his later seminal work, Civilisation.

28. The Hedgehog and the Fox by Isaiah Berlin (1953) The great historian of ideas starts with an animal parable and ends, via a dissection of Tolstoy’s work, in an existential system of thought.

29. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett (1952/53) A bleakly hilarious, enigmatic watershed that changed the language of theatre and still sparks debate six decades on. An absurdist masterpiece.

30. A Book of Mediterranean Food by Elizabeth David (1950) This landmark recipe book, a horrified reaction to postwar rationing, introduced cooks to the food of southern Europe and readers to the art of food writing.

American novelist, writer, playwright, poet, essayist and civil rights activist James Baldwin in 1979.

31. The Great Tradition by FR Leavis (1948) The controversial critic’s statement on English literature is an entertaining, often shocking, dissection of the novel, whose effects are still felt to this day.

32. The Last Days of Hitler by Hugh Trevor-Roper (1947) The historian’s vivid, terrifying account of the Führer’s demise, based on his postwar work for British intelligence, remains unsurpassed.

33. The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care by Dr Benjamin Spock (1946) The groundbreaking manual urged parents to trust themselves, but was also accused of being the source of postwar “permissiveness”.

34. Hiroshima by John Hersey (1946) Hersey’s extraordinary, gripping book tells the personal stories of six people who endured the 1945 atom bomb attack.

35. The Open Society and Its Enemies by Karl Popper (1945) The Austrian-born philosopher’s postwar rallying cry for western liberal democracy was hugely influential in the 1960s.

36. Black Boy: A Record of Childhood and Youth by Richard Wright (1945) This influential memoir of a rebellious southern boyhood vividly evokes the struggle for African American identity in the decades before civil rights.

37. How to Cook a Wolf by MFK Fisher (1942) The American culinary icon was one of the first writers to use food as a cultural metaphor, describing the sensual pleasures of the table with elegance and passion.

38. Enemies of Promise by Cyril Connolly (1938) Connolly’s dissection of the art of writing and the perils of the literary life transformed the contemporary English scene.

39. The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell (1937) Orwell’s unflinchingly honest account of three northern towns during the Great Depression was a milestone in the writer’s political development.

40. The Road to Oxiana by Robert Byron (1937) Much admired by Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh, Byron’s dazzling, timeless account of a journey to Afghanistan is perhaps the greatest travel book of the 20th century.

George Orwell At A TypewriterCaption: George Orwell, British writer and journalist, at a typewriter (Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

41. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (1936) The original self-help manual on American life – with its influence stretching from the Great Depression to Donald Trump – has a lot to answer for.

42. Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain (1933) Brittain’s study of her experience of the first world war as a nurse and then victim of loss remains a powerful anti-war and feminist statement.

43. My Early Life: A Roving Commission by Winston Churchill (1930) Churchill delights with candid tales of childhood and boy’s own adventures in the Boer war that made him a tabloid hero.

44. Goodbye to All That by Robert Graves (1929) Graves’s account of his experiences in the trenches of the first world war is a subversive tour de force.

45. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf (1929) Woolf’s essay on women’s struggle for independence and creative opportunity is a landmark of feminist thought.

46. The Waste Land by TS Eliot (1922) Eliot’s long poem, written in extremis, came to embody the spirit of the years following the first world war.

47. Ten Days That Shook the World by John Reed (1919) The American socialist’s romantic account of the Russian revolution is a masterpiece of reportage.

48. The Economic Consequences of the Peace by John Maynard Keynes (1919) The great economist’s account of what went wrong at the Versailles conference after the first world war was polemical, passionate and prescient.

49. The American Language by HL Mencken (1919) This declaration of linguistic independence by the renowned US journalist and commentator marked a crucial new chapter in American prose

50. Eminent Victorians by Lytton Strachey (1918) Strachey’s partisan, often inaccurate but brilliant demolitions of four great 19th-century Britons illustrates life in the Victorian period from different perspectives.

Virginia Woolf, pictured in 1933.

51. The Souls of Black Folk by WEB Du Bois (1903) The great social activist’s collection of essays on the African American experience became a founding text of the civil rights movement.

52. De Profundis by Oscar Wilde (1905) There is a thrilling majesty to Oscar Wilde’s tormented tour de force written as he prepared for release from Reading jail.

53. The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James (1902) This revolutionary work written by Henry James’s less famous brother brought a democratising impulse to the realm of religious belief.

54. Brief Lives by John Aubrey, edited by Andrew Clark (1898) Truly ahead of his time, the 17th-century historian and gossip John Aubrey is rightly credited as the man who invented biography.

55. Personal Memoirs by Ulysses S Grant (1885) The civil war general turned president was a reluctant author, but set the gold standard for presidential memoirs, outlining his journey from boyhood onwards.

56. Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain (1883) This memoir of Samuel Clemens’s time as a steamboat pilot provides insight into his best-known characters, as well as the writer he would become.

57. Travels With a Donkey in the Cévennes by Robert Louis Stevenson (1879) The Scottish writer’s hike in the French mountains with a donkey is a pioneering classic in outdoor literature – and as influential as his fiction.

58. Nonsense Songs by Edward Lear (1871) The Victorians loved wordplay, and few could rival this compendium of verbal delirium by Britain’s “laureate of nonsense”.

59. Culture and Anarchy by Matthew Arnold (1869) Arnold caught the public mood with this high-minded but entertaining critique of Victorian society posing questions about the art of civilised living that still perplex us.

60. On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (1859) Darwin’s revolutionary, humane and highly readable introduction to his theory of evolution is arguably the most important book of the Victorian era.

American writer and satirist Samuel Langhorne Clemens, known by pen name Mark Twain.

61. On Liberty by John Stuart Mill (1859) This fine, lucid writer captured the mood of the time with this spirited assertion of the English individual’s rights.

62. The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands by Mary Seacole (1857) A gloriously entertaining autobiography by the widely revered Victorian sometimes described as “the black Florence Nightingale”.

63. The Life of Charlotte Brontë by Elizabeth Gaskell (1857) Possibly Gaskell’s finest work – a bold portrait of a brilliant woman worn down by her father’s eccentricities and the death of her siblings.

64. Walden by Henry David Thoreau (1854) This account of one man’s rejection of American society has influenced generations of free thinkers.

65. Thesaurus by Dr Peter Mark Roget (1852) Born of a Victorian desire for order and harmony among nations, this guide to the English language is as unique as it is indispensable.

66. London Labour and the London Poor by Henry Mayhew (1851) The influence of the Victorian journalist’s detailed, dispassionate descriptions of London lower-class life is clear, right up to the present day.

67. Household Education by Harriet Martineau (1848) This protest at the lack of women’s education was as pioneering as its author was in Victorian literary circles.

68. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave by Frederick Douglass (1845) This vivid memoir was influential in the abolition of slavery, and its author would become one of the most influential African Americans of the 19th century.

69. Essays by RW Emerson (1841) New England’s inventor of “transcendentalism” is still revered for his high-minded thoughts on individuality, freedom and nature expressed in 12 essays.

70. Domestic Manners of the Americans by Frances Trollope (1832) Rich in detail and Old World snobbery, Trollope’s classic travelogue identifies aspects of America’s national character still visible today.

Frederick Douglass, pictured in 1855.

71. An American Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster (1828) Though a lexicographical landmark to stand alongside Dr Johnson’s achievement, the original sold only 2,500 copies and left its author in debt.

72. Confessions of an English Opium-Eater by Thomas De Quincey (1822) An addiction memoir, by the celebrated and supremely talented contemporary of Coleridge and Wordsworth, outlining his life hooked on the the drug.

73. Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb (1807) A troubled brother-and-sister team produced one of the 19th century’s bestselling volumes and simplified the complexity of Shakespeare’s plays for younger audiences.

74. Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa by Mungo Park (1799) The Scottish explorer’s account of his heroic one-man search for the river Niger was a contemporary bestseller and a huge influence on Conrad, Melville and Hemingway.

75. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin (1793) The US founding father’s life, drawn from four different manuscripts, combines the affairs of revolutionary America with his private struggles.

76. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft (1792) This radical text attacked the dominant male thinkers of the age and laid the foundations of feminism.

77. The Life of Samuel Johnson LLD by James Boswell (1791) This huge work is one of the greatest of all English biographies and a testament to one of the great literary friendships.

78. Reflections on the Revolution in France by Edmund Burke (1790) Motivated by the revolution across the Channel, this passionate defence of the aristocratic system is a landmark in conservative thinking.

79. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano by Olaudah Equiano (1789) The most famous slave memoir of the 18th century is a powerful and terrifying read, and established Equiano as a founding figure in black literary tradition.

80. The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne by Gilbert White (1789) This curate’s beautiful and lucid observations on the wildlife of a Hampshire village inspired generations of naturalists.

“Mary Wollstonecraft.

81. The Federalist Papers by ‘Publius’ (1788) These wise essays clarified the aims of the American republic and rank alongside the Declaration of Independence as a cornerstone of US democracy.

82. The Diary of Fanny Burney (1778) Burney’s acutely observed memoirs open a window on the literary and courtly circles of late 18th-century England.

83. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon (1776-1788) Perhaps the greatest and certainly one of the most influential history books in the English language, in which Gibbon unfolds the narrative from the height of the Roman empire to the fall of Byzantium.

84. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith (1776) Blending history, philosophy, psychology and sociology, the Scottish intellectual single-handedly invented modern political economy.

85. Common Sense by Tom Paine (1776) This little book helped ignite revolutionary America against the British under George III.

86. A Dictionary of the English Language by Samuel Johnson (1755) Dr Johnson’s decade-long endeavour framed the English language for the coming centuries with clarity, intelligence and extraordinary wit.

87. A Treatise of Human Nature by David Hume (1739) This is widely seen as the philosopher’s most important work, but its first publication was a disaster.

88. A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift (1729) The satirist’s jaw-dropping solution to the plight of the Irish poor is among the most powerful tracts in the English language.

89. A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain by Daniel Defoe (1727) Readable, reliable, full of surprise and charm, Defoe’s Tour is an outstanding literary travel guide.

90. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding by John Locke (1689) Eloquent and influential, the Enlightenment philosopher’s most celebrated work embodies the English spirit and retains an enduring relevance.

Samuel Johnson, circa 1754.

91. The Book of Common Prayer by Thomas Cranmer (1662) Cranmer’s book of vernacular English prayer is possibly the most widely read book in the English literary tradition.

92. The Diary of Samuel Pepys by Samuel Pepys (1660) A portrait of an extraordinary Englishman, whose scintillating firsthand accounts of Restoration England are recorded alongside his rampant sexual exploits.

93. Hydriotaphia, Urn Burial, or A Brief Discourse of the Sepulchral Urns Lately Found in Norfolk by Sir Thomas Browne (1658) Browne earned his reputation as a “writer’s writer” with this dazzling short essay on burial customs.

94. Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes (1651) Hobbes’s essay on the social contract is both a founding text of western thought and a masterpiece of wit and imagination.

95. Areopagitica by John Milton (1644) Today, Milton is remembered as a great poet. But this fiery attack on censorship and call for a free press reveals a brilliant English radical.

96. Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions by John Donne (1624) The poet’s intense meditation on the meaning of life and death is a dazzling work that contains some of his most memorable writing.

97. The First Folio by William Shakespeare (1623) The first edition of his plays established the playwright for all time in a trove of 36 plays with an assembled cast of immortal characters.

98. The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton (1621) Burton’s garrulous, repetitive masterpiece is a compendious study of melancholia, a sublime literary doorstop that explores humanity in all its aspects.

99. The History of the World by Walter Raleigh (1614) Raleigh’s most important prose work, close to 1m words in total, used ancient history as a sly commentary on present-day issues.

100. King James Bible: The Authorised Version (1611) It is impossible to imagine the English-speaking world celebrated in this series without the King James Bible, which is as universal and influential as Shakespeare.

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The 10 Best Fiction Books of 2023

top fiction books of all times

These are independent reviews of the products mentioned, but TIME receives a commission when purchases are made through affiliate links at no additional cost to the purchaser.

The best works of fiction published this year took us on all manner of journeys. There were big, physical trips across countries and continents, and, in one case, on foot through the untamed woods. And there were heavy, emotional treks to uncover answers about love and loss. In these books, the destination was often less important than the lessons learned along the way. From a bored copywriter in Berlin who follows a K-pop star to Seoul to a girl fleeing a colonial settlement , these protagonists were all searching for something, whether a shot at safety, a sense of purpose, or a chance to finally return home. Their quests were hopeful, daring, and at times devastating. Here, the 10 best fiction books of 2023.

More: Read TIME's lists of the best nonfiction books, songs , albums , movies , TV shows , podcasts and video games of 2023. Also discover the 100 Must-Read Books of the year.

10. Tremor , Teju Cole

top fiction books of all times

The protagonist of Teju Cole’s first novel in over a decade shares many similarities with the author. Like Cole, the incisive Tunde is a Nigerian American artist and photographer who teaches at a prestigious college in New England. Tremor begins in Maine as Tunde hunts for antiques with his wife Sadako while meditating on colonialism as it relates to the objects he sees. Tunde is always pulling at the loose threads of the history that surrounds him, contemplating how the world has been shaped by the past. Forgoing a traditional narrative structure, Tremor takes a philosophical form to investigate everything from how Americans view art to how a marriage can quietly unravel.

Buy Now: Tremor on Bookshop | Amazon

9. Y/N , Esther Yi

top fiction books of all times

In an age when parasocial relationships run rampant, Esther Yi’s daring debut couldn’t be more relevant. Y/N begins with an unnamed narrator living in Berlin whose boring job as a copywriter for an artichoke company leaves something to be desired. She spends much of her time in the fantasy worlds inside her head and online, where she writes fan fiction about a popular K-pop star named Moon. When the real-life Moon unexpectedly announces his retirement, the young woman feels compelled to drop everything and go to Seoul in search of the man she views as her soulmate. What ensues is a snarky and astute takedown of internet culture.

Buy Now: Y/N on Bookshop | Amazon

8. The Hive and the Honey , Paul Yoon

top fiction books of all times

The third short-story collection from Paul Yoon spans centuries of the Korean diaspora, with each piece centering on everyday people as they navigate what it means to belong and question how much of their identities are wrapped up in collective history. There’s an ex-con attempting to understand the world, a Cold War–era maid looking for the son she left behind in North Korea, and a couple living in the U.K. whose quiet existence is complicated by the arrival of a boy at their corner store. Yoon tells the stories of characters at odds with their relationships to home and explores how trauma can linger in the most unexpected ways.

Buy Now: The Hive and the Honey on Bookshop | Amazon

7. Tom Lake , Ann Patchett

top fiction books of all times

Don’t let the setting of Ann Patchett’s latest novel fool you. Yes, it’s the spring of 2020 and her characters are in COVID-19 lockdown, but this is no pandemic story. Tom Lake takes place in Michigan, where Lara and her husband are enjoying the rare opportunity to live once again with their three grown daughters. There, as the family passes the days tending to their cherry trees, Lara finally tells her girls the story they’ve been longing to hear—about how, in her young adulthood, she fell in love with a man who would go on to become a movie star.

Buy Now: Tom Lake on Bookshop | Amazon

6. Temple Folk , Aaliyah Bilal

top fiction books of all times

The 10 stories in Aaliyah Bilal’s collection examine the lives of Black Muslims in America. In one, a daughter is haunted by her father’s spirit as she writes his eulogy, and the ghost makes her reconsider his commitment to Islam. In another, an undercover FBI agent reckons with unexpected empathy for the Nation of Islam. Throughout, parents and their children learn about the limitations and possibilities of faith. The result is a collection of wide-ranging narratives that touch on freedom and belonging.

Buy Now: Temple Folk on Bookshop | Amazon

5. The Vaster Wilds , Lauren Groff

top fiction books of all times

When Lauren Groff’s novel opens, a young, unnamed girl has just escaped her 17th century colonial settlement. Starving and cold, she doesn’t know where she’s headed and is constantly on the verge of collapse. But, somehow, she finds the will to keep pushing forward. In Groff’s timeless adventure tale, the girl endures the physical threats and mental tests of navigating the woods, all while remaining determined that there is a life worth living on the other side.

Buy Now: The Vaster Wilds on Bookshop | Amazon

4. The Bee Sting , Paul Murray

top fiction books of all times

Paul Murray’s domestic drama follows the four members of the troubled Barnes family after an economic downturn sends patriarch Dickie’s car business hurtling toward bankruptcy. Feeling the crush of impending doom surround them, the once functional unit is falling apart. Dickie’s wife Imelda has become obsessed with selling her belongings on eBay, their teenage daughter Cass is drinking instead of studying for her final exams, and their preadolescent son PJ is talking to a stranger he met online. Murray probes what it means to love and be loved in a world that feels increasingly like it’s on the cusp of expiration.

Buy Now: The Bee Sting on Bookshop | Amazon

3. Our Share of Night , Mariana Enriquez

top fiction books of all times

In Mariana Enriquez’s transporting novel, translated from the original Spanish by Megan McDowell, a young boy and his father take a terrifying road trip. The boy’s mother has just died under mysterious circumstances, and the duo is traveling across Argentina to confront members of the Order, the cult she was born into. The Order is made up of wealthy families who will do anything to achieve immortality. And the boy just might have the skills they are looking for—a possibility that makes him vulnerable.

Buy Now: Our Share of Night on Bookshop | Amazon

2. The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store , James McBride

top fiction books of all times

It’s 1972 and a skeleton has just been found in Pottstown, Pa. The question of who the remains belong to—and how they made it to the bottom of a well—pulls James McBride’s narrative decades into the past, to a time when the Black and Jewish residents of the neighborhood came together to protect a boy from being institutionalized. As McBride makes connections between the two storylines, he spins a powerful tale about prejudice, family, and faith.

Buy Now: The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store on Bookshop | Amazon

1. Biography of X , Catherine Lacey

top fiction books of all times

At the center of Catherine Lacey’s novel is the fictional writer and artist X, one of the most celebrated talents of the 20th century. Though she’s hugely popular, most of her background is unknown; not even X’s wife CM knows her real name. When X dies, CM finds herself incensed by an inaccurate biography of her late wife. So she decides to write her own. The mystery of X’s identity is just the beginning of this daring story that seamlessly blends fiction and nonfiction to question the purpose of art itself.

Buy Now: Biography of X on Bookshop | Amazon

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top fiction books of all times

20 of the Best Book Series of All Time

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Kendra Winchester

Kendra Winchester is a Contributing Editor for Book Riot where she writes about audiobooks and disability literature. She is also the Founder of Read Appalachia , which celebrates Appalachian literature and writing. Previously, Kendra co-founded and served as Executive Director for Reading Women , a podcast that gained an international following over its six-season run. In her off hours, you can find her writing on her Substack, Winchester Ave , and posting photos of her Corgis on Instagram and Twitter @kdwinchester.

View All posts by Kendra Winchester

Is there anything better than a book series that has you immediately reaching for the next book and feeling devastated when it’s over? The best book series of all time deliver.

Following these characters over the course of several novels, sometimes for generations, can make readers feel like they are part of the family. Adventure stories take you along on an invisible participant in the group’s quest.

Sometimes a series can take you to completely different worlds or one that feels slightly familiar. Other series may involve time travel or other galaxies. But wherever these books take you, you are sure to have a good time! And in the course of literary history, a popular series can even open up new opportunities for writers in different genres, inspiring generations of authors to come and expanding the number of stories published.

Just a few notes on the list: when choosing the series for this list, I didn’t include any children’s or young adult series, which typically make up a lot of the “best series ever” lists. And while we love those types of series too, this list just includes books written for adults, both finished and unfinished series. Okay, what are we waiting for? Let’s jump into the books!

A graphic of the color of The Fellowship of the Ring

The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkein

In the world of fantasy novels, few have been as influential as J. R. R. Tokein’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy and his other books about Middle Earth. The world is so vivid in his mind, and each new character that appears has an incredible backstory that only he knows. But once you’ve read some of the additional material in his other books, you begin to see how layered Tolkein’s Middle Earth really is.

A graphic of the cover of The Fifth Season

The Broken Earth Trilogy by N. K. Jemisin

N. K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy is a revelation. Set in a world that has an apocalypse every “fifth season,” the trilogy begins when a woman’s husband kills their son and kidnaps their daughter. From there, Jemisin’s masterpiece unfolds, each book better than the last. The Broken Earth series was the first trilogy where each novel won the Hugo award for best novel.

A graphic of the cover of Saga

Saga by Brian K Vaughan, Illustrated by Fiona Staples

In this space fantasy comic series, we meet two people from opposing sides of a civil war who have fallen in love. When their daughter is born, they find themselves fugitives from both sides of the conflict. Along the way, we meet ghosts, bounty hunters, and robot royalty. This comic drew in new readers to the genre and solidified the comic as a medium for more than just superhero stories.

A graphic of the cover of Game of Thrones

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin

Eddard Stark lives with his family in peace and comfort, ruling the North in the name of his king. But when King Robert Baratheon arrives at Winterfell, the Stark family’s lives will never be the same. Now an incredibly famous HBO series, A Song of Ice and Fire has introduced a whole new generation to epic fantasy books. While the book series still remains unfinished, it’s already made a lasting impact on the genre.

A graphic of the cover of Outlander

The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon

Outlander helped establish historical fiction as a genre that can move a lot of books, opening the door even wider for other historical fiction writers. The series starts right after the end of World War II. Nurse Claire Randall reunites with her husband and travels with him to Scotland. There, she finds herself sent back in time to 1743. The highlands are in turmoil as a larger war is brewing. Unable to figure out how to return to her own time, she finds her fate tied up with Jamie Fraser, a Scots warrior who steals her heart.

A graphic of the cover of Binti

The Binti Trilogy by Nnedi Okorafor

Nnedi Okorafor’s original novella Binti won both the Hugo and Nebula awards for best novella. The story begins when Binti, a Himba girl from Earth, is accepted to an intergalactic university, the first of her people to do so. But on the way to her new school, her transport is attacked. Binti’s story was eventually expanded to two other novellas and a short story, which you can now purchase in a gorgeous omnibus edition.

A graphic of the cover of Love Medicine

Love Medicine Series by Louise Erdrich

Ojibwe literary icon Louise Erdrich has gifted the world with her incredible Love Medicine series, an epic story focusing on generations of two Ojibwe families — the Kashpaws and the Lamartines — across its generations. The first book in the series, Love Medicine , focuses on the two Ojibwe families living on a reservation in North Dakota, giving readers a multigenerational portrait of their lives.

A graphic of the cover of the Parable of the Sower

The Parable Duology by Octavia E. Butler

Set in an alternate future America, Parable of the Sower follows 15-year-old Lauren Olamina, who has a vision for a life lived in peace, away from the chaos that is apocalyptic America. When her compound is attacked, she decides to travel on foot in search of the future she sees for herself and her growing chosen family. Butler saw so much about where America was headed and captured it so perfectly in her work.

A graphic of the cover of Wolf Hall

The Wolf Hall Trilogy by Hilary Mantel

With Wolf Hall , Hilary Mantel astonished the literary fiction world by proving once and for all that historical fiction can be a serious work of literary art. The first two books in the trilogy won the Booker Prize, and all three have received incredible reviews from literary critics. The trilogy focuses on Thomas Cromwell, who aids King Henry VIII of England in divorcing his first wife by separating from the Catholic Church and establishing the Church of England.

a graphic of the cover of Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

The Gilead Quartet by Marilynne Robinson

In her quartet of literary masterworks, Marilynne Robinson begins with the story of John Ames, a Congregationalist pastor in the town of Gilead. He is an older man with a young wife and son. While he knows his death is coming soon, he doesn’t want his son not to know him. So he begins writing about his life. Robinson’s intense knowledge of theology and skill as a philosophical thinker shine on every page of this quartet.

A graphic of the cover of My Brilliant Friend

The Neopolitan Quartet by Elena Ferrante | Translated by Ann Goldstein

In My Brilliant Friend , the first book in the series, we meet two girls from a working class neighborhood in Naples. Both possess incredible potential, but one is given the means to continue her education and one is not. From there a story of a complex friendship unfolds as each girl’s future shifts and changes through the decades.

A graphic of the cover of In the Woods

Dublin Murder Squad Series by Tana French

Rob Ryan is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad. He prefers to not think about his childhood, but when he’s called to a case set in his hometown, he’s forced to face the worst trauma of his life. Twenty years before, some of his best friends disappeared, leaving him as the only survivor. In the Woods is the start to one of the best mystery series in recent years. Each consecutive book focuses on different characters in the same literary universe.

a graphic of the cover of a devil in a blue dress

The Easy Rawlins Novels by Walter Mosley

It’s 1948 in Los Angeles, California, and Easy Rawlins has just been fired from his factory job. When a man approaches him about finding a missing woman, Easy feels like he doesn’t have much of a choice. This one decision begins one of the most iconic detective series of all time, featuring the much beloved Black detective, Easy Rawlins.

A graphic of the cover of an extraordinary union

The Loyal League Novels by Alyssa Cole

In one of the most riveting historical romance series of all time, we are introduced to Elle Burns, a former enslaved woman who’s determined to do her part helping the Union win the Civil War. She voluntarily goes undercover as a spy for the Union Army, returning to the South as an enslaved woman. Her love interest is Malcolm McCall, a detective for Pinkerton’s Secret Service who has been tasked with infiltrating a Rebel enclave in Virginia.

A graphic of the cover of Bluebird Bluebird

Highway 59 Series by Attica Locke

While there are only two books in this series so far, I think it’s safe to say that Attica Locke’s Highway 59 mystery novels are an instant classic. They feature Darren Mathews, a Black Texas Ranger. In the first novel, Bluebird, Bluebird , we meet Darren when he’s on suspension after getting himself entangled in a case surrounding people close to him. But when a white woman and a Black man are found dead in a small Texas town, Darren is sent to investigate as his superiors hope that the presence of a Black officer will calm the rising racial tensions in the town.

a graphic of the cover of a parchment of leaves

The Appalachian Trilogy by Silas House

Appalachian literary gem Silas House made his name with his Appalachian Trilogy, which follows generations of family in Eastern Kentucky. The series starts with A Parchment of Leaves , set in the early 1900s in a rural mountain town. Vine, a young Cherokee woman, has just married a white man from a nearby holler. We follow her as she settles down into her new life and begins a family that readers follow for decades through this whole series.

A graphic of the cover of the gunslinger

The Dark Tower Saga by Stephen King

In The Gunslinger , the first book in the Dark Tower Saga, we meet Roland of Gilead: The Last Gunslinger. He is a myth of legend, a figure from the Wild West. As he tries to keep tabs on the Man in Black, he meets other people along the way. With each new piece of the puzzle, readers become more captivated by this story from a master in adventure horror.

A cover of get a life Chloe Brown

The Brown Sisters Series by Talia Hibbert

Talia Hibbert has written some incredible books that center on disabled and neurodivergent Black women finding love in the contemporary UK. The first book in The Brown Sisters series introduces us to the eldest sister, Chloe Brown. Chloe has decided to strike out on her own, managing her chronic illness and working from home. She moves into a building with an incredibly hot property manager. Will she be able to resist the sparks she feels with him or will she choose love?

A graphic of the cover of Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

In one of the most epic series of rich people problems, Kevin Kwan introduces us to a wild trilogy full of incredible characters. Rachel Chu, a Chinese American woman, loves her boyfriend Nick, who is from Singapore. But on their way to visit his family, he finally reveals that he’s from a rich family. So begins the trilogy full of over-the-top characters who are seriously ridiculously rich.

A graphic of the cover of All Systems Red

The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells

In this series, made up mostly of novellas, we meet murderbot, a bio-robot sort of hybrid who has been commissioned by a group of people exploring a planet. Murderbot has found a way to override their maker’s instructions, but they know they must pretend to carry out their maker’s will or be forced to comply. Full of adventure and plenty of plot twists, the Murderbot Diaries are sure to keep you wanting the next book immediately.

Whichever of the best book series of all time that you pick up, you are sure to find a great reads! For even more series recommendations check out The Best Book Series for Adults in Every Genre and 8 of the Best Book Series Ending in 2021 .

top fiction books of all times

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12 Must-Read Historical Fiction Books That Will Send You Back in Time

Woman's World books editor (and book lover!) shares her top 12 historical fiction novels — enjoy them all!

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Best Historical Fiction Books

Books are like balms — grabbing the right book at the right time can provide the perfect antidote for what you’re going through at that very moment. Whether you need a dose of hope, happiness, comfort, inspiration, courage…you name it, a great book has the power to ease worries and offer a safe haven to rest and recharge. And there are few things better than curling up with a good read that transports you to another place and time. Enter one of the most popular book genres: historical fiction. This beloved literary genre provides fictional stories that take place within the setting of historical events — sometimes these novels are even based on real-life true stories. Here, we’ve rounded up some of the best historical fiction books — both new and old releases — that are guaranteed to enthrall you.

Keep scrolling to discover 12 of the best historical fiction books that will magically take you back in time to the 1800s, 1900s and beyond. Happy reading!

For a captivating WWII story told in dual timelines…

Try the things we cannot say by kelly rimmer.

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer  (Best Historical Fiction Books)

From bestselling author Kelly Rimmer, The Things We Cannot Say will enchant any historical fiction fan. In 1942 Poland, 15-year-old Alina Dziak yearns to marry her fiancé, Tomasz, but WWII changes it all. In 2019, Alice is a mom of two. Then, one day her 85-year-old grandmother asks her to go to Poland for information. Going back and forth between Nazi-occupied Poland and modern life, Rimmer delivers a poetic, emotional and intricately layered storyline.

What readers are saying: “This book was beautifully heartbreaking. The author, Kelly Rimmer, masterfully balanced two timelines, both from a first-person perspective. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys having their heart broken, only to be put back together word by word throughout this story. I initially listened to the audiobook, but I loved it so much that I had to buy a physical copy for my own personal library.”

For a thought-provoking story set in 1850 Virginia…

Try the yellow wife by sadeqa johnson.

The Yellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson   (Best Historical Fiction Books)

This immersive, vibrant story takes readers back to Charles City, Virginia, in 1850. Pheby Delores Brown grew up a slave on a plantation where her mother was the medicine woman. Pheby was promised freedom on her 18th birthday, but instead of a free life with her true love, Essex Henry, Pheby is thrust into life with the owner of a jail called the “Devil’s Half-Acre.” An extraordinary tale about a brave heroine’s true sacrifice, courage and fight for freedom.

What readers are saying: “A must-read. A wonderfully written story of a woman’s trials and struggles to seek freedom for herself and later her family. This story pulls at your heart strings — it is hard to read at times, but it’s so powerful.”

For an emotional story about family set in 1938 California…

Try only the beautiful by susan meissner.

Only The Beautiful by Susan Meissner   (Best Historical Fiction Books)

Characters who feel like real-life friends and a deeply compelling storyline combine in this novel written by bestselling author Susan Meissner. Rosie’s parents never told anyone of her ability to see colors when she hears words, but when they die in 1938, her secret gets out, and Rosie ends up in a hospital for the mentally ill where she suffers injustices. Years later, a friend, who has seen her own horrors, tries to reconnect with Rosie. A deeply heart-wrenching journey of grief, hope, family and second chances.

What readers are saying: “I have read many books by author Susan Meissner and have enjoyed them all. Only the Beautiful was no exception. Her research was impeccable. Meissner explored some very sensitive topics in this book. It was both heartbreaking and uplifting. The characters were well developed and the two female protagonists were both strong, determined and committed to what they believed in.”

For an illuminating story set in 1973 Alabama…

Try take my hand by dolen perkins valdez.

Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins Valdez  (Best Historical Fiction Books)

An unforgettable tale unfolds in this novel inspired by true events. It’s 1973 and nurse Civil Townsend works at the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic — and she’s determined to make a difference in her African American community. During her first week on the job, she meets her newest patients, Erica and India, whom she takes under her wing. Decades later, Civil is ready to retire, but people and stories from her past return to the present and refuse to be forgotten. A riveting, redemptive and hope-filled story.

What readers are saying: “From the very first page of this book, I knew the heroine, Civil, was going to take my heart on a roller coaster ride. She did not disappoint at all! All of the characters in this book are well-defined and their stories are gut-wrenching. When I finished the last page, I was emotionally exhausted, but like Civil, I had closure and peace.”

For an engrossing story set in 1961 Britain…

Try the princess by wendy holden.

The Princess by Wendy Holden  (Best Historical Fiction Books)

This fascinating novel about beloved Princess Diana Spencer is set in 1961 Britain. Born into the Spencer earldom, Diana grew up amid her parents’ divorce, and her refuge was always her romantic novels. So when she becomes a candidate for the Prince of Wales, her dream to be loved intersects with Charles’ need for a bride. What follows is an astonishing story of Diana’s route to the altar and beyond.

What readers are saying: “This book is brilliant. Diana tells a childhood friend about the string-pulling that brought about her engagement to her Prince charming. What if all those Barbara Cartland books on Diana’s shelves shaped the future princess into a hopeful romantic? A woman who just wanted her own happy ever after? Reading this brought back memories of teenage me watching the wedding of the century. If you are a royal watcher and have a fondness for Princess Di, you will not want to miss this book.”

For an empowering tale set in 1920s Seattle…

Try the roaring days of zora lily by noelle salazar.

The Roaring Days of Zora Lily by Noelle Salazar  (Best Historical Fiction Books)

This sweeping, glamorous saga begins in 2023 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum, where a costume conservator sees a name — Zora Lily — hidden in the label of a gown once worn by Greta Garbo. Flash back to 1924: Zora Hough spends her days dreaming and her nights sewing to make money. Soon, Zora makes connections that may just lead her to the life she’s always wanted.

What readers are saying: “I read this entire book in one day. The book opens in present-day Washington, DC at a museum that is doing a display of iconic movie dresses. Then, the story is set in the Seattle area in the 1920s, where classes of people are looked down upon. Noelle takes you on a roller coaster of emotions with Zora’s story. You will not want to put it down.”

For a dazzling, mystery-laced story set in 1920s New York…

Try the magnolia palace by fiona davis.

The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis  (Best Historical Fiction Books)

Opening up this thrilling novel will first whisk you back to 1919 New York City. Lillian Carter’s life is in shambles: She lost her mother to the Spanish flu and all her work as a sought-after artists’ model has dried up. When she’s offered a job at the majestic Frick mansion, she decides to accept. Then, 50 years later, another model, Veronica Weber, has a job at the Frick Collection museum, and she stumbles upon dark secrets that reveal the eerie truth about the Frick family.  A mesmerizing historical thriller that richly captures two eras.

What readers are saying: “After spending all day on screens, I love picking up an actual book — especially if the story transports me to a pre-screen era! I adored going back in time to New York in the ’20s — and I was so intrigued by the mystery that connects the two women!” 

For a stirring, wintry mystery set in the 1700s…

Try the frozen river by ariel lawhon.

The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon  (Best Historical Fiction Books)

Inspired by real-life Revolution-era diarist and midwife Martha Ballard, this novel is set in the winter of 1789. When the body of one of the most respected men in Hallowell, Maine, is found in a frozen river, Martha is called in to investigate. Relying on her medical knowledge as a healer and the diaries she keeps about the goings-on in her village, she begins to unearth the truth behind an unspeakable crime. Now, Martha must overcome secrets and lies to solve the case. A tense yet tender story about a remarkable woman meant to be remembered.

What readers are saying:  “When starting this book, the reader immediately feels part of the community and is invested in Martha’s life and the lives of the vulnerable women she assists. This well-researched novel is a five-star read for me and one of my favorites so far this year. The action never stops. Make sure you read the author’s extensive notes at the end of the book. You will miss out on the real story if you don’t!”

For a haunting and evocative WWII story set in France…

Try the nightingale by kristin hannah.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (Best Historical Fiction Books)

This #1 New York Times bestselling novel — now set to be a major motion picture — paints a powerful portrait of love and strength in the midst of war. In a sleepy French hamlet, Vianne must say goodbye to her husband as he heads for the front and to her sister, who will join the resistance. Vianne never believed the Nazis would invade France, but here they are, requisitioning her home as she tries to save herself and her daughter from the perils of war. A haunting and rich tale that celebrates the strength of the human spirit.

What readers are saying: “This book is a beautifully tragic sisterly love story about two sisters in WWII surviving in their own way. It showcases how the human spirit can survive in the darkest of places. It’s wonderfully written — and the scenes really take you there.”

Related: Kristin Hannah Talks About Her New Novel ‘The Women’ + How She Went From Attorney to Bestselling Author

For a moving family saga novel set in 1945 Japan…

Try the storm we made by vanessa chan.

The Storm We Made by Vanessa Chan  (Best Historical Fiction Books)

Readers are transported back to 1945 Malaya in this rich, spellbinding saga that follows Cecily Alcantara, a mother who was also an unlikely spy for Japanese forces during WWII. Ten years prior, a chance meeting with General Fuijwara lured her into a life of espionage. Now, she’ll do anything to save her family. This captivating story shines a light on the dangers of war and the lengths to which we’ll go to save the ones we cherish. 

What readers are saying: “My favorite way to unwind is by brewing a hot cup of tea and cracking open a historical fiction book, so when I saw this WWII epic, I knew it would fit my mood to a tee. I devoured this debut novel in one weekend. This story was so moving that it stayed with me long after I finished the last page — now I cannot wait to read the author’s next book!” 

For a gripping story about a strong heroine set in 1937 Ukraine…

Try the diamond eye by kate quinn.

The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn (Best Historical Fiction Books)

Bestselling author Kate Quinn captures readers’ hearts again with her newest WWII novel. Set in 1937, in Kyiv, Ukraine, college student Mila Pavlichenko only cares about two things: her job at the library and her son. But when Hitler decides to invade both Russia and Ukraine, Mila must step up and defend her homeland. She transforms from a studious girl to an elusive sniper known as Lady Death. Now everyone knows her name, and Mila is sent to Washington, D.C., on a goodwill tour, where she befriends Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. But will her traumatizing past get in the way of her potential happiness?

What readers are saying: “ The Diamond Eye is just the sort of historical fiction that I love to read. It’s based on a true story about an incredible woman, and not only did I get a feel for the era, how women survived in the military and what the life of a sniper is like, I fell completely under the spell of Lyudmila (Mila) Pavlichenko.”

For a showstopping story about a group of thieves in 1920s London…

Try queens of london by heather webb.

Queens of London by Heather Webb  (Best Historical Fiction Books)

Bestselling author Heather Webb’s new novel Queens of London delivers an exciting ride through the criminal underworld of 1925 London. Alice Diamond is the leader of the Forty Elephants, a network of all-girl thieves in 1920s London — and she’s the target of Lilian Wyles, one of Scotland Yard’s first female detectives, who wants to prove herself by putting Alice behind bars. What follows is a scandalous series of events about crime, sisterhood and the meaning of justice.

What readers are saying: “The premise of Queens of London sounded exciting enough, and then, several chapters in, I found a character who stole my heart: Ten-year-old Hera and her friend, Biscuit. That sealed the deal and I had to know what happened. Webb has written a diamond of a page-turner with real heart and soul. It is made even more memorable by the audio — narrated by Amy Scanlon — which hits all the right tones and accents.”

For more book recommendations, click through the links below!

Best Book Club Books: 10 Page Turners, From Romances to Thrillers to Historical Fiction

10 Books to Read If You Love ‘Bridgerton’: These Romances Will Make You Swoon!

11 Romance Books to Make You Swoon

And for all things books, click  here !

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Stacker

The science-fiction novels that everyone should read at least once

Posted: October 1, 2023 | Last updated: October 2, 2023

<p>In 2018, while making an appearance on the "<a href="https://www.wired.com/2018/09/geeks-guide-yuval-noah-harari/">Geek's Guide to the Galaxy</a>" podcast, Yuval Noah Harari, author of "Sapiens" and "Homo Deus," said that he believes science fiction to be the most important artistic genre in today's world. He went on to argue that sci-fi writing, which has long been seen as nothing more than a little bit of lighthearted fun, will shape society's understanding of things like artificial intelligence and biotechnology more than any other sort of writing. Reading science fiction, and grappling with issues like AI replacing entire classes of workers, is an excellent way to help us determine how we really feel before we deal with the same issues in real life.</p>  <p>Fiction can be a powerful tool for helping individuals navigate the real world. Sci-fi is no different. In light of that, <a href="https://stacker.com/">Stacker</a> has rounded up 100 of the best science fiction novels of all time.</p>  <p>Using sources like Goodreads, Amazon, and The New York Times Best Seller list, we've identified 100 books that had a powerful impact on readers. We've included books that fall under the hard sci-fi, cyberpunk, space opera, aliens, and utopia/dystopia categories while steering clear of books that are strictly fantasy (think "Lord of the Rings" and "Harry Potter"). We've also made sure to highlight books from authors of color, female authors, LGBTQIA+ authors, and authors from various countries and backgrounds, dispelling the myth that science fiction is only written for and by cis white males.</p>  <p>From comical takes on the genre like "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" to controversial titles like "Starship Troopers" to classics like H.G. Wells "War of the Worlds," dark tales like "Who Fears Death," and new titles like "How Long 'til Black Future Month?" there's sure to be something on this list for every taste.</p>  <p>Read on for 100 of the best science fiction novels of all time.</p>

100 of the best science fiction novels of all time

In 2018, while making an appearance on the " Geek's Guide to the Galaxy " podcast, Yuval Noah Harari, author of "Sapiens" and "Homo Deus," said that he believes science fiction to be the most important artistic genre in today's world. He went on to argue that sci-fi writing, which has long been seen as nothing more than a little bit of lighthearted fun, will shape society's understanding of things like artificial intelligence and biotechnology more than any other sort of writing. Reading science fiction, and grappling with issues like AI replacing entire classes of workers, is an excellent way to help us determine how we really feel before we deal with the same issues in real life.

Fiction can be a powerful tool for helping individuals navigate the real world. Sci-fi is no different. In light of that, Stacker  has rounded up 100 of the best science fiction novels of all time.

Using sources like Goodreads, Amazon, and The New York Times Best Seller list, we've identified 100 books that had a powerful impact on readers. We've included books that fall under the hard sci-fi, cyberpunk, space opera, aliens, and utopia/dystopia categories while steering clear of books that are strictly fantasy (think "Lord of the Rings" and "Harry Potter"). We've also made sure to highlight books from authors of color, female authors, LGBTQIA+ authors, and authors from various countries and backgrounds, dispelling the myth that science fiction is only written for and by cis white males.

From comical takes on the genre like "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" to controversial titles like "Starship Troopers" to classics like H.G. Wells "War of the Worlds," dark tales like "Who Fears Death," and new titles like "How Long 'til Black Future Month?" there's sure to be something on this list for every taste.

Read on for 100 of the best science fiction novels of all time.

<p>- Author: Frank Herbert<br> - Date published: 1965</p>  <p>One of the most beloved sci-fi epics of all time, Frank Herbert's "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44767458-dune#other_reviews">Dune</a>" is set to receive a theatrical release in the final months of 2020. It won't be the first time the coming-of-age story about a young man named Paul Atreides who must fight for his own life as well as the existence of his planet, Arrakis, after his family is betrayed, hits the big screen. But with a star-studded cast, this adaptation is almost guaranteed to be a box office hit.</p>

- Author: Frank Herbert - Date published: 1965

One of the most beloved sci-fi epics of all time, Frank Herbert's " Dune " is set to receive a theatrical release in the final months of 2020. It won't be the first time the coming-of-age story about a young man named Paul Atreides who must fight for his own life as well as the existence of his planet, Arrakis, after his family is betrayed, hits the big screen. But with a star-studded cast, this adaptation is almost guaranteed to be a box office hit.

<p>- Author: Andy Weir<br> - Date published: 2014</p>  <p>Andy Weir first began publishing chapters of his novel "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18007564-the-martian">The Martian</a>" on his personal blog in 2009. In 2011, <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/how-andy-weirs-the-martian-became-so-successful-2015-6">he self-published his story</a>, about an astronaut who gets separated from his crew during a major dust storm and ends up stranded on Mars, on Amazon. Then, in 2014, Random House reached out to Weir offering to give the book a wide release, and Hollywood optioned the rights to the tale, all within the same week. The book eventually made its debut at #12 on The New York Times Best Seller List.</p>

The Martian

- Author: Andy Weir - Date published: 2014

Andy Weir first began publishing chapters of his novel " The Martian " on his personal blog in 2009. In 2011, he self-published his story , about an astronaut who gets separated from his crew during a major dust storm and ends up stranded on Mars, on Amazon. Then, in 2014, Random House reached out to Weir offering to give the book a wide release, and Hollywood optioned the rights to the tale, all within the same week. The book eventually made its debut at #12 on The New York Times Best Seller List.

<p>- Author: William Gibson<br> - Date published: 1984</p>  <p>A multi-award winner, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22328.Neuromancer">Neuromancer</a>" is a cyberpunk classic. It follows Henry Dorsett Case, a damaged computer hacker, as he undertakes one last job in the matrix, encountering some incredibly powerful artificial intelligence and shady characters along the way.</p>

Neuromancer

- Author: William Gibson - Date published: 1984

A multi-award winner, " Neuromancer " is a cyberpunk classic. It follows Henry Dorsett Case, a damaged computer hacker, as he undertakes one last job in the matrix, encountering some incredibly powerful artificial intelligence and shady characters along the way.

<p>- Author: H.G. Wells<br> - Date published: 1898</p>  <p>The father of science fiction, H.G. Wells, wrote a host of early sci-fi novels including "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8909.The_War_of_the_Worlds?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=aX6jEW2Gzc&rank=1">The War of the Worlds</a>." In this alien novel, a group of Martians invades Earth, decimating everything in their path and terrorizing humans who are forced to reckon with the fact that the world may truly be ending. When the novel was first turned into a radio broadcast in 1938, it was so thrilling and realistic; it actually caused public panic as many listeners didn't realize it was fiction.</p>

The War of the Worlds

- Author: H.G. Wells - Date published: 1898

The father of science fiction, H.G. Wells, wrote a host of early sci-fi novels including " The War of the Worlds ." In this alien novel, a group of Martians invades Earth, decimating everything in their path and terrorizing humans who are forced to reckon with the fact that the world may truly be ending. When the novel was first turned into a radio broadcast in 1938, it was so thrilling and realistic; it actually caused public panic as many listeners didn't realize it was fiction.

<p>- Author: Ann Leckie<br> - Date published: 2013</p>  <p>The first installation in a space opera trilogy, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17333324-ancillary-justice?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=dvCzu4eRKU&rank=1">Ancillary Justice</a>," is told from the perspective of the artificial consciousness of a starship, the only survivor of a treacherous attack, who has set out in search of vengeance. Ann Leckie's work is groundbreaking both in its content and in the fact that every single character in her trilogy is given female pronouns or is genderless—there's not a single male in the book's more than 400 pages.</p>

Ancillary Justice

- Author: Ann Leckie - Date published: 2013

The first installation in a space opera trilogy, " Ancillary Justice ," is told from the perspective of the artificial consciousness of a starship, the only survivor of a treacherous attack, who has set out in search of vengeance. Ann Leckie's work is groundbreaking both in its content and in the fact that every single character in her trilogy is given female pronouns or is genderless—there's not a single male in the book's more than 400 pages.

<p>- Author: Lois Lowry<br> - Date published: 1993</p>  <p>Arguably the most widely read science fiction novel on this list, Lois Lowry's "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3636.The_Giver?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=AFCFTYSdE1&rank=1">The Giver</a>," has become assigned reading in many schools across the country. Set in a seemingly utopian society, the story follows a young man named Jonas, who is set to become the Receiver of Memory within his society. As his training gets underway, he begins to realize that the utopia he's been handed may not be all that perfect or desirable after all.</p>

- Author: Lois Lowry - Date published: 1993

Arguably the most widely read science fiction novel on this list, Lois Lowry's " The Giver ," has become assigned reading in many schools across the country. Set in a seemingly utopian society, the story follows a young man named Jonas, who is set to become the Receiver of Memory within his society. As his training gets underway, he begins to realize that the utopia he's been handed may not be all that perfect or desirable after all.

<p>- Author: N.K. Jemisin<br> - Date published: 2015</p>  <p>One of sci-fi's most beloved modern writers, N.K. Jemisin has turned out some of the most enthralling, original work in the genre. In "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19161852-the-fifth-season">The Fifth Season</a>," the world begins to end on the same day Essun's life falls apart. In the midst of a war for survival, Essun sets out to find her daughter, and her plight, along with Jemisin's masterful world-building and beautiful prose, will keep you drawn in for all 450-plus pages.</p>

The Fifth Season

- Author: N.K. Jemisin - Date published: 2015

One of sci-fi's most beloved modern writers, N.K. Jemisin has turned out some of the most enthralling, original work in the genre. In " The Fifth Season ," the world begins to end on the same day Essun's life falls apart. In the midst of a war for survival, Essun sets out to find her daughter, and her plight, along with Jemisin's masterful world-building and beautiful prose, will keep you drawn in for all 450-plus pages.

<p>- Author: Orson Scott Card<br> - Date published: 1985</p>  <p>Set an unidentified period of time in the future, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/375802.Ender_s_Game">Ender's Game</a>" is a military science fiction novel about humanity's fight against an alien race that's determined to annihilate Earth. The book, whose protagonist is a 10-year-old prodigy, is the first in a series, with four direct sequels that tell the rest of Andrew "Ender" Wiggins' story.</p>

Ender's Game

- Author: Orson Scott Card - Date published: 1985

Set an unidentified period of time in the future, " Ender's Game " is a military science fiction novel about humanity's fight against an alien race that's determined to annihilate Earth. The book, whose protagonist is a 10-year-old prodigy, is the first in a series, with four direct sequels that tell the rest of Andrew "Ender" Wiggins' story.

<p>- Author: Liu Cixin<br> - Date published: 2006</p>  <p>Liu Cixin is one of China's most beloved science fiction authors, and his 2006 book "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20518872-the-three-body-problem?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=4L7OIOh4x2&rank=1">The Three-Body Problem</a>" marks English-speaking readers' first opportunity to engage with his work. In the book, which is set during China's Cultural Revolution, the government has established contact with a group of aliens who plan to take advantage of the chaos and invade Earth. Back on Earth, humans are splitting into various groups, some who plan to side with the aliens and others who plan to resist invasion.</p>

The Three-Body Problem

- Author: Liu Cixin - Date published: 2006

Liu Cixin is one of China's most beloved science fiction authors, and his 2006 book " The Three-Body Problem " marks English-speaking readers' first opportunity to engage with his work. In the book, which is set during China's Cultural Revolution, the government has established contact with a group of aliens who plan to take advantage of the chaos and invade Earth. Back on Earth, humans are splitting into various groups, some who plan to side with the aliens and others who plan to resist invasion.

<p>- Author: Ray Bradbury<br> - Date published: 1984</p>  <p>An episodic novel, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/76778.The_Martian_Chronicles?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=vrkXi8WciA&rank=1">The Martian Chronicles</a>" is often considered some of Ray Bradbury's best work. The short work tells the story of the colonization of Mars by humans who are fleeing an Earth that is headed for destruction.</p>

The Martian Chronicles

- Author: Ray Bradbury - Date published: 1984

An episodic novel, " The Martian Chronicles " is often considered some of Ray Bradbury's best work. The short work tells the story of the colonization of Mars by humans who are fleeing an Earth that is headed for destruction.

<p>- Author: Robert A. Heinlein<br> - Date published: 1959</p>  <p>A military sci-fi novel, and one of Heinlein's most controversial works, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17214.Starship_Troopers?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=aI66JnzZSv&rank=1">Starship Troopers</a>" was written in response to the United States' <a href="https://www.nitrosyncretic.com/rah/ftp/fedrlsvc.pdf">decision to halt their nuclear tests</a>. Overtly glorifying the military, the book follows a group of men as they endure the most difficult training in the universe before setting off to fight a species of aliens in the Bug War. While readers may not agree with all of the viewpoints presented in the novel's 300 pages, it's still an important read in the science fiction canon.</p>

Starship Troopers

- Author: Robert A. Heinlein - Date published: 1959

A military sci-fi novel, and one of Heinlein's most controversial works, " Starship Troopers " was written in response to the United States' decision to halt their nuclear tests . Overtly glorifying the military, the book follows a group of men as they endure the most difficult training in the universe before setting off to fight a species of aliens in the Bug War. While readers may not agree with all of the viewpoints presented in the novel's 300 pages, it's still an important read in the science fiction canon.

<p>- Author: Margaret Cavendish<br> - Date published: 1666</p>  <p>Considered by some to be the first science fiction book ever written, Margaret Cavendish published "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18982581-the-blazing-world?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=WY8WMa4b1W&rank=3">The Blazing World</a>" in 1666. The bizarre tale follows a young woman who falls into another world populated with talking animals, half-men, half-fish, and other strange creatures. After becoming their empress, she leads them on an invasion of her homeworld in an effort to create a more utopian society.</p>

The Blazing World

- Author: Margaret Cavendish - Date published: 1666

Considered by some to be the first science fiction book ever written, Margaret Cavendish published " The Blazing World " in 1666. The bizarre tale follows a young woman who falls into another world populated with talking animals, half-men, half-fish, and other strange creatures. After becoming their empress, she leads them on an invasion of her homeworld in an effort to create a more utopian society.

<p>- Author: Samit Basu<br> - Date published: 2004</p>  <p>"<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/676885.The_Simoqin_Prophecies">The Simoqin Prophecies</a>" is a blend of classic science fiction and sci-fi spoof, described as Monty Python meets "The Lord of the Rings" meets "Ramayana." In this world, created by Samit Basu, two world-changing prophecies were made centuries ago. As the day of their fulfillment draws closer, two young men begin journeys that will change them just as much as they will change the world around them.</p>

The Simoqin Prophecies

- Author: Samit Basu - Date published: 2004

" The Simoqin Prophecies " is a blend of classic science fiction and sci-fi spoof, described as Monty Python meets "The Lord of the Rings" meets "Ramayana." In this world, created by Samit Basu, two world-changing prophecies were made centuries ago. As the day of their fulfillment draws closer, two young men begin journeys that will change them just as much as they will change the world around them.

<p>- Author: Haruki Murakami<br> - Date published: 1994</p>  <p>A bizarre tome of a novel, HM's "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11275.The_Wind_Up_Bird_Chronicle?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=Kmn9Cy7kES&rank=1">The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle</a>" is, in short, about a Japanese man who treks into the netherworld to save his wife and her cat. In turns comic and dramatic, this acclaimed story bridges the gap between true sci-fi and urban fantasy, dabbling in historical criticism along the way.</p>

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

- Author: Haruki Murakami - Date published: 1994

A bizarre tome of a novel, HM's " The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle " is, in short, about a Japanese man who treks into the netherworld to save his wife and her cat. In turns comic and dramatic, this acclaimed story bridges the gap between true sci-fi and urban fantasy, dabbling in historical criticism along the way.

<p>- Author: Blake Crouch<br> - Date published: 2019</p>  <p>In Blake Crouch's "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42046112-recursion?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=orGV6yb5EV&rank=3">Recursion</a>," an epidemic is sweeping the nation, one that replaces people's real memories with memories of things that never happened. A detective and a neuroscientist must team up to uncover the dark force behind the epidemic, traveling through time to do so, in this dark sci-fi thriller mystery.</p>

- Author: Blake Crouch - Date published: 2019

In Blake Crouch's " Recursion ," an epidemic is sweeping the nation, one that replaces people's real memories with memories of things that never happened. A detective and a neuroscientist must team up to uncover the dark force behind the epidemic, traveling through time to do so, in this dark sci-fi thriller mystery.

<p>- Author: Dan Simmons<br> - Date published: 1989</p>  <p>In 1990, Dan Simmons' "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/77566.Hyperion">Hyperion</a>" won the <a href="https://www.worldswithoutend.com/books_year_index.asp?year=1990">Hugo Award</a> for best novel. The book, which is similar in structure to Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales," follows a group of pilgrims on their journey to the Shrike, a legendary creature who guards time and can answer the riddles of each of their lives. Set in the midst of an intergalactic war and on the eve of Armageddon, each of the pilgrims has their own motive for making the journey, including, possibly, saving all of humanity.</p>

- Author: Dan Simmons - Date published: 1989

In 1990, Dan Simmons' " Hyperion " won the Hugo Award for best novel. The book, which is similar in structure to Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales," follows a group of pilgrims on their journey to the Shrike, a legendary creature who guards time and can answer the riddles of each of their lives. Set in the midst of an intergalactic war and on the eve of Armageddon, each of the pilgrims has their own motive for making the journey, including, possibly, saving all of humanity.

<p>- Author: Dan Simmons<br> - Date published: 1990</p>  <p>It's not often that a sequel can hold up as well as the original, but that's certainly the case for Dan Simmons' "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/77565.The_Fall_of_Hyperion?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=kdvfnEJGOu&rank=1">The Fall of Hyperion</a>." In this second book, the time caves the Shrike had been tasked with guarding begin to open up, releasing secrets that will alter the world forever. Simmons' outstanding sequel won and was nominated for several of the genre's most prestigious awards.</p>

The Fall of Hyperion

- Author: Dan Simmons - Date published: 1990

It's not often that a sequel can hold up as well as the original, but that's certainly the case for Dan Simmons' " The Fall of Hyperion ." In this second book, the time caves the Shrike had been tasked with guarding begin to open up, releasing secrets that will alter the world forever. Simmons' outstanding sequel won and was nominated for several of the genre's most prestigious awards.

<p>- Author: C.S. Lewis<br> - Date published: 1938</p>  <p>C.S. Lewis is best known for his fantasy and Christian writing, but his foray into science fiction in "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25350.Out_of_the_Silent_Planet?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=f5EaningeV&rank=1">Out of the Silent Planet</a>" is also notable. In the book, the first in a trilogy, a Cambridge academic, Dr. Ransom, is kidnapped by aliens and taken to Mars, where he learns he is to be offered as a sacrifice. As with most of Lewis' other writings, the novel is allegorical and, at times, satirical.</p>

Out of the Silent Planet

- Author: C.S. Lewis - Date published: 1938

C.S. Lewis is best known for his fantasy and Christian writing, but his foray into science fiction in " Out of the Silent Planet " is also notable. In the book, the first in a trilogy, a Cambridge academic, Dr. Ransom, is kidnapped by aliens and taken to Mars, where he learns he is to be offered as a sacrifice. As with most of Lewis' other writings, the novel is allegorical and, at times, satirical.

<p>- Author: H.P. Lovecraft<br> - Date published: 1943</p>  <p>While it may not be considered strictly science fiction today, there's no denying that the genre itself wouldn't exist without the pioneering work of H.P. Lovecraft. His novella "<a href="https://www.fantasyliterature.com/reviews/the-dream-quest-of-unknown-kadath/">The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath</a>" is a prime example of Lovecraft's alien and alternate reality-heavy writing. In this particular work, Lovecraft's main character Randolph Carter has had repeated dreams about a mysterious city he's dying to visit—the problem is, gods from another planet are determined to keep him from it.</p>

The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath

- Author: H.P. Lovecraft - Date published: 1943

While it may not be considered strictly science fiction today, there's no denying that the genre itself wouldn't exist without the pioneering work of H.P. Lovecraft. His novella " The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath " is a prime example of Lovecraft's alien and alternate reality-heavy writing. In this particular work, Lovecraft's main character Randolph Carter has had repeated dreams about a mysterious city he's dying to visit—the problem is, gods from another planet are determined to keep him from it.

<p>- Author: Isaac Asimov<br> - Date published: 1950</p>  <p>This collection of nine interrelated short stories, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41804.I_Robot">I, Robot</a>," crafts a fictional history of robots. The stories dive into the morality of creating and including robots in our universe, and it looks closely at the tension between humanity and technology. Readers have called the short book stunning, addictive, and easily accessible for even the most casual sci-fi readers.</p>

- Author: Isaac Asimov - Date published: 1950

This collection of nine interrelated short stories, " I, Robot ," crafts a fictional history of robots. The stories dive into the morality of creating and including robots in our universe, and it looks closely at the tension between humanity and technology. Readers have called the short book stunning, addictive, and easily accessible for even the most casual sci-fi readers.

<p>- Author: James S.A. Corey<br> - Date published: 2011</p>  <p>In "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8855321-leviathan-wakes">Leviathan Wakes</a>," Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, the authors behind the pen name James S.A. Corey, have spun a tale about two men, Jim Holden and Detective Miller, who stumble upon a derelict spaceship floating in outer space. Each man seeks to solve his own mystery in regards to the ship, but as they begin to pull at the threads, they realize they must team up to unravel the whole story before someone else beats them to it.</p>

Leviathan Wakes

- Author: James S.A. Corey - Date published: 2011

In " Leviathan Wakes ," Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, the authors behind the pen name James S.A. Corey, have spun a tale about two men, Jim Holden and Detective Miller, who stumble upon a derelict spaceship floating in outer space. Each man seeks to solve his own mystery in regards to the ship, but as they begin to pull at the threads, they realize they must team up to unravel the whole story before someone else beats them to it.

<p>- Author: Roger Zelazny<br> - Date published: 1967</p>  <p>In "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13821.Lord_of_Light">Lord of Light</a>," Earth has vanished. A small group of survivors has colonized another planet where they've managed to upload their consciousnesses into technology, essentially turning themselves into gods. These "gods" adhere to the Hindu pantheon and practices, except for one, Sam, who prefers a Buddhist approach to life and religion. What follows is a battle for control over the planet and a revolution against the powers that be.</p>

Lord of Light

- Author: Roger Zelazny - Date published: 1967

In " Lord of Light ," Earth has vanished. A small group of survivors has colonized another planet where they've managed to upload their consciousnesses into technology, essentially turning themselves into gods. These "gods" adhere to the Hindu pantheon and practices, except for one, Sam, who prefers a Buddhist approach to life and religion. What follows is a battle for control over the planet and a revolution against the powers that be.

<p>- Author: Ernest Cline<br> - Date published: 2011</p>  <p>Part ode to the '80s, part dystopian sci-fi story, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9969571-ready-player-one">Ready Player One</a>" follows Wade Watts, a teenager who lives in the slums, as he attempts to solve a puzzle buried inside the world's biggest video game, OASIS, by its creator. The action-driven tale is a super fun read, especially for pop-culture aficionados and those who prefer the lighter side of science fiction.</p>

Ready Player One

- Author: Ernest Cline - Date published: 2011

Part ode to the '80s, part dystopian sci-fi story, " Ready Player One " follows Wade Watts, a teenager who lives in the slums, as he attempts to solve a puzzle buried inside the world's biggest video game, OASIS, by its creator. The action-driven tale is a super fun read, especially for pop-culture aficionados and those who prefer the lighter side of science fiction.

<p>- Author: N.K. Jemisin<br> - Date published: 2018</p>  <p>Another offering from N.K. Jemisin, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40855636-how-long-til-black-future-month?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=tav8u2gILe&rank=1">How Long 'til Black Future Month?</a>" is a collection of short stories, including the Hugo-nominated "The City Born Great." As is usual in Jemisin's writing, the individual stories are beautifully written, containing fleshed-out worlds and characters, and tackling difficult topics like racism and gender.</p>

How Long 'til Black Future Month?

- Author: N.K. Jemisin - Date published: 2018

Another offering from N.K. Jemisin, " How Long 'til Black Future Month? " is a collection of short stories, including the Hugo-nominated "The City Born Great." As is usual in Jemisin's writing, the individual stories are beautifully written, containing fleshed-out worlds and characters, and tackling difficult topics like racism and gender.

<p>- Author: Alfred Bester<br> - Date published: 1955</p>  <p>A revenge tale based on "The Count of Monte Cristo," "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/333867.The_Stars_My_Destination?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=QFctolUK3d&rank=1">The Stars My Destination</a>," is about a teleporter named Gully, who is hell-bent on revenge. It all begins when Gully is marooned in space and ignored by a passing ship after signaling for help. The next decades of his life are all shaped by his desire for vengeance against this clan who ignored him, but eventually, Gully comes to learn that revenge isn't all it's cracked up to be.</p>

The Stars My Destination

- Author: Alfred Bester - Date published: 1955

A revenge tale based on "The Count of Monte Cristo," " The Stars My Destination ," is about a teleporter named Gully, who is hell-bent on revenge. It all begins when Gully is marooned in space and ignored by a passing ship after signaling for help. The next decades of his life are all shaped by his desire for vengeance against this clan who ignored him, but eventually, Gully comes to learn that revenge isn't all it's cracked up to be.

<p>- Author: Kurt Vonnegut Jr.<br> - Date published: 1969</p>  <p>"<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4981.Slaughterhouse_Five">Slaughterhouse-Five</a>" is a unique sci-fi book, in that it's equal parts anti-war manifesto and time travel tale. Perhaps Kurt Vonnegut's best-known work, the book has been banned and burned, all the while selling more than <a href="https://daily.jstor.org/how-slaughterhouse-five-made-us-see-the-dresden-bombing-differently/#:~:text=The%20novel%20became%20Vonnegut's%20iconic,protests%20were%20at%20their%20zenith.">800,000 copies</a> in the U.S.</p>

Slaughterhouse-Five

- Author: Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Date published: 1969

" Slaughterhouse-Five " is a unique sci-fi book, in that it's equal parts anti-war manifesto and time travel tale. Perhaps Kurt Vonnegut's best-known work, the book has been banned and burned, all the while selling more than 800,000 copies in the U.S.

<p>- Author: Frederik Pohl<br> - Date published: 1977</p>  <p>Winning almost every science fiction award out there, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/218427.Gateway?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=kl3eGsoiIR&rank=1">Gateway</a>" is truly the best of what the genre has to offer. The title alludes to a space station left behind by a long-vanished alien race. Only the most daring humans, including Rob Broadhead, dare to experiment with the technology that was left behind, but when they get it right, it can lead to unimaginable riches.</p>

- Author: Frederik Pohl - Date published: 1977

Winning almost every science fiction award out there, " Gateway " is truly the best of what the genre has to offer. The title alludes to a space station left behind by a long-vanished alien race. Only the most daring humans, including Rob Broadhead, dare to experiment with the technology that was left behind, but when they get it right, it can lead to unimaginable riches.

<p>- Author: Carl Sagan<br> - Date published: 1985</p>  <p>"<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61666.Contact?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=WBM9y02cRj&rank=1">Contact</a>" is science fiction written by a real-life scientist. Carl Sagan's 1985 novel is about what happens when humanity makes contact with an extraterrestrial race that's far more advanced. After receiving a radio signal that tells them how to build a spacecraft that can travel through wormholes, a group of explorers sets out to meet those who sent the message in hopes of understanding more of the universe than we ever could otherwise.</p>

- Author: Carl Sagan - Date published: 1985

" Contact " is science fiction written by a real-life scientist. Carl Sagan's 1985 novel is about what happens when humanity makes contact with an extraterrestrial race that's far more advanced. After receiving a radio signal that tells them how to build a spacecraft that can travel through wormholes, a group of explorers sets out to meet those who sent the message in hopes of understanding more of the universe than we ever could otherwise.

<p>- Author: Marcel Theroux<br> - Date published: 2013</p>  <p>When Nicky Slopen comes back from the dead, it becomes clear very quickly that something's not right. As he tells his story from a secure unit of a mental hospital, Nicky begins to unveil a metaphysical conspiracy that goes far beyond the hold of death. "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17452206-strange-bodies?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=h3zMZlp876&rank=1">Strange Bodies</a>" is a sci-fi explanation of what makes a person a person, and allows us all to be individuals.</p>

Strange Bodies

- Author: Marcel Theroux - Date published: 2013

When Nicky Slopen comes back from the dead, it becomes clear very quickly that something's not right. As he tells his story from a secure unit of a mental hospital, Nicky begins to unveil a metaphysical conspiracy that goes far beyond the hold of death. " Strange Bodies " is a sci-fi explanation of what makes a person a person, and allows us all to be individuals.

<p>- Author: Judith Merril<br> - Date published: 1960</p>  <p>Judith Merril's "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6258794-the-tomorrow-people?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=qFQqLWZ6nb&rank=2">The Tomorrow People</a>" is light, campy fun, and one of the first examples of a sci-fi mystery story. In the book, Merril spins a story about Johnny Wendt, the only person to have ever been to Mars and lived to tell the tale. The only problem is, he remembers very little of what happened there, including what, exactly, killed all the other members of his crew.</p>

The Tomorrow People

- Author: Judith Merril - Date published: 1960

Judith Merril's " The Tomorrow People " is light, campy fun, and one of the first examples of a sci-fi mystery story. In the book, Merril spins a story about Johnny Wendt, the only person to have ever been to Mars and lived to tell the tale. The only problem is, he remembers very little of what happened there, including what, exactly, killed all the other members of his crew.

<p>- Author: Doris Lessing<br> - Date published: 1979</p>  <p>Unique in its composition, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/186682.Re?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=s3SkqeiGjh&rank=1">Re: Colonised Planet 5, Shikasta</a>" is a collection of documents, reports, speeches, letters, and journal entries that together make up a study of the planet Shikasta (a thinly veiled Earth). Complied by a higher race, the Canopeans, the book demonstrates how they've been traveling to Shikasta for millennia, warning its inhabitants against evil, predicting World War III, or the Apocalypse.</p>

Re: Colonised Planet 5, Shikasta

- Author: Doris Lessing - Date published: 1979

Unique in its composition, " Re: Colonised Planet 5, Shikasta " is a collection of documents, reports, speeches, letters, and journal entries that together make up a study of the planet Shikasta (a thinly veiled Earth). Complied by a higher race, the Canopeans, the book demonstrates how they've been traveling to Shikasta for millennia, warning its inhabitants against evil, predicting World War III, or the Apocalypse.

<p>- Author: Arthur C. Clarke<br> - Date published: 1968</p>  <p>The "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/70535.2001">2001: A Space Odyssey</a>" novel was written concurrently with the 1968 film version directed by Stanley Kubrick. A bizarre tale, the book follows an astronaut who embarks on a mysterious, dangerous mission that takes him far into outer space, and eventually brings him into contact with an alien race. Written before man ever set foot on the Moon, the book explores what this kind of advancement could mean for humankind and the implications it could have on our future.</p>

2001: A Space Odyssey

- Author: Arthur C. Clarke - Date published: 1968

The " 2001: A Space Odyssey " novel was written concurrently with the 1968 film version directed by Stanley Kubrick. A bizarre tale, the book follows an astronaut who embarks on a mysterious, dangerous mission that takes him far into outer space, and eventually brings him into contact with an alien race. Written before man ever set foot on the Moon, the book explores what this kind of advancement could mean for humankind and the implications it could have on our future.

<p>- Author: Arthur C. Clarke<br> - Date published: 1953</p>  <p>Another novel by Arthur C. Clarke, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/414999.Childhood_s_End">Childhood's End</a>" was actually the author's first popular release. In this tale, an apparently benevolent alien race has taken over the universe, turning it into a utopia, but as things progress, it becomes clear that this new arrangement may not be that utopic after all. Dealing with the themes of identity, culture, and freedom, the work is as thought-provoking as it is entertaining.</p>

Childhood's End

- Author: Arthur C. Clarke - Date published: 1953

Another novel by Arthur C. Clarke, " Childhood's End " was actually the author's first popular release. In this tale, an apparently benevolent alien race has taken over the universe, turning it into a utopia, but as things progress, it becomes clear that this new arrangement may not be that utopic after all. Dealing with the themes of identity, culture, and freedom, the work is as thought-provoking as it is entertaining.

<p>- Author: Martha Wells<br> - Date published: 2017</p>  <p>The first in the "Murderbot Diaries" series, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32758901-all-systems-red?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=eQClqPh3KA&rank=1">All Systems Red</a>" by Martha Wells, is about an artificial construct that has figured out how to disable its governor unit, thereby becoming completely independent. The titular Murderbot works as a security unit on exploratory missions, and when a job it's assigned goes wrong, Murderbot finds itself empathizing with the humans it's supposed to be protecting.</p>

All Systems Red

- Author: Martha Wells - Date published: 2017

The first in the "Murderbot Diaries" series, " All Systems Red " by Martha Wells, is about an artificial construct that has figured out how to disable its governor unit, thereby becoming completely independent. The titular Murderbot works as a security unit on exploratory missions, and when a job it's assigned goes wrong, Murderbot finds itself empathizing with the humans it's supposed to be protecting.

<p>- Author: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley<br> - Date published: 1818</p>  <p>A true classic, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35031085-frankenstein?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=08c73Zu9g4&rank=2">Frankenstein</a>" tells the story of a young scientist who creates a sapient being that turns into a monster after being rejected by society. Told from alternating perspectives, the novel laid the groundwork for many science fiction tropes still used today.</p>

Frankenstein

- Author: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley - Date published: 1818

A true classic, " Frankenstein " tells the story of a young scientist who creates a sapient being that turns into a monster after being rejected by society. Told from alternating perspectives, the novel laid the groundwork for many science fiction tropes still used today.

<p>- Author: Robert A. Heinlein<br> - Date published: 1963</p>  <p>Robert A. Heinlein's one attempt at science fantasy, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50856.Glory_Road?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=nM2YgwktV0&rank=1">Glory Road</a>," instantly became a classic of the genre. The story follows E.C. Gordon, who answers a classified ad that leads him to Star, the Empress of Twenty Universes, who sends him on a quest for the Egg of the Phoenix. Romantic, fun, and adventure-filled, the novel is a great antidote to many of the heavier works on this list.</p>

- Author: Robert A. Heinlein - Date published: 1963

Robert A. Heinlein's one attempt at science fantasy, " Glory Road ," instantly became a classic of the genre. The story follows E.C. Gordon, who answers a classified ad that leads him to Star, the Empress of Twenty Universes, who sends him on a quest for the Egg of the Phoenix. Romantic, fun, and adventure-filled, the novel is a great antidote to many of the heavier works on this list.

<p>- Author: Madeleine L'Engle<br> - Date published: 1962</p>  <p>In the first installation in Madeleine L'Engle's "Time Quintet," "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33574273-a-wrinkle-in-time?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=0E4aJcAIEw&rank=1">A Wrinkle in Time</a>," three children set out to find a missing father, reckon with evil, and save the world. A Newbery Medal winner, the book is often considered a classic in children's sci-fi literature.</p>

A Wrinkle in Time

- Author: Madeleine L'Engle - Date published: 1962

In the first installation in Madeleine L'Engle's "Time Quintet," " A Wrinkle in Time ," three children set out to find a missing father, reckon with evil, and save the world. A Newbery Medal winner, the book is often considered a classic in children's sci-fi literature.

<p>- Author: Walter M. Miller Jr.<br> - Date published: 1959</p>  <p>A post-apocalyptic novel set in a Catholic monastery in the United States, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/164154.A_Canticle_for_Leibowitz?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=Y24AddTwRA&rank=1">A Canticle for Leibowitz</a>" covers centuries of history as humanity rebuilds itself following a nuclear war. In this world, it's the church, rather than the state, that's ultimately in control– and a group of monks is tasked with protecting what remains of man's scientific knowledge, deciding if, or when, civilization is ready for it.</p>

A Canticle for Leibowitz

- Author: Walter M. Miller Jr. - Date published: 1959

A post-apocalyptic novel set in a Catholic monastery in the United States, " A Canticle for Leibowitz " covers centuries of history as humanity rebuilds itself following a nuclear war. In this world, it's the church, rather than the state, that's ultimately in control– and a group of monks is tasked with protecting what remains of man's scientific knowledge, deciding if, or when, civilization is ready for it.

<p>- Author: Jules Verne<br> - Date published: 1864</p>  <p>At one point in time, science fiction centered more around what lies under our feet than what could possibly be above our heads. Jules Verne's "<a href="https://www.amazon.com/Journey-Center-Earth-Jules-Verne/dp/1505573947">A Journey to the Center of the Earth</a>" is just one classic example of this subterranean science fiction. The story follows professor Otto Lidenbrock, his nephew Axel, and their guide Hans, as they travel down through an Icelandic volcano, encountering several strange creatures along the way.</p>

A Journey to the Center of the Earth

- Author: Jules Verne - Date published: 1864

At one point in time, science fiction centered more around what lies under our feet than what could possibly be above our heads. Jules Verne's " A Journey to the Center of the Earth " is just one classic example of this subterranean science fiction. The story follows professor Otto Lidenbrock, his nephew Axel, and their guide Hans, as they travel down through an Icelandic volcano, encountering several strange creatures along the way.

<p>- Author: Jeff VanderMeer<br> - Date published: 2014</p>  <p>The first novel in Jeff VanderMeer's "Southern Reach" trilogy, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17934530-annihilation?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=S9LU0nvJep&rank=1">Annihilation</a>," follows the four women who make up the 12th expedition into Area X, a region of the world that has been closed off for decades for unspecified reasons. Strange things have happened to the previous teams who've explored the region, and when the women arrive, they quickly learn that the stories they've heard are just the tip of the iceberg.</p>

Annihilation

- Author: Jeff VanderMeer - Date published: 2014

The first novel in Jeff VanderMeer's "Southern Reach" trilogy, " Annihilation ," follows the four women who make up the 12th expedition into Area X, a region of the world that has been closed off for decades for unspecified reasons. Strange things have happened to the previous teams who've explored the region, and when the women arrive, they quickly learn that the stories they've heard are just the tip of the iceberg.

<p>- Author: Robert A. Heinlein<br> - Date published: 1961</p>  <p>There is some dispute over which version of "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/350.Stranger_in_a_Strange_Land">Stranger in a Strange Land</a>" is better: the one published in 1961 or the original, unedited manuscript published in 1991 after author Robert A. Heinlein's death. Both books tell the same story, one of a human born on Mars and raised by Martians, who returns to Earth as an adult and must readjust to life on this planet. Science fiction purists should seek out the 1991 version, which was the author's favorite, as he thought the overall style of the original was more "<a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20170221211324/http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1990-12-16/entertainment/9004130992_1_valentine-michael-smith-strange-land-robert-heinlein">graceful and readable</a>."</p>

Stranger in a Strange Land

- Author: Robert A. Heinlein - Date published: 1961

There is some dispute over which version of " Stranger in a Strange Land " is better: the one published in 1961 or the original, unedited manuscript published in 1991 after author Robert A. Heinlein's death. Both books tell the same story, one of a human born on Mars and raised by Martians, who returns to Earth as an adult and must readjust to life on this planet. Science fiction purists should seek out the 1991 version, which was the author's favorite, as he thought the overall style of the original was more " graceful and readable ."

<p>- Author: C.J. Cherryh<br> - Date published: 1981</p>  <p>Although it was written as a part of C.J. Cherryh's "Company Wars" stories, the epic space opera "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57045.Downbelow_Station?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=ECeSOQMEwv&rank=1">Downbelow Station</a>" works as a standalone novel as well. Set on a space station orbiting a universe nicknamed Downbelow, the story follows a cast of characters tasked with exploring new star systems and creating new colonies. A long read, the book feels like a historical epic from a time that has yet to pass.</p>

Downbelow Station

- Author: C.J. Cherryh - Date published: 1981

Although it was written as a part of C.J. Cherryh's "Company Wars" stories, the epic space opera " Downbelow Station " works as a standalone novel as well. Set on a space station orbiting a universe nicknamed Downbelow, the story follows a cast of characters tasked with exploring new star systems and creating new colonies. A long read, the book feels like a historical epic from a time that has yet to pass.

<p>- Author: Stanislaw Lem<br> - Date published: 1961</p>  <p>Translated from its original Polish, Stanislaw Lem's "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/95558.Solaris?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=zsZ76MysGj&rank=1">Solaris</a>" opens with scientist Kris Kelvin arriving on the titular planet to study its expansive ocean. He and his team quickly realize they aren't dealing with a body of water but a sentient being, one who is determined to bring out the worst in them without revealing anything of itself.</p>

- Author: Stanislaw Lem - Date published: 1961

Translated from its original Polish, Stanislaw Lem's " Solaris " opens with scientist Kris Kelvin arriving on the titular planet to study its expansive ocean. He and his team quickly realize they aren't dealing with a body of water but a sentient being, one who is determined to bring out the worst in them without revealing anything of itself.

<p>- Author: Tamsyn Muir<br> - Date published: 2019</p>  <p>"<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42036538-gideon-the-ninth?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=xSaWvU8WTF&rank=1">Gideon the Ninth</a>" is New Zealand author Tamsyn Muir's debut novel. Set in a galactic empire composed of nine planets, the Y.A. novel is about lesbian necromancers, a deadly trial of wits and skill, and a culture locked in political turmoil. Dubbed one of the best books of 2019, this certainly isn't one to miss.</p>

Gideon the Ninth

- Author: Tamsyn Muir - Date published: 2019

" Gideon the Ninth " is New Zealand author Tamsyn Muir's debut novel. Set in a galactic empire composed of nine planets, the Y.A. novel is about lesbian necromancers, a deadly trial of wits and skill, and a culture locked in political turmoil. Dubbed one of the best books of 2019, this certainly isn't one to miss.

<p>- Author: Vernor Vinge<br> - Date published: 1992</p>  <p>Vernor Vinge's space opera "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/77711.A_Fire_Upon_the_Deep?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=IOzCxnmKBe&rank=1">A Fire Upon the Deep</a>" takes place in a world where one's location in space determines their intelligence. When a dangerous power is unleashed during an intergalactic war, two children are kidnapped, and a group of beings of all types and levels of intelligence sets out to save them and restore order to their collective world.</p>

A Fire Upon the Deep

- Author: Vernor Vinge - Date published: 1992

Vernor Vinge's space opera " A Fire Upon the Deep " takes place in a world where one's location in space determines their intelligence. When a dangerous power is unleashed during an intergalactic war, two children are kidnapped, and a group of beings of all types and levels of intelligence sets out to save them and restore order to their collective world.

<p>- Author: Douglas Adams<br> - Date published: 1979</p>  <p>"<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/386162.The_Hitchhiker_s_Guide_to_the_Galaxy">The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy</a>" is a comedy sci-fi novel that was adapted from a BBC radio broadcast. It follows a human named Arthur Dent, who is rescued from Earth by his travel-writer, alien-in-disguise buddy, Ford Prefect, moments before the planet is destroyed. Truly an international phenomenon, the book, the first in a series, has sold millions of copies around the world.</p>

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

- Author: Douglas Adams - Date published: 1979

" The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy " is a comedy sci-fi novel that was adapted from a BBC radio broadcast. It follows a human named Arthur Dent, who is rescued from Earth by his travel-writer, alien-in-disguise buddy, Ford Prefect, moments before the planet is destroyed. Truly an international phenomenon, the book, the first in a series, has sold millions of copies around the world.

<p>- Author: Douglas Adams<br> - Date published: 1987</p>  <p>While none of Douglas Adams' other works quite measure up to "Hitchhiker's Guide," "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/365.Dirk_Gently_s_Holistic_Detective_Agency?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=ss27swPjLS&rank=1">Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency</a>" comes awfully close. In this comic sci-fi mystery tale, Dirk Gently, a self-styled private investigator, who knows more about eating pizza than solving crimes, sets out to prove the interconnectedness of all things by unraveling a murder.</p>

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

- Author: Douglas Adams - Date published: 1987

While none of Douglas Adams' other works quite measure up to "Hitchhiker's Guide," " Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency " comes awfully close. In this comic sci-fi mystery tale, Dirk Gently, a self-styled private investigator, who knows more about eating pizza than solving crimes, sets out to prove the interconnectedness of all things by unraveling a murder.

<p>- Author: Margaret Atwood<br> - Date published: 1985</p>  <p>In a near-future version of New England, a totalitarian state called Gilead has overthrown the government, and women have become second-class citizens. Offred, a Handmaid in Gilead whose sole job is to get pregnant and provide offspring to a strange man, loathes her current life, mourns her old one, and serves as a dire warning to readers about the dangers of total government control. Margaret Atwood's "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38447.The_Handmaid_s_Tale?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=sKQm2PDMIz&rank=1">The Handmaid's Tale</a>" became a cultural phenomenon all over again in 2017 when Hulu released a TV show based on the novel.</p>

The Handmaid's Tale

- Author: Margaret Atwood - Date published: 1985

In a near-future version of New England, a totalitarian state called Gilead has overthrown the government, and women have become second-class citizens. Offred, a Handmaid in Gilead whose sole job is to get pregnant and provide offspring to a strange man, loathes her current life, mourns her old one, and serves as a dire warning to readers about the dangers of total government control. Margaret Atwood's " The Handmaid's Tale " became a cultural phenomenon all over again in 2017 when Hulu released a TV show based on the novel.

<p>- Author: Isaac Asimov<br> - Date published: 1954</p>  <p>A science fiction version of a hardboiled detective story, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41811.The_Caves_of_Steel?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=wWEfKS4gUM&rank=1">The Caves of Steel</a>" is about a human detective, Elijah Baley, and his robot assistant, R. Daneel Olivaw, who are tasked with solving the murder of a prominent spacer, aka a wealthy individual who has fled an overcrowded Earth for a new planet. Following the success of this first book, Isaac Asimov wrote a series of other stories for these two detectives where they solved all sorts of futuristic crimes.</p>

The Caves of Steel

- Author: Isaac Asimov - Date published: 1954

A science fiction version of a hardboiled detective story, " The Caves of Steel " is about a human detective, Elijah Baley, and his robot assistant, R. Daneel Olivaw, who are tasked with solving the murder of a prominent spacer, aka a wealthy individual who has fled an overcrowded Earth for a new planet. Following the success of this first book, Isaac Asimov wrote a series of other stories for these two detectives where they solved all sorts of futuristic crimes.

<p>- Author: Suzanne Collins<br> - Date published: 2008</p>  <p>In the early '00s, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2767052-the-hunger-games">The Hunger Games</a>" trilogy sold <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/18/books/suzanne-collins-talks-about-the-hunger-games-the-books-and-the-movies.html#:~:text=The%20series%20has%20more%20than,and%20many%20Katniss%20Halloween%20costumes.">100 million copies</a> and spent 260 consecutive weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list. In the first Y.A. dystopian novel in the series, a young woman named Katniss Everdeen steps up to take her sister's place in a government-sponsored death game, accidentally becoming the face of a revolution along the way.</p>

The Hunger Games

- Author: Suzanne Collins - Date published: 2008

In the early '00s, " The Hunger Games " trilogy sold 100 million copies and spent 260 consecutive weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list. In the first Y.A. dystopian novel in the series, a young woman named Katniss Everdeen steps up to take her sister's place in a government-sponsored death game, accidentally becoming the face of a revolution along the way.

<p>- Author: Kazuo Ishiguro<br> - Date published: 2005</p>  <p>A shining example of a dystopian, sci-fi, literary novel, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6334.Never_Let_Me_Go?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=cm3F591tdl&rank=1">Never Let Me Go</a>" follows a trio of school friends through their education at a boarding school, Hailsham, and into adulthood, where they uncover their real purpose in society. A love story, a mystery, and a sharp reminder that we are only as good as the way we treat others, the book is an emotional, horrific ride.</p>

Never Let Me Go

- Author: Kazuo Ishiguro - Date published: 2005

A shining example of a dystopian, sci-fi, literary novel, " Never Let Me Go " follows a trio of school friends through their education at a boarding school, Hailsham, and into adulthood, where they uncover their real purpose in society. A love story, a mystery, and a sharp reminder that we are only as good as the way we treat others, the book is an emotional, horrific ride.

<p>- Author: Robert A. Heinlein<br> - Date published: 1956</p>  <p>In "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/175324.Double_Star?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=8j5nKdVpwW&rank=3">Double Star</a>," a down-on-his-luck actor agrees to impersonate a kidnapped politician in an effort to avoid interplanetary war. When things go amiss, he realizes he may be stuck in the role for life. A commentary on politics and doing what's right, the book is among Robert A. Heinlein's first and another Hugo award winner.</p>

Double Star

- Author: Robert A. Heinlein - Date published: 1956

In " Double Star ," a down-on-his-luck actor agrees to impersonate a kidnapped politician in an effort to avoid interplanetary war. When things go amiss, he realizes he may be stuck in the role for life. A commentary on politics and doing what's right, the book is among Robert A. Heinlein's first and another Hugo award winner.

<p>- Author: Arkady and Boris Strugatsky<br> - Date published: 1972</p>  <p>When "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/331256.Roadside_Picnic?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=xinGIDqUev&rank=1">Roadside Picnic</a>," written by brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, was first published in their native Soviet Union, it was heavily censored and significantly different from the serialized version that had been published in magazines in the '70s. The novel follows a "stalker" who illegally ventures into a former alien zone to collect items left behind by the extraterrestrial beings. When one of these missions goes awry, the stalker commits to continuing these expeditions until everything is righted, even if it costs him his life.</p>

Roadside Picnic

- Author: Arkady and Boris Strugatsky - Date published: 1972

When " Roadside Picnic ," written by brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, was first published in their native Soviet Union, it was heavily censored and significantly different from the serialized version that had been published in magazines in the '70s. The novel follows a "stalker" who illegally ventures into a former alien zone to collect items left behind by the extraterrestrial beings. When one of these missions goes awry, the stalker commits to continuing these expeditions until everything is righted, even if it costs him his life.

<p>- Author: Philip K. Dick<br> - Date published: 1968</p>  <p>This classic sci-fi novel, written by Philip K. Dick, served as the basis for the 1982 blockbuster "Blade Runner." Set in San Francisco, after a global nuclear war has essentially ended life as we know it, a bounty hunter named Rick Deckard is tasked with finding and eliminating six escaped androids who have no interest in being found. "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36402034-do-androids-dream-of-electric-sheep">Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?</a>" set the stage for many of the cyberpunk novels that have been published in the last 50 years.</p>

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

- Author: Philip K. Dick - Date published: 1968

This classic sci-fi novel, written by Philip K. Dick, served as the basis for the 1982 blockbuster "Blade Runner." Set in San Francisco, after a global nuclear war has essentially ended life as we know it, a bounty hunter named Rick Deckard is tasked with finding and eliminating six escaped androids who have no interest in being found. " Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? " set the stage for many of the cyberpunk novels that have been published in the last 50 years.

<p>- Author: Amal El-Mohtar, Max Gladstone<br> - Date published: 2019</p>  <p>Told in an epistolary fashion, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43352954-this-is-how-you-lose-the-time-war">This Is How You Lose the Time War</a>" is about two agents from warring factions who travel back and forth through time, altering history for their own group's purposes. Throughout their travels, the men begin leaving notes for each other, and gradually fall in love along the way. The winner of multiple awards, including a Nebula and Hugo, this certainly qualifies as one of the best sci-fi books of the past decade.</p>

This Is How You Lose the Time War

- Author: Amal El-Mohtar, Max Gladstone - Date published: 2019

Told in an epistolary fashion, " This Is How You Lose the Time War " is about two agents from warring factions who travel back and forth through time, altering history for their own group's purposes. Throughout their travels, the men begin leaving notes for each other, and gradually fall in love along the way. The winner of multiple awards, including a Nebula and Hugo, this certainly qualifies as one of the best sci-fi books of the past decade.

<p>- Author: Maureen F. McHugh<br> - Date published: 1992</p>  <p>A selection of loosely interconnected stories, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/836964.China_Mountain_Zhang?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=n2zjo2k47f&rank=1">China Mountain Zhang</a>" is set in a 22nd-century world where China is the leading global power, everything is socialist, Mars is being colonized, and the Cleansing Winds Campaign has just been completed. The folks in these stories are coping with everyday issues in a world that's almost, but not quite, like our own. It's a tale of ordinary people in an extraordinary setting, just trying to get by the same way we are in the here and now.</p>

China Mountain Zhang

- Author: Maureen F. McHugh - Date published: 1992

A selection of loosely interconnected stories, " China Mountain Zhang " is set in a 22nd-century world where China is the leading global power, everything is socialist, Mars is being colonized, and the Cleansing Winds Campaign has just been completed. The folks in these stories are coping with everyday issues in a world that's almost, but not quite, like our own. It's a tale of ordinary people in an extraordinary setting, just trying to get by the same way we are in the here and now.

<p>- Author: Samuel R. Delany<br> - Date published: 1975</p>  <p>When Bellona, a city in the American Midwest, is hit by an unknown catastrophe, things begin changing, and everything seems off-kilter: there are suddenly two moons in the sky, landmarks keep disappearing all over town, buildings burn for days with no signs of damage, etc. Many former residents leave, but some, like the Kid, are drawn to the city looking for answers they can't find anywhere else. More than 1 million copies of "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40963358-dhalgren?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=oqiRu5K4Y7&rank=3">Dhalgren</a>" have sold, marking this book as a true sci-fi classic.</p>

- Author: Samuel R. Delany - Date published: 1975

When Bellona, a city in the American Midwest, is hit by an unknown catastrophe, things begin changing, and everything seems off-kilter: there are suddenly two moons in the sky, landmarks keep disappearing all over town, buildings burn for days with no signs of damage, etc. Many former residents leave, but some, like the Kid, are drawn to the city looking for answers they can't find anywhere else. More than 1 million copies of " Dhalgren " have sold, marking this book as a true sci-fi classic.

<p>- Author: Nnedi Okorafor<br> - Date published: 2010</p>  <p>A brutal read, Nnedi Okorafor's "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7767021-who-fears-death?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=DXs93bIs2v&rank=1">Who Fears Death</a>" should come with a host of content warnings, and will not be a good fit for the faint of heart. Set in post-apocalyptic Africa, the books follow a young woman named Onyesonwu, who is destined to end the genocide of her people and unlock the secrets of the universe. An exploration of power in all its forms, this novel is well on its way to becoming a modern classic.</p>

Who Fears Death

- Author: Nnedi Okorafor - Date published: 2010

A brutal read, Nnedi Okorafor's " Who Fears Death " should come with a host of content warnings, and will not be a good fit for the faint of heart. Set in post-apocalyptic Africa, the books follow a young woman named Onyesonwu, who is destined to end the genocide of her people and unlock the secrets of the universe. An exploration of power in all its forms, this novel is well on its way to becoming a modern classic.

<p>- Author: Joe Haldeman<br> - Date published: 1974</p>  <p>After being conscripted by an elite military unit, physicist William Mandella is drawn into a war against an alien race. On top of fighting an almost unbeatable enemy, Mandella finds himself fighting against time, as this new galaxy causes him to grow older much slower than those he left behind. The first in a series, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21611.The_Forever_War">The Forever War</a>," has won several awards and inspired a host of time dilation stories.</p>

The Forever War

- Author: Joe Haldeman - Date published: 1974

After being conscripted by an elite military unit, physicist William Mandella is drawn into a war against an alien race. On top of fighting an almost unbeatable enemy, Mandella finds himself fighting against time, as this new galaxy causes him to grow older much slower than those he left behind. The first in a series, " The Forever War ," has won several awards and inspired a host of time dilation stories.

<p>- Author: Ada Hoffman<br> - Date published: 2019</p>  <p>While "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40947778-the-outside?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=zGEO6wUf4v&rank=12">The Outside</a>" by Ada Hoffman is a new release, it's well on its way to becoming one of the best science fiction novels of all time. When an autistic scientist's new invention malfunctions, warping time and destroying everyone on her spaceship, the AI gods of her universe give her a choice: be sentenced to death or track down her vanished mentor who poses a huge threat to the existence of their world. Readers have described the book as being "Lovecraftian."</p>

The Outside

- Author: Ada Hoffman - Date published: 2019

While " The Outside " by Ada Hoffman is a new release, it's well on its way to becoming one of the best science fiction novels of all time. When an autistic scientist's new invention malfunctions, warping time and destroying everyone on her spaceship, the AI gods of her universe give her a choice: be sentenced to death or track down her vanished mentor who poses a huge threat to the existence of their world. Readers have described the book as being "Lovecraftian."

<p>- Author: Richard K. Morgan<br> - Date published: 2002</p>  <p>The events of "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40792913-altered-carbon?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=eESgRrbwkl&rank=1">Altered Carbon</a>" take place 400 years into the future, when mankind is spread out all over the galaxy, and interstellar travel happens through the transfer of consciousness between bodies. When an ex-envoy wakes up in the body of an ex-convict, he finds himself contracted to hunt down a billionaire's killer and uncovers a massive, interstellar conspiracy along the way.</p>

Altered Carbon

- Author: Richard K. Morgan - Date published: 2002

The events of " Altered Carbon " take place 400 years into the future, when mankind is spread out all over the galaxy, and interstellar travel happens through the transfer of consciousness between bodies. When an ex-envoy wakes up in the body of an ex-convict, he finds himself contracted to hunt down a billionaire's killer and uncovers a massive, interstellar conspiracy along the way.

<p>- Author: Alastair Reynolds<br> - Date published: 2001</p>  <p>In "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/89185.Chasm_City?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=6G50Mx4If3&rank=1">Chasm City</a>," the titular society, once the most advanced in all the galaxy, has been hit with an alien plague that's corrupted the once utopian world. When Tanner Mirabel, a security expert, arrives on the planet to avenge the death of his client's wife, he also sets out to unwind the mystery behind the virus, aided by his own illness-induced symptoms.</p>

- Author: Alastair Reynolds - Date published: 2001

In " Chasm City ," the titular society, once the most advanced in all the galaxy, has been hit with an alien plague that's corrupted the once utopian world. When Tanner Mirabel, a security expert, arrives on the planet to avenge the death of his client's wife, he also sets out to unwind the mystery behind the virus, aided by his own illness-induced symptoms.

<p>- Author: Hermann Hesse<br> - Date published: 1943</p>  <p>Hermann Hesse's final novel, "<a href="https://theamericanscholar.org/herman-hesses-the-glass-bead-game/#.X1w312dKj-Y">The Glass Bead Game</a>," is a unique work of science fiction in that there's very little technology involved. Instead, the book is set in a monastery-like village in a post-apocalyptic future, where scholars devote all their time and energy to mastering the mysterious glass bead game. The book serves up a deeper message about the difference between scholarship and wisdom, but even a light reading is sure to be entertaining and absorbing.</p>

The Glass Bead Game

- Author: Hermann Hesse - Date published: 1943

Hermann Hesse's final novel, " The Glass Bead Game ," is a unique work of science fiction in that there's very little technology involved. Instead, the book is set in a monastery-like village in a post-apocalyptic future, where scholars devote all their time and energy to mastering the mysterious glass bead game. The book serves up a deeper message about the difference between scholarship and wisdom, but even a light reading is sure to be entertaining and absorbing.

<p>- Author: George Orwell<br> - Date published: 1949</p>  <p>Regarded as one of the most defining works of the 20th century, it's eerie how prophetic George Orwell's sci-fi novel "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40961427-1984">1984</a>" has proven to be. Satiric in tone, the book is about life under a totalitarian government. In the weeks after Donald Trump was elected president, the 70-year-old book saw a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/25/books/1984-george-orwell-donald-trump.html">9,500% increase in sales</a>.</p>

- Author: George Orwell - Date published: 1949

Regarded as one of the most defining works of the 20th century, it's eerie how prophetic George Orwell's sci-fi novel " 1984 " has proven to be. Satiric in tone, the book is about life under a totalitarian government. In the weeks after Donald Trump was elected president, the 70-year-old book saw a 9,500% increase in sales .

<p>- Author: Arkady Martine<br> - Date published: 2019</p>  <p>Arkady Martine's debut novel, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37794149-a-memory-called-empire">A Memory Called Empire</a>," follows an ambassador from a small space station as she sets out for the center of the empire to investigate the murder of her predecessor. Swept up in the empire's mysterious alien culture, the ambassador is also hiding secrets of her own, more than one of which could lead to the destruction of her space station and the end of life as she knows it. The book won the <a href="https://www.thehugoawards.org/hugo-history/2020-hugo-awards/">2020 Hugo Award</a> for best novel.</p>

A Memory Called Empire

- Author: Arkady Martine - Date published: 2019

Arkady Martine's debut novel, " A Memory Called Empire ," follows an ambassador from a small space station as she sets out for the center of the empire to investigate the murder of her predecessor. Swept up in the empire's mysterious alien culture, the ambassador is also hiding secrets of her own, more than one of which could lead to the destruction of her space station and the end of life as she knows it. The book won the 2020 Hugo Award for best novel.

<p>- Author: Eric Idle<br> - Date published: 1990</p>  <p>Written by a former member of the comedy group Monty Python, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/77215.The_Road_to_Mars?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=ntIZZHunbu&rank=1">The Road to Mars</a>" is a bizarre, side-splittingly hilarious book about a comedy team who's taking their act on the interplanetary road. When the duo and their robot assistant unwittingly land themselves in the middle of a terrorist plot, they must act fast in order to get out alive and find their way back to the stage.</p>

The Road to Mars

- Author: Eric Idle - Date published: 1990

Written by a former member of the comedy group Monty Python, " The Road to Mars " is a bizarre, side-splittingly hilarious book about a comedy team who's taking their act on the interplanetary road. When the duo and their robot assistant unwittingly land themselves in the middle of a terrorist plot, they must act fast in order to get out alive and find their way back to the stage.

<p>- Author: Connie Willis<br> - Date published: 1992</p>  <p>The first in a series about time-traveling historians, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24983.Doomsday_Book?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=ctoWTaOA2I&rank=2">Doomsday Book</a>," follows a young woman named Kirvin Engle as she travels back to 14th-century Oxford. Although she gets stranded some 700 years in the past, scared and alone, she becomes a beacon of hope to a community ravaged by disease.</p>

Doomsday Book

- Author: Connie Willis - Date published: 1992

The first in a series about time-traveling historians, " Doomsday Book ," follows a young woman named Kirvin Engle as she travels back to 14th-century Oxford. Although she gets stranded some 700 years in the past, scared and alone, she becomes a beacon of hope to a community ravaged by disease.

<p>- Author: Ursula K. Le Guin<br> - Date published: 1969</p>  <p>Regarded as one of the most famous science fiction books ever written, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18423.The_Left_Hand_of_Darkness?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=VIxVvxaRxT&rank=1">The Left Hand of Darkness</a>" follows a human emissary, Genly Ai, who's sent to negotiate a planet's entry into a confederation. Things get complicated when Ai fails to grasp the culture on this planet, beginning with the fact that all individuals are ambisexual. An intellectual read, this book will have you thinking long after you turn the last page.</p>

The Left Hand of Darkness

- Author: Ursula K. Le Guin - Date published: 1969

Regarded as one of the most famous science fiction books ever written, " The Left Hand of Darkness " follows a human emissary, Genly Ai, who's sent to negotiate a planet's entry into a confederation. Things get complicated when Ai fails to grasp the culture on this planet, beginning with the fact that all individuals are ambisexual. An intellectual read, this book will have you thinking long after you turn the last page.

<p>- Author: Daniel Keyes<br> - Date published: 1966</p>  <p>In "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36576608-flowers-for-algernon?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=StGBQCpFmj&rank=1">Flowers for Algernon</a>," a mentally disabled man, Charlie Gordon, undergoes a procedure that is supposed to increase his IQ. Things go swimmingly at first, until a mouse, who underwent the procedure first begins to unexpectedly deteriorate. As Charlie journals the changes in his mental and emotional state, he makes sobering points about the way our society treats the disabled and those we perceive to be different from us.</p>

Flowers for Algernon

- Author: Daniel Keyes - Date published: 1966

In " Flowers for Algernon ," a mentally disabled man, Charlie Gordon, undergoes a procedure that is supposed to increase his IQ. Things go swimmingly at first, until a mouse, who underwent the procedure first begins to unexpectedly deteriorate. As Charlie journals the changes in his mental and emotional state, he makes sobering points about the way our society treats the disabled and those we perceive to be different from us.

<p>- Author: Tade Thompson<br> - Date published: 2018</p>  <p>Set in Nigeria, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38362809-rosewater?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=c5M4FS6Vqr&rank=2">Rosewater</a>" is about a community that has sprung up around the perimeter of an alien biodome. When a mysterious force begins killing people in the community, Kaaro, a government agent who has insider knowledge of the dome, begins to seek answers, even as everything in him is telling him to stay away.</p>

- Author: Tade Thompson - Date published: 2018

Set in Nigeria, " Rosewater " is about a community that has sprung up around the perimeter of an alien biodome. When a mysterious force begins killing people in the community, Kaaro, a government agent who has insider knowledge of the dome, begins to seek answers, even as everything in him is telling him to stay away.

<p>- Author: H.G. Wells<br> - Date published: 1895</p>  <p>The first novel to popularize the concept of time travel, H. G. Wells' "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2493.The_Time_Machine">The Time Machine</a>" celebrated its 125th birthday this year. Set in Victorian England, the novel follows a scientist who develops a machine that can move him forwards and backward in time. Traveling to 802,701 A.D., the scientist encounters two bizarre races, the Eloi and the Morlocks, who represent the future of humanity, and embarks on a host of adventures.</p>

The Time Machine

- Author: H.G. Wells - Date published: 1895

The first novel to popularize the concept of time travel, H. G. Wells' " The Time Machine " celebrated its 125th birthday this year. Set in Victorian England, the novel follows a scientist who develops a machine that can move him forwards and backward in time. Traveling to 802,701 A.D., the scientist encounters two bizarre races, the Eloi and the Morlocks, who represent the future of humanity, and embarks on a host of adventures.

<p>- Author: John Scalzi<br> - Date published: 2005</p>  <p>In "Old Man's War," humanity has finally made it into space, but, late to the game, they are forced to fight for any new holds they wish to claim. As a result, they've created the Colonial Defense Force, an army of retirement-aged people who can use the knowledge they've earned through decades of living to win and colonize new outposts. On his 75th birthday, John Perry joins the CDP and finds, in good ways and bad, that it's more than he ever imagined it would be.</p>

Old Man's War

- Author: John Scalzi - Date published: 2005

In "Old Man's War," humanity has finally made it into space, but, late to the game, they are forced to fight for any new holds they wish to claim. As a result, they've created the Colonial Defense Force, an army of retirement-aged people who can use the knowledge they've earned through decades of living to win and colonize new outposts. On his 75th birthday, John Perry joins the CDP and finds, in good ways and bad, that it's more than he ever imagined it would be.

<p>- Author: Ursula K. Le Guin<br> - Date published: 1974</p>  <p>Set in the same universe as "The Left Hand of Darkness," "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13651.The_Dispossessed?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=Cbuc75NZL0&rank=1">The Dispossessed</a>" is about a physicist named Shevek who sets out to shake up life on the utopian mother planet, Urras, in hopes that these actions will tear down the walls of hate surrounding his own planet. Although the book is first in the chronology of Ursula K. Le Guin's "Hainish Cycle," it was the fifth one published.</p>

The Dispossessed

- Author: Ursula K. Le Guin - Date published: 1974

Set in the same universe as "The Left Hand of Darkness," " The Dispossessed " is about a physicist named Shevek who sets out to shake up life on the utopian mother planet, Urras, in hopes that these actions will tear down the walls of hate surrounding his own planet. Although the book is first in the chronology of Ursula K. Le Guin's "Hainish Cycle," it was the fifth one published.

<p>- Author: Kim Stanley Robinson<br> - Date published: 1992</p>  <p>In "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/77507.Red_Mars?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=CUMa0xJgbk&rank=1">Red Mars</a>," the first in an epic saga trilogy, the year is 2026, and the first group of humans is set to begin colonizing Mars. Featuring incredible world-building and legitimate science, this chunker of a book (it closes in on 600 pages) is certainly worth the time investment.</p>

- Author: Kim Stanley Robinson - Date published: 1992

In " Red Mars ," the first in an epic saga trilogy, the year is 2026, and the first group of humans is set to begin colonizing Mars. Featuring incredible world-building and legitimate science, this chunker of a book (it closes in on 600 pages) is certainly worth the time investment.

<p>- Author: Octavia E. Butler<br> - Date published: 1987</p>  <p>Lilith Iyapo, the main character in "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60929.Dawn?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=syiih8k8SX&rank=1">Dawn</a>," opens her eyes after centuries asleep to find herself trapped in the bowls of an alien spaceship. Many moons ago, these aliens managed to save Lilith and a few other humans before Earth was uninhabitable. Now that they've managed to restore the planet, they want to bring humans home, with one condition: they must agree to interbreed, and Lilith must convince her fellow man to allow this plan to happen.</p>

- Author: Octavia E. Butler - Date published: 1987

Lilith Iyapo, the main character in " Dawn ," opens her eyes after centuries asleep to find herself trapped in the bowls of an alien spaceship. Many moons ago, these aliens managed to save Lilith and a few other humans before Earth was uninhabitable. Now that they've managed to restore the planet, they want to bring humans home, with one condition: they must agree to interbreed, and Lilith must convince her fellow man to allow this plan to happen.

<p>- Author: Arthur C. Clarke<br> - Date published: 1973</p>  <p>"<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/112537.Rendezvous_with_Rama">Rendezvous with Rama</a>" is about mankind's first encounter with alien life. When an object scientists have dubbed Rama is revealed to be an interstellar spacecraft, a group of explorers is sent to intercept the ship and determine whether or not it's friendly before it touches down on Earth. The traditional sci-fi book would make a great starting place for those who are new to the genre.</p>

Rendezvous with Rama

- Author: Arthur C. Clarke - Date published: 1973

" Rendezvous with Rama " is about mankind's first encounter with alien life. When an object scientists have dubbed Rama is revealed to be an interstellar spacecraft, a group of explorers is sent to intercept the ship and determine whether or not it's friendly before it touches down on Earth. The traditional sci-fi book would make a great starting place for those who are new to the genre.

<p>- Author: Robert A. Heinlein<br> - Date published: 1973</p>  <p>Lazarus Long, the oldest living human, has been alive for more than 2,000 years. With so much life under his belt, he's beginning to tire of this planet and begins to tell some of his best stories in hopes of falling in love with life all over again. A series of interconnected novellas, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/353.Time_Enough_for_Love">Time Enough for Love</a>," is one of Robert A. Heinlein's most acclaimed works.</p>

Time Enough for Love

- Author: Robert A. Heinlein - Date published: 1973

Lazarus Long, the oldest living human, has been alive for more than 2,000 years. With so much life under his belt, he's beginning to tire of this planet and begins to tell some of his best stories in hopes of falling in love with life all over again. A series of interconnected novellas, " Time Enough for Love ," is one of Robert A. Heinlein's most acclaimed works.

<p>- Author: Colson Whitehead<br> - Date published: 1999</p>  <p>Teetering on the edge of science fiction and speculative fiction, Colson Whitehead's "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16271.The_Intuitionist?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=4bYHADoWLm&rank=1">The Intuitionist</a>" earned itself a place on this list thanks to its fresh, and often funny, take on politics and race. Set in an alternate universe where two parties of elevator inspectors, the Empiricists & the Intuitionists, are at war, the book begins with an elevator crash. A young woman named Lila Mae sets out to clear her and her party's name and uncovers some wild, futuristic secrets along the way.</p>

The Intuitionist

- Author: Colson Whitehead - Date published: 1999

Teetering on the edge of science fiction and speculative fiction, Colson Whitehead's " The Intuitionist " earned itself a place on this list thanks to its fresh, and often funny, take on politics and race. Set in an alternate universe where two parties of elevator inspectors, the Empiricists & the Intuitionists, are at war, the book begins with an elevator crash. A young woman named Lila Mae sets out to clear her and her party's name and uncovers some wild, futuristic secrets along the way.

<p>- Author: Becky Chambers<br> - Date published: 2014</p>  <p>A lighthearted space opera, Becky Chambers' "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22733729-the-long-way-to-a-small-angry-planet?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=SQBnoUgQnB&rank=1">The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet</a>," sees Rosemary Harper join the motley, multi-species crew of a dated spaceship called the Wayfarer. As the group travels through galaxies completing missions, encountering aliens, and occasionally risking life and limb, readers get to watch them grow and develop a close kinship with each other.</p>

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

- Author: Becky Chambers - Date published: 2014

A lighthearted space opera, Becky Chambers' " The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet ," sees Rosemary Harper join the motley, multi-species crew of a dated spaceship called the Wayfarer. As the group travels through galaxies completing missions, encountering aliens, and occasionally risking life and limb, readers get to watch them grow and develop a close kinship with each other.

<p>- Author: Ray Bradbury<br> - Date published: 1953</p>  <p>In the dystopian world presented in Ray Bradbury's "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13079982-fahrenheit-451">Fahrenheit 451</a>" books are outlawed, censorship runs wild, and Guy Montag, the protagonist, is a fireman tasked with burning books and destroying knowledge. Modern-day readers will find that the book's commentary on the control and distillation of knowledge, as well as our duty to protect it, still rings true some 65 years later.</p>

Fahrenheit 451

- Author: Ray Bradbury - Date published: 1953

In the dystopian world presented in Ray Bradbury's " Fahrenheit 451 " books are outlawed, censorship runs wild, and Guy Montag, the protagonist, is a fireman tasked with burning books and destroying knowledge. Modern-day readers will find that the book's commentary on the control and distillation of knowledge, as well as our duty to protect it, still rings true some 65 years later.

<p>- Author: Malka Ann Older<br> - Date published: 2016</p>  <p>The first installation in a cyberpunk political thriller series, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26114433-infomocracy?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=NnbcUAFDUU&rank=1">Infomocracy</a>," is set in a world where a global democracy is run by corporations. With an election on the horizon, three separate political figures have to reckon with their places in this political experiment, all while the stakes get increasingly higher. "Infomocracy" would make a great election year read and leave you thinking deeply about our own democracy's paradoxes.</p>

Infomocracy

- Author: Malka Ann Older - Date published: 2016

The first installation in a cyberpunk political thriller series, " Infomocracy ," is set in a world where a global democracy is run by corporations. With an election on the horizon, three separate political figures have to reckon with their places in this political experiment, all while the stakes get increasingly higher. "Infomocracy" would make a great election year read and leave you thinking deeply about our own democracy's paradoxes.

<p>- Author: Neal Stephenson<br> - Date published: 1995</p>  <p>"<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/827.The_Diamond_Age">The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer</a>" is a coming of age story that follows a young girl named Nell, who lives in a futuristic world where nanotechnology controls all aspects of life. Nell receives an illegal interactive book that is supposed to teach her how to adhere to the status quo but instead leads her down another path, one that might change the future of humanity.</p>

The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer

- Author: Neal Stephenson - Date published: 1995

" The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer " is a coming of age story that follows a young girl named Nell, who lives in a futuristic world where nanotechnology controls all aspects of life. Nell receives an illegal interactive book that is supposed to teach her how to adhere to the status quo but instead leads her down another path, one that might change the future of humanity.

<p>- Author: Philip K. Dick<br> - Date published: 1962</p>  <p>Philip K. Dick's alternate history novel "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/216363.The_Man_in_the_High_Castle?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=EmMmi1KYBm&rank=1">The Man in the High Castle</a>" takes place in a world where the Axis powers beat the Allies, and the world now lives under totalitarian rule. A Hugo Award winner, the book was turned into a TV series produced by Amazon.</p>

The Man in the High Castle

- Author: Philip K. Dick - Date published: 1962

Philip K. Dick's alternate history novel " The Man in the High Castle " takes place in a world where the Axis powers beat the Allies, and the world now lives under totalitarian rule. A Hugo Award winner, the book was turned into a TV series produced by Amazon.

<p>- Author: Mary Doria Russell<br> - Date published: 1996</p>  <p>Set in 2019, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/334176.The_Sparrow?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=5YLxGAY0hS&rank=1">The Sparrow</a>" is about a Jesuit priest who is the lone survivor of a mission meant to establish contact with the first extraterrestrial race humans have ever made contact with. The meeting nearly destroys him physically and spiritually, highlighting the fact that humans are far too arrogant in our assumption that we can ever really understand others—extraterrestrial or not.</p>

The Sparrow

- Author: Mary Doria Russell - Date published: 1996

Set in 2019, " The Sparrow " is about a Jesuit priest who is the lone survivor of a mission meant to establish contact with the first extraterrestrial race humans have ever made contact with. The meeting nearly destroys him physically and spiritually, highlighting the fact that humans are far too arrogant in our assumption that we can ever really understand others—extraterrestrial or not.

<p>- Author: Larry Niven<br> - Date published: 1970</p>  <p>A classic of sci-fi literature, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61179.Ringworld?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=FrSkcPiW0v&rank=1">Ringworld</a>" follows a ragtag group of explorers, headed by 200-year-old human Louis Wu, who set out to explore a 600 million miles long alien spaceship floating in outer space and end up crash landing. The first in a series, the book is lighthearted, imaginative, and truly mind-blowing.</p>

- Author: Larry Niven - Date published: 1970

A classic of sci-fi literature, " Ringworld " follows a ragtag group of explorers, headed by 200-year-old human Louis Wu, who set out to explore a 600 million miles long alien spaceship floating in outer space and end up crash landing. The first in a series, the book is lighthearted, imaginative, and truly mind-blowing.

<p>- Author: Nicola Griffith<br> - Date published: 1992</p>  <p>"<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/180270.Ammonite?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=0kI8xKKJ9D&rank=1">Ammonite</a>" is a novel that pushes the reader's understanding of gender, and does it well. The winner of the Lambda Literary Award and the James Tiptree Jr. Award, the book takes place on a planet called Jeep, which is inhabited only by women after a pandemic wiped out all the men. In the book, an anthropologist travels to Jeep to study the women and to bring a vaccine that may allow men to once again flourish on the planet but finds she's adapting to their way of life and may not want to complete her mission after all.</p>

- Author: Nicola Griffith - Date published: 1992

" Ammonite " is a novel that pushes the reader's understanding of gender, and does it well. The winner of the Lambda Literary Award and the James Tiptree Jr. Award, the book takes place on a planet called Jeep, which is inhabited only by women after a pandemic wiped out all the men. In the book, an anthropologist travels to Jeep to study the women and to bring a vaccine that may allow men to once again flourish on the planet but finds she's adapting to their way of life and may not want to complete her mission after all.

<p>- Author: Prayaag Akbar<br> - Date published: 2017</p>  <p>A dystopian novel set in India in the 2040s, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34932175-leila">Leila</a>" follows a mother, Shalini, who's desperately searching for her disappeared daughter, Leila, as the world crumbles under a totalitarian regime. A story of love and loss, the book was turned into a Netflix series that premiered in 2019.</p>

- Author: Prayaag Akbar - Date published: 2017

A dystopian novel set in India in the 2040s, " Leila " follows a mother, Shalini, who's desperately searching for her disappeared daughter, Leila, as the world crumbles under a totalitarian regime. A story of love and loss, the book was turned into a Netflix series that premiered in 2019.

<p>- Author: Emily St. John Mandel<br> - Date published: 2014</p>  <p>In "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20170404-station-eleven?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=q1zqIpQ6yw&rank=1">Station Eleven</a>," a pandemic essentially causes the end of the world, and the few survivors must come together to save the best parts of humanity. Things get even more complicated when a strange prophet and his creepy cult of followers begin to stage a takeover. Told through the alternating perspectives of a few loosely connected characters, this book was a bestseller upon its release in 2014.</p>

Station Eleven

- Author: Emily St. John Mandel - Date published: 2014

In " Station Eleven ," a pandemic essentially causes the end of the world, and the few survivors must come together to save the best parts of humanity. Things get even more complicated when a strange prophet and his creepy cult of followers begin to stage a takeover. Told through the alternating perspectives of a few loosely connected characters, this book was a bestseller upon its release in 2014.

<p>- Author: Kameron Hurley<br> - Date published: 2017</p>  <p>Kameron Hurley's "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29090844-the-stars-are-legion?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=vJ0lWkvXSH&rank=1">The Stars are Legion</a>" reimagines women's roles in science fiction. While men are often the stars of these adventure stories, in this 2017 tale, a woman, in a world filled only with women, is the hero. When Zan awakes on a spaceship with no memories of her own, she must determine if what she's being told about herself is true before her actions lead to the genocide of an entire group of people.</p>

The Stars are Legion

- Author: Kameron Hurley - Date published: 2017

Kameron Hurley's " The Stars are Legion " reimagines women's roles in science fiction. While men are often the stars of these adventure stories, in this 2017 tale, a woman, in a world filled only with women, is the hero. When Zan awakes on a spaceship with no memories of her own, she must determine if what she's being told about herself is true before her actions lead to the genocide of an entire group of people.

<p>- Author:<br> - Date published:</p>  <p>While "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4703581-the-city-the-city?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=nb2zJUnPCD&rank=2">The City & The City</a>" has all the regular elements of a police procedural and murder mystery, it's far from the standard offerings of either genre. When a young woman is murdered in Borlu, a hardened police inspector sets out to solve the case, soliciting the help of the police force in the Borlu's "twin city" Ul Qoma. Along the way, he finds that something sinister might be at work, hiding in the gaps between these two cities.</p>

The City & The City

- Author: - Date published:

While " The City & The City " has all the regular elements of a police procedural and murder mystery, it's far from the standard offerings of either genre. When a young woman is murdered in Borlu, a hardened police inspector sets out to solve the case, soliciting the help of the police force in the Borlu's "twin city" Ul Qoma. Along the way, he finds that something sinister might be at work, hiding in the gaps between these two cities.

<p>- Author: Ken Liu (editor)<br> - Date published: 2019</p>  <p>An anthology of Chinese science fiction short stories and novellas, "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39863330-broken-stars?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=lTMK0yWHNf&rank=2">Broken Stars</a>" is thrilling, absorbing, and imaginative. Including work from authors like Xia Jia and Liu Cixin, almost every story in the book, from the cyberpunk to the space operas to the hard sci-fi, has been published in the last decade. No science fiction reader can consider themselves truly well-read until they've read at least a selection of stories from this collection.</p>

Broken Stars

- Author: Ken Liu (editor) - Date published: 2019

An anthology of Chinese science fiction short stories and novellas, " Broken Stars " is thrilling, absorbing, and imaginative. Including work from authors like Xia Jia and Liu Cixin, almost every story in the book, from the cyberpunk to the space operas to the hard sci-fi, has been published in the last decade. No science fiction reader can consider themselves truly well-read until they've read at least a selection of stories from this collection.

<p>- Author: Seanan McGuire<br> - Date published: 2016</p>  <p>"<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25526296-every-heart-a-doorway">Every Heart a Doorway</a>" is set in a home for children who, at one time or another, managed to slip into a magical world, and have now returned to our ordinary land, changed and unsatisfied with all this place has to offer. After a newcomer named Nancy arrives at the home and a string of murders begins, the children must unravel the mystery of who or what wants them dead. A mix of fantasy and sci-fi, this book is a fun read for both Y.A. fans and adults alike.</p>

Every Heart a Doorway

- Author: Seanan McGuire - Date published: 2016

" Every Heart a Doorway " is set in a home for children who, at one time or another, managed to slip into a magical world, and have now returned to our ordinary land, changed and unsatisfied with all this place has to offer. After a newcomer named Nancy arrives at the home and a string of murders begins, the children must unravel the mystery of who or what wants them dead. A mix of fantasy and sci-fi, this book is a fun read for both Y.A. fans and adults alike.

<p>- Author: Octavia E. Butler<br> - Date published: 1993</p>  <p>One of the most legendary science fiction writers of all time, Octavia E. Butler made The New York Times Best Seller list for the first time <a href="https://lithub.com/octavia-butler-has-finally-made-the-new-york-times-best-seller-list/">in September 2020</a>, with her 1993 book "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52397.Parable_of_the_Sower?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=H88a5l5Jlo&rank=1">Parable of the Sower</a>." Many readers liken the events in the story, which take place in 2025 on an Earth that has been ravaged by war, disease, a lack of clean water, and drugs, to our current circumstances. The young, orphaned protagonist, Lauren Oya Olamina, struggles with a condition called hyperempathy but comes to find that this sensitivity may be the key to saving humanity.</p>

Parable of the Sower

- Author: Octavia E. Butler - Date published: 1993

One of the most legendary science fiction writers of all time, Octavia E. Butler made The New York Times Best Seller list for the first time in September 2020 , with her 1993 book " Parable of the Sower ." Many readers liken the events in the story, which take place in 2025 on an Earth that has been ravaged by war, disease, a lack of clean water, and drugs, to our current circumstances. The young, orphaned protagonist, Lauren Oya Olamina, struggles with a condition called hyperempathy but comes to find that this sensitivity may be the key to saving humanity.

<p>- Author: Isaac Asimov<br> - Date published: 1951</p>  <p>A collection of five interrelated stories, Isaac Asimov's "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29579.Foundation">Foundation</a>" is about a psychohistorian's attempt to save the best parts of humanity when his galaxy is faced with total destruction. Described as ambitious and highly imaginative, the book certainly appeals to a specific sort of reader, but those who are able to get into the story always rank it among their favorite sci-fi books of all time.</p>

- Author: Isaac Asimov - Date published: 1951

A collection of five interrelated stories, Isaac Asimov's " Foundation " is about a psychohistorian's attempt to save the best parts of humanity when his galaxy is faced with total destruction. Described as ambitious and highly imaginative, the book certainly appeals to a specific sort of reader, but those who are able to get into the story always rank it among their favorite sci-fi books of all time.

<p>- Author: Rivers Solomon<br> - Date published: 2017</p>  <p>In "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34381254-an-unkindness-of-ghosts">An Unkindness of Ghosts</a>," Rivers Solomon explores what systematic racism could look like on a generational starship, centuries in the future. The story follows Aster, a young woman whose dark skin has kept her relegated to the bottom decks of the starship Matilda for her entire life. As she unwittingly begins to uncover family secrets, Aster finds that there may be a way to put an end to the legacy of racism she's trapped under once and for all.</p>

An Unkindness of Ghosts

- Author: Rivers Solomon - Date published: 2017

In " An Unkindness of Ghosts ," Rivers Solomon explores what systematic racism could look like on a generational starship, centuries in the future. The story follows Aster, a young woman whose dark skin has kept her relegated to the bottom decks of the starship Matilda for her entire life. As she unwittingly begins to uncover family secrets, Aster finds that there may be a way to put an end to the legacy of racism she's trapped under once and for all.

<p>- Author: Robert A. Heinlein<br> - Date published: 1966</p>  <p>"<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16690.The_Moon_Is_a_Harsh_Mistress">The Moon is a Harsh Mistress</a>" is one part political treatise (it heavily discusses libertarian ideals), one part sci-fi tale of a human colony on the moon revolting against their absentee earthly rulers. Originally serialized in "If," a science fiction magazine, the book got a full release in 1966 and won the Hugo Award in 1967.</p>

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

- Author: Robert A. Heinlein - Date published: 1966

" The Moon is a Harsh Mistress " is one part political treatise (it heavily discusses libertarian ideals), one part sci-fi tale of a human colony on the moon revolting against their absentee earthly rulers. Originally serialized in "If," a science fiction magazine, the book got a full release in 1966 and won the Hugo Award in 1967.

<p>- Author: Michael Crichton<br> - Date published: 1990</p>  <p>Most folks are familiar with "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6424171-jurassic-park">Jurassic Park</a>," the bio sci-fi story about an island amusement park filled with manufactured dinosaurs. However, far fewer people have actually read the Michael Crichton book, as most just opt to watch the Steven Spielberg movie instead. We're here to tell you that the book is well worth a read, especially for die-hard sci-fi fans.</p>

Jurassic Park

- Author: Michael Crichton - Date published: 1990

Most folks are familiar with " Jurassic Park ," the bio sci-fi story about an island amusement park filled with manufactured dinosaurs. However, far fewer people have actually read the Michael Crichton book, as most just opt to watch the Steven Spielberg movie instead. We're here to tell you that the book is well worth a read, especially for die-hard sci-fi fans.

<p>- Author: Neal Stephenson<br> - Date published: 1992</p>  <p>The main character in "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40651883-snow-crash">Snow Crash</a>," Hiro Protagonist, is a delivery man by day and a computer hacker by night. When a terrifying computer virus begins knocking out tech wizards all over the world, Hiro Protagonist embarks on a race against time to unmask the mastermind behind the virus and put an end to the whole thing before this futuristic version of America finds itself in an info apocalypse.</p>

- Author: Neal Stephenson - Date published: 1992

The main character in " Snow Crash ," Hiro Protagonist, is a delivery man by day and a computer hacker by night. When a terrifying computer virus begins knocking out tech wizards all over the world, Hiro Protagonist embarks on a race against time to unmask the mastermind behind the virus and put an end to the whole thing before this futuristic version of America finds itself in an info apocalypse.

<p>- Author: Joanna Russ<br> - Date published: 1975</p>  <p>This classic feminist sci-fi novel follows four women who cross over into each other's realities. After crossing over, each of them finds their existing notions of gender challenged and must reevaluate their lives upon returning to their own worlds. "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/908311.The_Female_Man?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=XhZc9vE5ZZ&rank=1">The Female Man</a>" is a must-read for all science fiction lovers.</p>

The Female Man

- Author: Joanna Russ - Date published: 1975

This classic feminist sci-fi novel follows four women who cross over into each other's realities. After crossing over, each of them finds their existing notions of gender challenged and must reevaluate their lives upon returning to their own worlds. " The Female Man " is a must-read for all science fiction lovers.

<p>- Author: Aldous Huxley<br> - Date published: 1932</p>  <p>Written almost 100 years ago, Aldous Huxley's "<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5129.Brave_New_World">Brave New World</a>" is set in a dystopian universe, where a World State rules, determining every aspect of its citizens' lives. In similar fashion to George Orwell's "1984," only one man challenges this sort of totalitarian rule and attempts to bring humanity back to the individuality that makes it so special.</p>

Brave New World

- Author: Aldous Huxley - Date published: 1932

Written almost 100 years ago, Aldous Huxley's " Brave New World " is set in a dystopian universe, where a World State rules, determining every aspect of its citizens' lives. In similar fashion to George Orwell's "1984," only one man challenges this sort of totalitarian rule and attempts to bring humanity back to the individuality that makes it so special.

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9 New Books We Recommend This Week

Suggested reading from critics and editors at The New York Times.

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Our recommended books this week run the gamut from a behind-the-scenes look at the classic film “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” to a portrait of suburbia in decline to a collection of presidential love letters with the amazing title “Are You Prepared for the Storm of Love Making?” (That question comes from a mash note written by Woodrow Wilson.) In fiction, we recommend debuts from DéLana R.A. Dameron, Alexander Sammartino and Rebecca K Reilly, alongside new novels by Cormac James, Ashley Elston and Kristin Hannah. Happy reading. — Gregory Cowles

COCKTAILS WITH GEORGE AND MARTHA: Movies, Marriage and the Making of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” Philip Gefter

Rarely seen diary entries from the screenwriter who adapted Edward Albee’s Broadway hit are a highlight of this unapologetically obsessive behind-the-scenes look at the classic film starring the super-couple Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

top fiction books of all times

“Showed how the ‘cartoon versions of marriage’ long served up by American popular culture ... always came with a secret side of bitters.”

From Alexandra Jacobs’s review

Bloomsbury | $32

TRONDHEIM Cormac James

James’s new novel is a deep dive into a family navigating a crisis. It follows two mothers waiting in the I.C.U. to see if their son will wake up from a coma, and through that framework, explores their lives, their relationship, their beliefs and much more.

top fiction books of all times

“Hospital time has a particular and peculiar quality, and ‘Trondheim’ is dedicated to capturing the way it unfolds.”

From Katie Kitamura’s review

Bellevue Literary Press | Paperback, $17.99

REDWOOD COURT DéLana R.A. Dameron

This richly textured and deeply moving debut novel begins with an innocuous question: “What am I made of?” From there, a young Black girl in South Carolina begins to grapple with — and attempt to make sense of — a complicated family history and her place in it.

top fiction books of all times

“Dameron is a prizewinning poet and it shows: She does a beautiful job weaving in local vernacular and casting a fresh gaze on an engaging, though flawed, cast of characters.”

From Charmaine Wilkerson’s review

Dial Press | $28

LAST ACTS Alexander Sammartino

In this hilarious debut, a young man moves in with his father after a near-fatal overdose and decides to help save the family business, a Phoenix gun shop facing foreclosure. Their idea is to pledge a cut of every sale to fighting drug addiction, but they soon find themselves mired in controversy.

top fiction books of all times

“Sammartino is extraordinarily good at balancing the farcical nature of contemporary America with the complex humanity of his characters. He’s also a magnificent sentence writer.”

From Dan Chaon’s review

Scribner | $27

DISILLUSIONED: Five Families and the Unraveling of America’s Suburbs Benjamin Herold

Once defined by big homes, great schools and low taxes, the country’s suburbs, Herold shows in this dispiriting but insightful account, were poorly planned and are now saddled with poverty, struggling schools, dilapidated infrastructure and piles of debt.

top fiction books of all times

“An important, cleareyed account of suburban boom and bust, and the challenges facing the country today.”

From Ben Austen’s review

Penguin Press | $32

ARE YOU PREPARED FOR THE STORM OF LOVE MAKING? Letters of Love and Lust From the White House Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler

This charming collection features presidents from Washington to Obama writing about courtship, marriage, war, diplomacy, love, lust and loss, in winningly besotted tones.

top fiction books of all times

“Answers the question ‘What does a president in love sound like?’ with a refreshing ‘Just as dopey as anybody else.’ ... It is a lovely book, stuffed with romantic details.”

From W.M. Akers’s review

Simon & Schuster | $28.99

GRETA & VALDIN Rebecca K Reilly

Reilly’s generous, tender debut novel follows the exploits of two queer New Zealand 20-something siblings from a hodgepodge, multicultural family as they navigate the chaos of young adulthood, and as they come closer to understanding themselves and their desires.

top fiction books of all times

“If this novel shows us anything, it’s that love — of family, of romantic partners, of community — is most joyful when it’s without limits.”

From Eleanor Dunn’s review

Avid Reader Press | $28

THE WOMEN Kristin Hannah

In her latest historical novel, Hannah shows the Vietnam War through the eyes of a combat nurse. But what the former debutante witnesses and experiences when she comes home from the war is the true gut punch of this timely story.

top fiction books of all times

“The familiar beats snare you from the outset. ... Hannah’s real superpower is her ability to hook you along from catastrophe to catastrophe, sometimes peering between your fingers, because you simply cannot give up on her characters.”

From Beatriz Williams’s review

St. Martin’s | $27

FIRST LIE WINS Ashley Elston

In Elston’s edgy, smart thriller, Evie Porter has just moved in with her boyfriend, a hunky Louisiana businessman. Sadly for him, their relationship is likely to be short-lived, because she’s a criminal and he’s her latest mark.

top fiction books of all times

“Evie makes for a winning, nimble character. Elston raises the stakes with unexpected developments.”

From Sarah Lyall’s thrillers column

Pamela Dorman Books | $28

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Want to know about the best books to read and the latest news start here..

In her new memoir, “Splinters,” the essayist Leslie Jamison  recounts the birth of her child  and the end of her marriage.

The Oscar-nominated film “Poor Things” is based on a 1992 book by Alasdair Gray. Beloved by writers, it was never widely read  but is now ripe for reconsideration.

Even in countries where homophobia is pervasive and same-sex relationships are illegal, queer African writers are pushing boundaries , finding an audience and winning awards.

In Lucy Sante’s new memoir, “I Heard Her Call My Name,” the author reflects on her life and embarking on a gender transition  in her late 60s.

Do you want to be a better reader?   Here’s some helpful advice to show you how to get the most out of your literary endeavor .

Each week, top authors and critics join the Book Review’s podcast to talk about the latest news in the literary world. Listen here .

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Literary fiction

The other valley.

by Scott Alexander Howard

Posing incisive questions about time, fate, and civilization, this genre-bendy tale is the ultimate literary what-if.

Good to know

No quotation marks

Why I love it

Jerrod macfarlane, botm editorial team.

It’s easy to draw me into a book with a unique, off-kilter world. So it’s no surprise that The Other Valley , with its fascinating puzzle-logic and strange mores, immediately drew me in.

In this world, time plays by different rules. Ten nearly identical valley communities sit side by side. However, each is on a different axis of time. The valley to your east is twenty years in the future, the valley to your west is twenty years in the past. Under special circumstances, citizens of one valley may visit another. But trips must be kept brief, under strict oversight of trained personnel; and above all, don’t interact with anyone in the other valley during your visit.

A young woman training to be one of those charged with guiding visitors from her valley to its east and west counterparts is at first fascinated by all she learns about the many secret rules governing her world. She thrills at the intellectual challenge and discipline required to uphold order. But then as she learns more, she realizes just how much is at stake and begins to question her investment in the status quo…

If you could travel forwards or backwards twenty years in time, would you? What would be the repercussions? Read on for a brilliant and highly moving investigation. This story is no mere thought exercise. It brims with ever so human questions and the thrill of trying to make one’s own path. Even—perhaps especially—when the whole world seems against it.

Sixteen-year-old Odile is an awkward, quiet girl vying for a coveted seat on the Conseil. If she earns the position, she’ll decide who may cross her town’s heavily guarded borders. On the other side, it’s the same valley, the same town. Except to the east, the town is twenty years ahead in time. To the west, it’s twenty years behind. The towns repeat in an endless sequence across the wilderness.

When Odile recognizes two visitors she wasn’t supposed to see, she realizes that the parents of her friend Edme have been escorted across the border from the future, on a mourning tour, to view their son while he’s still alive in Odile’s present.

Edme—who is brilliant, funny, and the only person to truly see Odile—is about to die. Sworn to secrecy in order to preserve the timeline, Odile now becomes the Conseil’s top candidate. Yet she finds herself drawing closer to the doomed boy, imperiling her entire future.

Read a sample →

Wellness

top fiction books of all times

Amazon's Most Sold charts rank books according to the number of copies sold and pre-ordered through Amazon.com, Audible.com, Amazon Books stores, and books read through digital subscription programs (once a customer has read a certain percentage – roughly the length of a free reading sample). Bulk buys are counted as a single purchase. Amazon's Most Read charts rank titles by the average number of daily Kindle readers and Audible listeners each week. Categories not ranked on Most Read charts include dictionaries, encyclopedias, religious texts, daily devotionals, and calendars.

Cover image of The Women by Kristin Hannah

From the celebrated author of The Nightingale and The Four Winds comes Kristin Hannah's The Women —at once an intimate portrait of coming of age in a dangerous time and an epic tale of a nation divided.

Women can be heroes. When twenty-year-old nursing student Frances “Frankie” McGrath hears these words, it is a revelation. Raised in the sun-drenched, idyllic world of Southern California and sheltered by her conservative parents, she has always prided herself on doing the right thing. But in 1965, the world is changing, and she suddenly dares to imagine a different future for herself. When her brother ships out to serve in Vietnam, she joins the Army Nurse Corps and follows his path.

As green and inexperienced as the men sent to Vietnam to fight, Frankie is overwhelmed by the chaos and destruction of war. Each day is a gamble of life and death, hope and betrayal; friendships run deep and can be shattered in an instant. In war, she meets—and becomes one of—the lucky, the brave, the broken, and the lost.

But war is just the beginning for Frankie and her veteran friends. The real battle lies in coming home to a changed and divided America, to angry protesters, and to a country that wants to forget Vietnam.

The Women is the story of one woman gone to war, but it shines a light on all women who put themselves in harm’s way and whose sacrifice and commitment to their country has too often been forgotten. A novel about deep friendships and bold patriotism, The Women is a richly drawn story with a memorable heroine whose idealism and courage under fire will come to define an era.

Cover image of The Teacher by Freida McFadden

Lesson #1: Trust no one. Eve has a good life . She wakes up each day, kisses her husband Nate, and heads off to teach math at the local high school. All is as it should be. Except… Last year, Caseham High was rocked by a scandal involving a student-teacher affair, with one student, Addie, at its center. But Eve knows there is far more to these ugly rumors than meets the eye. Addie can’t be trusted. She lies. She hurts people. She destroys lives. At least, that’s what everyone says. But nobody knows the real Addie. Nobody knows the secrets that could destroy her. And Addie will do anything to keep it quiet… From the New York Times bestselling author Freida McFadden comes a chilling story of twisted secrets and long-awaited revenge.

Cover image of A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a terrifying creature arrives to demand retribution. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she knows about only from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not truly a beast, but one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled her world. At least, he's not a beast all the time. As she adapts to her new home, her feelings for the faerie, Tamlin, transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But something is not right in the faerie lands. An ancient, wicked shadow is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it, or doom Tamlin-and his world-forever. From author Sarah J. Maas comes a seductive, breathtaking book that blends romance, adventure, and faerie lore into an unforgettable read.

Cover image of Iron Flame  by Rebecca Yarros

Everyone expected Violet Sorrengail to die during her first year at Basgiath War College—Violet included. But Threshing was only the first impossible test meant to weed out the weak-willed, the unworthy, and the unlucky. Now the real training begins, and Violet’s already wondering how she’ll get through. It’s not just that it’s grueling and maliciously brutal, or even that it’s designed to stretch the riders’ capacity for pain beyond endurance. It’s the new vice commandant, who’s made it his personal mission to teach Violet exactly how powerless she is–unless she betrays the man she loves. Although Violet’s body might be weaker and frailer than everyone else’s, she still has her wits—and a will of iron. And leadership is forgetting the most important lesson Basgiath has taught her: Dragon riders make their own rules . But a determination to survive won’t be enough this year. Because Violet knows the real secret hidden for centuries at Basgiath War College—and nothing, not even dragon fire, may be enough to save them in the end.

Cover image of Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

Enter the brutal and elite world of a war college for dragon riders from New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Yarros

Twenty-year-old Violet Sorrengail was supposed to enter the Scribe Quadrant, living a quiet life among books and history. Now, the commanding general—also known as her tough-as-talons mother—has ordered Violet to join the hundreds of candidates striving to become the elite of Navarre: dragon riders.

But when you’re smaller than everyone else and your body is brittle, death is only a heartbeat away...because dragons don’t bond to “fragile” humans. They incinerate them.

With fewer dragons willing to bond than cadets, most would kill Violet to better their own chances of success. The rest would kill her just for being her mother’s daughter—like Xaden Riorson, the most powerful and ruthless wingleader in the Riders Quadrant.

She’ll need every edge her wits can give her just to see the next sunrise.

Yet, with every day that passes, the war outside grows more deadly, the kingdom's protective wards are failing, and the death toll continues to rise. Even worse, Violet begins to suspect leadership is hiding a terrible secret.

Friends, enemies, lovers. Everyone at Basgiath War College has an agenda—because once you enter, there are only two ways out: graduate or die.

Cover image of House of Flame and Shadow by Sarah J. Maas

Customers highlighted passages in House of Flame and Shadow more frequently than other books on this week's list.

The stunning third book in the sexy, action-packed Crescent City series, following the global bestsellers House of Earth and Blood and House of Sky and Breath . Bryce Quinlan never expected to see a world other than Midgard, but now that she has, all she wants is to get back. Everything she loves is in Midgard: her family, her friends, her mate. Stranded in a strange new world, she's going to need all her wits about her to get home again. And that's no easy feat when she has no idea who to trust. Hunt Athalar has found himself in some deep holes in his life, but this one might be the deepest of all. After a few brief months with everything he ever wanted, he's in the Asteri's dungeons again, stripped of his freedom and without a clue as to Bryce's fate. He's desperate to help her, but until he can escape the Asteri's leash, his hands are quite literally tied. In this sexy, breathtaking sequel to the #1 bestsellers House of Earth and Blood and House of Sky and Breath , Sarah J. Maas's Crescent City series reaches new heights as Bryce and Hunt's world is brought to the brink of collapse-with its future resting on their shoulders.

Cover image of First Lie Wins by Ashley Elston

“This fast-paced read has everything you could want in a thriller: secret identities, a mysterious boss and a cat & mouse game that kept me guessing the whole way through.”—Reese Witherspoon Evie Porter has everything a nice, Southern girl could want: a perfect, doting boyfriend, a house with a white picket fence and a garden, a fancy group of friends. The only catch: Evie Porter doesn’t exist. The identity comes first: Evie Porter. Once she’s given a name and location by her mysterious boss Mr. Smith, she learns everything there is to know about the town and the people in it. Then the mark: Ryan Sumner. The last piece of the puzzle is the job. Evie isn’t privy to Mr. Smith’s real identity, but she knows this job will be different. Ryan has gotten under her skin, and she’s starting to envision a different sort of life for herself. But Evie can’t make any mistakes--especially after what happened last time. Because the one thing she’s worked her entire life to keep clean, the one identity she could always go back to—her real identity—just walked right into this town. Evie Porter must stay one step ahead of her past while making sure there’s still a future in front of her. The stakes couldn't be higher--but then, Evie has always liked a challenge...

Cover image of A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Feyre has undergone more trials than one human woman can carry in her heart. Though she's now been granted the powers and lifespan of the High Fae, she is haunted by her time Under the Mountain and the terrible deeds she performed to save the lives of Tamlin and his people. As her marriage to Tamlin approaches, Feyre's hollowness and nightmares consume her. She finds herself split into two different people: one who upholds her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court, and one who lives out her life in the Spring Court with Tamlin. While Feyre navigates a dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms. She might just be the key to stopping it, but only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future-and the future of a world in turmoil. The author Sarah J. Maas's masterful storytelling brings this second book in her dazzling, sexy, action-packed series to new heights.

Cover image of The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride

“A murder mystery locked inside a Great American Novel . . . Charming, smart, heart-blistering, and heart-healing.” —Danez Smith, The New York Times Book Review“We all need—we all deserve—this vibrant, love-affirming novel that bounds over any difference that claims to separate us.” —Ron Charles, The Washington Post From James McBride, author of the bestselling Oprah’s Book Club pick Deacon King Kong and the National Book Award–winning The Good Lord Bird, a novel about small-town secrets and the people who keep themIn 1972, when workers in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, were digging the foundations for a new development, the last thing they expected to find was a skeleton at the bottom of a well. Who the skeleton was and how it got there were two of the long-held secrets kept by the residents of Chicken Hill, the dilapidated neighborhood where immigrant Jews and African Americans lived side by side and shared ambitions and sorrows. Chicken Hill was where Moshe and Chona Ludlow lived when Moshe integrated his theater and where Chona ran the Heaven & Earth Grocery Store. When the state came looking for a deaf boy to institutionalize him, it was Chona and Nate Timblin, the Black janitor at Moshe’s theater and the unofficial leader of the Black community on Chicken Hill, who worked together to keep the boy safe.    As these characters’ stories overlap and deepen, it becomes clear how much the people who live on the margins of white, Christian America struggle and what they must do to survive. When the truth is finally revealed about what happened on Chicken Hill and the part the town’s white establishment played in it, McBride shows us that even in dark times, it is love and community—heaven and earth—that sustain us.    Bringing his masterly storytelling skills and his deep faith in humanity to The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store, James McBride has written a novel as compassionate as Deacon King Kong and as inventive as The Good Lord Bird.

Cover image of Where's Molly by H. D. Carlton

Kindle readers finish Where's Molly faster than similar books.

A spinoff of the Cat & Mouse Duet... “Molly Devereaux has been missing for more than two weeks, and police are still searching for the girl who seemed to vanish out of thin air. The world still wants to know... Where's Molly?” In my dreams, I never escaped the Oregon woods. Life after death isn't easy to accept, especially when I still feel like a ghost. Now, I live deep in the mountains of Montana—the paradigm of beauty. But they are also the home of horrors. Horrors that I only unleash at night. When my pigs are allowed to feast. It is strongly recommended to read Haunting Adeline and Hunting Adeline before reading Where's Molly. Important Note: This is a dark romance that contains dark subject matter. Please refer to the author's website for content warnings

Cover image of A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin's actions and learn what she can about the invading king threatening to bring her land to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit. One slip could bring doom not only for Feyre, but for everything-and everyone-she holds dear. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre endeavors to take her place amongst the High Fae of the land, balancing her struggle to master her powers-both magical and political-and her love for her court and family. Amidst these struggles, Feyre and Rhysand must decide whom to trust amongst the cunning and lethal High Lords, and hunt for allies in unexpected places. In this thrilling third book in the series from Sarah J. Maas, the fate of Feyre's world is at stake as armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy it.

Cover image of The Housemaid by Freida McFadden

“Welcome to the family,” Nina Winchester says as I shake her elegant, manicured hand. I smile politely, gazing around the marble hallway. Working here is my last chance to start fresh. I can pretend to be whoever I like. But I’ll soon learn that the Winchesters’ secrets are far more dangerous than my own… Every day I clean the Winchesters’ beautiful house top to bottom. I collect their daughter from school. And I cook a delicious meal for the whole family before heading up to eat alone in my tiny room on the top floor. I try to ignore how Nina makes a mess just to watch me clean it up. How she tells strange lies about her own daughter. And how her husband Andrew seems more broken every day. But as I look into Andrew’s handsome brown eyes, so full of pain, it’s hard not to imagine what it would be like to live Nina’s life. The walk-in closet, the fancy car, the perfect husband. I only try on one of Nina’s pristine white dresses once. Just to see what it’s like. But she soon finds out… and by the time I realize my attic bedroom door only locks from the outside, it’s far too late. But I reassure myself: the Winchesters don’t know who I really am. They don’t know what I’m capable of… An unbelievably twisty read that will have you glued to the pages late into the night. Anyone who loves The Woman in the Window , The Wife Between Us and The Girl on the Train won’t be able to put this down!

Cover image of Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

For fans of  A Man Called Ove , a charming, witty and compulsively enjoyable exploration of friendship, reckoning, and hope that traces a widow's unlikely connection with a giant Pacific octopus

After Tova Sullivan’s husband died, she began working the night shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium, mopping floors and tidying up. Keeping busy has always helped her cope, which she’s been doing since her eighteen-year-old son, Erik, mysteriously vanished on a boat in Puget Sound over thirty years ago.

Tova becomes acquainted with curmudgeonly Marcellus, a giant Pacific octopus living at the aquarium. Marcellus knows more than anyone can imagine but wouldn’t dream of lifting one of his eight arms for his human captors—until he forms a remarkable friendship with Tova.

Ever the detective, Marcellus deduces what happened the night Tova’s son disappeared. And now Marcellus must use every trick his old invertebrate body can muster to unearth the truth for her before it’s too late.

Shelby Van Pelt’s debut novel is a gentle reminder that sometimes taking a hard look at the past can help uncover a future that once felt impossible.

Cover image of House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life-working hard all day and partying all night-until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She'll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths. Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose-to assassinate his boss's enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he's offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach. As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City's underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion-one that could set them both free, if they'd only let it. With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom-and the power of love.

Cover image of Bride by Ali Hazelwood

A dangerous alliance between a Vampyre bride and an Alpha Werewolf becomes a love deep enough to sink your teeth into in this new paranormal romance from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Love, Theoretically and The Love Hypothesis. Misery Lark, the only daughter of the most powerful Vampyre councilman of the Southwest, is an outcast—again. Her days of living in anonymity among the Humans are over: she has been called upon to uphold a historic peacekeeping alliance between the Vampyres and their mortal enemies, the Weres, and she sees little choice but to surrender herself in the exchange—again... Weres are ruthless and unpredictable, and their Alpha, Lowe Moreland, is no exception. He rules his pack with absolute authority, but not without justice. And, unlike the Vampyre Council, not without feeling. It’s clear from the way he tracks Misery’s every movement that he doesn’t trust her. If only he knew how right he was…. Because Misery has her own reasons to agree to this marriage of convenience, reasons that have nothing to do with politics or alliances, and everything to do with the only thing she's ever cared about. And she is willing to do whatever it takes to get back what’s hers, even if it means a life alone in Were territory…alone with the wolf.

Cover image of The Reason I Married Him by Meghan Quinn

From USA Today and Amazon Charts bestselling author Meghan Quinn, comes a new marriage of convenience romantic comedy. This steamy, laugh out loud, enemies-to-lovers small town standalone delivers the perfect happily ever after. He proposed . . . and I said yes. Normally a jovial occasion for a couple in love, but this proposal has a very different feel. Because the man that I'll be calling my husband blew into town with one thing on his mind . . . to make my life a living nightmare. So why did I say yes? Well, because we both need something from each other. Namely, I want the farm land he currently owns, and he needs a wife in order to inherit his family cabin in his grandfather’s will. So as he so eloquently put it, my hand, for his land. At first, I thought the idea was nuts. Who really gets married out of convenience? Apparently, I do. And now we have to sell our relationship to the town. Meaning, we're holding hands, he's pinching my cheeks . . . upper and lower. We're even forced to share the one-bedroom guest house on the farm where his monstrous body is taking up a large percentage of the bed. But we’re so persuasive about our farse, that now I’m starting to think he actually might like me. Especially when he grabs me by the wrist and teases the shell of my ear as he whispers, “Mine.”

Cover image of A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas

Nesta Archeron has always been prickly – proud, swift to anger and slow to forgive. And since the war – since being made High Fae against her will – she's struggled to  forget the horrors she endured and find a place for herself within the  strange and deadly Night Court. 

The person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred, winged warrior  who is there at Nesta's every turn. But her temper isn't the only thing  Cassian ignites. And when they are forced to train in battle together,  sparks become flame.

As the threat of war casts its shadow over them once again, Nesta and Cassian must fight  monsters from within and without if they are to stand a chance of  halting the enemies of their court. But the ultimate risk will be  searching for acceptance – and healing – in each other's arms.

Cover image of A Court of Frost and Starlight  by Maas, Sarah J.

Narrated by Feyre and Rhysand, this bridges the events in A Court of Wings and Ruin and the upcoming novels in the series. Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can't keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated--scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

Cover image of House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J. Maas's sexy, groundbreaking CRESCENT CITY series continues with the second installment. Bryce Quinlan and Hunt Athalar are trying to get back to normal―they may have saved Crescent City, but with so much upheaval in their lives lately, they mostly want a chance to relax. Slow down. Figure out what the future holds. The Asteri have kept their word so far, leaving Bryce and Hunt alone. But with the rebels chipping away at the Asteri’s power, the threat the rulers pose is growing. As Bryce, Hunt, and their friends get pulled into the rebels’ plans, the choice becomes clear: stay silent while others are oppressed, or fight for what’s right. And they’ve never been very good at staying silent. In this sexy, action-packed sequel to the #1 bestseller House of Earth and Blood, Sarah J. Maas weaves a captivating story of a world about to explode―and the people who will do anything to save it.

Cover image of Haunting Adeline by H. D. Carlton

The Manipulator I can manipulate the emotions of anyone who lets me. I will make you hurt, make you cry, make you laugh and sigh. But my words don't affect him. Especially not when I plead for him to leave. He's always there, watching and waiting. And I can never look away. Not when I want him to come closer. The Shadow I didn't mean to fall in love. But now that I have, I can't stay away. I'm mesmerized by her smile, by her eyes, and the way she moves. The way she undresses... I'll keep watching and waiting. Until I can make her mine. And once she is, I'll never let her go. Not even when she begs me to. While not required, it is highly suggested to read the novella, Satan's Affair, first. Author's Note: This book ends on a cliffhanger. For CWs, please check the author's website.

There are no corrections for this list.

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IMAGES

  1. 50 Best Fiction Books to Read 2021

    top fiction books of all times

  2. The Best Novels of All Time, According to Readers

    top fiction books of all times

  3. 100 Best Fiction Books

    top fiction books of all times

  4. The 30 Best Fiction Books Of 2018

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  5. Best-Selling Science Fiction Books of All Time

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  6. 25 of the Best Fantasy Books You Should Read Next

    top fiction books of all times

VIDEO

  1. Top 10 Literary Fiction Books 2023

  2. You Should Read THIS Book! #shorts #shortvideo

  3. My Top 10 Favorite Books of All Time!!!

  4. Top 10 Non Fiction Books!

  5. 3 ways YOU ARE READING BOOKS WRONG! Ankur Warikoo #shorts #InsightReader #BookRecommendations

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COMMENTS

  1. 12 Novels Considered the "Greatest Book Ever Written"

    Written by Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, the eight-part towering work of fiction tells the story of two major characters: a tragic, disenchanted housewife, the titular Anna, who runs off with her young lover, and a lovestruck landowner named Konstantin Levin, who struggles in faith and philosophy.

  2. The Greatest Books of All Time

    The Greatest Books of All Time This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books in literature. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 200 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed literary works.

  3. Time Magazine's All-Time 100 Novels (100 books)

    These titles all seem to have made the Modern Library's List of the "Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century," another English language list which I very much prefer, at http://www.modernlibrary.com/top-100/....

  4. Readers Pick the Best Book of the Past 125 Years

    606 In October, as we marked the Book Review's 125th anniversary, we invited readers to nominate the best book published during that time. This was a nod to our history: In its first few...

  5. The 47 Best Fiction Books of All Time

    War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy - Often called the best novel ever written. Dozens of characters, stretching from Muscovite peasants all the way to Napoleon himself. The modern epic. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy - A hundred years ahead of its time, Tolstoy's investigation of the silent, stifling life of women is an all-time great.

  6. The 60 best fiction books of all time

    The 60 best fiction books of all time From gripping sequels to debuts by fresh new voices, discover the best new fiction books of 2024. We also look back at the best fiction books of 2023 and share our edit of some of the best novels of all time.

  7. The 100 greatest novels of all time: The list

    1. Don Quixote Miguel De Cervantes The story of the gentle knight and his servant Sancho Panza has entranced readers for centuries. Harold Bloom on Don Quixote - the first modern novel 2. Pilgrim's...

  8. The Goodreads 100—Fiction (100 books)

    Reflecting the amazing diversity of the Goodreads community, this list blends highbrow literature and mainstream fiction, stretching from historic greats like Homer and Shakespeare to modern favorites like Cormac McCarthy and J.K. Rowling.

  9. The 115 Best Books of All Time

    31. Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin (1791) One of the longest and most treasured classics of Chinese literature, Dream of the Red Chamber centers around the life and loves of Jia Baoyu — heir of one of the most powerful families in the land. As with every dynastic family, there will always come a decline.

  10. The Top 10: The Greatest Books of All Time

    All the books on the list "The Top 10: The Greatest Books of All Time" from The Top 10 (Book). The Top 10 book chosen by 125 top writers from the book "The Top 10" edited by J. Peder Zane. The Greatest Books Rankings; Lists; Genres; ... The novel is a unique blend of fiction, commentary, and poetry, presented as a 999-line poem written by a ...

  11. Best Books of All Time

    The best books of all time include masterpieces like Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Lord of the Rings, and Frankenstein. Nineteen Eighty-Four 's harrowing portrayal of totalitarianism has proven hauntingly relevant, while The Lord of the Rings remains an enduring testament to the power of friendship and courage amid an epic battle between good and evil.

  12. 37 Best Books of All Time You Must Read

    The Bell Jar (P.S. Series) By Sylvia Plath. In Stock Online. This novel, which explores the pangs of teenage love and rejection, along with the pressures to achieve perfection in a competitive world, is a timeless, must read story. Paperback $16.99 $18.99.

  13. 100 Best Books of All Time: The World Library List

    Ben wrote: "I had originally added it to the list but at some point, it was auto-changed to Swann's Way." I can't be certain, but I'd guess that the auto-change occurred as a multi-step process: 1) a voter added Swann's Way to the list; 2) a librarian did an automated search for duplicate volumes on the list to clean it up; 3) the Goodreads database happened to interpret In Search of Lost Time ...

  14. The 50 Best-Selling Books of All Time, From Novels to Non-Fiction

    1. " Don Quixote" by Miguel de Cervantes, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.30 Copies sold: 500 million The highest selling and most translated book of all time, "Don Quixote", is...

  15. The 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time

    The 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time. With a panel of leading fantasy authors—N.K. Jemisin, Neil Gaiman, Sabaa Tahir, Tomi Adeyemi, Diana Gabaldon, George R.R. Martin, Cassandra Clare and ...

  16. The 20 Most Popular Books of All Time, According to Goodreads

    According to Goodreads, some of the most popular books of all time include "The Great Gatsby," "Pride & Prejudice," and "The Hunger Games." Amazon; Rachel Mendelson/Insider. When you buy through ...

  17. 21 Best Classic Books of All Time

    All have earned a place among the b est fiction books and best books of all time. In an increasingly fast-moving, technology-centered world, with attention spans shrinking by the...

  18. Best Sellers

    15 weeks on the list IRON FLAME by Rebecca Yarros The second book in the Empyrean series. Violet Sorrengail's next round of training might require her to betray the man she loves. Buy 3 weeks on...

  19. The 75 Best Books Of All Time For Your Book Bucket List

    Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte. Dark and brooding, Wuthering Heights is a classic but tragic romance tale, full of drama, tension and power. The book was controversial at the time of publishing ...

  20. The 30 Best Classic Novels Everyone Should Read

    Must-Read Classics. The best classic novels remain relevant and accessible decade after decade. Classic literature is not a genre—it encompasses romance, science fiction, humor and any other ...

  21. 15 Best Fiction Books of All Time That Will Stay With You

    15 Best Books of All Time (Fiction) Below are some of the best fiction books of all time loved by readers for generations after generations: 1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960) GENRE:Southern Gothic, Thriller, Domestic Fiction A classic that you probably read in High School written by American author Harper Lee.

  22. The 100 best nonfiction books of all time: the full list

    1. The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert (2014) An engrossing account of the looming catastrophe caused by ecology's "neighbours from hell" - mankind. 2. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan...

  23. The 10 Best Fiction Books of 2023

    Here, the 10 best fiction books of 2023. More: Read TIME's lists of the best nonfiction books, songs , albums , movies , TV shows , podcasts and video games of 2023. Also discover the 100 Must ...

  24. 20 of the Best Book Series of All Time

    The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkein. In the world of fantasy novels, few have been as influential as J. R. R. Tokein's The Lord of the Rings trilogy and his other books about Middle Earth. The world is so vivid in his mind, and each new character that appears has an incredible backstory that only he knows.

  25. Best Historical Fiction Books: 12 Must-Read Novels

    Travel back in time and around the globe with these 12 rich and riveting historical fiction novels from @Kellymrimmer, @SadeqaJohnson, @alkajoshi2019, @susan.meissner, Dolen Perkins Valdez, @wendy.holden.1401, @noellesalazar, @FionaDavisAuthor, @ArielLawhonAuthor, @AuthorKristinHannah, Vanessa Chan, @suemonkkidd, @KateQuinnAuthor and @msheatherwebb.

  26. The science-fiction novels that everyone should read at least once

    One of the most legendary science fiction writers of all time, Octavia E. Butler made The New York Times Best Seller list for the first time in September 2020, with her 1993 book "Parable of the ...

  27. 9 New Books We Recommend This Week

    In fiction, we recommend debuts from DéLana R.A. Dameron, Alexander Sammartino and Rebecca K Reilly, alongside new novels by Cormac James, Ashley Elston and Kristin Hannah. Happy reading ...

  28. The Other Valley by Scott Alexander Howard

    It's easy to draw me into a book with a unique, off-kilter world. So it's no surprise that The Other Valley, with its fascinating puzzle-logic and strange mores, immediately drew me in. In this world, time plays by different rules. Ten nearly identical valley communities sit side by side. However, each is on a different axis of time.

  29. Most Sold Fiction

    The Top 20 most sold and read books of the week. See this week's Top 20 Most Sold Fiction books from Amazon Charts. ... Charming, smart, heart-blistering, and heart-healing." —Danez Smith, The New York Times Book Review"We all need—we all deserve—this vibrant, love-affirming novel that bounds over any difference that claims to ...