Judging which are the best books of all time is a nearly impossible task. To do it, we’ve compiled some of the most impressive and enduring literary works. Every title we’ve chosen (and we realize that no list of this nature is objective or complete) is a novel or work of nonfiction that has impressed, inspired, and endured. To narrow the list, we’ve excluded plays and poetry. Here are some of the best books of all time.
- The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald
The main character is incredibly rich, but he does not seek happiness in money and luxury. The tragic love story of Gatsby unfolds before the reader against the backdrop of a picture of the life of the depraved and cynical society of post-war America.
2) Anna Karenina by Leo TolstoyA novel about the tragic love between a married lady, Anna Karenina and a brilliant officer Vronsky, against the background of the happy family life of the nobles Konstantin Lyovin and Kitty Shtcherbatskaya.
3) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The story of the orphan Jane, at an early age left without parents in the care of her evil aunt, Mrs. Reed, later given education in a poor boarding house, and at a more mature age earning money for a life as a teacher in a rich home
4) The adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Tom Sawyer is a 12-year-old orphaned bully who lives with a strict but loving aunt. Like all tomboys, he hates school and is always on the lookout for adventure.
5) The picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Handsome Dorian Gray comes to London and plunges into the abyss of base passions and crimes. The famous artist paints a portrait of Dorian, and the young man passionately falls in love with his own image – after all, it will forever preserve the beauty of youth.
6) Gulliver`s Travels by Jonathan Swift
The famous novel about the wonderful and exciting adventures of Lemuel Gulliver, an excellent ship doctor who finds himself in wonderful lands and meets unusual people – giants and midgets.
7) Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
This novel describes the fate of the English medical scientist, and later the physicist Griffin, who invented an apparatus that makes a person invisible.
8) Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The story of Pip – a boy from a simple peasant family, who unexpectedly gets the opportunity to “break out into the people” and enter the best London society, and Estella, whom her guardian – a half-mad aristocrat – made an instrument of her revenge, raising from her a fatal beauty who breaks men’s hearts
9) Alice’s adventures in Wonderland by Lewis CarrolA story about a girl, Alice, who gets into the magical world and meets fabulous creatures. The book “Alice in Wonderland” is about how the inner world of a person can be extremely bright and attractive.
10) Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The story tells about the inner conflict of a person after a murder. These contradictory feelings kill him morally and physically, because, by nature, he is not capable of committing a crime.
11) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The story of a small sleepy town in the South of America, told by a little girl. The story of her brother Jim, Dill’s friend, and her father, the honest, principled lawyer Atticus Finch, one of the last and best representatives of the old “southern aristocracy.”
12) Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
The books chronicle the adventures of the young wizard Harry Potter, as well as his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, who study at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The main plot is dedicated to the confrontation between Harry and a dark wizard named Lord Voldemort.
13) Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
The story tells about the adventures of a man who lived on a desert island, where he was thrown during a shipwreck for 28 years.
14) Little Women by Louisa M.Alcott
The story of the March family, in which four friendly but dissimilar sisters grow up, includes the recognizable vicissitudes of youth, growing up, friendship and love.
15) Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov“The Master and Margarita” is a brilliant masterpiece created by Mikhail Bulgakov, a mesmerizing mystical devil, revealing eternal themes: true love and fidelity, good and evil, death and immortality.
16) The Little Prince by Antonie De Saint – ExuperyThe tale tells the story of the Little Prince who visits various planets in space, including Earth. The book addresses the themes of loneliness, friendship and love.
17) Dracula by Bram StokerThe story of a young lawyer who meets Dracula on his way, who in turn wants to use the guy for his own purposes.
18) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury The story tells about a world of the future, in which all written publications are ruthlessly destroyed by a special squad of firefighters, and the possession of books is prosecuted.
19) A Doll`s House by Henrik Ibsen
The author raises 2 central problems of that time: the position of women in society and the freedom of the human personality.
20) War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
The well-known classic epic novel by Leo Tolstoy tells about a difficult, turbulent period in the history of Russia and all of Europe – the era of Emperor Napoleon’s campaigns of conquest in Eastern Europe and Russia, from 1805 to 1812. The author tells in detail about the War – about the course of hostilities from Austerlitz to Borodino and Berezina; and about the Peace – life in Russia at the same time is shown, and the pen of the writer covers all strata of society – noble families, peasants, townspeople, soldiers and even emperors.
21) Pride and Prejudice by Jane AustenThis is a romantic love story between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, set against the backdrop of the complex customs of early 19th century English society. The novel describes the events taking place in the life of the respected but not wealthy Bennet family, with 5 daughters between the ages of 15 and 20.
22) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
In the history of world literature, 19-year-old Mary Shelley’s cult Frankenstein is at the origin of the science fiction genre. This dark, unusually strong story about a scientist whose invention turned into a tragedy for him and for those around him, anticipated the pessimistic motives of many modern science fiction works.
23) 1984 by George OrwellThe novel takes place in the state of Oceania, where a totalitarian regime reigns. Everything is ruled by the Party led by Big Brother. The government took over everything. Up to the thoughts of its citizens. The right to choose, freedom of speech and even personal privacy are all luxuries that the inhabitants of Oceania are deprived of. This is complete control over a person. Constant surveillance and denunciations. Own thoughts, feelings and emotions are unacceptable. The only thing that matters is the Party and its ideology.
24) Anne from Green Gables by L.M. MontgomeryMarilla and Matthew Cuthbert of Greengate, on Prince Edward Island, decide to adopt a boy from an orphanage. But by an unforeseen coincidence, the girl, Ann Shirley, gets to them.
25) A Christmas Carol by Charles DickensThe magical story that happened on Christmas Eve with Mr. Scrooge gives hope that even the most callous, heartless person, in whose soul, it seemed, a fierce cold has settled forever, one day can be transformed and become the kindest, sympathetic and generous.
26) Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind
It is a story of a man whose “genius and phenomenal vanity were limited to a sphere that leaves no trace in history – the volatile kingdom of smells.”
28) The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
The storyline is based on a very useful for thought story of the main character named Santiago, who was a poor shepherd, but after he had a wonderful dream, his life changed dramatically for the better.
29) The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Artwood
The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel by Canadian writer Margaret Atwood. It takes place in New England in the near future. The US government was overthrown and a totalitarian theocracy was established. This is a dystopian novel about the oppression of women and the pursuit of freedom.
30) It by Stephen King
This is a story about seven friends who live in Maine, the fictional city of Derry. Children have united in the “Losers Club”, as each of them is trying to kill a mysterious monster that hunts down little guys.
31) The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Brothers Karamazov is one of the few successful attempts in world literature to combine a fascinating thriller novel, as we would say now, with the depths of philosophical thought. Philosophy and psychology of “crime and punishment”, the dilemma of “socialization of Christianity”, the eternal struggle of “God” and “devil” in the souls of people – these are the main ideas of this brilliant work.
32) Moby-Dick, or The Whale by Herman Melville
At the center of Melville’s novel “Moby Dick, or the White Whale” is a deadly confrontation between the brave captain of the whaling ship Ahab and the giant white whale, personifying the world’s evil.
33) One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
“One Hundred Years of Solitude” tells the story of the fictional city of Macondo, located somewhere in Latin America. It is the life of seven generations of the Buendía family, whose history will be completed at the same time as the city.
34) The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
“The Lord of the Rings” by John Tolkien tells the story of the Great War of the Ring, a war that lasted for thousands of years. He who possesses the Ring gains power over all living and dead, but at the same time, he must serve Evil. The young hobbit Frodo is destined to destroy the Ring.
35) The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
The plot of the novel by Arthur Conan Doyle “The Hound of the Baskervilles” (1902), is based on an old Devonshire legend that the author accidentally heard and on the motives of English Gothic novels. Investigation into the strange death of the last member of an ancient aristocratic family leads Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to a cunning killer who staged a hoax with the attack of a monstrous dog, which, according to legend, has long haunted the Baskerville family.
36) Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The novel covers events that took place over 12 years, from 1861 to 1873. This is the story of the civil war between the northern industrial and southern agricultural states of America.
37) The Green Mile by Stephen King
The story is told from the perspective of Paul Edgecomb, a former warden at the Louisiana Federal Penitentiary, Cold Mountain, and now a resident of the Georgia Pines Nursing Home. Paul tells his friend Elaine Connelly about the events that took place over 50 years ago, 1932.
38) Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin
The novel in verse covers the events from 1819 to 1825: from the foreign campaigns of the Russian army after the defeat of Napoleon to the uprising of the Decemberists. The plot of the novel is simple. At the center of the narration is the love story of Eugene Onegin and Tatiana Larina.
39) Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
Divine Comedy (“Divina Commedia”) – a creation that brought Dante immortality. Why Dante called his work a comedy, is clear from his treatise “De vulgarie eloquentia” and from the dedication to Kangrande: the comedy begins with terrible and disgusting scenes (Hell), and ends with beautiful pictures of paradise bliss.
40) The Odyssey by Homer
The poem tells about the 10-year wanderings of Odysseus – the hero of the Trojan War, who angered Poseidon, who prevents him from returning to his native Ithaca. The action covers the last 40 days of the journey, and the rest is recounted in flashbacks. The book raises the themes of returning home, women’s love and fidelity, the relationship between fathers and children.
41) The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
The novel takes place in the British colony of New York in August 1757, at the height of the Seven Years’ War. Part of the novel is devoted to the events after the attack on Fort William Henry, when, with the tacit consent of the French, their Indian allies massacred several hundred surrendered English soldiers and settlers.
42) The Headless Horseman by Mayne Reid
The plot of the novel tells a detective story full of intriguing mysteries, cruel betrayals, unrequited love, with notes of drama, and most importantly, friendship, murders, revenge, the Texas prairie, wild mustangs and, of course, the fearsome and terrible headless horseman. All this creates an incredibly fun and adventurous romance with its own special atmosphere.
43) Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
The plot focuses on the problem of slavery in America and cruelty towards black-skinned people. The novel caused a great public outcry; according to some estimates, it exacerbated one of the local slavery conflicts so much that it resulted in the American Civil War.
44) For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
“For Whom the Bell Tolls” is one of Hemingway’s best novels. The tragic story of a young American who came to Spain during the civil war. A brilliant and sad book about war and love, true courage and self-sacrifice, moral duty and the enduring value of human life.
45) The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
The Sound and the Fury is set in Jefferson, Mississippi. The main storyline tells the story of the collapse and extinction of one of the aristocratic families of the American South – the Compsons.
So that`s it. I really hope you enjoyed reading this article and you will take note of a few books from this list:)