Wondering which books to read next?
We all have different tastes when it comes to books and other reading material. However, no matter what your regular interests, there are books that have stood the test of time – and are still coming out on top.
These are the books that you have to read at some point in your life because they are that good – they will leave a permanent mark on you.
**A special thanks to our friends at Good Reads for sharing the information they have compiled. I could list 100 (but I won’t).
Here are 49 of the best books to read in your lifetime.
1. ) To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. Touching and heart-breaking. A lesson that life is not always fair, and not every story has a happy ending.
2.) One of my personal favorites: Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. A story about trailblazers and strong women.
3.) The Diary of Anne Frank, by Anne Frank. Read this book and immediately hop on a flight to Amsterdam to put it all in perspective.
4.) 1984, by George Orwell. This book was not prolific, and a little too close to the mark on some issues, but still worth a read.
5.) Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, by J.K Rowling. I have no shame in admitting that I love this series.
6.) The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R Tolkien. A series that I did not think I would like, but could read and watch over and over again.
7.) The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. A tale that will touch your imagination and break your heart. It challenges who you think people truly are.
9.) Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott. A much needed book about what it means to be strong, independent, yet dedicated all at once.
10.) Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte. A story that shows us that we are all beautiful in our own way.
11.) Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell. A tale of waste and opulence, to struggle and sacrifice.
13.) Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. Another series I assumed I would not like, but was not able to put down.
14.) The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. An example of what it really means to have courage and conviction.
15.) The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, by C.S Lewis. I remember reading this in 4th grade, and being given one of the greatest gifts of imagination I could hope for.
16.) The Lord ofthe Flies, by William Golding. This book tests the human will and spirit. It makes us question what we would do if we were faced with this degree of adversity.
17.) Hamlet, by William Shakespeare. Whether you are forced by a High School English teacher or not, no one should make it through life without reading this at least once.
19.) Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck. Just simply a classic. A book that is rare enough to make you think you know what is coming next, when you have no idea.
20.) A Tales of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens. All I can think of is, “It was the best of times, and it was the worst of times.”
21.) Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare. A story that has it all. Love, sacrifice, vengeance, grudges, and impulsivity.
22.) The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, By Douglas Adams. Simply a great read. Creative and thought-provoking.
23.) The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. One of those books that truly transports you, and stretches your imagination.
24.) A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. You must read the original to understand the true meaning. While there are a million movies made, all with their own spin on things, nothing beats the original.
25.) Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, by J.K Rowling. I will say it again: I am not afraid to admit how much I love the creativity and lessons about good and evil, friends and enemies, in these books.
26.) The Giver, by Lois Lowry. One that everyone should read and reflect upon. There should be a little of this in each of us.
27.) Where The Sidewalk Ends, by Shel Silverstein. I can remember hiding in a nook of my home and reading this over and over again as a child. I still own the originals as an adult.
29.) The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green. A touching book of strength, will, and acceptance.
30.) Anne of the Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery. I can’t imagine being a young girl and not read this at least once. Some will read it until it is rugged and worn.
31.) The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain. Another great by Mark Twain that is bound to give wisdom, which we will carry with us throughout our lives.
32.) Macbeth, by William Shakespeare. This is not just for High School English classes; it is a classic that is not to be missed.
33.) The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larrson. I genuinely find this entire series to be amazing. It is thought-provoking, has a strong female lead, and shows us that anyone can overcome adversity.
34.) Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley. I can’t even imagine anyone going through their lives without reading the original Frankenstein.
35.) The Colour Purple, by Alice Walker. A touching and too true story of what life was like for so many people during this awful time in our history. In many cases, it shows us the human spirit can overcome any adversity.
36.) Alice In Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll. I really can’t out my finger on how many things I love about the creativity and lessons of this book. One that every child, and adult, must read.
37.) In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote. A gripping and true story that lets us see into the minds of a killer.
38.) The Stand, by Stephen King. Yes it will scare you – but in the most amazing way.
39.) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K Rowling. I am sure you are seeing a pattern, but I can’t help it if she kept writing great books!
40.) Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy. Know that you are in for a good long read, but that it will not be one that you will regret the time commitment.
41.) Watership Down, by Richard Adams. One of those books that touches you in a way, and exposes you to feelings and experiences you may not otherwise have had at that age.
42.) Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden. A wonderful book that lets us into a world that we would not have otherwise imagined.
43.) A Game of Thrones, by George R.R Martin. If you think that you know the show and love it, the books will blow your mind.
44.) Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens. A true classic by Dickens. A book of adversity, dreams, and what we can all overcome.
44.) The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway. I don’t think I need a reason aside from the fact that it was written by Ernest Hemingway.
45.) The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle. Any of the books in this series are thought-provoking, humorous, and show you the meaning of genius and friendship in a way they are rarely seen.
46.) Harry Potter andthe Half Blood Prince, by J.K. Rowling. Shocker! Another Harry Potter Book. Get the series and you will get me.
47.) Life of Pi, by Yann Martel. While the movie was amazing, the book is that and a 100 times more. You are really missing out if you do not give this a read.
48.) The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne. A classic book that gives a glimpse at how one life has changed. What used to be forbidden and punishable is now commonplace and disposable.
49.) The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S Lewis. I feel like this entire series is a rite of passage for childhood.
Among these must-read books, which ones have you already read?
Reading is more than a pastime – it’s how we experience life through different lenses. Imagine every story, every song, woven through time. Then envision a life without it. Wouldn’t it be very sad?
Reading doesn’t need to feel like a chore. A few minutes everyday should be enough. So pick from among these best books to read and fill your life with wonder today.