50 The ToP Books to Read in Your Lifetime

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 are, 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.

Below you will find 50 of the best books to read in your lifetime (I could list 100, but I won’t!).

Best Books to Read #1. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.

books to read to kill a mockingbird

Touching and heart-breaking.

A lesson that life is not always fair, and not every story has a happy ending.

#2. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

books to read Pride and Prejudice

A story about trailblazers and strong women.

One of my personal favorites.

#3. The Diary of Anne Frank, by Anne Frank

anne frank

Read this book and immediately hop on a flight to Amsterdam to put it all in perspective.

Best Books to Read #4. 1984, by George Orwell

books to read 1984 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

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

I have no shame in admitting that I love this series.

Also, read these classic Dumbledore quotes.

#6. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R Tolkien

books to read The Lord of the Rings

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

The Great Gatsby

A tale that will touch your imagination and break your heart.

It challenges who you think people truly are.

Best Books to Read #8. Charlotte’s Web, by E.B White

books to read Charlotte's Web

I picture myself reading this over and over as a child.

A real lesson in friendship and sacrifice.

#9. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott

books to read Little Women

A much-needed book about what it means to be strong, independent, yet dedicated all at once.

Best Books to Read #10. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre

A story that shows us that we are all beautiful in our own way.

#11. Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell

Gone with the Wind

A tale of waste and opulence, to struggle and sacrifice.

#12. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

A classic by Mark Twain that gives us some of the greatest quotes of our time.

#13. Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.

books to read The Hunger Games

Another series I assumed I would not like, but was not able to put down.

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Best Books to Read #14. The Help, by Kathryn Stockett.

The Help

An example of what it really means to have courage and conviction.


#15. The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, by C.S Lewis.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

I remember reading this in 4th grade and being given one of the greatest gifts of imagination I could hope for.

#16. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding.

Lord of the Flies

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.

Also see these Lord of the Flies quotes for more insights.

Best Books to Read #17. Hamlet, by William Shakespeare.

William Shakespeare - Hamlet

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.

#18. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle.

The Wrinkle in Time

A tale of true imagination and possibilities.

#19. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck.

Of Mice and Men

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.

A Tale of Two Cities

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.

Romeo and Juliet

A story that has it all.

Love, sacrifice, vengeance, grudges, and impulsivity.

#22. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, By Douglas Adams.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Simply a great read.

Creative and thought-provoking.

#23. The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Books to Read The Secret Garden

One of those books that truly transports you, and stretches your imagination.

Best Books to Read #24. A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens.

A Christmas Carol

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.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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.

Best Books to Read #26. The Giver, by Lois Lowry.

The Giver

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.

Where the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and Drawings

I can remember hiding in a nook of my home and reading this over and over again as a child.

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I still own the originals as an adult.

#28. Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte.

books to read Wuthering Heights

No adolescent experience would be complete without this book!

#29. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green.

books to read The Fault in Our Stars

A touching book of strength, will, and acceptance.

Also, check out our collection of quotes from The Fault in Our Stars.

Best Books to Read #30. Anne of the Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

books to read Anne of Green Gables

I can’t imagine being a young girl and not reading this at least once.

Some will read it until it is rugged and worn.

#31. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain.

books to read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

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.

books to read William Shakespeare - Macbeth

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.

books to read The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo

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.

Best Books to Read #34. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley.

books to read Frankenstein

I can’t even imagine anyone going through their lives without reading the original Frankenstein.

Also, check out our collection of thought-provoking Frankenstein quotes.

#35. The Colour Purple, by Alice Walker.

The Color Purple

A touching and true story of what life was like for so many people during this awful time in our history.

In many cases, it shows us how to deal with adversity with the human spirit.

#36. Alice In Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll.

Alice In Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll

I really can’t put 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.

books to read In Cold Blood

A gripping and true story that lets us see into the minds of a killer.

Best Books to Read #38. The Stand, by Stephen King.

The Stand

Yes, it will scare you – but in the most amazing way.

#39. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K Rowling.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

I am sure you are seeing a pattern, but I can’t help it if she keeps writing great books!

If you’re enjoying this article, be sure to check out our collection of the best motivational books for personal development.

Best Books to Read #40. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy.

Anna Karenina

Know that you are in for a good long read, but that it will not be one that you will regret the time commitment.

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#41. Watership Down, by Richard Adams.

Watership Down

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.

Memoirs of a Geisha

A wonderful book that lets us into a world that we would not have otherwise imagined.

Best Books to Read #43. A Game of Thrones, by George R.R Martin.

A Game of Thrones

If you think that you know the show and love it, the books will blow your mind.

#44. Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens.

Great Expectations

A true classic by Dickens.

A book of adversity, dreams, and what we can all overcome.

#45. The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway.

The Old Man and The Sea

I don’t think I need a reason aside from the fact that it was written by Ernest Hemingway.

#46. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle.

The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes

Any of the books in this series are thought-provoking and humorous, and show you the meaning of genius and friendship in a way they are rarely seen.

#47. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J.K. Rowling.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Shocker! Another Harry Potter Book.

Get the series and you will get me.

Best Books to Read #48. Life of Pi, by Yann Martel.

Books to Read Life of Pi

While the movie was amazing, the book is that and 100 times more.

You are really missing out if you do not give this a read.

#49. The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

books to read the scarlet letter

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.

Best Books to Read #50. The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S Lewis.

books to read

I feel like this entire series is a rite of passage for childhood.

Among these books to read in your lifetime, 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 every day should be enough.

So pick from among these best books to read and fill your life with wonder today!

How many of these books have you already read?

Which one would you like to read next?

Tell us in the comment section!

We would love to hear from you.

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  1. Frederick Beiderbecke

    March 7, 2020 at 8:59 PM

    There’s a bookmark put out by Barnes and Noble that has their choice of 50 books. Personally, couldn’t you have just listed the Harry Potter series as a whole to clear the way for a few more choices for those of us who prefer not to read Harry Potter? Otherwise, I like your choices, and some of them intrigued me, which is good; however, I’m puzzled as to why you didn’t pick Hamlet…but then I suppose a list like this should have some surprises. I started to read the Harry Potter series, but somehow the witchcraft element bothered me, so I stopped. That’s not to say they aren’t great books, it’s just at this stage in my life I’d rather read about something else.

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