There are thousands of books out there, but which ones are worth reading? What makes a book great?
The answer lies in the author’s ability to engage readers and their ability to connect with them emotionally. This is why some books are timeless classics, while others are simply forgotten.
So what books have stood the test of time? Read on for our list of the best novels ever written.
1. The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald’s first novel was published when he was 26 years old. It went on to become one of the most influential American novels of all time. In fact, it still has plenty to say about modern life even today.
2. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Lee wrote this classic after leaving her teaching job to focus on writing full-time. She later said that she had no idea how popular the book would be until long after its publication.
3. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Bronte wrote this Gothic masterpiece at just 18 years old, despite having been born into an aristocratic family who were not supportive of her literary ambitions.
4. Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Dostoyevsky’s philosophical crime drama set in 19th century Russia explores human nature and what happens when free will and self-sacrifice collide.
5. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Tolstoy’s epic novel tells the story of a woman whose personal life spirals out of control due to the actions of society, love and God.
6. Ulysses by James Joyce
Joyce’s 1922 novel was his breakthrough work, cementing his position as one of the world’s greatest writers. Its themes include stream-of consciousness, multiple personalities and mental illness.
7. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Lolita is regarded as one of the greatest English language novels ever written. It was inspired by the true story of Humbert Humbert, a professor who kidnapped Lolita, a girl aged 12, after pouncing on her whilst she was playing in the woods near her home.
8. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Frankestein was Mary Shelley’s only novel and remains one of the most enduring ghost stories around. Often adapted into film and television, the plot centres around Dr Victor Frankenstein and his monster, who struggles to gain independence.
9. Beloved by Toni Morrison
Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel follows a young African-American girl, Sethe, who is torn between staying with the abusive miner, Denver, or being reunited with her daughter, Pauline.
10. Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
Hardy’s second novel, published in 1874, focuses on two star crossed lovers: Bathsheba Everdene and Gabriel Oak. Who will triumph over adversity?
11. Remembrance Of Things Past by Marcel Proust
Marcel Proust’s seven volume novel made him famous across Europe during the first half of the 20th century. Spanning almost 50 years, the volumes follow the lives of several characters in turn-of-the-century Paris.
12. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Anthony Burgess’ 1962 dystopian novel, which won the New York Times Book Review Editors Choice Award, follows Alex, a violent teenager living in a future England.
13. The Sound And The Fury by William Faulkner
William Faulkner’s 1950 Nobel prize winning novel is composed of 14 interrelated narratives that examine humanity and culture.
14. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (1894)
This short story is part of William Faulkner’s Sanctuary series. In this version, we meet Benjy, a mentally retarded boy on a journey through the desert who must rely upon himself alone.
15. Light In August by William Faulkner
16. Absalom, Absalom! by William FaulknerA fictionalized account of the life of David, King of Israel, from his early days until his death. This book is often cited as one of the best works of fiction ever written.
17. Native Son by Richard Wright
Richard Wright’s 1940 novel about racism in post-World War II America is considered a classic. Bigger than life, it examines how black people are treated in American society.
18. Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
Thomas Pynchon’s 1973 novel is an intellectual thriller set in California just before World War II. The story involves a Nazi rocket scientist and a mysterious Jewish lawyer involved in a largeconspiracy.
19. V by Vladimir Nabokov (1955)
Vladimir Nabokov’s 1955 novel was awarded the prestigious Russian Booker Prize for Literature. V tells the story of Vera and Valka – two girls growing up in Russia in the 1890s.
20. Pale Fire by John Shade (1960)
John Shade’s 1960 novella was named one of the 100 Best Novels by Time Magazine. It also won the National Book Critics Circle award for fiction. Pale Fire centers on a poet whose career is cut short by insanity.
We also have few more recommendations in case you need: