Goodreads 100 Books You Should Read In A Lifetime

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Good Reads 100 Best Books Ever Written

Amazon has partnered Goodreads to create a list of the 100 Books You Should Read In A Lifetime.

This list was created and voted by avid readers on Goodreads. If you aren’t familiar with Goodreads, it is a social network site where members find and review books. It is a great way to get recommendations and see what your friends are reading. A reader’s candy store, in my opinion.

Bookmark or Pin this list and use it as you need for future book related needs.

Goodreads 100 Books You Should Read in a Lifetime

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  3. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  4. 1984 by George Orwell
  5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  6. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  7. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  8. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  9. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  10. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  11. Fahrenheit 451: A Novel by Ray Bradbury
  12. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  13. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  14. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  15. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  16. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  17. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  18. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  19. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  20. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  21. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  22. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  23. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  24. Night by Elie Wiesel
  25. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  26. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  27. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
  28. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  29. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  30. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  31. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  32. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
  33. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  34. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  35. The Little Prince by Antoine Saint-Exupery
  36. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
  37. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  38. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  39. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  40. Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  41. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  42. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  43. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  44. The Holy Bible: New King James Version by Thomas Nelson
  45. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  46. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas pere
  47. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  48. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  49. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  50. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  51. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  52. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  53. The Stand by Stephen King
  54. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
  55. Watership Down by Richard Adams
  56. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  57. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  58. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  59. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  60. Memoirs of a Geisha: A Novel by Arthur Golden
  61. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
  62. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
  63. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  64. Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire Book 1) by George R.R. Martin
  65. The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure by William Goldman
  66. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  67. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  68. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  69. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  70. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  71. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  72. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
  73. Catching Fire (The Hunger Games Book 2) by Suzanne Collins
  74. Water for Elephants: A Novel by Sara Gruen
  75. The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe
  76. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  77. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  78. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  79. The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel by Barbara Kingslover
  80. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
  81. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  82. The Odyssey by Homer
  83. Celebrating Silence: Excerpts From Five Years of Weekly Knowledge 1995-2000 by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
  84. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
  85. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
  86. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  87. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
  88. The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls
  89. Mockingjay (The Final Book of the Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins
  90. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
  91. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  92. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
  93. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  94. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
  95. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  96. Helen Keller: The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
  97. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  98. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
  99. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  100. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky


What do you think? Think they got it right? Or are there a couple that are missing?

And don’t forget to check out the 100 Best Books of 2013.

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  1. Vanessa says

    I have read 13 of these books and I spotted a few I would like to read. I would add Where The Fern Grows and Hatchet to the list. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Andrea says

    Overall a very good list. Two points I noticed: John Green does not have an e at the end of his last name (The Fault in our Stars author) and stating that the Bible is “by” Thomas Nelson is very incorrect. He may have edited the New King James Version, but the Bible is either by 22 different authors, or by God, depending on how you want to view it. None of those authors are Mr Nelson.

    • says

      Andrea – you are correct. I’ve adjusted my Green’s name and I agree about The Bible. Mr. Nelson was the publisher of this particular bible (and probably the study notes that go along with it).

  3. says

    Hey I found your blog at the linky party on I love your post. Will definitely have to add some of these to my already long reading list! Thanks so much!

  4. Sheila Marchbanks says

    Enjoyed going over the list and seeing the books that I have read and others that I can’t wait to get to. With that said, I was surprised that Maya Angelou’s phenomenal book, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” was not included on the list. It is definitely deserving. Thanks for the list!

  5. Baili says

    Love the list!!! I recommend that everyone read my top 3 favorite books (one of which you have in your list -Poisonwood Bible) the others are A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (same author as the Kite Runner) and Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.

  6. Tara says

    Hello, great list! A few that I thought were missing – The Clan of the Cave Bear (and The Valley of Horses) by Jean Auel, and The Beach by Alex Garland.

  7. Lauren says

    Why did you put only 4 out of the 7 Harry potter book on here? The entire series is wonderful! I have read about 20-30 books in this list! It’s a great list! I am looking for some fun summer reads and might try some of these!

  8. Sommer says

    The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom and Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt are two that are on my must read list.

  9. Laine says

    As a 17 year old girl, I have read 31 of these books and own a few more of them that are currently in my ‘to read’ pile, and now I have more to add to it!

  10. Claire says

    The Hunchback of Notre Dame would be a great addition to this list, it’s better than any of the 27 books off this lists that I’ve read (although some of those are really close calls!).

  11. Wendy Kinley says

    I must be a giant nerd, I have read 65 of these books! LOL! I am always surprised by which books do and don’t make these lists, I like that this one was done by people who have actually read them, rather than how many copies have been sold or what some reviewer thinks. Thanks for the post! :-)

  12. Michelle says

    Wow, a list that I’ve actually made a dent in! And by dent I mean 18. This is a great list to refer to. I’m sure lots of people can say “why didn’t you include…?”. Ultimately it’s a list of only 100, and we know there are thousands of great books out there. This one just give us a small taste.

  13. Laura says

    I agree that The Alchemist should be on this list as well. Also can’t believe Angelas Ashes by Frank McCourt didn’t make it. That is my all time favorite book. Who doesn’t love a memoir of a twisted family in impoverished Ireland!

    • Kathy Camasso says

      I think Angela’s Ashes should replace Gone Girl; I bought it due to the rave reviews and haven’t been able to force myself to finish it! I can’t believe it made this list. Angelas Ashes is much more deserving!

  14. Jack C. Ivy says

    Oh, I think you’ve missed many must reads. The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye, The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham and One Second After by William R. Forstchen just to name a few. Not to mention the fact that you have left Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand off your list.

  15. says

    I thought reading 20 out of 100 on the list was good! I need to read more :) Also… I wish one of my favorite authors made it: Leon Uris. I love his historical novels.

  16. Anamika says

    I would love to read all that I haven’t read. :)
    And, I would also like to say that War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy should be in the list.
    Since, John Green is there therefore, I would say try Nicholas Spark if you haven’t tried, he is the best in that genre.

  17. Kim says

    This is an awesome list. I surprised at how many I’ve read. Also how many are on my Goodread “to read” shelf. Thanks for sharing.

  18. leslie blackwell says

    Great list. I have always been an avid reader but in the consideration of time, wish that some of these (I know this is dangerous territory) would be translated and (dare I say it?) condensed so that the more average among us can get some of the benefits of great literature without the frustration and commitment that these 1000 plus page tomes require. Surely in this day of ebooks this could be an attractive moneymaker for some publishing company?? The one book that I did not notice (and I am sure that we could all come up with just one book that we think should be on this list) would be The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom.

  19. Karen Baird says

    I think every reader has books that they would add to this list. One of mine would be Down To A Sunless Sea by David Graham. Not exactly a happy read, but certainly thought-provoking.

  20. Kathy Camasso says

    I’m surprised to see that I’ve only read 18 of these but I do own several on the list that I just haven’t gotten to yet.

  21. Helene says

    I can not believe “Gone Girl” is on this list!
    Surely there was another book that was more deserving!
    Makes me question how this list was put together.
    Just my two cents….

    • says

      Oh, I love Gone Girl!!! It was one of those books that I didn’t realize what was going on till I got half way through and THEN it was like a roller coaster ride.

  22. Monica says

    What a wonderful list I have only read 11 out of the 100! I do own about another 10 out of the list that I still haven’t read but am anxiously wating to start them!

  23. Tina Stracener says

    You have some really good books here… but are you saying they are ‘good reads’ or ‘the 100 best books ever written’?

  24. Susan T says

    Lonesome Dove. Mists of Avalon. Power of One. I’m sure I will think of more but those are the glaring ones missing. I have read all but 8 of these and totally agree with you. Looking forward to the recommendations that I haven’t read. (All classics).

  25. Gracie says

    I can’t believe no one has said or put on the list The outsiders of looking for Alaska lol but other than that it’s a very nice list

  26. Anakhonda says

    Thanks for the list, but i think it should be call “goodreads: 100 books IN ENGLISH you should read in a life time”
    i mean, what about:
    “Cien años de soledad” by Gabriel García Márquez
    “Doña Bárbara” by Rómulo Gallegos
    “Don Quijote” by Miguel de Cervantes
    “Azul” by Rubén Darío

    and many other books writed in spanish (that have their english translations), i mean, this list its ok and i have read maybe 8 or 10 of them, but i think it was a mistake not include books like those i mentioned before. But this is just my opinion, i don’t want to offend anyone :)

  27. David says

    I would also add 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, Call of the Wild by Jack London, the Arabian Nights, Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey, and the Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper:)

    • Thebookhouse says

      I found 19 new books I need to read. I have read eighty-one in my journey and will add many more along the way. Hans Christian Anderson started my love of reading when I was just beginning to read.

  28. Edna says

    Everyone should read the Bible, but the New World Translation 2013 Edition is much easier to understand than the King James Version.

  29. mariam says

    Great list , more than half of my favourite book are on it. I hate doing this, but the Alchemist for Paulo Coelho should be on the top of this list. One of the few books that inspired people world wide despite race ,culture or ethnicity.

  30. Lori says

    I would like to add Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. It is among one of the best books I have read, and I’ve read a lot (including 52 of the ones on your list), and my 15-year old son agrees that it is a great book!

  31. Lisa says

    So many great books! I’m proud to say I’ve read 61 of them. 61! Is that all?? I’d better start reading Harry Potter and The Hunger Games…not.

  32. Rose says

    How can you put “The Hunger Games” on a list with classics like “The Odyssey” and Mary Shelly’s “Frankenstein”.

  33. fernanda says

    it’s a good list, but i hope it’s not like ‘the first is the best’, cause there’s no way john green is better than dostoyevsky.

  34. ThatWriterDude says

    I agree with Jack C. Ivy (with the notable exception of Ayn Rand). Some examples I’d have added include either “The Secret History” or “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt, “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion, “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay” by Michael Chabon, something by Chuck Pahluniak, “The Corrections” by Jonathan Franzen” and something by E. Annie Proulx. This list seems to lean a bit too heavily on recent uber-popular fiction, with way too much kid and teen lit. THREE “Hunger Games” novels? FOUR of the “Harry Potter” books? If nothing else, the series should take up one entry each and leave room for arguably more deserving books. I have nothing against these books specifically; I just think that any list suggesting what one should read “in a lifetime” should be more inclusive and broad than the top-40 selection at the airport shop on a given weekend.

  35. Brandi says

    I’ve read 33 on this list. Although some of these are laughable as ‘best books ever written’. The Hunger Games series was fine, but ‘Best books ever written’? You’ve got to be kidding me. They’re simplistic. Also, I personally hated 90% of Water for Elephants. Good ending, but otherwise, an awful book. But.. then again.. I greatly prefer classic lit, so I may be biased. :)

  36. rosemary says

    i would add Runemarks (by Joanne Harris), The Outsiders (by S.E. Hinton) and The Queen of Attolia (by Megan Whalen Turner) to this list.

  37. says

    I have read 41 of the books on this list and while I enjoyed most of them, I have to say I very very strongly disliked the Pillars of the Earth. So much cruelty in this book I truly wish I never read it because it really bothered me. Objectively, the story was interesting but jeez, the language and repeated acts of inhumanity were truly awful to me. On a happier note, Dracula, The Book Thief, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Life of Pi are some of my favorites on here. Not to mention the Harry Potter and Hunger Games series!

  38. says

    This is more like the 100 books you’re most likely to be assigned in high school. Or maybe 100 books you should have read by the time you graduate from college.

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