29 Best Books Of All Time

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Best books of all time - A dark room filled with books & lighted by lights.
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Writing has been sustained for ages. Human experiences found their way into writing and to books later on.

Books take you to an imagined world where you forget everything else. Sometimes, however, books get you out of fascination and give an account of reality.

Sometimes, they feed your imagination, while often, they come off as imagination.

Possibilities are endless, so are books. Finding the best book means finding something that’s tried and tested and benefitted many in different ways.

Books open up opportunities, and those that have survived the test of time can essentially have so much to offer.

Following are some of the best books of all time from different genres, and there’s certainly one for everyone from bookworms to casual readers. So jump right into it.

Best Fiction Books Of All Time

The Infatuations (2011) by Javier Marías (Best Books of All Time)

The National Novel Prize-winning novel by an award-winning Spanish author has a lot to do with ranking on the best book page.

Although seemingly a murder mystery, the story doesn’t stay so when Maria, the narrator, and main character, comes in contact with Javier through a perfect couple she used to admire.

What happens when she learns about the murderer of Miguel – the man she earlier used to see every day who’s been killed now and how her obsession with Javier takes over the truth. The novel keeps you engaged till the very last page. A great work of Spanish literature to make you fall in love with books.

The Catcher in the Rye (1951) by J. D. Salinger (Best Books of All Time)

A-frame story and first-person narrative in which Holden Caulfield, a young man, and the narrator, addresses the reader directly to tell the story of those two days after his expulsion from his school.

Holden loses his innocence in a world of phonies and feels disillusioned. This coming-of-age tale would look familiar to you, especially to younger readers, as you go on a ride to discover his life.

Things Fall Apart (1958) by Chinua Achebe (Best Books of All Time)

One of the greatest novels in African history glorifying its culture and rituals and Achebe’s debut novel.

In 2019, the novel made it through the BBC news list of 100 most influential novels. It’s also a part of the curriculum in schools and colleges globally due to its impact on readers.

The novel’s central theme is the change brought by missionaries and colonization in Nigerian society.

The novel opens in a village whose leader is Okonkwo of the Umuofia clan. He strictly follows manly rules not to follow his father’s footsteps and works in a culturally rich community.

Later in the novel, Okonkwo gets expelled from the village for murdering, though unknowingly.

The rest of the novel deals with how his life and Igbo society’s fate changes due to colonization. The narrative’s ending is gloomy.

Great Expectations (1860-61) by Charles Dickens (Best Books of All Time)

When it comes to the best books, you can’t miss out on Dickens’s work. The book was an instant success and gave us unforgettable characters like Miss Havisham.

The novel has multiple genres, including bildungsroman, comic, gothic, crime, and historical, and has been turned into various media.

Dickens introduces you to Pip, his protagonist, who aspires to become a blacksmith and rise in status and succeeds in doing so but after so many trials and learnings.

He matures and realizes the meaning of loyalty, integrity, and virtue – the characteristics of the Victorian era to which the novel belongs.

Best Nonfiction Books Of All Time

A Room of One’s own (1929) by Virginia Woolf (Best Books of All Time)

In this extended essay, Woolf speaks about the struggles of women of being a writer in a patriarchal society. The book holds the same popularity as Woolf.

It emphasizes the need for women’s financial freedom to control men, and they’d rather lose their intellectuality. Woolf being a feminist, raised the issue of feminism a long ago, telling the lack of women writers in history books.

The Invisible Man (1952) by Ralph Ellison (Best Books of All Time)

This book has the power of tearing you up and leaving you teary-eyed. Being criticized for having no solid female characters by the black feminists, this National Book Award winner novel lets you see racially segregated American society with the eyes of a black man.

The story revolves around the unnamed narrator who experiences trust breach at every step of his life from whites and how the American dream proves to be only deceit for the African-American in this novel. Essential reading for book lovers.

Best Romance Books Of All Time

Pride and Prejudice (1813) by Jane Austen (Best Books of All Time)

Open first page of Pride and Prejudice with roses and coffee around it.
By: Elaine Howlin on Unsplash. Copyright 2019

Comedy, romance, satire, love-hate relationships, courtship, and nearly everything are in just one novel. The book doesn’t confuse you with a social message that class differences can form a human bias.

It is a timeless tale that shows the condition of the women at that time when their sole purpose was to secure a wealthy match.

The beautifully written novel presents the hit-and-miss affair between the two. But Elizabeth, the protagonist, refuses to do so. However, she falls for the wealthy Mr. Darcy in the end, but the feelings are mutual.

Jane Eyre (1847) by Charlotte Brontë (Best Books of All Time)

Brontë wrote this book with the pseudonym Currer Bell, and it’s considered a semi-autobiographical novel. It presents the classic tale of orphan Jane who leads an unhappy life at her aunt’s house and later at a school.

Then she moved to become a governess at Thornfield Hall, where she falls in love with her master Rochester. Jane’s happy life gets interrupted when she learns about Rochester’s first wife.

The novel is a coming-of-age story with gothic elements. This classic novel is undoubtedly going to hook you up till the end.

Gothic Best Books Of All Time

To Kill A Mockingbird (1960) by Harper Lee (Best Books of All Time)

It’s not a ghost story, but a story of a clever young girl, Scout Finch, who acts like a tomboy. Her experiences of growing up in a town of Alabama of Southern American society make it a coming of age story and one of the best classic novels.

However, Harper Lee chose it to convey the racial injustice of the African Americans during the Depression in the 1930s. The book was published later in 1960.

The book also explores the plight of a black man Tom Robinson in a racial society and the issue of feminism where Finch being a tomboy, is asked to fit in.

Frankenstein (1818) by Mary Shelley (Best Books of All Time)

The story needs no introduction as it’s been liked by many people, and despite gothic elements, it has an emotional appeal. Shelley’s story has romantic aspects because of its depiction of nature using captivating figurative language.

This science-fiction takes you on a ride to a frame story where Victor Frankenstein animates a hideous creature and rejects it. Consequently, he had to deal with the harsh results of his actions.

The novel presents the monster’s tale of his learning into the human world, where he feels alone. The plot has interwoven stories following from a giant telling his side to Victor and Victor telling it to Walton, a sailor.

Suggested Reading: 8 New Horror Movies To Check out

Best Historical Fiction Books Of All Time

The Great Gatsby (1925) by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Best Books of All Time)

A book cover of The Great Gatsby in a white background.
By: Girl with the red hat on Unsplash. Copyright 2021

One of the greatest works of American literature, The Great Gatsby, is a tragedy and a modern classic. Its success can be measured by the various films and television series that bear its name time and again, from 1926’s silent film to many others made in 1949, 1974, and 2013.

In an attempt to get back his love and realize the American dream, Jay Gatsby meets his tragic fate.

The story is narrated by a first world war veteran Nick Carraway, in the first person who travels to New York City to make money and realize the inequalities present between the rich and middle class.

The novel, written decades ago, has the historical background of the American Jazz age portraying the essence of moral decay and the grim reality of the era.

Atonement (2001) by Ian McEwan (Best Books of All Time)

A cautionary tale of a 13-year-old Briony Tallis after world war ii told from her perspective to misunderstand the romance between her sister Cecilia and Robbie Turner – a maid’s son.

The plot covers how Briony accuses Robbie of a crime he didn’t commit and how their lives change with this act of innocence. It follows with her repentance and everlasting guilt.

Beloved (1987) by Toni Morrison (Best Books of All Time)

Pulitzer Prize-winning novel tells the scathing tale of slaves of Cincinnati, Ohio. It mainly gives the account of Sethe, a slave mother of four kids who tried to kill them to save them from being slaves again.

How house 124 gets haunted by an unknown ghost where Sethe returns from slavery to freedom but couldn’t find is what you’re going to experience in this creepy and terrifying haunting tale.

Best Books Of All Time – Biographies

The Story of My Experiments with Truth (1927-1929) by Mahatma Gandhi (Best Books of All Time)

Gandhi’s life and his nonviolence are alien to none. He wrote this book on one of his prisoner friends’ insistence. In this book, he covers his life’s learning and struggles from early childhood to 1921.

The main things covered in the book are how he learned his principles, the importance of truth, his stay in racist South African society, the pursuit of nonviolence demanding equality in African society, and later his struggles in forming the base of India’s independence.

Diary of Anne Frank (1947) by Anne Frank (Best Books of All Time)

The horrific reality, not a tale, where a girl goes through a period where Jewish were considered inhuman, and Anne was a Jewish girl.

Hitler’s cruel regime and the plight of Jewish under the Nazi government, specifically of Anne and the people hiding in a place during the second world war to escape the horrors of concentration camps or death, cover the book’s pages.

How a lively girl forced to live sheltered for fear of being killed, her process of experiencing terrible cruelty and noting them in her diary, which was her best friend at that time, are the things you need to be grateful for.

Above all else, the book is the most read nonfiction book globally and has its place globally in school curriculums.

Long Walk to Freedom (1994) by Nelson Mandela (Best Books of All Time)

The former South African President’s life story is awe-inspiring and takes you around the journey of a hero born in an era of racial discrimination.

The book abolishes this cruel regime and gives black people their rights while struggling and even sacrificing themselves.

This delightful autobiography engages readers from page to page and from Mandela’s years of imprisonment to his victory over apartheid to his presidency to a role model for the whole world.

Best Books Of All Time For Women

I Am Malala – The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban (2013) by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb (Best Books of All Time)

As it is apparent from the title itself that the girl dares to stand up not just for herself but for every other girl. Her love for education and sense of its importance in a girl’s life made her dare to challenge the terror force.

For her courage and initiative, she became the youngest person to receive the Nobel peace prize in 2014, and it’d not be surprising to know that her autobiography became the national bestseller.

The book does so much more than that, stating her life account as it has proved that nothing is ordinary and anyone, especially a girl having immense courage and righteous deeds, can become a role model for the rest of the people.

Mrs. Dalloway (1925) by Virginia Woolf (Best Books of All Time)

A twentieth-century masterpiece is coming from a master of her art. The lives of Clarissa and Septimus Warren Smith are interwoven in a post-world war society.

Employing the stream of consciousness technique is complementary to a society that hasn’t fully recovered from the horrors of war.

This way, Woolf gives an account of characters’ inner thoughts with no plot as life after war seems unstable.

Clarissa’s inner confinement is brilliantly matched with war victim Septimus Warren Smith. The novel depicts the impacts of war in post-war London.

The Color Purple (1982) by Alice Walker (Best Books of All Time)

This one has been given so much appraisal and objections for its content. The novel collected the Pulitzer Prize in 1983 and National Book Award for Fiction.

It is written in letters that Celie wrote to the God she used to confide in. She starts with an uneducated and meek girl but develops into a confident young woman who doesn’t need someone to complete her.

This groundbreaking novel relates with controversial yet timely issues of mistreating and harassing women with patriarchy treating them unjustly defying their existence.

And mainly when Celie loves her husband’s mistress, Shug, and later rejects her husband to move in with her.

Best Books Of All Time For Self-Improvement

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (1989) by Stephen Covey (Best Books of All Time)

A book that provides you with some principles and clearly understands how you are responsible for creating your future.

It became the best-selling nonfiction book by Covey and made it to “The 25 Most Influential Business Management Books” of Time magazine.

The author clarifies that you need a strong character ethic to gain success, and these principles offer you the same.

Taking charge of your situation makes you a leader. Seeing the benefit of achieving a target ensures a team’s success, and living an organized life free of distractions are the principles he presents to you to live by.

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones (2018) by James Clear (Best Books of All Time)

Two books, Thinking Fast and Slow & Atomic Habits on each other.
By: Lala Azizli on Unsplash. Copyright 2020

The no. 1 New York Times bestseller introduces you to a system to get what you want by forming the desired habits and getting rid of old ones that don’t serve you.

Habits ensure a successful life, and success isn’t a target but a whole process. The book explains how to form any habit that leads to a life of your choice. In short, a formula for success.

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance (2016) by Angela Duckworth (Best Books of All Time)

Duckworth believes that success requires consistency and a clear goal for which you are passionate. She doesn’t believe in the popular definition of success of having something extraordinary to get to the top.

Hard work counts and is essential to sustain in the long run. The combination of a determined goal and persistence is what grit is.

The author says grit can be developed and is flexible. A growth mindset has an essential role in developing and maintaining grit.

Best Books Of All Time For Health

Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life (2016) by Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia (Best Books of All Time)

A hand showing the Ikigai book.
By: Shreesha bhat on Unsplash. Copyright 2021

Ikigai is the equivalent of the life of your dreams. In this bestseller, you find a bunch of advice that is well established for ages in Okinawa, Japan, where people live longer lives than you can imagine.

Their lives’ secrets are shared in this well-known work of art. How you can live the same fulfilling lives is what this book offers.

Why We Sleep (2017) by Matthew Walker (Best Books of All Time)

Maybe you know about the apparent answer of why you sleep, but there’s much more than evident in this bestseller.

Walker discussed the fundamentals of sleep, and by the end of this book, you would be able to prioritize sleep which can transform your life.

And I mean it because you don’t pay to get a whole night’s sleep. Still, you miss it. It not just makes you lazy but brings a lot of diseases, and nothing goes right from then on. This one is a must for a mental shift.

How To Stop Worrying & Start Living (1948) by Dale Carnegie (Best Books of All Time)

Each one of us wants to do that but still doesn’t do it. We are stuck in our mundane lives packed with unnecessary stress like Carnegie, who then tried to find the solution, wrote this book.

To live your best life and not lose it in little annoying things, you must take charge of happiness in your hands but lose worries in your everyday life.

Being less offended by others, more engaged in work, and living for others by being grateful are the stuff this book advises.

Suggested Reading: Top Stress Management Strategies, Tips, and Activities

Best Audiobooks Of All Time

Will (2021) by Mark Manson and Will Smith (Best Books of All Time)

Book cover of Will.
By: aniestla on Unsplash. Copyright 2022

An autobiography of a Hollywood star stating the ups and downs of his life candidly. Will highlights his outwardly glamourous life, which is not the way people see it.

Making the vulnerabilities of his life visible to people, he reached another milestone in his already roaring career.

12 Rules for Life (2018) by Jordan Peterson (Best Books of All Time)

In this popular audiobook where Peterson worked for years to summarise his learnings into this one book, you’ll find the art of living.

Some of the rules can drastically change your life, like treating yourself like you’d treat somebody you love. This one can make your life way easier.

Others, just like it, improve your relationship with the world, for example, the rule about accepting truth at any cost. You won’t regret giving it a read. After all, it’s a bestseller.

Best Books Of All Time For Communication

How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936) by Dale Carnegie (Best Books of All Time)

This book will get you what you want. Well, that’s true as you’re given some principles of Carnegie’s own life to cope with life’s issues or related complications.

Carnegie lists some rules by which you can make friends and even change your enemies to your well-wishers. Here, he tells the rule of thumb of no criticism and sincere appreciation.

Other rules include thinking from others’ perspectives, providing value to people, and such basic things as remembering and addressing them by their names.

The rules are easy to apply and can leave a lasting impression on people, and you’ll have your life sorted out.

You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters (2020) by Kate Murphy (Best Books of All Time)

In this world of speakers, or where everyone out there is to speak their mind, the concept of listening is revolutionary.

Listening helps save you from various issues and strengthens your mind and relationships, too, but all we do is keep ignoring it.

The book covers the idea that listening here means actively engaging with the other person, understanding their views, and letting them know about it. By giving it a read, you’ll find yourself ahead of others.

So, on this note, we’ve reached the end of this list but not the books. You need to get started with the one and keep reading. There are millions of books out there to share their wisdom with you and take you on some fantastic adventures.

P.S. Don’t forget to apply the wisdom of these books in your life.

Also read: Best Spanish Restaurants in NYC.

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