I think you have the wrong author for The Kite Runner.
OMGoodness…I did. It has been corrected. Thank you for letting me know.
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!
That’s awesome Vanessa! And both of the books you recommended are great additions!
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.
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).
Hey I found your blog at the linky party on livingwellspendingless.com. I love your post. Will definitely have to add some of these to my already long reading list! Thanks so much!
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!
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.
A LOVE a Thousand Splendid Suns…another great book recommendation.
I loved A Thousand Splendid Suns. Other’s I would list would be All the Light You Cannot See, A Spool of Blue Thread, well, too many I’d list so I’ll stop.
Hey! Just wanted to let you know that the author of Ender’s Game is Orson Scott Card, not Olson.
Thanks Jordan. I’ll make the adjustment!
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.
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!
Lauren – That is a good question. The list was provided by Goodreads, so it is a little bit of a mystery why they only put a few of the books on the list.
Totally disagree…I would not include ANY of the Harry Potter books. They are fine for children, but not readable for adults used to sophisticated literature. Couldn’t make it through the first 50 pages of the first book. However, I do think I would have liked it when I was 10 or 11. Maybe put it on a book list for children? I have read 53 of these books.
I disagree! I have been an avid reader all of my life, reading classic as well as modern literature. I completely loved the entire series and the fathomless reservoir of the author’s imagination. It took a great deal of planning to carry the characters and all of the details involved through the entire series. Well written, very imaginative and captivating – at any age!
I’ve also read over 30 on this list.
I think the series should be included as 1 spot. There are too many great novels that the books would push off of the list. That said, they certainly deserve to be on the list because they drastically altered how fantasy books are written and spawned a whole generation of writing. Without Rowling there would never have been Twilight, Outlander, etc. I’m not saying all of the new generation of writing is good writing, but the movement alone makes it a worthy series on any list. It’s much like horror and how books like Dracula and Frankenstein changed how it’s written.
I have read 63 of these and the list is good. The Alchemist would be a good addition.
WOW…63, that is a huge amount. I’m maybe at 40…thanks for the recommendation.
The Alchemist is fabulous. Others in that genre would be Devil in the White City, Dead Wake, and In the Garden of the Beast and Dead Wake, all by Erik Larson. Remarkably detailed books.
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.
Have read both of those and they are excellent as well.
Great list but I would have put The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill in the top 10
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!
And I think 1984, by George Orwell, would be a great addition!
It’s on the list. You must have missed it.
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!).
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!
Wendy – I don’t think you are a nerd. I think you are AWESOME. Totally and completely awesome! Way to go.
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.
What a great, thorough list but I think it needs “The Road” Cormac McCarthy
Another great addition. Love this list….should have reading material for at least the next couple of years.
The Road is on the list.
The Raven by Poe is technically a poemâ\u20ac¦. I don’t feel like it belongs on this list.
Also The Giving Tree, and The Velvetine Rabbit
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!
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!
Kathy – Push through. It took me three tries to get through Gone Girl, but once I got to the halfway mark….I couldn’t put it down.
This is pulp fiction. I was expecting a list of higher quality.
Force yourself. Worth it. My husband is Irish Catholic and there were times he laughed so hard he was crying. It’s a wonderful book.
I think she meant she couldn’t get through “Gone Girl,” not “Angela’s Ashes.”
67 and counting
WOW!! That is super impressive.
Read 63 so far. Great list!! The most complete I have ever come across.
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.
Thanks for those additions, Jack. It’s always hard to come up with only ONE list.
Great list, of course there are always some we’d add, but as I’ve read 70 of those, I am feeling well read at the moment:-)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I would add Sophie’s Choice, Seabiscuit, Angela’s Ashes, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Doc: A Novel
I love Seabiscuit too.
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.
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….
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.
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!
You have some really good books here… but are you saying they are ‘good reads’ or ‘the 100 best books ever written’?
Goodreads members voted and this is the list they came up with.
Paulo Coelho’s Alchemist is not on the list. It’s actually an impressive book
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).
I think Wonder by R.J. Palacio would be a nice addition to this great list.
I would add Moby Dick by Melville and Gone With the Wind by M. Mitchell.
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
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
you are so right i can’t even
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:)
Oh and Uncle Toms Cabin is a must read!!!
Great list. Dune – Frank Herbert would be a great addition to this. Along with the Wheel of time series by Jordan
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.
Everyone should read the Bible, but the New World Translation 2013 Edition is much easier to understand than the King James Version.
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.
In my opinion, Angela’s Ashes should have made the list.
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!
I have read 72 of these books and I can’t wait to read the rest of them!
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.
How can you put “The Hunger Games” on a list with classics like “The Odyssey” and Mary Shelly’s “Frankenstein”.
Just because the hunger games is modern doesn’t mean its not good
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.
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.
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.
The hunger games is very well written and I believe it deserves to be on the list
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.
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!
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.
I love this list, every bit of it
I’ve read 90 of the top 100.
I’ll be looking for the others soon.
In my opinion, the Harry Potter books do not all need to be in the 100 – I got bored halfway through the second one.
I think it’s important for everyone here to remember that this list came from Goodreads, a suggestion of THEIR top 100 books to read. I decided not to take the list seriously when I figured out they have all three Hunger Games books, but only 3 Harry Potter books. “Susan” says that in her opinion the HP books aren’t worthy and they were a bore to her. That’s how I feel about the HG books and some others on the list.
These titles are not considered “great” works of literature. Just interesting reads for entertainment purposes. I can think of a few titles worthy of a read for one reason or another that weren’t included. But I can also choose a few on this list that I didn’t care for…at all (Gone Girl). Sooooo….I’ll make my own list, if I can remember every book I’ve ever read!!
I’ve read 63 of these. Many “good reads” were left off: Exodus by Leon Uris, The Covenant by James Michener, Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak, A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking, Roots by Alex Haley, Anya by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer, The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler, Don Quijote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes.
I would add to the list:
“Childhood’s End” by Arthur C Clarke
“2001: A Space Odyssey” by Arthur C Clarke
“Foundation” by Isaac Asimov
“I, Robot” by Isaac Asimov
“The Time Machine” by HG Wells
“Asimov’s Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology” by Isaac Asimov
“On the Origin of Species” by Charles Darwin
“The Voyage of the Beagle” by Charles Darwin
The Golden Nature Guides by St Martin’s Press
“The Civil War” by Shelby Foote
“On the Wealth of Nations” by Adam Smith
“America’s Constitution: a Biography” by Akhil Reed Amar
“The Federalist Papers” by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Marshall
“The Communist Manifesto” by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
These are a few titles that were influential my education.
Also, influential in the world history of ideas.
Have read 75 of these, great list and I look forward to the rest. Would recommend Unbroken, Angela’s Ashes, All Over but the Shoutin’, And the Mountains Echoed.
I didn’t see Don Quixote, The Grapes of Wrath, Dune, The Foundation Trilogy, The Great Gatsby or The Illiad on this list and so long as they are missing from it The Kite Runner shouldn’t be there–great book but not one of the 100 best. None of The Hunger Games trilogy should be there–again, they were good but not great. Also, only the first book of the Harry Potter series should be on the list and that for it’s contribution toward getting children to read. Just my opinion.
You really can’t compare Gone Girl (just okay) to Great Expectations (fantastic). Some on this list are my all-time favorites: Great Expectations, Brave New World, Frankenstein, Hamlet. I would add Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. It is one of the best and most inspirational books I have ever read.
Great list! I have read 55 of them and many others are on my “t0-read” list.
The Good Earth by Pearl Buck
A good book leaves you satisfied you read it. A GREAT book changes the world. Tierney
Bless the Beasts and the Children…at 15 and an outcast, I read this book and it set me on the path to working as a teacher with at risk and behavior students. 27 years later, it is still the best ever.
I would add The Red Tent and I agree with others to add Unbroken.
Just reading this. One of my favorites is missing: The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier. You definitely got number 1 right with Harper Lee in To Kill a Mockingbird.
This is like a list directly from my GR shelf. I’ve read 79 of these and part of two others. Most of the remaining ones are on my shelf to read.
I have read a lot of books but the best I have ever read are The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns ….For you a thousand times over
Thank you for posting the list. It’s nice to see an accumulation of recommended good reads that includes classics that you don’t want to forget. (Even if some are reads from grade school, they were recommended for a reason and some may not have even had the pleasure of reading them.)
I love how so many commenters are adding books to this list. I have saved this list and added almost all of those recommended in the comments as additions (Over 70 suggested so far).
“One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” by Ken Kesey is a classic as well that I have not seen suggested yet. Great reads!
*Oh, nm that book rec. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest is there.
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
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Animal Farm by George Orwell
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Night by Elie Wiesel
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
The Little Prince by Antoine Saint-Exupery
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure by William Goldman
Dracula by Bram Stoker
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Beloved by Toni Morrison
PLUS RIGHT NOW, AMAZON HAS A 30% OFF COUPON FOR A SINGLE BOOK PURCHASE. SO YOU CAN BUY ONE THAT YOU HAVEN’T READ AT A DISCOUNT. USE CODE HOLIDAY30 AT CHECKOUT.
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.
Original article and pictures take http://www.kansascitymamas.com/goodreads-100-books-you-should-read-in-a-lifetime/ site