31 of the Best Books Everyone Should Read

best books everyone should read

There are about 600,000 to 1,000,000 books published each year, according to Forbes.

Out of this number, how do we find the best books everyone should read? How do we choose and select the best books to read?

In reality, there are no specific guidelines for choosing the best books.

“Best” is subjective when it comes to art and literature, as to choosing the books that you will like.

So, the truth is, the “best book” is in the eye of the reader (I hope you got the pun.haha)

Nonetheless, there are books that we consider timeless and relevant even to this day. And we took the time to gather together these 31 books everyone should read. Here they are.

31 Best Books Everyone Should Read

Just a piece of advice before we proceed – these books are some of the best books out there, but not all.

So if you can’t find your favorites books here, it doesn’t mean they aren’t great. We just can’t fit everything on one page.

However, feel free to share your favorite book titles in the comments section and we should be happy to read your suggestions.

Alright! Let’s get to the topic.

Here are exceptional works of literature that are worth reading at least once in your lifetime, no exception. Be sure to add them to your reading list.

1. The Last Lecture by Jeffrey Zaslow  Best Books Everyone Should Read - The Last Lecture

After learning he only had three to six months of good health left, Randy Paush, an American professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon wrote a profound speech called “The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.”

In it, he asks what the audience might say if they had one last lecture to give the world – one last message. His was that everyone should achieve their childhood dreams.

His speech garnered nationwide attention. Paush then went on to co-author the book, The Last Lecture, with Zaslow.

Based loosely on the ideals and principles in Paush’s original speech, this book encourages everyone to enjoy their life to its fullest.

You can check out The Last Lecture here on Amazon!

2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Best Books Everyone Should Read - To Kill a Mockingbird

A Pulitzer Prize winner and frequently challenged book in the United States, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is a poignant story set in Maycomb, Alabama during the Great Depression.

Told from the perspective of Jean Louise Finch (“Scout”), the book addresses some of the biggest social issues that Americans still struggle with today, including rape, racism, gender roles, and prejudice.

3. 1984 by George Orwell

Best Books Everyone Should Read -1984

Set in a dystopian version of 1984, Orwell’s book addresses what happens when the government is given too much power over our lives.

Some of his predictions came true, like the presence of cameras recording our every move, which begs us to question whether we’re really, truly free.

4. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Best Books Everyone Should Read - The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree maybe a children’s storybook, but it teaches us important lessons (and the true meaning) of unconditional love.

5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Best Books Everyone Should Read -The Book Thief

This New York Times Bestseller is set in Nazi Germany, 1939. It follows Liesel Meminger, a young foster girl who must steal for survival.

When she discovers books and learned to read, she shares her stolen books with her neighbors and the Jewish man in her basement.

It is a story that highlights the power and joy that books bring, even during the darkest of times.

6. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Best Books Everyone Should Read - The Great Gatsby

Set in the era of the Great Depression, The Great Gatsby teaches us many things about life.

In particular, it reminds us that it’s not so easy to leave your past behind, and that money is not the be-all, end-all to happiness.

7. Call of the Wild by Jack London

Best Books Everyone Should Read - Call of the Wild

Call of the Wild is a story about a dog named Buck. It teaches us that adaptation is the key to survival.

Find your inner wolf, know when to walk away from a fight, and learn how to tap into your primitive instincts and you can overcome any challenge.

8. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Best Books Everyone Should Read - The Handmaid’s Tale

Set in the dystopian United States, The Handmaid’s Tale is both a cautionary and frightening tale.

It teaches us that freedom is complex and never guaranteed and that staying quiet can permanently cost you your voice.

9. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Best Books Everyone Should Read - The Lovely Bones

Told from the perspective of a dead girl, this book is about finding hope in the aftermath of a tragedy.

10. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Best Books Everyone Should Read - Peter Pan

This classic childhood tale is about more than a boy who can fly.

It teaches us that life can be joyful, so long as we believe in ourselves and continue to notice the magic around us.

11. Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Best Books Everyone Should Read - Walden

Written after spending two years living simply and sustainably, Walden is a commentary about civilization and society.

It also highlights the empowerment that can come from personal introspection.

12. Beloved by Toni Morrison

Best Books Everyone Should Read - Beloved

Experience the world through the eyes of Sethe, a former slave who managed to escape her chains in Ohio but is still haunted by her past.

13. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Best Books Everyone Should Read - One Hundred Years of Solitude

Considered to be one of the greatest Spanish-language literary works in history, this book follows seven generations of Buendia in a fictional utopia.

It shows us that, even in a utopia, life (and humanity) is far from perfect.

14. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Best Books Everyone Should Read - The Diary of a Young Girl

Written by 13-year-old German-born, Dutch-Jewish Anne Frank, this book humanizes one of the darkest wars in history.

15. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Best Books Everyone Should Read - Between the World and Me

This gut-wrenching book is a “searing meditation on what it means to be black in America today.”

16. Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

Best Books Everyone Should Read - Guns, Germs, and Steel

In this book, Pulitzer Prize winner Jared Diamond argues that modern civilization has been shaped not by morals, intellect, or genetic superiority.

Instead, we have come to be through a combination of geological and environmental factors.

17. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Best Books Everyone Should Read - Romeo and Juliet

Referenced frequently in pop culture, the book “Romeo and Juliet” is both a timeless classic and the ultimate forbidden love story.

18. The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe

Best Books Everyone Should Read - The Raven

While the rantings of the main character may be lost on some, The Raven highlights just how deeply death and mortality haunt humanity – especially when it comes to our own.

19. The Art of War by Sun Tzu

Best Books Everyone Should Read - The Art of War

Written by military strategist, Sun Tzu, this book was originally meant to be a guidebook on winning wars.

Its message goes far deeper, however, giving us useful tactics for achieving success in our everyday lives.

20. You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney

Best Books Everyone Should Read - You Are Not So Smart

The title might seem harsh, but the book explains how practically every “rational” decision we make is based on underlying biases.

It addresses the psychology of our world today, and how it controls our thinking and actions.

21. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Best Books Everyone Should Read - Pride and Prejudice

Elizabeth Bennet falls in love with Mr. Darcy, who is falling for a woman below his class.

It is a classic, witty tale of romance, heartbreak, judgment, and love.

22. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig

Best Books Everyone Should Read - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Philosophy becomes relatable in this tale about a father and his son, traveling the open road across the Northwestern United States by motorcycle.

It offers timeless advice on living a better, more fulfilled life.

23. The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Best Books Everyone Should Read - The Road

Set in a post-apocalyptic nuclear winter, The Road follows the journey of a father and his son.

They trek through a dark and bleak world, facing cannibalistic gangs and food shortages while also searching for meaning in their very existence.

24. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Best Books Everyone Should Read - Charlotte’s Web

This childhood favorite is a compelling reminder to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life.

25. Animal Farm by George Orwell

Best Books Everyone Should Read - Animal Farm

In this tale by George Orwell, the animals overthrow the humans.

As society evolves, the animals begin to doubt whether they were all created equal.

26. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Best Books Everyone Should Read - Catcher in the Rye

This classic tale from J.D. Salinger dives into the challenges and isolation of adolescence.

It remains as relevant today as when it was originally published.

27. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Best Books Everyone Should Read - The Grapes of Wrath

Set in the Great Depression, The Grapes of Wrath follows the life of an Oklahoma family as they are forced to travel to California.

It shows the plight of a society in which people are divided into haves and have-nots, the powerful and the powerless.

28. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Best Books Everyone Should Read - Lord of the Flies

This classic book follows the lives of a group of boys who have been marooned on an island.

What starts out as a wonderful adventure in boyhood quickly turns dark, primitive, and savage.

29. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Best Books Everyone Should Read - Frankenstein


Written by Shelley when she was just 18, Frankenstein is a gothic romance that forces us to consider some deep, dark questions.

What is it that makes us human? What do we owe one another in this society?

And just how far can science push the envelope before it’s gone “too far?”

30. Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Best Books Everyone Should Read - Tale of Two Cities

After spending the last 18 years imprisoned, a man returns to his home to find that two men are falling for his only daughter, whom he’s never even met.

Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities, set in the time leading up to the French Revolution, is a poignant classic about love and sacrifice.

31. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Best Books Everyone Should Read - The Color Purple

A book that is frequently challenged and censored, The Color Purple delves into the lives of colored women in the United States during the 1930s.

This devastating tale will shake you to your very core.

Read the Best Books for Free

Did you find any of the books appealing to you, like they’re calling out to you to read them? Well, here’s good news. You can read them for free!

Yes, you read it right. So what should you do?

Sign up for Kindle Unlimited Free Trial and get access to these books and more for free for the next 30 days.

This means that if you read one of these books per day, you’ll be able to read almost all of them for free with Kindle Unlimited. Isn’t that awesome?

I know, I know, you can’t possibly finish reading a book in one sitting. Oh wait, maybe you can. Have you heard of speed reading? Well, you might as well have.

Learn how to read more books with speed reading here.

There’s a vast world out there, but with books, you can explore them without having to step outside of your house. We hope that you will find your next favorite book from our list of best books everyone should read.

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to read one of these articles too! (I’m kidding, read them all!)

33 Ways On How To Read More Books This Year [Ultimate Guide]
11 Ways To Make Reading A Habit
15 Ways To Read A Book For Free
12 Great Benefits Of Reading 30 Minutes A Day
Read More Books With Speed Reading

I hope this has been yet another good read for you. Don’t be shy – comment and share this article with your friends and let’s enjoy reading more together.

Until next time!


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