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Best Fiction Books: The 100 Best Novels Of All Time

Arthur Worsley
by Arthur Worsley
M.A. Psychology, Oxford. McKinsey Alum. Founder & Editor at TAoL.
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Best Fiction Books

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Looking for the best fiction books of all time? You’re in the right place!

Why include a list of the best fiction books of all time on a blog that’s mostly devoted to nonfiction book recommendations?

Partly because there’s more to life than reading instruction manuals.

But mostly because devouring the best nonfiction AND fiction books is what keeps reading enjoyable and exciting. And keeping reading enjoyable and exciting is vital to reading more overall; it’s the secret to a voracious, sustainable and life-long passion for books.

The most impressive people I know always have at least one nonfiction and one fiction book going at the same time. That way, whether it’s an hour in bed, or 5 minutes in a line, they always have something perfect for their time, mood and appetite.

If you don’t normally read fiction books – give them a chance. You’ll learn as much (if not more) about being human from the best novels and poems than from hundreds of their nonfiction counterparts.

And if you already love fiction? Then you’re in the right place. I hope you find something below that touches and lightens your soul.

Here’s the list of the 100 best fiction books of all time…

(P.s., If you enjoy this list, don’t forget to check out my lists of the best fantasy books of all time and best sci-fi books of all time.)

 

The 100 Best Fiction Books Of All Time

Why these best fiction books and not others? The best fiction books of all time below are the top picks from my long list of hundreds of books, ranked by a combination of Goodreads rating, number of Goodreads reviews and first publication date. The aim is to surface what’s most loved, what’s most popular and what’s proven timelessly relevant.

NOTE:To maximize diversity on the list, I’ve limited each book series to only one entry where multiple books from that series (e.g., The Lord of The Rings) would have appeared on this list.

Think something’s missing? Leave a comment or email me and I’ll add it to the next round of updates. I honestly love hearing from you so please, do get in touch!

 

Books 1-10: The Top 10 Best Fiction Books of All Time

Here are the top 10 best fiction books from my database…

Best Fiction Books: Pride and Prejudice
1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
The unforgettable, ever-popular and genre-defining love-story story of the 19th century. It’s over 200 years old and Pride and Prejudice is still as fresh, charming and unputdownable as the day it was first published – by best-selling author, Jane Austin.
Published 1813 // 279 pages // Rated 4.3 over 2,797,800 reviews on Goodreads
Best Fiction Books: The Count of Monte Cristo
2. The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
The king of all adventure and slow-burning revenge stories. The Count of Monte Christo may not be a quick read, but fantastic characters, a gripping plot and masterful twists make it an obvious contender for one of the best books of all time – by master novelist, Alexandre Dumas.
Published 1844 // 1,276 pages // Rated 4.3 over 714,300 reviews on Goodreads
Best Fiction Books: The Hobbit, or There and Back Again
3. The Hobbit, or There and Back Again – J.R.R. Tolkien
A timeless classic and the fantasy novel that both introduced us to hobbits AND set the standard for all things dwarf, elf, troll, orc and dragon-related ever since. It’s no surprise to see The Hobbit among the best fantasy books of all time – by writer, poet and best-selling author, J.R.R. Tolkein.
Published 1937 // 366 pages // Rated 4.3 over 2,835,700 reviews on Goodreads
Best Fiction Books: The Fellowship of the Ring (Lord of the Rings, #1)
4. The Fellowship of the Ring (Lord of the Rings, #1) – J.R.R. Tolkien
Published 1954 // 1,216 pages // Rated 4.4 over 2,242,600 reviews on Goodreads
Best Fiction Books: The Brothers Karamazov
5. The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Widely acclaimed as one of the best books of all time, The Brothers Karimazov is a masterwork of philosophy and theology that explores the nature of faith, doubt and reason in a fast-changing world, through the lives, mishaps and thoughts of its unforgettable cast of characters – by novelist and philosopher Fyodor Dostoevsky.
Published 1879 // 796 pages // Rated 4.3 over 226,400 reviews on Goodreads
Best Fiction Books: Gone with the Wind
6. Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
An epic coming of age and historical romance novel, Gone With the Wind paints a stunning portrait of the hardships endured and created by the young daughter of a wealthy plantation owner as she fights for survival against the chaos of pre-, during- and post-civil war Georgia – by novelist and journalist, Margaret Mitchell.
Published 1936 // 1,037 pages // Rated 4.3 over 1,037,700 reviews on Goodreads
Best Fiction Books: The Little Prince
7. The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
A hauntingly beautiful novella that addresses themes of loneliness, friendship, love, and loss through the life-story of a little prince from space (asteroid B 612) told to the author (a stranded philosophical pilot) as he struggles to escape from the desert – by writer, poet, journalist and aviator, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
Published 1943 // 93 pages // Rated 4.3 over 1,232,400 reviews on Goodreads
Best Fiction Books: Anne of Green Gables
8. Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
Published 1908 // 320 pages // Rated 4.3 over 679,800 reviews on Goodreads
Best Fiction Books: The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales
9. The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales – Jacob Grimm
From Snow White and Rapunzel to Hansel, Grettel and Little Red Riding Hood, The Grimm Fairytales are the original, fantastical collection of folklore and fairytales that have both preserved and deeply influenced Western culture and storytelling – by authors and brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.
Published 1812 // 880 pages // Rated 4.3 over 140,400 reviews on Goodreads
Best Fiction Books: Crime and Punishment
10. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Published 1866 // 671 pages // Rated 4.2 over 580,300 reviews on Goodreads
 

Books 11-100: More Great Fiction Books to Read

Here are the next 90 books on my list of best fiction books of all time…

11. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle
Published 1892 // 246 pages // Rated 4.3 over 228,500 reviews on Goodreads
12. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
Published 1847 // 507 pages // Rated 4.1 over 1,538,900 reviews on Goodreads
13. Les Misérables – Victor Hugo
Published 1862 // 1,463 pages // Rated 4.2 over 638,600 reviews on Goodreads
14. And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie
Published 1939 // 264 pages // Rated 4.3 over 730,900 reviews on Goodreads
15. Persuasion – Jane Austen
Published 1817 // 249 pages // Rated 4.1 over 495,800 reviews on Goodreads
16. The Complete Fairy Tales – Hans Christian Andersen
Published 1835 // 803 pages // Rated 4.3 over 118,800 reviews on Goodreads
17. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Published 1960 // 324 pages // Rated 4.3 over 4,240,100 reviews on Goodreads
18. East of Eden – John Steinbeck
Published 1952 // 601 pages // Rated 4.4 over 407,500 reviews on Goodreads
19. The Giving Tree – Shel Silverstein
Published 1964 // 64 pages // Rated 4.4 over 969,800 reviews on Goodreads
20. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Narnia, #1) – C.S. Lewis
The first of 7 Chronicles of Narnia books, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a stunning work of escapism that bridges 1940s war-torn England to a magical kingdom locked in an epic contest of good against evil – by best-selling author and theologian, C.S. Lewis.
Published 1950 // 206 pages // Rated 4.2 over 2,085,000 reviews on Goodreads
21. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
Published 1811 // 409 pages // Rated 4.1 over 912,700 reviews on Goodreads
22. 1984 – George Orwell
Published 1949 // 237 pages // Rated 4.2 over 3,055,100 reviews on Goodreads
23. Shakespeare’s Sonnets – William Shakespeare
Published 1609 // 488 pages // Rated 4.3 over 79,300 reviews on Goodreads
24. The Essential Rumi – Rumi
A perfect book to dip a little further into every day. The Essential Rumi is a curated (and translated) collection of some of the most beautiful and mystical poems ever written – by thirteenth-century Sufi Mystic Rumi.
Published 1273 // 416 pages // Rated 4.4 over 35,400 reviews on Goodreads
25. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
Published 1868 // 449 pages // Rated 4.1 over 1,583,500 reviews on Goodreads
26. Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
Published 1938 // 449 pages // Rated 4.2 over 417,800 reviews on Goodreads
27. The Importance of Being Earnest – Oscar Wilde
Published 1895 // 76 pages // Rated 4.2 over 290,100 reviews on Goodreads
28. Green Eggs and Ham – Dr. Seuss
Published 1960 // 64 pages // Rated 4.3 over 668,300 reviews on Goodreads
29. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
Published 1911 // 331 pages // Rated 4.1 over 839,600 reviews on Goodreads
30. A Study in Scarlet – Arthur Conan Doyle
Published 1887 // 123 pages // Rated 4.2 over 299,900 reviews on Goodreads
31. The Prophet – Kahlil Gibran
Published 1923 // 127 pages // Rated 4.2 over 219,400 reviews on Goodreads
32. The Tale of Peter Rabbit – Beatrix Potter
Published 1901 // 72 pages // Rated 4.2 over 221,500 reviews on Goodreads
33. Hamlet – William Shakespeare
Published 1600 // 289 pages // Rated 4.0 over 691,700 reviews on Goodreads
34. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
Published 1890 // 367 pages // Rated 4.1 over 893,500 reviews on Goodreads
35. Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
Published 1952 // 184 pages // Rated 4.2 over 1,337,500 reviews on Goodreads
36. The Godfather – Mario Puzo
Published 1964 // 448 pages // Rated 4.4 over 311,000 reviews on Goodreads
37. The Screwtape Letters – C.S. Lewis
Published 1942 // 223 pages // Rated 4.2 over 313,700 reviews on Goodreads
38. Where the Sidewalk Ends – Shel Silverstein
Poems and Drawings
Published 1974 // 176 pages // Rated 4.3 over 1,238,200 reviews on Goodreads
39. Much Ado About Nothing – William Shakespeare
Published 1598 // 246 pages // Rated 4.1 over 206,400 reviews on Goodreads
40. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
Published 1843 // 104 pages // Rated 4.1 over 572,000 reviews on Goodreads
41. The Idiot – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Published 1869 // 667 pages // Rated 4.2 over 120,900 reviews on Goodreads
42. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
Published 1867 // 1,392 pages // Rated 4.1 over 248,600 reviews on Goodreads
43. Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak
Published 1963 // 37 pages // Rated 4.2 over 774,900 reviews on Goodreads
44. Dune (Dune Chronicles, #1) – Frank Herbert
Published 1965 // 604 pages // Rated 4.2 over 728,700 reviews on Goodreads
45. The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
Published 1844 // 625 pages // Rated 4.1 over 261,600 reviews on Goodreads
46. The Richest Man in Babylon – George S. Clason (FREE Summary)
THE classic parable on how to acquire money, how to not lose money and how to make money multiply – by serial entrepreneur and author, George S. Clason.
Published 1926 // 194 pages // Rated 4.3 over 104,500 reviews on Goodreads
47. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
Published 1877 // 964 pages // Rated 4.1 over 627,700 reviews on Goodreads
48. The Princess Bride – William Goldman
Published 1973 // 456 pages // Rated 4.3 over 822,100 reviews on Goodreads
49. The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
Published 1969 // 26 pages // Rated 4.3 over 430,700 reviews on Goodreads
50. I, Robot (Robot, #0.1) – Isaac Asimov
Published 1950 // 224 pages // Rated 4.2 over 270,300 reviews on Goodreads
51. Foundation (Foundation, #1) – Isaac Asimov
Published 1951 // 244 pages // Rated 4.2 over 399,100 reviews on Goodreads
52. Aesop’s Fables – Aesop
Published -560 // 306 pages // Rated 4.1 over 111,300 reviews on Goodreads
53. Emma – Jane Austen
Published 1815 // 474 pages // Rated 4.0 over 606,400 reviews on Goodreads
54. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey
Published 1962 // 325 pages // Rated 4.2 over 604,300 reviews on Goodreads
55. The Divine Comedy – Dante Alighieri
Published 1320 // 798 pages // Rated 4.1 over 108,100 reviews on Goodreads
56. The Shining – Stephen King
Published 1977 // 659 pages // Rated 4.2 over 1,216,700 reviews on Goodreads
57. The Hound of the Baskervilles – Arthur Conan Doyle
Published 1902 // 256 pages // Rated 4.1 over 230,800 reviews on Goodreads
58. The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
Published 1967 // 335 pages // Rated 4.3 over 222,100 reviews on Goodreads
59. The Flowers of Evil – Charles Baudelaire
Published 1857 // 464 pages // Rated 4.3 over 45,400 reviews on Goodreads
60. The Great Divorce – C.S. Lewis
Published 1945 // 146 pages // Rated 4.3 over 101,700 reviews on Goodreads
61. Peter Pan – J.M. Barrie
Published 1904 // 176 pages // Rated 4.1 over 252,900 reviews on Goodreads
62. Ender’s Game (Ender’s Saga, #1) – Orson Scott Card
Published 1985 // 324 pages // Rated 4.3 over 1,109,700 reviews on Goodreads
63. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson – Emily Dickinson
Published 1890 // 716 pages // Rated 4.2 over 68,500 reviews on Goodreads
64. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker, #1) – Douglas Adams
Published 1979 // 193 pages // Rated 4.2 over 1,402,600 reviews on Goodreads
65. The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales – Edgar Allan Poe
Published 1839 // 400 pages // Rated 4.2 over 66,100 reviews on Goodreads
66. Dracula – Bram Stoker
Published 1897 // 488 pages // Rated 4.0 over 879,700 reviews on Goodreads
67. The Phantom Tollbooth – Norton Juster
Published 1961 // 256 pages // Rated 4.2 over 226,000 reviews on Goodreads
68. Siddhartha – Hermann Hesse
Published 1922 // 152 pages // Rated 4.0 over 632,100 reviews on Goodreads
69. A Midsummer Night’s Dream – William Shakespeare
Published 1595 // 298 pages // Rated 3.9 over 426,600 reviews on Goodreads
70. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
Published 1964 // 176 pages // Rated 4.1 over 722,200 reviews on Goodreads
71. Notes from Underground – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Published 1864 // 136 pages // Rated 4.2 over 70,500 reviews on Goodreads
72. Roots – Alex Haley
The Saga of an American Family
Published 1976 // 729 pages // Rated 4.4 over 140,200 reviews on Goodreads
73. Demons – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Published 1872 // 733 pages // Rated 4.3 over 35,100 reviews on Goodreads
74. Ficciones – Jorge Luis Borges
Published 1944 // 174 pages // Rated 4.5 over 45,800 reviews on Goodreads
75. Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Published 1963 // 306 pages // Rated 4.2 over 334,900 reviews on Goodreads
76. Shōgun (Asian Saga, #1) – James Clavell
Published 1975 // 1,152 pages // Rated 4.4 over 140,000 reviews on Goodreads
77. Selected Stories of Anton Chekhov – Anton Chekhov
Published 1903 // 467 pages // Rated 4.4 over 29,000 reviews on Goodreads
78. Matilda – Roald Dahl
Published 1988 // 240 pages // Rated 4.3 over 729,700 reviews on Goodreads
79. Leaves of Grass – Walt Whitman
Published 1855 // 624 pages // Rated 4.1 over 85,800 reviews on Goodreads
80. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Alice’s Adventures, #1) – Lewis Carroll
Published 1865 // 96 pages // Rated 4.0 over 232,200 reviews on Goodreads
81. Watchmen – Alan Moore
Published 1987 // 416 pages // Rated 4.4 over 472,500 reviews on Goodreads
82. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter, #1) – J.K. Rowling
The first of the 7 Harry Potter books. An astonishing 12 clueless muggles rejected the manuscript for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone before it finally launched one of the best-selling fantasy series of all time – by best-selling author and philanthropist, J.K. Rowling.
Published 1997 // 322 pages // Rated 4.5 over 6,867,000 reviews on Goodreads
83. A Game of Thrones (Song of Ice and Fire, #1) – George R.R. Martin
The first of 7 planned books in the Song of Ice and Fire series. The award-winning A Game of Thrones is a carnal, power-hungry, back-stabbing, plot-twisting journey through the heart and the history of Westeros – by best-selling (when he gets round to it) author, George R.R. Martin.
Published 1996 // 835 pages // Rated 4.5 over 1,966,500 reviews on Goodreads
84. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
Published 1932 // 288 pages // Rated 4.0 over 1,412,600 reviews on Goodreads
85. The Arabian Nights – Anonymous
Published 800 // 1,049 pages // Rated 4.1 over 71,700 reviews on Goodreads
86. Twelfth Night – William Shakespeare
Published 1601 // 220 pages // Rated 4.0 over 151,200 reviews on Goodreads
87. It – Stephen King
Published 1986 // 1,116 pages // Rated 4.2 over 877,500 reviews on Goodreads
88. The Thorn Birds – Colleen McCullough
Published 1977 // 692 pages // Rated 4.2 over 302,200 reviews on Goodreads
89. Macbeth – William Shakespeare
Published 1606 // 349 pages // Rated 3.9 over 637,400 reviews on Goodreads
90. The Outsiders – S.E. Hinton
Published 1967 // 192 pages // Rated 4.1 over 1,030,800 reviews on Goodreads
91. I, Claudius (Claudius, #1) – Robert Graves
Published 1934 // 468 pages // Rated 4.3 over 50,900 reviews on Goodreads
92. Metamorphoses – Ovid
Published 8 // 723 pages // Rated 4.1 over 58,000 reviews on Goodreads
93. The Hunchback of Notre-Dame – Victor Hugo
Published 1831 // 510 pages // Rated 4.0 over 161,900 reviews on Goodreads
94. The Pillars of the Earth (Kingsbridge, #1) – Ken Follett
Published 1989 // 973 pages // Rated 4.3 over 616,000 reviews on Goodreads
95. Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes
Published 1966 // 216 pages // Rated 4.1 over 469,100 reviews on Goodreads
96. The Stand – Stephen King
Published 1990 // 1,153 pages // Rated 4.3 over 579,800 reviews on Goodreads
97. Stoner – John Williams
Published 1965 // 278 pages // Rated 4.3 over 89,700 reviews on Goodreads
98. The Complete Poems – John Keats
Published 1820 // 416 pages // Rated 4.3 over 20,700 reviews on Goodreads
99. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
Published 1849 // 882 pages // Rated 4.0 over 191,400 reviews on Goodreads
100. Different Seasons – Stephen King
Published 1982 // 560 pages // Rated 4.3 over 186,900 reviews on Goodreads
 

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Arthur Worsley
I founded TAoL to discover and share the best wisdom on how to live long and prosper. Before that I studied Psychology, Philosophy & Physiology at Oxford and consulted at McKinsey. Still curious? Learn more or take my FREE productivity quiz.

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