100 Books to Read Before You Die

There are a lot of books out there, and each of us has a limited amount of time before we die. Of all the books available, there are certain ones we should read, possibly even must read. Here are 100 of those books.

An editor once told me there are certain books that make you a better person simply for having read them. I tend to agree. This isn’t a list of personal favorites, but it is a list of books we all should read. The author’s name follows the title of the book. For purposes of reducing repetitiveness, only one book per author will be listed. In no particular order:

  1. The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien
  2. The Road Less Traveled – Dr. Scott M. Peck
  3. Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger
  4. In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  6. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
  7. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  8. The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
  9. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
  10. World War Z – Max Brooks
  11. Education of a Wandering Man – Louis L’Amour
  12. Watership Down – Richard Adams
  13. The Iliad – Homer
  14. The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
  15. The Color Purple – Alice Walker
  16. Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand
  17. Paradise Lost – John Milton
  18. Ulysses – James Joyce
  19. Dracula – Bram Stoker
  20. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  21. A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
  22. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
  23. 1984 – George Orwell
  24. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
  25. Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
  26. Shogun – James Clavell
  27. For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway
  28. The Stand – Stephen King
  29. Lady Chatterley’s Lover – D. H. Lawrence
  30. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
  31. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
  32. War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
  33. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
  34. The Prince – Niccolo Machiavelli
  35. The Art of War – Sun Tzu
  36. The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
  37. Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
  38. Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury
  39. Starship Troopers – Robert A. Heinlein
  40. Deliverance – James Dickey
  41. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
  42. The Dark Knight Returns – Frank Miller
  43. Season of Mists – Neil Gaiman
  44. The Princess Bride – William Goldman
  45. Eaters of the Dead – Michael Crichton
  46. The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett
  47. Night – Eli Wiesel
  48. Exodus – Leon Uris
  49. Contact – Carl Sagan
  50. You Can’t Go Home Again – Thomas Wolfe
  51. On the Road – Jack Kerouac
  52. Blubber – Judy Blume
  53. Foundation – Isaac Asimov
  54. The Stranger – Albert Camus
  55. The Trial – Franz Kafka
  56. Rabbit, Run – John Updike
  57. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky
  58. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – C. S. Lewis
  59. The Long Goodbye – Raymond Chandler
  60. Absalom, Absalom! – William Faulkner
  61. Grendel – John Gardner
  62. Hour of the Dragon – Robert E. Howard
  63. The Executioner’s Song – Norman Mailer
  64. Cop Hater – Ed McBain
  65. Moby Dick – Herman Melville
  66. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court – Mark Twain
  67. McTeague – Frank Norris
  68. A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin
  69. Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk
  70. Titus Groan – Mervyn Peake
  71. Slaughterhouse-Five – Kurt Vonnegut
  72. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea – Jules Verne
  73. The Divine Comedy – Dante
  74. Don Quixote – Miguel De Cervantes
  75. Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe
  76. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
  77. The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
  78. Charlotte’s Web – E. B. White
  79. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  80. The Magus – John Fowles
  81. Foucault’s Pendulum – Umberto Eco
  82. Middlemarch – George Eliot
  83. Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
  84. The Complete Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  85. The Complete Shakespeare – William Shakespeare
  86. Rosemary’s Baby – Ira Levin
  87. I Am Legend – Richard Matheson
  88. The Compete Plays of Aristophanes – Aristophanes
  89. The Science of God – Gerald L. Schroeder
  90. The Maltese Falcon – Dashiell Hammett
  91. No Exit – Jean-Paul Sartre
  92. Alexander of Macedon – Harold Lamb
  93. Battle Royale – Koushun Takami
  94. We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson
  95. Band of Brothers – Stephen Ambrose
  96. Ancient Inventions – Peter James and Nick Thorpe
  97. The Telltale Heart and Other Writings – Edgar Allan Poe
  98. The Call of the Wild – Jack London
  99. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – Frank Baum
  100. The Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer

More book links

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Logical Misanthropy, horror and fantasy author’s blog

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  1. Posted July 15, 2010 at 4:42 am

    Amazing compilation. Great books

  2. Posted July 15, 2010 at 6:27 am

    That’s a great list!

  3. Posted July 15, 2010 at 7:00 am

    I’ve read about 25 of those books. Better get working on the rest.

  4. Posted July 15, 2010 at 9:35 am

    i have read 10 books out of 100 and it was really good books.

  5. Posted July 15, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Let me see:
    I read the tell tale heart and several other stories by Poe, Pride and Prejudice (shocking, right:D ), Wuthering Heights, Catcher in the Rye (that book is depressing!), 1984 and Of Mice and Men.
    With some of the rest, I either watched the movie or read about it.
    Good list.

  6. Posted July 15, 2010 at 9:59 am

    stumbled of course:)

  7. Posted July 15, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    Great list! I am relieved to see I’ve read more than I thought I would have, but still have a way to go. Thanks for this.

  8. Posted July 15, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    Well, a great list indeed, a very good attempt. Checking it again reveals I have read 35, and that means 65 remain. Why did you leave out the greatest novels of all time: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert? I also find the Lord of the Rings series greater by far than The Hobbit which you listed. I guess it all boils down to preference but I must applaud your mentioning of One hundred years of Solitude, Crime and Punishment, War and Peace and Don Quixote, they really are great entries.

  9. Posted July 15, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    very good listing, mostly classical and children book..

  10. Posted July 15, 2010 at 11:55 pm

    Excellent compilation of books. I’ve read only 12 out of the 100 books listed here…there’s a long way to go for me.

  11. Walter Avant
    Posted January 27, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    I have read 25 of the listed books, I re-read Moby Dick and found that I had a completely different experience the second time. Possibly because I have experienced so much since I read it at 19.
    That makes me want to read the list in it’s entirety, including the ones I have already read.I intend to add several as well. I think that the Good earth for one is a must read (again)

  12. Posted January 29, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Thanks for the suggestions. I shall try to read them all. I want to be as well rounded as possible.

  13. Old Holborn
    Posted January 30, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    The Master and Margarita – Bulgakov. definitely should be included…

  14. Kimberly
    Posted February 24, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    I think that Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keys should be on there, I read it a while ago and loved it. Still a favorite of mine.

  15. Posted April 17, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    Awesome list of books. I’ve read 79 of them and a lot of others. I could probably add 100 more as I am sure you could also. I read a lot. Great share.

  16. KodainVegas
    Posted February 21, 2013 at 12:38 am

    I read a lot. This would only be a partial list. I don’t read fiction. The must read list of books would be almost endless. Like the girl said, a lot are covered by movies. There also is a great list of biographies and autobiographies. And then there historical books and documents,etc.,etc.,etc..

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