When I say that these are the “best” books I’ve read, I don’t mean that they are the most aesthetically pleasing or the most difficult to read. Some of them are purely entertaining and others are more literary. What I mean by this list is that they touched me and I liked them. I suppose I should try to articulate that more clearly, but I won’t. This list includes fiction, non-fiction, and children’s books.
- Watership Down by Richard Adams
- The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
- The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
- Rebecca’s Tale by Sally Beauman
- Little Big Man by Thomas Berger
- Corelli’s Mandolin by George de Bernieres
- The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Bianco
- March by Geraldine Brooks
- The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
- My Antonia by Willa Cather
- Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary
- The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
- The Green Years by A. J. Cronin
- The Hours by Michael Cunningham
- The Witches by Roald Dahl
- Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
- An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
- Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
- Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy by Carlos Eire
- Middlemarch by George Eliot (Three posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)
- Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
- Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
- The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
- Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
- The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
- The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- Bee Season by Myla Goldberg
- Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
- Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
- Mrs. Kimble by Jennifer Haigh
- The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
- Tess of the D’urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
- A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
- A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
- A Modern Instance by William Dean Howells
- A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
- Broken For You by Stephanie Kallos
- A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel
- View From Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg
- The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
- The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
- Quicksand by Nella Larsen
- Understanding the Borderline Mother by Christine Ann Lawson
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
- Unbowed: A Memoir by Wangari Maathai
- Christy by Catherine Marshall
- Life of Pi by Yann Martel
- Boy’s Life by Robert R. McCammon
- Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy
- Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
- Atonement by Ian McEwan
- Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
- Liars and Saints by Maile Meloy
- Moby Dick by Herman Melville
- Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
- Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
- Mama Day by Gloria Naylor
- Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
- Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates
- The Country Girls Trilogy and Epilogue by Edna O’Brien
- Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein
- Goodbye, I Love You by Carol Lynn Pearson
- A Child Called “It” by Dave Pelzer
- My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
- The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
- The Ballad of the Whiskey Robber by Julian Rubenstein
- The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio by Terry Ryan
- Holes by Louis Sachar
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
- I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
- Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
- East of Eden by John Steinbeck
- The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett
- Dracula by Bram Stoker
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
- The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington
- The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
- Follow the River by James Alexander Thom
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
- The Amateur Marriage by Anne Tyler
- Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
- The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
- All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
- The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
- The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
- Because of the Lockwoods by Dorothy Whipple
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
- Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women by Naomi Wolf
- A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
i know i have read 100 books but i would be hard pressed to remember them and rank them like this. Impressive feat!
Thanks! I actually keep track of everything I read. I have for years, so I cheated and looked at my list. I wrote a post about my list if you’re interested. https://emilyjanuary.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/a-primitive-book-list-how-i-keep-track-of-my-reading/
Some of my all-time favorites are also All the King’s Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, Little House on the Prairie, Gone with the Wind, and Let the Great World Spin. I’m always looking for suggestions for great books to read and will have to try a few of the others.
I am glad you stopped by. Let me know if you discover any that you like! And I am open to suggestions too.
Hi…I love to hear about people who love to read as much as I do…! One book suggestion for you, I havent met one person who hasnt liked it yet…its called ‘Me Before You’ by Jojo Moyes. I identified with each and every character in this book and just could not put it down…hope you like!
Thanks for the suggestion! I will have to give it a try.
I notice you listed The Kite Runner, which I also read and think everyone in America should read it. I also read another by the same author that I highly recommend: A Thousand Splendid Suns. Another very educational experience throwing light on the culture I knew absolutely nothing about.
I read A Thousand Splendid Suns as well but I did not like it. While the content and subject were educational and relevant, the execution was lacking.
You should definitely read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.
I have. It is fantastic!
Great List! I remember falling in love with my Alice in Wonderland pop-up book when I was small and then I discovered Little Women. Thanks for sharing:)
What fun memories! Some of my best always involve books. 🙂
Ah – found To Kill A Mockingbird 🙂 Great list! I must read more!
I had one of those heart-touching moments (one of those when you reach a hand to your chest when recalling a good or endearing memory) when I saw ‘The Good Earth’ on there. I sometimes forget how much I love that book. Also, I discovered that I was mistaken in thinking the book title is ‘The Portrait of Dorian Gray’ rather than ‘The Picture of..’. I wounder how often I’ve said it incorrectly!
What a wonderful list! Thank you for sharing. 🙂
Thanks for reading it! I’m glad you liked it and that it brought back some memories. I love The Good Earth too. It was my “favorite book” for the longest time after I read it for the first time as a fourteen-year-old.
Wow! That must have taken a long time!
Anyone who can have Edith Wharton and Ramona in her top 100 books is my kind of reader! This list made me smile and gave me so books to add to my list. Thank you for posting it.
Thanks! Yes,my ou can’t have a list without Ramona and Wharton! 🙂
Great list! Makes me want to pay more attention to my own. One of my all time favorites A Prayer for Owen Meany, made me fall in love with John Irving for a while.
Thanks! I love that one too. It is quite a book.
I recognise some timeless masterpieces,like ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’,’Anna Karenina’ or ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, and some modern gems like ‘Life of Pi’ and ‘The Kite Runner’. I think from now on,I’ll use the list as a reference.
May I suggest that you take a look at ‘The God of Small Things’,which is another modern gem.It won the Booker Prize in 1997,and I think you’ll like it.
I have had The God of Small Things on my shelf for such a long time. I need to get to it! 🙂
Thanks for posting such a fantastic list. I saw several of my favourites in it, and non of the ones I truly dislike (Catcher In The Rye, A Confederacy of Dunces, and others). I intend to switch over from my current 100 books to read list to yours. 100 Books and a blog :).
Wow, that’s awesome. Best of luck! 🙂
Glad to see another Watership Down lover! Not quite sure what it is about it, but I always find myself going back to it.
I have very recently decided to start blogging on what I read and am inspired by your blog. I hope to someday, in the months and years to come, build as stunning and eclectic collection of the books that are so integral to the life of me and my family.
Best of luck to you! I hope you enjoy blogging as much as I have. And I agree on Watership Down. What IS that book about? 🙂
Thanks Emily for your list. Out of 100 favourites of yours I spotted a good number of books I’ve read and enjoyed very very much. They are part of my “baggage”.I haven’t yet reviewed them in my blog, but sooner or later I’ll do, also thanks to the effect of your great list.
Thank you for reading! By “baggage,” I hope you mean that they bring back good memories. I find that even tough books or books read in hard times have a certain glow for me looking backward.
yes, I meant that, but I was also referring to the amount of reading experiences connected with professional needs as well as pure reading pleasure.Good night from Italy
I look forward to adding some of these books to my to-read list.
A great idea to establish a list. I’ve began a diary of one page reviews of everything I read followed by a score out of 100. I may collaborate these rankings into a list like this.
I love the idea of one-page reviews. I try to review everything I read, but some of it falls through the cracks. One page equals no pressure but a good and efficient way of documenting. Thanks for the idea!
I sincerely hope you won’t mind a comment from a man. Tis obvious that many well read and lovely women read your site, but at least one man does also. I’d like to suggest two books if I may, both by deceased women authors, and to the dismay of many, two of my all time favorites. Neither book will take more than an hour of your time and yet they have the power to mesmerize you many times over. I’ve actually read both again this past week. There’s something about epistolary books that captures my imagination and brings to mind years gone by. Thanks for indulging me.
A manly man that is indeed a sucker for these two books,
1 – Daddy Long Legs – Jean Webster
2 – 84 Charing Cross Road – Helene Hanff
Men are welcome! I have quite a few regular male followers and commenters, so don’t let my feminist lens scare you off! These books sound great; I’ve seen the movie for the second one, but I always love a good book by a “forgotten” female novelist. Thanks!
I’ve just stumbled across your blog; fabulous, fabulous list! (Happy to see Peace Like a River on it…that’s one of my two annual reads. [Small Ceremonies by Carol Shields being the other.]) Looking forward to reading your posts.
I am glad you found me! I’ll have to look into the Shields book. I haven’t read that one.
Wow, must have taken you a million years to list all of those.
I keep a running list of what I read so it was “easy” to look through that and pick the best ones.
I just ran across your blog and loved finding this list! There are a few of my all-time favorites on there like Peace Like a River and A Tree Grow in Brooklyn. There’s several I haven’t read or heard of, and I’m excited to check them out! One that I finished not to long ago and really moved me was The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. I’d be interested to know what you thought of it! Thanks for the lists!
Thank you for stopping by! I am glad this list was helpful to you. I haven’t read Oscar Wao, but it sounds like maybe I should. Should I? 🙂
Do it! 🙂
What a wonderfully comprehensive list! I’ve read many on your list and can’t agree more. Thanks for sharing!
It was fun to compile and took me down memory lane. Thanks for commenting!
I’m glad someone else appreciates Watership Down – possibly the most underrated book in literature. Congratulations on a great blog 🙂
Thank you! Yes, Watership Down is a wonderful book!
Love this list, many of my favorites appear. Thank you for listing “March” which I loved, but I think I loved Geraldine Brooks’ “Year of Wonders” even more. Also, have you read “Tenderness of Wolves” by Stef Penney? Possibly my all-time favorite.
I have not read Penney’s book, but it looks like it is now on my list, thanks to you! 🙂
It’s inspiring to find a great reader like you. I have read quite some books too; but many of them are self-help books. One book I am happy to find on your list is Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austin is a great author and even though it is so many years since I read her novel,I will hardly forget such characters like Darcy. Elizabeth, Mr. Bingley and Jane. Another great novel I have read is ‘Things Fall Apart’ by Chinua Achebe. It is worthwhile for those who like to know some aspects of African culture; the world being a global village.
Achebe’s novel is fantastic! It is one I’ve been meaning to reread because it has been so long since I read it. And yes, Austen’s characters are unforgettable. Thanks for the comment.
What?! Can’t believe some of the books that overlap with my favourites! This is wonderful! Am going to the bookshop tomorrow to find some of those that I have not read, I have a feeling I’ll love them too! Peace like a River is one of my top five! Have you read ‘A Gracious Plenty’ by Sheri Reynolds? Will easily end up on your top 100! Can’t wait to explore the rest of your blog!
I am so glad you are here! I will look into Reynolds. I am loving your suggestions. Thanks for sharing them with me. 🙂
Hmm, I have read only 13 of your list of 100. Time to get started.
You’ve got a lot of great books ahead of you!
But then I have my own list too: http://norberthaupt.com/list-of-books/
wow, Watership Down, really? I tried reading this book, but couldn’t get past the first couple of pages 😦 I’d like to read it though….maybe the time just isn’t right yet. Hopefully someday I’ll be able to get back to it.
It may not be for everybody, and I wonder now if I would enjoy it as much as I did in my early twenties. If you end up making it through that one, let me know your verdict!
Glad to see Jane Austen so highly rated. Although I am not a fan of P & P myself, I just love her. Have you read any of her other works? If so, why did you rate P & P above them??
I have read a few others, but I like P&P the best!
I hope to be looking into this list when I need more books to read! 🙂 Have only read A Child Called “It” and My Sister’s Keeper before. Haven’t read Kite Runner but you should read A Thousand Splendid Suns by the same author, pretty good read!
I did read A Thousand Splendid Suns, but I did not like it as much as The Kite Runner. Still a good one, though!
I’ve read 16 of the books on this list, and enjoyed the ones I’ve read very much, my favorites probably being “The Country Girls Trilogy,” and “I Capture the Castle.” Based on your list, I think you would enjoy “The Woman in White,” by Wilkie Collins.
I did enjoy The Woman in White! I think I made this list before I had read it, but yes, it is a great one. 🙂
I would definitely agree that “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen is in your top 5 books to read. It is such a lovely novel filled with romance and lessons that will leave you wondering what will happen next. 🙂
It is such a great read!
Wow! 😮 you read all of these and more? That’s amazing! 😀 📖
What’s your favorite book from all of the books you’ve read?
It is hard to choose just one, but Angle of Repose is one of the best!
I’ve never heard of it. What’s the author’s name? It sounds like a book I would like to read. 😀
Wallace Stegner. It is an American masterpiece.