100 Books Everyone Should Read

Okay, since several of you asked, here’s my own personal list of 100 books everyone should read.  I submit this with much fear and trembling, knowing I have certainly inadvertently left out something truly important.  But I’m only human. . . . Anyway, before I get an avalanche of complaints,  here are the rules I set for myself: (1) These are all works of fiction, which forced me to leave out what I consider to actually be the most important works ever written, but a list of non-fiction must-reads would be too daunting a task for me to undertake.  (2) The works must be of enduring importance to history and/or culture, or have had  literary influence.  To be judged as “enduring”, the work must be at least (in my opinion) 20 to 25 years old.  This does not mean that I don’t believe that anything of importance has been written in the past quarter century.  It just means that these important works have not yet proven themselves as “enduring” by actually, well, enduring.  I just had to draw a line somewhere. (3) I am not a hypocrite:  therefore I have included works which I freely admit I have not read myself–yet!  I am aware that my own experience should not be the criteria, but have looked to wiser heads than my own for help.  And then I freely edited what the wiser heads suggested!  So–here goes, in alphabetical order by author:


1. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy- Douglas Adams


2. Watership Down – Richard Adams


3. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott


4. Arabian Nights


5. Emma – Jane Austen


6. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen


7. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen


8. Beowulf


9. Collective Poems of William Blake


10. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte


11. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte


12. Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan


13. Poetry of Lord Byron


14. Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll


15. Through the Looking Glass – Lewis Carroll


16. Don Quixote – Miguel Cervantes


17. Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer


18. The Man Who was Thursday – G. K. Chesterton


19. Manalive – G. K. Chesterton


20. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad


21. Poems of Stephen Crane


22. Poems of e.e. cummings


23. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl


24. Divine Comedy – Dante (Yes, all three of them! I recommend the translation by Dorothy L. Sayers.)


25. Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens


26. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens


27. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens


28. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens


29. Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens


30. Poems of Emily Dickinson


31. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky


32. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle


33. Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas


34. The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas


35. Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier


36. Mill on the Floss – George Eliot


37. Poems by T. S. Eliot


38. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald


39. Poems by Robert Frost


40. Faust – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


41. Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame


42. Lord of the Flies – William Golding


43. Far from the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy


44. Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy


45. Uncle Remus Tales – Joel Chandler Harris


46. The Scarlett Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne


47. Short Stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne


48. The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway


49. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller


50. The Iliad – Homer


51. The Odyssey – Homer


52. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo


53. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley


54. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow – Washington Irving


55. Ulysses – James Joyce


56. Just So Stories – Rudyard Kipling


57. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee


58. Chronicles of Narnia – C. S. Lewis


59. The Screwtape Letters – C. S. Lewis


60. Moby Dick – Herman Melville


61. The Crucible – Arthur Miller


62. Paradise Lost – John Milton


63. Winnie the Pooh – A. A. Milne


64. Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery


65. Animal Farm  – George Orwell


66. 1984 – George Orwell


67. Metamorphoses – Ovid


68. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight – The Pearl Poet (I recommend the translation by J. R. R. Tolkien.)


69. The Gold Bug – Edgar Allen Poe


70. Poems by Edgar Allen Poe


71. The Little Prince – Antione De Saint Exupery


72. Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger


73. Gaudy Night – Dorothy L. Sayers


74. Complete Works of Shakespeare (Including Sonnets!)


75. Frankenstein – Mary Shelly


76. Poems of Percy Bysshe Shelly


77. Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck


78. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck


79. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson


80. Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson


81. Dracula – Bram Stoker


82. Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray


83. The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien


84. The Lord of the Rings – J. R. R. Tolkien


85. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy


86. War and Peace  – Leo Tolstoy


87. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain


88. Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain


89. The Prince and the Pauper – Mark Twain


90. The Aeneid – Virgil


91. The Book of the Dun Cow – Walter Wangerin


92. The Time Machine – H. G. Wells


93. Charlotte’s Web – E. B. White


94. The Book of Merlin – T. H. White


95. The Once and Future King – T. H. White


96. Our Town – Thorton Wilder


97. Poems by William Wordsworth


98. Enter Jeeves – P. G. Wodehouse


99. Jeeves in the Morning – P. G. Wodehouse


100. Germinal – Emile Zola


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