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Books and Novels That Everyone Should Read in Their Lifetime

So many books, so little time! If you’re looking for a master list of the best books that everyone should read in their lifetime, this is a great place to start. Featuring iconic classics, timeless bestsellers, and life-changing nonfiction, these are the books that will stay with you for your entire life. Take a look at our recommendations for the best books to read, and you’re sure to find your next good read!

Best Fiction Books That Everyone Should Read

From timeless classics like To Kill a Mockingbird to recent bestsellers like The Kite Runner, here’s an ultimate list of fiction books everyone should read.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Narrated by 10-year-old Scout Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird centers on her father, small-town lawyer Atticus Finch, and his fight against racial prejudice in the 1930s Deep South. You may have read this beloved coming-of-age story when you were agen ion casino in school, but it’s worth revisiting this classic as an adult. Poignant and powerful, the central themes remain timeless and timely.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Often imitated but never duplicated, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is a British classic and one of the most beloved books of all time. Detailing the social mores of 19th-century England, Austen crafts a novel that is amusing, timeless and utterly delightful. If you haven’t met Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy yet, now is the time, for this is surely a book that everyone should read!

1984 by George Orwell 

In 1984, George Orwell envisions a grim dystopian future where Big Brother is always watching and free thought is forbidden. For Winston, the only hope of survival is joining the revolution intent on overthrowing the Party. This chilling tale of governmental power and control will make you think about the freedoms we take for granted… and who might be watching.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn centers on 11-year-old Francie Nolan, who lives in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn with her Irish and Austrian immigrant parents and younger brother, Neely. When her father dies, the family reels, but Francie is determined to pursue her dreams of finishing her education and going to college. This poignant coming-of-age story is a beautiful and timeless tale of resilience and hope.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

In this #1 New York Times bestseller, it’s 1939 Nazi Germany and Liesel Meminger is a young foster girl who steals for her survival. Then she discovers books. Liesel learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors and the Jewish man who hides in her basement. Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has written a heartbreaking tale of the power and joy books offer, even in the darkest days.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Brave New World is a cautionary tale about the future that remains as relevant today as when it was first published in 1932. In this technologically advanced dystopia, author Aldous Huxley envisions a world where humans are controlled through genetic engineering and behavioral conditioning. When one man begins to question his carefully controlled world, he is forced to face the truth about the very nature and purpose of his life.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad took the literary world by storm in 2016, earning the author the #1 spot on the New York Times bestseller list, as well as a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award. Envisioning the Underground Railroad as an actual network of train tracks throughout the south, Whitehead weaves a complex saga that stretches from the days before the Civil War to contemporary life for African Americans. This compelling novel is unlike anything you’ve ever read and makes a thoughtful, conversation-provoking book club selection.

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison’s Beloved is a Pulitzer Prize-winning tale of a young mother tormented by the circumstances surrounding the death of her eldest child. Born into slavery, Sethe escaped the home of her youth, but the past still haunts her. Brutal, suspenseful, and heart-wrenching, Beloved is a stunning novel from one of the finest writers in the last century.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

This New York Times bestseller centers on the lives of Marie-Laure, a blind French girl, and Werner, an orphaned German boy. Beautifully written and richly detailed, All the Light We Cannot See is a crowning achievement in historical fiction. Doerr captures the devastation of World War II and the ways in which good triumphs over evil in even the darkest circumstances.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

For over 50 years, Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 has been named to every major list of “best books,” and for good reason. Set in Italy during World War II, it’s a hilarious and critical analysis of the madness that is war. Told from the perspective of a young fighter pilot caught up in the insanity, it’s a profound story about the human condition — flawed, sometimes broken, ever hopeful — and the very human need to make sense of the senseless.

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