The Uber-List of the Top 200 Books of All Time

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Just like you, I was forced to read a lot of classic literature like Animal Farm and The Scarlet Letter in high school. College introduced me to other classics like And Then There Were None and Oliver Twist.

Then, after I graduated from college, something mysterious happened.

I stopped reading classic literature.

Without professors to spoon-feed servings of literary greatness, I turned to popular bestsellers. As a lover of nonfiction, I consumed books by Malcolm Gladwell, Michael Lewis, and Jim Collins. I discovered a lot of amazing books, including many that continue to guide my life and work.

And yet, a couple of years ago, I realized there was a gap in my reading life. I was missing the literary foundation upon which all authors draw inspiration: classic literature.

I decided to compile an uber-list of the “best books of all time” that could serve as my proverbial Everest to climb in the years ahead.

I pored over lists from websites that cataloged their “top 100 books.” Books that were mentioned by numerous sources made it onto my list. Although many sites focused on novels, a couple included nonfiction as well. (You can find my full source list at the bottom of this article.)

As I compiled my list, I realized I had missed out on tons of incredible literature in my life.

I didn’t even know the names of some of the authors who repeatedly made the “top 100” lists (e.g. Albert Camus, Philip Roth, Evelyn Waugh). For someone who reads over 70 books per year, I was remarkably ignorant about literature.

Since creating this list, I’ve been slowly scaling this literary mountain and talking to friends about my journey. Books I’ve read are denoted with the “⊗” symbol below, and I still have a LOT of work to do. Currently (as of my last edit on 1/26/21), I’ve read 65 of these 200 books.

If you’re interested, share a comment with the number of books you’ve tackled.

  1. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott ⊗
  4. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
  5. Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
  6. Money by Martin Amis
  7. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood ⊗
  8. Emma by Jane Austen
  9. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  10. Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
  11. The Black Sheep by Honoré de Balzac
  12. Malone Dies by Samuel Beckett
  13. The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow
  14. Herzog by Saul Bellow
  15. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume ⊗
  16. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury ⊗
  17. The Sleepwalkers by Hermann Broch
  18. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  19. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  20. The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan
  21. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov ⊗
  22. The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan ⊗
  23. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess ⊗
  24. If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino ⊗
  25. The Plague by Albert Camus ⊗
  26. The Stranger by Albert Camus ⊗
  27. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote ⊗
  28. Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey
  29. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré
  30. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll ⊗
  31. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  32. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler ⊗
  33. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  34. Stories of Anton Chekhov by Anton Chekhov
  35. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie ⊗
  36. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho ⊗
  37. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  38. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  39. Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
  40. Nostromo by Joseph Conrad
  41. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl ⊗
  42. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
  43. Underworld by Don DeLillo
  44. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
  45. Bleak House by Charles Dickens
  46. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens ⊗
  47. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  48. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens ⊗
  49. The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
  50. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  51. Deliverance by James Dickey
  52. Sybil by Benjamin Disraeli
  53. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  54. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky ⊗
  55. The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  56. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ⊗
  57. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
  58. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas ⊗
  59. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
  60. Middlemarch by George Eliot
  61. The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot ⊗
  62. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
  63. L.A. Confidential by James Ellroy
  64. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
  65. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  66. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  67. Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
  68. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald ⊗
  69. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  70. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  71. The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford
  72. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
  73. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  74. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
  75. Neuromancer by William Gibson
  76. Lord of the Flies by William Golding ⊗
  77. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
  78. The Tin Drum by Günter Grass
  79. I, Claudius by Robert Graves
  80. The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene
  81. The Diary of a Nobody by George Grossmith
  82. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
  83. Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
  84. Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  85. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
  86. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne ⊗
  87. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller ⊗
  88. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  89. Men Without Women by Ernest Hemingway
  90. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway ⊗
  91. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway ⊗
  92. Dune by Frank Herbert ⊗
  93. The Iliad by Homer
  94. The Odyssey by Homer
  95. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo ⊗
  96. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley ⊗
  97. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  98. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
  99. The Ambassadors by Henry James
  100. The Golden Bowl by Henry James
  101. The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
  102. Dubliners by James Joyce
  103. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
  104. Ulysses by James Joyce
  105. Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
  106. The Trial by Franz Kafka ⊗
  107. On the Road by Jack Kerouac ⊗
  108. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey ⊗
  109. It by Stephen King ⊗
  110. The Stand by Stephen King ⊗
  111. The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence
  112. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee ⊗
  113. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle ⊗
  114. The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
  115. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis ⊗
  116. The Call of the Wild by Jack London
  117. Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry
  118. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli ⊗
  119. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
  120. The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann
  121. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  122. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCallers
  123. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
  124. Atonement by Ian McEwan
  125. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  126. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
  127. Paradise Lost by John Milton
  128. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  129. The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford
  130. Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons ⊗
  131. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  132. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  133. Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
  134. A Bend in the River by V.S. Naipaul
  135. 1984 by George Orwell ⊗
  136. Animal Farm by George Orwell ⊗
  137. U.S.A. Trilogy by John Dos Passos
  138. Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
  139. Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Love Peacock
  140. The Moviegoer by Walker Percy ⊗
  141. Republic by Plato
  142. The Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe by Edgar Allen Poe
  143. In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
  144. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
  145. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  146. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
  147. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Remarque
  148. Clarissa by Samuel Richardson
  149. Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
  150. American Pastoral by Philip Roth
  151. Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth
  152. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling ⊗
  153. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
  154. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry ⊗
  155. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger ⊗
  156. Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald
  157. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  158. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley ⊗
  159. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
  160. East of Eden by John Steinbeck ⊗
  161. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  162. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck ⊗
  163. The Red and the Black by Stendhal
  164. Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne
  165. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson ⊗
  166. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson ⊗
  167. Dracula by Bram Stoker
  168. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  169. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
  170. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
  171. Walden by Henry David Thoreau ⊗
  172. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  173. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien ⊗
  174. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  175. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  176. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  177. The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope
  178. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain ⊗
  179. The Art of War by Sun Tzu ⊗
  180. Rabbit, Run by John Updike
  181. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne ⊗
  182. The Aeneid by Virgil
  183. Candide by Voltaire ⊗
  184. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut ⊗
  185. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  186. All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
  187. A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh
  188. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
  189. Scoop by Evelyn Waugh
  190. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells ⊗
  191. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells ⊗
  192. The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West
  193. Charlotte’s Web by EB White ⊗
  194. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  195. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde ⊗
  196. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  197. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  198. Native Son by Richard Wright
  199. Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
  200. One Thousand and One Nights by (Anon)

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Voracious reader | Awakening writer | Passionate about business & leadership | Director of L&D @ Spokn | Visit me at BobbyPowers.net

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