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Last Updated on November 22, 2022

30 Books Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lives

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30 Books Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lives

The wonders of books are endless – they can eliminate your stress, increase your happiness, and boost your intelligence. Whether you’ve crossed out some best books to read or you’re just starting out to broaden your literary horizons, you should be familiar with the books to read before you die.

The greatest books are not called classics for nothing. Written by the best literary minds, these books have a universal theme, interesting characters, experiences, perspective, and emotions that are still relevant until today. Some of the ultimate and best interesting books to read have inspired modern fiction in many ways.

If you love reading, here’s a perfect reading list for you that contains books that everyone should read. Even if you are not the biggest fan of reading, here’re 10 reasons to love reading.

Everyone should read at least once for these 30 books to read before you die — some are well known classics, others are modern giants.  All are well worth reading at least once in your life!

Your Must-Reads: 30 Best Books to Read

We’ve rounded up some of the books that everyone should read below.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

To Kill A Mockingbird
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This book is a timeless classic that discusses human behavior and the collective conscience of The Deep South during the 20th century. This book discusses hypocrisy, prejudice, hatred, love and innocence with humor to create an amazing novel that you are bound to love.

2. 1984, by George Orwell

Nineteen Eighty-Four [1984]
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1984 is George Orwell’s dystopian and totalitarian world where fear, control and lies take over the lives of people. Look into the life of Winston Smith who struggles with his nature in a world where free will, individuality, and love are not allowed.

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3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
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Chances are, you’ve heard about this book. Harry Potter is an integral part of the childhood of millions of people. In this book, you can join Harry as he journeys into the Wizarding World and he triumphs over Lord Voldemort. Throughout these books, you’ll get to know characters such as Hermione, Ron, Hagrid, Dumbledore, and many more.

4. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings: The classic fantasy masterpiece
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In this book, you will get to know the characters of Middle Earth, a beautiful and very expansive fantasy world that although it is filled with innocence, can also be ridden with turmoil. Follow the protagonist Frodo Baggins as the embarks on a challenging quest. This trilogy will definitely leave you at the edge of your seat.

5. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby
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The Great Gatsby is one of the most exciting yet sorrowful books you will ever read. The novel was published in 1925 and perfectly shows how decadent the Jazz Age was. It will teach you a valuable lesson that not everyone is fortunate in love.

6. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

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11/10/2022 12:44 pm GMT

This book is dubbed as one of the most interesting books to read and most famous novels of all time. Pride And Prejudice tells the story of the courtship of two very opposite characters in a world where courtesy and manners are integral.

7. The Diary Of A Young Girl, by Anne Frank

The Diary of a Young Girl
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11/10/2022 12:44 pm GMT

One of the most influential books ever published, the Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank tells the raw account of her life as she hides from the Nazi soldiers. Despite the circumstances she is facing, she still believes that naturally, people have a good heart and the world is still full of beauty. It’s truly a book that will change your perspective.

8. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief
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11/10/2022 12:46 pm GMT

This book is set in Germany in 1939. It follows Liesel as she tries to rescue books from Nazi rule. At the same time, her family has hidden a Jewish fighter living in their home’s basement. When you read this book, you’ll get to experience courage that is rarely found in the world today, as well as the friendship that is formed even in the most challenging situations.

9. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit: Or, There and Back Again
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11/10/2022 02:44 pm GMT

You may be wondering now: what book should I read? Well, you may have heard or even watched the film, but reading The Hobbit is a must for every Lord of the Rings fan. It follows the courageous Bilbo Baggins as he travels in the harsh Middle Earth to contest a dragon.

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10. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women
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In this book, you will get to join four sisters, each boasting their own personality, as they grow up during 19th Century New England. You will get to bask in their unique struggles and understand their flaws as they turn into strong women.

11. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451: The gripping and inspiring classic of dystopian science fiction
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This book has an unlikely plot. Here, books are not allowed, and it is Guy Montag’s job to burn all the books he comes across. This book is usually compared to 1984 by George Orwell. Here, author Ray Bradbury’s dystopian world can be seen as his commentary on the addiction and dependence of Western society on the media.

12. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte

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11/10/2022 02:44 pm GMT

When it comes to the books that everyone should read, Jane Eyre is always part of the list. It introduces you to arguably one of the most influential and likable fictional heroines of all time. Jane Eyre is not only a strong, but also an unbroken woman despite experiencing a troubled childhood in a repressed Victorian society.

13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell

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Animal Farm is definitely one of the books to read before you die. This satire was published in 1945. In many ways, this book was truly ahead of its time. The book uniquely examines some of the realistic risks associated with revolution, as well as the dynamics animals are bound to give in to.

14. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell

Gone with the Wind
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This book has been turned into one of the most successful films of all time. It is set in The Civil War in the charming south. The main character lives in an immensely challenging situation, and she tries to navigate how to love amidst the brewing war.

15. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye
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11/10/2022 02:44 pm GMT

A charming yet cynical novel, The Catcher In The Rye will let you in on the challenges of adolescence. In this book, you get to follow sixteen-year-old Holden Caulfield, and as you read his experiences, you will make up your mind about the character.

16. Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White

Charlotte's Web
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11/10/2022 02:44 pm GMT

When it comes to the most interesting books to read ever written, this book takes the case. Here, you will meet Charlotte, an adorable spider, as well as Fern, a farmer’s daughter. Watch the two try to save Wilbur the piglet from being killed. This book is such a compelling reminder to marvel at the simple wonders of life and to love all living creatures.

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17. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia)
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This is another renowned fantasy world, especially for children. Narnia is the home of magnificent and interesting creatures that have their own morals. As you read this book, don’t forget to let your imagination run wild, especially as you get to meet the characters.

18. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath
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This book was published in 1939, and it is set during The Great Depression. The Grapes of Wrath centers on an Oklahoma family who is forced to travel to California. Here, you will get to see America as it is divided into the haves and have-nots, as well as the powerful and the powerless.

19. Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

Lord of the Flies
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The Lord of the Flies is a classic novel that follows boys that are marooned on an island. Here, they regress into becoming savages, and their joyful island existence turns into a cruel nightmare.

20. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner
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The Kite Runner tells the story of a one-of-a-kind friendship. It centers on Amir who tries to find the only friend he’s ever had who previously abandoned him because of the ethnic and religious differences that happened in Kabul, Afghanistan.

21. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

Of Mice and Men
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Of Mice And Men tells the complex story of a friendship between George Milton and Lennie Small, two migrant workers in California. Here, their bond strengthens as their work towards their dreams of owning their land and pets.

22. A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens

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In this novel, you will get to know Dr Manette, an eighteen years political prisoner as he is released and returns to England with Lucie, his daughter. Here, two men fall in love with Lucie and they become entwined in a story of love and sacrifice.

23. Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare

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The most interesting books to read do not always have a happy ending. This is probably the most famous love story ever written. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare is a tragedy that centers on the joy of young love, and the complexity of revenge.

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24. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The Illustrated Edition
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Join human Arthur Dent on a great adventure across the galaxy in this book. Here, you will learn not to take the universe seriously and forget all the meanings you have in your life because everyone knows the real meaning of life is simply 42.

25. Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte

Wuthering Heights (Wordsworth Classics)
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Wuthering Heights is a book you shouldn’t miss to read. It is ridden with passion. This book was published in 1847 and it showcases great storytelling packed with rivalry and revenge as it follows Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw.

26. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker

The Color Purple: The classic, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel
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This book has reaped multiple awards. The Color Purple is a sorrowful story that discusses the lives of colored women in the USA during the 1930s. Challenged and censored, the harsh reality in The Color Purple will truly leave you shaken.

27. Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll

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Alice In Wonderland proves that the potential of imagination is endless. If you’re not a fan of the real world and like to imagine your own reality, Alice in Wonderland is definitely the ultimate book to read.

28. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley

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This book showcases a combination of gothic thriller, romance novel, and a cautionary tale. Frankenstein is definitely a story like no other. It was written by Mary Shelley when she was just eighteen and it inspires readers to ask themselves shattering questions such as what makes us human.

29. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
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Often dubbed as The Great American Novel, The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn is a book you shouldn’t miss. It is both deep and complex, and shows friendship and shifting societal norms.

30. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel (Modern Library 100 Best Novels)
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Dubbed as one of the best books to read, the impact of his novel cannot be denied. In this book, readers travel through life with Billy Pilgrim as he experiences World War II. He has been abducted from Tralfamadore. Both rich and funny, this book hopes to discourage people from war.

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Final Thoughts

You may have heard of the adage “so many books, so little time.” While that is unfortunately true, reading the books to read before you die listed above will help you ensure you don’t miss the classics. Every now and then, you may ask yourself “what book should I read?” Now is the time to get started. Who knows, some of these interesting books to read may have a profound impact on your life.

Featured photo credit: Prasanna Kumar via unsplash.com

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Anna Y.T. Chui

Anna is the Editor-in-Chief & Content Strategist of Lifehack.

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