52 Books Everyone Should Read – Adult Edition

You see them all the time don’t you, lists of books to read before you die, lists of bucket list books and lists of books that will enlighten you and change your life. Many of these lists are written by academics and we wondered how much those lists might differ from our own if we asked you for your suggestions.

You were all very enthusiastic, giving us almost 800 replies in all and so after tallying them all up and skimming off the ones that got the most votes we have a top 52 books everyone should read at least once!

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Maybe an unsurprising first place, but outstripping second place with two and a half times as many votes is To Kill a Mockingbird, the timeless warning of bigotry and acceptance.

To Kill a Mockingbird US
To Kill a Mockingbird UK

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1984 – George Orwell

Next up is the cautionary, and it seems ever current story of the political nightmare endured by Winston Smith in 1984. The novel that gave us ‘Big Brother’ and ‘Room 101’ is second on our books everyone should read.

1984 US
1984 UK

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Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

A true classic and always popular in our polls is Pride and Prejudice, taking third place on our list with many saying ‘especially for girls’

Pride and Prejudice US
Pride and Prejudice UK

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Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom

Mitch makes it into the list more than once, and the memoir Tuesdays with Morrie about a young man’s visits to a professor with a terminal illness is jam packed with life and advice and thoughtful moments.

Tuesdays With Morrie US
Tuesdays With Morrie UK

Review of Tuesdays with Morrie

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Although considered by many to be young adult fiction, Zusak has stated several times that although Leisl is a young girl, the book wasn’t written with children in mind. This beautiful story of a young German girl during WWII takes joint fourth place with Tuesdays with Morrie on our list.

The Book Thief US
The Book Thief UK

Review of The Book Thief

The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner is a sensational novel about growing up and getting on, and it seems that while this is set in Afghanistan, the world over we’re all just trying to get on.

The Kite Runner US
The Kite Runner UK

A Review of The Kite Runner

The Alchemist – Paulo Coehlo

Taking joint sixth place with The Kite Runner is Coehlo’s The Alchemist, always popular on our page many of you said it’s simply a ‘must read’ book.

The Alchemist US
The Alchemist UK

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

They say the truth is found in fiction, and in eighth place is The Lord of the Rings with many of you saying it’s one of those series you just have to read at least once!

Lord of the Rings US
Lord of the Rings UK

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The Catcher in theRye – J. D Salinger

In joint ninth place, completing our top ten is the hugely popular and sometimes controversial The Catcher in the Rye, considered an American Classic and chosen by many of you.

The Catcher in the Rye US
The Catcher in the Rye UK

Review of The Catcher in the Rye

Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

And completing our top ten is Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury’s classic dystopian future where books are burned and knowledge is feared is a book that many of you felt everyone should read!

Fahrenheit 451 US
Fahrenheit 451 UK

Review of Fahrenheit 451

11. The 5 People you Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom

12. Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank (review)

13. Night – Elie Wiesel

14. Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

15. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith

16. Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell

17. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

18. The Stand – Stephen King

19. A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini (review)

20. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood (review)

And after the featured top 20, here we take the list to the full 52 books:

Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand
Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
Animal Farm – George Orwell
The Outsiders – S. E Hinton
Sophie’s World – Jostein Gaarder
Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Franki
The Giver – Louis Lowry 4
East of Eden – John Steinbeck
The Shack – William P. Young
A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
The Physician – Noah Gordon
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
Ishmael – Daniel Quinn
The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
Dune – Frank Herbert
The Last Lecture – Randy Pausch
Good Omens – Neil Gaiman Terry Pratchett
Mockingbird – Sean Stewart
The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand
Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver
Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafron
Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt

Look out for the YA Edition coming soon!

John Green Launched ‘Life’s Library’ International Bookclub

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John Green, young adult author and avid reader, noticed how much more enjoyable reading became when he had someone to discuss the literature with. Along with his friend and colleague Rosianna Halse Rojas, he decided to start an online book club where fellow readers could read along and join in discussions wherever they were. The book club, Life’s Library, has proven to be incredibly popular and- unlike many online subscription bookclubs- is successfully raising money for charity thanks to the generosity of Green and Rojas.

The triple-levelled membership rates offer a choice for every budget- from $25 (includes the chosen book, gifts, and discussion materials), $10 (includes discussion materials), and $0 (which includes the ability to join in the discussion via an invite to their Discord chat). Each book is read and discussed for six weeks before moving on to the next. The book club’s first shared read was Jacqueline Woodson’s If You Come Softly.

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The Bestselling Books of the Last One Hundred Years: 1937

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We started at 1918, bringing you the bestselling books of the last one hundred years. We’re moving along now, covering each year at a time and we’re well into the 1930s now. Today we’re documenting the ten bestselling books of 1937, and what you were reading instead.

1937 was the year the Hindenburg crashed down over New Jersey, the year Amelia Earhart vanished on her attempt to be the first woman to fly around the world, and the year that the Marihuana Tax Act started the move towards the criminalisation of the drug in the US.

So here they are, the ten top selling books of 1937 as the world, unbeknown sat on the brink of World War II. We’re also featuring some well known books that didn’t make the cut!

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The Bestselling Books of the Last One Hundred Years: 1936

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We started at 1918, bringing you the bestselling books of the last one hundred years. We’re moving along now, covering each year at a time and we’re well into the 1930s now. Today we’re documenting the ten bestselling books of 1936, and what you were reading instead.

1936 was the year that President Roosevelt was voted in for a second term, the year that Jesse Owens won four golds at the Berlin Olympics, and King Edward VIII abdicated the crown to marry Wallis Simpson.

So here they are, the ten top selling books of 1936 as the storm clouds collected before World War II. We’re also featuring some well known books that didn’t make the cut!

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FRA Readers’ Choice Top 20: March 2019

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Each month we list your top 20 reads of the month, chosen by members of our reading group, The Cwts @ Reading Addicts.

This month is a mix-up of classic books, new releases and recommendations from the Cwts, including some books that have featured heavily in the Top 20 every month. We hope you find something that interests you.

Here are the top 20 books for March, chosen by you!

With our new reading challenge for 2019 inspired by authors’ birthdays, you may find each month this affects the books voted for and we may see authors appearing in the Top 20 during their birthday months.  Read More

The Bestselling Books of the Last One Hundred Years: 1935

By | Discussion and Recommendations | No Comments
We started at 1918, bringing you the bestselling books of the last one hundred years. We’re moving along now, covering each year at a time and we’re well into the 1930s now. Today we’re documenting the ten bestselling books of 1935, and what you were reading instead.

1935 was the year the Depression continued, increasing unemployment to more than 20%, Jews were stripped of their citizenship, and Mussolini attacked Ethiopia, you can see why people might have wanted to escape into books.

So here they are, the ten top selling books of 1935 as the storm clouds collected before World War II. We’re also featuring some well known books that didn’t make the cut!

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The Bestselling Books of the Last One Hundred Years: 1934

By | Discussion and Recommendations | No Comments
We started at 1918, bringing you the bestselling books of the last one hundred years. We’re moving along now, covering each year at a time and we’re well into the 1930s now. Today we’re documenting the ten bestselling books of 1934, and what you were reading instead.

1934 was the year that brought us Flash Gordon, more from Nazi Germany, and the Gothenburg prize for both Kipling and Yeats.

So here they are, the ten top selling books of 1934 and the heady days before World War II. We’re also featuring some well known books that didn’t make the cut!

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The Bestselling Books of the Last One Hundred Years: 1933

By | Discussion and Recommendations | No Comments
We started at 1918, bringing you the bestselling books of the last one hundred years. We’re moving along now, covering each year at a time and we’re into the 1930s. Today we’re documenting the ten bestselling books of 1933, and what you were reading instead.

Already we can see some hot authors and trends appearing now and as the years tick on it’s likely that you’ll start recognising some contemporary authors and others who have been publishing through the decades.

So here they are, the ten top selling books of 1933, the year construction started on the Golden Gate Bridge, and the year that ominously Hitler was voted into power.

We’re also featuring some well known books that didn’t make the cut!

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14 Comments

  • Steve Anthony says:

    Who compiled this list, Mitch Albom’s literary agent?

    • Kath says:

      As it states in paragraph one, the question was thrown out to our 400,000 FB users. I just added the results and collated them.

  • Joel R. Dennstedt says:

    This is actually one of the best lists I have seen. Sort of a combination of quality and popularity is represented. I did not feel all aggrieved when I disagreed, because I could still see why a particular book was chosen.

  • Kathy Papst says:

    All in all this is a pretty good list. Some must read lists are too geared toward the classics, which is usually “old dead white guys” or others are too young adult oriented and have a lot of fantasy or sci-fi that many older readers don’t relate to. I think that I will try to read the books on this list that I am unfamiliar with or haven’t made the time to read. I do wish that there was one or two from Latin or South American writers, not just Anglo-American or northern European writers.

  • Robin says:

    I read 14, I’ll have to get busy

  • Lance says:

    I have probably averaged a book every 2 weeks since I was in 7th grade, 1981, and have only read 3 of these. I think I will work my way through your list. Is there a version of this list that can be printed?

  • dee says:

    This is probably the whitest list I’ve ever seen.

  • Chris says:

    we know that there is not just one Sherlock Holmes book but in fact a handful of novels and a truckload of short stories…

  • Nya says:

    I have to agree that these are must reads – classics that pass the test of time. I am making my next year resolution to read more classic books.

  • Eric Lane Barnes says:

    No ‘Beloved’? No ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God?’ No ‘Another Country?’ No ‘Color Purple?’

    This just in: African Americans have been a vibrant part of American literature for hundreds of years. This list is shamefully white-centric.

  • Great list! Given me lots of inspiration. Glad to see A Thousand Splendid Suns on the list – one of the most moving books I’ve ever read

  • Prashant says:

    What a rubbish list!!!Consists only of American and British writers. Surely you aren’t familiar with Russian and French literature…What a pity

    • Kath says:

      As the opening paragraphs state, this list is made up of reader choices. We asked people on the page to recommend books and added up their replies to create the list. It’s not a list of literature I’m familiar with, it’s a reader generated list of recommendations.

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