52 Books Everyone Should Read – Adult Edition

book of the month

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

Submit a Review

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

Submit a Review

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

Submit a Review

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

Submit a Review

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

Submit a Review

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!

FRA Readers’ Choice Top 20: September

By | Hit of the Lits! | No Comments
book of the month
Another month has passed as the year races by and now we’re into September and if you’re looking for some reading suggestions then we have the FRA Top 20, chosen by members of our reading group, The Cwts @ Reading Addicts.

Every month we ask the group members to let us know what their favourite read was from the previous month. Those results are then collated, giving us a top 20 recommended reads for the following month. Here’s September!  Read More

Obama Shares What He’s Been Reading This Summer

By | Discussion and Recommendations, News | No Comments
book of the month
It’s always interesting to know what any public figure has been reading lately, but even more so when that public figure also happens to have been the 44th President of the United States. Every so often, Barack Obama takes to his official Facebook page to let us know what he’s been reading and what he’d recommend.

Obama published a post on Sunday evening detailing five books, both fiction and non-fiction, that he’s been reading over the Summer. “One of my favorite parts of summer is deciding what to read when things slow down just a bit, whether it’s on a vacation with family or just a quiet afternoon,” he wrote. “This summer I’ve been absorbed by new novels, revisited an old classic, and reaffirmed my faith in our ability to move forward together when we seek the truth. Here’s what I’ve been reading: Read More

4 Brilliant Leon Uris Books

By | Authors, Discussion and Recommendations | No Comments
book of the month
Leon Uris (3rd August, 1924 – June 21, 2003) was an American author of historical fiction who wrote many bestselling books. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Uris was the son of Jewish American parents Wolf William and Anna Uris. His father was a Polish born immigrant, his mother a first generation Russian American.

Uris was six years old when he was first recognised for his literary skills when he wrote an operetta inspired by the death of his dog. He would go on to write many bestselling works, based around major political and historic events. Today we’re going to recommend four books you may like to try. Read More

FRA Readers’ Choice Top 20: August

By | Hit of the Lits!, Literature | No Comments
book of the month
Those who have been around a while will remember our Hit of the Lits feature, a top 20 of the books you’ve loved in the previous month. Well on popular request we’re giving this feature a reboot with a new name and a new layout.

Last month we created a poll in our reading group The Cwts, and that poll has run all month giving you the chance to add your favourite read from the last thirty days. With July now over we have our top 20 for August and here it is, the readers’ choice top 20 for August.

Read More

Obama Reveals What He’s Been Reading Prior to Visiting Africa

By | Discussion and Recommendations, News, Reading Habits | No Comments
book of the month
For the first time since he left office, the former President of the United States, Barack Obama, has returned to Africa where he spent time in both Kenya (his ancestral home) and South Africa. There he met 200 young leaders from all over the continent and made a speech to commemorate the 100th birthday of Nelson Mandela.

Prior to his visit, Obama published a post on his official Facebook page where he wrote about his love for his ancestral home, and revealed what books he’s been reading in the build up to his trip. As you would expect, the books are from and about the continent of Africa and show what a diverse, historic, sometimes troubled, but also extraordinary continent it is. Not only has Obama recommended the books, but also provided a quick insight as to why he found them interesting. Read More

Sense8, Bookshops and Some Reading Recommendations

By | Discussion and Recommendations, Television | No Comments
book of the month
Is anyone else really sad that Sense8 is over? The Netflix show was a science-fiction drama created by Lana and Lilly Wachowski (of Matrix fame) following the lives of eight strangers from around the world linked by a sense of mental and emotional telepathy.

While a science fiction show, the series was very grounded in real issues such as race, sex, gender, and religion featuring a multi-national cast, various sexualities and a transgender character, played by a transgender actor (yay!).

I absolutely loved it, and I know much of the team did too and brilliant storylines aside, I loved the fact that Amanita, played by Freema Agyeman worked at the City Lights Bookstore, meaning it was featured in various episodes. And if you were hanging out for more bookstore references there was a second one with a mention for Shakespeare and Co in the finale too! Read More

George R.R. Martin Gives Us His Book Recommendations

By | Discussion and Recommendations | No Comments
book of the month
George R.R. Martin has shot to fame in recent years after his gritty fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire was adapted into a TV show by HBO. Called Game of Thrones, the series has become one of the biggest shows on TV and has helped newcomers discover Martin’s equally great novels. Game of Thrones‘ final season is set to air next year, but we’re still eagerly waiting for the next installment in the Song of Ice and Fire series, The Winds of Winter. If you can’t wait for the next book, then why not check out this list of books Martin has recommended?

As the New York Public Library reports, Martin has given us not one, but two lists of books he feels we should read, fantasy and general fiction, so there should be something for everyone here.

Read More

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.

Leave a Reply