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If You Could Only Read One Book Forever – Top 50

By January 24, 2016December 30th, 2019Discussion and Recommendations

It seems we asked the almost unanswerable over on our Social Media pages a fortnight ago when the Poll Question  “If you could only choose one book to read for the rest of your lifetime?” was asked of you all.

We had over 350 replies but of those almost 100 of you refused to choose, with one respondent informing me I’d be shot if I asked them that again and many others claiming it was akin to asking which was their favourite child.

Believe me when I tell you I understand your dilemma and we have stretched the remit to include the many replies that named a Trilogy, or Serial rather than a single title and we have produced a list of your chosen ‘forever’ reads from your replies.  I hope your favourite is listed among these titles.

The Bible

We have a large number of the faithful among our respondents and that is reflected in the number one choice for the one book you could read for the rest of your life..

The Bible US
The Bible UK

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LotR Trilogy – J.R.R Tolkien

What better than hundreds of pages of adventure to keep you entertained for the foreseeable future?.


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Harry Potter Complete – J.K. Rowling

Another wonderful choice; subtle nuances and amazing attention to detail ensures that there is something new to be found each and every time you reread J.K’s brilliant wizarding series.

Harry Potter US
Harry Potter UK

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The Book Thief – Marcus Zusak

I was very pleased to see this in so many people’s replies. A wonderful tale of a girl growing up in war torn Nazi Germany, uplifting in places, utterly heartbreaking in others and narrated so beautifully by Death himself.

The Book Thief US
The Book Thief UK

Review of The Book thief

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare

If you want to be kept busy for a significant length of time then there’s no better an author than The Bard himself.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare US
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare UK

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War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy

Tolstoy’s epically enormous tome makes a sensible choice for those of us who want to feel challenged for time.

War and Peace US
War and Peace UK

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Neverending Story – Michael Ende, Ralph Manheim

Ohh Ha Ha very funny.

Neverending Story US
Neverending Story UK

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Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë

Emily Brontë’s timeless tale of love, loyalty, morality, social classes and gender inequality is a well deserved eighth.

Wuthering Heights US
Wuthering Heights UK

Review of Wuthering Heights

The Dark Tower – Stephen King

King’s fantasy epic isn’t strictly a single book but it may be the only entry that is written as a natural roundel.

The Dark Tower US
The Dark Tower UK

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Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

Described as a ‘novel of manners’ Pride and Prejudice is a timeless tale of love, loyalty and family responsibilities.

Pride and Prejudice US
Pride and Prejudice UK

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11. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith

12. Hitchhiker’s Guide – Douglas Adams

13. The Prophet – Kahlil Gibran

14. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë

15. The Qu’ran

16. Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell

17. TKaMB – Harper Lee

18. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

19. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

20. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

And after the featured top 20, here we take the list to the top 50 books:

Dickenson’s Poems – Emily Dickinson
Dombey and Son – Charles Dickens
House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski
Hopscotch – Julio Cortázar
Anne of Green Gables – Lucy Maud Montgomery
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
Dune – Frank Herbert
Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen
Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand
Broken Wings – Kahlil Gibran
Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Illusions – Richard Bach
Forever Amber – Kathleen Winsor
The Hobbit – J.R.R Tolkien
The Last Samurai – Helen Dewitt
Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell
Dicken’s Complete Works – Charles Dickens
The Green Mile – Stephen King
11/22/63 – Stephen King
The Promise – Ann Weisgarber
Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
Book of Mormon
Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
Zahir – Paulo Coelho
The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco
The Stand – Stephen King
Where she Went – Gayle Forman
Chelsea Girls – Eileen Myles
The Ascent of Man – Richard Dawkins

I read through that list and with practically every single title mentioned I though “oooh yes that one”, then saw the next and changed my mind.
Thank goodness this was only a hypothetical question and we still have more books than we can ever hope to read available to us.

No if you’ll excuse me, I’m off  to give my shelves a cuddle!

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One Comment

  • Mephit Muse says:

    I wish I’d seen the question! I’d have said I didn’t have an answer to the question but, reading the list and seeing the series that were chosen, I’d chose The Black Jewels Trilogy (and associated books) by Anne Bishop. I reread them about once a year already so it’s not that big a stretch!

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