What are the best must-read books before you die?

asked by Anonymous
428 contributors
18 solutions
  1. 42

    #1Pride and Prejudice

    Pride and Prejudice
    Pride and Prejudice is a book written by Jane Austen with an introduction from Anna Quindlen, which follows the story of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet as they venture into a series of courtship in the 18th century. 

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    Jennifer Rogers
    Written on May 11, 2018
    "Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen was a true coming of age book for me. It is both classic and timeless. Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are as real to me today as they were when I first read this a a teenager. Everyone should read this at least once."
  2. 39

    #2To Kill a Mockingbird

    To Kill a Mockingbird
    To Kill a Mockingbird is Harper Lee's Pulitzer prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep south and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred. This was first published in 1960.

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    Lisa Rodriguez
    Written on May 10, 2018
    "Truly one of the best book I have ever read. It doesn't matter what year it is , this book will still be relevant and interesting. A timeless classic for sure."
  3. 37

    #3Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

    Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
    Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl was written by Anne Frank, published from the diary she kept when she and her family were in hiding from the Nazis in the then German-occupied Netherlands.

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    Pranav Nair
    Written on May 18, 2018
    "This book tells Anne Frank's own diary as she and her family lie hidden away to hide from the Nazis that have invaded her home. As it is her account as things happened, you can get her feelings as those horrifying events happened. It is a must read!"
  1. 34


    This is one of the greatest plays of all times and this edition is the groundbreaking Cambridge School, established by Rex Gibson. This is the story of the tormented prince of Denmark confronted with the evidence that this uncle murdered his father. 

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    Dylan Lane
    Written on May 10, 2018
    "Hamlet is a world renowned classic for a reason. The prose is beautiful, as you'd expect from Shakespeare, but the themes discussed throughout the play are really special. The originator of a million works to come after, this play still does it all so flawlessly."
  2. 33

    #5The Canterbury Tales

    The Canterbury Tales

    The Canterbury Tales is a classical literature novel written by Geoffrey Chaucer and translated by Nevill Coghill. With over 500 pages, this book is published in 2003 by Penguin Classics.


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    Robert Castillo
    Written on May 20, 2018
    "novels which you have addicted to read"
  3. 30

    #6One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
    This is one of the most imports novels of the 60's and from American history. The unforgettable story of a mental ward and the people living there and the tyrannical Nurse Ratched and McMurphy.

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    Luis Alberto Gallegos
    Written on May 11, 2018
    "This is one of the most well-known books on American history in existence. It tells the unforgettable story of a mental ward and the people living there. You learn about the tyrannical Nurse Ratched and McMurphy. I must have read One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest a dozen times. Each time it is just that much more interesting than the last. Honestly, it is in my top 10 and I think it should be recommended reading for everyone."
  4. 29

    #7The Wind in the Willows

    The Wind in the Willows
    'The Wind in the Willows' is a classic fantasy tale written by Kenneth Grahame which has become a must-read for kids and teenagers. It tells the adventures of Rat, Mole, Badger and Mr. Toad, a group of eccentric talking animals.

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    Bertha Córdova
    Written on May 12, 2018
    "This is a great classic book, especially for the young adults. The talking animals take the cake! I would suggest any young adult or even older adult read this classic!"
  5. 26

    #8The Bell Jar

    The Bell Jar

    The Bell Jar is a book by Sylvia Plath that tells the story of Esther Greenwood, a young woman living in New York, and her descent into madness while trapped in the suffocating "bell jar" that is depression. 


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    Marie Williams
    Written on May 17, 2018
    "Oh gosh this is wonderful. One of the best. Plath describes feelings we have so perfectly, definitely read this."
  6. 23

    #9The Picture of Dorian Gray

    The Picture of Dorian Gray

    The Picture of Dorian Gray is a philosophical book written by Oscar Wilde, which is about Dorian Gray whose painted portrait of himself done by Basil Hallward ages instead of him as he commits sins and vile acts. 


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    Judy Schmidt
    Written on May 13, 2018
    "This was an interesting book. It's the first work of Wilde's that I've read, and the first classic I've finished in a long time, probably since high school. I am glad that I read it. There was a part in the middle that I was really bored with, but other than that, it was an interesting read. I enjoyed Dorian Gray as a character, as well as Lord Henry. I at 47 decided it is time to read some classics and I am glad I chose this as one of the 1st on my list"
  7. 21



    1984 is a utopian and dystopian fiction written by George Orwell. First published in 1949, it is included in the NPR Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books.


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    Bobby Smith
    Written on May 16, 2018
    "I recently bought the very famous book "1984" by George Orwell, and I really enjoyed reading it. This is a book that should be studied at school, and I will be happy to give it to my niece when she will be able to read it and understand it."
  8. 20

    #11The Count of Monte Cristo

    The Count of Monte Cristo
    The Count of Monte Cristo is written by French author Alexandre Dumas, which is about a man who wanted revenge against those who framed and jailed him for a crime he did not commit. 

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    Saúl Meléndez
    Written on May 17, 2018
    "I have the Robin Buss translation of THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO in paperback, but that copy was old and worn. I wanted a more durable hardcover edition to read and to display on my bookshelf in my new house. The hardcover I bought from Total Books arrived in near-perfect condition, exactly as advertised, and looks gorgeous on the shelf. Why Robin Buss' translation for Penguin Classics? That's a reasonable question since Alexandre Dumas has been dead long enough for his works to enter the public domain. Several translations of his major novels are not only available in cheaper editions (such as Barnes & Noble Classics), but for free on Project Gutenberg."
  9. 17

    #12The Catcher in the Rye

    The Catcher in the Rye

    The Catcher in the Rye is J.D. Salinger's 1951 classic about teenager Holden Caulfield, who was used as an icon of teenage angst and rebellion. The controversial book has caused debates, mainly because of its vulgar language and themes.


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    Roger Duncan
    Written on May 9, 2018
    "The Catcher in the Rye From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia For other uses, see The Catcher in the Rye (disambiguation). The Catcher in the Rye Cover features a crude drawing of a Carousel horse (pole visible entering the neck and exiting below on the chest) with a city skyline visible in the distance under the hindquarters. The cover is two-toned: everything below the horse is whitish while the horse and everything above it is a reddish orange. The title appears at the top in big dirty yellow letters against the reddish orange background. It is split into two lines after "Catcher". At the bottom in the whitish background are the words "a novel by J. D. Salinger". First edition cover Author J. D. Salinger Cover artist E. Michael Mitchell[1][2] Country United States Language English Genre Realistic fiction Coming-of-age fiction Published July 16, 1951 Publisher Little, Brown and Company Media type Print Pages 277 OCLC 287628 Dewey Decimal 813.54 The Catcher in the Rye is a story by J. D. Salinger, first published in serial form in 1945-6 and as a novel in 1951.[3] A classic novel originally published for adults, it has since become popular with adolescent readers for its themes of teenage angst and alienation.[4][5] It has been translated into almost all of the world's major languages.[6] Around 1 million copies are sold each year with total sales of more than 65 million books.[7] The novel's protagonist Holden Caulfield has become an icon for teenage rebellion.[8] The novel also deals with complex issues of innocence, identity, belonging, loss, and connection."
  10. 15

    #13The Grapes of Wrath

    The Grapes of Wrath

    The Grapes of Wrath is a Pulitzer Prize-winning book by John Steinbeck. It tells the story of the Joad family as they travel west to California in search of greener pastures during the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression.


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    Alejandro Blanco
    Written on May 16, 2018
    "While there's a nice classic movie, from when they knew how to make movies, it still can't beat the book for the visual poetry of Steinbeck's words. In these times when poverty means just not having an iphone, I always find it helpful to remember what it really meant to be so dirt poor. Well, that is, read about other people also as poor."
  11. 13

    #14Alice's Adventures In Wonderland

    Alice's Adventures In Wonderland
    Alice's Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is a book where wordplay, parody, and logical and philosophical puzzles are everywhere. For all the surface playfulness, there is meaning in every page.

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    Kelly Jones
    Written on May 13, 2018
    " I have seriously never seen a more beautiful book! The detail is awesome and even the story itself is from the original Lewis Carroll version. Not only is each page a beautiful pop up.. But each page has mini fold out pages with more pop up artwork. This will be a keepsake for our family. SO glad I bought this and will look at buying others"
  12. 11

    #15A Christmas Carol

    A Christmas Carol

    A Christmas Carol is one of Dicken's greatest masterpieces. It tells the story of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, who gets unexpected visitors in his sleep one Christmas Eve and wakes up a changed man.


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    Russell Schmidt
    Written on May 17, 2018
    " A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens-A Christmas Carol-Cloth-First Edition 1843.jpg First edition cover (1843) Author Charles Dickens Original title A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas. Illustrator John Leech Country England Published 19 December 1843 Publisher Chapman & Hall Text A Christmas Carol at Wikisource A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost-Story of Christmas, commonly known as A Christmas Carol, is a novella by Charles Dickens, first published in London by Chapman & Hall in 1843; the first edition was illustrated by John Leech. A Christmas Carol tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an old miser who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. After their visits Scrooge is transformed into a kinder, gentler man."
  13. 10

    #16Anna Karenina

    Anna Karenina

    Anna Karenina is widely regarded as one of the best books ever written by Leo Tolstoy, which was first published in 1878. This follows the story of Countess Anna Karenina and her affair with Count Vronsky.


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    Jacob Lane
    Written on May 21, 2018
    "One of the greatest books ever written and a brilliant view of Russian society in the 19th century. The characters are masterfully written, human and compelling. Tolstoy masterfully displays the emotions of his novel's characters and engages the reader with their depth and beauty. "
  14. 6

    #17The Hobbit

    The Hobbit

    The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is a modern classic and the prelude to The Lord of the Rings. Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable life, but his contentment is disturbed when Gandalf and a group of dwarves arrive on his doorstep.


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    Arthur Parker
    Written on May 9, 2018
    "So I was looking up what the best must read books before you die are as I am currently dying of cancer. I ended up finding The Hobbit and wow do I agree, I am so happy that I will have died knowing this story."
  15. 4

    #18Wuthering Heights

    Wuthering Heights

    Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë tells the story of Catherine and Heathcliff. After she rejects him for a boy from a better background he develops a lust for revenge that takes over his life. This tale of hauntings, passion, and greed remains unsurpassed in its depiction of the dark side of love.


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Best What are the best must-read books before you die
1Pride and PrejudiceBooks 42 Free
2To Kill a MockingbirdBooks 39 Paid
3Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young GirlBooks 37 Paid
4HamletBooks 34 Paid
5The Canterbury TalesBooks 33 Paid
6One Flew Over the Cuckoo's NestBooks 30 Paid
7The Wind in the WillowsBooks 29 Paid
8The Bell JarBooks 26 Paid
9The Picture of Dorian GrayBooks 23 Free
101984Books 21 Paid

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