THE 100 BEST BOOKS OF ALL TIME

Most book lovers cherish the dream of reading the best books of all time in their lifetime. Making a list of best books whether in fiction or nonfiction is a controversial and difficult task as the tastes and opinions of people vary from one another.

“The World Library is a list of the 100 best books, as proposed by one hundred writers from fifty-four different countries, compiled and organized in 2002 by the Norwegian Book Club. This list endeavors to reflect world literature, with books from all countries, cultures, and time periods. Eleven of the books included on the list are written by women, eighty-five are written by men and four have an unknown author.

Each writer had to select his or her own list of ten books.

The books selected by this process and listed here are not ranked or categorized in any way; the organizers have stated that “they are all on an equal footing,” with the exception of Don Quixote which was given the distinction “best literary work ever written.” The following list organizes the works alphabetically by author” (Source: wikipedia)

The List

1) To the Lighthouse

To the Lighthouse is a 1927 novel by Virginia Woolf. A landmark novel of high modernism, the text, which centres on the Ramsays and their visits to the Isle of Skye in Scotland between 1910 and 1920, skillfully manipulates temporal and psychological elements.

To the Lighthouse follows and extends the tradition of modernist novelists like Marcel Proust and James Joyce, where the plot is secondary to philosophical introspection, and the prose can be winding and hard to follow. The novel includes little dialogue and almost no action; most of it is written as thoughts and observations. The novel recalls childhood emotions and highlights adult relationships. Among the book’s many tropes and themes are those of loss, subjectivity, and the problem of perception.

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2) Memoirs of Hadrian

Memoirs of Hadrian (FrenchMémoires d’Hadrien) is a novel by the French writerMarguerite Yourcenar about the life and death of Roman Emperor Hadrian. First published in France in French in 1951 as Mémoires d’Hadrien, the book was an immediate success, meeting with enormous critical acclaim. Although the historical Hadrian wrote an autobiography, it has been lost.

The book takes the form of a letter to Hadrian’s cousin and eventual successor “Mark” (Marcus Aurelius). The emperor meditates on military triumphs, love of poetry and music, philosophy, and his passion for his lover Antinous, all in a manner similar to Gustave Flaubert‘s “melancholy of the antique world.”

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3) Mrs Dalloway

Mrs Dalloway (published on 14 May 1925) is a novel by Virginia Woolf that details a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a fictional high-society woman in post-World War I England. It is one of Woolf’s best-known novels.

Created from two short stories, “Mrs Dalloway in Bond Street” and the unfinished “The Prime Minister,” the novel’s story is of Clarissa’s preparations for a party of which she is to be hostess. With the interior perspective of the novel, the story travels forwards and back in time and in and out of the characters’ minds to construct an image of Clarissa’s life and of the inter-war social structure. In October 2005, Mrs Dalloway was included on Time magazine’s list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923

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4) Leaves of Grass

Leaves of Grass is a poetry collection by the American poet Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Though the first edition was published in 1855, Whitman spent his entire life writing Leaves of Grass, revising it in several editions until his death. Among the poems in the collection are “Song of Myself“, “I Sing the Body Electric“, “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking“, and in later editions, Whitman’s elegy to the assassinated President Abraham Lincoln, “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d“.

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5) The Mahabharata

The Mahabharata or Mahābhārata (Sanskrit: महाभारतम्,Mahābhāratam) is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being theRamayana.

Besides its epic narrative of the Kurukshetra War and the fates of theKaurava and the Pandava princes, the Mahabharata contains much philosophical and devotional material, such as a discussion of the four “goals of life” or purusharthas (12.161). Among the principal works and stories that are a part of the Mahabharata are the Bhagavad Gita, the story of Damayanti, an abbreviated version of the Ramayana, and the Rishyasringa, often considered as works in their own right.

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6) The Aeneid

The Aeneid (/əˈnɪd/LatinAeneis [ajˈneːis]—the title is Greek in form: genitive caseAeneidos) is a Latin epic poem, written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, that tells thelegendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. It is composed of 9,896 lines in dactylic hexameter.[1] The first six of the poem’s twelve books tell the story of Aeneas’ wanderings from Troy to Italy, and the poem’s second half tells of the Trojans’ ultimately victorious war upon the Latins, under whose name Aeneas and his Trojan followers are destined to be subsumed.

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7) The Ramayana

The Ramayana (Sanskrit: रामायणम्, Rāmāyaṇam, pronounced [rɑːˈmɑːjəɳəm]) is one of the great epics of India. It is ascribed to the Hindu sage Valmiki and forms an important part of the Hindu literature (smṛti), considered to be itihāasa. The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of India, the other being the Mahabharata. It depicts the duties of relationships, portraying ideal characters like the ideal father, ideal servant, the ideal brother, the ideal wife and the ideal king. The name Ramayana is a tatpurusha compound of Rāma and ayana(“going, advancing”), translating to “Rama‘s Journey“. The Ramayana consists of 24,000 verses in seven books (kāṇḍas) and 500 cantos (sargas),  and tells the story of Rama (anavatar of the Hindu Supreme-God Vishnu), whose wife Sita is abducted by the king of Ravan. Thematically, the Ramayana explores human values and the concept of dharma.

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8) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (or, in more recent editions, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) is a novel by Mark Twain, first published in England in December 1884 and in the United States in February 1885. Commonly named among the Great American Novels, the work is among the first in major American literature to be written throughout invernacular English, characterized by local color regionalism. It is told in the first person byHuckleberry “Huck” Finn, a friend of Tom Sawyer and narrator of two other Twain novels (Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective). It is a direct sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

The book is noted for its colorful description of people and places along the Mississippi RiverSatirizing a Southern antebellum society that had ceased to exist about twenty years before the work was published, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an often scathing look at entrenched attitudes, particularly racism.

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9) The Death of Ivan Ilyich

The Death of Ivan Ilyich (Russian: Смерть Ивана Ильича, Smert’ Ivana Ilyicha), first published in 1886, is a novella by Leo Tolstoy, one of the masterpieces of his late fiction, written shortly after his religious conversion of the late 1870s.

The novel tells the story of the death, at age 45, of a high-court judge in 19th-century Russia. Living what seems to be a good life, his dreadful relationship with his wife notwithstanding, Ivan Ilyich Golovin injures his side while hanging up curtains in a new apartment intended to reflect his family’s superior status in society. Within weeks, he has developed a strange taste in his mouth and a pain that will not go away. Several expensive doctors are consulted, but beyond muttering about blind gut and floating kidneys, they can neither explain nor treat his condition, and it soon becomes clear that Ivan Ilyich is dying.

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10) Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina (Russian: «Анна Каренина»; Russian pronunciation: [ˈanːə kɐˈrʲenʲɪnə]) is a novel by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, published in serial installments from 1873 to 1877 in the periodical The Russian Messenger. Tolstoy clashed with editor Mikhail Katkovover political issues that arose in the final installment (Tolstoy’s unpopular views of volunteers going to Serbia); therefore, the novel’s first complete appearance was in book form.

Widely regarded as a pinnacle in realist fiction, Tolstoy considered Anna Karenina his first true novel, when he came to consider War and Peace to be more than a novel.

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11) War and Peace

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12) Gulliver’s Travels

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13) Confessions of Zeno

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14) Tristram Shandy. Laurence Sterne

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15) The Red And The Black

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16) Oedipus the King

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17) Othello

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18) King Lear

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19) Hamlet

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20) Blindness

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21) Season of Migration to the North

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22) The Bostan of Saadi (The Orchard), Books I and II

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23) Midnight’s Children

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24) The Masnavi

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25) Pedro Paramo

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26) Gargantua and Pantagruel

27) In Search of Lost Time

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28) Tales

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29) The Book of Disquiet

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30) The Metamorphoses

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31) Nineteen Eighty-Four

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32) Lolita

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33) The Man Without Qualities

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34) The Tale of Genji

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35) Beloved

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36) History

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37) The Essays

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38) Moby-Dick

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39) The Magic Mountain

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40) Buddenbrooks

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41) Children of Gebelawi

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42) Diary of a Madman and Other Stories

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43) Pippi Longstocking

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44) The Golden Notebook

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45) Leopardi: Poems

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46) Independent People

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47) Sons and Lovers

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48) Zorba the Greek

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49) The Sound of the Mountain

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50) Abhijana Sakuntalam

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51) The Castle

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52) The Trial

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53) The Complete Stories

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54) Ulysses

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55) A Doll

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56) The Odyssey

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57) The Iliad

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58) The Old Man and the Sea

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59) Hunger

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60) The Tin Drum

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61) Dead Souls

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62) Faust


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63) Love in the Time of Cholera

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64) One Hundred Years of Solitude

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65) Gypsy Ballads

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66) A Sentimental Education

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67) MADAME BOVARY

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68) The Sound and the Fury

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69) Absalom, Absalom!

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70) Medea

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71) Invisible Man

Invisible Man

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72) Middlemarch

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73) The Brothers Karamazov

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74) The Possessed

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75) The Idiot

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76) Crime and Punishment

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77) Berlin Alexanderplatz

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78) Jacques The Fatalist

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79) Great Expectations

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80) Nostromo

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81) Anton Chekhov-Stories

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82) The Canterbury Tales

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83) Don Quixote

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84) Journey to the End of the Night

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85) Paul Celan: 70 Poems

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86) Camus: The Stranger

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87) Wuthering Heights

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88) Ficciones

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89) The Decameron

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90) Molloy, Malone Dies, the Unnamable: A Trilogy

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91) Le Pere Goriot

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92) Pride and Prejudice

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93) Njal’s Saga

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94) One Thousand and One Nights

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95) The Book of Job

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96) The Epic of Gilgamesh

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97) The Divine Comedy

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98) Fairy Tales

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99) Things Fall Apart

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100) The Devil to Pay in the Backlands (“”The Devil in the Street, In the Middle of the Whirlwind”)

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LIST OF AUTHORS WHO PROPOSED THE ABOVE BOOKS