Best Fiction Books: The 50 Best Novels (And More) Ever Written (2020)

Best Fiction Books To Read
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Best Fiction Books To Read

Why include a list of the best fiction books of all time on a blog that’s devoted to nonfiction?

Partly because there’s more to life than reading instruction manuals.

But mostly because devouring fiction AND nonfiction books is what keeps reading enjoyable and exciting. And keeping reading enjoyable and exciting is vital to reading more overall; it’s the secret to a voracious, sustainable and life-long passion for books.

The most impressive people I know always have at least one fiction and one nonfiction title going at the same time. That way, whether it’s an hour in bed, or 5 minutes between stops, they always have something perfect for their time, mood and appetite.

If you don’t normally read fiction – give it a chance. You’ll learn as much (if not more) about being human from the best novels and poems than from hundreds of nonfiction books.

If you already love fiction – then you’re in the right place. I hope you find something below that touches and lightens your soul.

I hope you enjoy this list of the best fiction books of all time…

The 50 Best Fiction Books Of All Time

NOTE: I’ve ranked these best fiction books by their Goodreads rating, number of Goodreads reviews and first publication date. The goal is to balance what’s well loved, what’s widely read and what has stayed timelessly relevant.

For a list with more modern fiction books in it, check out the bonus section.

Also, I LOVE book recommendations 📚🤓. If you think a book’s missing, leave a comment. If it’s not already in my database, I’ll add it to the mix for the next update.

  1. Pride and Prejudice (1813), Jane Austen
    279 pages. Rated 4.3 over 2,797,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  2. The Count of Monte Cristo (1844), Alexandre Dumas
    1,276 pages. Rated 4.3 over 714,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  3. The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales (1812), Jacob Grimm
    880 pages. Rated 4.3 over 140,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  4. Crime and Punishment (1866), Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    671 pages. Rated 4.2 over 580,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  5. The Brothers Karamazov (1879), Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    796 pages. Rated 4.3 over 226,300 reviews on Goodreads.
  6. Persuasion (1817), Jane Austen
    249 pages. Rated 4.1 over 495,600 reviews on Goodreads.
  7. Anne of Green Gables (1908), L.M. Montgomery
    320 pages. Rated 4.3 over 679,600 reviews on Goodreads.
  8. Les Misérables (1862), Victor Hugo
    1,463 pages. Rated 4.2 over 638,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  9. Jane Eyre (1847), Charlotte Brontë
    507 pages. Rated 4.1 over 1,538,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  10. The Hobbit, or There and Back Again (1937), J.R.R. Tolkien
    366 pages. Rated 4.3 over 2,727,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  11. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892), Arthur Conan Doyle
    246 pages. Rated 4.3 over 228,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  12. Sense and Sensibility (1811), Jane Austen
    409 pages. Rated 4.1 over 912,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  13. Gone with the Wind (1936), Margaret Mitchell
    1,037 pages. Rated 4.3 over 1,037,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  14. The Complete Fairy Tales (1835), Hans Christian Andersen
    803 pages. Rated 4.3 over 118,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  15. Shakespeare’s Sonnets (1609), William Shakespeare
    488 pages. Rated 4.3 over 79,300 reviews on Goodreads.
  16. The Little Prince (1943), Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
    93 pages. Rated 4.3 over 1,231,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  17. The Essential Rumi (1273), Rumi
    416 pages. Rated 4.4 over 35,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  18. Hamlet (1600), William Shakespeare
    289 pages. Rated 4.0 over 691,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  19. And Then There Were None (1939), Agatha Christie
    264 pages. Rated 4.3 over 730,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  20. Little Women (1868), Louisa May Alcott
    449 pages. Rated 4.1 over 1,583,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  21. Much Ado About Nothing (1598), William Shakespeare
    246 pages. Rated 4.1 over 206,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  22. A Study in Scarlet (1887), Arthur Conan Doyle
    123 pages. Rated 4.2 over 299,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  23. The Secret Garden (1911), Frances Hodgson Burnett
    331 pages. Rated 4.1 over 839,600 reviews on Goodreads.
  24. The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), Oscar Wilde
    76 pages. Rated 4.2 over 290,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  25. The Lord of the Rings (1954), J.R.R. Tolkien
    1,216 pages. Rated 4.5 over 536,300 reviews on Goodreads.
  26. Aesop’s Fables (-560), Aesop
    306 pages. Rated 4.1 over 111,300 reviews on Goodreads.
  27. The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), Oscar Wilde
    367 pages. Rated 4.1 over 893,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  28. East of Eden (1952), John Steinbeck
    601 pages. Rated 4.4 over 407,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  29. A Christmas Carol (1843), Charles Dickens
    104 pages. Rated 4.1 over 572,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  30. The Divine Comedy (1320), Dante Alighieri
    798 pages. Rated 4.1 over 108,100 reviews on Goodreads.
  31. To Kill a Mockingbird (1960), Harper Lee
    324 pages. Rated 4.3 over 4,239,600 reviews on Goodreads.
  32. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950), C.S. Lewis
    206 pages. Rated 4.2 over 2,018,300 reviews on Goodreads.
  33. 1984 (1949), George Orwell
    237 pages. Rated 4.2 over 2,886,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  34. Rebecca (1938), Daphne du Maurier
    449 pages. Rated 4.2 over 417,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  35. The Three Musketeers (1844), Alexandre Dumas
    625 pages. Rated 4.1 over 261,600 reviews on Goodreads.
  36. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass (1871), Lewis Carroll
    239 pages. Rated 4.1 over 439,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  37. War and Peace (1867), Leo Tolstoy
    1,392 pages. Rated 4.1 over 248,600 reviews on Goodreads.
  38. The Prophet (1923), Kahlil Gibran
    127 pages. Rated 4.2 over 219,300 reviews on Goodreads.
  39. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1894), Arthur Conan Doyle
    378 pages. Rated 4.3 over 77,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  40. Emma (1815), Jane Austen
    474 pages. Rated 4.0 over 606,200 reviews on Goodreads.
  41. The Idiot (1869), Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    667 pages. Rated 4.2 over 120,900 reviews on Goodreads.
  42. Anna Karenina (1877), Leo Tolstoy
    964 pages. Rated 4.1 over 627,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  43. The Screwtape Letters (1942), C.S. Lewis
    223 pages. Rated 4.2 over 313,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  44. Charlotte’s Web (1952), E.B. White
    184 pages. Rated 4.2 over 1,337,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  45. Inferno (1320), Dante Alighieri
    490 pages. Rated 4.0 over 133,300 reviews on Goodreads.
  46. The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902), Arthur Conan Doyle
    256 pages. Rated 4.1 over 230,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  47. A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1595), William Shakespeare
    298 pages. Rated 3.9 over 426,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  48. The Flowers of Evil (1857), Charles Baudelaire
    464 pages. Rated 4.3 over 45,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  49. The Arabian Nights (800), Anonymous
    1,049 pages. Rated 4.1 over 71,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  50. The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales (1839), Edgar Allan Poe
    400 pages. Rated 4.2 over 66,100 reviews on Goodreads.

The 25 Best Fiction Books (Ignoring Publication Date)

I love using publication date in my ranking algorithm. There’s something special about books that have endured tens, hundreds or even thousands of years. But for some people, that’s just not important. And I get that. So here’s a bonus list of the 25 best fiction books from my database without penalising newer books.

(NOTE: I’ve only included one Harry Potter and one Game of Thrones title to maximise diversity in the list.)

  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007), J.K. Rowling
    759 pages. Rated 4.6 over 2,396,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  2. The Book Thief (2005), Markus Zusak
    552 pages. Rated 4.4 over 1,544,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  3. The Name of the Wind (2007), Patrick Rothfuss
    662 pages. Rated 4.5 over 653,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  4. A Storm of Swords (2000), George R.R. Martin
    1,177 pages. Rated 4.5 over 633,600 reviews on Goodreads.
  5. A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007), Khaled Hosseini
    372 pages. Rated 4.4 over 988,600 reviews on Goodreads.
  6. To Kill a Mockingbird (1960), Harper Lee
    324 pages. Rated 4.3 over 4,239,600 reviews on Goodreads.
  7. The Martian (2012), Andy Weir
    369 pages. Rated 4.4 over 663,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  8. The Hobbit, or There and Back Again (1937), J.R.R. Tolkien
    366 pages. Rated 4.3 over 2,727,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  9. The Little Prince (1943), Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
    93 pages. Rated 4.3 over 1,231,700 reviews on Goodreads.
  10. The Lord of the Rings (1954), J.R.R. Tolkien
    1,216 pages. Rated 4.5 over 536,300 reviews on Goodreads.
  11. All the Light We Cannot See (2014), Anthony Doerr
    531 pages. Rated 4.3 over 792,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  12. Pride and Prejudice (1813), Jane Austen
    279 pages. Rated 4.3 over 2,797,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  13. Ender’s Game (Ender’s Saga, #1) (1985), Orson Scott Card
    324 pages. Rated 4.3 over 1,074,200 reviews on Goodreads.
  14. The Wise Man’s Fear (2011), Patrick Rothfuss
    994 pages. Rated 4.6 over 391,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  15. Gone with the Wind (1936), Margaret Mitchell
    1,037 pages. Rated 4.3 over 1,037,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  16. The Stand (1990), Stephen King
    1,153 pages. Rated 4.3 over 579,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  17. Watchmen (1987), Alan Moore
    416 pages. Rated 4.4 over 472,500 reviews on Goodreads.
  18. A Man Called Ove (2012), Fredrik Backman
    337 pages. Rated 4.4 over 457,300 reviews on Goodreads.
  19. Ready Player One (Ready Player One, #1) (2011), Ernest Cline
    374 pages. Rated 4.3 over 786,800 reviews on Goodreads.
  20. The Pillars of the Earth (Kingsbridge, #1) (1989), Ken Follett
    973 pages. Rated 4.3 over 616,000 reviews on Goodreads.
  21. The Lightning Thief (2005), Rick Riordan
    377 pages. Rated 4.2 over 1,674,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  22. East of Eden (1952), John Steinbeck
    601 pages. Rated 4.4 over 407,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  23. And Then There Were None (1939), Agatha Christie
    264 pages. Rated 4.3 over 730,400 reviews on Goodreads.
  24. The Godfather (1964), Mario Puzo
    448 pages. Rated 4.4 over 310,900 reviews on Goodreads.
  25. The Count of Monte Cristo (1844), Alexandre Dumas
    1,276 pages. Rated 4.3 over 714,100 reviews on Goodreads.

II. Best Books Of All Time

These are the overall best books to read (by type).

III. Best Nonfiction Books (A-Z)

These are the best nonfiction books to read (by topic).

IV. Best Fiction Books (A-Z)

These are the best fiction books to read (by genre).

Or, you can read all my book recommendations.
Arthur
Arthur
Arthur is a productivity coach and writer who helps top young execs and entrepreneurs be more productive, find more balance and live more meaningfully. Want to know more? Take this 2-minute quiz to discover your Productivity Quotient (PQ) and learn how to get BIG things done. Take the Quiz →
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