Woman Taking a Book Off of a Shelf

Must-Read Books of All Time

May 6, 2022

Are you on the hunt for your next read? Not sure which book to pick? What if we told you that we looked at thousands of books and narrowed down a list of the ten must-read books of all time? You might think you’ve already read them, but we think you’ll be surprised by the list. From timeless classics to newer releases, kids’ books to adult novels, we’ve scoured our vast selection of books and compiled a list of must-read books of all time. Keep reading to see the complete list, and we’ll find out how well-read you really are, book lover. 


What are the top 10 most read books? 

It was almost impossible to narrow our list down to the top 10 most read books with hundreds of thousands of books to choose from, but we were determined to do it! As promised, here are our top 10 must-read books of all time available from Book Outlet at up to 90% off the original list price. 


Firekeeper's Daughter Book Cover

 10. Firekeeper’s Daughter

Coming in at number ten is Firekeeper’s Daughter, a highly rated 2021 Young Adult novel by Angeline Boulley. This impactful novel tells the story of eighteen-year-old, Daunis, a biracial, unenrolled tribal member who doesn’t fit into any of her communities and dreams of studying medicine. When her family is struck by tragedy and Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, she is thrust into the heart of a criminal investigation and is determined to track down the criminals with her knowledge of chemistry and traditional medicine. During this experience, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go to protect her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known. 


Queenie Book Cover

 9. Queenie

The ninth book on our list is Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams. This book was selected as one of TIME’s 100 Best Books of 2019, a prestigious award that definitely explains why Queenie has found its way onto our coveted list of must-read books of all time. This story is disarmingly honest, undeniably witty, and an overall celebration of a strong Black female voice. If you’re looking for a book featuring a relatable exploration of what it means to be a modern woman, you will fall head over heels for this one.  


Make Your Bed Book Cover

 8. Make Your Bed

Coming in at number eight is Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World. The title of this read alone is quite a statement, but this small and mighty book based on author William H. McRaven’s viral speech has been an inspiration for millions worldwide. Told with great humility and optimism, this timeless book is filled with wisdom, practical advice, and words of encouragement that will dazzle everyone who reads it. 


An American Marriage Book Cover

 7. An American Marriage

Lucky number seven is the contemporary fiction novel An American Marriage, a deeply moving story about a newlywed couple, Celestial and Roy, and their ultimate test: withstanding Roy’s wrongful conviction and sentence for a crime he didn’t commit. Even when Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned five years into his prison sentence, resuming their life together isn’t as easy as it may seem for either Roy or Celestial. How can these two people reckon with the past while moving forward into the future? You’ll need to read this soulful book to find out. 


How to Win Friends and Influence People Book Cover

 6. How to Win Friends and Influence People

The next addition to our list is a classic in the non-fiction space. Originally published in 1936, Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People is just as relevant today as it was when it first came out. Packed with rock-solid advice that has carried thousands of now-famous people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives, there is no doubt that this timeless book has earned its rightful place as one of the most essential and must-read books of all time! 


The Goldfinch Book Cover

5. The Goldfinch

A much newer release compared to the last title but no less impactful, The Goldfinch, published in 2013, is a coveted Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winner. It tells the story of Theo, a 13-year-old New Yorker who survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by a wealthy family, where he is alienated. His longing drives him to cling to the last reminder of his mother, a small, mysteriously captivated painting that nudges Theo into the dangerous underworld of art. Masterfully written and satisfyingly mysterious, we believe that this read belongs on every book lover’s shelf at home! 


Frankenstein Book Cover

4. Frankenstein

This list of must-read books of all time wouldn’t be complete without the horror classic that is Frankenstein. Written by Mary Shelley when she was only 18-years-old and published in 1818, this book tells the cautionary tale of science student Victor Frankenstein who bestows animation upon a lifeless matter in his obsession with discovering the cause of generation and life. This book not only tells a terrifying story but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos. It’s no wonder this simultaneously terrifying and stimulating book has made it in at number four on our list! 


What 3 books should EVERYONE read? 

Wow, we thought that narrowing down a list of the top ten must-read books of all time was hard, but now we’re down to the final three! Keep reading to find out if your favorite books have made the cut. 


Anne of Green Gables Boxed Set of Books

 3. Anne of Green Gables

Number three on our list has a feisty main character with red hair. You may have heard of her? Anne of Green Gables has warmed the hearts of generations of readers, making Avonlea feel like a second home to many. This much-loved classic explores all of the vulnerability, expectations, and dreams of a child growing up, solidifying its place as an essential read for book lovers of all ages. 


Pride and Prejudice Book Cover

2. Pride and Prejudice

Second place on our list of must-read books of all time is none other than Jane Austen’s immensely popular book, Pride and Prejudice. Published originally in 1813, every generation is familiar with Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, whether they read the book or watched a movie adaptation. Filled with wit, flirtation and intrigue, this book is a superb comedy that can’t be missed. And trust us when we say that it flies off our shelves!  


The Great Gatsby Book Cover

 1. The Great Gatsby

The wait is over, and you’re probably not surprised by who won first place, are you, old sport? With a whopping 4.4 million ratings on Goodreads, The Great Gatsby, first published in 1925, won this contest by a landslide. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age tells the story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his new love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan and lavish parties on Long Island, in a time when many Americans had extra money to spend, and everyone was chasing the next mainstream commodity. Filled with luxury and drama, The Great Gatsby is number one on our list of must-read books of all time! 


That’s all, folks! We’ve reached the end of our list of must-read books of all time. From literary classics to recently released novels, these are the top ten books we recommend every reader have a copy (or two!) in their personal library. Were you surprised by any of the selections? Have a book you think belongs in this coveted top ten list? Let us know in the comments! 


Happy reading! 

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