The 22 best classic books to read in your life

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

  • Classic books have characters, stories, or messages that stand the test of time.
  • All of the books on this list were published before 1987, although most are much older.
  • Want more books? Check out our top fantasy books, sci-fi books, and beach readings.

We are really sorry! We encountered a system failure and were unable to take your email this time.

While many readers prefer the newer versions, classic books are remarkable literary works that stand up to downtime, memorable for their beautiful prose, intricate characters, or their ability to capture life in the moment they were written. Our definition of a “classic” changes every decade or so, not only as great books become classics, but also as our understanding of humanity evolves.

All of the books on this list were published before 1987, although most are much older, dating back to the 11th century. In order to always be cherished, classic novels must have themes or messages that resonate with today’s readers and each book on this list was chosen because it is still a revered piece of literature – many of them. ‘between them remain at the top of List of Goodreads “Most Read Classics”.

Whether you are looking for a great intense


Depression

story or one of the first novels to ever be published, this must-see list of classic books has a read you will love.

22 classic books to read in your lifetime:

About Marcia G. Hussain

Check Also

Dorothy turns classic books into stamps to celebrate great literature and our love of reading

Celebrating the most influential, widely read and essential books from the 17th century to the …