image source

Being recognised in the top 10 is always an honour. When choosing the top ten it takes a lot of research and time. All novels stand the test of time, some more than others. Below is the top 10 best books of all time, they have been around for many years and will be for many generations to come. The list of books is the top 10 and not the authors. You’ll probably agree with me that coming up with a list like this can be difficult and subjective, there’s another list made by Guardian called The 100 greatest novels of all time, looking for something bigger? you might want to checkout: 1000 novels everyone must read. Our list is based on lists like this and some other recommendations by critics and experts around the world, as usual feel free to post your comments in the comment section.


10 Best Books of All Time (Novels)

1. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

The story of doomed love begins when Anna arrives in the middle of a family broken up by her brother’s adulterous ways. Little does she know that she will fall victim to the same fate. As Gary Saul Morson states in his critique entitled Anna Karenina In Our Time, “As a book about infidelity, Anna Karenina is also a book about the nature of honesty and truthfulness.”

The Russian writer, Leo Tolstoy released this in serial installments from 1873 to 1877 in the periodical The Russian Messenger and it has since become one of the most admired in the world of literature. William Faulkner the American writer and Nobel Prize laureate described the novel as “the best ever written” Fyodor Dostoevsky described the novel as “flawless, the novel has become very popular and was declared the “greatest novel ever written” it was featured in “The Top Ten” in Time, the story in this novel is a very compelling one that explores some of the deepest questions about how to live a fulfilled life, the novel comes highly recommended, that’s why we have listed it as one of the top 10 novels of all time in our list

2. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

While the novel is vast, it is centered on five aristocratic families. The plot and the interactions of the characters take place around the 1812 French invasion of Russia during the Napoleonic wars. This is an epic covering the impact of Napoleon’s disastrous invasion of Russia on five different families, also written by the Author of Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy, It is one of the longest novels ever written, the seventh longest actually and is regarded as one of the most important works of world literature, it is considered to be one of the finest literary achievement in history, Newsweek in 2009 ranked it first in its list of the Top 100 Books. In 2003, the novel was listed at number 20 on the BBC’s survey The Big Read.


3. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Humbert Humbert, a middle-aged, fastidious literary scholar that happen to like girls, lost his childhood sweetheart, Annabel Leigh when he was young. After an unsuccessful marriage, Humbert moves to the small New England town and rents a room to write. He meets the owners 12-year-old daughter, Lolita who he’ll do anything to possess because of how much she looks like his childhood love, is that really love or is he insane? as one website puts it: Is he in severe mental pain or a monster? is he really in love or just a pervert? …or is he all of the above

lolita is one of the best-known and most controversial examples of 20th century literature. The novel made the Time’s list of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. ranking number 4 on the Modern Library’s 1998 list of the 100 Best Novels of the 20th century. It was also included as one of The 100 Best Books of All Time, Lolita is ranking number 3 on our Top 10 Best Books of All Time (Novels)

4. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

This book is about two young boys, Thomas “Tom” Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, who have each come up with a sum of money from their adventures. It follows them as they have other adventures together.Widely considered as one of the greatest American novels ever written, this novel is “among the first in major American literature to be written throughout in vernacular English” it’s definitely one of Mark Twain’s greatest novels and has made number 4 our list of 10 Best Books of All Time

According to, the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations, the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was Intended at first as a simple story of a boy’s adventures in the Mississippi Valley-a sequel to Tom Sawyer-the book grew and matured under Twain’s hand into a work of immeasurable richness and complexity. However this book has faced a lot of criticisms and controversies due to its coarse language, use of racial stereotypes and its frequent use of the racial slur “nigger”.

5. Hamlet by William Shakespeare

This was Shakespeare’s longest play and one of the most powerful tragedies Set in the Kingdom of Denmark with a story capable of “seemingly endless retelling and adaptation by others.” It was one of the most popular works during Shakespeare’s lifetime. Hamlet was one of Shakespeare’s most popular works during his lifetime and has been described as “the world’s most filmed story after Cinderella“. Hamlet will definitely be included on the Top 10 Best novels of All Time.

6. The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

A story talking about a Midwesterner who graduated from Yale and fought in World War I, he has returned home to begin a career but then decided to move to New York to learn the bond business, this novel is widely regarded to be F. Scott Fitzgerald’s finest novel and one of the great novels of the twentieth century, The Modern Library named it the second best English language novel of the 20th century

7. In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust

The Narrator begins by noting, “For a long time, I went to bed early.” He comments on the way sleep seems to alter one’s surroundings, and the way Habit makes one indifferent to them.

8. The Stories of Anton Chekhov by Anton Chekhov

A biography of a Russian physician, dramatist and author who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short stories in history, this book will give you a clear picture of the way 19th Century St. Petersburg looked like

9. Middlemarch by George Eliot

Dorothea Brooke is an idealistic woman, engaged in schemes to help the local poor. This is her story of going to marry someone and marries someone else and the struggles she passed through.

10. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert


This novel is considered by many to be a is considered by many critics to be a masterpiece although it was attacked for obscenity by public prosecutors after it was first serialised in La Revue de Paris between 1 October 1856 and 15 December 1856, the resulting trial was held in January 1857 which also helped in popularising the novel.

It focuses on a doctor’s wife, Emma Bovary, who has adulterous affairs and lives beyond her means in order to escape the banalities and emptiness of provincial life. Flaubert was a notorious perfectionist and claimed always to be searching forle mot juste (“the precise word”). This is a must-have book for all lovers of great literature.

As you read these novels, you will see why they are on our top 10 list of best novels of all time. There are many other books out there but these will be in the top ten for years to come. Take the time to read them and they will probably be in your top 10 as well, lists like this can be subjective, hence we urge you to add yours in the comments section below, are there anyone you think we’re missing here? add them in the comments section below