Below, you will find our top 10 novels you should read. We are clear that many titles from our list have been left out, but you will understand that it is not possible to include them all.
Reading a good novel always represents a benefit for our life: it reduces our stress, allows us to increase our intelligence and enhances personal satisfaction.
The best books have the particularity of having been written by prodigious minds, with universally interesting themes and events that arouse emotions even in our days..
Since the first novel was written, people have been attracted to all kinds of innovative literary plots and techniques that have driven the evolution of this literary genre.
From the Thousand and One Nights to Pride and Prejudice, from the Iliad to Don Quixote, there is a long road of excellence and in between there is an overwhelming amount of success in world literature.
So without further ado, let’s get started!
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Don Quixote is a novel written by the Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra and published in early 1605.
It is the most transcendent novel of Spanish literature and a classic of universal literature. It was also the first burlesque work that demystified the chivalric tale.
Alonso Quijano, the protagonist of this masterpiece, is a poor nobleman living somewhere in La Mancha at the beginning of the 17th century.
His fondness for books and novels of chivalry lead him to lose touch with reality and he ends up believing that he too is a knight. His name is Don Quixote de la Mancha. What comes next are his adventures.
The pages of this work are loaded with a narrative ahead of its time, full of realism, but also with a thematic richness that few stories have offered in the literary world.
The theme of this novel revolves around ideals, and will invite you to ask yourself if it is possible to find an ideal in the real world. For example, heroes.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Wuthering Heights is the only work by Emily Brontë, who wrote it under the pseudonym Ellis Bell.
If you are interested in English literature, this is one of the novels you should read, as it is a classic of Anglo-Saxon literature.
This novel has been adapted on multiple occasions, especially in dramatizations, films and television programs.
The plot of the novel revolves around revenge, passion and contempt within the family.
It tells the story of the child Heathcliff, who has been adopted by the Earnshaw family and is the victim of the contempt of his social circle..
In addition, the girl he likes is engaged to someone else. Faced with this situation, Heathcliff prepares for revenge.
In the novel, the narrative is notable for several different elements: it tells the story of Heathcliff, and also that of Catherine Earnshaw, the woman in question.
While violence dominates much of the novel, the beginning and the end of this masterpiece are about love. The story is framed by the passions left behind by social and family conflict.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Great Expectations is one of Charles Dickens’ most important works and one of his most popular. It transcended generations and became one of the most adapted novels for stage and film, with at least 250 known versions.
The novel tells the story of Phillip Pirrip, an orphan and novice blacksmith who aspires to become a knight. In this way, the character describes his journey from childhood to adulthood.
It is one of the novels on our list whose initial publication was in serial form. It was published between 1860 and 1861 in the magazine All the Year Round.
Some critics have labeled it a Bildungsroman, and many of its scenes are Dickensian experiences.
It is believed to be a novel of redemption, as the protagonist moves away from his origins of lack to go in search of money and social class. However, he soon realizes that it is not such a happy world.
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Les Miserables is an 1862 historical novel written by the French. It is considered one of the most important books of the nineteenth century, and one of the most influential during the twentieth century.
In the pages of this work, the author presents a debate between good and evil at the time of the restoration of the monarchy in France.
The main themes of the novel are justice, ethics, religion and law. In addition, the novel analyzes the values of the society of the time and the nature of the human being in the face of problems.
It tells the story of an ex-convict who intends to reform. The structure is divided into five volumes.
According to critics, Victor Hugo’s aim with this work is the defense of society. For the author, the “repressive and ruthless system of power” is to blame for social problems.
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
War and Peace is Russian author Leo Tolstoy’s most prominent work, along with his later novel Anna Karenina. The novel was initially published as a magazine series between 1865 and 1869.
In Russia, this masterpiece represents compulsory reading in schools, and in many countries it is considered the best novel of all time.
The novel tells the story of several aristocratic Russian families in the midst of the reign of Alexander I and the Napoleonic invasion.
Beyond this, its pages show the horror in Napoleon’s victory through mind-blowing descriptions of each battle. The final message of the story has more to do with peace than with war.
If you are interested in the philosophical problems that burden human beings, this novel will undoubtedly delight you. In these pages, the meaning of love and evil is questioned, and at least 50 years of Russian history are addressed.
The characters in the story are constantly preoccupied with finding a truth that allows them to distinguish between right and wrong.
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
In sixth place on our list we find Fyodor Dostoevsky with Crime and Punishment.
The Russian writer also published this novel in 1866, and like War and Peace, it is considered a classic of Russian literature that everyone should read.
The novel tells the story of Rodion Ramanovich Raskolnikov, a young man from St. Petersburg whose mentality captures you from the very first moment..
Raskolnikov commits a crime by believing that evil is justified for humanitarian purposes. However, guilt is a constant weight on his path.
It is a masterpiece of world literature, and one of the most praised by critics due to the psychological depth of the characters.
The moral debate is present throughout the novel, especially to justify the murder of another human being if the objective is superior. In this way, the novel serves as a philosophical essay. Undoubtedly, you must have it in your life.
Ulysses by James Joyce
The next masterpiece on our list is Ulysses, written by James Joyce and published in 1922. For some, this is the best novel written in the English language during the 20th century.
The novel narrates the adversities of the protagonist Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus during a day in Dublin.
In fact, all the action of the novel takes place on June 16, 1904, in which the main characters face all kinds of adventures and challenges.
It also has a large number of philosophical and literary references that make it one of the best books of all time.
Undoubtedly, it is one of those novels that break all the schemes in terms of style and imagination, and constitutes a benchmark of a writer’s ambition.
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Mrs. Dalloway is a must-have title in any library in the world. Published in May 1925, it is one of those novels that you will only encounter once in a lifetime.
In the work, Virginia Woolf narrates the story from the lyricism, uses the technique of inner-monologue and vindicates the condition of being a woman in the midst of a system that annuls her.
The novel tells the story of Clarissa Dalloway, a 52-year-old woman living among London’s high society. Married to a conservative politician and mother of a teenager, Clarissa prepares to give a house party.
As Clarissa goes outside to make final preparations, she delves into her own memories to analyze her life.
The novel is a journey back and forth through the past, present and future of the protagonist.
Through the search for the limits of human experience, Woolf succeeded in creating one of the most revolutionary and important novels of the 20th century.
In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
In Search of Lost Time is one of the greatest novels of French literature and one of the most important in world literature.
It was written by Marcel Proust between 1908 and 1922, and was published in serial form between 1913 and 1927. Rather than depicting events, the novel explores the memories of its main character: a young writer in the early twentieth century..
Like other stories by some of the authors on our list, the novel is autobiographical in nature. Through the young Swann, the author shows the life of sex and fun of the upper class in Paris.
Many of the characters and the protagonist of the play are inspired by the life of Marcel Proust.
It differs from other novels of the period in that the events are not shown chronologically.
Instead, Proust shows flashes of memories that come to his mind, an act that the author himself calls “involuntary memory.
“In addition, the theme of homosexuality is analyzed from the point of view of an apparently heterosexual narrator.
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
We could not leave out of our list one of the most important Latin American authors in history, responsible for writing some of the best books in the world.
Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude is one of the pinnacles of world literature and one of the most influential works of Latin American literature.
The story is set in Colombia in the mid-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries. It recounts a century in the life of the Buendía family, a family whose patriarch founded Macondo, a fictitious town.
The book is composed of 20 untitled chapters, while its structure is non-linear. In essence, events are repeated over and over again.
The Nobel Prize for Literature awarded to García Márquez after the publication of the novel confirms its transcendence, in addition to being a benchmark of magical realism and the Latin American boom.
We know that many books have been left off our list. If you are one of those who are constantly looking for prodigious authors to explore their works, we invite you to read:
Here are five additional titles that you could easily include in your to-read list:
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding.
- Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger.
- The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing.
- The Great Gatsby by. Scott Fitzgerald.
If you are looking for inspiration, want to study a subject in depth or just want to feel the pleasure of reading, then we invite you to take a look at our extensive collection of +3,500 free books.