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May 27, 2024

100 Books to Read Before You Die

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Time is precious, you don’t want to waste it reading bad books. There’s nothing worse than looking forward to a nice, relaxing evening read only for it to turn out to be a total flop.

Here at WeBuyBooks, we’re a team of avid readers, bookworms, and nerds (whatever you want to call us). That means we know a good book when we read one. So, we thought we’d put together our very own list of 100 books to read before you die.

We like to think we’re an open-minded group, with a wide variety of likes and interests. That means there’s a little bit of everything on this list. From self-help books for people who are doing a bit of soul searching, to dystopian novels for those who fancy a bit of an existential crisis.

Take a look at our pick of 100 books to read before you die below.


1. 1984

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Author: George Orwell

Release Date: 8 June 1949

Set in 1984 London, where science and reason have been replaced by an oppressive state, Orwell’s iconic dystopian novel 1984, follows the story of Winston Smith. Smith’s world gets turned upside down forcing him to become a new man after meeting Julia and O’Brien. This novel has running themes that can sometimes feel a little bit too relatable.

2. Pride and Prejudice

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Author: Jane Austen

Release Date: 28 January 1813

Pride and Prejudice is a celebrated piece of literature that both exemplifies and critiques the nature of gentrified courting. It follows the romantic clash between the highly opinionated Elizabeth Bennet and the proud Mr. Darcy, as their mutual love is tested by expectation, family, and class. Jane Austen’s mastery of language and intelligent wit make this novel a fabulous comedy of manners that will no doubt be a favourite for years to come.

3. To Kill a Mockingbird

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Author: Harper Lee

Release Date: 11 July 1960

Considered a masterpiece of American Literature, To Kill a Mockingbird expertly explores themes of innocence, guilt, humour, hatred, kindness, and cruelty. The story is told from the perspective of a young girl, nicknamed Scout, who speaks of her life while her father defends a black man in court accused of raping a white woman. Considered by Harper Lee as a simple love story, this novel is regarded by the masses as a masterful exploration of American society during the Great Depression.

4. Les Misérables

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Author: Victor Hugo

Release Date: 1862

The book that made the musical that made the film. Les Misérables is an epic tale of injustice, set in the early 1800s, that follows the story of Jean Valjean after he is released from captivity and seeks to carve out a respectable place in society. He is, however, conflicted by his consciousness when a man is wrongly misidentified and arrested in his place. Valjean’s motivation for freedom changes when the fate of a small child falls to him. A masterpiece that has inspired world-renowned adaptation both on stage and on screen.

5. The Picture of Dorian Gray

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Author: Oscar Wilde

Release Date: July 1890

Dorian Gray is a young man with a bright future who exchanges his soul for youth and eternal beauty. After being introduced to the concept that one should live life to the fullest by following all of one’s impulses, Gray falls into a life of debauchery and crime. The impacts of his lifestyle, however, have no effect on his body, instead, every wound, wrinkle, and blemish is revealed in his portrait. Gradually his portrait is transformed into a visage of evil decay.

6. A Christmas Carol

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Author: Charles Dickens

Release Date: 19 December 1843

During a visit from an old business partner, Ebenezer Scrooge is warned of the consequences of his greed in life. Soon after, Scrooge is visited by three ghosts; the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Christmas Yet to Come. Throughout the story, Scrooge is challenged and given the option to continue his life of greed and misery or change his ways for the better.

7. Wuthering Heights

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Author: Emily Bronte

Release Date: December 1847

Wuthering Heights is a tale of love, revenge, and desire that spans across generations. Set in the Yorkshire moors, Emily Brontë paints a captivating picture of the lives of Heathcliff and Cathy as their love is challenged by issues of social class. Brontë was able to deliver this tale of love and woe with such intensity that it is reminiscent of an ancient tragedy set upon the windy Yorkshire Moors.

8. Jane Eyre

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Author: Charlotte Brontë

Release Date: 19 October 1847

Charlotte Brontë delivers a gothic masterpiece with her depiction of a woman's search for equality and love. The novel charts the life of a young Jane Eyre as she grows through a cruel childhood into a young professional life where she is forced to make the difficult choice between love and following her convictions.

9. Anna Karenina

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Author: Leo Tolstoy

Release Date: 1878

Considered by some as the greatest novel ever written, Tolstoy was able to use his vivid imagination to create an immersive representation of contemporary life in 1874 Russia. The tale follows Anna Karenina’s search for a more fulfilled life, exploring the repercussions of the drastic steps she takes to find it.

10. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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Author: Mark Twain

Release Date: 10 December 1884

With only the Mississippi River to guide them, a young boy and a slave must find their way home. Throughout their travels, they encounter a feuding family and scoundrels plenty. Since its release in 1884, this novel by Mark Twain has earned the title of being one of the Great American Novels.

11. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

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Author: Arthur Conan Doyle

Release Date: 14 October 1892

1887 brought us the first appearance of Sherlock Holmes in Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlett. Since then, this fictional detective has become one of the world's most recognisable characters. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is the first collection of short stories to feature Sherlock and Dr Watson. It features six short stories, each with its own mystery for the duo to crack.

12. Little Women

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Author: Louisa May Alcott

Release Date: 1868

Little Women follows the four March sisters Jo, Beth, Meg, and Amy as they struggle to come to grips with the wider world. United by their dedication to each other, the sisters begin to branch out into the world where they must face their own obstacles. A great read that explores the timeless themes of love, death, struggle, and success.

13. The Great Gatsby

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Author: Scott F. Fitzgerald

Release Date: 10 April 1925

A novel that delivers a bittersweet story in fabulous fashion with its descriptive writing and intricate attention to detail. The novel illustrates the story of a self-made millionaire as he pulls out all the stops to attract the attention of a long-lost love. The Great Gatsby has a cult following thanks to its depiction of American style and glamour in the 1920s.

14. Frankenstein

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Author: Mary Shelley

Release Date: 1 January 1818

First published under the pseudonym “William Godwin”, in 1818, Frankenstein was met with mixed reviews, and when Mary Shelley revealed herself as the true author, the critics became even more divided, with some saying Shelley had poetic genius while others argued that she was too emotional giving the novel “flaws”. The story is that of a scientist devoted to discovering the cause of life and the secret behind bestowing it. In his search, he creates a creature from a mix of body parts and brings it to life. Frankenstein is an important piece of literature in the world of horror as well as being regarded as the first true science fiction story.

15. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

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Author: Jules Verne

Release Date: June 1870

A book ahead of its time. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea tells the story of French oceanographer, Pierre Aronnax, and his assistant, Conseil as they embark on a military expedition to hunt down the ‘beast’ that has been wreaking havoc on shipping lanes. Eventually, they discover that the ‘beast’ is actually a submarine. After being thrown from their ship they are taken in by the submarine's crew and go on to embark on their many outlandish adventures. Although not credited with the invention of the submarine, Jules Verne’s depiction of his fictional submarine, The Nautilas, is still marvelled at 150 years later.

16. One Hundred Years of Solitude

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Author: Gabriel García Márquez

Release Date: May 1967

In One Hundred Years of Solitude, author Gabriel García Márquez tells the story of the Buendía family through the generations. Through his vibrant and imaginative prose, Márquez explores the eternal conflict between the desire for solitude and the basic human need for love and social interaction.

17. Crime and Punishment

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Author: Fyodor Dostoevsky

Release Date: December 1866

A dark and gripping tale of the pressures of one’s own conscience. Dostoyevsky’s novel tells the story of a former student - Raskolnikov, who has been left in the gutter by society. One night, while wandering the street of St Petersburg he commits a murder totally at random without remorse or regret. Even though the police are on the case, it’s Raskolnikov’s conscience that catches up with him first. This novel explores a darker side of the human psyche and delivers a thrilling tale of man’s decline into remorse and an unlikely opportunity at salvation.

18. The Old Man and the Sea

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Author: Ernest Hemmingway

Release Date: 1952

Written between 1950 and 1951, The Old Man and the Sea is a short novel telling the tale of an aging man and his heroic battle to catch a prize marlin fish. The novel was Hemmingway’s last major work of fiction, and it received the Pulitzer Prize in 1953, one year after it was published.

19. All Quiet on The Western Front

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Author: Erich Maria Remarque

Release Date: 1928

This hard-hitting novel tells the all-too-real account of an ‘unknown soldier’ fighting in the First World War. At the outbreak of the First World War, the protagonist of this book is only a young lad at school with his friends, but it’s not long before they are called up to join the German army in the name of patriotism and heroism. All Quiet on The Western Front paints a vivid and brutally honest picture of life in the trenches during WWI.

20. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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Author: Ken Kesey

Release Date: 1 February 1962

Told from the perspective of a seemingly mute patient, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest tells the unrelenting story of what life was like in an Oregon State mental hospital under the oppressive regime of Nurse Ratched. Hope seems non-existent in the asylum until the arrival of McMurphy. This new patient sets out to challenge the oppressive powers keeping the helpless patients imprisoned. Ken Kesey delivers an honest depiction of an existence that teeters on the edge of madness.

21. Love in the Time of Cholera

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Author: Gabriel Garcia Márquez

Release Date: 1985

Márquez tells a story of love and longing in this novel. The story follows the lives of a young couple - Florentino and Fermina, who fall passionately in love only to get separated when Fermina chooses to marry another. Florentino chooses to drown his sorrow in meaningless relations, but 50 years later, he returns and declares his devotion to his one true love. this thought-provoking tale has the power to move the reader in ways that most literature simply cannot.

22. Dracula

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Author: Bram Stoker

Release Date: 26 May 1897

Bram Stoker's Dracula is a masterpiece of classic literature, standing as the forefather of modern horror. Its enthralling plot documents the sequence of foreboding events that mark the arrival of the infamous Count Dracula. This is a staple read for any fan of horror or suspense.

23. War and Peace

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Author: Leo Tolstoy

Release Date: 1867

Widely regarded as a masterpiece of Russian literature, War and Peace is a historical novel that is defined by the detail of its realism and its examples of complex psychological analysis. It follows the lives of three characters as their lives pull them in very different directions. Set during the Napoleonic invasion of Russia, Leo Tolstoy’s renowned novel is a credit not just to historical fiction but to classical literature as well.

24. Don Quixote

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Author: Miguel de Cervantes

Release Date: 1605

Generally recognised as the first modern novel, Don Quixote is a playful piece that has inspired several well-known authors since its publishing in 1605. The Novel follows the story of Don Quixote himself who, after becoming entranced by a few too many chivalric romances, heads out into the world to become a knight-errant with the help of his trusty squire Sancho Panza.


Modern Fiction

25. The Handmaid’s Tale

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Author: Margaret Atwood

Release Date: 1985

The Handmaid's Tale brings into focus an eerily dark alternative future where childbirth rates have plummeted, meaning women who are able to bear children are simply used as vessels for the wealthy and powerful. Margaret Atwood was able to combine themes of humour, horror, mystery, and love into this foreboding projection of the near future.

26. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

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Author: Mark Haddon

Release Date: 1 May 2003

This novel by Mark Haddon is an exploration into the curious mind of a young boy. The story follows the protagonist’s quest to uncover the truth behind the death of a neighbourhood dog. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time has captivated readers across the globe making it one of the most widely praised novels in recent years.

27. Normal People

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Author: Sally Rooney

Release Date: 28 August 2018

Normal People is a modern tale of young love that follows the blossoming relationship between two young lovers Marianne and Connell. The story is a rollercoaster of intimacy as Connell and Marianne gradually grow apart only to find themselves drawn back to one another. Suitable for readers over 16 years of age, Normal People is a touching yet relatable story with characters that you can emotionally invest in.

28. Gone Girl

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Author: Gillian Flynn

Release Date: June 2012

Gillian Flynn crafts a gripping story of betrayal, deceit, and treachery in this popular novel. It is told from the perspective of the two main roles, Nick and Amy, a seemingly happily married couple. As the story unfolds it is revealed that Amy has been planning to disappear and frame her husband for murder. This is a gripping story that frustrates and intrigues the reader in equal measure.

29. The Secret History

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Author: Donna Tartt

Release Date: September 1992

While studying at an elite New England college, a group of eccentric misfits find themselves being guided into a new way of thinking, a way that pulls them into a life that is worlds away from the normal day-to-day. Before long, they find themselves going beyond the normal boundaries of morality and declining into evil. This novel is an exciting portrayal of the impressionability of young minds and the allure of evil.

30. The Book Thief

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Author: Markus Zusak

Release Date: 2005

Set in Nazi Germany during WWII, the story follows the mischievous exploits of Liesel after she discovers her love for reading. After finding a book near her brother's grave and with a little help from her stepfather she learns how to read, igniting a passion for literature. Due to the Nazi Regime, she is living under, she soon runs out of books, forcing her to resort to theft to source new ones. This novel is an inspiring tale of the desire for self-betterment and stoicism in the face of oppression.

31. Midnight’s Children

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Author: Salman Rushdie

Release Date: 1981

This exuberant novel takes place at the dawn of India’s independence following the Second World War. Saleem Sinai, the protagonist, was born on August 15, 1947, at the very moment India gained its independence. As he grows up, Saleem realises the repercussions of the coincidental timing of his birth. He begins to realise that the course of his life is mirrored by the fate of his nation, every element of his life is linked, from his well-being to his wealth. Every action he makes is replicated on a national scale and every consequence is felt by the entire country. This is a fascinatingly original concept that provides a fictional twist on real-world events.

32. A Clockwork Orange

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Author: Anthony Burgess

Release Date: 1962

Set in a nightmarish alternative future where the youth have risen up to violently oppose society, A Clockwork Orange depicts the “ultraviolent” transgressions of a gang of teenagers. Anthony Burgess has managed to create the most timeless depictions of good and evil, and what it means to pick a side.

33. White Teeth

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Author: Zadie Smith

Release Date: 27 January 2000

White Teeth is a fascinating and humorous exploration of multiculturalism, identity, and human connection in post-war London. It follows the lives of two veterans as they adapt to a changing world and make new lives for themselves.

34. Beloved

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Author: Toni Morrison

Release Date: September 1987

In Beloved, Toni Morrison paints a vivid picture of how the wounds of a painful past can linger on. Born into slavery, Sethe, a young black mother, manages to escape captivity and start a life of her own. For years however, she is haunted by the memories of the place she used to live and by the memories of her youngest child whom she was forced to kill to prevent her from living a life of slavery

35. Valley of the Dolls

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Author: Jacqueline Susann

Release Date: 1966

Valley of the Dolls tells the story of how three young women become best friends as they struggle to find their big break in New York City. Eventually, they all become stars, but they quickly realise that once they have reached the top of the ladder the real challenge is staying at the top. This is a true testament to friendship and the impact that working life can have on human connection.

36. The Shining

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Author: Stephen King

Release Date: 28 January 1977

This thriller classic tells the story of Jack Torrance and his family after they move to a remote hotel so Jack can start his new job. Before long, the winter weather sets in and the evil forces begin to creep out of the woodwork. Regarded as one of Stephen King's best works, The Shining is a gripping tale from start to finish that is hard to put down.

37. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

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Author: Dave Eggers

Release Date: 2000

Eggers delivers a moving novel focussing on a college student when his life gets turned upside down with the death of both of his parents. This innovative novel redefines the classic narrative and delivers a tragic story that is told through moments of both hilarity and heartache in equal measure.

38. The Five People You Meet In Heaven

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Author: Mitch Albom

Release Date: 23 September 2003

This alternative portrayal of what heaven is explores what the afterlife is and offers a perspective on the age-old question of “what is the meaning of life?”. Eddie is a wounded war veteran who, unfortunately, is killed on his 83rd birthday attempting to save the life of a little girl. He awakes in the afterlife to find that heaven isn’t a destination, instead, it’s a place where your life is explained to you by five people.

39. Fight Club

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Author: Chuck Palahniuk

Release Date: 1 August 1996

“The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club”. Showing himself to be one of the greatest satirists of his generation, Chuck Palahniuk details the life of a down-beaten man who wishes to escape the drone of his 9 to 5 lifestyle. He ends up becoming enthralled by a young man who introduces him to the world of underground fighting in the basements of bars.

40. Shuggie Bain

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Author: Douglas Stuart

Release Date: 11 February 2020

This hard-hitting novel tells of the struggles of a family living and working at the bottom of the social ladder. The story follows a young Hugh “Shuggie” Bain as he struggles to get the love of his mother while she is struggling to combat issues with self-confidence and alcoholism. This is a brutally honest portrayal of life in a downtrodden working-class family.

41. Where the Crawdads Sing

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Author: Delia Owens

Release Date: 14 August 2018

Delia Owens forces you to question the divide between a life of solitude and a person's everlasting desire to belong to something more. The tale is that of a young woman whose life has been one of complete solitude, living outside of civilised society, until she comes of age and yearns for the love of another.

42. Catch-22

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Author: Joseph Heller

Release Date: 10 November 1961

We’ve all heard the phrase Catch 22, well, it is in this book that the phrase was originally coined. In this satirical masterpiece, Joseph Heller exposes the absurdities of war. Set in Italy during the Second World War, the novel follows the story of bombardier Yossarian, as his outrage grows over the constantly increasing standards that he and his fellow crew must meet. Yet, he cannot make any attempt to avoid going on the increasingly dangerous missions without violating catch-22, wherein a man can be grounded if he is considered insane, however, asking to be grounded is evidence of sanity therefore making him ineligible to leave.

43. Rebecca

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Author: Daphne du Maurier

Release Date: August 1938

Du Maurier expertly creates an air of mystery and intrigue by narrating the novel from the perspective of the protagonist and refusing to name her throughout the entire book. While working for an elderly socialite in Monte Carlo, the narrator meets Maxim de Winter, a wealthy widower. They quickly marry after an intense courtship however, it’s not long before she starts to feel like she will forever live in the shadow of Maxim’s dead wife. An exquisitely formulated story that builds a sense of unease and forces you to read on to uncover the mystery.

44. Trainspotting

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Author: Irvine Welsh

Release Date: 1993

This raw and unflinching novel takes the reader on an unfiltered exploration of the human condition and provides an incredibly honest depiction of a world of poverty and addiction. Set in the late 1980’s, the story follows a group of men that are either addicted to heroin, friends with people that take heroin, or are otherwise engaged in destructive endeavours that border addiction.

45. Atonement

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Author: Ian McEwan

Release Date: 2001

From a master of English prose comes Atonement, the highly regarded tale of love, war, and forgiveness. Starting in the summer of 1935, a young Briony Tallis witnesses something that triggers a sequence of events that sends shockwaves through her world and the lives of everyone around her. Even as World War II hits, the events from young Tallis’s past continue to haunt those involved and keep doing so all the way up until the turn of the century.

46. The Unbearable Lightness of Being

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Author: Milan Kundera

Release Date: 1984

The Unbearable Lightness of Being is a story that is anchored around the life of Tomáš, a Surgeon with an insatiable thirst for adultery. Tomáš embraces the philosophy of “lightness”, a state in which he actively rejects heaviness, living a life free of labels and traditional ideals, all the while justifying his frequent sexual affairs with other women as being without emotion. Milan Kundera expertly juxtaposes geographical distance and emotional distance to create a bold and irreverent example of romantic literature.

47. The Lovely Bones

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Author: Alice Sebold

Release Date: 2002

Her name was Susie Salmon, and she was murdered on the 6th of December 1973 when she was only fourteen years old, and this is her story. Sebold delivers a story of hope, suspense, humour, and even joy in a story that sees Susie watch on from her place in heaven while her killer covers their tracks, friends try to figure out what happened, and grief takes over her family.

48. Memoirs of a Geisha

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Author: Arthur Golde

Release Date: 27 September 1997

Written with brilliant clarity comes the true stories from one of Japan’s most celebrated geishas. In a world where a woman's virginity is sold to the highest bidder, to a geisha, appearances are everything. This totally unique work of fiction is not only provoking and inspiring, but it is also at times, erotic.

49. The Time Traveler’s Wife

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Author: Audrey Niffenegger

Release Date: 2003

This bizarre but brilliant love story follows the lives of Clare and Henry. Suffering from a rare genetic condition that resets his genetic clock every so often, Henry finds it nearly impossible to build any kind of relationship, until he meets Clare. This heartfelt tale shows how love can overcome all odds, even time itself.

50. The Da Vinci Code

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Author: Dan Brown

Release Date: 18 March 2003

The mysterious death of an elderly curator at the Louvre sparks the attention of Harvard Symbologist Robert Langdon and gifted French Symbologist Sophie Neveu. Together they launch an investigation into the suspicious death, but they end up uncovering a much greater mystery that stems all the way back to Leonardo da Vinci. This is a world-renowned novel that will keep whoever reads it on the edge of their seat from start to finish.

51. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

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Author: Stieg Larsson

Release Date: August 2005

Over forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared, but her uncle never gave up looking for the truth behind her disappearance. Eventually, he enlists the help of crusading journalist, Mikael Blomkvist, and together they unveil a sea of corruption and immorality. This novel is an exquisitely sculpted story that follows themes of deceit and failure.

52. The Help

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Author: Kathryn Stockett

Release Date: 10 February 2009

The Help tells the inspiring stories of three women living in Mississippi in 1962 and how they made it their goal to change society's perceptions of race and gender equality. The first of this trio is a young woman, armed with a degree yet still expected to perform her duty of getting married. The second of this trio is a black woman who spends her life raising someone else’s children after losing her own son. And finally, the third is a woman whose reputation for sass and speaking her mind has made it hard for her to hold down a job. This is an incredible story of hope and empowerment that brings three women from completely separate walks of life together to enact change for the betterment of all.

53. The Secret Life of Bees

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Author: Sue Monk Kidd

Release Date: 8 November 2001

This is a tale that is rooted in strength and solidarity. It tells the story of Lily Owens whose life was changed forever after her mother was killed. More tragedy hits after her stoic black stand-in-mother, Rosaleen, is arrested for insulting three of the most prolific racists in town. After a sequence of disastrous events, Lily frees Rosaleen and together they run away to a town in South Carolina where they are taken in by three eccentric bee-keeping women.

54. The Color Purple

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Author: Alice Walker

Release Date: 1982

The Color Purple is a vivid depiction of the lives of African-American women living in a rural part of America during the early twentieth century. It tells the story of two sisters who are separated as children but still manage to stay connected as they grow up. This beautifully worked piece of literature was one of the first pioneering pieces to explore themes of domestic and sexual abuse while still delivering a compassionate and uplifting story.

55. Norwegian Wood

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Author: Haruki Murakami

Release Date: 1987

Norwegian Wood tells the story of a young student’s struggle to acclimatise to his new life on campus. This is an excellent depiction of a young man's hopeless first encounter with love and the obstacles he must overcome. Norwegian Wood is stylishly told taking heavy influences from music, mood, and fashion from the sixties.


56. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

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Author: Yuval Noah Harari

Release Date: 2011

In this book, Yuval Noah Harari looks at the history of humanity from the early stages of modern cognition to the incredible scientific breakthroughs going on today. Throughout the book, Harari builds up a narrative that spans the entire existence of humanity that can help you truly understand what it means to be human. Full of practical guides, maps, diagrams, and much more, the research presented in this book is not only fascinating but it’s easy to digest. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind is a priceless read for anyone with an interest in history or humanity.

57. A Brief History of Time

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Author: Stephen Hawking

Release Date: 1988

From one of the greatest minds of the 21st century comes an in-depth yet easily digestible account of the universe. Hawking’s book does an incredible job of answering questions like, “how did the universe begin?”, and “what will happen when it all comes to an end?”, in a way that anyone can understand.

58. In Cold Blood

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Author: Truman Capote

Release Date: January 17 1966

In this book, Tuman Capote brings back into focus the brutal murder of the Clutter family in 1959. Capote masterfully reconstructs the horrendous crime itself and the investigation that eventually led the Kansas police to capture the criminals responsible. This book offers an unfiltered, unyielding perspective on violent crime in America during the late 1950s.

59. The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World

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Author: Jonathan Freedland

Release Date: 9 June 2022

This ground-breaking book tells the story of Rudolf Vrba, one of only four people that ever successfully escaped the Nazi Concentration camp, Auschwitz. In April 1944, Vrba and his fellow escapee, Fred Wetzler, escaped the prison camp and fled into the mountains to bring news of what was going on in this infamous camp to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, even after laying his life on the line to escape, very few people listened to his warnings and even fewer believed him. This is an evoking read that will paint a vivid picture of some of the darkest aspects of the Nazi Regime during the Second World War.

60. Say Nothing

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Author: Patrick Radden Keefe

Release Date: 1 November 2018

In Say Nothing, Patrick Radden Keefe delivers an intricate narrative of the Irish conflict that was known as The Troubles. He looks into the mysterious abduction of thirty-eight-year-old Jean McConville, and using it as a starting point, goes on to explore the impact that the IRA had on society at the time and the ripples they created through the rest of Northern Ireland.

Biographies and Autobiographies

61. The Diary of Anne Frank

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Author: Anne Frank

Release Date: 25 June 1947

Anne Frank was a young girl living in Holland when the Second World War broke out, and when the Nazi persecution of Jews worsened, she, along with her mum, dad, and sister, was forced to go into hiding. During her time sealed away in the back rooms of an Amsterdam office building, she kept an account of her day-to-day life. Tragically they were all betrayed and Anne Frank was eventually sent off to the concentration camp at Belsen where she died. Her writings survived however, providing a detailed account of her life in hiding and the turmoil that she and all those around her went through.

62. I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban

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Author: Malala Yousafzai

Release Date: 8 October 2013

This is the story of the girl who defied death to stand for what she believed in. On the 9th of October 2012, two men boarded the bus that she was on and shot her in the head. Miraculously, she survived, and she has gone on to continue her advocacy for women’s right to education with fresh fervour. She wrote this book to shine some light on her life leading up to the attack and how it has changed since. It now serves as a testament to her stoicism in the face of oppression and as a message to reaffirm her will to fight on.

63. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

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Author: Maya Angelou

Release Date: 1969

In her debut memoir, Maya Angelou documents her life, revealing everything she experienced from being sent to live with her grandmother to being attacked when she was only 8 years old. In this modern American classic, it is revealed how Angelou learned to overcome the challenges of her childhood through the works of some of the world's greatest authors and by discovering a newfound love of herself.

64. Angela’s Ashes: A Memoir

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Author: Frank McCourt

Release Date: 5 September 1996

This is the story of an impoverished and downtrodden Irish-American family living in Brooklyn in the early 1900s. Angela’s Ashes is an absorbing memoir that exposes the childhood endured by Frank McCourt and speaks of his father, a man who rarely worked while spending what little he earned on drink, and his mother, trying to scrape together a living for her and her family.

65. In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss

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Author: Amy Bloom

Release Date: 8 March 2022

Bloom’s memoir explores her experiences with love and loss and how they became tied together. In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss tells of the loving relationship between Amy Bloom and her husband, Brian, and how an MRI scan would change both of their lives forever. The scan revealed that her husband had Alzheimer’s disease. Faced with this devastating news, Brian was determined to go out of his own accord, so they made the difficult decision to go to Dignitas in Switzerland, an organisation that gives people the power to take their own lives. This book is a testament to the power of love and the lengths that a person will go to for the people that they love.

66. Brother. Do. You. Love. Me.

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Author: Manni Coe and Reuben Coe

Release Date: 4 October 2022

This book tells the touching tale of two brothers, Manni and Reuben. 38-year-old Reuben lives in a specialised home where he is cared for because of his learning disabilities. After months go by of being cut off from all of his loved ones, Reuben sends a text to his brother reading ‘brother. do. you. love. me.’. Immediately Manni drops everything and leaves his house in Spain to move Reuben to a small cottage in the countryside where they can be together again, and over time, they can foster a new relationship.

67. The Happiest Man on Earth

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Author: Eddie Jaku

Release Date: 28 July 2020

The Happiest Man on Earth is an inspiring story of a man who lost everything but never let that fact bring him down. The year was 1938, Eddie Jaku was a Jewish man living in Germany and soon, his life would be turned upside down. Jaku managed to survive the turmoil and pain of the holocaust, and even though he lost countless loved ones along the way, he vowed he would keep a smile on his face every day.

Self Help and Spirituality

68. The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living

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Author: the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler

Release Date: 1998

This is a message of positivity in all its forms. Through the use of conversations, meditations, and stories, Cutler is able to help the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and temporal leader of the Geluk Tradition in Tibet, share ways to defeat your anxieties, overcome your worries, and build a happier, healthier mind.

69. Atomic Habits

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Author: James Clear

Release Date: 16 October 2018

If you are a creature of habit, whether that be bad habits or just things you do that are so small you barely even register them, this book could be the perfect opportunity to tackle them. James Clear, one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation, dives into how and why habits are formed and provides practical and achievable ways of dealing with them.

70. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

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Author: Charlie Mackesy

Release Date: 10 October 2019

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse is an illustrated journey for all ages. The beautiful imagery that features throughout the book delivers an insightful journey that guides you through a collection of valuable life lessons in such a way that lets you invest in the characters and relate each and every story to your own life.

71. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead

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Author: Brené Brown

Release Date: 2012

This is a book that challenges the fundamentals of human vulnerability. Inside, Brené Brown breaks down what it means to feel vulnerable, addressing ways of engaging your fears, and teaches you how to understand them.

72. The Power of Now

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Author: Eckhart Tolle

Release Date: 1997

In this insightful book, Eckhart Tolle takes your hand and guides you through a process that can help you disconnect from your analytical mind and get in touch with your indestructible essence of being. Using simple language and easy-to-follow narratives, Tolle helps you break down your walls and become one with yourself.


73. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Author: J. K. Rowling

Release Date: 26 June 1997

First published back in 1997, Harry Potter is one of the all-time greats of fantasy literature. The series begins with Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone, which sees Harry, Ron, and Hermione attend their first year at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry™. As well as getting to grips with his new magical abilities, Harry has his first encounter “He Who Shall Not Be Named” when he uncovers a plot to steal the Philosopher Stone, a magical item that can give the owner eternal life. This is the first of seven Harry Potter books, expertly introducing the reader to a magical world packed with immersive lore and lovable characters.

74. A Game of Thrones

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Author: George R. R. Martin

Release Date: 1 August 1996

The first book in the incredibly popular book series A Song of Ice and Fire, A Game of Thrones introduces the fictional continent of Westeros and the three key powers vying for power over the land. The book navigates several interlinking storylines that revolve around three key mainstays: the rising power of a Targaryen girl to the East, the dark power rising beyond The Wall to the North, and the embittered conflict for the throne at King’s Landing.

75. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

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Author: J. R. R. Tolkien

Release Date: 29 July 1954

The first instalment in Tolkien’s epic trilogy, the Fellowship of the Ring explores themes of loyalty, friendship, corruption, and the fight between good and evil as you see The One Ring emerge, foretelling the resurrection of a dark power. A fellowship consisting of two men, a dwarf, an elf, a wizard, and four hobbits is tasked with taking The Ring to Mordor to destroy it in the fires of Mount Doom to prevent it from being reunited with its dark master Sauron.

76. Life of Pi

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Author: Yann Martel

Release Date: 11 September 2001

Life of Pi is a philosophical novel by Canadian author Yann Martel that follows the life of a young boy called Piscine Molitor after the ship he was travelling on with his family sinks, and he is left alone on a lifeboat for 227 days with only a Bengal tiger for company. The book explores the emotional and physical journey that the boy embarks on during his nightmarish ordeal as a lone survivor.

77. The Colour of Magic

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Author: Terry Pratchett

Release Date: 24 November 1983

The Colour of Magic is a fantastical novel full of magic and mystery. It is the first book in the inventive, yet quirky Discworld series and it tells the tale of a land that sits atop the back of four huge elephants which in turn, are standing atop a giant turtle. The tale speaks of the first tourist to enter the mystical land and of the rather useless wizard that is assigned to look after them.

78. Children of Blood and Bone

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Author: Tomi Adeyemi

Release Date: 6 March 2018

Children of Blood and Bone is a powerful young adult fantasy novel set in a West African-inspired world where magic imbues everything, but its use has been prohibited, and all those with the ability to conjure and wield it have been put to death. The story follows Zélie, a young woman who lost her mother to the new law banning the use of magic, as she discovers her opportunity to strike back at the power that controls the land and to bring back the freedom of magic again.

Dystopian and Science Fiction

79. The War of the Worlds

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Author: H. G. Wells

Release Date: 1898

After an army of invading Martians lands in England, mankind find themselves helpless to stop the onslaught that follows. Quickly, the Martians spread across the land destroying everything in their path with heat rays and toxic gases. The War of the Worlds is a gripping story of courage, helplessness, and salvation.

80. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

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Author: Douglas Adams

Release Date: 12 October 1979

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a funny and irreverently creative take on science fiction. After the Earth is scheduled to be destroyed to make room for a new galactic highway, Arthur Dent is rescued from the surface by his friend, Ford Prefect, a researcher who has been undercover for the last 15 years. The story goes on to see the two of them travel across space with only the help of the hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy.

81. Klara and the Sun

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Author: Kazuo Ishiguro

Release Date: 2 March 2021

This book by Japanese-British author Kazuo Ishiguro narrates the life of an Artificial Friend who sits alone in a shop waiting to be loved. As the days go by, she sits and waits, gradually watching the world change before her, helpless to do anything about it or even be a part of it. It can be said that this book is a neutral commentary on the ever-evolving society that we live in.

82. Fahrenheit 451

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Author: Ray Bradbury

Release Date: 19 October 1953

Originally published back in 1953, the morals behind this story are more relevant than ever before. Fahrenheit 451 is the story of Guy Montag, a fireman whose job is to destroy illegal items. He hadn't questioned his job or his boring old life until the day he met his eccentric young neighbour, Clarisse, who shows him what life used to mean when people took inspiration from the pages of books instead of what they are fed on TV.

83. Dune

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Author: Frank Herbert

Release Date: August 1965

One of the most prominent pieces of science fiction literature ever written, Dune is a powerfully gripping read. The book follows the life of Paul Atreides, the heir to the noble family that rules over Arrakis, a desert planet that holds its value in a drug called “spice” which can extend human life and improve conciseness. After his house is betrayed, Paul is forced to address his new destiny and rise anew.

84. Never Let Me Go

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Author: Kazuo Ishiguro

Release Date: 5 April 2005

This award-winning science fiction novel explores themes of identity, love, and the ethics of science in an alternative version of 1990’s England. In this alternative past, cloning is legal and actively used to prolong the lives of ordinary citizens with little regard for the newly created clones, who are kept away from the rest of civilization in specialised institutions.

85. The Martian

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Author: Andy Wier

Release Date: 11 February 2014

In The Martian, the first man on Mars quickly becomes the only man on Mars when a sandstorm hits the exploration group, they are forced to evacuate leaving one man behind believing him to be dead. Now alone on a desolate planet without the means to contact anyone else, Mark, must overcome near insurmountable odds to fight for his survival.

Mystery and Thriller

86. The Girl on the Train

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Author: Paula Hawkins

Release Date: 6 January 2015

The Girl on the Train is a psychological thriller that revolves around Rachel, a troubled woman who, during her daily commute, becomes fixated on a couple who seem to be living the perfect life in their house next to the train line. For a long time, Rachel watches the couple from afar, until one of the pair goes missing and Rachel is thrown right into the middle of the investigation to find the missing person. In The Girl on the Train, Hawkins skilfully depicts themes of betrayal, mental health, and the risks of believing what you see on the surface.

87. The Silence of the Lambs

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Author: Thomas Harris

Release Date: 19 May 1988

Following a string of gruesome murders by a suspect known as ‘Buffalo Bill’, Clarice, a trainee at the FBI Academy, is tasked with interviewing the notorious cannibal Dr. Hannibal Lecter, in the hopes of building a profile on this new murderer. Throughout the book, Hannibal’s intimate understanding of the killer and Clarice comes to light building an ever-present suspenseful air of mystery.

88. The Thursday Murder Club

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Author: Richard Osman

Release Date: 3 September 2020

Once a week, a group of unlikely friends come together in their sleepy little retirement home to investigate unsolved crimes. However, when a gruesome murder happens right on their doorstep, they are all thrown into the middle of a high-stakes investigation that they must get to the bottom of.

89. It

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Author: Stephen King

Release Date: 15 September 1986

Set in the fictional town of Derry, seven children are hunted by an evil entity that calls itself Pennywise. Showing itself mostly as a dancing clown, Pennywise has the ability to exploit its victim's deepest darkest fears, appearing as a manifestation of the thing they fear the most. Following themes of fear, coming of age, and courage, It is a suspenseful and on occasion, downright scary read.

90. The Talented Mr. Ripley

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Author: Patricia Highsmith

Release Date: 30 November 1955

The Talented Mr. Ripley is about the exploits of Tom Ripley when he is unexpectedly sent on an assignment to Italy to convince a rich man’s son to return home. However, Ripley’s tendency towards evil misdoings, leads him to commit two murders in Europe, later assuming the identity of one of his victims. Addressing themes of obsession, identity, and imitation The Talented Mr. Ripley is a must-read for any fans of psychological thrillers.

Children and Teens

91. Winnie-the-Pooh

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Author: A. A. Milne

Release Date: 14 October 1926

Winnie-the-Pooh is a collection of short stories that follow the adventures of a small, living teddy bear and his friends Christopher Robin, Piglet, Eeyore, Owl, Rabbit, Kanga, and Roo. Forming the inspiration of several films and TV shows, Winnie-the-Pooh is a timeless classic that explores the ins and outs of friendship.

92. The Little Prince

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Author: Antoine De Saint-Exupéry

Release Date: 6 April 1943

As one of the most widely cherished stories, The Little Prince is a must-read classic for both children and adults. The story is narrated by a pilot lost in the desert who awakes one morning to a rather peculiar little fellow. The narrator is asked to draw a sheep, and in his sheer confusion, the pilot complies. Thus begins the enchanting tale of The Little Prince that, over a series of odd little twists, teaches a valuable lesson on the nature of real love.

93. Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

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Author: Dr Seuss

Release Date: 22 January 1990

A classic tale by Dr. Suess that is filled with insightful life lessons that address the balancing act that is life. Bound together with the classic Dr. Suess stylised imagery, Oh, The Places You’ll Go! is a delightful read for anyone moving on to the next stage of their life, whether that be playgroup leavers or university graduates.

94. Charlie and The Chocolate Factory

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Author: Roald Dahl

Release Date: 1964

In a strange turn of events, the ever-optimistic Charlie Bucket wins a golden ticket giving him the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. This colourful children's tale is a non-stop magical adventure full of mouth-watering descriptions and exquisite twists.

95. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

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Author: C. S. Lewis

Release Date: 16 October 1950

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the first of the Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. It is full of adventure, magic, mythical creatures, and much more, everything you could possibly want for a first introduction to fantasy literature.

96. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

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Author: Lewis Carroll

Release Date: November 1865

This is the curious tale of a young girl called Alice who falls down a rabbit hole to find herself transported to a far-off mythical land full of rather bizarre adventures and all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures. Originally written by Lewis Carroll in 1865, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has gone down in history as one of the literary greats.

97. Gulliver’s Travels

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Author: Jonathon Swift

Release Date: 28 October 1726

Gulliver’s Travels is the intriguing story of a ship’s surgeon whose life takes a strange turn when he discovers a land of miniature people. Throughout the story, Gulliver discovers four different lands, each wildly different from the last where he faces a whole host of new challenges and dangers. Throughout this satirical novel, Gulliver learns some valuable lessons about human nature and the growth of society.

98. Charlotte’s Web

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Author: E. B. White

Release Date: 15 October 1952

From the writer of Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan comes the tale of a spider, a pig, and a young girl. The novel tells the tale of a small pig who learns that he is destined for slaughter but is saved by the combined efforts of his friends. This is a story of bravery, self-sacrifice, and most of all, friendship.

99. Northern Lights

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Author: Philip Pullman

Release Date: 9 July 1995

Northern Lights is the first of the His Dark Materials book series by author Philip Pullman and it tells the story of a young girl called Lyra Belacqua as she sets out to rescue her friend with the help of her band of misfits. Set in a parallel universe where people's souls exist as lifelong animal companions called dæmons, Northern Lights is an action-packed fantasy that appeals to all reading abilities.

100. The Hunger Games

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Author: Suzanne Collins

Release Date: 14 September 2008

Set in a dystopian future, The Hunger Games is an eye-opening depiction of an alternative future that has been ravaged by war. The story follows Katniss Everdeen, a girl from District 12 after she is forced to volunteer herself to take part in the Annual Hunger Games where she will join 23 other ‘tributes’ in a fight to the death. This is a fan favourite that addresses themes of loss, courage, and the determination to overcome near-overwhelming odds. This is also the first of the popular Hunger Games trilogy.

The End.

So, that concludes our 100 Books to Read Before You Die official list. How many have you read? Only the most devoted literature fans have read them all, can you count yourself among them?

Why not challenge yourself and set a goal to read as many of them as possible?

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