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A Book Lover's Bucket List - 30 Best Books To Read Before You Die

By Ishan Sharma

Updated - Oct. 25, 2019 21 min read

Ask anyone who reads, books leave the most everlasting impressions on our life. From acting as a patch of heal to the most wonderful companion in sorrows and joys, books make for the best friends for everyone. Yes, irrespective of color, race or religion, books impart knowledge and wisdom without anything in return


And today, we've brought you a list of best books to read before you die. So without much ado, let's get on with it right away. 

 

 

Best Fiction Books Of All Time

 

1. P.S I Love You By Cecelia Ahern

 

modern saga of undefinedraw and limitless love is what P.S I Love You is all about. It's about the love and affection of a loving husband towards his better half even after his death. The lady receives letters that her husband left for her or the love instead, just jotted in words. A novel that makes you heavy at heart and filled with awe at the same is something to bring out the die-hard romantic within. 

best-books-to-read- p s I Love You By Cecelia Ahern

Genre: Fiction, Romance

Author: Cecelia Ahern

Release Date: 21st December 2007

Awards: The impulsive happiness it gives you after reading it is an award enough for this masterpiece

Rating: 4.02/5 By Goodreads

Buy Here: AmazonFlipkart

 

2. The Kite Runner By Khaled Hosseini

An enchanting tale of life in the rural, war struck Afghanistan is a must read for those who believe only in the barbarity of Afghans. It emanates the struggles of minorities and how politics plays a pivotal role in defining the common man's fate. It's about childhood friends becoming strangers due to the conflicts in society, it's about compassion when maturity strikes over the practicality of life. It's about the ground reality of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime and the Soviet era. A great piece of work by Khaled Hosseini, it exudes the true and cruel shades of life in the world we live in.

best-books-to-read The Kite Runner By Khaled Hosseini

Genre: Historical Fiction, Drama

Author: Khaled Hosseini

Release Date: 29th May 2003

Awards: Borders Original Voice Award, San Francisco Chronicle Best Book Of The Year

Ratings: 4.29/5 Goodreads

Buy Here: AmazonFlipkart

 

3. The Book Theif By Markus Zusak

The plot stages during World War II in Germany. With death being the narrator, it speaks of a teenage girl traveling with her brother and mother, when on the way down to their destination her brother passes away. It's the first once this little girl encounters death, but not the last. Further on, she copes with the challenges of being a Jew Sympathiser in Nazi-dominated Germany while fulfilling her wish to read by the means of stealing books. Destined to be a Laurette one day, she understands humanity through the words and faces the consequences of being so, of war and other atrocities that lie in wait. The Book Theif is a humble hope of sunshine in the darkness of man's deeds. 

best-books-to-read The Book Theif By Markus Zusak

Genre: Juvenile Fiction, Historical Drama

Author: Markus Zusak

Release Date: 2005

Awards: Indies Choice Book Award For Children's Literature, Kathleen Mitchel Award, National Jewish Book Award For Children's And Young Adult Literature

Ratings: 4.37/5 By Goodreads

Buy Here: AmazonFlipkart

 

4. A Walk To Remember By Nicholas Sparks

An impeccable tale of love by Nicholas is sure to leave you astonished about the depths of emotions portrayed within. Many say that it leaves you teary-eyed every now and then. It's about a rowdy yet compassionate guy Landon Carter and a sweetreligiously beautiful girl Jamie Sullivan, who's suffering and slowly dying away. But with fate playing the cupid in their life, they fall for each other and end up transforming their lives. He makes her last wishes come true, eventually marrying her and she makes him believe in faith. It's an enchantment that invigorates love and leaves you awestruck! Definitely meant to be read over and again if not once.

best-books-to-read-A Walk To Remember By Nicholas Sparks

Genre: Fiction, Romance

Author: Nicholas Sparks

Release Date: October 1999

Awards: No awards are enough to the ones who've read it, ask them and they'll say it's insufficient. 

Rating: 4.17/5 By Goodreads

Buy Here: AmazonFlipkart

 

5. Midnight's Children

Staged on the verge of India's independence, the Midnight's Children is a depiction of life during and after our nation got its freedom. The protagonist when born at 00:00 15th August 1947, is a tale that emancipates your senses to the events that sculptured our nation on a larger scale. A great read for those who love to delve in the layers of past and dig in the tales that matter the present.

best-books-to-read-Midnight's Children By Sulman Rushdie

Genre: Magical Realism, Historiographic Metafiction

Author: Sulman Rushdie    

Release Date: 1981

Awards: Bookers Prize, The Best of the Booker, James Tait Black Memorial Prize

Rating: 3.98/5 By Goodreads

Buy Here: AmazonFlipkart

 

 

Classic Literature - Modern, Contemporary & Medieval

6. To Kill a Mockingbird By Harper Lee

A Pulitzer Prize winner is a tale of a young motherless girl and her challenges in life. This compelling story walks through love, rage, betrayal, and the dilemmas of fighting a war for what's right and bearing consequences over what you love the most.

best-books-to-read To Kill a Mockingbird By Harper Lee

Genre: Fiction

Author: Harper Lee

Release Date: 11th July 1960

Awards: Pulitzer Prize For Fiction

Ratings: 4.27/5 By Goodreads

Buy Here: AmazonFlipkart

 

7. 1984 By George Orwell

An exemplary work of fiction, 1984 was written nearly 40 years before the staged plot. The author has depicted a technologically advanced yet restricted state of society called Oceania, wherein a party rules over the freedom of individuality and thoughts. Winston, a young party member after getting frustrated with these constraints, decides to join a rebellion force and ends up in a major disaster that brings his worst nightmares alive.

best-books-to-read 1984 By George Orwell

Genre: Fiction 

Author: George Orwell

Release Date: 8th June 1949

Awards: Prometheus Hall of Fame Award

Ratings: 4.17/5 by Goodreads

Buy Here: AmazonFlipkart

 

8. Pride & Prejudice By Jane Austen

One of the finest works of the author, Pride & Prejudice is a story of perceptions, merciless emotional ambushes, and eternally pure love. It's a tale about honor among classes irrespective of their social stature and it's about a girl's integrity when she's fond of her knight in shining armor. But the events that unfold say much more about everything they had to face. 

best-books-to-read Pride & Prejudice By Jane Austen

Genre: Fiction

Author: Jane Austen

Release Date: 28th January 1813

Awards: Her works are beyond any recognition and drove the entire literary stance of the world.

Ratings: 4.25/5 By Goodreads

Buy Here: Amazon, Flipkart

 

9. The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Story is a narration of an incident that young Nick Carroway came across when he moved to the east in order to make a fortune for himself. In his small little house, he gets acquainted with Mr. Gatsby, a friendly yet strangely inconspicuous neighbour who throws parties and shindigs where the entire town is invited. Turns out that the motive for this friendship is much more than a neighbour's generosity and that's when the ugly truths start to unfold

best-books-to-read The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald

Genre: Fiction

Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald

Release Date: 10th April 1925

Awards: Connoted as "The Great American Read" By PBS

Ratings:  3.91/5 By Goodreads

Buy Here: Amazon, Flipkart

 

10. Animal Farm By George Orwell

The theme is fiction but moral for the entire human race, that drenched in the greed of power and money, nothing good can be obtained. The plot commences in an animal Farm, where a meeting within animals is being conducted, with the agenda being a Farm that is run by animals and without any difference of opinions and hierarchy being playing a role. At first, it's just a thought but when the leader dies soon after, the successors pledge to turn it into reality. So it's about how the animals run it through, make principles, amend them and finally give in to their vices. A great read, the 'Animal Farm' is a fiction that gets through the skin of us humans in ways more than imagined. 

best-books-to-read Animal Farm By George Orwell

Genre: Philosophy, Fiction

Author: George Orwell

Release Date: 17th August 1945

Awards: Prometheus Hall of Fame Award, Retro Hugo Award For Best Novella

Rating: 3.92/5 By Goodreads

Buy Here: Amazon, Flipkart

 

 

11. Gone With The Wind By Margaret Mitchell

A fiction set out in the Civil War Era of the United States of America is a story about an ambitious woman, who paves her way across life. After broken marriages, relationships, friendships, and deaths of her children, she understands that the true purpose of life is to nurture and care for the ones and the things that you love. A provocative yet enticing tale of this strong woman is as relatable as life can be.  

best-books-to-read Gone With The Wind By Margaret Mitchell

Genre: Historical Fiction

Author: Margaret Mitchell

Release Date: 30th June 1936

Awards: Pulitzer Prize For Fiction, National Book Award For Novel

Rating: 4.29/5 By Goodreads

Buy Here: Amazon, Flipkart

 

12. Little Women By Louisa May Alcott

A fiction that's much closer to the reality that we face every day is a wonderful read for the emotionally enticeable souls. It's about the bond among sisters when the seasons of life weather upon them, when relationships strike with hardships and stress, and when the near ones and the kin are only people you can rely upon. With a happily ever after end to this journey of love, jealousy and practices that one must refrain, it will leave you spellbound of the entire idea behind.

best-books-to-read-little women by louisa may alcott

Genre: Coming of Age Fiction

Author: Louisa May Alcott

Release Date: 1868 (Volume 1) & 1869 (Volume 2)

Awards: Any award can not define a classic of English Literature

Rating: 4.06/5 By Goodreads

Buy Here: Amazon, Flipkart

 

13. Alice In The Wonderland By Lewis Carroll 

Alice In The Wonderland is a mystical tale of a girl who swoops in a magical world where a number of adventures await her. Eating things, she shrinks down to sizes, meeting strangers, she learns her way out of things. Only to find out that it was all her imagination. In the end, like fog clears the way for clarity, everything seems like a dream. A must read for those with a vivid imagination, Alice in Wonderland is one of the most decorated pieces of fiction. 

best-books-to-read-alice in the wonderland by lewis caroll

Genre: Fiction

Author: Lewis Carroll

Release Date: 26th July 1951

Awards: Kate Greenaway Medal

Rating: 4.01/5 By Goodreads

Buy Here: Amazon, Flipkart

 

14. Romeo & Juliet By William Shakespeare

Synonymous to the definition of love, Romeo & Juliet does not confine to the realms of an introduction. Of the masterpieces of William Shakespeare, it's what resonates the panache of literature to contemporary mindsets all the while. Yet unrivalled in terms of relatability and relevance in our life, Romeo & Juliet is every book lover's dream.  

best-books-to-read-romeo & juliet by william shakespeare

Genre: Fiction, Romance 

Author: William Shakespeare

Release Date: 1591-1595 AD

Awards Won: Lucille Lortel Award For Outstanding Revival

Rating: 3.74/5 By Goodreads

Buy Here: Amazon, Flipkart

 

15. War & Peace By Leo Tolstoy

War & Peace is a depiction of life in conflicted Russia during the early 1800s. It's a marvellous piece of Russian literature describing the emotions, nationalism, loyalty, and bravery of the men in the days gone by. Among these are the characters who face immense pain and atrocities during the times of War & Peace. This period drama is a winner of hearts among all kinds of history lovers and bookworms among. Getting to read this fine piece of literature is a bucket list element for many.

best-books-to-read War & Peace By Leo Tolstoy

Genre: Fiction

Author: Leo Tolstoy

Release Date: 1869

Awards Won: Nominated For Nobel Prize on Multiple Occasions, yet it's still a conspiracy as to why wasn't he awarded one. 

Rating: 4.1/5 By Goodreads

Buy Here: Amazon, Flipkart

 

16. The Lord Of The Rings By J. R. R. Tolkien

One of the greatest literary masterpieces of the 20th Century, The Lord of The Rings continues to enjoy a cult fandom for decades now. It's a brilliant imagination about a ring that's home and host to a number of superfluous powers. The plot revolves around the primary protagonist, a hobbit named Frodo and how he struggles to define the evil that comes with such a ring. By the end and its conclusion, the fate of this ring decides the destiny of the world.

best-books-to-read- The Lord of The Rings By J. R. R. Tolien

Genre: Sci-fi, Wizarduous, Fiction

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien

Release Date: 29th July 1954

Awards: International Fantasy Award For Fiction, Prometheus Hall of Fame

Rating: 4.49/5 By Goodreads

Buy Here: Amazon, Flipkart

 

17. A Tale Of Two Cities By Charles Dickens

A tale of two cities is about a young 17-year-old woman who gets the news of her real father being released from a prison in France. Persuaded and ambushed into espionage by a spy, she decides to pursue this opportunity to reunite with her father. But little to her knowledge is the plot that a trial is about to change her life forever. Along with a series of events that followed this reunification with her father, is when she realizes what she needs in life and what this life needs out of her. A Perfect plot of love, patriotic espionage and right in the middle of the French Revolution is a perfect read for those who like it all at the same. 

best-books-to-read-A Tale Of Two Cities By Charles Dickens

Genre: Historic Fiction

Author: Charles Dickens

Release Date: 1859

Awards: Listen List, It's a classic of English Literature and an award cannot define its worth anyhow

Rating: 3.83/5 By Goodreads

Buy Here: Amazon, Flipkart

 

18. The Jungle Book By Rudyard Kipling

Every kid's dream, the Jungle Book is a muse for one and all. The compilation consists of a number of stories jotted around well-renowned characters like the brave yet innocent Mowgli, the righteous Bagheera & Baloo, and the evil Sher Khan. These tales inscribe the human social structure with animals as the elements of society and how one protects another and survives along. Reading this is sure to bring back the nostalgia of your childhood and those exciting moments when the cartoon show aired weekly. 

best-books-to-read-The Jungle Book By Rudyard Kipling

Genre: Fiction

Author: Rudyard Kipling

Release date: 1894

Awards: There's no denial to the limitless beauty of these stories and their depiction, and an award is nothing equivalent of this fact.

Rating: 3.93/5 By Goodreads

Buy Here: Amazon, Flipkart

 

19. Moby Dick By Herman Melville

Moby Dick is an inspiring tale of a sailor who goes out to sea in quest of a great life and adventures. But not even in his wildest dreams had he thought of being a whaler. Upon convincing him to become one, he sets afoot on a journey in a ship with a revenge-seeking captain at commandwho wishes to hunt down a whale known as Moby Dick. The story unfolds to instances where a number of other sailors and fishermen lost lives or incured casualties trying so. Indifferent to these warnings and prophecies made towards him, he takes on the bull by its horns, relying on fate and his rage to be. In the end, only Ishmail, the sailor, survives to tell the tale.

best-books-to-read-Moby Dick By Herman Melville

Genre: Fiction, Thriller

Author: Herman Melville

Release Date: 18th October 1851

Awards: Listen List

Rating: 3.49

Buy Here: AmazonFlipkart

 

20. Anna Karenina By Leo Tolstoy

Another marvelous piece of literature by Leo Tolstoy is a tragic tale of love between Anna Karenina and Count Vronsky. Defining the surrealism of Russian literature to the world, this book is sure to leave you mesmerized of the imaginative capabilities of the legendary writer and that is still perfectly implementable and relatable till the date. Another classic of the world of literature, this book is sure to bring out different hues of emotions within you.

best-books-to-read-Anna Karenina By Leo Tolstoy

Genre: Literary Realism

Author: Leo Tolstoy

Release Date: 1877

Awards:

Rating: 4.04/5 By Goodreads

Buy Here: Amazon, Flipkart

 

 

21. The Count Of Monte Cristo By Alexandre Dumas

A quintessential love story that has it all is a perfect end to this list. With elements of loveragejealousy, and revenge, the Count of Monte Cristo is surely something that's a perfect book for those who like some bittersweet moments in life. It's something that clearly makes for its worthy presence in this list if you're looking for a book with maturity in context and language.

best-books-to-read-The Count Of Monte Cristo By Alexandre Dumas

Genre: Historical Novel, Adventure

Author: Alexandre Dumas

Release Date: 1844

Awards: With the number of adaptations, sequels, musicals & plays that make use of its legacy, who needs an award anyways. 

Rating: 4.24/5 By Goodreads

Buy Here: Amazon, Flipkart  

 

Best Autobiographies

 

22. Mein Kampf By Adolf Hitler

The roadmap for the Nazi regime, curated by their leader himself is a personification of his thoughts and ideologies against communism and Jews. As controversial as it is, it's a fine read for understanding the philosophy behind the Nazis during those times. An autobiography of the greatest dictator in the past is a must-read entry in this list.

best-books-to-read-Mien Kampf By Adolf Hitler

Genre: Autobiography

Author: Adolf Hitler

Release Date: 18th July 1925

Awards: Due to the heinous war crimes committed by the Nazi regime under their leader, this book is not worthy of any positive acclamation.

Rating: 3.15/5 By Goodreads

Buy Here: AmazonFlipkart

 

23. My Experiments With Truth

The autobiography of the father of our nation, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, is one of the greatest pieces of philosophical wisdom ever curated. People who read this come out differently than what they were before reading it. It's about his journeys in life and what he learned as a pupil of humanity. A highly noble piece of literature by the honorary soul is respected across the globe for the unrivaled stance he took for his country's independence.

best-books-to-read-My Experiments With Truth By Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Genre: Autobiography

Author: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Release Date: 1929, translation  

Awards: As prestigious this book is, no award ever can commemorate this work any better than its legacy

Rating: 4.07

Buy Here: Amazon, Flipkart

 

24. The Theory of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe By Stephen Hawkings

It's a dive into the celestial ideology of Stephen HAwkings. Explaining the spawn of his ideas, honorable scientist Stephen Hawkings went all out in explaining the bigger picture in this book, our world. If you've always wondered about the reason behind our existence, then this might reveal some answers to you. A great read and an even informative book, The Theory Of Everything is an Editor's pick in this list.

best-books-to-read-The Theory Of Everything By Stephen Hawkings

Genre: Autobiography

Author: Stephen Hawkings

Release Date: 2002

Awards: Irrespective of critical acclamations, the biography is one bucket list entry for ardent readers

Rating: 4.2/5 By Goodreads

Buy Here: Amazon, Flipkart

 

25. The Diary Of A Young Girl By Anne Frank

The Diary Of Anne Frank is an unimaginable reflection of the horrors imposed on the Jews by the Nazi regime during World War II. The Diary starts with her life as a usual teenager, running errands and coping up with the usual challenges that a teenage girl faces, but as the pages unfold, it turns into an intensely disturbing and perpetually scarring tale of negligence and hatred towards humanity. The last page ends with her family's arrest and on a silent yet screamingly unjust note. 

best-books-to-read-The Diary Of A Young Girl By Anne Frank

Genre: Autobiography

Author: Anne Frank 

Release Date: 25th June 1947

Awards: A play by Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich, based on the original diary was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in1955

Ratings: 4.13/5 By Goodreads

Buy Here: AmazonFlipkart

 

Controversy Theories

 

26. The Da Vinci Code By Dan Brown

A Historian is busy giving a lecture about ancient signs and symbols when he receives an invite to an ongoing murder investigation. Only so much to this knowledge, he falls in a trap and comes under the radar of suspicion himself. As a friend and support in such a dire need comes an angel for his help. But little does he know about the events that unfold. About the secret societies, the priory of scion and the deeds of Opus Dei. If you like a string of surprises beaded to be something bigger, meaner and extravagantly revealing, then this book is meant for you.

best-books-to-read-The Da Vinci Code By Dan Brown

Genre: Fiction, Controversial Theory

Author: Dan Brown

Release Date: 17th May 2006

Awards: Amid controversies about this book, the only award it needed was an acceptance and acclamation from its readers

Ratings: 3.83/5 By Goodreads

Buy Here: Amazon, Flipkart

 

27. The Satanic Verses By Sulman Rushdie

One of the most controversial transcripts of modern times, the Satanic Verses has made more tremors in the world than many other books. A tale of two ethnically different individuals is sure to enrage you with the beliefs conspired within it. Soon after its release, a number of protests and fatwas across religious communities came up and above any recommendation for this book. However positive or negative the reviews may be, you'll have a great time reading it and deciding yourself about its moral consequences on society.

best-books-to-read-The Satanic Verses By Sulman Rushdie

Genre: Magical Realism, Controversy Theory

Author: Sulman Rushdie

Release Date: 1988

Awards: The controversial stance of this book is rewarding enough for the book

Rating: 3.71/5 By Goodreads

 

28. The Krishna Key By Ashwin Sanghi

The Krishna Key is as thrilling as a story can get. When mythology is mingled with modern-day crime and controversies of the past, what surfaces above is such a great read. If you like getting goosebumps with a read, then buy a copy of this asap. Revealing, mysterious and significantly wonderful a read. 

best-books-to-read-The Krishna Key By Ashwin Sanghi

Genre: Anthropological Thriller, Controversy Theory

Author: Ashwin Sanghi

Release Date: 2012

Awards: Bestseller among many categories for many years

Rating: 3.52/5 By Goodreads

Buy Here: AmazonFlipkart

 

Spiritual Books

 

29. The Secret By Rhonda Byrne

First of this series, this book preaches the law of attraction with logical explanations to it. The pseudo-scientific theory that like attracts like explained within this would make you wonder about the mystical outreach of a human mind. Many say that this book has changed their lives, so if you're looking for some transformation, then it isn't a bad bargain for a read.

best-books-to-read-The Secret By Rhonda Byrne

Genre: Self-help, Spirituality

Author: Rhonda Byrne

Release Date: 26th November 2006

Rating: 3.66/5 By Goodreads

Buy Here: Amazon, Flipkart

 

30. The Essential Rumi

In the world we live in, peace and harmony are scarce commodities. Rumi brings the key to happiness with his words of wisdom in this dire need. Rumi's quotes pave the pathways to lead a prosperous life, contemplated to the real purposes and wealth of humanity. Once you read this, you'd be a fan forever!

best-books-to-read - The Essential Rumi

Genre: Philosophy, Poetry

Author: Jalal Al Din Rumi

Release Date: 28th May 2004

Awards: The works of this great Persian poet are not bound of any award or recognition

Rating: 4.42/5 By Goodreads 

Buy Here: AmazonFlipkart

 

FAQs

Q. Are Classic Books only for adults?

A. It's a common misconception, but classics are enjoyed by people from all walks of life and of all shapes & sizes. As long as you have the desire to read classical literature, they're great reads for you.

 

Q. Are controversy theories illegal to obtain?

A. No, these books may have lit a spark or two in the past, but they're totally legal to obtain. They are legally published for distribution and reading, hence there's nothing illegal about them.

 

Q. Are these novels helpful in improving English?

A. These books are not specifically designed for the purpose, however, reading these would surely help you know of different tones and styles that laureates use in English. Hence yes, these are helpful in reading and writing different forms of the language.

 

Q. Is the information stated in these books factual?

A. It depends, some things may be and some may not. When it comes to fictional content, you cannot really rely upon the information's accuracy. As it is meant to support the storyline and not the purpose of providing facts. With autobiographies, it can be accurate to a certain extent, depending upon the authors' expertise over the specific matter and when it comes to controversy theories, they're as inaccurate as they can be, as nothing as such has yet been proved and hence they're and have been subject to controversies.      

 

Q. How helpful are the spiritual books in changing one's life for good?

A. Well, it again is a matter of personal discretion. Changing one's life towards the desired results has nothing to do with a book that you read. The book can be a source of inspiration, but it definitely cannot define the path for you. 

 

Q. What is Sci-Fi?

A. Sci-Fi stands for science fiction. A story wherein, science and its applications are used to create a fiction that is not actually or practically plausible. "It's an imagination", is a more apt definition.   

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