woman reading book
Photo: Wallpaper Flare

Really Great Reading: 15 Best Books Of All Time Just For You

Immersing yourself in the world of literature provides a gateway to understand different perspectives, cultures, and emotions. The joy of ‘really great reading’ is a treasure that transcends time, bridging the gap between generations, civilizations, and ideologies. This guide offers a curated list of 15 of the greatest books ever written, each promising a unique journey into the realms of ‘really great reading’.

1. “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

Set against the backdrop of the Great Depression in Maycomb, Alabama, this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is a profound exploration of the corrosive effects of racism and the principles of justice and integrity. The story, narrated by the six-year-old Scout Finch, witnesses the trial of Tom Robinson, a black man wrongfully accused of raping a white woman. While the trial sets the stage, the narrative beautifully unfolds the hypocrisy and prejudice prevalent in society through Scout’s innocent eyes. The book’s powerful narrative and memorable characters, including Atticus Finch, Scout’s morally upright father, have made it an enduring classic.

2. “1984” by George Orwell

This dystopian novel paints a harrowing picture of a totalitarian society where individual liberty is extinct, and Big Brother watches all. Orwell explores the terrifying potential consequences of a government gaining absolute power over its citizens. The protagonist, Winston Smith, a low-ranking member of ‘the Party’, dreams of rebellion against this oppressive regime. His clandestine love affair with Julia and their subsequent capture elucidate the extent of the Party’s control. The book’s exploration of themes such as surveillance, truth, individuality, and the manipulation of reality remain strikingly relevant today.

really great reading
Photo: Hippopx

3. “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

A commentary on marriage, wealth, and social status in 19th-century England, this novel focuses on the spirited Elizabeth Bennet and her complex relationship with the brooding Mr. Darcy. Austen ingeniously uses the romantic endeavors of the five Bennet sisters to scrutinize the societal norms and class prejudices of her time. Elizabeth Bennet’s fiery wit, independence, and deep sense of self-worth make her one of literature’s most beloved characters, and her romantic journey with Mr. Darcy remains one of the most celebrated love stories.

4. “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville

An epic tale of vengeance, “Moby Dick” narrates Captain Ahab’s monomaniacal pursuit of the white whale that maimed him. The narrative weaves philosophical reflections and encyclopedic descriptions of whaling into a rich tapestry of nautical adventure. Each character onboard the Pequod embodies a different aspect of human nature, and their collective quest for the elusive whale becomes an exploration of ambition, obsession, and the inherent struggle between man and nature.

5. “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

This novel encapsulates the decadence, excess, and moral bankruptcy of the Roaring Twenties. Jay Gatsby, the enigmatic millionaire with an obsessive love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, epitomizes the disintegration of the American Dream. Fitzgerald’s critique of the American aristocracy, his lyrical prose, and his depiction of Gatsby’s tragic pursuit of an unattainable dream, have cemented this novel’s place as one of the greatest pieces of American literature.

6. “In Search of Lost Time” by Marcel Proust

Known for its profound introspection and intricate narrative structure, this seven-part novel recounts the narrator’s experiences and reflections throughout his life. The narrative delves into themes such as memory, time, and the mutable nature of art and reality. Its stream-of-consciousness prose and intricate exploration of the inner self present a literary experience that pushes the boundaries of traditional narrative conventions.

7. “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy

Set during the Napoleonic Wars, this novel intermingles historical events and fictional narratives to create a sprawling epic. Tolstoy explores the grand themes of history, war, and peace through the intimate lens of family life, offering a panoramic view of Russian society. The characters, with their complex inner lives, navigate through love, loss, and the harsh realities of war, highlighting the interconnectedness of personal experiences and historical events.

8. “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

This novel weaves a multi-generational saga of the Buendía family in the mythical town of Macondo. The narrative uses magical realism to merge the mundane and the fantastical, reflecting the reality of Latin American history and culture. The cyclical nature of time, the paradox of solitude, and the destructive impact of unrestrained desire are themes masterfully explored through the tragicomic history of the Buendías.

9. “The Odyssey” by Homer

This epic poem recounts the ten-year journey of the Greek hero Odysseus from the end of the Trojan War to his return to Ithaca. Overcoming countless adversities, Odysseus’s voyage becomes a quest for home and self-discovery. Homer’s vivid depiction of mythical creatures, divine interventions, and heroic exploits creates a mesmerizing world of adventure and mythology that continues to captivate readers millennia after its composition.

10. “Ulysses” by James Joyce

A modernist masterpiece, “Ulysses” chronicles a day in the life of Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus in Dublin. The narrative’s groundbreaking stream-of-consciousness technique delves deeply into the characters’ thoughts, feelings, and memories. The novel’s allusions to “The Odyssey”, its linguistic experiments, and its philosophical introspection have made it one of the most influential works in the English language.

11. “Beloved” by Toni Morrison

A haunting exploration of the legacy of slavery, “Beloved” tells the story of Sethe, a woman haunted by the ghost of her daughter whom she killed to save from a life of bondage. Morrison’s depiction of the horrors of slavery and its psychological aftermath is raw and unflinching. Her poetic prose and the supernatural elements infusing the narrative add depth to this poignant tale of guilt, redemption, and the enduring bonds of family.

best books of all time
Photo: Pickpik

12. “Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoevsky

A profound psychological study of crime, guilt, and redemption, this novel revolves around Raskolnikov, a destitute ex-student in Saint Petersburg who plots and commits a terrible crime. His subsequent moral anguish and the ensuing cat-and-mouse game with the investigator, Porfiry Petrovich, form the crux of the novel. Dostoevsky’s exploration of Raskolnikov’s tortured psyche offers a profound reflection on morality and the human condition.

13. “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes

Often hailed as the first modern novel, “Don Quixote” chronicles the misadventures of a deluded nobleman obsessed with chivalric ideals. Along with his loyal squire, Sancho Panza, Don Quixote embarks on a series of absurd and humorous adventures, often blurring the line between reality and illusion. Cervantes’ satire of romantic chivalry, combined with his insightful exploration of human nature, makes this a timeless and transformative read.

14. “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger

Salinger’s landmark novel provides a raw and honest portrayal of teenage angst and alienation through its narrator, Holden Caulfield. Expelled from his prep school, Holden roams New York City, grappling with his disillusionment with the adult world. The novel’s exploration of themes such as identity, loss, and the often painful transition from adolescence to adulthood, resonate deeply with readers across generations.

15. “Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy

Tolstoy’s epic novel interweaves the lives of numerous characters, but its core is the tragic love affair between the married Anna Karenina and the dashing Count Vronsky. The novel’s rich exploration of themes such as love, faith, social change, and the pursuit of happiness, presented against the vivid backdrop of Russian society, makes it one of literature’s most compelling reads. Anna’s emotional journey, marked by passion, guilt, and despair, remains one of literature’s most poignant depictions of the human heart.


Each of these books offers a rich, immersive journey into different worlds, societies, and minds, ultimately embodying the essence of ‘really great reading’. They are not only engaging in their storytelling but also thought-provoking in their exploration of various themes. By diving into these literary masterpieces, readers can engage with diverse cultures and philosophies, thereby enriching their understanding of the world and the human condition.