An answer to the question of what is the most read book in history, is usually unanimous— it is the Holy Bible. But we can find other works that are as popular as it is. And if you’re an avid bookworm, you’re more likely to think about reading every one of the legendary masterpieces. And so as not to waste time comparing the rankings of the best ones, check out the ready-made top 10 most read books of all time!
#1 — Don Quixote, Miguel De Cervantes
Despite the venerable age of the first modern European novel, the book continues to lead the top. The noble earl is fascinated by romantic notions of chivalry, so he recruits a simple farmer as a squire and sets off on a journey. Did Don Quixote do anything useful during the trip? Read and explore for yourself!
#2 — The Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien
Another cult book that probably almost all people have heard of. The novel itself is a fantasy story in three volumes about how brave hobbits, dwarves, elves and wizards are trying to resist the power of the almighty ring created by the Dark Lord Sauron. To create a book, the author even had to create several languages so that the characters have the most realistic backstory.
#3 — Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling
The world of Harry Potter is as legendary as the world of The Lord of the Rings. You should not assume that Rowling’s books are created only for children. This epic of seven works, led by the Philosopher’s Stone, will allow you to plunge into magic and join the heroes in the fight against Voldemort.
#4 — The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Few people are not familiar with the wonderful work of a French pilot, a brave war hero, and a talented writer. At least the famous phrase: “We are responsible for those we have tamed” is repeated by everyone. This is a parable with elements of a fairy tale, about a little boy from another planet, who catches with his simplicity of reasoning about complex things, childish immediacy, but, at the same time, amazing wisdom.
#5 — Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
Emancipated Margaret wrote about a strong woman, about her will, spirit, struggle for life and her rights, as well as tireless craving for justice. But at the same time, about purely feminine coquetry, beauty, flirting, the normal desire to please. But even such women, in the end, can be crushed by love.
#6 — The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
This novel published at the end of the 19th century also has a place at the most read books of all time rating. It was accepted by readers with just a bang — and this is understandable since the novel touches upon the philosophical issues of life, love, beauty, and sin.
Fun fact: a huge scandal erupted around The Picture of Dorian Gray, because literary experts considered it too immoral. Oscar Wilde fought off critics with letters where he said that “art does not depend on morality.”
#7 — Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
451 degrees Fahrenheit is the burning temperature of paper. In the post-industrial future, all paper publications are subjected to ruthless destruction. In the new world, they are not needed, and reading is deeply condemned. For this “important” mission, even a special detachment was created. An absurd law persecutes and punishes everyone who dares to keep books. Society is dominated by zombification from television screens and punitive forced psychiatry.
#8 — Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
The most read books of all-time list also contains Pride and Prejudice. The world-famous writer Jane Austen wrote many beautiful and famous novels, but this one bypassed every other one in popularity. Brilliant style, charm, subtle irony, sharpness — all this makes the novel unusual and original. Also, critics say that this is a book without which there would probably be no “psychological” novels or “feminist” literature today.
#9 — The Catcher in the Rye, Jerome D. Salinger
At the peak of his popularity, Salinger goes underground, away from the hectic modern world, its illusions, temptations and mistakes. But later he publishes The Catcher in the Rye, which now often becomes a part of the 10 most read books of all time ratings. It was a real sensation and a literary “icon” for many generations of teenage rebels, and just young people seeking to break out of the format imposed by society.
#10 — Three Comrades, Erich Maria Remarque
The main characters are three completely different people who were united only by their place of residence, Germany. People from different walks of life, different destinies, find each other, having gone through the war, and never managed to get rid of the ghosts of the past. Simple human relationships are at the center of this work. In general, taking up any novel by this great writer, it is impossible to break away. But “Three Comrades” is rightfully considered the most sentimental, the most tragic, the most poignant novel of the entire 20th century.