42 Best Books to Read Before You Die

There are some books that are so interesting or informative that most of us readers feel like anyone who hasn’t read the particular book is in a terrible loss. This might engage books on fiction as well as non-fiction and being a reader I feel connected to some of these books.

These books are maybe this necessary to read, due to their storyline, information, climax, and a lot of other reasons. So let’s discuss some books that might peak the readers to a level that he agrees with the point I’m trying to make.

42 Books to Read Before You Die!

Now, there may be a number of books in this category and they can be fiction or even non-fiction. And frankly, I don’t prefer non-fiction much for myself so let’s discuss them first and then head towards fiction.

17 Non-Fiction books to read before you die

#1. 12 Rules for Life

This book is written by Jordan B. Peterson. And it is on top of this list because it is a self-help book with one of the most common issues to be encountered by most people. It consists of the wisdom from the ages before us as well as from today’s era. It also accommodates information from the latest scientific discoveries to help the reader in leading a better and more satisfactory life.

The author discusses some ways to lead a healthy and happy life using simple logic and reasoning to help the reader in thinking more consciously about the data. This book is a great read as it is informative as well as interesting at times due to the humor included by the author.

#2. Cosmos

This book was written by Carl Sagan. This book is basically a space-related book that talks about the Cosmos. It takes the reader through a great journey through billions of years of evolution, undergone by the Cosmos. 

He takes everything into account from the discoveries of new galaxies taking place to the difference in our perception towards space exploration compared to the last few decades. This is a wonderful book to go through and learn about the reality of our existence.

#3. National Geographic: The Greeks

This book is presented by the National Geographic team and is written by Diane Harris Cline. It talks about the great civilization that was the Greeks.

It discusses how democracy came into existence amongst the Greeks, the Greek conqueror Alexander the Great, the origin of Hellenic war tactics and much more. It also provides a lot of pictures and helps the reader learn a lot about the Greeks in an interesting way.

#4. The Innovators

This book is written by Walter Isaacson. It talks about how the internet is the most brilliant invention of all time. It discusses the origins of the internet, including hackers, geeks, and inventors who made it possible.

This book also discusses a lot of well-known personalities and acknowledges their contributions by name. It names Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, John Neumann, and many more. This is a great and informative book to learn about the most important invention of this century that changed everyone’s lives.

#5. The Beatles’ Anthology

While trying to do a small research on the topic of the most necessary books to read before you die which actually was non-fiction, I stumbled upon this book and I stayed up for two days straight after I bought it, as I was so interested in reading it.

This book is a piece of work by the Beatles, themselves. It has facts and photos about all its members (George Harrison, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and Ringo Starr) and it is narrated by all of them. It even contains the narratives of John’s wife Yoko Ono. It even discusses the making of a lot of their memorable songs and it talks about the band’s beginning and their end as well.

#6. The fortunes of Africa

The book is written by Martin Meredith. It discusses the history of Africa which was rich in natural resources and got exploited and damaged deeply due to others for 5000 years. However, the author compares the current state of the continent with the previous one and also discusses how different types of people shaped the culture as it is today.

This book gives the reader great insights into African history and moreover, the author’s views are also included in this which nurtures the reader’s thought process. This book even talks about the future of this country under a political structure.

#7. Freakonomics

This book is written by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt. It brings into the knowledge of the reader, the true concepts of economics using some odd social patterns. The authors accommodate a lot of information about general economics by using real-world analogies.

They discuss the basic and unexpected relationship between wealth and human psychology. It is a great read to help the reader in figuring out the reality of economic exchanges.

#8. I’ll Be Gone in The Dark

This book is written by Michelle McNamara. And it is a great read as it is the story of Michelle the author while trying to catch “the golden state killer”, who was a murderer and a serial rapist. And this book is quite thrilling for every person including the ones who aren’t really interested in book reading.

This is a crime-thriller with an interesting way of depiction by the writer. The author suffered a tragic death before the capture of the killer. But because of the work she left behind, the posthumous publication was able to bring in some new leads to the case and finally, an arrest was successfully made on the suspect.

#9. Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci had a huge statue. His brilliance was unparalleled and, the work is done by him and the commitment he had was commendable. Being more than just a great artist and a wonderful mind genius, his contributions to both, the field of Science and Arts were amazing.

He was able to accommodate the two areas of interest together was something worth noting as it wasn’t a very easy task. His discoveries and inventions have made a lot of advancements to humankind and we shall never have a person with such intellect among us again. Mona Lisa and The Last Supper weren’t the only best works of Leonardo da Vinci. His contributions made a worthwhile change in man’s understanding of a lot of things while affecting machinery, botany, weaponry geology and also human anatomy.

The book shed a light upon the way he lived his life fully without any bonds holding him back. He tried to pass on his legacy onto this generation.

#10. How to Win Friends and Influence People

This book is written by Dale Carnegie. It is a self-help book as it is quite evident from its name. As the world gets bigger, a lot of us get left behind due to the lack of the most basic social skills. It teaches us how to get along with people and how to actually get them.

This book sheds great information on how to be better at communication and listening skills. It basically teaches us how to be living our life around other people and how to attract true happiness by making friends.

#11. Supernatural

This book is written by Graham Hancock who is respected greatly in psychedelic science. It had pretty evident findings from great relatively modern researches which would definitely make people believe in the existence of such beings.

I suggest open-minded skepticism when you go into this book. This means, try to grab all the information you are getting in the book, but belief in your own findings. This can be done by conducting some self-researches. There are beings that lie beyond our dimension which makes us blind to their existence but this book tries to discuss the reality in such a way that even the worst skeptics would start to believe in the existence of said beings.

This book helps the reader in expanding their consciousness by making them aware of their reality a bit more than they actually did. It helps more people to awaken. And these are the reasons this book should definitely be read at least once in your entire lifetime.

#12. The 5 Love Languages

This book is written by Gary Chapman. And it talks about how to keep the spark in a relationship alive and keep it healthy between you and your partner for a longer duration. This book is helpful in a very practical sense to help its readers in getting romantic relationships to work longer than it used to be.

Most of the people reading this have fallen in love before at least a single time. But I think it’s not about falling for someone that is the difficult part. I think that keeping yourself in love with that person is the most difficult part. And that is what this book will be helping you with. There still are ups and downs in every relationship but using this book you will be able to keep the “downs” at a bare minimum and make the “ups” last longer. It will help you build a feeling of companionship within your partner.

Note: The author mostly discusses heterosexual couples in this book according to my opinion. So if you belong to some other sort of orientation then this book might not be the best pick for you.

#13. The Art of War

This book is written by Sun Tzu. And it is a great book for military strategies even across generations. It gives great insights into the field of war and how it is an art to plan in perfectly. It even uses ancient notions like, “Look strong when you are weak and weak when you are strong.” This accommodates ancient knowledge into today’s world.

It is even great for non-military sense in order to help a person succeed in our normal day to day lives in a modern world. It will give you great insights to be ahead than your rival no matter what the rivalry is. This makes this one of the best books on this list.

#14. Philosophy 101

This book is written by Paul Kleinman. This book isn’t too dense nor is it a very light read. It is a great piece of introductory text. Moreover, it is quite easy to read and understand. The literature used in this is quite simple which would help in avoiding many frets to the user.

It covers a lot of well-known names like Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, and many more. It even includes chapters on different types of religions, cultures, languages, and much more, which is quite fascinating. It helps you understand the thought structure of western culture through its evolution.

#15. Brief Answers to Big Questions

This book is written by Dr. Stephen Hawking which provides it quite a lot of credibility itself. This being a great piece of texts to help the reader unravel the mysteries of the universe, was the last work that Dr. Hawking could provide to mankind before he passed away.

He brings up the big questions that the current generation is suffering from, through this book. He talks about our own contribution to help climate change, the effect of Artificial Intelligence on humanity, is colonizing space a great option, is the existence of god true, and many other such questions. However, everyone cannot accept his provided results but according to me, I think this book provides a great insight into life’s big questions and would definitely be helpful in clearing most of our queries.

And of course, coming from the beautiful mind of Dr. Stephen Hawking, this book is a great read.

#16. The Hundred-Year Marathon

This book is written by Michael Pillsbury. And as the cover suggests, it reveals a lot of information on China’s strategy to take out the United States of America, as the most powerful nation.

China itself is now a global superpower. But this is the result of their thought out strategies in trying to beat all the other nations in the race. And so, this book reveals a number of secret documents, insights, and interviews that discuss China’s strategy of carrying out the deed of replacing the USA as the supreme superpower.

However, this book isn’t a verbal attack on China so we must take it in a fairly balanced manner as every country and every person has an agenda. And even though this book carries a lot of strong evidence to weaken the trustworthiness of China, let’s not allow the book to do so. Also, this book will provide great insights to the reader into politics.

#17. The Paradox of Choice

This book is written by Barry Schwartz. It is based on our belief system in the freedom of choice is right. This tackles our belief in thinking that it’s best for us to choose what we want.

The author discusses how being pressurized with too many choices to be made. He points out that the more decisions we have, the more stressed we may get. This freedom, thought out to be great for us, instead makes us less happy than we were. And he even accommodates his claims with enough socio-scientific evidence.

This book is one of the best reads for all types of readers as it helps them to take a better look and a different approach towards consumerism. This book helps you in making your life easier by letting you opt-out of making a lot of decisions.

25 Fiction Books to Read Before You Die

There are some books in this category that include the whole series so I will be stacking them together. And I’ve found out that most books in this category are fiction, which will help a lot of readers in selecting the best books to read before any other.

#1. Pride and Prejudice

Now, most of the readers looking for this information already knew that this would be the first book to be included in this list. There wasn’t a doubt about it. This book written by Jane Austen is a marvelous piece of literature and is definitely flawless in every aspect.

This book is a classic and it’s a definite masterpiece. The book is based on a couple as the main character in which the male character has too much pride while the female character has too much prejudice which makes this book pretty interesting for readers to find out how everything works out.

This book is set, back in Georgian England, which talks about their marriage arrangements at the time. Although it makes the reader think about how society hasn’t changed much since those times.

#2. Snape

This book is written by Lorrie Kim. And according to me, it is the best and most important member of this list. But I can’t put it at the top as it would be my biased opinion. Everyone must read this book once in their lifetime, even if they haven’t read Harry Potter.

The Harry Potter series revolves around the boy who lived, as the main character but there’s one key aspect that wasn’t revealed to its readers until much later. By then it was too late as the character had died. This key aspect was the fact that Harry always had the support and protection of Severus Snape who was the person that loved Lily Potter, Harry’s mother, the most.

This character was quite greatly yet in an underrating way, portrayed by the author of Harry Potter (J. K. Rowling). But the author makes us realize how important the character of Professor Snape was. He didn’t let Harry through single trouble on his own without letting him know what he did for him. His sacrifices to the boy were immense and could never be repaid.

The keynote of this book is that the book remembers how professor Snape said his dying words to Harry, “Look at me!” And that’s what the author did. She dedicated a whole book to unveiling the love that lied in the grumpy, arrogantly funny, strong and yet emotional character of Professor Snape. Anyone would most definitely fall in love with the wizarding universe, once they get their hands on this book.

#3. Frankenstein

This book is written by Mary Shelly. It is a great contribution to the world of literary knowledge and it can even be stacked as the first science fiction book, which was ever written. This is a very interesting book with a great storyline that would bring the reader to a great moral epiphany.

This book is consistently revolving around a brilliant yet obsessed scientist, who creates a monster out of dead body parts by sewing them together. It discusses some great scenarios which make the reader question their own psychology. This book leaves the reader thinking who the real monster is.

#4. Things Fall Apart

This book is written by Chinua Achebe. It talks about African culture and literature through an interesting turnout. It discusses the way power used to shift within colonized Africa.

There is a character in this book, who’s a protagonist, and goes by the name Okonkwo. He finds it difficult to agree with the rules and laws that were forcefully applied to their community. And it discusses the actions he takes to do right to his community and how he receives the situation in a constructive way.

This book is highly recommended by a lot of book lovers who have read it before and is very informatory over the fact that the community plays a very important role in our life. It makes the reader realize how a healthy community and a powerful civilization is necessary for a good life.

#5. To Kill a Mockingbird

This book is a timeless classic, written by Harper Lee. It is an inspirational piece of work with a lot of educational content to nurture the knowledgeable mindset of the reader. It is quite great as a literary piece.

It revolves around a character named Scout. He is the protagonist. And this book shows how he perceives the oppressive power structure of America. It discusses his thought process as a young and innocent boy. It was written in the 1900s, but the American society depicted in the book would seem really similar to the current state of America.

#6. The Great Gatsby

This book is written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. And this was one of the many movies that were cinematized due to their strong plot and a wide following. This book is one of the classics that may never be too old.

It shows the live example of the American dream and the oceans they would cover to get their hands on it. This is one of the best books to read before you die because of its strong storyline. It’s a great piece of work and would definitely be appreciated by any kind of audience in the best way possible.

#7. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

This book is written by J. K. Rowling, along with the seven books following this one as they are a part of the same series. This book is the first book of this series and also the beginning of a story that acquires so many fans over the years that it can’t be challenged. This series was cinematized too after its increasing fan following topped the charts.

This book of the series depicts Harry’s first year into Hogwarts. The author discusses the issues he has to go through after his parents died, and he had to live with her mother’s sister who was very hard to live with along with his husband and their annoying son. As the book progresses, Harry somehow makes it to Hogwarts with the help of Hagrid and makes new friends. He likes it very much at Hogwarts and the friends and other people in the castle become his family.

He gets chosen to be the youngest seeker after a hundred years and finds out that his father was a great seeker too. The year keeps going on great until Harry and his friends start to figure out that someone is trying to steal the Philosopher’s stone and they try to stop him. But they are lead to a discovery that it was Voldemort all along taking the help of one of the teachers.

It is a great book and the start of something big. It is admired all over the world along with the rest of its series.

#8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

This is the second book of the series and depicts the troubles faced by Harry in the second year of Hogwarts. This starts with Harry in Little Whinging, Surrey, where he lives with his uncle and they have restricted Harry’s access to go back to Hogwarts.

The book goes through certain changes while Harry finds his way back to Hogwarts and finally feels back at home. While halfway through the year, certain curious things start to happen in Hogwarts. This is certainly managed in a quite drastic way. Harry is confused and doesn’t quite comprehend the things going on around him when he figures out that everything was being done by a book. A memory of Voldemort left behind.

Harry investigates and triumphs over the trouble making it a quite wonderful ending to the book.

#9. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

This is the third book of the series and certainly depicts the third year of Harry’s life at Hogwarts. In this book, Harry finds out that a person who betrayed his parents is loose from Azkaban and is looking for Harry to murder him. This same person turns out to be his Godfather.

Harry goes through a wonderful year and by the end of it, he’s filled with vengeance. He wants to avenge his parents’ death by killing the prisoner of Azkaban. By the end when he meets the prisoner, it turns out he was framed. His godfather was innocent and Harry was able to save his life this year. And this leads to new beginnings in Harry’s life.

This was the only year in Harry’s life that didn’t reek of Voldemort.

#10. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

This is the fourth book of the series and depicts the fourth year of Harry’s life at Hogwarts. This is the year where Voldemort comes back to life, which is why this is considered the book where dark magic came back to power and was introduced into the life of Harry.

Harry was accidentally admitted into a Tri wizard-tournament and was led to winning by a follower a Voldemort, impersonating a Hogwarts teacher. As it turns out, the tri-wizard cup was a port-key to the graveyard of Voldemort’s father. Harry was made to appear there in order to bring Voldemort back.

This turned out to be a sad year for Harry as he lost a newly found friend and Voldemort was back.

#11. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

This is the fifth book of the series and depicted the fifth year of Harry’s life at Hogwarts. And Harry finds out about a secret wizarding society known as the order of the phoenix. This was once the house of the Black family that Sirius volunteered to turn into the order.

In this year the ministry tries to deny the return of Voldemort due to their own insecurities. This leads to the formation of a small organization by Harry which accommodates some students from Hogwarts. This organization is turned out to be named as “Dumbledore’s Army”, which later gets Dumbledore into trouble due to the ministry’s interference at Hogwarts.

By the end of this year, Harry loses his godfather but finally gets the opportunity to reveal the return of Voldemort.

#12. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

This is the sixth book of the series and depicts the sixth year of Harry in Hogwarts. This year starts with a new character being added to Hogwarts. A new potions master, who is really important for some critical information, needed by Harry and Dumbledore to defeat Voldemort.

This year, in pursuit of getting into Professor Slug Horne’s favorites harry discovers a book with brilliant insights in magic that belongs to a Half-Blood Prince, which later turns out to be Professor Snape. This year goes quite fine and eventually turns out to be the year where Hermione and Ron start to realize some warm feelings for each other.

This year ends with the loss of Dumbledore to Harry and becomes really difficult for Harry to believe the fact that Snape killed him.

#13. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

This book is the seventh book of this series and is divided into two parts and this is the first part. It depicts the seventh year of Harry’s life at Hogwarts. In this book, Harry spends most of his time, trying to search for Horcruxes and figuring out a way to destroy them.

By the end of this book, he figures out a way to destroy a Horcrux and successfully destroys one. He goes through a lot of trouble as the death-eaters had infiltrated the ministry completely and he was wanted everywhere. He loses Dobby by the end of this book and Voldemort finds the elder wand.

#14. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

This book is the second part of the series and as the first one, depicts the seventh year of Harry’s life in Hogwarts. Also, it is the last book of this series. Harry finally defeats Voldemort after a lot of trouble and emerges victorious after both sides lose a lot of members.

This book starts with Harry’s collection of all the Horcruxes outside Hogwarts and he finally returns to Hogwarts to find the last few. He goes through some trouble finding the Horcruxes and loses a lot of his friends but finally wins by killing Voldemort. Everything ends well and Harry turns out to start a family and has started his new life away from his past.

#15. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

This book is written by Jack Thorne, John Tiffany, and J. K. Rowling. This book is based on the work of J. K. Rowling on the original Harry Potter. This book revolves around the character of Harry Potter’s son and Draco Malfoy’s son.

Albus Severus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy work together for saving Cedric Diggory. They both use the lost time turner and go back in time to save Cedric. This time turner belonged to Hermione and helps these kids a lot along their way.

#16. War and Peace

This book is written by Leo Tolstoy. It is a great book that I’d totally recommend as it is one of my most favorite reads. It’s the best combination of wonderful literature and a powerful storyline. It was initially written in the late 19th century as “Voyna I mir” but was later changed to War and Peace.

This book is greatly appreciated for its realistic detail and portrayal of the 19th century. It is considered one of the best works of a Russian writer and is a recommended read due to the story it depicts so gracefully. It is definitely a literature marvel.

#17. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe

This book is written by C. S. Lewis along with the rest of the two books of this series that follow this one. This is the first book of this series and introduces a group of four kids to the magical lands of Narnia.

They fight against the white witch to protect Narnia and triumph with the help of a magical lion named Aslan. These kids go on to become the kings and queens of Narnia until they were called back into their real world. This is a great book and mostly recommended for kids but would help any reader to have a great time.

#18. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

This is the second installment of this series. In this book, Prince Caspian calls out for the kings and queens of old to help him get their kingdoms back to the Narnians. This starts with Caspian running away from his castle when his uncle has a boy as he would try to kill him.

When the kings and queens return, Narnia has changed a lot and they don’t know how to figure out what was happening. However, they find Caspian and finally, the preparation of war between Telmarines and Narnians start, from which the Narnians emerge victoriously. After this, even Caspian becomes a king of Narnia and everything goes on to a perfect end.

#19. The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader

This is the third and final book of this series. It is quite saddening for its fans as they see the end of their favorite book. In this book, only the youngest two siblings get to go to Narnia along with their cousin, Eustace. It turns out to be a wonderful book with a lot more magic than the first two and by the end of it, the main characters seem to remedy the situation and turn out to get through everything.

This ends with Lucy and Edmund saying their goodbyes to Narnia. And Aslan gives hope to Eustace for return. Everything sets into its place and the series ends on a perfect note.

#20. The Alchemist

This book is written by Paulo Coelho. It is a masterpiece and a world-known book. It changes the lives of most of its readers and helps them know a lot more than they did before. It is a modern classic as it has sold more than two million copies all around the world.

This book is universally admired for its plot. It revolves around a character named Santiago, who is an Andalusian shepherd boy. He desires to travel around the world to search for great treasures to be found rarely anywhere.

Through this story teaches us how it’s not the destination, but the adventure around the path is more important. It teaches us about all the treasures Santiago finds on his way. It strengthens the point that listening to our hearts and reading the sign’s given by the supreme power in our life are more important to recognize. This book pushes readers to follow their dream.

#21. The Twilight Saga: Twilight

This book is written by Stephenie Meyer along with the rest of the 3 books of this series given below. This is the starting of this series which depicts the love story of a human that falls in love with a Vampire and the issues they have to go through as a couple to work out their relationship.

They encounter a group of three other vampires out of which, one is a hunter and wants to kill Bella. But Edward saves her and kills the hunter. Although, the hunter’s girlfriend escapes.

#22. The Twilight Saga: New Moon

This is the second book of this series. Edward moves away from Bella as he thinks, he’s causing a lot of trouble to her and his leaving might save Bella from all the issues they had to suffer. Bella goes through a lot of pain and by the end of half of this book, she finds out that Jacob is a werewolf.

This goes on for a while and Bella has to endure a lot of pain. Meanwhile, Victoria is on the loose and wants revenge but she somehow isn’t able to throughout this book. Although through the chain of events Edwards starts to feel like Bella is dead and he wishes to die too, Bella saves him.

Although, now there is a new issue waiting for them, the Volturi.

#23. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

This is the third book of the series. In this, Victoria forms an army of newborn Vampires to take revenge against the Cullens and Bella. Although, the creation of this newborn army has snatched the attention of the Volturi which is why the Cullens have to intervene.

In this book, the Vampires and the Werewolves fight alongside to protect Bella. Victoria is killed and the Cullens win. Everything ends well with the departure of Volturi.

#24. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn

This is the fourth and the final book of the series. In this book, Bella and Edward get married and while celebrating their honeymoon, they figure out that Bella is pregnant. She wishes to give birth to the baby and this leads to a fight between the werewolves, leading into chaos. The situation is somehow borne by everyone but Bella almost dies.

Edward’s venom starts to affect her body at the last minute and she is saved but now she’s a vampire and has to go through new issues. Moreover, another issue emerges with the Volturi which leads the Cullens to gather witnesses of their own along with the werewolves who choose to be there if a fight strikes on.

The book ends with a joyful note being struck between everyone. The Volturi depart and everything becomes simple again. Although this was hurtful to a lot of the fans as the series had ended.

#25. David Copperfield

This book is an all-time classic written by Charles Dickens who was a great writer. It revolves around the life of a boy David Copperfield and how he gets through life while coping with a series of unfortunate events befalling him.

It starts with his birth and how his mother was sitting beside the fire when she saw a woman pressing her nose against the window. His mother got scared and finally was unconscious. The woman on the window was Aunt Betsy who was his father’s aunt. She wished for a girl and when she found out it was a boy, she left expressing her feelings of anger.

The book goes on to depict how David’s life was in the early couple of years and how he had to cope with a new stepfather and then the death of his mother. Then Dickens talks about the trouble David had to endure through life until he finally made it to Aunt Betsy, who turned out to be a wonderful woman despite her earlier reaction to David. The book ends on a happy note and it sets all of David’s affairs straight.

Amongst his many books, Charles Dickens is also admired greatly for his work on David Copperfield. And despite the fact that it was underappreciated in its time, I think it is the best book to conclude this list.

I hope I was helpful for readers in choosing the best books to read in their lifetime. if you like the content, please leave a comment below or like our post.

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