What's your favourite novel of all time?


macrumors 68040
Original poster
Nov 27, 2003
The question was: What's your favourite novel of all time? I don't mean a good one you've read recently and recommend. I mean one you may have read years ago but that remains your favourite to this day? Such a firm favourite that you don't have to think about it when asked this question. Favourite, of course, implies only one, but if there are more than one in that part of your heart reserved for fine literature let's hear them all.

And the results are in! Here is the definitive list of MR members' favourite novels of all time! With links to Amazon. A bonus PDF is attached at the bottom for offline decisions (again with links to Amazon). Happy reading folks :)

1984 (George Orwell)
2001: A Space Odyssey (Arthur C. Clarke)
Agony and the Ecstasy, the (Irving Stone)
Alchemist, the (Paulo Coelho)
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)
All Quiet on the Western Front (Erich Maria Remarque)
American Psycho (Bret Easton Ellis)
Animal Farm (George Orwell)
Artemis Fowl (series) (Eoin Colfer)
Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
Awakening, the (Kate Chopin)
Big Clock, the (Kenneth Fearing)
Book of Bebb, the (Frederick Buechner)
Boy/Going Solo (Roald Dahl)
Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
Breathing Lessons (Anne Tyler)
Cannery Row (John Steinbeck)
Canticle for Leibowitz, a (Walter Miller)
Cat's Cradle (Kurt Vonnegut)
Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
Catcher in the Rye, the (J.D. Salinger)
Confederacy of Dunces, a (John Kennedy Toole)
Count of Monte Cristo, the (Alexandre Dumas)
Da Vinci Code, the (Dan Brown)
Dark Tower series, the (Stephen King)
Doctor Zhivago (Boris Pasternak)
Dune (Frank Herbert)
E: A Novel (Matt Beaumont))
Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card)
Enigma (Robert Harris)
Eugene Onegin (Alexander Pushkin)
Eye in the Sky (Philip K. Dick)
Factotum (Charles Bukowski)
Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Badbury)
First and Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the (Stephen R. Donaldson)
Foucault's Pendulum (Umberto Eco)
Foundation Trilogy, the (Isaac Asimov)
Fountainhead, the (Ayn Rand)
Gates of Fire (Steven Pressfield)
God of Small Things, the (Arundhati Roy)
Godfather, the (Mario Puzo)
Gold Coast, the (Nelson DeMille)
Good Earth, the (Pearl S. Buck)
Grapes of Wrath, the (John Steinbeck)
Gravity's Rainbow (Thomas Pynchon)
Great Gatsby, the (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
Great Longing, the (Marcel Möring)
Ham on Rye (Charles Bukowski)
Hardwired (Walter Jon Williams)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (J.K. Rowling)
High Fidelity (Nick Hornby)
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the (series) (Douglas Adams)
Hot Zone, the (Richard Preston)
House of Leaves (Mark Z. Danielewski)
Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain)
Ice People, the (La Nuit des Temps) (René Barjavel)
In the Lake of the Woods (Tim O'Brien)
In the Skin of a Lion (Michael Ondaatje)
Instant Enemy, the (Ross MacDonald)
Jedi Academy Trilogy, the (Kevin J. Anderson)
Journey to the End of the Night (Louis-Ferdinand Celine)
Lamb (Christopher Moore)
Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin, the (Vladimir Voinovich)
Lord of the Flies (William Golding)
Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien)
Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
Master and Commander (Aubrey–Maturin series) (Patrick O'Brien)
Microserfs (Douglas Coupland)
Midnight's Children (Salman Rushdie)
Moveable Feast, a (Ernest Hemingway)
Name of the Rose, the (Umberto Eco)
Neuromancer (William Gibson)
Oblomov (Ivan Goncharov)
Of Human Bondage (W. Somerset Maugham)
Of Mice and Men (John Steinbeck)
Of Walking on Ice (Werner Herzog)
On the Black Hill (Bruce Chatwin)
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (Patrick Süskind)
Pictures of Hollis Woods (Patricia Riley Giff)
Pillars of the Earth, the (Ken Follett)
Power of One, the (Bryce Courtenay)
Prophet, the (Kahlil Gibran)
Revenge of the Lawn (Richard Brautigan)
Road to Wigan Pier, the (George Orwell)
Roots (Alex Haley)
Saigon (Anthony Grey)
Shogun (James Clavell)
Siddhartha (Hermann Hesse)
Silver Sword, the (Ian Serraillier)
Six Days of the Condor (James Grady)
Slaughterhouse-Five (Kurt Vonnegut)
Sleepers (Lorenzo Carcaterra)
Starship Troopers (Robert A. Heinlein)
Steppenwolf (Hermann Hesse)
Stranger in a Strange Land (Robert A. Heinlein)
Tale of Two Cities, a (Charles Dickens)
Tandia (Bryce Courtenay)
Tartar Steppe, the (Dino Buzzati)
Things Fall Apart (Chinua Achebe)
Things They Carried, the (Tim O'Brien)
This Time Next Week (Leslie Thomas)
Three Musketeers, the (Alexandre Dumas)
Through the Looking-Glass (Lewis Carroll)
To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
To the Lighthouse (Virginia Woolf)
Tortilla Curtain, the (T.C. Boyle)
Waves, the (Virginia Woolf)
Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, the (Haruki Murakami)
Wuthering Heights (Emily Brontë)



macrumors 6502a
Sep 8, 2006
Tokyo, Japan
Without doubt the Aubrey/Maturin series of novels, beginning with Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brien. As a lover of period history and an ex-Royal Navy Lieutenant, these books really captivate me. What's great is that if you get into the first one, there are 19 more to look forward to. They are historically accurate as well. Ahh, think I may go and read one now....:p


macrumors 65816
Oct 6, 2005
Factotum by Charles Bukowski

Six Days Of The Condor by James Grady

and of course,
Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy
Restaurant At The End Of The Universe
by the late, great Douglas Adams


Staff member
Aug 16, 2005
New England
Novels/series I have read more than three times and seem to feel compelled to revisit periodically over the years:

LOTR+The Hobbit
All five books of the Hitchhiker's Guide Trilogy
The First and Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
The Foundation Trilogy

Individual novels:
Stranger in a Strange Land
Animal Farm



macrumors 68000
Jul 1, 2003
No contest for me, "MossFlower" by Brian Jacques.
(for those that don't know, the prequel to "Redwall")

In terms of a Sci-Fi series - Jedi Academy Trilogy (Kevin Anderson).

*the funny thing is that I was definitely reading more back when I was reading these books (4th-6th grade) than I do now...

John Jacob

macrumors 6502a
Feb 11, 2003
Columbia, MD
I am a great Science Fiction fan, so my favourite novel of all time has definitely got to be:

1984, by George Orwell (just think about it, 1984 is definitely science fiction).

Honourable mentions include:
All the older Asimov and Clarke novels, Dan Simmons "Hyperion" series, and Stephen Baxter's "Evolution".

EDIT: Carl Sagan's "Contact" is also worthy of an Honourable Mention.


macrumors Core
Jun 16, 2004
I don't have one favourite.

Annual reads:

Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy trilogy (all 5 books) - Douglas Adams
Microsefts, Girlfriend In A Coma and Hey, Nostradamus - Douglas Coupland
The Divine Comedy - Dante

Other favourites:
2001 - Arthur C Clarke
All Chuck Palahniuk books


Moderator emeritus
Apr 27, 2005
San Francisco, CA
That's a hard choice. I'd say the "best novel" would have to be A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

Honorable Mentions:
A Seperate Peace by John Knowles
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I also enjoy reading books by Micheal Crichton, John Grisham, Dan Brown, and I hate to say it, but Lemony Snicket.

Also, Mitch Albom's "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" was a nice read.
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