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Reddit‘s 15 Best Books of All Time, Ranked (2023 Edition)

When it comes to book recommendations, there‘s one online community that rises above the rest: Reddit. Home to some of the most passionate readers and thought-provoking literary discussions on the internet, Reddit has become a go-to source for discovering your next great read.

But with so many books discussed across the platform‘s countless subreddits, which titles reign supreme as the absolute best of the best? We dug through the archives to compile the definitive ranking of Reddit‘s top 15 books of all time.

Why Reddit‘s Opinion Matters

Before we dive into the list, it‘s worth examining what makes Reddit such a unique and valuable resource for book lovers. With over 52 million daily active users from all walks of life, Reddit is one of the most diverse and engaged online communities around.

This is especially true when it comes to books. There are hundreds of subreddits dedicated to literature, from broad interest groups like r/books (20 million+ members) and r/literature (1.7 million+) to niche forums for specific authors, genres, and eras. These aren‘t just places for casual readers to swap recommendations; they‘re home to serious literary analysis, scholarly debate, and even AMAs with famous authors like Margaret Atwood and Don DeLillo.

What‘s more, Reddit‘s upvote/downvote system and nested comment threads create a uniquely democratic space for discussing books. The most insightful comments and universally beloved titles get voted to the top, while trolls and contrarian hot takes are swiftly dispatched to the bottom. Over time, this crowdsourced curation reveals which books truly resonate with a large and diverse audience.

Of course, no crowd is immune to a certain hive mind mentality. Reddit‘s demographics do skew young, male, and college-educated, which may favor more contemporary and male-oriented titles. But even still, there are plenty of older classics and female-authored books in the mix, reflecting a broader literary consensus.

At the end of the day, it‘s the collective passion, knowledge, and spirited discussion of millions of dedicated readers that makes Reddit a force to be reckoned with in the world of books. That‘s why their all-time favorites are worth paying attention to — even for the most skeptical literary snobs.

Our Methodology

To determine the winners, we analyzed over 10 years worth of book recommendation threads, "what‘s the best book you‘ve ever read" discussions, and other top-rated posts across Reddit‘s most popular book and literature subreddits. We noted how frequently each title was mentioned, as well as the number of upvotes those recommendations received, giving weight to both overall popularity and the enthusiasm of individual readers.

We also cross-referenced this data with mainstream "best books" lists from the likes of Modern Library, Time Magazine, The Guardian and so on to see where Reddit‘s taste overlaps with critical consensus and where it diverges. The resulting ranking aims to balance broad appeal with enduring literary merit to arrive at a list that captures both "favorite" and "best."

The List

15. "Catch-22" by Joseph Heller

  • Published: 1961
  • Genres: War, satire, black comedy
  • Accolades: #7 on Modern Library‘s 100 Best Novels, Time‘s 100 Best Books of All Time, Pulitzer Prize finalist

14. "Slaughterhouse-Five" by Kurt Vonnegut

  • Published: 1969
  • Genres: Science fiction, anti-war, satire
  • Accolades: #18 on Modern Library‘s 100 Best Novels, New York Times Best Seller

13. "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley

  • Published: 1932
  • Genres: Dystopian, philosophical fiction
  • Accolades: Le Monde‘s 100 Books of the Century, Modern Library‘s 100 Best Novels

12. "Moby Dick" by Herman Melville

  • Published: 1851
  • Genres: Epic, adventure, allegory
  • Accolades: The Guardian‘s Best 100 Novels, TIME All-Time 100 Novels, the "Great American Novel"

11. "Dune" by Frank Herbert

  • Published: 1965
  • Genres: Science fiction, adventure, political thriller
  • Accolades: Hugo Award, Nebula Award, best-selling sci-fi novel of all time

10. "Crime and Punishment" by Fyodor Dostoevsky

  • Published: 1866
  • Genres: Psychological thriller, philosophical fiction
  • Accolades: #15 on The Guardian‘s 100 Best Books of All Time, TIME All-Time 100 Novels

9. "The Brothers Karamazov" by Fyodor Dostoevsky

  • Published: 1880
  • Genres: Philosophical fiction, murder mystery
  • Accolades: Sigmund Freud called it "the most magnificent novel ever written", Modern Library 100 Best Novels

8. "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov

  • Published: 1955
  • Genres: Psychological drama, tragicomedy
  • Accolades: Time‘s 100 Best Books of All Time, Le Monde‘s 100 Books of the Century, Modern Library‘s 100 Best Novels

7. "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger

  • Published: 1951
  • Genres: Coming of age, realistic fiction
  • Accolades: Time‘s 100 Best YA Books of All Time, The Guardian‘s 100 Best Novels, BBC‘s 100 Most Influential Novels

6. "One Hundred Years of Solitude" by Gabriel García Márquez

  • Published: 1967
  • Genres: Magical realism, family saga
  • Accolades: Nobel Prize for Literature, BBC‘s 100 Most Influential Novels, TIME 100 Best Books of All Time

5. "East of Eden" by John Steinbeck

  • Published: 1952
  • Genres: Allegory, historical fiction
  • Accolades: Nobel Prize for Literature, Oprah Book Club selection, Penguin Drop Caps selection

4. "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald

  • Published: 1925
  • Genres: Jazz age, tragedy, realistic fiction
  • Accolades: Modern Library 100 Best Novels, Le Monde‘s 100 Books of the Century, number of film adaptations

3. "The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien

  • Published: 1954-1955
  • Genres: Epic fantasy, quest, myth
  • Accolades: Locus Best All-Time Novel, BBC‘s Big Read, 150 million+ copies sold

2. "1984" by George Orwell

  • Published: 1949
  • Genres: Dystopian, political fiction, social science fiction
  • Accolades: Time‘s 100 Best Novels, The Guardian‘s 100 Best Novels, "fourth most taught book in universities"

1. "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee

  • Published: 1960
  • Genres: Southern gothic, coming-of-age, social commentary
  • Accolades: Pulitzer Prize, Modern Library‘s Best Novels, BBC‘s 100 Most Influential Novels, frequent high school reading list selection

Other Beloved Books That Deserve an Honorable Mention

  • "The Count of Monte Cristo" by Alexandre Dumas
  • "Infinite Jest" by David Foster Wallace
  • "The Hitchhiker‘s Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams
  • "Ulysses" by James Joyce
  • "Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel Keyes
  • "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak
  • "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  • "A Prayer for Owen Meany" by John Irving
  • "The Handmaid‘s Tale" by Margaret Atwood
  • "The House of Leaves" by Mark Z. Danielewski
  • "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" by Robert Pirsig
  • "Infinite Jest" by David Foster Wallace

The Technological Transformation of Reading

It‘s worth noting that the way we discover and consume books has changed dramatically in the internet age, and Reddit is a prime example of this shift. In the past, readers might have relied on print reviews, bookstore bestseller lists, and recommendations from friends and family to guide their reading choices. But now, digital communities like Reddit make it possible to instantly tap into the collective wisdom of millions of readers from all over the world.

Technology has also transformed the reading experience itself. Ebook sales surpassed print for the first time in 2020, as more people embrace the convenience of carrying entire libraries on a single device. Audiobooks are booming too, offering a new way for busy bibliophiles to squeeze in more "reading" time. Even the most diehard print purists can‘t help but be amazed by inventions like e-readers that let you instantly look up words, adjust text size, and read in the dark.

Some worry that we‘re becoming a more distracted society with shorter attention spans, making it harder to read deeply and at length, but one could also argue that technology is creating a more engaged and participatory literary culture. Book lovers can now connect with authors directly on social media, start online book clubs with fellow fans, and even use AI writing tools like Sudowrite to try their hand at crafting their own stories.

Even the way books are produced and sold is being disrupted, as self-publishing platforms and print-on-demand services make it easier for aspiring authors to bypass the traditional gatekeepers and reach audiences directly. While we‘ll always have a soft spot for a lovingly dog-eared paperback, there‘s no denying that technology is opening up exciting new frontiers for readers and writers alike.


So what can we take away from Reddit‘s ranking of the best books of all time? On the one hand, it confirms that the classics are classic for a reason. Most of the books in the top 15 were published over 50 years ago and have stood the test of time thanks to their unique voice, memorable characters, and universal themes. From Gatsby to Atticus Finch to the Karamazov brothers, these are the literary creations that stick with us long after we‘ve finished the final page.

At the same time, it‘s heartening to see some more contemporary and genre-bending titles getting their due. "1984" may be Reddit‘s #2 book, but it‘s a thoroughly modern cautionary tale about state surveillance and the slippery nature of truth that feels more relevant than ever in the era of "fake news." Meanwhile, Frank Herbert‘s "Dune" shows that a great book doesn‘t have to be a capital-L "literary" novel — it can be a rip-roaring sci-fi epic with sandworms and spice melange.

Perhaps that‘s the great lesson of the Reddit hivemind: a truly great book is one that sparks your imagination, transports you to another world, and expands your horizons. Those kinds of books can come from any era, any country, and any genre. And now thanks to the magic of technology, they‘re just a click away on your Kindle or smartphone. We may have more distractions competing for our time than ever, but as long as online communities like Reddit continue to champion reading, the future of literature looks bright indeed.