20 Best Books for People Who Don’t Read in 2024

It is hard to be realistic and write down all the books that can be considered the best in the world. So many genres, so many books, 7 billion people in the world, and 7 billion opinions. As a true bookworm, but also a writer, I will try to write them down, without any subjectivity in my words, I ran for you, so you can walk. Being the best is not easy, and then, being the best… for whom? Tastes are different but still, some lists of the best books, which should be respected, exist.

1. Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri (1321)

Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri

It could be said at the beginning that this work is one of those that torment our high school students because it is on the reading list for first-graders. How many do you think read this reading with desire, curiosity, and free will? I’m afraid they could hardly be found and counted with the fingers we wave through life. “Divine Comedy” requires considerable concentration when reading, and a high level of general culture is required to understand it.

It marked the Italian literature of the 14th century. At that time, being a writer was not so easy. Everyone who picked up a pen had to have a general education, which meant a lot of work, effort, and research spirit. Through this creation, Dante showed his colorful inner world, his imagination, but also his acquired knowledge. The work was quite controversial, especially in the segment of the description of Hell, where prominent personalities, cardinals, priests, and even the Pope were found. He is guided through Hell and Purgatory by Virgil, who was a pagan and was portrayed, at that time of the Middle Ages, as the voice of reason. Virgil could not continue his journey to heaven with Dante, so Beatrice, his greatest love, played that role in one part. This is where we get to the romance from paradise.

2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen (1813)

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

I have to admit that I watched the movie first, once upon a time, and several times. It was a 2005 big-screen adaptation starring Keira Knightley and Matthew McFadden. Everything was timeless, irresistible, and romantic to me. Although I was also in those years of colorful beads. Costume design, luxurious salons, balls, nature, the relationship between men and women of that era, the theme that runs through the nineteenth century kept my attention the whole time, pure mindfulness.

“It is also interesting that the story of the wise Elizabeth Bennet and the proud and at the same time perfect Mr. Darcy was filmed for the first time in 1940.”

Elizabeth Bennet is the novel’s central character and an independent-spirited girl of the time, living in an environment where marriage is considered a woman’s greatest achievement. Girls who were older than 20 years were considered sedentary. How does that sound to us now, unrealistic, right?  Do not in this worldly life miss reading this book and then watching the movie or series.

3. Iliad and Odyssey, Homer (8th century BC)

Iliad and Odyssey, Homer
Source: ucpress.edu

Here is another reading before us, which I bet you have not read or at least not completely during your school days..

I remember, as if through the fog of these classes, Homer, the blind Greek poet, who lived between 900 and 700 BC. However, I found it interesting that the big question of whether he even existed was often brought up.

In the “Iliad” he described the events that took place in the ten-year war, between the Greeks and the Trojans, in the last fifty days. “Odyssey” describes the protagonist’s return from a war that lasted ten years. “Odyssey” is in a way a continuation of “Iliad”, and the story of the song is set in the tenth year after the fall of Troy. “Iliad” is more complex in composition than “Odyssey”.

“Iliad” and “Odyssey” are two of the most famous epics of all time and are considered the oldest works of Greek literature. Did you know that Petrarch loved, appreciated and was extremely interested in ancient writers and the great works of ancient Greece.

Other books are, listed:

4. To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf (1927)

5. The Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison (1952)

6. The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner (1929)

7. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov (1955)

8. Ulysses, James Joyce (1922)

9. 1984, George Orwell (1949)

Everywhere in the world where there is no democracy, or more precisely – where there are authoritarian regimes, the novel “1984” is officially banned, with the fact that its sale still takes place in those markets “under the counter”, while the purchase in countries that are considered stable democracies has jumped to heavens.

10. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy (1869)

And for the end of this list, for a change, one more reading. By the way, I’m thinking what could motivate today’s high school student to read such an extensive work? Especially if we know that today’s generations are used to fast media, quick marketing, and changing of “unburdening” content.

This is one of the most extensive novels, not only in the European literature of the 19th century but also in the entire world literature. The novel “War and Peace” has more than 1300 pages in original format.

It is interesting to mention that for a long time, there was a discussion about the translation of the title of the novel, whether the correct translation is “War and Peace” or “War and World” because in the Russian language the words “peace” and “world” are synonyms.

It is certain when you reach some quieter years, you will find enough time and will have enough life experience to better understand Tolstoy and the main characters of his story, pick up and read this work if you haven’t.

In the hope that this year will be better, happier, and more read than the previous one, I will give you a bonus version and continue the list up to the 20th place.

11. The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer (15th century)

12. Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift (1726)

13. The Middle Course, George Eliot (1874)

14. Everything is falling apart, Chinua Achebe (1958)

15. Catcher in the Rye, Jerome Salinger (1951)

16. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell (1936)

17. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez (1967)

18. The Great Gatsby, Francis Scott Fitzgerald (1925)

19. Catch 22, Joseph Heller (1961)

20. Beloved, Toni Morrison (1987)