This is one novel which transcends all categories of readers and is a favorite with everyone. Originally written in Portuguese, this novel has been translated into 67 languages and is one of the most widely sold books of all time. "When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." This is what the book teaches one through the story of Santiago, a shepherd boy. This novel allows one to delve into philosophy of a slightly different nature.
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."
—Opening paragraph of A Tale of Two Cities
5. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Published in 1869, this novel gives a detailed account of the events leading up to and related to the French invasion of Russia. This novel is famous for the fine style in which its been written and constantly finds a place in the top lists published by any reputed body. Though it is longer than most other novels, its length does not act as a deterrent to people who love reading.
6. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
7. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Personally, I feel this is one of the most unique books ever written in terms of exploring the complex facets of human beings. All the characters have their idiosyncrasies but none more than the protagonist,Howard Roark, an architect who believes in his style of work and holds on to his beliefs even if it means risking fading into oblivion. Published in 1943, it is arguably Ayn Rand's greatest success. It is said that though the initial sales were slow, it was word-of-mouth publicity that turned this book into a bestseller.
8. The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson
On the surface, this book may seem to be a light read, but there is much more to it than its comic appeal. It is based on three widowed men, or more specifically, their lives, their experiences, their sorrows and their happy moments. This novel is beautifully written. And oh yeah, this novel won the Man Booker Prize in 2010.
9. Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
10. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
11. Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
Well, first things first. This novel won the Man Booker prize in 1981. And, it was also awarded the Booker of Bookers prize. Reason enough to read this book, isn't it? If it's not, then let me describe the plot a bit. It is about the events in India before and after India's partition and Independence. The events are symbolic in nature and is not a historical reference. The protagonist, Saleem Sinai, was born the exact moment India gained independence. He has telepathic powers. He discovers that all the children born in India between 12 AM and 1 AM on 15th August 1947 have special powers. Hence, the name Midnight's Children. Saleem tries to bring together these children and tries to find meaning behind these powers. Later, the book also imbibes political events like the Emergency during Indira Gandhi's regime et al. A must read.
12. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga(2008)
Another Booker winner.Another delectable novel. Just read it a few weeks back and the simplicity of the language used by the author struck me profoundly. The whole book is in the form of a letter addressed to the current head of the Chinese government, Wen Jiabao.It is a dark yet comical story narrated by the protagonist,Balram Halwai. It gives us a deep insight into the two different India's - the prosperpous, and the poverty stricken. Balram may be a murderer but still he manages to draw the reader to sympathize with him.An engaging read.
13. Timeline by Michael Crichton
It is a science fiction novel about a group of historians who end up in medieval France plagued by dangers. The book combines quantum physics,time travel and lots of action.The accurate description of the medieval era makes it a fascinating read. The gripping action ensures that even non science fiction buffs find the novel interesting. The book starts with an ill man found in a desert in New Mexico being taken to a hospital, where doctors find significant abnormalities in his blood. Though its plot holds great promise for a scintillating movie, the movie itself turned out to be a damp squib.Definitely one of Crichton's best.