Sometimes a book comes along that you simply refuse to part with; you grip it like a lost lover on the bus. You sneak out on your lunch break to hungrily race through the pages like a starving man at a great feast. And you are not the only one; in every book lovers home across the globe you can find a battered copy of these best-selling books. You can shyly nod at strangers on the train who pull this book out from their bag. Literary scholars may debate which is the best book in the world, but this list is a look at the best-selling books of all time. It encompasses a range of literary genres from fiction to philosophy, to make believe worlds, books that sparked children’s imaginations and books that have hung around our shelves for centuries. Take a look at few of the best-selling books of all time and see how many you have read.
A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens 200 million copies sold
Dickens may demand a lot of concentration but this story set in the gray slate streets of London and the violent streets of Paris truly has everything of a great story stashed between its pages. Love, blood, revenge and revolt are just a few of the themes that Dickens makes come alive in his tale that follows Dr. Manette, a former prisoner of the Bastille. Love it or loathe it, Dickens knows how to throw together a great melodrama and although many will claim that finishing a Tale of Two Cities was the best of times and the worst of times, 200 million gave it a go and made it the best-selling book of all time.
The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R Tolkien 150 million copies sold
The one story to rule them all is without a doubt The Lord of the Rings trilogy by the late and the very great J.R.R Tolkien. This is the quintessential story of good vs. evil, set in a fantasy world that the linguistics and literary professor crafted and shaped from our very own earth. It’s a story of sheer delight and fascination with loveable characters that will stay in our hearts until the end of time. Frodo Baggins, a quaint and happy hobbit who loves to smoke beside the fireplace is taken out of his comfortable life and given a quest that will change Middle Earth forever. Elves, wizards, dwarves and all living species come together to fight the greatest war that will ever be. Although this is fantasy you can get lost in, you can never escape the human qualities of bravery, spirit and good and evil that Tolkien makes so relevant in his timeless masterpiece.
Le Petit Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 140 million copies sold
Antoine de Saint-Expery was a wealthy aristocrat who managed to capture the hearts of millions with his tender tale of the little prince who fell to earth. Although published as a children’s book with gorgeous illustrations, this short and sweet poetic tale manages to encompass the heart, the human condition and loneliness in one swoop. Peppered with philosophy and some acute observations that bind the young and the old, few books have been so cherished and loved as Le Petit Prince in both the hands of adults and children.
Dream of the Red Chamber – Cao Xueqin 100 million copies sold
Hailed as the Romeo and Juliet of the far flung East, Dream of the Red Chamber is known as the best book to come out of China. With an enormous cast of characters and complex themes entwined in the breathtaking and tragic story against the backdrop of 18th century china. The novel focuses on the Chia family and how their illustrious image cannot hide the deterioration of their household from the inside out. With family conflicts flying left, right and center this is an epic story that will grip you from beginning to end.
And ThenThere Were None – Agatha Christie 100 million copies sold
Agatha Christie is la crème de la crème when it comes to mysteries and thrillers and this was the tale that really hit home with no less than 100 million eager readers. It’s the basis for all murder mystery weekends that have ever been as in the story ten people, with skeletons in the closet are invited to a lonely mansion where an unseen host accuses each of murder. The plot itself makes great stuff and is sure to have you hooked, each of them will fall but who will be left standing?