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Best Books Ever By Genre!!! Part One

July 17, 2015
Because it's called Great Expectations, everybody's expectations of it are too... high.

Because it’s called Great Expectations, everybody’s expectations of it are too… high.

It’s probably pretty arrogant to put together a BEST BOOK EVER list of any kind.  For one thing, nobody has read every book ever published, so it’s impossible to know which one is the best.  One of the books that an expert hasn’t read might be the best ever.  Great Expectations is one example of a book that gets mentioned as BEST EVER, but a bunch of books that never got published could be better and nobody would know because nobody has read them.  To be fair, any BEST BOOKS EVER list should say something like BEST BOOKS EVER THAT HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED AND READ BY A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF PEOPLE.

But I don’t think anybody will click on a website with a title like that.

The purpose of a BEST BOOKS EVER list is to promote polite discussions about books and literature.  There shouldn’t be any insults or shouting matches between people who disagree over which books are BEST BOOKS EVER.  Insults and shouting matches should be reserved for discussions about politics, sports, and religion.

Discussing BEST BOOKS EVER isn’t about being right or wrong.  It’s about learning about books, and if we can learn about unfamiliar books without having to actually read them, that’s even better.

Since there are too many books out there to contemplate, it’s best to organize BEST BOOKS EVER contestants into genres and take it from there.  That way, War of the Worlds doesn’t get compared to War and Peace.  The problem with categorizing BEST BOOKS EVER by genre is that there are too many genres to do at one time.  Therefore, I’ll start with a few basic categories, genres that I’m familiar with.


I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

If the Robot Apocalypse ever happens, it's not Asimov's fault; at least he wrote some rules.

If the Robot Apocalypse ever happens, it’s not Asimov’s fault; at least he wrote some rules.




The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett

Even if this isn't the BEST MYSTERY EVER, there has never been another mystery novel quite like it.

Even if this isn’t the BEST MYSTERY EVER, there has never been another mystery novel quite like it.



The Sword of Shanarra by Terry Brooks

I'm not ean expert on fantasy, but I've read enough Lord of the Rings rip-offs to know what I'm talking about.

I’m not an expert on fantasy, but I’ve read enough Lord of the Rings rip-offs to know what I’m talking about.




The Outsiders by SE Hinton

Even if Patrick Swayze hadn't been in the movie, The Outsiders would still qualify for BEST EVER status.

Even if Patrick Swayze hadn’t been in the movie, The Outsiders would still qualify for BEST EVER status.



Uncle Shelby’s A, B, Z Book by Shel Silverstein

Parents let their kids sit with this guy?

Parents let their kids sit with this guy?




Fantastic Four #26

If you disagree with this selection, HULK WILL SMASH, and it's not even his comic book.

If you disagree with this selection, HULK WILL SMASH, and it’s not even his comic book.


And the best way to end a BEST BOOK EVER list is to have a WORST EVER selection, just for the heck of it.


Gadsby: The Champion of Youth

This might not be the worst book ever, but the idea behind it is pretty bad. (image via wikimedia)

This might not be the WORST BOOK EVER, but it’s still a pretty bad idea for a book. (image via wikimedia)


When you write about BEST BOOKS EVER, something is going to get left out, including favorite novels and entire genres.  I’m just one guy with a full-time job and a family, so I can’t read every book that I want to read.  Therefore, I’m open to any suggestions about other genres that I’m not familiar with and books that I completely whiffed on.

Here are some genres I haven’t gotten to yet:

Best Romantic Novel Ever!!

Best Classic Novel Ever!!

Best Humorous Novel Ever!!

Best Spy Novel Ever!!!

Best Short Story Ever!!

Stay tuned for BEST BOOKS EVER BY GENRE, PART TWO, coming out in… maybe three years, at the rate I’m going.


What genres are you an expert in?  What selections do you disagree (or agree with)?  Is there a book that you think truly can be a BEST BOOK EVER?  Have you ever insulted anybody else while discussing a book?  Have you ever insulted anybody else while discussing politics, sports, or religion?  Would you click on a website with the title BEST EVER BOOKS THAT HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED AND READ BY A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF PEOPLE?


It’s about more than just crap.

It’s about other stuff too.

Now available on the Amazon Kindle!

Now available on Amazon!


  1. carolinesofiya permalink

    Despite the fact that you used Great Expectations as your example as potentially “not the best book ever,” I definitely think that it’s the best book I’ve ever read––that wording is by the way how I get around the “best ever” wording. Of course I haven’t read every book in the world, but out of the ones I’ve read, I can accurately and definitely say that it is the best ever. I didn’t really know about the hype over this book when I read it (despite the fact that I knew it was a classic), and this really allowed me to take in the book on my own, uninfluenced by any outside opinion––which is uncommon for any book. Overall, Dickens is an amazing author, and I think Great Expectations can truly be the best book ever (or that I’ve ever read).

    • I agree with you about the wording. When I have face-to-face discussions about books, I will probably say something like “I really enjoyed this book,” or if I get really carried away, I might say, “This is one of the best books I have read recently.”

      But when I’m writing a blog, I say “This is the BEST BOOK EVER!!!!!” I guess there’s a risk of losing credibility if I keep that up.

      • carolinesofiya permalink

        Not necessarily, saying it’s the best book ever gets more people reading it, and whether they like it or not, they too are exposed to the potentially impactful messages that the book contains 🙂

  2. The Mystery ever is Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. I love how the structure is not whodunnit, it is whydunnit. Actually, I think that The Secret History is the best book ever.
    My worst book ever is Zoe Sugg’s Girl Online or Lev Grossman’s The Magicians. I wrote about how angry The Magicians made me here:

    I’m a high school teacher and I have fun debates in class with students because I will often hate books they love and vice versa.

    • I haven’t read The Secret History, but some reviewers/critics say it’s a lot better than The Goldfinch. That’s an accomplishment, to write a Pulitzer Prize winning novel for fiction, but then also to have a previous novel that’s better than the Pulitzer winner.

      • It is better – and I think The Secret History would have won if it wasn’t a debut novel.

        • I read your post about The Magicians. That’s a great idea for a post, WHEN BOOKS MAKE ME MAD!!!. I ALL-CAPPED for dramatic effect. I might borrow/steal/use that idea in a couple weeks, if you don’t mind, but I’ll give you credit for it.

          That sample sentence you chose was great! I laughed when I read it because I’ve done the same thing in my own writing.

  3. Call me Cordelia permalink

    I’m very interested to read your completed list!

  4. I’ve been meaning to add The Outsiders to my list, thanks for the reminder!

    • It’s pretty good. I hope I haven’t set your expectations too high by calling it the BEST YA NOVEL EVER!!

      It’s okay. It’s really not that good. Maybe it’s a little overrated.

      • Haha, I won’t keep my expectations too high – for me, it’ s kind of been more of an, “Oh, I see that book everywhere and a lot of people mention it so I should pretend to know what I’m doing!” 😀

  5. “Best Books Ever” is a difficult concept. I think its all about personal preference. Its so hard to fit a certain amount of books into this category and it depends on who is writing it!

    • You’re right, it’s a difficult concept, but that’s what makes it fun to write about. I like seeing the suggestions that other people come up with. I hope there are more of them.

  6. It’s all preference at the end of the day. The Grapes of Wrath is my favourite novel. I was shocked to see someone had given it a one star on Amazon. I also liked I, Robot, even though it hasn’t to date proven as prescient as it might have.

  7. Derek Edwards permalink

    Outbound Flight–Best Star Wars book ever.

    • That’s a great idea for a genre! I think I read a couple of those Star Wars books (by Alan Dean Foster?) way back in the early 1980s, but then so many seemed to come out from other authors that I lost track.

      • Derek Edwards permalink

        Actually, since Disney acquired Lucasfilm, they’ve been busy establishing a new official Canon. The books/comics end of the Star Wars universe has been sort of started over, so you could start over yourself if you wanted to.

  8. BEST SCI-FI NOVEL EVER for me would have to be Slaughterhouse Five. There was one summer during high school that I read that book over and over and over. It never got old.
    Also, BEST BOOK EVER THAT BECAME A MUSICAL is Wicked by Gregory Maguire. I’ve read some others that became some of the musicals that I love, but Wicked takes the cake for me.

  9. angshumandutta22 permalink

    The list is nice , I am just wondering if and where you will put ‘ Pride and Prejudice ‘ by Jane Austen. And , by the way , I would love to hear your thoughts on the stuffs I write here I would be definitely trying some of them from the list..

  10. Reblogged this on fashion.

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