Everyone has a different idea of what it means to be well-read. You could try to read all the prize-winning books, contenders for the Great American Novel, or books from around the world. Or perhaps you don't care about being "well-read," as long as the books are enjoyable for you. Whatever path you choose, there's no wrong way to build your TBR list!
That being said, the amount of recommended books in the world is absolutely staggering. That's where we come in. Over the years we've compiled quite a few book lists for adults, and below are some of our absolute favorites. Whether you're looking for classics, best sellers, hidden gems, or something a little unexpected, we bet you'll find what you're looking for in one of the lists below.
Classic Book Lists for Adults
Check out traditional book lists for well-read adults.
10 Most Popular Books of All Time - You've certainly heard of all these books—but have you read them?
10 Books Everyone Should Read - These are the books that shape literature and the way we understand the world.
10 Top Books to Read for Bibliophiles - If you really love books, then you'll really really love these books.
14 Great American Novels: Our Top Picks - Who said there can only be one?
National Book Award Winners to Add to Your TBR Pile - The National Book Foundation has recognized more than 2000 books—here are a few of our favorites.
A Complete List of Pulitzer Prize Winners for Fiction - If it won the Pulitzer, it must be good.
Modern Book Lists for Adults
Discover the best of recent literature.
The Best Books of the 21st Century - Our favorite books published after the turn of the century.
8 Popular Authors Who Deserve Their Fame - It seems like everyone reads these authors—and for good reason.
35 Must-Read Modern Classics - The best books of the last 100 hundred years, according to us.
7 American Literature Books That Go Beyond the Classics - Add some diversity to your American Lit shelf.
Diverse Book Lists for Adults
Discover a new perspective.
30 Must-Read Books by Black Authors - Each novel, memoir, or collection of poetry or essays listed here is a powerfully written and completely captivating celebration of the Black experience.
10 Must-Read Quotes and Books from Indigenous Authors - Make a point to read works from voices that often go unheard.
12 Asian Authors Who Belong On Your TBR List - From Asian-inspired fantasy to literary fiction, there's something for every kind of reader.
10 Essential Authors of Chicano Literature - Discover the best in modern Mexican American lit.
LGBT Authors You Should Be Proud to Have On Your Shelf Year Round - Express your pride every month.
International Book Lists for Adults
Take a literary trip around the world.
11 Books to Introduce You to Modern Japanese Fiction - There's a lot more than Murakami.
10 Modern and Classic French Authors - These 10 French authors are bound to turn your head and change your way of thinking
All the Best German Authors You Should Be Reading - As a librarian in Leipzig might say, “Ein gutes buch lesen.” This is to say, “Read a good book.
10 Modern and Classic Russian Books Everyone Should Read - Russian literature continues to push boundaries with its ideas of politics, romance, science, and philosophy.
6 Korean Books You Shouldn't Miss - There are plenty of Korean creators who are turning out amazing books, and western audiences are waking up to it more and more with each passing day.
The Best Books by Indian Authors You Haven't Read Yet - India might be fiction's best kept secret.
Unusual Book Lists for Adults
Go off the beaten path.
12 Indie Books You Don't Want to Miss - A lot of the best books are hidden gems printed by independent publishers, aka indie books.
10 Cool Books That Belong On Your Bookshelf - What does it mean for a book to be cool? It’s a tough term to define, but sometimes you just know it when you see it.
10 Books You Won't Believe Are Based on True Stories - You can't make this stuff up.
What to Read Next, Based on Your Favorite Books and Authors - Choose a book that evokes the same feelings you get from a book you already know you love.
8 Lost Masterpieces from NYRB Classics - First launched in 1999, the New York Review Books Classics series has famously come to be known for its unearthing of lost masterpieces.