This is going to sound strange, but a lot of those “Best Books of All Time” lists are filled with books many people wouldn’t consider the “best.” We don’t think anyone would argue that Infinite Jest and War and Peace are important, but for many those reading experiences are less than pleasurable. For the true best of the best, turn to the people, which, in this case, means Reddit. Recently, readers in the r/books subreddit submitted their answer(s) to “Which books do you consider a perfect 10/10?” Here are some of our favorite responses.


Shogun

James Clavell

How many books can hold a perfect score on Amazon through 1,567 reviews? Well, we’re not about to do the research, but we can tell you one: Shogun. The first of James Clavell’s Asian Saga Series, Shogun is a novel set in 1600s Japan, where an Englishman finds himself after his boat drifts ashore. The man, John Blackthorne, meets two very different people very with two very different goals in life very quickly. While you’re busy being sucked into the story, Clavell delivers memorable passage after memorable passage, ones that you might just use to improve your life. No, really. The series is set to be adapted as an FX series, so read it before it hits your TV screen. Link



A Short History of Nearly Everything

Bill Bryson

“Everything” sure seems like a lot to cover in just under 600 pages, right? Well, not only does Bill Bryson take us from the dawn of time to today, but he tackles the trickiest subjects with elegant, enjoyable, and digestible prose. That means, not only will you learn about some difficult scientific concepts, but you’ll actually enjoy doing it! High School you would kill for a text book like this. Link



The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas

Someone on Reddit describes The Count of Monte Cristo as medieval Batman, and we think that’s fairly accurate, though revenge plays a much larger role in this book than it ever did for The Dark Knight. Still, as you can image from that description, this is a classic (it was penned in the 1800s) that is as entertaining today as when it was first released. Edmond Dantes is your protagonist, a man jailed for a crime he didn’t commit. His desire for vengeance only grows stronger as he bides his time behind bars. Once released, he looks to bring those who wronged him to justice, while also hunting for the treasure he learned of while he was a prisoner. Link



East of Eden

John Steinbeck

Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath seem to get talked about more than East of Eden, something we don’t fully understand, because if you work your way through the 691-page tome you’ll quickly realize this is Steinbeck in his ultimate form. A sprawling novel that follows two families for decades, East of Eden gets its name from the story of Adam and Eve, as it’s the same idea the book plays on. Link



All Quiet on the Western Front

Erich Maria Remarque

The horrors of war and the feeble desire to make the world understand the foolishness off it are at the heart and soul of All Quiet on the Western Front, a novel from Erich Maria Remarque about classmates who enlist in the German army during the First World War. Paul Baumer, like many others, goes in brave, only to have the first taste of the true devastation of war slap him awake. It’s the war novel that stands above all others, and that’s high praise for a category full of legendary reads. Link



Catch-22

Joseph Heller

Speaking of war books. Catch-22, however, is very, very different from the aforementioned All Quiet on the Western Front. Set during World War II, Catch-22 is comedy about a bombardier who can’t seem to get out of the army, though he’d like to as it seems they are trying to get him killed. The issue for young Yossarian, the bombardier who, along with the rest of his division, keeps receiving more and more missions, is a violation known as Catch-22, which states that a man is considered insane if he continues to take on dangerous military missions but is considered sane if he requests to be removed from the army, thus making him ineligible for discharge. It’s an expert class in satire. Link



A Confederacy of Dunces

John Kennedy Toole

Meet one Ignatius J. Reilly, an arrogant 30-year-old sonovabitch who just so happens to live at home with his mother with very little to be arrogant about. What he does have is his magnum opus, a story he scribbles on notepads he keeps under his bed. His pathetic yet routine life is thrown on its head when he goes out into the working world and struggles through random jobs and adventures. Simply put, this is one of the funniest books ever written, one filled with unique characters and a whole lot more truth than many want to accept. Link

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