Which books have to be read in life?

The 100 Books You Should Read Before You Die

In the past, "Die hard" always served as a welcome change from the stereotypical Christmas kitsch, this year Denzel Washington made sure that we didn't fall asleep in front of the TV after the feast. The Equalizer is not only about the story of the former undercover agent Robert McCall, who really lets it rip in parts 1 and 2, but also about world literature and its meaning.

Fascinated by the side story and the 100 books that you should have read once in your life, I immediately tried to find out which books besides "The Old Man and the Sea", "Don Quixote" and "The Invisible Man" are still on the list - and I wanted to know how many of the books I might have already read at the time.

Not an easy task, but in the end I found what I was looking for. The List of 100 Books You Should Read Before You Die was compiled by 100 prominent authors from 50 nations.

Robert McCall's (Denzel Washington) book list in The Equalizer

Robert McCall can't sleep. And that's why he goes to the diner on the corner almost every evening near his apartment in the Boston waterfront. There he drinks tea and reads: The list of the 100 books you have to read in life, as he says. His wife made it to book number 97 before she passed away. He is currently reading number 91, Hemingway's “The Old Man and the Sea.” But where did this list come from? And what are the titles of the other 99 books?

Only in the second part of The Equalizer does it become clear that the literature list is that of the Norwegian book club association and publisher "Bokklubben". 100 authors from 50 nations were asked which books they consider the ten best and most important. You should choose books that had a certain influence on the culture as well as a personal influence on the author's.

The 100 best books in world history - and the various lists

There are now numerous media houses and organizations around the world that have dealt with world literature and have compiled a list of books. Three of the most promising approaches come from Germany, Great Britain and France.

It has z. For example, the weekly newspaper "ZEIT" relied on the opinion of recognized literary experts, while the ZDF worked with a kind of "readers' choice". The BBC, on the other hand, had 750,000 British people vote on their all-time bestsellers.

Some of the most prestigious book lists:

  • Great Books Foundation - Great Books of the Western World
  • The Guardian - The 100 Greatest Novels of All Time
  • Le Monde - The 100 Books of the Century
  • ZEIT - ZEIT library of 100 books
  • BBC - Big Read
  • Penguine - 100 Must Read Classic Books

You should read these books before you die

Below are the 100 books you should read before you die. I am currently at book 3 of 100. Feel free to write me a comment on which book you are on in the list.

The Top 100 Book List:

  1. Don Quixote - Miguel de Cervantes
  2. Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
  3. Fairy tale - Hans Christian Andersen
  4. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
  5. Father Goriot - Honoré de Balzac
  6. Molloy. Malone dies. The nameless one. - Samuel Beckett
  7. Decameron - Giovanni Boccaccio
  8. Fictions - Jorge Luis Borges
  9. Storm Height - Emily Brontë
  10. The stranger - Albert Camus
  11. Poems - Paul Celan
  12. Journey to the end of the night - Louis-Ferdinand Céline
  13. The Canterbury Tales - Geoffrey Chaucer
  14. Nostromo - Joseph Conrad
  15. The Divine Comedy - Dante Alighieri
  16. Great expectations - Charles Dickens
  17. Jacques the fatalist and his master - Denis Diderot
  18. Berlin Alexanderplatz - Alfred Döblin
  19. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky
  20. The idiot - Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky
  21. Demons - Fyodor Michailowitsch Dostoevsky
  22. The Karamazov brothers - Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky
  23. Middlemarch - George Eliot
  24. The Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison
  25. Medea - Euripides
  26. Absalom, Absalom! - William Faulkner
  27. Sound and madness - William Faulkner
  28. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
  29. The education of feelings - Gustave Flaubert
  30. Gypsy Romances - Federico García Lorca
  31. A hundred years of solitude - Gabriel García Márquez
  32. Love in the times of cholera - Gabriel García Márquez
  33. The Gilgamesh Epic - Gilgamesh
  34. Faust - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  35. The dead souls - Nikolaj Gogol
  36. The tin drum - Günter Grass
  37. Grande sertão: Veredas - João Guimarães Rosa
  38. Hunger - Knut Hamsun
  39. The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
  40. The Book of Job
  41. Iliad - Homer
  42. Odyssey - Homer
  43. Nora or A Dolls House - Henrik Ibsen
  44. Ulysses - James Joyce
  45. The Metamorphosis and Other Stories - Franz Kafka
  46. The trial - Franz Kafka
  47. The castle - Franz Kafka
  48. Sakuntala: Drama in Seven Acts - Kalidasa
  49. A cherry tree in winter - Yasunari Kawabata
  50. Alexis Sorbas - Nikos Kazantzakis
  51. Sons and Lovers - D.H. Lawrence
  52. His own master - Halldór K. Laxness
  53. Poems - Giacomo Leopardi
  54. The Golden Notebook - Doris Lessing
  55. Pippi Longstocking - Astrid Lindgren
  56. Diary of a Madman and Other Stories - Lu Xun
  57. Of love and power. The Mahabharata
  58. The children of our neighborhood - Naguib Mahfouz
  59. Buddenbrooks - Thomas Mann
  60. The Magic Mountain - Thomas Mann
  61. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
  62. Essays - Michel de Montaigne
  63. La Storia - Elsa Morante
  64. Human child - Toni Morrison
  65. Tales of Prince Genji - Shikibu Murasaki
  66. The man without qualities - Robert Musil
  67. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
  68. The saga of the sage Njal - Njals saga
  69. 1984 - George Orwell
  70. Metamorphoses - Ovid
  71. The Book of Unrest - Fernando Pessoa
  72. The Complete Tales - Edgar Allan Poe
  73. In search of lost time - Marcel Proust
  74. Gargantua and Pantagruel - François Rabelais
  75. Pedro Páramo - Juan Rulfo
  76. Mathnawi - Jalal ad-din Rumi
  77. Midnight Children - Salman Rushdie
  78. The Orchard - Sheikh Musharrif ud-din Sadi
  79. Time of the north migration - Tajjib Salich
  80. The city of the blind - José Saramago
  81. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
  82. King Lear - William Shakespeare
  83. Othello - William Shakespeare
  84. King Oedipus - Sophocles
  85. Red and black - Stendhal
  86. Tristram Shandy - Laurence Stars
  87. Zeno's conscience - Italo Svevo
  88. Gulliver's Travels - Jonathan Swift
  89. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
  90. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
  91. The death of Ivan Ilyich - Leo Tolstoy
  92. Selected short stories - Anton P. Chekhov
  93. Thousand and one Night
  94. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
  95. Ramayana - Valmiki
  96. Aeneid - Virgil
  97. Blades of Grass - Walt Whitman
  98. Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf
  99. To the lighthouse - Virginia Woolf
  100. I tamed the she-wolf: Hadrian's memories. - Marguerite Yourcenar
About the author


Kim goes through life openly and creatively to create new things that help people. As the founder of DESIGNLOVR, he is an expert in design. He also has a digital mindset and is a sports fanatic.