15 Books Everyone Should Read At Least Once

*Entries have been edited for clarity and/or length.

It’s officially Book Lovers Month, so of course we had to put together another book list. This time, we decided to ask you guys for help. We asked the question, “What book do you think everybody should read at least once?” Check out some of the great suggestions that came through below.


1. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

“This book is so beautifully crafted. Even though I read it when I was about 13, it is still one of my favorite books to date. I can never get enough of the eloquent mix of science fiction and fantasy genres. Plus, it is the first book in a series, so if you enjoy the first, you have plenty more to read! Did I mention it is a classic?”

– Emily Lamb, Wake Technical Community College


2. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

“It’s the most densely thought-provoking book I’ve ever read. In Bradbury’s fictional age, screen addiction has driven society to stop reading and thinking for themselves. Firemen start fires instead of stop them, burning houses that contain books. One such fireman experiences an awakening to the reality of their world, where people in his city (and others like it) are oblivious to the sufferings of others and their impending doom. Fahrenheit 451 is such a good reminder of the importance of reading and thinking for ourselves, and how an individual’s choices can affect those around them, among MANY other things. Also, it’s fairly short, and should be within most people’s attention spans!”

– Natalie C., South Puget Sound Community College


3. The Princess Bride by William Goldman

“Everyone should read ‘The Princess Bride’ AT LEAST once. It’s one of the few stories out there that has something for almost every genre-lover: romance (obviously), adventure, fantasy, some suspense, some mystery, and lots of drama. The film adaptation is wonderful, but to truly experience the story, you MUST give it a read. Highly recommend this illustrious novel.”

– Johnnie W., Bakersfield College



4. Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski

“While this story isn’t for the faint of heart, it does tell a gritty coming-of-age story that just about anyone can relate to at some point. Bukowski makes you think, and makes you unabashedly grateful that you didn’t walk in his shoes!”

– Caleb D., Eastern Oregon University


5. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

“I think everyone should read “The secret life of bees” and perhaps more than once. I found it to be both motivational and inspirational on so many levels!”

– Melissa G., Northeastern State University


6. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

“A former student visits his terminally ill professor to learn about life through the eyes of a dying man.”

– Bear T., UTC



7. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

“Everyone must read ‘The Lord of the Rings’ by Tolkien. It not only redefined heroism, friendship and love in prescient ways, but it created the genre of fantasy and is still impacting modern writers today (Game of Thrones).”

– Sean Kelso, Columbia University


8. The Boy In The Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

“I think everyone should read ‘The Boy In The Striped Pajamas’ at least once because it gives a deep and real account to the holocaust. The story is very touching, and honestly I could read it all over again. Lastly, you know it’s good when a movie comes out as well.”

– Sydney Porter, University Of North Carolina at Charlotte


9. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

It is the first book in a trilogy and it is one of the few non-required books to accompany me to college. It is one of the few “children’s books” (said in quotes since although the target audience is children, it is enjoyable regardless of how old you are) that I have reread, and I was not disappointed with the quality of writing.

– Hannah B., Rochester Institute of Technology



10. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

It’s got a little bit of everything; identity, coming-of-age, that sort of deal. Anyone can relate to this story one way or the other. It’s up there as one of my favorites.

– Carter M., Collin College


11. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

“If you don’t like reading, be ready to have your mind changed. It’s a great pick me up that is necessary when stressed about exams and studying. It isn’t sappy, but it will leave you with a fresh view on life. I tend to read a book only once, but this was definitely worth a few re-reads.”

– Lauren H., University of the Pacific


12. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom

“It’s an easy read that is so profound and universally relevant. The life of Frankie, a fictional virtuoso guitarist, is masterfully woven into the real history of the early days of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Jazz, and Blues. The real story is about the endurance of the heart and finding one’s purpose. What happens when he makes choices that take him away from his true talents and purpose. Can he get back to his true self? Is it ever too late? Read the book and find out, but be prepared to not be able to put it down.”

– Lisa E., Kent State University



13. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“It’s a book that is typically read to children, but it is one of those rare books that seem to change with you; At different points in your life, you will find different meanings within it. It’s a book of comfort, but it’s also a book of growth.”

– Melanie De Vincentiis, Northwestern University


14. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

“Hidden Figures is an eye opener on how women were treated in the workforce and in areas of science at NASA. It is a very good book! I haven’t even seen the movie yet so I cannot compare the book to the movie, but normally the book is always better than the movie.”

– Rebecka H., Lake Michigan College


15. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

“I think that everyone should read ‘The Help’ by Kathryn Stockett at LEAST one time in their life. Growing up in the South myself, I was surrounded by so much history, but this book really opened my eyes to what went on, on the ground that I stood upon.”

– Taylor T., Cerro Coso Community College

What books do you think everyone should read at least once? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and stay tuned for next month’s trending topic for a chance to be featured on The College Juice!


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  1. Robert Heston says:

    It is extremely important for everyone to read the classic novels of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries beginning at an early age… perhaps eight years old. Mom & Dad had a library full of them. However, such books are easily found for free. I began with Twain’s Huckleberry Finn… or was it Tom Sawyer? I get them mixed up. Perhaps Dad’s choice for a young boy. Then, Moby Dick. After that came one of my most cherished fantasies, The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy which were truly amazing. Mom loved science fiction and contributed the Dune trilogy by Frank Herbert. It was utterly fantastic. Most children today may have already been spoiled by the films though hopefully not before reading them. I read them in the 1960’s. Reading these marvelous works will open the young imagination in a magical process that can enable the lifelong power of creativity. Something the film treatments simply cannot do. I must say that upon seeing The Lord of the Ring movies, I was so excited at the uncanny resemblance of what I had originally imagined!

  2. Maureen Townsend LeGault says:

    Add some Wally Lamb and Pat Conroy

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