The saying goes: you are what you eat. But how about: you are what you read?

The books (or lack of books) aligned on any shelf or table can give insight into a person’s style, dreams, and character. There’s even research that says so.

But there are some books that transcend all tastes, books that most can find enjoyment in. We’ve compiled a list of those must-reads that you can proudly display in your home. And if you’re feeling like a challenge, work your way through this list of the best 100 novels of all time.


If you haven’t already read these celebrated novels, now is the time. Search for these in used bookshops – look for early editions with unique cover art. There are too many classic titles to name here… but we hope this inspires you to read more.

Any book by Ernest Hemingway or F. Scott Fitzgerald

Any book by Jane Austen or one of the Brontë sisters

Any Shakespeare play

1984 by George Orwell

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee




There’s plenty of recent-ish literature that will open your eyes to different lives and worlds. The list of great pieces of fiction is endless, but the below will get you started. These contemporary novels are sure to be classics one day.

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Essays in Love by Alain de Botton

Good Omens by Neil Gaimon & Terry Pratchett

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Wild by Cheryl Strayed


People have led truly extraordinary, tragic, uplifting lives. Step into someone else’s shoes with one of the below reads.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

Just Kids by Patti Smith

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

Long Walk to Freedom, The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela


Whether you’re into in history, politics, or mindfulness, learn something new with a non-fiction book.

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

The Art of War by Sun Tzn

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington

The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

It also doesn’t hurt to have a dictionary and an atlas on hand.




Children’s books aren’t just for kids. Revisit your childhood with these classics or get your own kids started on their reading journey.

Anything written by Roald Dahl

Harry Potter (the whole collection) by J.K. Rowling

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Watership Down by Richard Adams

Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne


Canada has produced lots of notable authors. Support your country’s talent by picking up one (or all) of the below.

Anything written by Margaret Atwood or Alice Munro

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Stranger Music by Leonard Cohen

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje