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These days, it seems that there are just as many online lists about books as there are books ever written.


You've probably seen at least a few "Best Books of 2020" lists in just the last couple days. Then there are all the genres: "Best Science Fiction Books," "Best Travel Books," "Best Popular History Books," and probably even "Best Books about Books."

Maybe someone write a book about the phenomenon of lists about books.

Out of that limitless sea of suggestions comes a recent Reddit thread. Users were asked to share their "must-read" books.

And there was something about the far-reaching, chaotic randomness of these suggestions that did feel a little bit more genuine than so many other lists you've come across.

sbooth0630 asked, "What are some absolute 'must read' books?"

Everything Ever 

"Bill Bryson: A short history of nearly everything. Just as entertaining as educating" -- Satures

"And overloaded with info. Each time I read it it's like the first time because I swear I havent read that bit before." -- tutiramaiteiwi

"I won that at a debate and boy did I love it" -- otterwithdarkside

Classic for a Reason 

Le compte de Monte-Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas. Sh** basically reads itself, it's f***ing brilliant.

"It's also based on the life-times of his father, a freed slave who got himself some renown as a general in the Napoleonic armies before he was imprisoned by the Napster himself, who feared his growing popularity and influence."

"The story behind the story is cool, and the books are great."

-- el_pobbster

Tear-Jerker

"The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak."

"I started my reddit account just to recommend this book."

"Beautifully written, narrated by Death, it tells the story of a girl in Nazi Germany. Her adoptive mother is cranky and hilarious, her adoptive father is a gentle accordion player that teaches her to read."

"They hide a Jewish boxer in their basement. Her best friend is an Aryan boy who idolizes Jesse Owens. And Liesel Memminger, the reader of stolen books, still haunts Death to this day."

"Don't be intimidated by the size of the book, it's for a younger reading level."

"And many Of The Paragraphs Look Like This."

"So it's not really that long. But it is beautiful, sad, happy, terrible and wonderful. Make sure you finish it somewhere that's not public. I ugly cried when I read it."

"But maybe that's just what we need in 2020, a good cry. You'll thank yourself for reading it."

-- dragonseye87

At Your Own Risk 

"Crime and punishment by Dostoevsky" -- minorkunji

"This was difficult for me to get through but I find myself thinking about it often! Great book." -- Iammyown404error

"I read it in russian when i was 16 for my literature class and had a depressive episode that lasted for about 2 month after it. It's an incredibly well-written piece but definitely not a light read hahah" -- benitengutake1

Just a Good, Funny Book 

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" -- pavlovsgiraffe

"I've been getting recommendations for this book for a long time now. Might check it out soon. Thanks!" -- a_brave_coward

"There are so many characters with strange names I couldnt keep up!" -- tutiramaiteiwi

Slapstick Brilliance 

"A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole"

"It's probably the funniest thing I've ever read. I strongly recommend."

-- EndoShota

Speculative Fiction 

"Childhood's End by Arthur C Clarke. An alien civilization makes contact with earth and indirectly builds a utopian society with the only cost being their culture and personal identity."

"The book is separated into 3 parts at different times where each narrator gives an account of how the world exists under the alien's rule. My absolute favorite book of all time."

-- AmericanSphinx97

"Must" 

"To Kill A Mockingbird...Every 14 year old must read it or they'll get an F..." -- exploringoceans

"I actually read it the year before it was assigned without realizing it would be assigned. Man, language arts was easy for a few weeks" -- Arachnophobicloser

"I had a rough adolescence and even though I was a genuinely good kid, couldn't quite concentrate when this book was being read/analyzed in high school."

"I listened to the audio book version read by Sissy Spacek when I was 36. Fan.Tas.Tic." -- Iammyown404error

A Low Down on How It All Went Down 

"A Brief History Of Time." -- fartparticles

"Reading it now for the second time! Gives you a different perspective (maybe nihilistic) on our short lifespans in the scale of the universe." -- SevorMazin

Consensus

"A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini" -- lindsaydemo

"Came here to say this and the Kite Runner is a good read too." -- AnonymousMonkey101

"100 percent agree." -- postmoderngeisha

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