The Greatest Unknown Books of All Time

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books in literature. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 210 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed literary works. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details about the selection process can be found on the rankings page.

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  1. 1. Epic of Gilgamesh by Unknown

    This ancient Mesopotamian epic follows the story of Gilgamesh, a demigod king who rules over the city of Uruk. Unhappy with his reign, the gods create a wild man named Enkidu to challenge him. However, Gilgamesh and Enkidu become close friends and embark on several adventures together, including defeating the demon Humbaba and killing the Bull of Heaven. After Enkidu's death, Gilgamesh becomes obsessed with finding immortality, leading him on a journey to meet Utnapishtim, the only human who has been granted eternal life. The narrative explores themes of friendship, mortality, and the meaning of life.

  2. 2. Beowulf by Unknown

    "Beowulf" is an Old English epic poem that tells the story of the eponymous hero, a Geatish warrior who comes to the aid of Hrothgar, the king of the Danes, whose mead hall is under attack by a monster known as Grendel. Beowulf fights and defeats Grendel and his mother, earning the gratitude and friendship of Hrothgar. Later in his life, Beowulf becomes king of the Geats and faces his final battle with a deadly dragon. The poem explores themes of heroism, fate, and mortality, and is considered one of the most important works of Old English literature.

  3. 3. Night by Elie Wiesel

    This book is a memoir of the author's experiences during the Holocaust, specifically in the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps. The narrative focuses on the relationship between a father and son under the most extreme circumstances, the loss of faith in God, humanity, and in each other, and the horrifying reality of the systematic genocide of six million Jews during World War II. The book is a poignant and stark examination of the depths of human evil and the enduring power of hope and survival.

  4. 4. Mythology by Edith Hamilton

    This book is a comprehensive guide to ancient Greek, Roman, and Norse mythologies, providing detailed accounts of various gods, goddesses, heroes, and other mythological creatures. It includes well-known stories like the Odyssey and the Iliad, along with lesser-known tales, and analyzes their significance in the cultures they originated from. The book also delves into the origins of these myths and their influence on later civilizations, offering readers a deep understanding of ancient cultures and their belief systems.

  5. 5. The Sound Of His Horn by Sarban

    "The Sound of His Horn" is a dystopian science fiction novel set in a future where the Nazis have won World War II. The story follows Alan Querdilion, a British prisoner of war who wakes up in a bizarre alternate reality ruled by a cruel and sadistic Nazi regime. As he navigates this nightmarish world, Querdilion must confront his own survival instincts and grapple with the moral implications of his actions. With its haunting atmosphere and thought-provoking exploration of power and humanity, the novel offers a chilling and unsettling reflection on the consequences of totalitarianism.

  6. 6. Legend by David Gemmell

    In a post-apocalyptic world, an aging warrior known as Druss comes out of retirement to defend his homeland from invading hordes. Despite his advanced age, he is still a formidable fighter and is revered as a living legend. As he prepares for a seemingly impossible battle, he must confront not only his enemies but also his own personal demons and the specter of his own mortality. The novel is a compelling blend of action, adventure, and introspection, exploring themes of heroism, honor, and the human capacity for courage in the face of overwhelming odds.

  7. 7. Widdershins by G. Oliver Onions

    "Widdershins" is a gripping psychological thriller that follows the life of a troubled young woman named Alice. Haunted by a traumatic childhood event, Alice finds herself drawn into a mysterious world of dark secrets and supernatural occurrences. As she delves deeper into the enigmatic past of her family, Alice must confront her own demons and unravel the truth before it consumes her. With its atmospheric setting and complex characters, "Widdershins" is a chilling tale of suspense and self-discovery.

  8. 8. The Last Bouquet by Marjorie Bowen

    "The Last Bouquet" by Marjorie Bowen is a captivating historical novel set in 18th-century France. The story follows a young woman named Genevieve, who finds herself caught in the midst of the French Revolution. As chaos and violence engulf the nation, Genevieve's life takes a dramatic turn when she becomes entangled with a group of revolutionaries. Faced with difficult choices and dangerous secrets, she must navigate a treacherous path to protect her loved ones and find her own freedom. Bowen's vivid storytelling and rich historical detail bring this tumultuous period to life, offering a compelling tale of love, sacrifice, and resilience.

  9. 9. Desert Flower by Waris Dirie, Cathleen Miller

    "Desert Flower" is a powerful autobiography that tells the story of a girl born into a nomadic tribe in the Somali desert. The girl, subjected to the brutal tradition of female genital mutilation at a young age, escapes an arranged marriage at 13 and ends up in London, where she works various jobs before being discovered as a model. Her rise to fame in the fashion industry is juxtaposed with her personal journey to raise awareness about the harmful cultural practice she endured and advocate for its eradication.

  10. 10. The Plum in the Golden Vase by Anonymous

    "The Plum in the Golden Vase" is a classic Chinese novel set during the Song Dynasty. It follows the life of Ximen Qing, a corrupt social climber and lustful merchant, who is involved with six different women. The narrative explores themes of sexuality, corruption, and societal decay, providing a detailed and critical examination of the culture and society of the time. The novel is also known for its explicit eroticism and is considered one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature.

  11. 11. Shum Bola by G'afur G'ulоm

    "Shum Bola" by G'afur G'ulоm is a captivating and thought-provoking novel set in a remote village in Uzbekistan. The story revolves around the life of Shum Bola, a young and ambitious shepherd who dreams of escaping the confines of his traditional rural life. Through his journey, the novel explores themes of love, sacrifice, and the clash between tradition and modernity. With vivid descriptions and rich character development, "Shum Bola" offers a compelling narrative that transports readers to a world filled with cultural complexities and personal struggles.

  12. 12. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

    "The Velveteen Rabbit" is a heartwarming children's book about a stuffed rabbit who longs to become real. Through his encounters with other toys and his friendship with a young boy, the rabbit learns about love, loyalty, and the true meaning of being alive. With beautiful illustrations and a touching narrative, this timeless tale teaches valuable lessons about the power of imagination and the transformative nature of love.

  13. 13. The Dark Country by Dennis Etchison

    "The Dark Country" is a collection of haunting and atmospheric short stories that delve into the depths of human nature and the supernatural. From a man who becomes trapped in a nightmarish town to a woman who discovers a mysterious painting with a sinister secret, each tale is filled with suspense, dread, and a sense of unease. With its masterful storytelling and vivid imagery, this collection takes readers on a chilling journey through the dark corners of the human psyche.

  14. 14. The Cellar by Richard Laymon

    "The Cellar" is a chilling and suspenseful novel that follows the story of a young woman named Donna who finds herself trapped in a horrifying nightmare. After being kidnapped and locked in a dark cellar by a sadistic and deranged man, Donna must navigate the twisted and dangerous world she has been thrust into. With her life hanging in the balance, she must summon all her strength and courage to escape the clutches of her captor and survive the terrifying ordeal.

  15. 15. An Immense World by Ed Yong

    "An Immense World" is a collection of science essays written by Ed Yong, a science journalist. The book explores a wide range of scientific topics, from the behavior of animals to the complexities of the human microbiome. Yong's writing is accessible and engaging, making complex scientific concepts easy to understand for readers of all backgrounds. The essays are thought-provoking and provide a glimpse into the fascinating world of science. Overall, "An Immense World" is a must-read for anyone interested in science and the natural world.

  16. 16. The Cadaver Of Gideon Wyck by Alexander Laing

    "The Cadaver of Gideon Wyck" is a gripping mystery novel that follows the investigation of a peculiar murder case. When the body of Gideon Wyck, a renowned scholar, is found in his own home, the circumstances surrounding his death become increasingly perplexing. As the detective delves deeper into the case, he uncovers a web of secrets, deceit, and hidden motives among the suspects, leading him on a thrilling journey to uncover the truth behind Wyck's untimely demise.

  17. 17. A Nest Of Nightmares by Lisa Tuttle

    "A Nest of Nightmares" by Lisa Tuttle is a chilling and suspenseful psychological thriller that follows the life of a young woman named Sarah, who moves into a seemingly idyllic small town to start afresh. However, as she settles into her new home, she begins to experience a series of inexplicable and terrifying events that unravel the town's dark secrets. With each twist and turn, Sarah finds herself questioning her sanity and the true nature of the people around her, leading to a shocking climax that will leave readers on the edge of their seats.

  18. 18. Medusa by E. H. Visiak

    "Medusa" is a gripping and atmospheric novel that follows the journey of a young man named Richard, who becomes entangled in a mysterious and dangerous world of ancient myths and supernatural forces. As he delves deeper into the secrets of a remote island, Richard discovers a hidden society ruled by a powerful and enigmatic figure known as Medusa. With vivid descriptions and a captivating narrative, the book explores themes of power, temptation, and the blurred lines between reality and fantasy.

  19. 19. Deliver Me From Eva by Paul Bailey

    In "Deliver Me From Eva" by Paul Bailey, the story revolves around Eva, a strong-willed and independent woman who becomes the center of attention for three men. As they each try to win her over, they soon discover that Eva's past and her complicated relationships with her family and friends make it difficult for her to trust and open up. Through a series of unexpected events, the characters are forced to confront their own insecurities and learn the true meaning of love and forgiveness.

  20. 20. Night Has A Thousand Eyes by George Hopley

    "Night Has A Thousand Eyes" is a gripping psychological thriller that follows the life of a troubled man named John, who possesses an uncanny ability to foresee tragic events before they occur. Plagued by his gift, John becomes increasingly isolated and tormented, as he struggles to prevent the impending disasters that haunt his visions. As the line between reality and premonition blurs, John embarks on a desperate quest to understand the origins of his power and find a way to break free from its relentless grip.

  21. 21. And The Darkness Falls by Boris Karloff

    "And The Darkness Falls" is a chilling tale that follows a small town plagued by a series of mysterious deaths. As the darkness engulfs the community, a group of unlikely heroes must uncover the sinister secrets lurking beneath the surface. With suspenseful twists and turns, the book explores themes of fear, redemption, and the power of unity in the face of darkness.

  22. 22. The Totem by David Morrell

    "The Totem" by David Morrell is a gripping thriller that follows the story of a troubled young woman named Laura who becomes entangled in a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a relentless killer. As Laura tries to uncover the truth behind a series of brutal murders, she discovers a dark secret that connects her past to the present. With her life on the line, Laura must confront her deepest fears and outsmart her cunning adversary before it's too late.

  23. 23. The Ceremonies by T. E. D. Klein

    "The Ceremonies" is a chilling horror novel that follows the lives of two academics who stumble upon an ancient evil lurking beneath a small town. As they uncover a series of disturbing rituals and dark secrets, they become entangled in a battle against an otherworldly force that threatens to consume them and unleash chaos upon the world. With its atmospheric writing and spine-tingling suspense, this book delves into themes of ancient mythology, the power of belief, and the terrifying consequences of meddling with forces beyond human comprehension.

  24. 24. The Writer on Her Work by Janet Sternburg

    "The Writer on Her Work" is a collection of essays by various female authors who discuss their experiences, challenges, and perspectives on writing. The book explores the complexities of being a woman in the literary world, shedding light on topics such as gender bias, the struggle for recognition, and the balance between personal life and professional aspirations. It provides a unique insight into the creative process, revealing how these women navigate their craft amidst societal expectations and personal obstacles.

  25. 25. The Wisdom Of Bones by Alan Walker, Pat Shipman

    "The Wisdom of Bones" is a captivating exploration of human evolution and the remarkable insights gained from the study of ancient remains. Written by renowned scientists, the book delves into the fascinating world of paleoanthropology, revealing the intricate details of our ancestors' lives and the clues they left behind in their bones. Through vivid storytelling and meticulous research, the authors shed light on the origins of humanity, offering a thought-provoking journey through time and the remarkable wisdom that can be gleaned from the study of bones.

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If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.

Download