Guardian 100 Best…Free eBooks!

Between September 2013 and August 2015, The Guardian ran their 100 Best English Language Novels of All Time series. As a large number of those books are available in the public domain (52%), I’ve created this page which reproduces their list containing just those titles that are available as free ebooks from

Even if you don’t agree completely with The Guardian’s selection, these are still some of the greatest novels published in the English language over the last 350 years. So dig in and enjoy.

  1. The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan (1678) [Guardian Essay]
  2. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (1719) [Essay]
  3. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (1726) [Essay]
  4. Clarissa by Samuel Richardson (1748) [Essay]
  5. Tom Jones by Henry Fielding (1749) [Essay]
  6. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne (1759) [Essay]
  7. Emma by Jane Austen (1816) [Essay]
  8. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818) [Essay]
  9. Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Love Peacock (1818) [Essay]
  10. The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe (1838) [Essay]
  11. Sybil by Benjamin Disraeli (1845) [Essay]
  12. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (1847) [Essay]
  13. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (1847) [Essay]
  14. Vanity Fair by William Thackeray (1848) [Essay]
  15. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (1850) [Essay]
  16. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1850) [Essay]
  17. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (1851) [Essay]
  18. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865) [Essay]
  19. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (1868) [Essay]
  20. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1868-9) [Essay]
  21. Middlemarch by George Eliot (1871-2) [Essay]
  22. The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope (1875) [Essay]
  23. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (1884/5) [Essay]
  24. Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson (1886) [Essay]
  25. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome (1889) [Essay]
  26. The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle (1890) [Essay]
  27. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (1891) [Essay]
  28. New Grub Street by George Gissing (1891) [Essay]
  29. Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy (1895) [Essay]
  30. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (1895) [Essay]
  31. Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897) [Essay]
  32. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (1899) [Essay]
  33. Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser (1900) [Essay]
  34. Kim by Rudyard Kipling (1901) [Essay]
  35. The Call of the Wild by Jack London (1903) [Essay]
  36. The Golden Bowl by Henry James (1904)  [Essay]
  37. Hadrian the Seventh by Frederick Rolfe (1904)
  38. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (1908) [Essay]
  39. The History of Mr Polly by HG Wells (1910) [Essay]
  40. Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm (1911) [Essay]
  41. The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford (1915) [Essay]
  42. The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan (1915) [Essay]
  43. The Rainbow by DH Lawrence (1915) [Essay]
  44. Of Human Bondage by W Somerset Maugham (1915) [Essay]
  45. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (1920) [Essay]
  46. Ulysses by James Joyce (1922) [Essay]
  47. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis (1922) [Essay]
  48. A Passage to India* by EM Forster (1924)
  49. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes* by Anita Loos (1925)
  50. Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (1925) [Essay]
  51. The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald (1925) [Essay]
  1. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932) [Essay]
  1. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (1939) [Essay]
  1. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (1949) [Essay]
  1. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (1966) [Essay]

NOTE: there are more “Top Books” lists available in the Collections sections of epubBooks.

The Guardian Top 100 books aren’t simply a “here they are, go read them” selection, nor are they going to include just any title. Each week, for 100 weeks (finishing in August 2015) they announced the entry for that week along with publishing a short essay with the reasoning behind its inclusion. Here’s the basic rule set they were following;

  • Only English language titles will be considered (UK, US, AU, CA, etc., though the emphasis will be on UK/US)
  • Include only titles from the late 17th century to the present day (up to around 2000…maybe!)
  • Listing will be in chronological order

Along with giving a link so you can download the ebook for free (EPUB/Kindle), I will also include a link to the Guardian essay so you can decide for yourself if you agree with their reasoning!

When I started this article, I added each new title as The Guardian posted theirs. Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar is the last to be added to this list. That will also likely be the last addition for the next few years at least. With 52 of those titles available as EPUB and Kindle ebooks on, we have a great selection of classic novels to choose from. Plenty to keep you occupied for the coming months!

* No download available as this title is not currently in the Public Domain.

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