Feel like reading a classic? There’s no better way to spend your Sunday afternoon (or any afternoon, for that matter) than on reading a bestseller. The clear widely read books include religious texts such as the Bible and Qu’ran. However, it is hard to determine their exact figures since their printing has spanned over centuries and different publishers. As such, they are not included in the list.

We have here a list of books that have been widely read and loved, in order of increasingly higher book sales figures. They will make you laugh, cry or just make you reconsider the world in which we live in. Although they differ largely in the time, environment and characters that dwell in the novels, the similarity they share is that they are thought-provoking, meaningful, and will take you on an adventure. So make yourself a nice, warm, steaming cup of tea, drape a blanket over yourself, and flip open the first page:

7. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit
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No doubt, you’ve probably heard of or seen this book in the major motion picture. Reading the inspiration for the film will not disappoint. It is packed with tales of adventures on Middle Earth from the perspective of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit who leads an ordinary, bland life (from the perspective of a hobbit anyway). That is, until he is called to action by Gandalf the Wizard and a band of dwarves. Through forests and caves, mountains and valleys, Bilbo and company run into trolls, treasures, elves, goblins and Gollum, amongst other things as they seek to take back the treasure that is carefully guarded by a large and dangerous dragon.

6. Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin, translated by David Hawkes

I was pleasantly surprised to see this 18th century Chinese literature on the list. Fear not, this book has been religiously translated into English to convey the original events and meanings. Although, a word of caution is advised because Dream of the Red Chamber is the first of a five book volume. This first book is quite epic in itself, similar to Greek and Egyptian literature. It requires a bit of time, patience and understanding to get through the style of writing and differentiate between the characters, especially in the beginning.

The story centers around a teenage boy who spends all his time in the women’s quarters. He is romantic and idyllic. Although he is arranged to be married to one girl, he has feelings for another, who is deemed unsuitable by his family. Overall, this novel is a fascinating look at Chinese customs and culture, yet also portrays emotions of the characters very well. It is truly a hidden gem and a timeless classic that continues to resonate with us as humans today.

5. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

And Then There Were None
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Considered the best selling mystery novel, this is certainly a must read for mystery lovers. Ten strangers are brought together for one reason or another onto Indian Island, where they stay at a resort home. An unseen host accuses them of escaping from crimes. One by one, each individual is picked off and dies according to a Ten Little Indians nursery rhyme. The police find them all dead and must determine who was the murderer. Maybe you can figure it out before they do (good luck!)?

4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
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The book that started it all. If you loved the movies, you will definitely enjoy the series. Harry begins his journey as a wizard in his aunt and uncle’s home, as they painfully try to conceal the fact that he’s a wizard just like his parents were. However, he is summoned to attend Hogwarts, where he discovers more about his heritage. Along the way, he makes friends and enemies as he prepares to face the dark wizard Lord Voldemort. Be prepared for a long (but enthralling) journey through Harry Potter’s adventures.

3. Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Le Petit Prince (French Language Edition)
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Le Petit Prince is the most widely read French book, and is presented as a novella. It has been translated into many languages, although the original French version captures its essence beautifully. English is fine too, if you can't read in French! This novella is classified as a children’s novel, but is really a great book for all ages. If you read carefully, there are philosophical themes that abound in the story, which can take you by surprise. The little prince travels through different planets and Earth in a fantasy world, exploring as he goes along. The story is whimsical and innocent, taking you back to the days of your childhood again.

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

One ring to rule them all. What originally started as a sequel to The Hobbit expanded into a large piece of work in the form of a trilogy. Chances are, you’ve watched the epic Peter Jackson films and have been enchanted by beautiful and fairytale-like Middle Earth. Tolkien painstakingly crafts this universe in his books, creating languages, cultures and customs for the races on Middle Earth. An array of strange and intriguing creatures abound as the hobbits and their allies travel together throughout the lands. This is a must read for a lover of fantasy.

1. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities (Dover Thrift Editions)
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The first few lines of the novel will always stick in my head: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of believe, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

Never had I seen such a paradox in the beginning of the novel. Still, what better crafted words could describe one of the most tumultuous periods in time – the French Revolution? A Tale of Two Cities tells a story of an unjustly imprisoned man against the backdrop of time when a society was built upon shaky grounds and was ready to fall.