Do you have a large collection of books?

The ZDF readers' choice: The great reading!

Nearly 20,000 bookstores and libraries once advertised the mammoth project - the list of the 100 most popular books of all time.

The choice was made in two stages: 250,000 German-speaking readers took part in the vote by choosing their 100 eternal "bestsellers" from a list of 200 books compiled by ZDF editors over months of preparatory work. We claim: these are almost all books that you have to read!

Some of the works are real classics of German literature by great authors such as Thomas Mann or Franz Kafka. Others are rather trivial, like Saint-Exupéry's “Little Prince”, although the little book is one of the most widely read of all time.

You already have others - such as the Bible. But have you read it too?

Have fun browsing and discovering:


1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien

2. The Bible → Review

⇒ Special finds: classics that you should have read ...

3. The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett

4. The perfume, Patrick Süskind

5. The little prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

6. Buddenbrooks, Thomas Mann → Review

7. The medicus, Noah Gordon

8. The alchemist, Paulo Coelho

9. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling

10. The Popess, Donna W. Cross

11. Inkheart, Cornelia Funke

12. Fire and Stone, Diana Gabaldon

13. The Haunted House, Isabel Allende

14. The reader, Bernhard Schlink

15. Faust. The first part of the tragedy, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

16. The shadow of the wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafón

17. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

18. The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco → Review

19. Illuminati, Dan Brown

20. Effi Briest, Theodor Fontane

21. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J. K. Rowling

22. The Magic Mountain, Thomas Mann

23. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

24. Siddharta, Hermann Hesse

25. The Discovery of Heaven, Harry Mulisch

26. The Neverending Story, Michael Ende

27. The hidden word, Ulla Hahn

28. My mother's ashes, Frank McCourt

29. Narcissus and Goldmund, Hermann Hesse

30. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley

31. German lesson, Siegfried Lenz

32. The embers, Sándor Márai

33. Homo faber, Max Frisch

34. The discovery of slowness, Sten Nadolny

35. The unbearable lightness of being, Milan Kundera

36. A hundred years of solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

37. Owen Meany, John Irving

38. Sofie's world, Jostein Gaarder

39. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

40. The wall, Marlen Haushofer

41. God's Work and the Devil's Contribution, John Irving

42. Love in the times of cholera, Gabriel Garcia Márquez

43. The Stechlin, Theodor Fontane

44. Der Steppenwolf, Hermann Hesse → Review

45. Who disturbs the nightingale, Harper Lee → Review

46. ​​Joseph and his brothers, Thomas Mann

47. The shop, Erwin Strittmatter

48. The Tin Drum, Günter Grass → Review

49. Nothing new in the West, Erich Maria Remarque

50. The swarm, Frank Schätzing

51. Like a single day, Nicholas Sparks

52. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, JK Rowling

53. Momo, Michael Ende

54th anniversaries, Uwe Johnson review

55. Dream catcher, Marlo Morgan

56. The Catcher in the Rye, Jerome David Salinger

57. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown

58. Krabat, Otfried Preussler

59. Pippi Longstocking, Astrid Lindgren

60. Desert flower, Waris Dirie

61. Go where your heart takes you, Susanna Tamaro

62. Hanna's daughters, Marianne Fredriksson

63. Midsummer murder, Henning Mankell

64. The return of the dance teacher, Henning Mankell

65. The New Hampshire Hotel, John Irving

66. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy → Review

67. The glass bead game, Hermann Hesse

68. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher

69. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling

70th diary, Anne Frank

71. Salt on our skin, Benoite Groult

72. Jauche and Levkojen, Christine Brückner

73. The corrections, Jonathan Franzen

74. The white Maasai, Corinne Hofmann

75. What I loved, Siri Hustvedt

76. The thirteen lives of Captain Blaubär, Walter Moers

77. Fortuna's smile, Rebecca Gablé

78. Monsieur Ibrahim and the flowers of the Koran, Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt

79. Winnetou, Karl May

80. Désirée, Annemarie Selinko

81. Nowhere in Africa, Stefanie Zweig

82. Garp and How He Saw the World, John Irving

83. Storm Heights, Emily Brontë

84. P.S. I love you, Cecilia Ahern

85. 1984, George Orwell

86. Moonlight tariff, Ildiko von Kürthy

87. Paula, Isabel Allende

88. As long as you're here, Marc Levy

89. It doesn't always have to be caviar, Johanns Mario Simmel

90. Veronica decides to die, Paulo Coelho

91. The chronicler of the winds, Henning Mankell

92. The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov

93. Chess Novel, Stefan Zweig

94. Censure Loans & Wolff, Walter Kempowski

95. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

96. Guilt and Atonement, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

97. The Count of Monte Christo, Alexandre Dumas

98. The puppeteer, Tanja Kinkel

99. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë

100. Red sun, black land, Barbara Wood

The campaign followed the BBC and even more Le Monde, which also surveyed readers on a large scale. What is the value of these lists, are they really the “100 best books” in world literature? Opinions are divided on this (see our series of interviews on the value of leaderboards). But one thing is certain: everyone has found clues for interesting suggestions there and they are a nice addition to the best lists of literary critics and the bestseller lists. In a sense, by the people for the people. And the bottom line? Readers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland like it colorful: Dostojewski can be found in the list as well as Dan Brown, Thomas Mann as well as Cornelia Funke and J. K. Rowling.

Author: Best Books