The best 26 Nobel books

Embark on a journey to discover the brilliance and impact of Nobel laureates through this book list. From groundbreaking scientists to literary masters, these individuals have made immense contributions that have shaped our world.
Explore their inspiring stories, the ideas that won them the prestigious Nobel Prize, and the lasting legacies they've left behind. Whether you're interested in science, literature, peace, or economics, this collection offers a fascinating glimpse into the minds of the greatest achievers of our time.

The best 26 Nobel books
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1
Nobel Books: The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Remains of the Day

Kazuo Ishiguro
4.1 (106 ratings)
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What's The Remains of the Day about?

The Remains of the Day (1989) features one of contemporary literature’s most unforgettable narrators, Stevens, a butler who reminisces on his life in service at one of England’s stately homes in the years leading up to World War II. 

Who should read The Remains of the Day?

  • Fans of contemporary literature
  • History lovers interested in a literary take on the interwar years in England
  • Period drama devotees seeking a look at life in a stately home

2
Nobel Books: As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

As I Lay Dying

William Faulkner
4.1 (7 ratings)
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What's As I Lay Dying about?

As I Lay Dying (1930) centers on the arduous journey of the Bundren family to bury their mother, Addie, in her hometown. The story’s uniqueness lies in its delivery through the perspectives of fifteen different characters, subtly unraveling the family’s complex dynamics and individual struggles. 

Who should read As I Lay Dying?

  • Lovers of American literature
  • Fans of complex, multi-character narratives
  • Readers interested in family dynamics and individualism

3
Nobel Books: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go

Kazuo Ishiguro

What's Never Let Me Go about?

Never Let Me Go (2005) by Kazuo Ishiguro is a haunting and thought-provoking novel that delves into themes of love, loss, friendship, and the ethical implications of science. Set in a dystopian world, the story follows three friends who discover the unsettling truth about their existence and are forced to confront their fate. Ishiguro's beautiful prose and deep exploration of humanity make this a must-read.

Who should read Never Let Me Go?

  • Readers who enjoy thought-provoking and emotionally resonant stories
  • Those interested in exploring ethical and philosophical questions about human life and identity
  • People who appreciate a blend of literary fiction and speculative elements

4
Nobel Books: Dear Life by Alice Munro

Dear Life

Alice Munro

What's Dear Life about?

Dear Life is a collection of short stories by Alice Munro that delves into the complexities of human relationships and the moments that shape our lives. With her signature style, Munro weaves together tales of love, loss, and self-discovery, offering a poignant reflection on the experiences that make us who we are.

Who should read Dear Life?

  • Fans of short stories and literary fiction
  • Readers interested in exploring the complexities of human nature
  • Those who appreciate insightful and beautifully crafted narratives

5
Nobel Books: Doctor Zhivago by Manya Harari, Boris Pasternak

Doctor Zhivago

Manya Harari, Boris Pasternak

What's Doctor Zhivago about?

Doctor Zhivago is a classic novel by Boris Pasternak that tells the story of Yuri Zhivago, a physician and poet, during the Russian Revolution and its aftermath. Set against the backdrop of political and social upheaval, the book explores themes of love, loss, and the struggle for individual freedom. It is a timeless tale of human resilience and the power of the human spirit.

Who should read Doctor Zhivago?

  • Readers who enjoy historical fiction set during the Russian Revolution
  • Those with an interest in exploring themes of love, war, and the human spirit
  • People who appreciate beautifully written and deeply immersive novels

6
Nobel Books: The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

The Gulag Archipelago

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

What's The Gulag Archipelago about?

The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn is a powerful and harrowing account of the Soviet Union's forced labor camp system. Through personal stories and meticulous research, Solzhenitsyn exposes the brutality and injustice of the Gulag, shedding light on a dark chapter of history that must not be forgotten.

Who should read The Gulag Archipelago?

  • Readers looking to understand the history and impact of the Soviet Gulag system
  • Individuals interested in exploring themes of oppression, resilience, and the human spirit
  • Those who appreciate thought-provoking and meticulously researched non-fiction

What's The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis about?

The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis is a thought-provoking novel by Jose Saramago that explores themes of mortality, existentialism, and political change. Set in 1936 Lisbon, the story follows Ricardo Reis, a fictional character created by Fernando Pessoa, as he grapples with the transient nature of life and the uncertainty of the future. Blending history with fiction, Saramago delivers a captivating narrative that challenges our perceptions of reality and the passage of time.

Who should read The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis?

  • Readers who enjoy philosophical and introspective literature
  • Those interested in exploring the complexities of human existence and mortality
  • People who appreciate lyrical and thought-provoking writing

8
Nobel Books: Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro

Too Much Happiness

Alice Munro

What's Too Much Happiness about?

Too Much Happiness is a collection of short stories by Alice Munro that delves into the complexities of human emotions and relationships. From tales of love and loss to unexpected moments of joy, Munro weaves together captivating narratives that explore the depths of the human experience.

Who should read Too Much Happiness?

  • Readers who enjoy thought-provoking and emotionally resonant short stories
  • Individuals who appreciate exploring complex and multifaceted characters
  • Those with an interest in examining the complexities of human nature and the pursuit of happiness

What's Life and Times of Michael K about?

Life and Times of Michael K by J. M. Coetzee is a thought-provoking novel that delves into the complexities of human existence. Set in a war-torn South Africa, it follows the journey of a simple man named Michael K as he navigates through a world filled with hardship and adversity. Through Michael K's story, the book explores themes of resilience, freedom, and the innate desire for a sense of belonging.

Who should read Life and Times of Michael K?

  • Readers who are interested in exploring the complexities of the human experience
  • Those who enjoy introspective and thought-provoking narratives
  • Individuals who appreciate literary fiction that delves into social and political themes

10
Nobel Books: Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw, Arthur Atwood

Pygmalion

George Bernard Shaw, Arthur Atwood

What's Pygmalion about?

Pygmalion is a classic play by George Bernard Shaw, first published in 1912. It tells the story of a professor who makes a bet that he can transform a working-class woman into a lady by teaching her how to speak and act like a member of the upper class. The play explores themes of social class, identity, and the power of language.

Who should read Pygmalion?

  • Individuals interested in the complexities of social class and language
  • Readers who enjoy thought-provoking and witty plays
  • People looking to explore themes of personal transformation and identity

11
Nobel Books: The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing

The Golden Notebook

Doris Lessing

What's The Golden Notebook about?

The Golden Notebook is a groundbreaking novel by Doris Lessing that delves into the complexities of female identity and the societal expectations placed upon women. Through the story of writer Anna Wulf, the book explores themes of politics, love, and mental health, challenging traditional narrative structures along the way. It is a thought-provoking and influential work that continues to resonate with readers.

Who should read The Golden Notebook?

  • Readers who enjoy complex and multi-layered narratives
  • Individuals interested in exploring the inner thoughts and struggles of a female protagonist
  • Those who appreciate insightful and thought-provoking reflections on social and political issues

12
Nobel Books: Rue des Boutiques Obscures by Patrick Modiano

What's Rue des Boutiques Obscures about?

Rue des Boutiques Obscures is a novel by Patrick Modiano that delves into the mysterious past of a man named Guy Roland. As he retraces his steps and investigates his own life, he uncovers a web of secrets and identities. Set in the dark alleys of Paris, this book explores themes of memory, identity, and the blurred lines between reality and fiction.

Who should read Rue des Boutiques Obscures?

  • Readers who enjoy introspective and thought-provoking narratives
  • Those interested in exploring themes of memory, identity, and the passage of time
  • People who appreciate rich and atmospheric writing that captures the essence of a place and time

13
Nobel Books: The Pearl by John Steinbeck

The Pearl

John Steinbeck

What's The Pearl about?

The Pearl by John Steinbeck tells the story of a poor Mexican diver named Kino who discovers a valuable pearl. Believing it will bring his family a better life, Kino soon finds himself in a desperate struggle against greed, envy, and violence. The novella explores themes of wealth, power, and the corrupting influence of material possessions.

Who should read The Pearl?

  • Those interested in exploring themes of wealth and its corrupting influence
  • Readers who enjoy literary works with rich symbolism and social commentary
  • People looking for a thought-provoking and emotionally engaging narrative

14
Nobel Books: Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck

Travels with Charley

John Steinbeck

What's Travels with Charley about?

Travels with Charley is a travel memoir by John Steinbeck, detailing his road trip across America with his poodle, Charley. Published in 1962, Steinbeck takes readers on a journey filled with insightful observations, encounters with diverse individuals, and reflections on the changing landscapes and society of the United States.

Who should read Travels with Charley?

  • Curious individuals who enjoy travel and exploration
  • Lovers of classic literature and non-fiction
  • People who are interested in gaining insights into the diverse landscapes and people of America

15
Nobel Books: Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett

Waiting for Godot

Samuel Beckett

What's Waiting for Godot about?

'Waiting for Godot' by Samuel Beckett is a timeless classic that delves into the themes of existentialism, the meaning of life, and the concept of waiting. Through the absurd and thought-provoking conversations between its main characters, Estragon and Vladimir, the play challenges our perceptions and invites us to reflect on the human condition.

Who should read Waiting for Godot?

  • Curious individuals who enjoy exploring the meaning of life and existence
  • Open-minded readers who appreciate thought-provoking and unconventional narratives
  • Those interested in the theater of the absurd and unconventional forms of storytelling

16
Nobel Books: For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Ernest Hemingway

What's For Whom the Bell Tolls about?

For Whom the Bell Tolls is a novel by Ernest Hemingway that takes place during the Spanish Civil War. It follows the story of an American protagonist, Robert Jordan, who is fighting for the Republican side. The book explores themes of love, honor, and the futility of war, and is known for its powerful and evocative writing style.

Who should read For Whom the Bell Tolls?

  • Readers who enjoy immersive and intense war narratives
  • Those interested in exploring the complexities of human nature and morality during wartime
  • Individuals who appreciate Hemingway's distinct writing style and impactful storytelling

17
Nobel Books: Flights by Olga Tokarczuk, Jennifer Croft

Flights

Olga Tokarczuk, Jennifer Croft

What's Flights about?

Flights by Olga Tokarczuk is a thought-provoking novel that weaves together multiple narratives centered around the theme of travel. Through a series of interconnected stories, the book explores the human desire for movement and the search for meaning in our journeys. It offers a unique perspective on the concept of travel and the interconnectedness of people and places.

Who should read Flights?

  • Avid readers who enjoy unique and unconventional storytelling
  • Travel enthusiasts curious about the interconnectedness of human experiences
  • Individuals with a keen interest in exploring themes of movement, migration, and the transient nature of life

What's Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage about?

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (2001) is a collection of short stories by Alice Munro that delves into the complexities of human relationships. Through her masterful storytelling, Munro explores the themes of love, betrayal, and redemption, offering a poignant and insightful reflection on the intricacies of the human heart.

Who should read Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage?

  • Readers who enjoy layered and intricately woven narratives
  • Those interested in exploring the complexities of human relationships
  • Individuals who appreciate subtle and nuanced storytelling

19
Nobel Books: The Grass Is Singing by Doris Lessing

The Grass Is Singing

Doris Lessing

What's The Grass Is Singing about?

The Grass Is Singing by Doris Lessing is a powerful novel that delves into the complexities of race, class, and gender in colonial Africa. Set in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), it tells the story of Mary Turner, a white woman trapped in a loveless marriage on a remote farm. As tensions build and relationships unravel, the novel explores the destructive effects of societal expectations and the deep-seated prejudices that ultimately lead to tragedy.

Who should read The Grass Is Singing?

  • Readers who enjoy thought-provoking and challenging literature
  • Those interested in exploring complex themes such as race, identity, and power dynamics
  • Individuals who appreciate deep character studies and nuanced storytelling

20
Nobel Books: Demian by Hermann Hesse

Demian

Hermann Hesse

What's Demian about?

Demian is a thought-provoking novel by Hermann Hesse that delves into the complexities of human existence and the search for self-discovery. Through the story of a young boy named Emil Sinclair, the book explores themes of duality, spirituality, and the struggle to break free from societal norms. It challenges readers to question their own beliefs and perceptions of the world.

Who should read Demian?

  • Explorers of the human psyche and spirituality
  • Readers interested in coming-of-age stories and self-discovery
  • Individuals seeking deeper understanding of their own inner struggles and conflicts

21
Nobel Books: Cannery Row by John Steinbeck

Cannery Row

John Steinbeck

What's Cannery Row about?

Cannery Row (1945) is a novel by John Steinbeck that takes place in a rundown area of Monterey, California during the Great Depression. It tells the story of a group of colorful characters who live and work in the area, focusing on their everyday lives and relationships. Through Steinbeck's vivid descriptions and poignant storytelling, the book explores themes of friendship, community, and the human spirit.

Who should read Cannery Row?

  • Readers who enjoy character-driven stories and vividly drawn settings
  • Those interested in exploring the lives and struggles of ordinary people
  • Individuals who appreciate a mix of humor and poignant observations about human nature

22
Nobel Books: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, Robert C. Evans

The Old Man and the Sea

Ernest Hemingway, Robert C. Evans

What's The Old Man and the Sea about?

The Old Man and the Sea, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Ernest Hemingway tells the story of an aging Cuban fisherman named Santiago, who struggles with a giant marlin in the Gulf Stream. Filled with themes of struggle, resilience, and the nature of mankind, it is a timeless classic that explores the relationship between man and the natural world.

Who should read The Old Man and the Sea?

  • Readers who enjoy literary classics and timeless stories
  • Those interested in themes of perseverance, resilience, and the human spirit
  • People who appreciate insightful exploration of the relationship between man and nature

23
Nobel Books: Blindness by Jose Saramago, Giovanni Pontiero

Blindness

Jose Saramago, Giovanni Pontiero

What's Blindness about?

Blindness by Jose Saramago is a thought-provoking novel that explores a world struck by a sudden epidemic of blindness. As society crumbles and the government struggles to maintain control, a group of strangers bands together to survive in a world of darkness. This gripping and haunting story delves into the depths of human nature and the resilience of the human spirit.

Who should read Blindness?

  • Readers who enjoy thought-provoking and philosophical novels
  • Those who are interested in exploring the darker aspects of human nature and society
  • People who appreciate unique and unconventional writing styles

24
Nobel Books: Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich, Keith Gessen

Voices from Chernobyl

Svetlana Alexievich, Keith Gessen

What's Voices from Chernobyl about?

Voices from Chernobyl is a haunting oral history book by Svetlana Alexievich that gives voice to the survivors and witnesses of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Through a series of interviews, the book reveals the untold stories of those affected by the catastrophe, offering a deeply personal and harrowing account of one of the worst man-made disasters in history.

Who should read Voices from Chernobyl?

  • Individuals interested in the human impact of major disasters
  • Readers who enjoy firsthand accounts and oral history
  • Those who want to gain a deeper understanding of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and its aftermath

25
Nobel Books: Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann

Buddenbrooks

Thomas Mann

What's Buddenbrooks about?

Buddenbrooks (1901) follows four generations of the Buddenbrook family as they navigate the changing social and economic landscape of 19th-century Germany. Thomas Mann's debut novel delves into themes of decay, tradition, and the inevitable decline of a once-powerful family, offering a poignant reflection on the passage of time and the complexities of human existence.

Who should read Buddenbrooks?

  • Readers who enjoy historical fiction and exploring the decline of a wealthy family
  • Those interested in German literature and the portrayal of societal changes
  • People who appreciate complex character development and psychological insights

26
Nobel Books: Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez, Gregory Rabassa

Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Gabriel García Márquez, Gregory Rabassa

What's Chronicle of a Death Foretold about?

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez is a gripping and thought-provoking novel that delves into the complexities of honor and fate. Set in a small Colombian town, it tells the story of a young man's predestined death and the chain of events that lead up to it. With lyrical prose and a nonlinear narrative, the book explores themes of guilt, justice, and the blurred lines between truth and perception.

Who should read Chronicle of a Death Foretold?

  • Readers who enjoy mystery and suspense
  • Those interested in exploring themes of honor and justice
  • People who appreciate lyrical and evocative writing

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 FAQs 

What's the best Nobel book to read?

While choosing just one book about a topic is always tough, many people regard The Remains of the Day as the ultimate read on Nobel.

What are the Top 10 Nobel books?

Blinkist curators have picked the following:
  • The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Dear Life by Alice Munro
  • Doctor Zhivago by Manya Harari, Boris Pasternak
  • The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis by Jose Saramago
  • Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro
  • Life and Times of Michael K by J. M. Coetzee
  • Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw, Arthur Atwood

Who are the top Nobel book authors?

When it comes to Nobel, these are the authors who stand out as some of the most influential:
  • Kazuo Ishiguro
  • William Faulkner
  • Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Alice Munro
  • Manya Harari, Boris Pasternak