Who says that a bestseller list must necessarily consist of books of questionable quality intended for most readers? Wikipedia’s list of the 20 best-selling novels in the world is conclusive proof that this topic is a myth.
It consists of very different books, written at different times, in different languages and in different cultures, but they have one thing in common: they have sold millions of copies .
And while it is true that most books in English , the best-selling novel in the world and by a wide margin wins, it is very close to us. As much as its narrator would like to remember where in La Mancha it takes place.
Don Quixote de la Mancha
Published in 1605, Don Quixote de la Mancha took several centuries to become the world’s best-selling novel with an estimated circulation of 500 million copies. Although there are no exact figures, most historians agree that the title belongs to Miguel de Cervantes’ book. It is also estimated that 690 different editions have been published and translated into 140 different languages and linguistic varieties.
A Tale of Two Cities , Charles Dickens
The action of Charles Dickens’ novel is set against the backdrop of London and Paris during the French Revolution. The former symbolizes calm, simple and orderly life; while the latter symbolizes turmoil, challenge and chaos. This conflict between the two worlds at a time when radical social change is being proclaimed is second on the list: with 200 million copies sold . since its publication in 1859
The Lord of the Rings , J.R.R. Tolkien
“The Lord of the Rings is the best-selling work written in the 20th century in the world. The trilogy written by J.R.R. Tolkien has sold 150 million copies and is on this list with all of his books together, not just one in isolation. It is an epic fantasy story that was born as a sequel to his previous novel, The Hobbit, but ended up being a story of much greater scope and expansion. It has had many radio and film adaptations, the most popular of which is the adaptation by New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson.
The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery
” considered by Le Monde The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, first published in 1946 , one of the five best books of the 20th century in France . It also became the most translated book written in French. It is available in more than 250 languages and dialects, and 140 million copies have been sold. It is a short novel with profound observations about life, accompanied by watercolor drawings by Exupery himself.
The Hobbit , J.R.R. Tolkien
“The Hobbit” is Tolkien’s work exploring the mythological world that later made him famous. It was first published in Britain in 1937, and because of its success and good reviews, publishers asked the writer to write a sequel to what eventually became The Lord of the Rings . It sold more than 100 million copies in various languages.
A Dream in the Red Chamber, Cao Xueqin
A Dream in the Red Chamber is one of the masterpieces of Chinese literature. Prior to its publication in 1791, the novel circulated in manuscript copies under various titles. It is a semi-autobiographical work reflecting the rise and fall of Cao Xueqing’s own family and, by extension, the Qing dynasty. It is known for its detailed observation of the life and social order of the Chinese aristocracy of the 18th century . His sales are estimated at 100 million copies.
Ten Negroes , Agatha Christie
published in 1939, Ten Negroes A novel by Agatha Christie ” became the best-selling detective novel in history . In it, ten people receive letters signed by an unknown Mr. Owen, who offers them a few days in a mansion on an island. Due to its enormous success, it has had many film, television, radio, and theater adaptations. It sold 100 million copies.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland , Lewis Carroll
Only 23 copies of the first edition of Alice in Wonderland, dating from 1865, remain, of which 17 belong to various libraries and the rest are in the private collections of some readers. In 1998, one was auctioned off for a whopping $1.5 million and has been translated into numerous languages, including Esperanto. Its sales are estimated at more than 100 million copies.
The Chronicles of Narnia
“The Chronicles of Narnia” is a heptalogy of books for teenagers written in the 1950s by British C. S. Lewis. It tells of adventures in said land of fantasy and magic, populated by talking animals and other mythological creatures. “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” is his first book. Its sales are estimated at about 85 million copies.
Ella , Henry Rider Haggard
” Ella ” is a fantasy novel that begins a tetralogy starring Aisha, “the one to be obeyed” and who seems to have found the secret of eternal youth. Henry Rider Haggard was a great storyteller of fantasy and adventure literature. In 1887 he published Ella, which immediately became a bestseller. Since then, generations of readers have continued to be fascinated by his story until some 83 million copies were sold .
The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown
Dan Brown’s detective novel was first published in 2003 and became an international bestseller. Translated into 44 languages, The Da Vinci Code has sold 80 million copies . The novel is the second in a trilogy in which Robert Langdon is the protagonist and blends detective suspense, esotericism, and conspiracy theories.
Catcher in the Rye , J. D. Salinger
“Catcher in the Rye” is the most famous novel by the American writer J. D. Salinger. In his country, when it was published in 1951, the novel caused much controversy because of its provocative language and its overt depiction of teenage sexuality and anxiety. To date, more than 60 million copies have been sold , and 250,000 copies of the book are sold each year .
The Alchemist , Paulo Coelho
Written by Brazilian Paulo Coelho in 1988, The Alchemist is one of the most translated novels in the world in 80 different languages and has been published in 170 countries. It tells the story of Santiago, a young Andalusian shepherd who travels from his homeland to the Egyptian desert in search of a hidden treasure in the pyramids. A testament to the transformative power of dreams and the importance of listening to the heart. It has sold 65 million copies worldwide .
Heidi , Johanna Spirey .
Swiss writer Johanna Spiri created the famous Orphan Girl of the Alps in 1880. It was originally published in two parts, Heidi and Heidi Again . However, subsequent editions combined the two novels into a single volume, and it was in this format that it became one of the most widely read books of Swiss literature in the world . Some 50 million copies were sold.
Anne of Green Mezzanines , Lucy Maude Montgomery
“Anne of the Green Mezzanines” was published as a novel for all ages, but in recent decades it has come to be considered a children’s book. Written in 1908 by Canadian Lucy Maude Montgomery, it tells the story of the life of Anne Shirley, an orphan girl who, through her creative and lively character, dazzles all the inhabitants of a small fictional fishing village set in the early 20th century. Its sales are estimated at 51 million copies .