10 Interesting Books You Can Read for Free Online

There are plenty of books to read for free online. Project Gutenberg alone has over 60,000 books in its e-library. But with so many options out there, it can be tough to figure out which books are actually going to strike your fancy. Even if the books are free, you’re still investing your time and attention (and most of us don’t have a lot of either to spare)

Here are ten truly interesting books to read online that are well worth your time.

1) Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

The best characters make you feel like you’ve made a real friend by the end of the book, and Anne Shirley is one of the best literary pals you’ll ever have. Elderly siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert expected a boy from the orphanage to help tend their farm. When they get Anne instead, Matthew is instantly charmed by Anne’s intelligence and imagination. Though it takes a little longer, Marilla also eventually comes to adore Anne like a daughter. As you read, you will come to admire Anne’s whimsical personality every bit as much as they do.

Where to read it: Standard eBooks, Internet Archive, Manybooks, Library of Congress, ReadCentral, Google Books, The Literature Network, Project Gutenberg, Page by Page Books, PublicBookshelf, American Literature, Read Print, The Literature Page, Planet eBook

2) The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Though Oscar Wilde produced a great deal of poetry and plays, The Picture of Dorian Gray is his only novel. And what a novel it is! In it, Dorian Gray is the subject of a full-length oil painting by Basil Hallward, an artist enamored of his youth and beauty. Dorian eventually sells his soul so that the painting will grow old while he remains young and beautiful forever. It is a wonderfully written and haunting book. After receiving criticism for the immorality of the book, Wilde also included a fascinating preface that defends the rights of artists and art itself.

Where to read it: Standard eBooks, Internet Archive, Manybooks, ReadCentral, Google Books, The Literature Network, Project Gutenberg, American Literature, Read Print, The Literature Page, Planet eBook

3) The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

While some may view The Secret Garden as a book meant for children, it is the kind of story that can (and should) be enjoyed by readers of all ages. It follows ten-year-old Mary, whose parents have both died of cholera. She’s uprooted from India to dreary England to live with an uncle who seems to want nothing to do with her. But when she discovers the key to a secret garden, she begins to realize that this new life could hold wonders and friendships she’s never experienced before. This is a delightful read that may make you believe in magic, and will definitely make you believe in the power of our relationships with one another.

Where to read it: Standard eBooks, Internet Archive, Manybooks, Library of Congress, Project Gutenberg, Google Books, The Literature Network, Page by Page Books, American Literature, Read Print, Literature Project

4) Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Neverwhere was the first book I ever read by Neil Gaiman. I was somewhat familiar with the author at that point since I had seen the film Stardust—which is based on one of his novels—and enjoyed it. But I was in no way prepared for how much I would adore Gaiman’s fantastical plunge into the London Underground. The world is utterly inventive, smashing gritty and mundane reality up against wild flights of fancy. The characters are also very well-developed and each deserving of their own novels (particularly Hunter, Richard Mayhew’s fierce bodyguard).

You can read this novel for free on Scribd, but you’ll have to finish it within 30 days. After that, your subscription will cost $9.99 a month.

Where to read it: Scribd

5) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

I believe I was around nine or ten years old when I first read Jane Eyre. That may sound like an early age to be tackling a classic novel, but I ended up enjoying it immensely. I promise it wasn’t because I was an especially precocious child. It’s just a very enthralling story, no matter how old you are. Jane was a kid just like I was at the start of the book—a fierce and determined child who refused to be defeated by her dire circumstances. She also didn’t intend to follow anyone’s will but her own. Once you start reading, you won’t be able to stop until you see where bold Jane’s path in life leads her.

Where to read it: Standard eBooks, Internet Archive, Manybooks, ReadCentral, Google Books, The Literature Network, Project Gutenberg, PublicBookshelf, American Literature, Full Text Archive, Read Print, The Literature Page, Planet eBook

6) Assassin’s Choice by Al Nelson

Assassin’s Choice is an action-packed fantasy novel that follows Runa, a fearsome assassin, as she faces a terrible decision. There’s a traitor in her guild of assassins, and her boss tells her to take him out. Here’s the thing—the traitor is her friend. In fact, he may be the only friend she’s ever had in her grim life as a killer. This story features an intriguing, morally gray protagonist who is forced to choose—can she really kill her friend, or refuse and try to make a run for it from the only life she’s ever known?

The first seven chapters of the novel are available for free online, and you can purchase the whole book for just $0.99.

Where to read it: Fictionate.me

7) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

There is a reason why Pride and Prejudice is Jane Austen’s most famous work, and why it has spawned both a very successful miniseries and film adaptation (not to mention Helen Fielding’s very popular retelling, Bridget Jones’s Diary). Elizabeth Bennet is a bright and clever protagonist who often shows great kindness. But she is not without flaws. She judges Mr. Darcy harshly based on her own prejudices and biases. The reader roots for Elizabeth all the more because of those flaws. She’s not a perfect ingenue up on a pedestal—she’s a human person who proves she’s capable of growth and change.

Where to read it: Standard eBooks, Internet Archive, Manybooks, ReadCentral, Google Books, The Literature Network, Project Gutenberg, PublicBookshelf, American Literature, Full Text Archive, Read Print, Planet eBook, Literature Project, JaneAusten.org

8) The Ephemeral (Book 1: Breeder) by Erica Gallegos

Like Scribd and Fictionate.me, Wattpad is a place where you can read contemporary works for free online. The Ephemeral is a popular fantasy title on the site with 325k reads and 28.2k upvotes. The story follows Alex Kingsley, who is cursed to consume the memories of whatever she touches. It is her destiny to repopulate her nation’s army, and she’s desperate to be free. A tournament to recruit the army’s best candidates gives her a chance to seize that freedom. This novel was a 2020 Watty Winner in the Fantasy category and was featured on Wattpad’s YA Fantasy and Fantastical Adventures reading lists.

Where to read it: Wattpad

9) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Like Pride and Prejudice, Little Women has spawned plenty of successful adaptations. It began with a film in 1917, and there have been countless more movies, TV series, and plays since—including a film released as recently as 2019. When you begin to read the book, you’ll quickly come to understand what has attracted over a century’s worth of filmmakers to the story. Beautiful Meg, willful Jo, sweet Beth, and mischievous Amy are all such well-developed characters that the reader would happily follow them anywhere. We can all see a bit of ourselves in each of them and feel their losses and triumphs like they are our own.

Where to read it: Standard eBooks, Internet Archive, Manybooks, ReadCentral, Google Books, The Literature Network, Project Gutenberg, American Literature, Full Text Archive, Read Print, Planet eBook, Literature Project

10) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is another one of those books that, while it can certainly be enjoyed by children, is a very pleasurable read for adults as well. What better way to decompress is there than to follow Alice down the rabbit hole and into a world of boundless imagination? You can observe as you read how many modern stories can trace their roots back to this classic—those like Coraline by Neil Gaiman, or the film Spirited Away. Whether this would be your first time or you read the book as a child, this is a wonderful book to get lost in.

Where to read it: Standard eBooks, Internet Archive, Library of Congress, Manybooks, ReadCentral, Google Books, Project Gutenberg, American Literature, Full Text Archive, Read Print, The Literature Page, Planet eBook, Literature Project

Author’s Bio: Jillian Karger was born in Ohio but has lived in and around New York City for over a decade. Since graduating from NYU in 2009, Jill has had a long string of jobs doing things like scouting books to be adapted for film and researching trivia questions for “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”.

She has done freelance writing as well for sites like Cracked.com, and had her Twitter jokes featured on BuzzFeed and funnyordie.com. Jill has also self-published two novels on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Jillian-Karger/e/B07B894DNW).

Follow her blog posts about books and writing advice, read books and publish them for free at: https://www.fictionate.me.

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