Top 12 Free Online Books to Read For Adults

You have probably searched for free online books to read for adults but couldn’t tell which is the most suitable for you. In this article, we have listed 12 free online books in the hope that you find what you should be reading as an adult and what you shouldn’t.

For adults, reading is undoubtedly the best form of relaxation there could ever be. Finding the best book to read is as stressful as reading the wrong one. If you open your search bar and key in “free online books to read for adults”, you are more likely going to see a bunch of romance and erotic novels exclusively written for adults.

More often than not, these are not what you are looking for. You probably want to immerse yourself in a different world. Where the protagonist isn’t some teenage kid worrying about a friend who is getting on their nerves, or the perfect dress for prom.

You want stories that will resonate with you. Stories where the main characters are going through situations that you have been through, stories that will send your adult mind racing back and forth, stories where you feel seen and heard.

This is where adult books come in. We have curated this list for you to have a glimpse of adult books in different genres. Here, you have been given options to choose from. We hope you find something that will not only engage you but also satisfy you at the end.

Let’s get into it!


Why do we Read Books for Adults?

Let’s be sincere, there’s no comparing between Children’s books, Young Adult books, and Adult books. Each category has been written with a target audience in mind.

While teenagers may read books meant for adults, and adults, books meant for teenagers, you cannot match the feeling that comes with everyone reading what’s meant for them. It makes the whole reading process a lot more fun, and the book easy to flow with.

Adults read adult books because the main character(s) is in the same age bracket as them. Whether the story is written in time or is a protagonist’s retrospection, the adult will easily move with the flow because the story that has been written is being told from an adult’s point of view.

But, does this mean books written for middle-aged people are not suitable for old people?

No. Absolutely not. An adult is an adult. Books where the protagonist’s age falls within the bracket of 30-45, can still be read by just any adult. What matters is the depth and character of the story.

What Choice of Book is Good for Grannies?

Another way you can look at this is by checking what your granny would enjoy at that point in their life. For instance, your 75-year-old grandma cannot possibly enjoy erotic books or even horror.

Old people tend more to books that are based on spirituality, family affairs, health, life, death, or even books in the adventure genre. However, this article is not for this purpose.

If you go through the 12 books we have listed, you just might find something that will be good for your granny.

Top 12 Free Online Books to Read for Adults

This list of top 12 free online books to read for adults contain books from multiple genres. The genre of each book will be indicated so you know what you are to expect before reading.

  1. Les Misérables
  2. The Overstory
  3. The Five People you Meet in Heaven
  4. Gone Girl
  5. The Great Gatsby
  6. The Time Traveller’s Wife
  7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  8. A Man Called Ove
  9. Nineteen Eighty-Four
  10. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
  11. The Midnight Library
  12. A Little Life

1. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

The first free online book to read for adults is Less Misérables by David Hugo.

  • Genre: Classics, Historical Fiction
  • Page Count: 1462

Les Misérables translates to English as “The Miserable Ones”, “The Poor Ones” or “The Wretched Ones”, apparently not a happy book.

Les Misérables is a French historical novel by Victor Hugo, considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th century. It follows an escaped convict’s struggles as he experiences injustice, redemption, and love. It explores the history of France in the first half of the nineteenth century. The author takes the reader through the lives of criminals, prostitutes, and the likes, wasting away in poverty in the lowest part of France.

Adapted into a movie, Les Misérables is available on Netflix.

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2. The Overstory by Richard Powers

The next book on the list of free online books to read for adults is The Overstory by Richard Powers.

  • Genre: Literary/Environmental Fiction
  • Page Count: 612

The Overstory is a novel by Richard Powers published in 2018 by W. W. Norton & Company. The book is an environmental fable of nine main characters whose unique life experiences with trees bring them together to address the destruction of forests and so much more.

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3. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

The next book on the list of free online books to read for adults is The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom.

  • Genre: Philosophical/Psychological Fiction
  • Page Count: 194

The Five People You Meet In Heaven is a 2003 novel by Mitch Albom. It follows the life and death of Eddie, an 83-year-old ride mechanic, who gets killed on his birthday by an accident at a seaside amusement park. He wakes up in heaven where he encounters five people who had a significant impact on him while he was alive. They explain his life to him, revisiting their connection to him while he was on earth, and shedding light on the mysteries of his meaningless life.

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4. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

The next book on the list of free online books to read for adults is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

  • Genre: Thriller, Mystery
  • Page Count: 432

Set in North Carthage, Missouri, this book tells the suspenseful story of a couple, Amy and Nick Dunnes.

On the day of their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy goes missing and her husband, Nick Dunne, becomes a prime suspect of her disappearance. The attention garnered by the incident gives rise to a lot of questions about the public’s perspection of the Dunnes family versus what they truly are.

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5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The next book on the list of free online books to read for adults is The Great Gatsby by F. Scoot Fitzgerald.

  • Genre: Tragedy, Historical Fiction, Classic
  • Page Count: 208

The Great Gatsby tells the tragic story of Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire living in a Gothic mansion in West Egg, who was driven by his desire and obsession with a young woman whom he loved and courted in his youth.

The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.

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6. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

The next book on the list of free online books to read for adults is The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.

  • Genre: Science Fiction, Romance
  • Page Count: 546

The Time Traveler’s Wife is a love story about a Chicago librarian, Henry, afflicted with a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel unpredictably, and about Clare, his wife, an artist, who has to cope with his frequent absences after encountering him for the first time as a child.

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7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

The next book on the list of free online books to read for adults is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson.

  • Genre: Crime, Thriller, Mystery
  • Page Count: 465

This is the first book in the Millenium series. The story combines murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue. It is about the disappearance of Harriet Vanger forty years ago which her Octogenarian Uncle, Henrik Vanger, couldn’t seem to get over.

He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist who has just lost a libel case, to investigate the disappearance of Harriet. The girl in the title, however, is not Harriet but Lisbeth Salander, a twenty-four-year-old pierced and tattooed genius computer hacker who comes along and assists Blomkvist with the investigation. Their discovery hit them more than they saw coming.

There is a movie adaptation for this book available on amazon and Showmax. But first, you should see the trailer on YouTube.

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8. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

The next book on the list of free online books to read for adults is Aman Called Ove by Fredrick Backman.

  • Genre: Fiction
  • Page Count: 368

This book tells the story of Ove, a cranky 59-year-old Swedish man who has lost his wife, then his job. Within him and hidden behind his strict exterior, Ove battles with sadness and has even attempted suicide once.

His solitary world gets intruded when a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, a friendship begins to build unexpectedly and Ove’s cranky old life starts to take a good and happy turn. 

This book has been adapted into a movie. You can check it out here.

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9. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

The next book on the list of free online books to read for adults is Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell.

  • Genre: Dystopian/Social Science Fiction
  • Page Count: 328

Themed with totalitarianism, and repressive regimentation of people and behaviors within a certain nation called Oceania, this story takes place in an imagined future, in the year 1984.

Oceania is ruled by an all-controlling party that uses excessive brainwashing techniques to force the population into unthinking obedience to its omniscient leader, Big Brother. The Party controls even the people’s history and goes as far as implementing an invented language called Newspeak, with the sole purpose of preventing political rebellion by eliminating all words related to it.

The book’s hero, Winston Smith, whose daily work is re-writing history, feels frustrated by the oppression and rigid control of the Party, which prohibits free thought, sex, and individuality, and plans to rebel by falling in love.

This book is adapted into a movie.

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10. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The next book on the list of free online books to read for adults is The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

  • Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
  • Page Count: 400

The novel tells the story of reclusive Old Hollywood star Evelyn Hugo, who at age 79 gives a final interview to a struggling journalist, Monique Grant. Informed by her editor that she has been chosen to interview Evelyn, 35-year-old Monique, who is a junior writer at Vivant Magazine feels unsure about why she has to be the one.

As they meet at the actress’s Upper East Side apartment for what was meant to be an interview about fame, scandal, and love, Evelyn informs Monique that she actually wishes her to write her biography, because she has made up her mind to come clean about certain areas of her private life which includes the seven husbands she’d had in the past.

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11.  The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

The next book on the list of free online books to read for adults is The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

  • Genre: Science/Fantasy/Philosophical Fiction
  • Page Count: 304

Matt Haig’s captivating novel The Midnight Library reflects on the boundless prospects of life. It is about a young woman named Nora Seed, who lives an uneventful life that has her feeling extremely unfulfilled.

On the day she ends her life, she finds herself in a place called The Midnight Library where books offer her the possibility to experience her life in various versions by making slightly different choices. 

By searching through the shelves of The Midnight Library, Nora is given the power to choose an alternate life that will let her undo the mistakes of her past life, follow a different career, and so many other unthinkable choices.

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12. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

The next book on the list of free online books to read for adults is A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.

  • Genre: Bildungsroman, Domestic Fiction
  • Page Count: 720

This is a story about four friends from the same college, who move to New York to find greener pastures. There is JB, a quick-witted Painter who wants to make a name in the art world; Willem, who is aspiring to be an actor; Malcolm, an architect working at a reputable firm; and the story’s main focus, Jude, a broken, disabled, traumatized, and self-harming Litigator.

The book opens up to the intense and tragic backstory of enigmatic Jude as he struggles to free himself from the demons of his past. It is full of torture, pain, and excruciating sadness.

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Keep yourself busy with these ones, for now, we will be back in no time with some more enjoyable reads. We hope you are able to pick something off this list for your grannie. If not, feel free to check out these websites listed below for more juicy adult books.

Websites to Find Free Online Books to Read for Adults

  • Manybooks
  • Wattpad
  • Project Gutenberg
  • Read Print
  • Open Library
  • Overdrive
  • All Free Novel
  • Open Culture
  • Wikisource
  • Free Novels Online