Your ultimate book list: The 40 books you need to read before you die.

There is no companion like a particularly brilliant book.

Some books have the power to transport you to another world entirely, and once they spit you back out, you find yourself completely changed.

We spoke to dozens of women to compile the ultimate list of books you must read before you die. There are a few classics, but we decided to leave out any of those books people a little bit pretend to have read because they make you sound smart and sophisticated.

Without even necessarily intending to, the list includes an incredibly diverse range of authors and characters – representing a spectrum of human experience.

These books explore themes of sexuality, race, mental illness, disability, the meaning of life, motherhood, love, heartbreak, grief and fear.

Consider this your ultimate checklist.

Just a note: With small businesses doing it especially tough at the moment, consider buying from your local bookshop. To find out more, check out

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Man's Search for Meaning. Image via Amazon.

We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

We Need To Talk About Kevin. Image via Amazon.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

A Little Life. Image via Amazon.

My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

My Brilliant Career. Image via Amazon.

The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

The Slap. Image via Amazon.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

The Secret Life of Bees. Image via Amazon.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Dracula. Image via Amazon.

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables. Image via Amazon.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Color Purple. Image via Amazon.

When You Are Engulfed By Flames by David Sedaris

When You Are Engulfed By Flames. Image via Amazon.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

The Year of Magical Thinking. Image via Amazon.

Night by Elie Wiesel

Night. Image via Amazon.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood. Image via Amazon.

The Shining by Stephen King

Shining. Image via Amazon.

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez

Chronicle of a Death Foretold. Image via Amazon.

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

Revolutionary Road. Image via Amazon.

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Middlesex. Image via Amazon.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Help. Image via Amazon.

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

Angela's Ashes. Image via Amazon.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

The Diary of a Young Girl. Image via Amazon.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. Image via Amazon.

A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf

A Room of One's Own. Image via Amazon.

The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer

The Female Eunuch. Image via Amazon.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies. Image via Amazon.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Image via Amazon.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner. Image via Amazon.

So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

So You've Been Publicly Shamed. Image via Amazon.

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All The Light We Cannot See. Image via Amazon.

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Small Great Things. Image via Amazon.

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Tuesdays with Morrie. Image via Amazon.

Damned Whores and God's Police by Anne Summers

Damned Whores and God's Police. Image via Amazon.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird. Image via Amazon.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar. Image via Amazon.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Image via Amazon.

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

The God of Small Things. Image via Amazon.

The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons

The Bronze Horseman. Image via Amazon.

Middlemarch by George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans)

Middlemarch. Image via Amazon.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale. Image via Amazon.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby. Image via Amazon.

The First Stone by Helen Garner

The First Stone. Image via Amazon.