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The 21 Best-selling Books of All Time


20
Lolita – 50 million
A group of London bookstore customers eagerly read "Lolita" as they wait to check out.
A group of London bookstore customers eagerly read "Lolita" as they wait to check out.
Keystone/Getty Images

This controversial novel by Vladimir Nabokov was first published in 1955. It has often been banned due to the nature of its subject matter – it concerns a man, Humbert Humbert, who develops a sexual relationship with his 12-year-old stepdaughter. Despite its lurid premise, the novel does have its champions: Time named it one of the 100 best novels ever published since the magazine's 1923 debut [source: Grossman].