Welcome to this blog post where I’ll share with you some of the all-time best-selling Brazilian books, including classics of Brazilian literature.
Whether you’re a literature enthusiast or just looking for your next great read, you’re in the right place! Here you’ll also discover some of the top international authors whose books have sold like hotcakes in Brazil, all available for you to read in Portuguese.
So, let’s dive in and explore some of the most beloved and popular books in Brazil’s literary history.
Why reading books in Portuguese should be a part of your language journey
I have recently shared a list of 101 Brazilian podcasts and 101 Brazilian YouTube channels with tips to turn listening to a podcast into a powerful learning experience. But as someone who loves books, I couldn’t tell you about podcasts without talking about books too.
Reading books in the language that you are learning is an essential component of language acquisition. Here are some reasons why:
- Vocabulary Expansion: Reading books in the language that you are learning helps you expand your vocabulary in different topics and become more familiar with the language’s grammar, sentence structure, and idiomatic expressions. Additionally, observing words and expressions in their proper context not only helps you understand their correct usage but also helps you retain them.
- Exposure to Local Phrases and Colloquialisms: Reading books in the language that you are learning also exposes you to the native phrases and colloquialisms that are commonly used in everyday conversations. This can help you sound more natural and fluent when speaking the language.
- Cultural Insights: Reading Brazilian authors can also provide you with valuable cultural insights. Through literature, you can learn more about the country’s history, customs, and traditions, which can help you better understand the language and the people who speak it.
- Enhanced Comprehension: Reading books in the language that you are learning can also enhance your comprehension skills. Especially now, in the era of audiobooks, as you read and listen, you will further develop a sense of the language’s rhythm, tone, and pronunciation, which can improve your ability to understand spoken language.
If you are interested in textbooks to learn Portuguese…
This blog post is about literary works, not textbooks.
In a previous blog post, I discussed some popular textbooks used for learning Portuguese and weighed their pros and cons. By breaking down the strengths and weaknesses of each textbook, I aimed to provide readers with a clearer understanding of which book might be the best fit for their learning style and goals.
I also have an article in which I show you a different approach to learning Portuguese: reading short stories that are specifically designed for language learners. Unlike traditional textbooks, these stories provide an engaging and enjoyable way to practice reading and comprehension skills. Each story is tailored to a specific level of proficiency, so learners can gradually work their way up to more complex texts. So, if you’re looking for a fun and effective way to learn Portuguese, be sure to check out my post on short stories for language learners.
The Alchemist and Beyond: Is Paulo Coelho Brazil’s Best-Selling Author?
I asked the following question to an AI tool, which I am calling Dona Sabida: “What are the top 5 Brazilian best-selling books of all time?”
She then listed 5 books by Paulo Coelho. I was shocked!
I like Paulo Coelho but I was not happy to see all 5 Brazilian best-selling books by one author when Brazil has so many incredible writers.
Additionally, I don’t think this information is correct. In fact, I later did some more AI asking around and found different answers.
Therefore, you will find different lists here, including Brazilian authors and foreign books that are best-sellers in Brazil (translated to Portuguese, of course). So, keep reading.
But before I share the AI lists with you, I have disclaimers:
- I have not fact-checked the AI lists.
- I have not read all these books.
- The links provided below are affiliate links. When you make a purchase using one of these links, I make a small commission from Amazon.com. This does not affect how much you pay for the book.
Here are the Paulo Coelho books that the AI listed as all-time Brazilian best-sellers:
- O Alquimista, de Paulo Coelho – in English and in Portuguese
- A Bruxa de Portobello, de Paulo Coelho – in English and in Portuguese
- O Demônio e a Srta. Prym, de Paulo Coelho – in English and in Portuguese
- O Monte Cinco, de Paulo Coelho – in English and in Portuguese
- Diário de um Mago, de Paulo Coelho – in English and in Portuguese
Have you read Paulo Coelho? I’d love to know how you liked it.
The only book that I’ve read by Paulo Coelho is O Alquimista. I may have read another one, but don’t remember which, so it doesn’t really count, right?
Best-selling Brazilian literature classics
I read most of these books in high school, and now I am wondering if these Brazilian literature classics are still required reading in school. I hope they are!
Reading the classics of Brazilian literature is an excellent way to practice Portuguese and gain valuable insights into both the language and culture. However, it is important to note that these books were written in a different time period, and therefore some of the vocabulary, sentence structure, and style may not be commonly used today, which can make it more challenging.
By reading these classics, not only will you improve your language skills, but you will also gain a deeper understanding of the historical and cultural context in which they were written. So, don’t be discouraged by the potentially outdated language. In my humble opinion, the benefits of reading these literary masterpieces far outweigh the challenges.
I highly recommend at least being familiar with the names of classic Brazilian writers and having a basic understanding of their works. While it may not be necessary to read every classic of Brazilian literature, having some knowledge of the authors and their most famous books can greatly enrich your language learning experience. It also allows you to engage in conversations about Brazilian culture and literature with native speakers, showing your interest and appreciation for their heritage.
So, even if you don’t plan on reading every classic work of Brazilian literature, I encourage you to explore the names and works of some of the most famous authors and their contributions to the cultural landscape.
There are multiple versions of these books available on Amazon. I made an effort to provide links to Brazilian Portuguese editions.
- Dom Casmurro, de Machado de Assis
- Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas, de Machado de Assis
- A Moreninha, de Joaquim Manuel de Macedo
- Grande Sertão: Veredas, de João Guimarães Rosa
- Capitães da Areia, de Jorge Amado
- Vidas Secas, de Graciliano Ramos
- Macunaíma, de Mário de Andrade
- O Guarani, de José de Alencar
Best-selling international authors in Brazil
This is an interesting list with well-recommended books.
If you have any of these books in English, it is a good idea to read it in Portuguese. Some of my clients like to compare language structures and observe how words and sentences are translated.
- Bom Dia, Verônica, de Andrea Killmore
- A Sutil Arte de Ligar o F*da-se, de Mark Manson (this one has been in my wish list for a while)
- O Milagre da Manhã, de Hal Elrod
- A Coragem de Ser Imperfeito, de Brené Brown (also in my wish list)
- Mulheres Que Correm Com os Lobos, de Clarissa Pinkola Estés (I’d like to read this one too!)
- O Pequeno Príncipe, de Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
I love O Pequeno Príncipe so much that I have different editions of it, both here and in Brazil. Did you know that it has been translated to over 505 different languages and dialects worldwide, according to Wikipedia? Still per Wikipedia, it is the second most translated work ever published, second only to the Bible.
I hope you find something you like in this article. Pease share your personal recommendations in the comments. I am sure it will be helpful to other readers.
Here’s to many enjoyable hours of reading!