The List of Books

First of all, a disclaimer.  I have primarily chosen books with which I was somewhat familiar at the outset of the project.  This means that this list is absolutely not a valid representation of world literature.  It is completely skewed in the direction of Western civilization and the literature thereof.  I am aware of this and I have decided that for this project, I'm okay with this.  Also, these books do not necessarily represent my own personal views, as they were chosen not to influence my beliefs but for the influence they have had historically and culturally on parts of the world.  And lastly, this list, as any such list must be, is incomplete.  There are hundreds more books that could easily have made this list and yet they have not, for the simple reason that there is just not sufficient space.

N.B. Some of the books on this list are called by slightly different titles in different places and I am attempting to fix any that are incorrect.

In progress
Completed (clicking on the book will link to the first blog post about this book)

The complete list in alphabetical order:

1984 by George Orwell
2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
The Aeneid by Virgil
Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Common Sense by Thomas Paine
The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Dead Souls by Nikolai Golgi
Diary of Samuel Pepys by Samuel Pepys
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
The Histories by Herodotus
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
A History of the English-Speaking Peoples by Winston Churchill
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Iliad by Homer
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontё
The Lady of the Lake by Sir Walter Scott
The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes
The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. by James Boswell
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Lysistrata by Aristophanes
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian
Middlemarch by George Eliot
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allen Poe
Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglas, an American Slave by Fredrick Douglas
The Odyssey by Homer
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
On the Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud
On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksander Solzhenitsyn
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Paradise Lost by John Milton
Persuasion by Jane Austen
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come by John Bunyan
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli
Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel David Coleridge
Rip van Winkle by Washington Irving
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
A Room with a View by E.M. Forster
The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Silas Marner by George Eliot
Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
The Story of my Life by Helen Keller
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Lewis Stevenson
Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carre
The Trial by Franz Kafka
Ulysses by James Joyce
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriett Beecher Stowe
Undaunted Courage by Steven Ambrose
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
War and Peace by Tolstoy
Watership Down by Richard Adams
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte


  1. This is quite a list! How did you decide what to include in it? Were you inspired by any other lists - like the BBC 100 books everyone should read list? I'm curious which classic books you've already read. I love classics myself! I've read 16 of the ones on your list. You've inspired me to post up a list on my blog one of these days of books I'd like to read. Good luck with your project. I'm sure I'll check back and see how it's coming along.

    1. Hi wxroz! Thanks for visiting! I was absoluteley inspired by other lists, both professional ones (like the BBC's and TIME magazine's) and personal ones I found around the web. Mainly I chose books I was previously familiar with but hadn't read. I tried to get a smattering of time periods represented and I tried not to put too many books by the same authors (Jane Austen made the list three times but she's the exception). As far as classics I've already read, I've read all of Shakespeare's stuff (which is why he's not on the list) and I've read a bunch of others: some Dickens, Anna Karenina,Angela's Ashes, Animal Farm, Lord of the Rings, and many children's classics, just to name a few.

      I'm looking forward to seeing you here more, and don't forget you can like the project on Facebook and follow it on Twitter if you haven't already!


    2. Hi Anna,
      Thanks for the reply, and for visiting my blog! I will have to check out the TIME magazine list, as I haven't seen that one yet. What did you think of Anna Karenina? I haven't read the Lord of the Rings series yet, but that's going to be my goal for next year. This year I read the Chronicles of Narnia. I'm actually not on facebook or twitter, but thanks for the heads up!

    3. I loved Anna Karenina! I haven't seen the movie but the book is sooo long and so in depth that I don't know how on earth they're going to even begin to fit it into a feature length movie.

      The TIME magazine list is newer books only (last 100 years or so), I think, but still a lot of good ones.

    4. I liked Anna Karenina, but I didn't love it. I think because I didn't love the main character that much. I much prefer War and Peace!

      I've seen the 2000 miniseries of Anna Karenina, and it was pretty good. I can't wait to see the new movie that's coming out (or already did come out?) this year. Even though I'm not a fan of Keira Knightley, I like some of the other cast members. They might have to hack the plot a bit to fit it in to a reasonable time length... it should be interesting!

      I checked out the TIME magazine list, but I didn't realize it was books published after 1923! Usually I don't like books published after 1900. :) So there are a few I want to read on the list, but not too many.

    5. Next one could be ;Karamazov Brothers.I have already read most of your list.I prefer Everyman Classics hardcover editions.Gives more pleasure of reading than e-readers.

    6. Hello! Thanks for stopping by the blog! I think I might read Brothers Karamozov next, actually. I actually really like reading on e-readers, plus I can get most of the books for free, so that's a plus! Otherwise this project would probably get expensive!

  2. Good luck with your list, I'm excited for you for having so many excellent books still to enjoy! (And some, I'm sure, which will be horrible for you.)

    1. Thanks! I'm not expecting to enjoy all the books but I think I will like most of them!

  3. Hi Anna -
    I keep looking over your list and seeing all of these great books that I've never read. I'm thinking I might start a list to start in the New Year. Thanks for the inspiration to read the classics!

    1. Thanks Carrie! I'm glad I'm an inspiration! Happy Christmas!

  4. I counted that I've read about 40 on your list. Some I probably wouldn't care for, but it will be an interesting project. You really ought to add 'Vanity Fair' to the list and delete another.

  5. Hi Anna! Just checking to see how you're doing on your reading? I haven't seen any updates in quite some time!
    Hope everything is good on your end!