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150+ Must-Read Classic Books for Adults
Best classic books to read
Classic literature books aren’t usually a “choice of reading” for many of us, including me. Yet there is something extraordinary about seeing those list of “150 classics worth reading” or “100 classics to read before you die” on Pinterest or bookstagram.
I always find myself, skimming through the list to tick some of the classic novels that I might have read, often times about three or four, such as Lord of The Flies, and Pride and Prejudice. Shortly after I always feel excited about the fact that there are still plenty of best classic books to read.
If you’re someone who have only read the Jane Austin classic, Pride and Prejudice and looking for more classic romance novels you’ll be excited to find similar classics novels from this list.
Perhaps you’re into classic dystopian novels for adults like George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and looking for more book of those books. Either way, you’ll love this list of 150+ must-read classic novels to read.
Why should you read classics?
Italian journalist and short story writer, Italo Calvino in his books Why Read the Classics, explains the vital reasons why classic books are essential. According to him, only works of enduring cultural value, but also something much more personal. We understand the world, our history, and the universe through these great works of classic literature. Above all classic books are loved by millions of readers and they mean so much more than stories to them.
Another reason for reading classic novels is that it helps us understand many of our favorite writers’ literary influences.
I remember watching one of the interviews of my all-time favorite author Santa Montefiore. She mentions how the classic book ‘Love In The Time Of Cholera’ influenced her writing.
According to her, renowned author Gabriel García Márquez taught her how to appeal to the readers through senses. And she also notes that it was Elizabeth von Arnim, the author of ‘Enchanted April’, who inspired her to go very deeply into the characters of the books.
If you haven’t read any of Santa Montefiore’s books I highly recommend reading them! Have a look at the book review of one of the recent books The Temptation of Gracie
In this list of must-read classics you’ll be delighted to find many novel that you always wanted read. The best part about this book list is that you can also find some great short classics to read.
Whether you’re looking for best classic books for book clubs or some classic gothic literature to enjoy during the cold season. My list of 150 classic novels have everything you’re looking for. You can also find the published date of each of the classic novels as well.
More reasons to read classic novels:
- Reading classics enhances your Vocabulary.
- You will be a better reader.
- You will be exposed to cultural references.
- You may become an expert in history.
- You are reading something of great value.
What are the best ways to enjoy classic books?
Here are some quick tips to enjoy classic books
- Start with making a list of best classic book to read that you would like to love. For example Victorian classics or Theatre classics.
- Think about genres you love and make the list accordingly.
- List out the movies or TV series which are based on classic literature.
Clueless is really the tale of Jane Austen’s Emma; Easy A is a modern high school retelling of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.
- Have patience and read slowly. This can help you understand the characters better. Go back and reread the sentences if necessary.
- If possible, do a little bit of primary research about the book. For instance, before I started reading books by Bronte sisters, I read briefly about their family, writing, etc.
Now let’s get started with best classic novels that are worth reading in 2022
Must -read list of classics
- Aesop’s Fables by Aesop- 560
- The Odyssey by Homer- 800
- The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer-1390
- Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe- 1719
- Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift-1726
- Paradise Lost by John Milton-1667
- Pride and Prejudice– Jane Austen- 1813
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë 1847
- Great Expectations by Charles Dickens 1861
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë- 1847
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy- 1877
- The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas- 1844
- Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky- 1866
- Dracula by Bram Stoker- 1897
- Moby-Dick or, The Whale by Herman Melville- 1851
- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens – 1859
- Les Misérables by Victor Hugo- 1862
- Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert- 1856
- Middlemarch by George Eliot- 1871
- War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy- 1867
- David Copperfield by Charles Dickens- 1850
- Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad- 1899
- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens- 1843
- The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne- 1850
- Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley- 1818
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain- 1876
- Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy- 1891
- Persuasion by Jane Austen- 1818
- The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle- 1892
- Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens- 1839
- Emma by Jane Austen- 1815
- Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll – 1865
- The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas- 1844
- Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen- 1811
- Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray- 1847
- The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins- 1859
- Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy- 1874
- Bleak House by Charles Dickens- 1853
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde-1890
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain-1875
- The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe -1827
- The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James-1881
- Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson-1882
- The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells- 1897
- The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo-1831
- Black Beauty by Anna Sewell- 1877
- A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen- 1879
- A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle- 1887
- Mansfield Park by Jane Austen- 1814
- The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells- 1898
- The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane-1892
- Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith- 1895
- The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni- 1827
- The Time Machine by H. G. Wells- 1895
- Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy- 1878
- The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy- 1886
- The Children of the New Forest by Frederick Marryat- 1847
- North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell- 1854
- Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens- 1857
- The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins -1868
- Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy- 1895
- Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman- 1855
- 1984 – George Orwell- 1949
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald- 1925
- Catch-22 by Joseph Heller- 1961
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger- 1951
- Animal Farm by George Orwell- 1945
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding – 1954
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood- 1985
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee- 1960
- The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck- 1939
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White- 1952
- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez- 1967
- Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell- 1936
- Ulysses by James Joyce- 1922
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck- 1937
- The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien- 1955
- On the Road by Jack Kerouac- 1957
- Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie- 1981
- The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry- 1943
- The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame- 1908
- Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier- 1938
- Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.- 1969
- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett- 1910
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker- 1982
- Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery- 1908
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury- 1953
- Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden- 1997
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone -J.K. Rowling- 1997
- Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez- 1985
- Watership Down by Richard Adams- 1972
- Beloved by Toni Morrison- 1987
- A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving- 1989
- The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger – 2003
- The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis 1949
- The Call of the Wild by Jack London- 1903
- The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom – 2003
- The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank- 1947
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – 2005
- The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway- 1926
- Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne- 1926
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – 1988
- The Stranger by Albert Camus- 1942
- The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway – 1951
- The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper- 1826
- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith-1943
- The Story of My Life by Helen Keller-1902
- Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen- 1937
- A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway- 1929
- The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka- 1915
- The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle- 1901
- A Room with a View by E.M. Forster- 1908
- The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien- 1937
- I, Robot by Isaac Asimov- 1950
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum- 1900
- The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux- 1909
- Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence- 1913
- The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje- 1992
- The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams- 1945
- The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Bianco- 1922
- King Lear by William Shakespeare-1606
- The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley- 1953
- Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann- 1901
- The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton- 1920
- Another Country by James Baldwin- 1962
- Orlando by Virginia Woolf- 1928
- Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck- 1962
- Perfume by Patrick Süskind- 1985
- Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf- 1925
- Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh- 1945
- Brighton Rock by Graham Greene-1938
- The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales by Edgar Allan Poe- 1960
- American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis- 1991
- The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy- 1905
- One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn- 1962
- A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams- 1947
- The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov- 1967
- Dubliners by James Joyce- 1914
- Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.- 1963
- To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf- 1927
- The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera- 1984
- A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick- 1977
- The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery- 1926
Short classics under 200 page
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- The Pearl by John Steinbeck
- The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
- A Christmas Carol by – Charles Dickens
- Siddhartha by -Hermann Hesse
- Night’by Elie Wiesel
- Letters From A Father To His Daughter by Jawaharlal Nehru
- The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting
- The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
- Bonjour tristesse by Françoise Sagan
If you want to get more short classic book recommendations, check this post – 32 Easy Short Classics You Can Actually Read in One Sitting.
How many classics have you read?
What are some of your favroite from this list of 150+ classics novels that are worth-reading? Do you have any more suggestion for this list.
Always curious to hear from you,
Find more classic books to read from the list
- 24 Cozy Classic Novels You Should Read In Fall 2022
- 32 Easy Short Classics You Can Actually Read in One Sitting
- 19 Multigenerational Family Dramas You’re Going to Love
- 21 Classic Audiobooks You Can Listen For FREE
- 8 Amazing Debuts of Female Writers You Need To Read
- 33 Historical Fiction for your beach bag
- 57 Beach Reads You Won’t Be Able To Put Down In This Summer 2021
Wow. You clearly love reading classics. Just keep reading!
I was surprised that my count was only 61! I have read constantly and (I thought!) widely but clearly inadequately, a situation which I intend to remedy. Fortunately I’m only in my early 60s so have a solid 40 years to remedy the deficit… ♀️
Should be in any list the names of: William Falkner, Patrick White, William Styron, Honore’ de Balzak, Umberto Ecko, Sophokcle,.Classics is intelligent,
high art, and good story writing. It is something you will read more than once and every time you discover new things you didn’t notice in the last time
Love your list! I think I’d have to include Pilgrim’s Progress and at least one book by Louisa May Alcott, but I’d agree with the majority of your selections.
I can’t recommend Phantom of the Opera enough! I’ve met so many people who don’t even realize it is a book!