101 Classics to Get You Started

A Reading List for Literary Explorers

Antique Books
Liam Quin/Wikimedia Commons

So many books, so little time. Anyone, novice or expert, who is interested in reading classic literature might feel overwhelmed by the number of works categorized as "Classics." So, where should you get started?

The list below contains 101 works spanning multiple countries and subjects. It is meant to be a "get started" or "find something new" list for anyone on their own personal classic reading quest.

Text Author
The Count of Monte Cristo (1845) Alexandre Dumas
The Three Musketeers (1844) Alexandre Dumas
Black Beauty (1877) Anna Sewell
Agnes Grey (1847) Anne Brontë
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848) Anne Brontë
The Prisoner of Zenda (1894) Anthony Hope
Barchester Towers (1857) Anthony Trollope
The Complete Sherlock Holmes (1887-1927) Arthur Conan Doyle
Dracula (1897) Bram Stoker
The Adventures of Pinocchio (1883) Carlo Collodi
A Tale of Two Cities (1859) Charles Dickens
David Copperfield (1850) Charles Dickens
Great Expectations (1861) Charles Dickens
Hard Times (1854) Charles Dickens
Oliver Twist (1837) Charles Dickens
Westward Ho! (1855) Charles Kingsley
Jane Eyre (1847) Charlotte Brontë
Villette (1853) Charlotte Brontë
Sons and Lovers (1913) D.H. Lawrence
Robinson Crusoe (1719) Daniel Defoe
Moll Flanders (1722) Daniel Defoe
Tales of Mystery & Imagination (1908) Edgar Allan Poe
The Age of Innocence (1920) Edith Wharton
Cranford (1853) Elizabeth Gaskell
Wuthering Heights (1847) Emily Brontë
The Secret Garden (1911) Frances Hodgson Burnett
Crime and Punishment (1866) Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Brothers Karamazov (1880) Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Man Who Was Thursday (1908) G.K. Chesterton
The Phantom Of The Opera (1909-10) Gaston Leroux
Middlemarch (1871-72) George Eliot
Silas Marner (1861) George Eliot
The Mill on the Floss (1860) George Eliot
The Diary of a Nobody (1892) George and Weedon Grossmith
The Princess and the Goblin (1872) George MacDonald
The Time Machine (1895) H.G. Wells
Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) Harriet Beecher Stowe
Walden (1854) Henry David Thoreau
The Aspern Papers (1888) Henry James
The Turn of the Screw (1898) Henry James
King Solomon's Mines (1885) Henry Rider Haggard
Moby Dick (1851) Herman Melville
The Odyssey (circa 8th C. BC) Homer
The Call of the Wild (1903) Jack London
Last of the Mohicans (1826) James Fenimore Cooper
Emma (1815) Jane Austen
Mansfield Park (1814) Jane Austen
Persuasion (1817) Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice (1813) Jane Austen
Pilgrim's Progress (1678) John Bunyan
Gulliver's Travels (1726) Jonathan Swift
Heart of Darkness (1899) Joseph Conrad
Lord Jim (1900) Joseph Conrad
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1870) Jules Verne
Around the World in Eighty Days (1873) Jules Verne
The Awakening (1899) Kate Chopin
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) L. Frank Baum
Tristram Shandy (1759-1767) Laurence Sterne
Anna Karenina (1877) Leo Tolstoy
War and Peace (1869) Leo Tolstoy
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) Lewis Carroll
Through the Looking-Glass (1871) Lewis Carroll
Little Women (1868-69) Louisa May Alcott
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) Mark Twain
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) Mark Twain
Frankenstein (1818) Mary Shelley
Don Quixote of La Mancha (1605 & 1615) Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Twice-Told Tales (1837) Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Scarlet Letter (1850) Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Prince (1532) Niccolò Machiavelli
The Four Million (1906) O. Henry
The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) Oscar Wilde
The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) Oscar Wilde
The Metamorphoses (circa 8 AD) Ovid
Lorna Doone (1869) R. D. Blackmore
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886) Robert Louis Stevenson
Treasure Island (1883) Robert Louis Stevenson
Kim (1901) Rudyard Kipling
The Jungle Book (1894) Rudyard Kipling
Ivanhoe (1820) Sir Walter Scott
Rob Roy (1817) Sir Walter Scott
The Red Badge of Courage (1895) Stephen Crane
What Katy Did (1872) Susan Coolidge
Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891-92) Thomas Hardy
The Mayor Of Casterbridge (1886) Thomas Hardy
Utopia (1516) Thomas More
Rights of Man (1791) Thomas Paine
Les Misérables (1862) Victor Hugo
The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. (1819-20) Washington Irving
The Moonstone (1868) Wilkie Collins
The Woman in White (1859) Wilkie Collins
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1600) William Shakespeare
As You Like It (1623) William Shakespeare
Hamlet (1603) William Shakespeare
Henry V (1600) William Shakespeare
King Lear (1608) William Shakespeare
Othello (1622) William Shakespeare
Richard III (1597) William Shakespeare
The Merchant of Venice (1600) William Shakespeare
The Tempest (1623) William Shakespeare
Vanity Fair (1848)

William Thackeray

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Your Citation
Burgess, Adam. "101 Classics to Get You Started." ThoughtCo, Sep. 7, 2021, thoughtco.com/classics-to-get-you-started-738945. Burgess, Adam. (2021, September 7). 101 Classics to Get You Started. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/classics-to-get-you-started-738945 Burgess, Adam. "101 Classics to Get You Started." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/classics-to-get-you-started-738945 (accessed May 30, 2023).