Thursday, 13 January 2011


A comment I got from Bronwyn on my last blog entry made me reflect, once again, on how few of the "classics" (i.e. novels everyone thinks you should have read long ago, and gasps in horror when you tell them you haven't even read them recently) I have actually read.

I looked up a list of "classic" novels, and found this page: 1000 novels everyone must read: the definitive list.

I went through the entire list, and these are the ones I have indeed read:

  1. Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
  2. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 - Sue Townsend
  3. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
  4. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
  5. Emma - Jane Austen
  6. Persuasion - Jane Austen
  7. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë
  8. Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë
  9. Neuromancer - William Gibson
  10. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J.K. Rowling
  11. The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
  12. The Sword in the Stone - T.H. White
  13. Everything Is Illuminated - Jonathan Safran Foer

And now the list of those books I know I've read at least some of, but can't remember actually finishing:

  1. The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco
  2. White Noise - Don DeLillo
  3. Animal Farm - George Orwell

And those books I never got to the end of, in spite of writing English essays on them and getting excellent marks:

  1. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
In other words, of 1000 supposedly classic novels that everyone should have read, I've read 13 for sure, and bits and pieces of another 4 (some of those I may have read completely, but I can't be sure). Wow. I've got some work to do if I want to be a well-adjusted human being. Hehe.

Incidentally, this list would have been a lot shorter if I hadn't made it a mission in 2009 to finally read some Jane Austen (and the Brontës).

I did find some other items in the list that I vaguely recall having read or maybe started reading, but my uncertainty made me leave them off the lists.


  1. I was an English major and had many literature classes. I am positive I haven't even read half od the list. I get my feathers ruffled when someone tells me what I have to read, though. Outside of school, I mean. I love when people make suggestions, though. I just don't like being looked down upon if I haven't read one of the 'must' books. :)

  2. Yeah, I majored in English too (along with History), but apparently not in the classics. lol. Then again some of the books we had to read WERE on this list, i.e. "White Noise". But there is also a distinct lack of Australian content on this list, and naturally as an Australian student the focus was often on Aussie authors :)

  3. :D I'm glad I could inspire such a post!

    And that list reminds me, I probably should go see how many of the classics I've read as well

  4. I would like to see your list! :)

  5. Oh man . . . these lists kill me. I've read about 5% of the books on that list.

  6. That's way more than I've read. :P


Thanks for your words, me hearties! and don't forget to leave a link to your blog somewhere I can find it!