Books Read (Classic Literature)

A selection of classics I’ve read through the years, organized first by author, then by date read (most recently read books at the bottom of each listing).

Alcott, Louisa May

  • Little Women
  • Little Men

Alighieri, Dante

Austen, Jane

  • Sense and Sensibility
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Emma
  • Mansfield Park
  • Northanger Abbey
  • Persuasion
  • Love and Freindship [sic]

Barrie, J. M. 

Baum, L. Frank

Benson, Robert Hugh

Bierce, Ambrose

  • “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”

Boyle, Frederick

Bronte; Charlotte, Emily, and Anne

  • Jane Eyre
  • Wuthering Heights
  • Villette
  • Shirley
  • Agnes Grey
  • The Professor

Brown, Charles Brockden

Browning, Robert

Burnett, Frances Hodgson

  • The Secret Garden
  • A Little Princess (abridged)

Capote, Truman

Carroll, Lewis

Chekov, Anton

Chesterton, G. K.

Christie, Agatha

  • Miss Marple
    • The Thirteen Problems
    • The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side
    • A Caribbean Mystery
    • Nemesis
    • 4.50 from Paddington, or What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw!
    • The Body in the Library
    • A Murder is Announced
    • They Do It with Mirrors, or Murder With Mirrors
    • A Pocket Full of Rye
    • At Bertram’s Hotel
    • The Moving Finger
    • The Murder at the Vicarage
    • Sleeping Murder
  • Tommy and Tuppence
    • N or M?
    • By the Pricking of My Thumbs
    • The Secret Adversary
    • Postern of Fate
    • Partners in Crime
  • Hercule Poirot
    • The Murder of Roger Acroyd
    • Death on the Nile
    • Curtain
    • Thirteen At Dinner, or Lord Edgware Dies
    • The ABC Murders, or Alphabet Murders
    • The Murder on the Links
    • Elephants Can Remember
    • Cards on the Table
    • Murder on the Orient Express, or Murder in the Calais Coach
    • Hercule Poirot’s Christmas,or Murder for Christmas, or Holiday for Murder
    • Hercule Poirot’s Casebook (short stories)

•    Poirot Investigates
•    Dead Man’s Mirror
•    The Regatta Mystery
•    The Labors of Hercules
•    Three Blind Mice
•    The Under Dog
•    Double Sin

    • Third Girl
    • Poirot Loses a Client, or Dumb Witness
    • Evil Under the Sun
    • The Hollow, or Murder After Hours
    • Funerals Are Fatal, or After the Funeral
    • Crooked House
    • Hickory Dickory Dock, or Hickory Dickory Death
    • Peril at End House
    • Mrs. McGinty’s Dead
    • The Mystery of the Blue Train
    • The Patriotic Murders, or One, Two, Buckle My Shoe, or An Overdose of Death
    • There is a Tide, or Taken At the Flood
    • Dead Man’s Folly
    • Murder in Three Acts, or Three Act Tragedy
    • Death in the Air, or Death in the Clouds
    • The Big Four
  • The Witness for the Prosecution
  • And Then There Were None, or Ten Little Indians
  • The Harlequin Tea Set and Other Mysteries
  • Ordeal by Innocence
  • The Pale Horse
  • The Mysterious Mr Quin

Cicero, Marcus Tullius

Collins, Wilkie

  • The Woman in White – skim read

Collodi, Carlo

  • Pinocchio

Conrad, Joseph

Cooper, James Fenimore

Corbeau, Adrien Le

Crane, Stephen

  • The Red Badge of Courage

Dickens, Charles

  • Great Expectations
  • Oliver Twist
  • Nicholas Nickleby
  • Martin Chuzzlewit
  • The Old Curiosity Shop
  • Our Mutual Friend
  • A Tale of Two Cities
  • “Hunted Down”

Dickinson, Emily

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor

Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan

  • Sherlock Holmes
    • A Study in Scarlet
    • The Sign of Four
    • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
    • The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
    • The Hound of the Baskervilles
    • The Return of Sherlock Holmes
    • His Last Bow
    • The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes
    • Two Parodies by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

•    The Field Bazaar
•    How Watson Learned the Trick

  • The Complete Brigadier Gerard
  • The Refugees
  • The White Company
  • Sir Nigel
  • Professor Challenger
    • The Lost World
    • When the World Screamed
    • The Disintegration Machine
    • The Poison Belt

Dumas, Alexandre

  • The Tale of the Nutcracker

Du Maurier, Daphne

  • Rebecca

Eliot, George

  • Silas Marner

Endo, Shusaku

Faulkner, William

Fitzgerald, F. Scott

Forester, C. S.

  • Horatio Hornblower
    • Mr. Midshipman Hornblower
    • Lieutenant Hornblower

Forster, E. M.

Gaskell, Elizabeth

  • North & South

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins

  • “The Yellow Wallpaper”

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von

Golding, William

Grossmith, George

  • The Diary of a Nobody

Haggard, H. Rider

Hardy, Thomas

  • Far From the Madding Crowd

Hawthorne, Nathaniel

Hemingway, Ernest

  • The Old Man and the Sea
  • The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories (Read all of them except “The Snows of Kilimanjaro,” “Fifty Grand,” and “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber.”)

Henty, G. A.

  • In Freedom’s Cause
  • In the Reign of Terror
  • Under Drake’s Flag
  • Winning His Spurs

Hoffmann, E. T. A.


  • The Odyssey

Ibsen, Henrik

  • An Enemy of the People

Irving, Washington

Ishiguro, Kazuo

Jerome, Jerome K.


Kafka, Franz

Kierkegaard, Søren 

Kipling, Rudyard

Krzhizhanovsky, Sigizmund

  • Memories of the Future

Lindsay, Joan

Lee, Harper

Leroux, Gaston

  • The Phantom of the Opera

Lewis, C.S.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth

London, Jack

Machiavelli, Niccolo

Márai, Sándor

Marryat, Captain Frederick

  • Percival Keene

Melville, Herman

Miller, Arthur

Montgomery, Lucy Maud

  • Anne Shirley
    • Anne of Green Gables
    • Anne of Avonlea
    • Anne of the Island
    • Anne of Windy Poplars, or Anne of Windy Willows*
    • Anne’s House of Dreams
    • Anne of Ingleside
    • Rainbow Valley
    • Rilla of Ingleside*

*Am 98% sure I read these.  It was so many years ago, I don’t much remember. 

More, Sir Thomas

Nordoff, Charles; and Hall, James Norman

  • The Bounty Trilogy

O’Connor, Flannery

Orczy, Baroness Emmuska

  • The Scarlet Pimpernel
  • El Dorado

Orwell, George

  • “Shooting an Elephant”
  • 1984

Poe, Edgar Allan

Pólya, George

Pushkin, Alexander

Rand, Ayn

Robida, Albert

Salten, Felix

  • Bambi: A Life in the Woods

Scott, Sir Walter

  • Ivanhoe


  • Letters from a Stoic

Shakespeare, William

  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Hamlet
  • Macbeth

Shaw, George Bernard

  • Too True to be Good

Shelley, Mary and Percy

  • Frankenstein

Shiga, Naoya

  • The Paper Door and Other Stories

Stevenson, Robert Louis

Stoker, Bram

Sun Tzu

Tolkien, J. R. R.

Tranströmer, Tomas

Turgenev, Ivan

Twain, Mark

  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  • Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc
  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court


Verne, Jules

Wallace, Lew

  • Ben-Hur

Wallis, Velma

  • Two Old Women

Wells, H. G.

  • The Time Machine
  • Short Stories
    • The Flowering of the Strange Orchid
    • In the Avu Observatory

Wharton, Edith

Wilde, Oscar

Wodehouse, P. G.

Woolf, Virginia

Wordsworth, William

Yonge, Charlotte Mary

  • The Heir of Redclyffe

Zamyatin, Yevgeny

Zola, Émile

"My Kinsman, Major Molineux"

Fields Hawthorne Ticknor ca1863 byJWBlack
Portrait of James Thomas Fields (1817-1881),
Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864),
and William Davis Ticknor (1810-1864).

Over on Instagram, I’d mentioned I’ve been getting into Hawthorne’s short stories again.  He’s a favorite author of mine, and when I read the collection Twice Told Tales (already five years ago, wow!), I was blown away by the craft of his shorter works.  I finally broke down and bought the complete Tales and Sketches, and for my first reading chose “My Kinsman, Major Molineux,” one of the more famous ones.

The story is set up simply enough: a young man and clergyman’s son, Robin, sets out one day to seek his fortune.  More specifically, he leaves the countryside and arrives in Boston in order to get in touch with Major Molineux, a relative who had once offered to help him get started in life.

It’s a dark, gloomy night in Boston.  Robin goes from door to door, inquiring for his kinsman.  Everyone laughs at him, while he wanders through the streets looking for at least one towns-person who will listen to him seriously.  Finally, he meets a man who tells him to wait by the church, because Major Molineux will soon arrive.  Shortly after, Robin hears the voices of a crowd in the next street.  When they at last turn the corner, he is unprepared for what he sees.

For such a simple, subtle buildup, this story ends with a punchline I was not expecting.  I’ve left out the ending to avoid spoilers, but in short, it was disturbing.  At the same time, this twist opens up the story to a larger realm of questions, just as it closes this peek into Robin’s life.  This is what makes Hawthorne’s style so powerful, even as it seems fairly conventional on the surface.

Have you read any of Hawthorne’s short stories, and if so, what are your favorites?