10 Essential Classics – Have You Or Would You Read Them?


I follow Penguin Classics on Twitter, and not too long ago, I discovered they tweeted about a list of 10 Essential Classics.  I took a look at this list and found myself to be quite surprised with the books that made the list.  While they came up with their own list, some readers apparently weren’t very happy.  Since I’ve made it a point, over the course of about the last three years, to invest a lot of my time reading the classics, I thought I would talk about this list a bit.  Here are the books that were voted on by readers as the 10 Essential Classics:

  1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  2. Hamlet – William Shakespeare
  3. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
  4. The Odyssey – Homer
  5. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
  6. Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare
  7. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
  8. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
  9. Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
  10. The Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer

Now, I can honestly say I’ve read four out of these ten books.  Those books are:  Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Great Expectations, and Little Women.  These books I read either while I was in college or in high school.  One of the books that appears on this list, Pride and Prejudice, is included as one of the books that I have set as a goal to read this year.  Which, if you haven’t seen that post yet, you can read it here.  That post explains what I’m trying to accomplish with my reading this year and is definitely worth a look.

I attempted to read The Odyssey late last year after I finished reading The Iliad.  I just really couldn’t get into it very much for some reason.  It’s definitely a book I’m going to tackle again soon, just don’t know when that will be.  Regarding The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, this book was in the news not too long ago, and I wrote a post about it, which you can read here.  Obviously there is quite a bit of controversy with this particular book, and I’m definitely going to read it at some point.  If I manage to accomplish my reading goals early this year, this book will definitely be one of the first ones I tackle.

For the past year, I’ve been intrigued with tackling Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, but I just haven’t been able to bring myself to read it yet.  I’d like to, it’s on the list, but with so many other books that I’d much rather read before I tackle this one.  Now Brontë is a completely different story.  I’ve never really had too much interest in reading either Emily or Charlotte’s works.  I know my wife has read Jane Eyre and she seemed to enjoy it.  Me, on the other hand, might need to have my head examined before I tackled either Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights.  Although, with that being said, I’ll probably end up tackling them at some point, I’m just not sure as to when.

What do you think of this list?  How many have you read or are willing to read?  Or, do you think readers have the list totally wrong?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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About Jeremy

Husband, book lover, Civil War Buff. If I could read for a living I would, but unfortunately, it doesn't pay the bills!

6 Responses to “10 Essential Classics – Have You Or Would You Read Them?”

  1. Read ’em all – but, then, I was an English major 🙂

    • With as much as I love to read, there are days where I ask myself why I wasn’t an English major. Probably because I thought it would’ve taken the fun out of reading for me or something. Or maybe it was all the papers… But gee, there were days where I wondered if I wasn’t getting a major in English with as many papers as I had to write as a history major! 🙂

  2. I have read all of those except the Odessey. I looked at it once, and I don’t think I will be looking at it again for a very very long time!

    • I found that The Iliad wasn’t particularly easy to read, and I think my mistake was trying to tackle The Odyssey immediately afterward. That’s probably why I wasn’t able to get into it very much. Hopefully sometime soon I’ll be able to pick it up again and try to read it.

  3. I’ve read 1, 2, 5, 8, and 9.

    Wuthering Heights is erroneously considered a romance. It’s actually a study of the creation of a monster — sort of like Shelley’s Frankenstein. Jane Eyre is one of my favorite novels, but Charlotte is the most romantic of the Brontes. Her sister Anne is the realist. Emily was a bit nuts, but I like her, a lot.

    P&P is a love story, though a good one. I’m thinking I’ll prefer Sense and Sensibility which is a debate.

    (I saw you like Civil War battlefields. Me too! I’m fascinated with that era in history.)

    Soon, I hope, I’ll read 3, 4, 6, 7, and 10.

    • I’ve never actually read Wuthering Heights. If it’s like the creation of a monster, I might definitely be interested in it because all this time I thought it was a romance novel.

      I know we have a copy of Jane Eyre in the house, but I haven’t read it yet. My wife has been trying to talk me into reading Pride and Prejudice for the last couple of years. This year, I’m finally going to tackle it. We have all of Jane Austen’s novels here at home, so it’s probably only a matter of time before I tackle it.

      Regarding Civil War battlefields, I think like isn’t a strong enough word! 🙂 Living in northern Virginia, I have access to so many battlefields, not only here in VA, but in MD and Gettysburg is a little more than an hour up the road!

      Thanks so much for coming by!

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