Classic Books That Everyone Has Read— But I Have Not

We have all seen those pins on Pinterest that claim to contain the Top 100 books that every human being should read before they die, or those “30 Books Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lives” lists we stumble upon whilst scrolling through the internet at 3 am in the morning. Those kinds of lists also exist on bookshop tables where well-heard-of book titles are stacked near the entrance of the shop so eager readers are more inclined to slow down their pace to skim through the titles and mentally check off the books that they have already read.

Of course being an avid reader myself, I have proudly checked a couple classic books off of that list; examples include ‘The Great Gatsby’, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, ‘Animal Farm’, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, ‘Charlotte’s Web’,’ Little Women’, etc. However, there is still quite an exhaustive list of classics that I have not read or even heard of.

What makes a book worthy of being included in one of these lists? Is it due to popularity? The underlying theme or message of the narrative? Could it have been because it challenged boundaries at the time that led to the betterment of society, thus becoming a beacon of influential change?. Whatever the reason may be, those books are on those lists for a reason and I want to find out why. I’m not the type to pick up a book because of the hype around it, nor am I more likely to read a book just because it’s listed on one of these “lists”. However, these books seem to be the exception.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov


I heard a couple of high schools put ‘Lolita’ on their reading lists, and I know of a couple of friends and acquaintances who have read and even recommended ‘Lolita.

We all know the premise of this novel and the reputation it holds. It’s about an older man who becomes quite obsessively lusts after his new wife’s very young daughter. This concept alone should turn people away, but it seems like it hasn’t.I know what I’m getting myself into once I read the book. However, I am curious about what makes this book a “classic” that despite it’s taboo themes, it is so renowned that even some high schools have chosen to have it as required reading for class.

I think one day, I’ll find the time (and the mindset) to pick this book up and read it, but for now it will be sitting nicely on this list.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett 

Secret Garden - Godine, Publisher

I grew up reading ‘Anne of Green Gables’ by L. M. Montgomery, and the ‘Rainbow Magic’ Series. Even though I did enjoy reading when I was younger, I had piano lessons and ballet rehearsals that took up whatever time I had left after school thus my time for reading was limited. Now I have made it a goal to start reading some of the children’s classics that I was not able to read growing up just to make up for the time I could’ve spent reading instead of practicing my Pirouette.

‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett is a children’s classic that I have on my wish list to purchase and on my ‘TBR” on Goodreads. I have heard it is quite similar to ‘Anne of Green Gables’ so I think I would’ve loved the story as a little girl.

1984 by George Orwell


I know, I know- shame on me for not having read 1984. This was never on the list of books we had to read for school so I never really got around to it.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens


Another highly recommended classic book by friends. Apparently this novel contains everything I could ever want in a book: love and sacrifice. I also don’t think I have ever read a book written by Charles Dickens, so this might be my first introduction to his writing– If I were to ever read it of course.

However, have you seen the size of those books– 400+ pages! I am not sure I am ready to dedicate a lot of time for a classic novel that long, plus I am already struggling with Pride and Prejudice as it is.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley


Thrillers and Crime/Mystery novels are my favourite genres of all time and these novels take up about 60% of my entire reading preference, so it kind of baffles me why I never took a liking towards Horror novels. However, I do enjoy a good, gory horror movie once in a while.

‘Frankenstein’ by Mary Shelley is an age-old, horror classic that most of my friends have read during their GCSEs. I did not take my GCSEs in the UK; therefore I have not read Frankenstein, and my friends love to rub it in my face that I am the only one in our friend group that has yet to read this gothic classic. However, it is on my wish list so maybe in the near future things will change.

What popular classics do you have on your ‘have-not-read-yet’ list? Have you read any of the books in this list? Let me know in the comments below!

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