Reading Through the Classics List - WEM

*DISCLAIMER: I would love to say I can read all of these books in an amazingly fast amount of time, but I have a feeling this is going to be a drawn out challenge taking many, many years. I want to focus on quality of reading over quantity & speed of reading, at least with these particular books.*

While going through some homeschooling blogs, I was really excited to find women who were working their way through The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had. Since classical education is one of my focuses, I was thrilled when I saw their in-depth, yet fun studies of literature throughout history. My favorite blog is: A Classic Case of Madness. These women are hilarious!

The author of The Well-Educated Mind recommends reading chronologically & by genre, starting with Novels, then Auto/biographies, Histories, Dramas, & finally Poetry. This is with the intent that the reader will master how to analyze & work through the different literary genres by focusing on one at a time, with the difficulty of analysis increasing with each genre.

I am feeling quite intimidated by this task, but am also really excited. I just hope that I can slow down enough to go through these literary studies for the correct reasons instead of just checking them off a list as I tend to do.

Feel free to join me in any reads that interest you!

Any books with a * next to them are not on the official WEM list. I just couldn't stand to read some that were listed, so I put in some of my own that may or may not stay on this list.


1. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
2. The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
6. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
8. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
10. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
11. Moby-Dick; or, The Whale by Herman Melville
12. Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
14. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
15. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
16. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
17. The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
18. The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
19. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
20. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
21. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
22. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
23. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
24. The Trial by Franz Kafka
28. Native Son by Richard Wright
29. The Stranger by Albert Camus
31. 1984 by George Orwell
33. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
35. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez
38. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
39. If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino
40. White Noise by Don DeLillo
41. Possession by A.S. Byatt

Auto/biography & Memoir

1. Confessions by Augustine of Hippo
2. The Life of Saint Teresa of Ávila by Herself
3. The Complete Essays by Michel de Montaigne
4. Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners by John Bunyan
5. Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
6. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
7. Walden by Henry David Thoreau
8. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs
9. Life and Times of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglas
10. Ecce Homo by Friedrich Nietzsche
11. Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington
12. The Story of My Experiments With Truth by Mahatma Gandhi
13. *Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
14. *Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
15. The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton
16. Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis
17. The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956 by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
18. The Autobiography of Malcolm X
19. Journal of a Solitude by Mary Sarton
20. *Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
21. The Road from Coorain by Jill Ker Conway
22. *Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
23. All Rivers Run to the Sea by Elie Wiesel


1. The Histories by Herodotus
2. The Peloponnesian War by Thucydides
3. The Republic by Plato
4. *The Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle
5. Lives, Vol 1 by Plutarch
6. City of God by Augustine of Hippo
7. Ecclesiastical History of the English People by Bede
8. The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli
9. Utopia by Thomas More
10. The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
11. Common Sense by Thomas Paine
12. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Volume I by Edward Gibbon
13. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft
14. Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville
15. The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
16. The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy by Jacob Burckhardt
17. The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois
18. Queen Victoria by Lytton Strachey
19. The Great Crash of 1929 by John Kenneth Galbraith
20. Longest Day: The Classic Epic of D Day by Cornelius Ryan
21. A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara W. Tuchman
22. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era by James M. McPherson
23. A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich 


1. Agamemnon by Aeschylus
2. Oedipus the King by Sophocles
3. Medea by Euripides
4. The Clouds / The Birds by Aristophanes
5. Poetics by Aristotle
6. Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe
7. Richard III by Shakespeare
8. A Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare
9. Hamlet by Shakespeare
10. A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen
11. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
12. The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekov
13. Saint Joan by George Bernard Shaw
14. Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot
15. Long Day's Journey Into Night by Eugene O'Neill
16. No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre
17. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
18. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
19. A Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt
20. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard
21. Equus by Peter Shaffer

Poetry (only reading selections from complete collections)

1. The Epic of Gilgamesh
2. The Iliad & The Odyssey by Homer
3. Sappho: A New Translation by Sappho
4. The Complete Odes and Epodes by Horace
5. Beowulf
6. Inferno by Dante Alighieri
7. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
8. The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
9. Shakespeare's Sonnets
10. Poems: John Donne
11.The Book of Psalms from King James Bible
12. Paradise Lost by John Milton
13. Songs of Innocence and Experience by William Blake
14. Poetry of William Wordsworth
15. Poems: Samuel Taylor Coleridge
16. Poems: John Keats
17. Alfred Tennyson's Poetry
18. Poems: Walt Whitman
19. Poems: Emily Dickinson
20. Poems: Christina Rossetti
21. The Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins
22. Poems: W.B. Yeats
23. The Collected Poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar
24. The Poetry of Robert Frost
25. Poems: Carl Sandburg
26. Poems: William Carlos Williams
27. The Waste Land and Other Poems by T.S. Eliot
28. Poems: Langston Hughes
29. Poems: W.H. Auden