30 Classics to Read Before 30

In my 30 Before 30 list I made last year, I mentioned I wanted to read 100 more books in seven years. I’ve already read probably more than 50, so I’m in good shape to make that goal (full update coming after my birthday later this month), but I wanted to make it more interesting by incorporating more classics into my reading.

This post was in collaboration with Fiona from Questions From a Teenager. Her post outlines classics you have to read, perhaps between both our posts readers can make up their own reading lists!

I didn’t just mindlessly add the most well-known classics, I looked at synopses and reviews to find the ones I’d actually read and enjoy! Here are 30 classic books I want to read before I’m 30 in t-minus six years:

  1. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  2. The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
  3. The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien
  4. The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien
  5. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien: Okay, call it cheating to make LoTR 13% of this list, but I’m really excited to read them all. Not to mention my dad already owns them all.
  6. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
  7. Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs: Although there are several of these books, I’d like to start with just one.
  8. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller: I (my grandma) already owns this one.
  9. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho: I remember reading this in my senior year of high school and liking it, I’m sure I’ll appreciate it even more now. I (my grandma) already owns this one.
  10. All Quiet On the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
  11. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey: I bought this just a few weeks ago, I’m especially keen for this one, too.
  12. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  13. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  14. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  15. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  16. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  17. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  18. 1984 by George Orwell: I tried to read this earlier this year and couldn’t get into it for the second time. Now it’s just principle I have to finish it, damn it.
  19. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  20. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  21. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
  22. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  23. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury: Like 1984, I DNF’ed this one a few years ago too. Let’s see how it has aged…
  24. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas: I adore the movie and even though the book is really long, I’m excited to give it a go.
  25. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  26. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  27. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  28. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton: I read both this and Brave New World in middle school and didn’t have any strong opinions about it but am eager to try again.
  29. The Call of the Wild by Jack London: Puppy!
  30. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Again, bit shout out to Fiona for having the patience to work with me and for creating a lovely complementary post on her own blog.

Which of these classics are your favorites?

Photo by Bundo Kim.



  1. A. Charlene
    April 22, 2019 / 7:57 pm

    I love to read and you listed my ALL-TIME favorite book: Gone With The Wind. I know I read it more than once. The movie was a classic too but dated.

    • rachelwuest
      April 24, 2019 / 6:44 pm

      My grandma thinks her books are fine, but doesn’t add up to modern thrillers. But I look forward to giving her work another try!

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