200 Books by 2030

The Great Books

I’m 41 years old and I’d like to read through 200 of The Great Books by the time I’m 50 (by the year 2030). I’m starting the list below and reading the books in order beginning in 2022.

The Great Books List

My Proposed Reading List

I have generated this list from a variety of sources that are listed below. My plan is to read the books in the order you see them from oldest to newest. A negative number before a year signifies B.C.E. and the others are for C.E.

# Book Author Est. Year Pages
1 The Epic of Gilgamesh -2100 199
2 Writings from Ancient Egypt -2000 384
3 The Rigveda -1500 352
4 Enuma Elish Babylonian -1100 120
5 Iliad Homer -730 683
6 Odyssey Homer -700 592
7 Theogony & Works and Days Hesiod -700 112
8 Aesop’s Fables Aesop -580 352
9 The Oresteia (Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, Eumenides) Asechylus -458 336
10 The Three Theban Plays – Antigone, Oedipus Rex, Oedipus Colonus Sophocles -442 430
11 Prometheus Bound Asechylus -430 160
12 The Histories Herodotus -430 664
13 Lysistrata Aristophanes -411 241
14 History of the Peloponnesian War Thucydides -405 656
15 The Bacchae Euripides -405 432
16 Apology Plato -399 86
17 Comedies Aristophanes -386 352
18 Symposium Plato -385 74
19 The Republic Plato -375 416
20 Rhetoric Aristotle -350 144
21 Politics Aristotle -350 675
22 Nichomachean Ethics Aristotle -340 336
23 Poetics Aristotle -335 160
24 Elements Euclid -300 481
25 Analects Confucius -300 221
26 The Art of Happiness Epicurus -280 251
27 The Book of Chuang Tzu Chuang Tzu -250 352
28 Works Archimedes -220 576
29 On the Nature of Things Lucretius -70 363
30 The Republic and The Laws Cicero -51 288
31 Aeneid Virgil -20 386
32 The History of Rome: Books 1 – 10 Livy -9 880
33 The Bible 0 1,816
34 Metamorphoses Ovid 8 636
35 Letters from a Stoic Seneca 65 254
36 The Jewish War Josephus 90 528
37 Institutes of Oratory Quintilian 95 730
38 Lives Plutarch 100 462
39 Arithmetic Nicomachus 100
40 Almagest Ptolemy 100 712
41 Discourses / Enchiridion Epictetus 108 304
42 Annals Tacitus 110 576
43 Meditations Marcus Aurelius 180 93
44 The Enneads Plotinus 270 688
45 The Bhagavad-Gita in the Mahabharata 300 224
46 Confessions St. Augustine 397 338
47 Selected Letters St. Jerome 400 528
48 The Talmud 400 896
49 The City of God St. Augustine 426 867
50 The Consolation of Philosophy Boethius 523 114
51 The Koran 632 464
52 Beowulf Tolkien Translation 1000 105
53 Arabian Knights 1000 674
54 The Forest of Thieves and the Magic Garden 1000 384
55 The Pillow Book Shōnagon 1002 416
56 Proslogium S. Anselm 1078 88
57 The Song of Roland 1100 208
58 The Guide for the Perplexed Maimonides 1190 484
59 The Saga of the Volsungs 1200 160
60 Njal’s Saga 1200 384
61 Magna Carta 1215 54
62 The Essential Rumi Rumi 1260 281
63 The Tale of the Heike 1330 784
64 The Decameron Boccacio 1350 1,072
65 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 1390 214
66 Canterbury Tales Chaucer 1392 627
67 The Imitation of Christ Thomas à Kempis 1420 100
68 Divine Comedy Dante 1472 541
69 Summa Theologica Thomas Aquinas 1485 1,116
70 In Praise of Folly Erasmus 1511 256
71 Utopia Thomas More 1516 152
72 The 95 Theses Martin Luther 1520 272
73 The Babylonian Captivity of the Church Martin Luther 1520 108
74 Discourses Machiavelli 1531 544
75 The Prince Machiavelli 1532 173
76 Gargantua and Pantagruel Rabelais 1532 312
77 Institutes on the Christian Religion John Calvin 1536 540
78 On the Revolution of the Spheres Copernicus 1543 352
79 The Story of Hong Gildong 1550 128
80 Essays Michael de Montaigne 1580 476
81 The Dark Night of the Soul St. John of the Cross 1580 146
82 Essays Francis Bacon 1597 242
83 Shakespeare’s Comedies* William Shakespeare 1600 1,000
84 Shakespeare’s Tragedies** William Shakespeare 1600 1,000
85 Shakespeare’s Histories*** William Shakespeare 1600 600
86 Sonnets William Shakespeare 1609 154
87 Epitome IV Kepler 1618 254
88 Novum Organum Francis Bacon 1620 124
89 Poems John Donne 1620 736
90 Motion of the Heart and Blood William Harvey 1628 116
91 The Temple George Herbert 1633 336
92 Two New Sciences Galileo Galilei 1638 200
93 Meditations René Descartes 1641 256
94 Leviathan Thomas Hobbes 1651 410
95 Maxims La Rochefoucauld 1665 400
96 The Misanthrope Molière 1666 400
97 Paradise Lost John Milton 1667 624
98 Fables La Fontaine 1668 504
99 Pensées Blaise Pascal 1670 368
100 Theological-Political Treatise Benedict de Spinoza 1670 329
101 Phaedra John Baptiste Racine 1677 50
102 Pilgrim’s Progress John Bunyan 1678 320
103 Oroonoko Aphra Behn 1680 272
104 Rules for the Direction of the Mind Descartes 1684 24
105 Principia Mathematica Isaac Newton 1685 992
106 Second Treatise on Government John Locke 1689 104
107 Treatise on Light Christiaan Huygens 1690 134
108 An Essay Concerning Human Understanding Locke 1690 416
109 Monadology Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz 1714 304
110 Robinson Crusoe Daniel Defoe 1719 258
111 Gulliver’s Travels Jonathan Swift 1726 304
112 Treatise on Human Nature David Hume 1740 444
113 The Theory of Moral Sentiments Adam Smith 1759 494
114 Candide Voltaire 1759 108
115 The Spirit of Laws Montesquieu 1755 315
116 On the Origin of Inequality, Political Economy, The Social Contract Jean-Jacques Rousseau 1762 116
117 The Wealth of Nations Adam Smith 1776 416
118 Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, Constitution Founding Fathers 1776 338
119 The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire Edward Gibbon 1776 2,765
120 Confessions Rousseau 1782 615
121 Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals Immanuel Kant 1785 128
122 The Federalist Papers Hamilton, Jay, Madison 1788 172
123 Elements of Chemistry Lavoisier 1790 640
124 The Interesting Narrative Olaudah Equiano 1790 156
125 Life of Johnson Boswell 1791 343
126 The Two Part Prelude William Wordsworth 1799 82
127 Logic Hegel 1807 386
128 Sense and Sensibility Jane Austen 1811 505
129 Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen 1813 368
130 On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation David Ricardo 1817 167
131 Frankenstein Mary Shelley 1818 252
132 The Great Odes John Keats 1819 540
133 Ivanhoe Sir Walter Scott 1819 569
134 Democracy in America De Tocqueville 1835 452
135 Theory of Parallels Lobachevsky 1840 52
136 Fear and Trembling Kierkegaard 1843 160
137 Political and Economic Manuscripts of 1844 Karl Marx 1844 243
138 The Count of Monte Cristo Alexandre Dumas 1844 1,179
139 Stories Edgar Allen Poe 1845 955
140 Economic Sophisms Frederic Bastiat 1847 180
141 Wuthering Heights Emily Brontë 1847 290
142 Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë 1847 760
143 The Sickness Unto Death Kierkegaard 1849 192
144 David Copperfield Charles Dickens 1850 923
145 The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne 1850 258
146 Essays and Aphorisms Schopenhauer 1851 240
147 Moby Dick Herman Melville 1851 647
148 Uncle Tom’s Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe 1852 637
149 Benito Cereno Herman Melville 1855 108
150 Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert 1856 190
151 Origin of Species Charles Darwin 1859 505
152 A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens 1859 390
153 Great Expectations Charles Dickens 1860 491
154 Capital Karl Marx 1867 429
155 Complete Poems Emily Dickinson 1870 770
156 Middlemarch George Eliot 1871 799
157 Autobiography John Stuart Mill 1873 203
158 Anna Karenina Tolstoy 1877 736
159 The Brothers Karamazov Fyodor Dostoyevsky 1880 729
160 Complete Poems Tennyson 1880 948
161 The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass Frederick Douglass 1881 496
162 The Portrait of a Lady Henry James 1881 362
163 Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain 1884 559
164 Beyond Good and Evil Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche 1886 240
165 Genealogy of Morals Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche 1887 167
166 Twilight of the Idols Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche 1888 208
167 Briefer Course William James 1892 368
168 The Red Badge of Courage Crane 1895 112
169 The Interpretation of Dreams Sigmund Freud 1899 688
170 Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad 1899 106
171 The Everyman Chesterton G.K. Chesterton 1900 899
172 Essays on the Theory of Numbers Richard Dedekind 1901 128
173 The Souls of Black Folk Du Bois 1903 92
174 In Search of Lost Time Marcel Proust 1909 4,211
175 Selected Writings Booker T. Washington 1910 356
176 General Introduction to Psychoanalysis Freud 1916 178
177 The Electron Millikan 1917 298
178 Ulysses James Joyce 1920 768
179 Poems William Butler Yeats 1920 214
180 Mrs. Dalloway Virginia Woolf 1925 190
181 The Trial Franz Kafka 1925 304
182 Special & General Relativity Einstein 1926 192
183 Civilization and its Discontents Freud 1929 192
184 The Sound and the Fury William Faulkner 1929 309
185 The Physical Principles of the Quantum Theory Heisenberg 1930 194
186 The General Theory Keynes 1936 403
187 Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston 1937 219
188 Four Quarters T.S. Elliot 1941 64
189 Go Down, Moses William Faulkner 1942 365
190 The Road to Serfdom Hayek 1944 262
191 1984 George Orwell 1949 298
192 Letters and Papers from Prison Dietrich Bonhoeffer 1951 309
193 East of Eden John Steinbeck 1952 601
194 What Is Philosophy? Heidegger 1956 104
195 Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe 1958 209
196 To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee 1960 270
197 The Moviegoer Walker Percy 1961 212
198 One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Harvard Address Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 1962 159
199 The New Industrial State Galbraith 1967 438
200 Selected Stories Flannery O’Connor 1971 576

*As You Like It, The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing

**Romeo and Juliet, Julius Ceasar, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus

***Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V, King Lear

The Plan

Year # of Books
2022 6
2023 26
2024 28
2025 28
2026 38
2027 28
2028 21
2029 25
Total 200

Suggestions?

I’m sharing my proposed list to gather feedback. Any books I’m missing? Please make suggestions and I’ll consider them for the project.

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Sources

I pulled from the sources below to compile this Great Books list. Efforts were made to expand outside of the Western Canon. No books will be added that were written within the last 50 years.

Classics Already Read for this Project

Here are some classics that probably should be on the list above, but I read them for this project already.

The Iliad
The Iliad
Enuma Elish
Enuma Elish
The Rigveda
The Rigveda
Writings From Ancient Egypt
Writings from Ancient Egypt
The Epic Of Gilgamesh
The Epic of Gilgamesh
The Aeneid
The Aeneid
The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby
Crime And Punishment
Crime and Punishment
Hamlet
Hamlet
Brave New World
Brave New World
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