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 -730 608
6 Odyssey Homer -700 525
7 Theogony & Works and Days Hesiod -700 112
8 Aesop’s Fables Aesop -580 352
9 Aeschylus – Complete Works Aeschylus -458 336
10 Sophocles – Complete Works Sophocles -442 430
11 The Histories Herodotus -430 664
12 Lysistrata Aristophanes -411 241
13 History of the Peloponnesian War Thucydides -405 656
14 Euripides – Complete Works Euripides -405 432
15 Apology, Symposium, The Republic Plato -399 600
16 Comedies Aristophanes -386 352
17 Rhetoric, Physics, Politics, Nichomachean Ethics, Poetics Aristotle -350 600
18 Elements Euclid -300 481
19 Analects Confucius -300 221
20 The Art of Happiness Epicurus -280 251
21 The Book of Chuang Tzu Chuang Tzu -250 352
22 Works Archimedes -220 576
23 Terence The Comedies Terence -165 368
24 On the Nature of Things Lucretius -70 363
25 The Republic and The Laws Cicero -51 288
26 Aeneid Virgil -20 386
27 The History of Rome: Books 1 – 10 Livy -9 880
28 The Bible 0 1,816
29 Metamorphoses Ovid 8 636
30 Letters from a Stoic Seneca 65 254
31 The Jewish War Josephus 90 528
32 Institutes of Oratory Quintilian 95 730
33 Lives Plutarch 100 462
34 Arithmetic Nicomachus 100
35 Almagest Ptolemy 100 712
36 Discourses / Enchiridion Epictetus 108 304
37 Annals Tacitus 110 576
38 Meditations Marcus Aurelius 180 93
39 The Enneads Plotinus 270 688
40 The Bhagavad-Gita in the Mahabharata 300 224
41 Confessions St. Augustine 397 338
42 Selected Letters St. Jerome 400 528
43 The Talmud 400 896
44 The City of God St. Augustine 426 867
45 The Consolation of Philosophy Boethius 523 114
46 The Koran 632 464
47 Beowulf Tolkien Translation 1000 105
48 Arabian Knights 1000 674
49 The Forest of Thieves and the Magic Garden 1000 384
50 The Pillow Book Shōnagon 1002 416
51 Proslogium S. Anselm 1078 88
52 The Song of Roland 1100 208
53 The Guide for the Perplexed Maimonides 1190 484
54 The Saga of the Volsungs 1200 160
55 Njal’s Saga 1200 384
56 Magna Carta 1215 54
57 The Essential Rumi Rumi 1260 281
58 The Tale of the Heike 1330 784
59 The Decameron Boccacio 1350 1,072
60 Sir Gawain and the Green Knight 1390 214
61 Canterbury Tales Chaucer 1392 627
62 The Imitation of Christ Thomas à Kempis 1420 100
63 Divine Comedy Dante 1472 541
64 Summa Theologica Thomas Aquinas 1485 1,116
65 In Praise of Folly Erasmus 1511 256
66 Utopia Thomas More 1516 152
67 The 95 Theses Martin Luther 1520 272
68 The Babylonian Captivity of the Church Martin Luther 1520 108
69 Discourses Machiavelli 1531 544
70 The Prince Machiavelli 1532 173
71 Gargantua and Pantagruel Rabelais 1532 312
72 Institutes on the Christian Religion John Calvin 1536 540
73 On the Revolution of the Spheres Copernicus 1543 352
74 The Story of Hong Gildong 1550 128
75 Essays Michael de Montaigne 1580 476
76 The Dark Night of the Soul St. John of the Cross 1580 146
77 Essays Francis Bacon 1597 242
78 Shakespeare’s Comedies William Shakespeare 1600 1,000
79 Shakespeare’s Tragedies William Shakespeare 1600 1,000
80 Shakespeare’s Histories William Shakespeare 1600 600
81 Sonnets William Shakespeare 1609 154
82 Epitome IV Kepler 1618 254
83 Novum Organum Francis Bacon 1620 124
84 Poems John Donne 1620 736
85 Motion of the Heart and Blood William Harvey 1628 116
86 The Temple George Herbert 1633 336
87 Two New Sciences Galileo Galilei 1638 200
88 Meditations René Descartes 1641 256
89 Leviathan Thomas Hobbes 1651 410
90 Maxims La Rochefoucauld 1665 400
91 The Misanthrope Molière 1666 400
92 Paradise Lost John Milton 1667 624
93 Fables La Fontaine 1668 504
94 Pensées Blaise Pascal 1670 368
95 Theological-Political Treatise Benedict de Spinoza 1670 329
96 Phaedra John Baptiste Racine 1677 50
97 Pilgrim’s Progress & The Holy War John Bunyan 1678 320
98 Oroonoko Aphra Behn 1680 272
99 Rules for the Direction of the Mind Descartes 1684 24
100 Principia Mathematica Isaac Newton 1685 992
101 Second Treatise on Government John Locke 1689 104
102 Treatise on Light Christiaan Huygens 1690 134
103 An Essay Concerning Human Understanding Locke 1690 416
104 Monadology Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz 1714 304
105 Robinson Crusoe Daniel Defoe 1719 258
106 Gulliver’s Travels Jonathan Swift 1726 304
107 Treatise on Human Nature David Hume 1740 444
108 Candide Voltaire 1759 108
109 The Spirit of Laws Montesquieu 1755 315
110 On the Origin of Inequality, Political Economy, The Social Contract Jean-Jacques Rousseau 1762 116
111 The Wealth of Nations Adam Smith 1776 416
112 Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, Constitution Founding Fathers 1776 338
113 The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire Edward Gibbon 1776 2,765
114 Confessions Jean-Jacques Rousseau 1782 615
115 Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals Immanuel Kant 1785 128
116 The Federalist Papers Hamilton, Jay, Madison 1788 172
117 Elements of Chemistry Lavoisier 1790 640
118 The Interesting Narrative Olaudah Equiano 1790 156
119 Life of Johnson Boswell 1791 343
120 The Two Part Prelude William Wordsworth 1799 82
121 Logic Hegel 1807 386
122 Sense and Sensibility Jane Austen 1811 505
123 Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen 1813 368
124 On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation David Ricardo 1817 167
125 Frankenstein Mary Shelley 1818 252
126 The Great Odes John Keats 1819 540
127 Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience William Blake 1789 60
128 Ivanhoe Sir Walter Scott 1819 569
129 Democracy in America De Tocqueville 1835 452
130 Theory of Parallels Lobachevsky 1840 52
131 Fear and Trembling Kierkegaard 1843 160
132 The Communist Manifesto, Capital Karl Marx 1844 243
133 The Count of Monte Cristo Alexandre Dumas 1844 1,179
134 Stories Edgar Allen Poe 1845 955
135 Economic Sophisms Frederic Bastiat 1847 180
136 Wuthering Heights Emily Brontë 1847 290
137 Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë 1847 760
138 Concluding Unscientific Postscript Kierkegaard 1849 192
139 David Copperfield Charles Dickens 1850 923
140 The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne 1850 258
141 Essays and Aphorisms Schopenhauer 1851 240
142 Moby Dick Herman Melville 1851 647
143 Uncle Tom’s Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe 1852 637
144 Benito Cereno Herman Melville 1855 108
145 Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert 1856 190
146 Origin of Species Charles Darwin 1859 505
147 A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens 1859 390
148 Great Expectations Charles Dickens 1860 491
149 Complete Poems Emily Dickinson 1870 770
150 Middlemarch George Eliot 1871 799
151 Autobiography, On Liberty John Stuart Mill 1873 203
152 Anna Karenina Tolstoy 1877 736
153 The Brothers Karamazov, Notes from the Underground Fyodor Dostoyevsky 1880 729
154 Complete Poems Tennyson 1880 948
155 The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass Frederick Douglass 1881 496
156 The Portrait of a Lady Henry James 1881 362
157 Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain 1884 559
158 Beyond Good and Evil Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche 1886 240
159 Philosophical Investigations Wittgenstein 1887 167
160 Twilight of the Idols Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche 1888 208
161 Briefer Course William James 1892 368
162 The Red Badge of Courage Crane 1895 112
163 Dracula Bram Stoker 1897 418
164 The Interpretation of Dreams Sigmund Freud 1899 688
165 Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad 1899 106
166 The Everyman Chesterton G.K. Chesterton 1900 899
167 Essays on the Theory of Numbers Richard Dedekind 1901 128
168 The Souls of Black Folk Du Bois 1903 268
169 In Search of Lost Time Marcel Proust 1909 4,211
170 Selected Writings Booker T. Washington 1910 356
171 General Introduction to Psychoanalysis Freud 1916 178
172 The Electron Millikan 1917 298
173 Ulysses James Joyce 1920 768
174 Poems William Butler Yeats 1920 214
175 Mrs. Dalloway Virginia Woolf 1925 190
176 The Trial Franz Kafka 1925 304
177 Special & General Relativity Einstein 1926 192
178 Civilization and its Discontents Freud 1929 192
179 The Sound and the Fury William Faulkner 1929 309
180 The Physical Principles of the Quantum Theory Heisenberg 1930 194
181 The General Theory Keynes 1936 403
182 Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston 1937 219
183 Rebecca Daphne Du Maurier 1938 416
184 The Complete Poems and Plays, 1909 – 1950 T.S. Elliot 1941 64
185 Go Down, Moses William Faulkner 1942 365
186 The Road to Serfdom Hayek 1944 262
187 1984 George Orwell 1949 298
188 The Second Sex de Beauvoir 1949 978
189 Letters and Papers from Prison Dietrich Bonhoeffer 1951 309
190 East of Eden John Steinbeck 1952 601
191 The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays Heidegger 1956 104
192 Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe 1958 209
193 To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee 1960 270
194 The Moviegoer Walker Percy 1961 212
195 One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Harvard Address Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 1962 159
196 The Structure of Scientific Revolutions Thomas S. Kuhn 1962 264
197 The Master and Margarita Mikhail Bulgakov 1966 448
198 The New Industrial State Galbraith 1967 438
199 A Theory of Justice John Rawls 1971 560
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 Theory Of Moral Sentiments
The Theory of Moral Sentiments
The Aeneid
The Aeneid
The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby
Crime And Punishment
Crime and Punishment
Hamlet
Hamlet
Brave New World
Brave New World
CSB Readers Bible
The Bible
Narrative Frederick Douglass
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Faust
Faust
Don Quixote
Don Quixote