15 Must Read Classic Books That Can Be Found Online

Reading a classic is a great way to relax, yet stay engaged in learning. If you've been looking for a good book to read, but don't want to fork out the money or worry about library due dates, here some great options available for free online.

Free Classics

Some of the best loved classic books are old enough to be in the public domain. This means that you can read and download them for free. Here are 15 classic books that everyone should make an effort to read.

1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain, frequently appears on the ALA's list of banned and challenged books due to the coarse language used throughout the story. However, the book is widely believed to be one of the best 'Great American Novels.' The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn details Huck's journey down the Mississippi river with Jim, a friend and runaway slave.

2. Pride and Prejudice

First published in 1813, Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. This classic tells the story of Elizabeth Bennet, a young woman forced to deal with the aristocratic society in early 19th century England.

pride and prejudice and zombies

Seth Grahame Smith recently combined Jane Austen's classic with elements of zombie fiction to create a new book called Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

3. Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre is a Victorian novel by the popular English author Charlotte Bronte. The book, which was first published in 1847, chronicles the life of the title character, Jane Eyre. Several versions of the story have been created since, including silent movies, motion picture versions, and television versions.

4. Wuthering Heights

Charlotte Bronte's sister Emily penned Wuthering Heights in 1847. The book, which would be Emily Bronte's only published novel, is widely considered to be one of the best romantic tragedies ever written. Wuthering Heights follows the passionate love affair between Catherine and Heathcliff and the impact this affair had on everyone around them.

5. Dracula

Before Edward, Bill and the other popular vampires of today, there was Count Dracula. One of the first and best vampires, Bram Stoker's Count Dracula drinks human blood, lives in a castle and battles the relentless Van Helsing. Dracula is a must read for anyone who likes modern day horror or vampire stories.

dracula, bram stoker

This book is an imitation of the first edition of Dracula, which featured cloth binding and red letters on the spine and front cover.

6. Frankenstein

Subtitled The Modern Prometheus, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was the first novel in the mad scientist genre. The novel was given bad reviews when it was first published in 1818 but was almost immediately popular nevertheless. Frankenstein has spawned many different horror stores and films throughout the years and is arguably one of the most well-known monsters in literature.

7. Ulysses

Considered to be one of the most important works in Modernist fiction, James Joyce's Ulysses was first published in its entirety in 1922. The story details Leopold Bloom's passage through Dublin. The first edition of Ulysses contains more than 2,000 errors, but is still considered one of the most accurate editions ever published.

8. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is a collection of twelve stories that detail the investigative adventures of Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr. John Watson. The collection contains some of the most popular stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.


Sherlock Holmes, a 2009 film starring Robert Downey Jr., borrowed elements from Arthur Conan Doyle's popular stories.

9. The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray is the only published novel by famed playwright Oscar Wilde. It tells the story of a young man named Dorian Gray who sells his soul for everlasting youth. The book, which has a strong Faustian theme, is a good example of classic gothic horror.

10. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is one of the best known stories in American popular culture. Most people think of the 1939 film version when they hear the words 'Wizard of Oz,' but nothing beats the original story that was first published in 1900.

11. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson wrote Alice's Adventures in Wonderland under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. The book, which has never been out of print since its publication in 1865, tells the story of a bored girl named Alice who stumbles into a fantasy world. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland has inspired numerous retellings and sequels, but as usual, none is better that the original.


John Tenniel created these illustrations for the first printing of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

12. The Scarlet Letter

Written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter tells the story of Hester Prynne, a 17th century Puritan who commits adultery and struggles with the consequences. The book was an instant bestseller when it was published in 1850 and is still considered one of the finest works of American literature.

13. Moby Dick

Written by Nathanial Hawthorne's friend and neighbor Herman Melville, Moby Dick has one of the most famous first lines in American literature. The words, 'Call me Ishmael,' launch the symbolic tale of the wandering sailor Ishmael and his adventures on a ship that seeks a ferocious white sperm whale named Moby Dick.

14. A Christmas Carol

Originally released by Charles Dickens in 1843, A Christmas Carol has been adapted and recycled by everyone from Walt Disney to burlesque performers. The story, which follows the evolution of the greedy and stingy businessman Ebenezer Scrooge, helped to rejuvenate classic holiday traditions. A Christmas Carol is still one of the best Christmas stories ever told and should be enjoyed at least once in its original form.

15. War and Peace

The notoriously lengthy War and Peace was written by Leo Tolstoy. It was first published in 1869 and is widely considered to be one of the greatest works of fiction. Readers who like historical fiction will probably enjoy War and Peace, which chronicles Russian society during the Napoleonic Era.

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