What makes a classic? In his book Why Read the Classics? Italian writer Italo Calvino defined classics as ‘books which, the more we think we know them through hearsay, the more original, unexpected, and innovative we find them when we actually read them.’

Pan Macmillan’s own Harriet Sanders, Publisher of Macmillan Collectors’ Library, believes that a classic ‘has to have endured and stood the test of time . . . they will deal with themes that are still relevant today - universal themes.’ From gothic horror to romance, literary fiction to science that changed the world, here’s our edit of the classic novels to read before you die. For more on what makes a classic, don’t miss the Book Break episode below.

 

For more from Macmillan Collector’s Library, check out this episode of Book Break where Emma talks to MCL Publisher Harriet about what makes a classic.