How Long Would It Take to Read the Classics

How Long Would It Take to Read the Most Treasured Classics of Our Time?


If the average person reads 250 words per minute, it would take about 1 hour to read a 12,000-word classic like “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain. Also, it would take 72 hours to read the entire Harry Potter series, which has a word count of 1,073,288 words.

Authors have thrilled us with astounding reads, and many of these have stood the test of time. They range from short coming-to-age reads to long 1 million+ word novels. They cover everything from nonfiction to fiction, from love stories to murder, and more.

Exactly how fast could you read some of the most treasured classics of all time? To figure it out, we calculated it for you!

Considering the average person reads 250 words per minute, the times below are how many hours it would take to read each book. Keep in mind that the word count for each book listed is based on the audiobook length. This is a rough estimate, but it will give you a good idea of how much time to set aside for each book. 

Title Word Count Hours
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain 12,000 1
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway 26,601 2
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll 28,710 2
Animal Farm by George Orwell 29,966 2
Candide by Voltaire 30,015 2
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl 30,644 2
The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis 38,421 3
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho 38,871 3
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad 40,020 3
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman 40,600 3
The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis 43,333 3
The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells 44,660 3
The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin 45,939 3
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane 47,180 3
The Trial by Franz Kafka 49,000 3
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 49,155 3
Slaughterhouse – Five by Kurt Vonnegut 49,459 3
The Big Sur by Jack Kerouac 49,880 3
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut 51,185 3
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne 51,500 3
To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf 52,250 4
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë 53,000 4
The Ocean at the End of the Lane 53,984 4
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf 57,565 4
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger 60,000 4
Lord of the Flies by William Golding 60,755 4
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley 63,766 5
The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett 65,113 5
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway 67,570 5
The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston 70,957 5
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger 73,404 5
King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard 73,515 5
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner 76,995 5
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje 82,370 6
Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton 83,774 6
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne 88,305 6
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood 90,240 6
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley 90,625 6
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell 92,655 6
Paradise Lost by John Milton 93,090 6
A Passage to India by E.M. Forster 96,135 6
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien 96,425 6
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift 97,730 7
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey 97,875 7
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen 99,760 7
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card 100,609 7
Catching Fire (The Hunger Games) Suzanne Collins 101,065 7
Beloved by Toni Morrison 104,835 7
The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen 105,248 7
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 106,865 7
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck 114,157 8
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult 119,529 8
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia 122,380 8
Beartown by Fredrik Backman 129,168 9
The Odyssey by Homer 134,560 9
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier 135,285 9
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens 135,420 9
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson 138,098 9
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith 145,092 10
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens 155,960 10
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood 157,665 10
Dracula by Bram Stoker 160,363 11
The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher 164,000 11
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri 168,000 11
The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman 168,640 11
White Teeth by Zadie Smith 169,389 11
Kafka on The Shore by Haruki Murakami 173,100 12
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens 173,130 12
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller 174,145 12
For Whom the Bell Tolls 174,106 12
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver 177,679 12
Little Women (Books 1 and 2) by Louisa May Alcott 183,833 12
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 184,875 12
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck 185,745 12
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden 186,418 12
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo 187,775 13
Moby Dick by Herman Melville 189,950 13
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen 196,774 13
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky 206,000 14
Moby Dick by Herman Melville 206,052 14
Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie  208,773 14
East of Eden by John Steinbeck 225,395 15
Ulysses by James Joyce 254,475 17
Cloudsplitter by Russel Banks 260,742 17
Middlemarch by George Eliot 268,395 18
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon 283,910 19
A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin 293,625 20
A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin 298,000 20
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand 311,596 21
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes 344,665 23
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy 348,000 23
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens 358,000 24
The Stand by Stephen King 415,715 28
A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin  424,000 28
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell 426,590 28
The Count of Mote Cristo by Alexandre Dumas 464,162 31
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo 530,982 36
A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth 591,554 40
The Entire Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling 1,073,288 72
Swann’s Way: In Search of Lost Time Books by Marcel Proust 1,267,069 85

Final Thoughts

You’ll read the treasured classics above in the time stated if you reading speed is 250 words per minute. Just think how fast you could get through these books if you vastly increased your reading speed! Reading the entire Harry Potter series would be a snap! You can read your favorite classic faster than you thought you could!

Speed reading helps you to read well above the average 250 words per minute rate. With speed reading, you can read 400 – 700 words per minute without a drop in concentration. Many reading speedsters, using speed-reading techniques, even read at a speed of 1,000 words per minute (but with only 85% comprehension). If you learn speed reading, you can confidently finish Gone with the Wind quicker than the average reader.

Iris Reading is the largest and most trusted provider of speed-reading classes. Our lessons have been taught to thousands worldwide, including students in top-rated universities (like Harvard, Stanford, and Berkeley) and executives at A-list organizations (like NASA, Google, etc.).

Iris Reading courses will help you read at superhuman speed while comprehending what you read and being able to recall it effectively. Thus, our speed-reading courses help you become a more efficient reader. Some of the top-rated speed reading courses are:

  • Speed Reading Foundation Course. It’s the perfect course for beginners (whether students or professionals) who want to increase their reading speed so that they can read more in less time. 
  • Speed Reading Mastery Course. It’s the ideal course for those who are already familiar with basic speed-reading techniques. You’ll learn how to comprehend when speeding through technical materials.  
  • Speed Reading for Business Professionals. It’s the perfect course for professionals who need to get through tons of information despite having very busy schedules.

Start reaping the many benefits of speed reading. Register for a speed-reading course today.

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  • Roger Linke

    Huck Finn in an hour?!