Books Every Guy Should Read (Pt. I)

The title says it all. And this is just part one. Let’s start with some old-timey classics…


Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney
A tale of brave warriors and savage beasts, battle and bloodshed, heroism and sacrifice. It’s one of the greatest manly-man epics ever told. Period. I personally prefer Seamus Heaney’s translation, for its richness and clarity.

The White Company by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
One of the best, most vibrant pieces of historical fiction I’ve ever read – and I’ve read a lot. Doyle manages to combine meticulously researched history with a marvelously entertaining tale of chivalry and epic adventure in a way that flawlessly balances both aspects. The book never reads like a history textbook, and yet it never reads like a fable, either. The blend is perfect.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Pirates, ships, buried treasure, sword-fights, gun-battles, a talking parrot, and non-stop adventure. What more do you need to know?

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
Yes, yes, a classic in every sense of the word. An unforgettable story of desperation, ingenuity, and survival. And make sure you read the unabridged version – the abridged cuts out references to God and the main character’s profound Christian faith.

Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling
The powerful story of a boy who goes from selfish and spoiled to selfless and hardworking.
Kipling’s best work, in my opinion.

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
At this point, the guys are probably shouting, “But that’s a girl’s book!”. So shoot me. It’s a nicely-told love story, frequently funny, seldom boring, and exceptionally well-written. And yeah, I think guys should read it. If that isn’t enough to convince you, think of this: reading it will probably give you an edge when you’re courting your future wife.I haven’t tried it myself (yet), but I would imagine such to be the case.

The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
Bunyan’s classic allegory of the Christian life needs no introduction from me.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Did you honestly think I wouldn’t include these? The choice was elementary. For goodness’ sake,
they’re stories featuring the most awesome detective in literary history!

Michael Strogoff by Jules Verne
Verne is recognized as an author of science fiction, but he also dabbled in the genre of historical fiction. This is one of those dabbles. It’s a spy-versus-spy story that will keep you turning pages far into the night. Great stuff.

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
My personal favorite of all Scott’s books. An iconic tale of knightly deeds and derring-do and fair maidens in need of rescuing. Yeah, it’s a must.

Penrod by Booth Tarkington
One of the funniest books ever written. It’s about a boy named Penrod Schofield… and man, does he get into a lot of trouble. From mixing dubious “secret elixirs” to gluing hats to people heads, this kid will make most mischievous boys look like angels in comparison.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
A grand and utterly magnificent fantasy trilogy. If you haven’t read it, you’ve just gotta. But before you do, you should read the prequel, The Hobbit, first. With that under your belt, you’ll appreciate the trilogy a whole lot more.

The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan
An espionage thriller from the father of the genre, this fast-paced adventure features murderous villains chasing our hero from town to town and over the Scottish countryside. Awesome? Oh, yeah.

The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
One of those books you read and then immediately reread because it’s so good. Again, you need to read the unabridged version – I’ve little doubt the newer editions seek to water down the powerful Christian message of the original.

Have any recommendations of your own? Any book you think should be featured in future installments of this list? If so, be my guest and share ’em down in the comments section.

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25 thoughts on “Books Every Guy Should Read (Pt. I)”

  1. Read a good amount of those, (However I have not read Pride and Prejudice) Great recommendations.

    My recommendation is John G. Paton’s Autobiography. Vision Forum publishes it as “Missionary Patriarch” and it is the incredible biography of a real man of God going to the cannibals in the New Hebrides.

    And of course, since this is for guys, “Meat for Men” by Leonard Ravenhill. While not theologically accurate 100% of the time, this book is phenomenal.

  2. Great list! I have read most of them, but will add these to my list. :) I appreciate you adding Pride and Prejudice. It is termed a “chick flick”, but as Mom and I were discussing we need new terminology for those types of books. I think of a “chick flick” as being a stupid, cute, romantic movie that adds no real meaning to your life- yet is fun to sit and watch every once in a while. P&P falls into a completely different type altogether. It is a classic, yet a bit of romance, with some great wit, and really adds some thought about life and how it really happens…. Yeah, we need a new name for that class of book.

    I can’t think of any good books at the moment…. Good list! Are you coming up with “part 2”? :D

    1. You’re right that most of these books could be enjoyed by both genders – my sisters will probably be picking some of them up in the future. :)

      I may have to download Michael Strogoff and read it again. Great story.

  3. I am somewhat embarrassed to say that the only one on your list that I’ve read is. . . you guessed it, P & P. (Oh, and the children’s version of Pilgrim’s Prrogress.) But you’re right–having read P & P will do much to commend you to your future wife! ;-)

  4. One of my husband’s favorite books is Pride and Prejudice and I have to admit I found it very attractive that he’d read it and liked it back when we were first dating.

  5. Ooooh…good topic. I’d throw in Ender’s Game and the Prydain Chronicles. And probably The Road, just for an example of father/son love. And maybe a few others.

    I’ve never read Treasure Island, but I have it on my NOOK. I’ll have to knock that one out.

    1. The Road is most definitely going on the next installment of this list, and probably The Prydain Chronicles, now that you mention them. I’ll have to read Ender’s Game – I’ve been wanting to for awhile now, just haven’t managed to get my hands of a copy yet. :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

      1. I think I’d also throw in Shogun, by James Clavell. It was my dad’s “book on the toilet tank” book for years, and I’ve read it twice and loved it both times.

  6. Life With Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
    The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
    The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
    The Silver Sword by Ian Serrailer
    The Chosen by Chaim Potok

    All of these skew older, but no older than Pride and Prejudice or LOTR.

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