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.