50 Best Books for Boys?

The Art of Manliness set out a list of 50 of the best books for boys to read. As an experiment, (being female and a biblioslut) I decided to find out how many of them I’d read over the years or while I was a kid. Bold means I’ve read it. Italics means it’s on my to read list. Please feel free to play along on your own blog. Leave me a comment so I can come take a look.

1. Hatchet by Gary Paulson – I know this cover so well that I’m sure I read it, but I cannot remember it for the life of me.

2. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
3. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

4. The American Boy’s Handy Book by Daniel C. Beard

5. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster – Hate, hate, hate, hate, I cannot explain the loathing I have for this book *and* the movie it inspired.

6. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain – Mark Twain is a genius. If you haven’t read this book, go get it from the library or a used book store immediately.

7. The Last Mission by Harry Mazer

8. The First Edition of the Boy Scout Handbook – The Girl Scout handbook was originally pretty kick ass too. Does it count that I read that one?

9. Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane – I think I read this book and immediately managed to blank it from my mind out of self-defense. Stephen Crane is *not* one of my favorite authors

10. Watership Down by Richard Adams

11. The Johnny Dixon Series by John Bellairs – I loved this series and spent several years (after Harry Potter came out and reminded me of them) attempting to find it again. I still don’t think I’ve found them all again.

12. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain – Huck Finn is better, but this book would be good for a younger reader.

13. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis – For love of the Lion’s mane, read these in the original order starting with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe!

14. Canoeing with the Cree by Arnold Sevareid

15. The Giver by Lois Lowry

16. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding

17. Heat by Mike Lupica

18. The Call of the Wild by Jack London

19. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

20. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

21. Holes by Louis Sachar

22. The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B White

23. The Outsiders by S.E Hinton

24. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

25. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
– Worth the read. One of the few classics I think everyone should read.

26. Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

27. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

28. Harris and Me by Gary Paulsen

29. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

30. Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling

31. The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

32. The Blue Star by Tony Earley

33. The Black Stallion by Walter Farley

34. The Cay by Theodore Taylor

35. Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien – Does having read this multiple times make up for not reading Kipling?

36. The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn and Hal Iggulden

37. The Little Britches Series by Ralph Moody

38. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

39. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

40. The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman

41. The Hardy Boys Series – Frank and Joe are so much better than Nancy

42. The Story of King Arthur and His Knights by Howard Pyle

43. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

44. The Thief of Always by Clive Barker

45. That Was Then, This is Now by S.E. Hinton

46. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

47. Heart of a Champion by Carl Deuker

48. Blue Skin of the Sea by Graham Salisbury

49. Old Yeller by Fred Gipson

50. The Art of Manliness by Brett and Kate McKay

Overall? I’d say it’s a fair list for a normal kid. Me? I was reading adult books by fourth grade. I also cannot believe that The Dark Is Rising series wasn’t mentioned. It’s right up there with Narnia and LOTR. And it features a man protagonist! Black Stallion (*gag*) made the list, why not Susan Cooper. A lot of these books were being read in the regular English classes while I was in GT. That’s probably why I missed them. *shrugs* I’m not feeling any big loss.


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