Recommended books

A little while ago I wrote a post about some book lists and noted which ones I had read, and then I asked which books you think everyone should read. I’ve also been working to put together a list of books I think everyone should read.

Now, the books I have listed below were chosen based on a variety of factors. Many of these books are personal favorites that I have read several times. All of these books have made some kind of impression on me and have affected my view of literature and the world. In some cases, the worldview is overtly anti-God or amoral/immoral, but the book helped me understand other cultures and how other people think. The point of this list was to recommend a variety of books from a variety of perspectives, not to give recommendations of “squeaky clean” literature (though some are pretty free of graphic, offensive elements, they may have philosophical issues I don’t agree with).

With the exception of the poets and preachers, whose works I have only sampled (their body of literature being so large it is hard to read their complete works), I have read all of the works listed, so please feel free to ask, if you’d like a more specific analysis of the book.

I’ve chosen a wide variety of books for this list. Some are modern popular fiction; some are ancient epic poems. Some are “classic” modern fiction, with many potentially offensive elements; some are books by Christian authors generally written for a Christian audience.

I’ve also had to reconcile myself to the fact that this list is not going to be perfect. I’ve pondered the choices for far too long and keep making changes. Okay. Disclaimer over. Here’s the list.

Fiction:

  • Louisa May Alcott: Little Women, Little Men
  • Laurie Anderson: Chains, Forge
  • Jane Austen: Emma, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice
  • Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451
  • Charlotte Bronte: Jane Eyre
  • John Bunyan: The Pilgrim’s Progress
  • Orson Scott Card: Ender’s Game
  • Kate Chopin: The Awakening
  • Wilkie Collins: The Moonstone
  • Daniel Defoe: Robinson Crusoe
  • Don DeLillo: White Noise
  • Charles Dickens: A Tale of Two Cities
  • Tim Downs: The Bug Man series
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Sherlock Holmes stories
  • Alexander Dumas: The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, The Man in the Iron Mask
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby
  • E.M. Forster: A Room with a View, Passage to India, Howards End
  • Thomas Hardy: Far from the Madding Crowd, The Return of the Native
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Scarlet Letter
  • Khaled Hosseini: The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns
  • Victor Hugo: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Les Misérables
  • Aldous Huxley: Brave New World
  • Zora Neale Hurston: Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • James Joyce: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  • Harper Lee: To Kill a Mockingbird
  • C.S. Lewis: The Chronicles of Narnia, Space Trilogy, The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce
  • Jack London: The Call of the Wild, White Fang
  • Lois Lowry: The Giver
  • Daphne Du Maurier: Rebecca
  • Baroness Orczy: The Scarlet Pimpernel
  • George Orwell: 1984, Animal Farm
  • Alan Paton: Cry, the Beloved Country
  • J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter series
  • Salman Rushdie: Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Shalimar the Clown
  • Alexander McCall Smith: The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective series
  • Alexander Solzhenitsyn: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, The Cancer Ward
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings
  • Leo Tolstoy: Anna Karenina
  • Mark Twain: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • Jules Verne: Around the World in Eighty Days
  • Oscar Wilde: The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • Virginia Woolf: To The Lighthouse
  • Markus Zusak: The Book Thief

Drama:

  • Anton Chekhov: The Cherry Orchard
  • Johann Goethe: Faust
  • William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, The Tempest, Measure for Measure, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado about Nothing
  • Oscar Wilde: The Importance of Being Earnest, The Ideal Husband

Poetry:

  • Dante Alighieri: Inferno
  • Beowulf
  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Sonnets from the Portuguese
  • Robert Browning
  • Amy Carmichael: If
  • E.E. Cummings
  • Emily Dickinson
  • John Donne
  • T.S. Eliot: The Waste Land
  • Robert Frost
  • George Herbert: The Temple
  • Homer: Iliad, Odyssey
  • John Milton: Paradise Lost
  • William Shakespeare: Sonnets
  • Sophocles: Oedipus Rex
  • Edmund Spenser: The Faerie Queene
  • Walt Whitman

Non-Fiction:

  • Mitch Albom: Tuesdays with Morrie
  • James Bradley: Flyboys
  • Frederick Douglass: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
  • Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt: Freakonomics
  • Anne Frank: The Diary of Anne Frank
  • Malcolm Gladwell: Blink, The Tipping Point
  • Ron Hall and Denver Moore: Same Kind of Different as Me
  • Marcus Luttrell: Lone Survivor
  • Greg Mortenson: Three Cups of Tea
  • Barack Obama: Dreams from My Father
  • Dave Ramsey: Total Money Makeover
  • Lynne Truss: Eats, Shoots & Leaves
  • Virginia Woolf: A Room of One’s Own

Christian Living:

  • The ESV Study Bible
  • Valley of Vision
  • Jerry Bridges: Trusting God, The Pursuit of Holiness
  • Francis Chan: Crazy Love, Forgotten God
  • Henry Cloud & John Townsend: Boundaries
  • Mark Dever: What Does God Want of Us Anyway?
  • Kevin DeYoung: Just Do Something
  • Jonathan Edwards: sermons
  • Elisabeth Elliot: The Path of Loneliness, A Chance to Die: Biography of Amy Carmichael, Through Gates of Splendor, Shadow of the Almighty, Let Me be a Woman
  • John Fawcett: Christ Precious to Those That Believe
  • Greg Gilbert: What is the Gospel?
  • Nancy Guthrie: Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross; Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus
  • Joshua Harris: Dug Down Deep, Stop Dating the Church
  • Ronald Horton: Mood Tides
  • Mary Kassian: Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild
  • Tim Keller: Prodigal God, Counterfeit Gods
  • C.S. Lewis: Mere Christianity, God in the Dock, Surprised by Joy, The Problem of Pain
  • C.J. Mahaney: Living the Cross-Centered Life, Humility: True Greatness, Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World (ed. Mahaney)
  • Carolyn Mahaney (and daughters): Shopping for Time
  • Carolyn McCulley: Radical Womanhood
  • John Piper: Desiring God, Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ, Don’t Waste Your Life
  • David Platt: Radical
  • Layton Talbert: Not by Chance
  • A.W. Tozer: The Knowledge of the Holy
  • Donald Whitney: Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life
  • Philip Yancey: What’s So Amazing about Grace?
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5 thoughts on “Recommended books

  1. Natalie, I like your list and have read many. If I made such a list, I would have many of the same books. I started to make my own list when I signed up for facebook. It started with Jane Erye.

    Perhaps when you visit again, we could find a Shakespeare Festival. I think we could find some summer Shakespeare in Vermont.

    • I’m also going to publish a list of books I should read and some of the ones on that list are books you gave me! I read The Book Thief and it was very thought-provoking, so I’m looking forward to reading the others you sent.

      I’d love to go to a Shakespeare Festival with you!

  2. Very interesting booklist! I’m considering making my own list as well, but I might need to wait for a day off to do that. It would be so much easier if all of my books were on a shelf in front of me . . .

    I will be interested to see your “books I should read” list, Nat. :o)

    • Confession: I probably spent several hours on the list! I didn’t work on it all at once, but kept coming back to it over about a week and a half or so. I realized early on that I was going to go way over 100, but it was still hard to decide what is a “must-read” and what isn’t.

  3. Pingback: Reading Choices | Chronicles of Natalie

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