The Well-Read List
Posted by Hal and Melanie Young in Adult Sons, Book and Product Reviews, Civilization, teaching boys, Teens

One of our sons has severe dyslexia and didn’t read well until he was eleven. Once he got to high school, he realized he’d missed reading a lot of the books his brothers had read. He asked his adult brothers to make a list of the books they thought someone ought to read to be truly well-read. This is that list. They told him something like this:

You don’t have to read all of these or even read them all the way through, but if you at least have a passing acquaintance with these books, it will make your life richer, help you understand more of what’s going on around you, and enable you to interact with almost anyone.

Note: Some of the links below are affiliate links which give us a small commission and do not cost you anything extra.

The Bible 

The Iliad – Homer

The Odyssey – Homer

The Histories – Herodotus

The Church History – Eusebius

The Republic –Plato

The City of God – Augustine

The Works of Josephus – Josephus

The Wealth of Nations – Adam Smith

How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain

Hamlet – William Shakespeare

King Lear – William Shakespeare

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

Cry the Beloved CountryAlan Paton

Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

Economics in One Lesson – Henry Hazlitt

The Art of Warfare – Sun Tzu

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkein

The Prince – Macchiavelli

The Swiss Family Robinson – Johann David Wyss

Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Dafoe

The Nine Tailors – Dorothy Sayers

The Politics – Aristotle

Democracy in America – Alexis de Toqueville

Watership Down – Richard Adams

The Holiness of God – RC Sproul, Jr

The Federalist Papers – Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison

Moby Dick – Hermann Melville

Captains Courageous – Rudyard Kipling

Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

The Double Helix – Watson and Crick

The Microbe Hunters – Paul de Kruif

Here I Stand (Martin Luther) – Roland Bainton

Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe novels

Erle Stanley Gardner’s Perry Mason novels

Earl Derr Biggers’s Charlie Chan novels

Little House on the Prairie – Laura Ingalls Wilder

There’s more below, but if your children are a little young for this list, we have several more lists for younger kids! You can also get a free download of our workshop on teaching discernment – Media-Proofing Your Kids. Just subscribe to our newsletter and get our Great Books resource guide free. If you are already a subscriber, it won’t add you to the list twice, so go ahead and sign up.

Winston Churchill – Paul Johnson

Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot (suggest Death on the Nile) and Miss Marple novels

The Screwtape Letters – CS Lewis

Mere Christianity – CS Lewis

The Space Trilogy – CS Lewis

A Christian Manifesto – Francis Schaeffer

Addicted to Mediocrity – Franky Schaeffer

A Modest Proposal – Franky Schaeffer

His Excellency, George Washington – Joseph Ellis

Goodnight, Moon – Margaret Wise Brown

Make Way for Ducklings – Robert McCloskey

Homer Price – Robert McCloskey

How Should We Then Live – Francis Schaeffer

Cheaper By the Dozen – Frank Gilbreth

The Forgotten Spurgeon – Iain Murray

Undaunted Courage – Stephen Ambrose

Paradise Lost – John Milton

The Faerie Queen – Spenser

Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans – Plutarch

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin


Hal & Melanie