Top 100 Books for Every Man

51. The RoadCormac McCarthy

The searing, postapocalyptic novel destined to become Cormac McCarthy’s masterpiece.A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food-—and each other.The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey.

52. Tuesdays with Morrie
Mitch Albom

Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher. Someone older who understood you when you were young and searching, who helped you see the world as a more profound place, and gave you advice to help you make your way through it. For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago.

Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of your mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded, and the world seemed colder. Wouldn’t you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you?

53. The Red Badge of CourageStephen Crane

Young Civil War soldier Henry Fielding endures the nightmare of battle as he comes to grips with his fears and feelings of cowardice. Stephen Crane’s powerful, imaginative, emotionally compelling description of war established him as a major American writer and propelled him to immediate international celebrity.

54. Ender’s Game
Orson Scott Card

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. Ender’s skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. s Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender’s two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.

55. Lord of the Flies
William Goulding

The classic, startling, and perennially bestselling portrait of human nature-now available as a Premium Edition with a stunning new cover and re-set, easy-to-read text.The classic tale of a group of English school boys who are left stranded on an unpopulated island, and who must confront not only the defects of their society but the defects of their own natures.

56. Rich Dad, Poor Dad
Robert Kiyosaki

Personal-finance author and lecturer Robert Kiyosaki developed his unique economic perspective through exposure to a pair of disparate influences: his own highly educated but fiscally unstable father, and the multimillionaire eighth-grade dropout father of his closest friend. The lifelong monetary problems experienced by his “poor dad” (whose weekly paychecks, while respectable, were never quite sufficient to meet family needs) pounded home the counterpoint communicated by his “rich dad” (that “the poor and the middle class work for money,” but “the rich have money work for them”).

57. A Tale of Two Cities
Charles Dickens

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . .” With these famous words, Charles Dickens plunges the reader into one of history’s most explosive eras—the French Revolution. From the storming of the Bastille to the relentless drop of the guillotine, Dickens vividly captures the terror and upheaval of that tumultuous period. At the center is the novel’s hero, Sydney Carton, a lazy, alcoholic attorney who, inspired by a woman, makes the supreme sacrifice on the bloodstained streets of Paris.

One of Dickens’s most exciting novels, A Tale of Two Cities is a stirring classic of love, revenge, and resurrection.

58. Brave New World
Aldous Huxley

Huxley s vision of the future in his astonishing 1931 novel Brave New World — a world of tomorrow in which capitalist civilization has been reconstituted through the most efficient scientific and psychological engineering, where the people are genetically designed to be passive, consistently useful to the ruling class.

59. The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

60. The Da Vinci Code
Dan Brown

Robert Langdon is a Harvard professor of symbology who can’t stay out of trouble. Last seen in Angels and Demons (2000), this mild-mannered academic finds himself entangled in a deadly conspiracy that stretches back centuries. Visiting Paris on business, he is awakened at 2:00 a.m. by a call from the police: An elderly curator has been murdered inside the Louvre, and a baffling cipher has been found near the body. Aided by the victim’s cryptologist granddaughter, Langdon begins a danger-filled quest for the culprit; but the deeper he searches, the more he becomes convinced that long-festering conspiracies hold the answer to the art lover’s death.

61. The Picture Of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde’s story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is one of his most popular works. Written in Wilde’s characteristically dazzling manner, full of stinging epigrams and shrewd observations, the tale of Dorian Gray’s moral disintegration caused something of a scandal when it first appeared in 1890.

62. Lonesome Dove
Larry McMurty

A love story and an epic of the frontier, Lonesome Dove is the grandest novel ever written about the last, defiant wilderness of America. Richly authentic, beautifully written, Lonesome Dove is a book to make readers laugh, weep, dream and remember.

63. Les Miserables
Victor Hugo

One of the most widely read novels of all time, Les Misérables was the crowning literary achievement of Victor Hugo’s stunning career.  Les Misérables tells the story of the peasant Jean Valjean—unjustly imprisoned, baffled by destiny, and hounded by his nemesis, the magnificently realized, ambiguously malevolent police detective Javert. As Valjean struggles to redeem his past, we are thrust into the teeming underworld of Paris with all its poverty, ignorance, and suffering. Just as cruel tyranny threatens to extinguish the last vestiges of hope, rebellion sweeps over the land like wildfire, igniting a vast struggle for the democratic ideal in France.

A monumental classic dedicated to the oppressed, the underdog, the laborer, the rebel, the orphan, and the misunderstood, Les Misérables is a rich, emotional novel that captures nothing less than the entirety of life in nineteenth-century France.

64. Nineteen Eighty-Four
George Orwell

To Winston Smith, a young man who works in the Ministry of Truth (Minitru for short), come two people who transform his life completely. One is Julia, whom he meets after she hands him a slip reading, “I love you.” The other is O’Brien, who tells him, “We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness.” The way in which Winston is betrayed by the one and, against his own desires and instincts, ultimately betrays the other, makes a story of mounting drama and suspense.

65. Into Thin Air
Jon Krakauer

A childhood dream of someday ascending Mount Everest, a lifelong love of climbing, and an expense account all propelled writer Jon Krakauer to the top of the Himalayas last May. His powerful, cautionary tale of an adventure gone horribly wrong is a must-read.

66. Frankenstein
Mary Shelley

A monster assembled by a scientist from parts of dead bodies develops a mind of his own as he learns to loathe himself and hate his creator.

67. Foundation
Isaac Asimov

When the Galactic Empire started dying, a great psychohistorian set up the foundation to preserve human culture and shorten 30,000 years of chaotic barbarism.

68. The Hunt for Red October
Tom Clancy

A deadly serious game of hide-and-seek is on. The CIA’s brilliant young analyst, Jack Ryan, thinks he knows the reason for the sudden Red Fleet operation: the Soviets’ most valuable ship, the Red October, is attempting to defect to the United States. The nerve-wracking hunt goes on for eighteen days as the Red October tries to elude her hunters across 4000 miles of ocean. The rousing climax is one of the most thrilling underwater scenes ever written.

69. From Here to Eternity
James Jones

Pvt. Robert E. Lee Prewitt is a champion welterweight and a fine bugler.  But when he refuses to join the company’s boxing team, he gets “the treatment” that may break him or kill him.  First Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden knows how to soldier better than almost anyone, yet he’s risking his career to have an affair with the commanding officer’s wife.  Both Warden and Prewitt are bound by a common bond:  the Army is their heart and blood . . .and, possibly, their death.

In this magnificent but brutal classic of a soldier’s life, James Jones portrays the courage, violence and passions of men and women who live by unspoken codes and with unutterable despair. . .in the most important American novel to come out of World War II, a masterpiece that captures as no ther the honor and savagery of men.

70. The Brothers Karamazov
Fyodor Dostoevsky

This brilliant work by one of Russia’s foremost novelists teems with greed, passion, depravity, and complex moral issues. Three brothers, involved in the brutal murder of their despicable father, find their lives irrevocably altered as they are driven by intense, uncontrollable emotions of rage and revenge.

71. Dracula
Bram Stoker

First published in 1897, Bram Stoker’s Dracula established the ground rules for virtually all vampire fiction written in its wake.  The Dracula mythology has inspired a vast subculture, but the story has never been better told than by Stoker.

72. The Catcher in the Rye
JD Salinger

Salinger’s classic coming-of-age story portrays one young man’s funny and poignant experiences with life, love, and sex.

73. Moneyball
Michael Lewis

Billy Beane, general manager of the Athletics, is putting into practice on the field revolutionary principles garnered from geek statisticians and college professors. Michael Lewis’s brilliant, irreverent reporting takes us from the dugouts and locker rooms-where coaches and players struggle to unlearn most of what they know about pitching and hitting-to the boardrooms, where we meet owners who begin to look like fools at the poker table, spending enormous sums without a clue what they are doing. Combine money, science, entertainment, and egos, and you have a story that Michael Lewis is magnificently suited to tell.

74. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Seth Grahame-Smith…and Jane Austin

Proof that adding zombies to anything can make it Ultra Manly. Even the pillar of chick lit.

75. Animal Farm
George Orwell

As ferociously fresh as it was more than a half century ago, this remarkable allegory of a downtrodden society of overworked, mistreated animals and their quest to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality is one of the most scathing satires ever published. As readers witness the rise and bloody fall of the revolutionary animals, they begin to recognize the seeds of totalitarianism in the most idealistic organization—and in the most charismatic leaders, the souls of the cruelest oppressors.

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Comments

  1. A mliilon thanks for posting this information.

  2. Great list! There are some really good books hear. Men need to read more and there are tons of manly books out there, the world just needs to be made known about them. I’ve also composed a list of a few on my site that I really like and think are pretty manly.

  3. There are some good books on this list.

    However, there are a few others (including “Life of Pi,” “How to Win Friends and Influence People” [and the other self-help books you have listed], “The Kite Runner,” “The DaVinci Code,” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”) that, to me, seem a bit questionable.

    Then again, all lists like these are merely opinions, and, whenever you make them, you’re bound to have some disagreements with others who read them.

    Having written that, here are ten other books that are worth reading:

    * “Anabasis,” by Xenophon – Following the Peloponnesian Wars, Cyrus of Persia hired ten thousand Greek mercenaries to assist him in seizing the Persian throne from his brother Artaxerxes. When he was killed in battle, though, the Ten Thousand suddenly found themselves trapped deep in enemy territory.

    After their leaders were killed by the Persians’ treachery, the Greeks elected three new leaders, including Xenophon, to guide them back to Greece, and to safety. The rest of the story deals with the many adventures they had along the way, including with the Persian army, and with various groups of barbarians.

    * “David Copperfield” – It’s about David Copperfield and how he grew up, and features a number of memorable characters, including Murdstone, Steerforth, and Uriah Heep, that Copperfield encounters through his life. It’s Dickens’ longest novel (and that’s saying something), but is quite a bit richer than “A Tale of Two Cities” and “Great Expectations.”

    * “Journey to the West” – This Chinese epic is about how Sun Wukong (the monkey king) accompanied the monk Sanzang on a 14-year journey from Tang China to India, to recover the Buddhist sutras. Sun Wukong isn’t just any monkey, though: he’s incredibly strong (he can wield a magic staff [weighing 8100 kg / 17881 lb] with little difficulty) and knows 72 supernatural tricks, plus he’s immortal and is very hard to hurt. The novel deals with his many adventures, both before he joined the monk, and during his long journey to the west.

    * Sherlock Holmes – the one you listed had only 12 of his cases. However, other versions (including “Sherlock Holmes: the Complete Novels and Stories, Volumes 1 and 2”) have all four “Sherlock Holmes” novels, and all 56 of Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes” short stories.

    * “The Aeneid” – It’s a Roman epic about how Aeneas fled Troy (after the Greeks destroyed it), how his men arrived in Carthage for a time, and how they ended up in Italy.

    * “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin” – About Ben Franklin’s life, up until 1760, and how he came to become successful.

    * “The Iliad” – It’s an epic about the war between the Greeks and the Trojans (though it doesn’t include the Trojan Horse).

    * “The Island of Dr. Moreau” – Dr. Moreau lives on an island, where he performs experiments on animals, to give them speech, and to enable them to think and act like men. However, problems eventually arise…

    * “The Odyssey” – It’s how Odysseus traveled back from Troy to his home on Ithaca, and includes his many adventures along the way.

    * “The Trial” – Josef K. is arrested one day, but is never told what crime he committed, or why he’s been placed under arrest. As the story progresses, he meets a number of people who take his case very seriously, but is never told what, exactly, he did.

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  13. Preston Falls by David Gates would be an interesting book for men.

  14. Michael Fattizzi says:

    this is a particularly fine, well-rounded list…i have a special love of detective and mystery books such as Agatha Christie and Andrea Camileri’s Montalbano series…Of the classics, Stendahl, Manzoni, the Russians and French masters, Leopardi, D’Annunzio in the newest translations. My definition of a classic is a book to be read more than once and so I reread and reread. My book men’s book club recently read The Girl on the Train and it was well received. I recommended Moll Flanders but it didn’t go over well with a couple of members.

    • Lloyd Winston says:

      Our fledgling all-guys book club here in St Louis is a mere few books old. Could you–O, would you?–share a list of titles you’ve read?
      Thanx!

  15. Rosa Jones says:

    Night train to Lisbon by Patrick Mercier, a wonderful book with a misleadingly trivial title. It is about friendship, family and the experience of living under a dictator by a philosophy teacher, and it really made me think.

  16. Lapidaryblue says:

    There should be at least one Jim Harrison book and one Wade Davis and Gerard Cherry Apley and Trask by Don Berry and Edward Abbey and Charles Bowden and Wallace Stegner and JWPowell and Patrick O’Brian!!!

  17. BennettMarco says:

    A “manly” book list with no James Ellroy?

    Start with “American Tabloid.”

  18. lapidaryblue says:

    I find it hard to believe this is a group of men. Where is Larry McMurtry? Doug Peacock? Where John D. MacDonald? There is no mention of Travis McGee. Where Ross McDonald? Where is the GREAT Ross Thomas and his WuDu trilogy? Where is anything about the polar explorations? Nothing about Shackleton? I know it’s fiction but surely someone wants some testosterone! Brett Easton Ellis and the Bolivian marching powder for that matter? How about T.C. Boyle? Heck, what about M. Yourcenar’s Memoirs of Hadrian?

    • The Manliest Man says:

      As your attorney, I recommend you eat the drugs in my suitcase and add these books to your list:
      – A Fan’s Notes by Frederick Exley
      – The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
      – The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson
      – Civilwarland in Bad Decline by George Saunders
      – Clockers by Richard Price

    • Mark Crozier says:

      Lonesome Dove is on the list…

  19. Tom Dunham says:

    Vasily Grossman’s “Life and Fate,” and sequel, “Everything Flows.”
    A brilliant Soviet “War and Peace” Chapters and scenes that will stay with you forever.

  20. Mark Crozier says:

    Very good list, some questionable ones on there but that’s the nature of lists. I am surprised, though, at the exclusion of the great hardboiled crime writers, namely Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. I would also want something from Jim Thompson (probably his masterpiece, The Killer Inside Me), Charles Willeford (take your pick, but The Shark-infested Custard is a favourite of mine and has no less than four male protagonists) and James Ellroy (The Black Dahlia probably). These are manly books of the first order!

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