Top 100 Books for Every Man

Most book lists we’ve come across, whether they are “Best Books for Men” or “Top 100 Books”, are never very accessible to the average guy. They are usually old, outdated, or just plain unreadable. We decided this needs to change. The average person doesn’t want or need to read Plato’s Republic or Darwin’s Origin of Species.  Because of this, we’ve created a book list for you.

The books listed below, whether contemporary or classic, have been selected because you’ll like them. Each book on our list represents a good story, a good message, or both. We assure you will enjoy these top 100 books for EVERY man.

1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Hunter Thompson


Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is the best chronicle of drug-soaked, addle-brained, rollicking good times ever committed to the printed page. It is also the tale of a long weekend road trip that has gone down in the annals of American pop culture as one of the strangest journeys ever undertaken.

2. The Devil in the White City
Erik Larson

Author Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book’s categorization to be sure that ‘The Devil in the White City’ is not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair’s construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor.

3. The Sound and the Fury
William Faulkner

One of the greatest novels of the twentieth century, The Sound and the Fury is the tragedy of the Compson family, featuring some of the most memorable characters in American literature: beautiful, rebellious Caddy; the manchild Benjy; haunted, neurotic Quentin; Jason, the brutal cynic; and Dilsey, their black servant.

4. Casino Royale
Ian Fleming

In the first of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, 007 declares war on Le Chiffre, French communist and paymaster of the Soviet murder organization SMERSH.

The battle begins with a fifty-million-franc game of baccarat, gains momentum during Bond’s fiery love affair with a sensuous lady spy, and reaches a chilling climax with fiendish torture at the hands of a master sadist. For incredible suspense, unexpected thrills, and extraordinary danger, nothing can beat James Bond in his inaugural adventure.

5. Blood Meridian

Cormac McCarthy

An epic novel of the violence and depravity that attended America’s westward expansion, Blood Meridian brilliantly subverts the conventions of the Western novel and the mythology of the “wild west.” Based on historical events that took place on the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s, it traces the fortunes of the Kid, a fourteen-year-old Tennesseean who stumbles into the nightmarish world where Indians are being murdered and the market for their scalps is thriving.

6. Great Expectations
Charles Dickens

Considered by many to be Dickens’s greatest work, this is a timeless story where vindictiveness and guilt clash with love and gratitude. Enriched by a cast of unforgettable characters, from the orphan Pip to the convict Magwitch and the bitter Miss Haversham.

7. Treasure Island

Robert Louis Stevenson

‘Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest – Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!’ All hands on deck for the swashbuckling adventure of a lifetime! Treasure Island has captivated children for decades and remains Robert Louis Stevenson’s most famous book. With the legendary Long John Silver leading a mutinous pirate crew, children won’t want to miss the boat on this classic tale of treasure and treachery.

8. The Corrections: A Novel
Jonathan Franzen

Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections has taken the literary scene by storm, from its hilarious portrayal of a dysfunctional American family to its insightful jabs at the rat race of contemporary American life.
Winner of the 2001 National Book Award

9. How To Win Friends and Influence People
Dale Carnegie

Available for the first time ever in trade paperback, Dale Carnegie’s enduring classic, the inspirational personal development guide that shows how to achieve lifelong success. One of the top-selling books of all time, “How to Win Friends & Influence People” has sold more than 15 million copies in all its editions.

10. For Whom the Bell Tolls
Ernest Hemingway

In 1937 Ernest Hemingway traveled to Spain to cover the civil war there for the North American Newspaper Alliance. Three years later he completed the greatest novel to emerge from “the good fight,” For Whom the Bell Tolls. The story of Robert Jordan, a young American in the International Brigades attached to an antifascist guerilla unit in the mountains of Spain, it tells of loyalty and courage, love and defeat, and the tragic death of an ideal.

11. Midnight’s Children
Salman Rushdie

Saleem Sinai is born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, the very moment of India’s independence. Greeted by fireworks displays, cheering crowds, and Prime Minister Nehru himself, Saleem grows up to learn the ominous consequences of this coincidence. His every act is mirrored and magnified in events that sway the course of national affairs; his health and well-being are inextricably bound to those of his nation; his life is inseparable, at times indistinguishable, from the history of his country. Perhaps most remarkable are the telepathic powers linking him with India’s 1,000 other “midnight’s children,” all born in that initial hour and endowed with magical gifts.

12. The Call of the Wild
Jack London

An unusual dog, part St. Bernard, part Scotch shepherd, is forcibly taken to Alaska where he eventually becomes leader of a wolf pack.

13. Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad

Dark allegory describes the narrator’s journey up the Congo River and his meeting with, and fascination by, Mr. Kurtz, a mysterious personage who dominates the unruly inhabitants of the region. Masterly blend of adventure, character development, psychological penetration. Considered by many Conrad’s finest, most enigmatic story.

14. Don Quixote
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Don Quixote has become so entranced by reading chivalric romances, that he determines to become a knight-errant himself. In the company of his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, his exploits blossom in all sorts of wonderful ways. While Quixote’s fancy often leads him astray-he tilts at windmill’s, imagining them to be giants-Sancho acquires cunning and a certain sagacity. Sane madman and wise fool, they roam the world together, and together they have haunted readers’ imaginations for nearly four hundred years.
With its experimental form and literary playfulness, Don Quixote has been generally recognized as the first modern novel.

15. Tropic of Cancer
Henry Miller

Now hailed as an American classic, Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller’s masterpiece, was banned as obscene in this country for twenty-seven years after its first publication in Paris in 1943. Only a historic court ruling that changed American censorship standards, ushering in a new era of freedom and frankness in modern literature, permitted the publication of this first volume of Miller’s famed mixture of memoir and fiction, which chronicles with unapologetic gusto, the bawdy adventures of a young expatriate writer, his friends, and the characters they meet in Paris in the 1930s. Tropic of Cancer is now considered, as Norman Mailer said, “one of the ten or twenty great novels of our century.”

16. The Shining
Stephen King

Danny is only five years old, but he is a ‘shiner’, aglow with psychic voltage. When his father becomes caretaker of an old hotel, his visions grow out of control. Cut off by blizzards, the hotel seems to develop an evil force, and who are the mysterious guests in the supposedly empty hotel?

17. One Hundred Years of Solitude
Gabriel García Márquez

One of the 20th century’s enduring works, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a widely beloved and acclaimed novel known throughout the world, and the ultimate achievement of a Nobel Prize winning career.

The novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the family. It is a rich and brilliant chronicle of life and death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the noble, ridiculous, beautiful, and tawdry story of the family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America.

18. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Mark Haddon

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, Christopher is autistic. Everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning for him. Routine, order and predictability shelter him from the messy, wider world. Then, at fifteen, Christopher’s carefully constructed world falls apart when he finds his neighbor’s dog, Wellington, impaled on a garden fork, and he is initially blamed for the killing.

19. To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee

One of the best-loved classics of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has earned many distinctions since its original publication in 1960. It has won the Pulitzer Prize, been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than forty million copies worldwide, and been made into an enormously popular movie. It was also named the best novel of the twentieth century by librarians across the country (Library Journal).

20. The Grapes of Wrath
John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression follows the western movement of one family and a nation in search of work and human dignity. Perhaps the most American of American classics.

21. Notes from a Small Island
Bill Bryson

After nearly two decades spent on British soil, Bill Bryson-bestsellingauthor of The Mother Tongue and Made in America-decided to returnto the United States. (“I had recently read,” Bryson writes, “that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another,so it was clear that my people needed me.”) But before departing, he set out ona grand farewell tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home.

22. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Mark Twain

Of all the contenders for the title of The Great American Novel, none has a better claim than The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Intended at first as a simple story of a boy’s adventures in the Mississippi Valley-a sequel to Tom Sawyer-the book grew and matured under Twain’s hand into a work of immeasurable richness and complexity. More than a century after its publication, the critical debate over the symbolic significance of Huck’s and Jim’s voyage is still fresh, and it remains a major work that can be enjoyed at many levels: as an incomparable adventure story and as a classic of American humor.

23. The Lord of the Rings
J.R.R Tolkein

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy is a genuine masterpiece. The most widely read and influential fantasy epic of all time, it is also quite simply one of the most memorable and beloved tales ever told. Originally published in 1954, The Lord of the Rings set the framework upon which all epic/quest fantasy since has been built. Through the urgings of the enigmatic wizard Gandalf, young hobbit Frodo Baggins embarks on an urgent, incredibly treacherous journey to destroy the One Ring.

24. Against All Odds: My Story
Chuck Norris

Duh.

25. A Separate Peace
John Knowles

John Knowles’ beloved classic has been a bestseller for more than 30 years and is one of the most moving and accurate novels about the trials and confusions of adolescence ever written. Set at an elite boarding school for boys during World War II, A Separate Peace is the story of friendship and treachery, and how a tragic accident involving two young men forever tarnishes their innocence.

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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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