What are the most important books to read in your lifetime?
Different folks have different ideas on that. Here are the 100 books I think everyone should read at least once in their lifetime.
So many books; so little time.
The Holy Bible is the only book written by God. Yes, God wrote through men, but He is the Author. The Lord has so much love, truth, and wisdom to reveal to every heart in the world through His Word. In fact, this is the only book you could read for five hours every day of your life and glean new insights each day. God is so good! I love the Bible!
Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan is a timeless classic written in the 1600's by a Puritan preacher who was arrested for his faith. Now, here's what's so cool about this book: John had a dream and wrote the dream down. Pilgrim's Progress is an allegory, a tale within a tale. The surface adventure is full of action with every place, character, and action representing a spiritual truth. In Colonial America and Early America, every household had at least two books: The Holy Bible and Pilgrim's Progress.
Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens is a timeless classic written in the Victorian Age and set during the French Revolution. Moving between England and France, this story is the best historical fiction story ever written with a beautiful picture of genuine love as a man gives his life for another. Wow! This book is an exciting story with characters you will love and others you will hate. And of course, it begins with the classic "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times."
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe is mentioned in every history book I've ever read, but so few Americans actually read this classic. "Is this the woman who wrote the book that started the Civil War?" Abe Lincoln asked when he met the author. Find out why it is such a powerful book by reading it! You will love Tom. He is an amazing Christian man who returns evil with good. What a great story!
Ben Hur by Lew Wallace is set in Ancient Israel and has the exciting chariot race. But, there is so much more to this exciting adventure story. The author, an officer in the Civil War, brings men and women of Ancient Times alive! The intensely emotional story of a wealthy Jewish family and their relationship with the Roman occupying forces. You will not be able to put this dramatic novel down!
Aesop's Fables written by the Greek slave who was given freedom because of his great story-telling abilities is full of delightful stories for all ages. Meet persevering tortoises, hungry frogs, and talking animals who teach practical lesson that are timeless. These stories have remained popular for thousands of years.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is the ultimate romantic novel set in Georgian England. You will love Elizabeth Bennett and her beautiful sister Jane, shy Bingley, and proud Mr. Darcy. You will love the family antics, fancy balls, and proper conversations. You will laugh, worry, hope, be disappointed, and finish the classic novel with a smile on your face. I love the way the character's attraction doesn't bring them together; it isn't until they have repented of bad behavior and attitudes that true love wins the day! If you are a guy, read this book anyway to learn to be as romantic as Mr. Darcy.
Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a dark tale of sin, revenge, and hypocrisy. Written in the mid-1800's and set in Colonial Massachusetts Bay Colony, this book explores the hearts of the main characters as they endure public humiliation, avoid public humiliation, or seek public humiliation for others. It is a chilling tale, a psychological thriller. My favorite part of this book is the symbolism throughout the story. I find myself caught up in the drama of early New England every time I read it!
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe was published in the early 1700's in a magazine piece by piece. Readers couldn't wait to get the next section of the story. Narrated by Robinson Crusoe himself in a diary format, this adventure keeps us wondering what will happen next as we grow in affection for our narrator whose tone is endearing, though quite matter-of-fact. Crusoe's youthful rebellion is followed by shipwrecks and isolation. He eventually gives his heart to Christ, meets a friend he nicknames "Friday", and overcomes all obstacles. This is a thrilling story!
Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne will take you on a fascinating trip around the world with a somber, meticulous Englishman and his emotional French servant. Fogg and Passepartout travel by train, steamship, sailboat, carriage, and elephant while they overcome storms, natural disasters, kidnapping, and Indian attacks, all the while being chased by Detective Fix of the Scotland Yard who is convinced that Phileas Fogg has robbed the Bank of England. I love learning about all the different places they visit on their travels and imagining I am traveling with them around the whole world. What a wonderful classic!
Confessions by St. Augustine is a beautiful testimony of God's amazing grace poured into the life of a Roman rebel whose devote mother had prayed for his salvation for years. Eventually, he was gloriously saved and ministered as the Bishop of Hippo. St. Augustine is honest about his wicked past and honors Christ as he shares how the Lord changed Him. This testimony has inspired Christians for over 1,500 years and will be continue to inspire for years to come!
City of God by St. Augustine is a theological work comparing two kingdoms: the kingdom of Rome vs. the Kingdom of Heaven. In this book, St. Augustine shows himself as a philosopher, as well as a practical pastor with a deep concern for his flock. He covers so many different topics that reading City of God is like digging into a treasure chest of solid theology and wisdom. From the battle between good and evil in the heavenly realms to the folly of paganism, this book is fascinating, helpful, and insightful. City of God is a must-read!
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is a delightful story set during the Civil War. You will fall in love with Marmee, Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, Mr. Laurence, and Laurie as you experience their adventures, joys, and sorrows. My grandmother loved this book, my mother loved this book, I loved this book, my daughters loved this book. Every time I read it, I don't want it to end. I want to keep spending time with the March family. You will, too. Though it is usually read in late elementary or middle school, it is never too late to read this timeless classic.
Heidi by Johanna Spyri will take you to the gorgeous Swiss Alps where you will meet Grandpa, Peter, and a whole flock of goats. Make sure that you read the unabridged version of this book (and all the others!) so you can read about when Heidi commits her life to Jesus. It is a beautiful scene. In the end, she impacts so many lives with her sweetness and love of life.
The Brother's Grimm collected fairy tales and folk takes from all over their native Germany. Grimm's Fairy Tales are a collection of numerous stories that were told for centuries before they were collected in one volume and continue to be enjoyed by children and adults. Now, this is not the Disney version so prepare your heart before you read the original fairy tales like Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White. Fairy tales are a big part of our culture, especially childhood.
Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen is another collection of fairy tales, but these were all written by Hans Christian Andersen, a Christian author and poet from Denmark. Decidedly Christian with biblical values ruling, these stories, some have happy endings and some do not, but demonstrate sacrificial love. The Ugly Duckling, The Little Mermaid, and Thumbelina are three of his vast collection of fairy tales.
Paradise Lost by John Milton and the sequel Paradise Regained remain as fascinating today as they did hundreds of years ago (1667) when they were penned by a devout English Puritan. These stories are both epic poems. Paradise Lost begins with satan and his fallen angels/demons who are plotting to fight against God against God's brand new beloved creation. When God calls the angels together in Heaven to report on the demonic plot, Jesus volunteers to offer Himself as a sacrifice for mankind. The poem ends with Adam and Eve leaving the Garden. Paradise Regained begins with Jesus' baptism, followed by His temptation in the desert. Milton shows how Jesus defeating satan's temptations was the first step in regaining Paradise. These books are not an easy read. You will need to find quiet and large chunks of time, as well as to get into the rhythm of his poetry.
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis is another book that reveals the scheming wiles of the devil. In this work, a senior demon named Screwtape writes his nephew, a fellow demon, named Wormwood, a series of letters to help Wormwood in his task. Wormwood's job is to "help" his "patient" to draw further away from God, sin against God, and become part of satan's kingdom. I love this book! It definitely exposes the tricks of the devil to tempt us.
Let's go back in time for the next stories, also epic poems like Milton's works. The Odyssey and The Iliad are Ancient Greek works written by Homer, a Greek slave whose writings earned his freedom. These stories have been enjoyed for centuries. Thrilling adventures, battles, shipwrecks, and romance all make these tales larger than life. In addition, you get to meet the Greek idol/gods and idol/goddesses who seem more like fallen angels than the Lord we serve. They scheme, plot, and lie to get their way, playing favorites with some men, and setting out to destroy others. The Iliad tells the how, why, what, where, and why of the Destruction of Troy in Ancient Times by several Greek city-states who come together to rescue the beautiful Helen who has been kidnapped by the King of Troy. The Odyssey tells the tale of King Odysseus, or Ulysses, who takes ten years to make it home from the Battle of Troy while his beautiful wife and loyal son wait faithfully for his return, all the while fending off suitors. Being pagan, these poems are not clean, so if you want to know the story, read The Iliad for Boys and Girls by A.J. Church and The Odyssey for Boys and Girls by A.J. Church.
The Aeneid by Virgil begins where The Iliad ends. Just one thing, though. The Aeneid is written by a Roman author. It is not a Greek work. The Romans loved Homer's works and one of their rulers actually asked Virgil to record the tale of the Trojans who survived the destruction of Troy and after numerous adventures setting in Italy to begin the city of Rome. Now, realize that this is a pagan work, so like Homer's tales, is filled with sexual sin, as well as idol/god and idol/goddesses. If you just want to get the story, read The Aeneid for Boys and Girls by A.J. Church.
Let's flash-forward to more recent times. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson is a dark tale. I love how it begins with two proper English gentlemen discussing a strange event that leads them to investigate the relationship between the sinister Mr. Hyde and the respectable Dr. Jekyll. This book takes a serious look at human nature as the chilling story progresses.
Aye, Matey, if it's peg-legged pirates you want, you want to read another book by Robert Louis Stevenson. Treasure Island is the classic pirate tale filled with adventure, surprises, courage, and, of course, treasure. Everyone should read a least one pirate story in their lifetime and this tale is a great one!
In The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, a little orphaned girl is forced to move to England to live with her uncle. As she moves about in the lonely old house, she stumbles upon a secret garden and the adventure beings. This is a delightful story that will capture the hearts of young and old alike.
Since we are talking about England, Ecclesiastical History of the English People St. Bede the Venerable is a classic written in A.D. 731 that gives us most of what we know about English history in the those times long ago, beginning with Julius Caesar's invasion of England in the century before Christ was born. Ecclesiastical means church so it is covers the spread of the Gospel thoroughly, as well as political history. Very exciting read!
Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter is a delightful book about a sweet young girl who plays the Glad Game. You see, she was taught by her parents to look for something to thank God for, even when bad things happen. Her winsome love for others turns the entire town upside down. But, what happens when she becomes discouraged? You will love this book and it will motivate you to focus more on the positive.
While we are talking about thankfulness, I have to mention Prison to Praise, an amazing testimony by Merlin Carothers. From jail to heroism in World II to the chaplaincy, this young man fell deeply in love with Jesus and it changed his life completely! God also taught him a valuable lesson about praising God in all things. I try to read this book once a year!
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas is a long read, so hunker down. This book is my once reading-phobic son's favorite book. This French adventure novel is set during turbulent historical times (1815-1839) in France, Italy, and Mediterranean islands. Our hero is wrongfully imprisoned, but escapes and acquires a fortune. From that point, he sets out to seek revenge. As you can guess, the book explores innocence, guilt, revenge, jealousy, forgiveness, mercy, and justice. It is a thrilling adventure!
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain is set in England during the reign of Henry VIII. There are two main characters: a poor boy, Tom Canty, from Pudding Lane and the Prince of Wales, Edward VI. They switch clothes which leads to them changing places. As in all Mark Twain's works, there is humor and boyish mischievousness. I love this story!
Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss is another one of my favorite novels. This amazing family is stranded on a desert island after a terrible shipwreck. They manage to save several items and animals from the ship and set up housekeeping. I love their ingenuity and love for learning. Did I mention they also love the Lord? If you like adventures, this story has one after another, including pirates!
Speaking of adventures, Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott is set in twelfth century England in the times of Knights and Castles. A Saxon knight, Ivanhoe is a knight who has pledged his allegiance to King Richard the Lionheart against his father's wishes. You will also meet King John, Robin Hood (called Locksley), and Robin Hood's Merry Men. You will follow Ivanhoe on a Crusade, to a Tournament, and as he rescues the beautiful Lady Rowena.
Everyone should read some of Shakespeare's plays and sonnets. "Hamlet," "MacBeth,", "Romeo and Juliet," and "Richard the Third," are still performed today. Keep in mind that poetry and plays are supposed to be read aloud to be enjoyed. Better yet--watch a performance. If you just want to read the stories themselves, I recommend "Tales from Shakespeare" by Charles and Mary Lamb.
Plimoth Plantation by William Bradford will give you a personal account of the history of the Pilgrim Settlement in present-day Massachusetts. You will learn a lot that is never mentioned in history books by reading this book and have a new appreciation for the Pilgrim's devotion to the Lord.
Freckles by Gene Stratton Porter is about a young man raised in a Chicago orphanage who gets a job guarding timber in the swamp. Mostly set in the Limberlost Swamp area of Indiana, Freckles falls in love with the land and has adventures that cost him his reputation. You will root for Freckles and love this story.
The Works of Flavius Josephus, a Jewish man who lived at the time of Christ, have been studied for centuries by Christians because it is such a great resource to learn about the times when Jesus lived. I also love Josephus' Antiquities, or history of the world where he adds to the teachings of the Old Testament. Is it all true? I don't know, but certainly interesting and worth reading.
Back to Modern Times. This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti has a slow beginning, but if you can hang on through that, you are in for a treat! Why do I think people should read it? It introduces the spiritual realm, battle of angels and demons, to readers and shows how prayer plays a part in the part of life we cannot see. This book will change your prayer life!
Eternity in their Hearts by Don Richardson reveals evidence from cultures around the world of a seed of faith in the One True God that prepared their hearts to receive the Gospel. I love this book! How fascinating to learn about how many different people, in spite of their pagan worship, have something planted within their culture of faith in the One True God.
Randy Alcorn is a great storyteller so you will enjoy Safely Home and his other novels, but what makes this book a "Must Read!" is that is gives you unique glimpses into Heaven throughout the story. Two college roommates are reunited after 20 years. Ben is a businessman and Li Quan is a Christian risking his life to serve the Lord.
Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs in set in Africa where you will meet animals who talk to one another, Englishmen, a tribe of cannibals, and a brave young man who loves his jungle home. Tarzan's parents are marooned on the African coast and his mom dies soon after giving birth. Tarzan's father is murdered the Kerchak, the savage king ape. Baby Tarzan is raised by Kala, a female ape. This is an exciting story and through 23 books followed this one, most agree the first one is the best!
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis is adapted from a series of BBC radio talks he did during World War II. You see, the King (George VI) and Prime Minister (Churchill) were upset by the number of young people that were falling away from the Christian faith. C.S. Lewis's broadcast's answered the doubts, questions, and accusations of a generation.
Ecclesiastical History by Eusebius was written circa A.D. 323-324. It is the history of the church starting with Jesus and the first disciples. I love this book! It is so exciting to read early Christian works and this one is written by a true historian who loves the Lord. If you want to learn about the early church, this is your book!
Dr. Doolittle talks to animals and they talk back. Yes, I know it sounds a little weird, but this series of books is charming. Start off with The Story of Dr. Doolittle by Hugh Lofting and prepare to do a lot of smiling! Dr. Doolitte loves animals and when Polynesia, his parrot, teaches him their languages, he is able to take better care of them and build close friendships. What fun! If you enjoy the first book, there are several in the series.
While we are talking about imaginary fun, don't forget about the boy who never grew up. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie is a delightful story about a boy who can fly. Peter Pan whisks Wendy, John, and Michael off the Neverland where they meet the fairy Tinkerbelle, the pirate Captain Hook, Indians, and more pirates. Again, there are several more books of adventure in the series.
The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sydney will let you meet Mamsie and her charming children. After Mr. Pepper dies, the sweet family struggles with poverty until a wealthy gentleman takes an interest in the family. You will love the characters in this book and enjoy spending time with them all. More books follow covering the lives of all five children.
Hans Brinker (or The Silver Skates) by Mary Mapes Dodge is set in the Netherlands. You will love this family too where the father is too sick to work anymore, so Mom, Hans, and Gretel must all work hard to just get by. Of course, there is a speed skating race that the siblings want to participate in and an operation that could heal their father, but I will let you enjoy the story yourself. After reading this book, I felt like I had traveled to Holland myself!
God's Smuggler by Brother Andrew is an inspiring story about his life, testimony, and eventual ministry to the Underground Church behind the Iron Curtain. He smuggled Bibles through several communist country checkpoints after praying this prayer: "Oh, Lord who made blind eyes see, please make seeing eyes blind to these Scriptures in my suitcase." Brother Andrew brought worldwide attention to the suffering Christians behind the Iron Curtain with this book.
Booker T. Washington, a former slave who found Tuskegee Institute shares his life story in Up From Slavery. He was the primary spokesman for African Americans at the turn of the 20th Century and was instrumental in training thousands of men and women to live productive lives. Not only did graduates get a degree, but they learned practical life skills and the Bible. My favorite thing about this man is his heart.
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom tells the true story of a brave Dutch family that housed and hid persecuted Jews in the hiding place, keeping them safe from the Nazis during Nazi Occupation in the Netherlands during World War II. Eventually, discovered and arrested, Corrie survived to tell her story of forgiveness and reconciliation with God. I love this book!
Gifted Hands, the Ben Carson Story by Gregg Lewis is a true story of an impoverished single mother who is determined that her sons get an education and rise above their circumstances. Not only did Ben grow up to be a famous neurosurgeon, but an pioneer in the field of neurosurgery. His story is inspiring!
Life & Diary of David Brainerd was published by Jonathan Edwards in 1749. Yes, that's the famous Great Awakening pastor. Young David Brainerd was engaged to one of Pastor Edward's daughters but he died before they could be married. David gave his life to spreading the Gospel among the Native Americans in and around the Northern English colonies. His passion for Jesus and devotion to ministry will inspire you! This book is credited with stirring many folks' hearts for missions.
Through the Gates of Splendor tells the story of Jim Eliot and his martyrdom at the hands of the Auca Indians of Ecuador in the Amazon Rain Forest. Jim had a passion to live wholeheartedly for the Lord and to reach unreached people groups. Elisabeth continued Jim's ministry with her young daughter after Jim's death, winning the tribe to the Lord and leading her husband's murderer to Christ.
Switching gears, The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli is a classic that has been inspiring ruthless dictators for centuries, and maybe inspired a few hostile takeovers in the business world. Published in 1532, this book was written to instructions princes, or political leaders on how to rule their kingdoms. Starting with inherited kingdoms that are easier to rule, the author moves quickly to how to rule over conquered peoples effectively. This book is where we get the term Machiavellian.
In Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton, Chesterton shares his spiritual autobiography, the journey from agnostic to believer in Jesus. He explains the truth of Christianity and the falsehoods of secularism and eastern religions. This book is amazing and insightful! However, as with all of Chesterton's books, it might be good to have a dictionary hand to look up several words. He is not a lightweight author, but you don't have to be a practicing intellectual to enjoy his writing--just keep the dictionary close.
Even if you are a grown-up, you should read at least one of the Thornton Burgess Animals stories for young folks. His love for animals shines through every story. I recommend The Adventures of Reddy Fox by Thornton Burgess about a mischievous fox who lives with Granny Fox whose wisdom helps him get out of trouble.
Charlotte's Web by E. B. White is a classic story of saving someone from becoming bacon. In this case the heroine is a spider and the one she rescues is Wilbur a prize-winning pig who doesn't want to become the main dish.
The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper is a an adventure for of action and battles set in beautiful upstate New York during the French and Indian War. The writing is wonderful the story will engage you, though it is one long tale.
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood is exciting and fun from cover to cover. Howard Pyle, the author arouses sympathy for Robin Hood in the very beginning and you find yourself rooting for him, though he technically an outlaw and sometimes crosses lines. You will meet Queen Elinor, Richard the Lionheart, and bad King John, real English nobility from the Middle Ages.
You have to read one story about King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. I recommend King Arthur and His Knights by Howard Pyle. Pyle is just a great story teller and he does a great job with this good king from post-Roman era England and his chivalrous knights.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a gripping, but heart-wrenching tale of prejudice set in a small southern town in the 1930's. When a black man is falsely accused, Scout's father agrees to defend him. Insightful!
The Chronicles of Narnia is a set of seven books (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Prince Caspian: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; The Silver Chair; The Horse and His Boy, The Magicians Nephew; and The Last Battle) that explores the make-believe world of Narnia. The children, sent to safety in the country during World War II, discover a wardrobe which magically transports them to Narnia where one adventure follows another. Best of all, they meet Aslan who is Terrible and Wonderful, giving up his life so they can be free. Beauty stories!
J.R.R. Tolkien had a strong interest in Norse mythology and he was a follower of Jesus. Cross the two together and what do you have: The Lord of the Rings! This fantasy trilogy is made up of three books: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Return of the King, and The Two Towers.
Communist Manifesto is not a book I agree with, but feel it must be read to understand the aims of the many politicians in our government and professors and teachers in the world of academia today. The aims of Communism may surprise you, but it is better to know and understand.
Captain Grant's Children is another adventure story by Jules Verne. This one has two children looking for their father, Captain Grant who is somewhere along the 37th Parallel, but what is the other coordinate? As a homeschooling mom, I love their adventure along the 37th Parallel experiencing adventures in South America to South Africa, the Indian Ocean, Australia, and New Zealand.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain are as American as baseball and apple pie, or traveling down the Mississippi River on a steamboat. Mischievousness and kindness blend together in the heroes of these books to create delightful tales of adventure on the Mississippi River.
Rags-to-Riches stories by Horatio Algiers about poor boys who attain wealth along with respectability and honor filled young hearts with idealism and hope in the American Dream. He wrote over 100 of these stories, promoting hard work and integrity. Ragged Dick, published in 1867, is a great book to read to see if you like his stories. If so, there's lots more to read.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is not just for children. Mr. Carroll is a delightful and engaging storyteller, although, well, what can I say. They are fanciful, silly, fascinating. You just have to read them. They must be symbolic, but just what do they symbolize? This is a fun read!
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri will take you on a tour of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. Written in the 1300's, this book will give you a good perspective of what Medieval Christians believed about Jesus, Christianity, Heaven, and Hell. Whether you agree with his theology or not, you have to admire the lavishness with which he describes Hell and Heaven. Dante paints with his pen and he does so in Italian rather than the scholarly Latin.
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell is set in Georgia during the Civil War and Reconstruction that followed. Scarlett, the heroine is the spoiled daughter of a wealthy plantation owner who loses everything after Sherman's March to the Sea. Scarlett is not so likable. My favorite character is Melanie who is kind and loving no matter how Scarlett behaves.
King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard will take you on a grand adventure through Africa. You will meet Allan Quatermain, world famous hunter and adventurer, who is asked to find a lost brother who disappeared searching for King Solomon's Mines. Yes, that is the King Solomon of the Bible. This is a grand adventure set in South Africa during Victorian Times.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is considered the first horror story, but nothing like horror stories today. The book actually makes a strong commentary on the danger of "playing God" by trying to "create life." Dr. Victor Frankenstein, in an unorthodox experiment, creates a monster. The doctor pays huge consequences for his experiment.
Plutarch, a Greek citizen in the Roman Empire, wrote a book of biographies about famous Greek and Roman military and political leaders. Each Greek man's biography was paired with a Roman man's biography, based on common character traits. Lives of Noble Greeks and Romans by Plutarch was written soon after Jesus rose from the dead and is still interesting to read today!
The Histories by Herodotus, who is considered the Father of History has been enjoyed for centuries since it was written in 440 B.C. Beginning with the Trojan War and Coesus of Lydia, it continues to give the reader information about Persian history, Greek history, and straight through the Greco-Persian Wars.
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes is a novel written during the Spanish Golden Age in the early 1600's. Alanso Quixano, a Spanish nobleman who is slightly crazy, sets off on an adventure with his squire Sancho to defend the helpless and mete out justice.
The Federalist Papers are a collection of letters to the editor by John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison defending the brand new United States Constitution. Their purpose: to get the states to ratify the Constitution so that it will become the law of the land.
The Anti-Federalist Papers are a collection of letters to the editor by Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, and Patrick Henry (and others) against the brand new United States Constitution. Their purpose: to warn Americans about the dangers of a strong federal government.
All three Bronte sisters wrote a classic book that is a little dark and sinister. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is about an orphan who takes a job as a governess and ends up falling in love with Mr. Rochester. Unfortunately, there's a problem. Very interesting book. If you like this one, read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte or Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte.
Coral Island: A Tale of the Pacific Ocean by R.M. Ballantyne, published in 1857, became an instant hit and has remained popular since then. Three school boys are shipwrecked on the coral reef of a Polynesian Island. They encounter one adventure after another, including encountering Jesus Christ. A century later, William Golding wrote Lord of the Flies with many similarities to Coral Island. There was one main difference: Jesus was missing! It is very interesting to read both books and compare the story lines and messages.
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck is a novel set in China. This is not a happy, feel-good book, but it does give such insight into the mind and culture of the Chinese peasant in the early 1900's. The author grew up in China, the daughter of missionaries, and spent half of her life in China.
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder is the first book in the classic series about a charming family that travels west. You will love Pa and Ma and wish you were part of all the fun they have together. Wholesome and delightful describe this series of books perfectly.
None of the following four books are an easy read, but worth the time and effort.
Lex Rex by Samuel Rutherford (or A Dispute for the Just Prerogative of King and People) published in 1644 just might be the best book written on the foundation, nature, and limits of government. This Scottish pastor meticulously examines Scripture to disprove the "Divine Rights of Kings" theory. This book laid the foundation for the great works that would follow, including John Locke's works. Bottom line of this book: no one is above the law; not even kings.
In Two Treatises of Government published in 1660, John Locke argues against the "Divine Rights of Kings" theory. He makes a strong case for natural rights and a limited constitutional government to protect individual's natural rights. He also expresses concern about government being too powerful.
Wealth of the Nations by Adam Smith is often talked about, but seldom read. It is worth a read, even if you just read the first section. In this classic work, economic principles such as distribution of wealth, supply and demand, use of money, distribution of labor, a country's true wealth, and the economic cycle are laid out clearly. Definitely worth a read!
In Reflections on the Revolution in France published in 1790, Edmund Burke an English MP (member of Parliament) who supported the American Revolution, denounces the French Revolution and declares that it will fall because of, among other things, their rejection of biblical truths such as original sin and man's inability to handle large amounts of power.
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie allows Hercule Poirot to solve another baffling case. One thing I love about this story is that the surprise twist ending is related to an historical event. Agatha Christie is the Queen of Mystery Writers and you will love her ability to weave a tale and make characters come alive. Poirot is her favorite detective, but you'll want to meet the others, too. Meet Miss Marple in The 4:50 From Paddington, a delightful and suspenseful who-dun-it. Meet Tommy and Tuppence in Secret Adversary.
Sherlock Holmes is the classic detective of all time. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle will introduce you to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, but it will also take you to the creepy moors and make you a little nervous. Is there really a monster?
Since we're talking about mysteries, let's talk about two more famous detectives: Father Brown and Lord Peter Wimsey from the Golden Age of Mysteries. The Complete Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton contains 49 of the 53 short stories written about the endearing pudgy Roman Catholic priest who seems so innocent, yet knows so much about human nature. In contrast, Lord Peter Wimsey who you can meet in Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy Sayers is wealthy, debonair, and a little board with the glittering life of the nobility, so he solves mysteries as a hobby.
Please check out our FREE Reading Lists over at our JoyfulandSuccessfulHomeschooling webiste. You can download these files or bookmark the page on your phone or laptop. I have several friends who have the page saved as a favorite in case they are out shopping and see a book sale or books at a yard sale.