34 Books Every Boy Should Read

The choices are from those books we enjoyed, but this is a list that all men should have read when they were boys. The first ones are the easiest - though not necessarily the best. Every title has been loved by millions. Like a reference to Jack and the Beanstalk, you should know Huckleberry Finn, Sherlock Holmes , and all the other characters who make up the world of imagination. The list comes with suggested reading ages - but these are only rough minimums. Reading ability is more important than age.

1. Roald Dahl's books. From five up, these can be read to children. The Twits is fantastic. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, George's Marvellous Medicine, The BFG, and James and the Giant Peach are all worth reading. For older readers, his short stories are nothing short of brilliant.

2. The Winnie-the-Pooh books by A.A. Milne. Beautifully written, amusing stories.

3. Willard Price - a series of adventure books, with titles such as Underwater Adventure, Arctic Adventure, and so on. The two main characters, Hal and Roger, are role models for all boys growing up today. Suitable for ages eight and above.

4. All the Famous Five books by Enid Blyton. Also, her Secret Seven series. These are classic adventure and crime stories for those aged eight and above, up to the early teens.

5. Fungus the Bogeyman by Raymond Briggs. One of the strangest books in this list, but oddly compelling. For all ages, but probably ten and above.

6. Grimm's Fairy Tales; Hans Christian Anderson; Greek and Roman legends. There are many collections out there, but these stories have survived because they are good.

7. The Belgariad by David Eddings. Fantasy series of five books, every one a gem. Eleven and above.

8. Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household. An extraordinary story of survival against the odds. Suitable for eleven and over.

9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. The second of the Narnia series. Superb fantasy stories for confident readers of twelve and above.

10. Charlotte's Webby E. B. White. A powerful story of a pig and a spider! Eight years old and up.

11. Kim by Rudyard Kipling - a classic adventure. Also, the Just So Stories and The Jungle Book. For confident readers, but well worth the time.

12. The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan. This is almost the definition of a boy's adventure story, involving spies and wild dashes across the Scottish countryside. Also look for Mr. Standfast by the same author.

13. The James Bond books by Ian Fleming. For early teen readers and above. These stories are quite dark in places - far grittier than the films.

14. The Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. Modern classics.

15. S.E. Hinton - The Outsiders, Tex and Rumble Fish. These are classic stories about the misadventures of growing up. For confident readers of twelve and above.

16. Mark Twain - The Adventure of Tom Sawyer and The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn. For confident readers of twelve and above.

17. Isaac Asimov - science fiction. He wrote hundreds of brilliant short stories available in collections. Confident readers of twelve and above.

18. Terry Pratchett's Discworld books. They are all fantastic, funny, and interesting. Start with Sourcery. Twelve and above.

19. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Fantastic story of a young boy in a military academy. Confident readers of twelve and above.

20. Midshipman's Hope by David Feintuch. A space fantasy with a marvelous main character. There are seven in the full series.

21. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Funny and clever - the old "five books to a trilogy" ploy. Twelve and up.

22. David's Gemmell's books, such as Waylander - the master of heroic fantasy for fourteen and up. Read one and you'll read them all.

23. Magician by Raymond E. Feist. One of the best fantasy novels ever written - and a whole series of first-class sequels to follow.

24. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. The masterwork trilogy. For confident teen readers.

25. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. A classic fantasy story. Can be read at many levels from eight to adult.

26. The Flashman books by George MacDonald Fraser. For confident readers, but a great dip into history and adventure. Fourteen and above.

27. Animal Farm and 1984 by George Orwell. Novels to wake the brain. For confident readers of fourteen and over.

28. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Like Orwell's 1984, a famous story of a future we should fear.

29. Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Superb - but only for accomplished readers of fourteen and above.

30. H.G. Wells's The Time Machine, The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Invisible Man - books from one of the best literary minds of the nineteenth century. Fourteen and above.

31. The Sherlock Holmes adventures by Arthur Canon Doyle. The original classic detective mysteries. Loads of short crime stories and longer novels, like The Hound of the Baskervilles. Accomplished readers only. Fifteen and above.

32. Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swifts. One that can be read on more than one level. It gave us the lands of Lilliput and Brobdingnag.

33. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome. The funniest book ever written, but only for accomplished readers of fourteen or fifteen and above.

34. Stephen King. The Bachman Books is a good starting point. His novels are quite adult in subject and can be frightening. Accomplished readers only - fifteen and above.

extract from "The Dangerous Book for Boys" by Conn Iggulden and  Hal Iggulden