Here are some recommendations from some guys we trust.

Loren Long

  • The Magic Finger
  • It made me think about what it would feel like to be an animal . . . especially an animal being hunted.
  • Hatchet
  • I was fascinated by the question . . . what would you do if you were lost all alone in the wilderness?
  • A Season on the Brink
  • For any NCAA basketball fan or anyone interested in a quirky biographical study of a legendary coach . . . Bobby Knight.
  • The Winner’s Manual, For the Game of Life
  • I like to learn how extraordinary/successful people approach life and this is a unique (just published) book about methods and ideals that Jim Tressell brings to his Ohio State football program.

  • Marley and Me
  • Sorry, I'm a softy for dogs. I had just lost my dog of 14 years and read this book on a book tour. Ended up bawling my eyes out all alone in a Hotel in Tampa. Guy Reads, guy cries.
  • The Little Engine That Could
  • The essential picture book for every collection . . . my favorite growing up. Take it off to college with you!

Jeffrey Brown

Jeffrey Brown lives in Chicago with his wife and two sons. As a kid, he loved comics and dreamed of making them. With a long line of publications and art shows behind and in front of him, we'd say he's certainly living that dream. He's definitely a case of if you can dream it, with a lot of hard work, you can do it. Most lately he's the author of the New York Times bestselling Jedi Academy series. 

photo credit: Jill Liebhaber

  • The Complete Tales Of Winnie-The-Pooh
  • A.A. Milne
  • Illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard
    I only knew the Disney version of Winnie-The-Pooh until I had a son, and discovered I'd really been missing out. I was familiar with Shepard's excellent drawings, but had no idea just how funny and smart the original Pooh stories are.

  • Anything by Roald Dahl
  • Roald Dahl
  • There have been some notable Dahl adaptations - the original Willy Wonka film, Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox - but Dahl's books are more than just great source material for movies. They're endlessly entertaining, often laugh-out-loud funny, and great to read at any age, alone or with someone else also of any age.

  • Labyrinth
  • A.C.H. Smith
  • Going in reverse, here's a novelization of film I loved, and read a ton all the way to my teenage years. Recently reprinted in a nice edition that includes some of Brian Froud's goblin sketches, it's a fairy tale informed by the imagination of Jim Henson and the humor of Monty Python's Terry Jones.

  • His Dark Materials Trilogy
  • Philip Pullman
  • Fans of Harry Potter, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien should be sure to check out this fantasy series. The tone is earnest and sincere, and the adventure is full of wonder and mystery.

Jon Skovron

Jon Skovron is the author of Struts and Frets, Misfit, and most recently, Man Made Boy. His short stories have appeared in anthologies such as Defy the Dark, GRIM, and the forthcoming Apollo's Daughters.

The first three suggestions here are for younger readers, suggested by Jon's sons, Logan and Zane, aka the SkovBros.

The next three books are for somewhat older readers, suggested by Jon.

 

 

  • The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
  • Tom Angleberger
  • "It's a mystery with a lot of Star Wars jokes and funny pictures. And at the end of each book, it shows you how to make a different Star Wars character."

  • How to Grow Up and Rule the World, by Vordak the Incomprehensible
  • Vordak T. Incomprehensible
  • "It's about a super villain. And it's funny. There should be more books about funny super villains."

  • Bunnicula
  • James Howe
  • "It's about a vampire rabbit who sucks the juices of vegetables. My dad liked this book when he was a kid. It's still good."

  • The Pawn of Prophecy
  • David Eddings
  • "Swords, sorcery, spies, gods, adventure, and humor. I'm not sure what else you need. This is the first book in The Belgariad series, which hooked me on reading forever."

  • White Cat
  • Holly Black
  • "Mafia gangsters with magic."

  • I Hunt Killers
  • Barry Lyga
  • "The son of a serial killer catches serial killers. Not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach."

David Yoo

  • The Last Picture Show
  • Although it takes place in a tiny, dusty Texas town that's nothing like the New England town I grew up in, this is easily my favorite coming-of-age story, ever, period.
  • Then Again, Maybe I Won’t
  • Given the fact that I asked for a pair of binoculars for Christmas (for "bird watching"), too, this was the teen novel that spoke to me when I was 13.
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice
  • My favorite noir writer, this is one of the best plotted stories, ever, in my opinion, with one of the most satisfying endings to a story to boot.
  • Rats Saw God
  • This was the first recent(ish) YA novel that got me excited to write about teens, because it made me think I was reading about, well . . . me.

  • Rosemary’s Baby
  • This horror story is just about perfect in every way, and I've read it maybe 50 times in my lifetime. The movie's one of my favorites, too.
  • Franny and Zooey
  • A decidedly strange little novel that for the life of me I can't quite describe why it's one of my favorites, but it just is.

Patrick Jones

is a Senior Librarian at the Hennepin County Library in Minneapolis, MN.  This is what he says:

The Great Eight: great books (kind of) for guys.  Also: Magazines. Anytime I’m asked for booklist, I ask, “What about magazines, don’t they count?” Well, it’s my list so they count.  Read a magazine every month or week.