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Summer Reading Lists


Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad books out there. How, one might ask, does one figure out what to read when there is so much available, and what not to waste one's time reading? Sadly, most schools do not teach students to be selective in what they read, glad if their students read something, anything. But, of course, bad books form bad character, and besides are often dull to read.


A few good methods we give below for choosing good books, followed by our suggestions of where to start.


(1) Read other books by the same author as a book you have enjoyed or profited from.


(2) Read the books that this same author probably made reference to in his book.


(3) Try not to read too much of a single genre, but mix it up, so when you tire of one book, you can take up another ready to resume that thread. 

(4) Use the table of contents of practical literature to determine whether there is anything in the book you would like to know. It's okay not to read a book in its entirety once one has what one came for.

(5) Blog or take notes on the works that you read. Ask yourself what made this a good book, why do others appreciate it, and what would you need to be able to do if you were to write a similar book or work.


You can use one of many "Great Books" lists to get yourself started. Here are a few of our favorites:

Rising Freshmen

How to Read a Book, Mortimer Adler

Jesus of Nazareth, Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)

On Friendship, Marcus Tullius Cicero

The Song of Roland, Anonymous

Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift

An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, John Locke

History of Rome podcast series, Mike Duncan

Rising Sophomores

The Imitation of Christ, Thomas a Kempis

On Monarchy, Dante Alighieri 

Complete Sonnets, William Shakespeare

The History of Rome, Livy

The Gallic Wars, Julius Caesar

Rising Juniors

The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer

Kristen Lavransdatter, Sigrid Undset

Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Coleridge

The City of God, Augustine of Hippo

The Facts about Luther, Patrick O'Hare

Discourse on Free Will, Disederius Erasmus and Martin Luther, ed. Ernest Winter


Rising Seniors

The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka

The Brothers Karamazov, Fyodor Dostoevsky

A Good Man is Hard to Find, Flannery O'Connor

Why Did God Become Man?, St. Anselm of Canterbury

If Protestantism is True, Devin Rose

The Stranger, Jean-Paul Sartre

Summa contra Gentiles, St. Thomas Aquinas

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