25 Favorite Novels

This was a hard list to narrow down—and you may see it change if you watch carefully—but here they are, presented in alphabetical order for lack of a better system.

  • All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque
  • The Black Flower, by Howard Bahr
  • A Canticle for Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
  • A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole
  • Deliverance, by James Dickey
  • Gates of Fire, by Steven Pressfield
  • Godric, by Frederick Buechner
  • The Great Divorce, by C.S. Lewis
  • The Green Mile, by Stephen King
  • Grendel, by John Gardner
  • Gringos, by Charles Portis
  • The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • I, Claudius, by Robert Graves
  • The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara
  • The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Matterhorn, by Karl Marlantes
  • The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer
  • News of the World, by Paulette Jiles
  • No Country for Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy
  • Perelandra, by C.S. Lewis
  • The Power and the Glory, by Graham Greene
  • Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
  • Sword of Honour, by Evelyn Waugh
  • True Grit, by Charles Portis
  • Watership Down, by Richard Adams

Honorable Mentions:

  • Blood Merdian, or: The Evening Redness in the West, by Cormac McCarthy
  • Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier
  • Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
  • Laurus, by Eugene Vodolazkin
  • The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare, by G.K. Chesterton
  • Masters of Atlantis, by Charles Portis
  • One Foot in Eden, by Ron Rash
  • Pompeii, by Robert Harris
  • The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

25 Favorite Works of History

  • The Face of Battle, by John Keegan
  • The Mask of Command, by John Keegan
  • The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature, by C.S. Lewis
  • Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power, by Victor Davis Hanson
  • Storm of Steel, by Ernst Jünger
  • Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, by Richard Bauckham
  • The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution, by James Hannam
  • The Forgotten Solider, by Guy Sajer
  • Quartered Safe out Here, by George MacDonald Fraser
  • Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million, by Martin Amis
  • Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies, by David Bentley Hart
  • The Fall of Berlin 1945, by Antony Beevor
  • Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War, by Tony Horwitz
  • Moral Combat: Good and Evil in World War II, by Michael Burleigh
  • The Whig Interpretation of History, by Herbert Butterfield
  • Roman Realities, by Finley Hooper
  • Winston's War: Churchill, 1940-1945, by Max Hastings
  • Crucible of Command: Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee, by William C. Davis
  • Texian Iliad: A Military History of the Texas Revolution, 1835-1836, by Stephen Hardin
  • Alexander of Macedon, 356-323 BC, by Peter Green
  • The Price of Glory, by Alistair Horne
  • The New Concise History of the Crusades, by Thomas F. Madden
  • The First Crusade: A New History, by Thomas Asbridge
  • Soldiers and Ghosts: A History of Battle in Classical Antiquity, by J.E. Lendon
  • Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome's Greatest Politician, by Anthony Everitt

Some Favorite History Classics

  • The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, by St. Bede the Venerable
  • City of God, by St. Augustine of Hippo
  • History of Rome from the Foundation of the City, by Livy
  • The Histories, by Tacitus
  • Germania, by Tacitus
  • The Histories, by Herodotus
  • The History of the Peloponnesian War, by Thucydides
  • The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
  • Anabasis, by Xenophon
  • Parallel Lives, by Plutarch

25 Favorite Nonfiction Books

  • The Everlasting Man, by G.K. Chesterton
  • With the Old Breed, by E.B. Sledge
  • The Right Stuff, by Tom Wolfe
  • Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis
  • Orthodoxy, by G.K. Chesterton
  • Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million, by Martin Amis
  • The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics, by Barton Swaim
  • Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by J.D. Vance
  • Confederates in the Attic, by Tony Horwitz
  • The Southern Tradition at Bay, by Richard Weaver
  • The Southern Essays of Richard Weaver
  • Leisure: The Basis of Culture, by Josef Pieper
  • Among the Truthers: A Journey Through America's Growing Conspiracist Underground, by Jonathan Kay
  • A Tramp Abroad, by Mark Twain
  • The Abolition of Man, by C.S. Lewis
  • You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit, by James K.A. Smith
  • After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory, by Alasdair MacIntyre
  • Amusing Ourselves to Death, by Neil Postman
  • Edmund Burke, by Russell Kirk
  • The Uses of Pessimism, by Roger Scruton
  • All Creatures Great and Small, by James Herriot
  • Tremendous Trifles, by G.K. Chesterton
  • The Doors of the Sea: Where Was God in the Tsunami? by David Bentley Hart
  • Guide to Thomas Aquinas, by Josef Pieper
  • The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C.S. Lewis, by Alan Jacobs

Favorite Books on Writing

These are the books I never hesitate to recommend to anyone wanting to learn more about the art—and the hard, hard work—of writing.

  • The Art of Fiction, by John Gardner
  • On Becoming a Novelist, by John Gardner
  • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King
  • The Sounds of Poetry: A Brief Guide, by Robert Pinsky
  • Do the Work, by Steven Pressfield
  • The Elements of Style, by Strunk & White

25 Favorite Movies

In addition to fiction and history, I also have a lifelong love of movies. This is another next to impossible list to narrow down, but here are 25 of my favorite films, again in no particular order.

  • Saving Private Ryan
  • The Passion of the Christ
  • Sergeant York
  • The Bridge on the River Kwai
  • True Grit (2010)
  • Barton Fink
  • The Guns of Navarone
  • Gettysburg
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou?
  • Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
  • The Last of the Mohicans
  • Heat
  • Hail, Caesar!
  • Gladiator
  • Braveheart
  • Collateral
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • No Country for Old Men
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Lawrence of Arabia
  • Eight Men Out
  • Das Boot
  • The Dark Knight

Honorable mentions, because there are still too many favorites to narrow it down:

  • Downfall (Der Untergang)
  • Apocalypto
  • The Green Mile
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • Fury
  • Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
  • L.A. Confidential
  • Glory
  • The Mark of Zorro
  • The Mask of Zorro
  • Apollo 13