So, I'm typing out the list of 100 Books Every Man Should Read into Microsoft OneNote on my phone. Some of them I've already read, but basically I'm going to read them all and as I read them, check them off the list. Seeing the progress like that will keep me motivated.

Then I had an idea. When I have a son, I will make a board with all of these books listed, as well as more readings from the Harvard Classics. Make a deal with him. If he reads everything on the list by the time he graduates high school, then he gets "X", or I'll do "Y" or something.

But then that made me think, what if I have a daughter? It's not that a girl shouldn't read those books. It's more that, a little girl isn't going to get the same thing out of "Call of the Wild" that a little boy will. 

So, basically, to all current fathers... what do you think? Is there a lovely compiled list of Books Every Woman Should Read? As a father, what resources do you use, besides the child's mother, to teach your little girl the same types of lessons as your little boy?

(yes, putting it in terms of fatherhood IS how I made the justification to post this here. :)


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I googled, and there are a few lists online.

I've mused some on the issue, and generally don't like gendered reading lists. If it's a good book, it's a good book for men and women. That was more or less the attitude of authors and publishers for a long time, so if you're looking for "classics," you have a hard time finding books "for women." (This is still a big concern in writing for children and adults.)

Growing up, I read Austen, Shakespeare, Dickens, The Baby Sitters Club, and Sweet Valley Twins without making distinctions about "fun" and "good for me." That habit of just reading everything serves me well as a young lawyer, because now it's basically my job. In the same day, I read Supreme Court opinions and family correspondence and bank statements. But there's chicken-and-egg issues about enjoying reading, and reading more; and reading more, and enjoying it.

I understand not liking gendered reading lists. Like I said, it's not that a potential future daughter shouldn't read those books. In fact I would probably insist on it. My main point is that men and women are different. Men and women think differently, as do boys and girls. The two may read the same book, but get two completely different messages/themes, or they may get the same message. I'm looking for books to encourage a girl to read, that will help her into womanhood. It's very likely/possible that many of those books could intersect with this list.

Also, Rebekah, please understand, I'm not looking for the red and white plaid Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook we all had in our kitchens growing up. "here sweetie. this is the only book you'll ever need. " is not what i'm about. The books geared towards women don't even have to be "classics". I'm just looking for sources to help in raising a daughter for down the line.

You don't need to be defensive. I refute your premises, and so can't be helpful. I apologize for beginning the thread on a tangent.

One thing, though: If the daughter has to read the son's books, shouldn't the son have to read the daughter's books? This is another reason I don't like gendered reading lists, especially for minors - Because the "classics" are "boys'" books, they end up "making" girls read more than boys.

I don't see a problem with making the boys read the same  as the girls. Sounds dandy to me. :) 

What reality? Of the books I've read from Brett's lists, over half I've read or re-read without the task being assigned to me, but voluntarily. That includes the Iliad in particular.

And I've actually never met a boy who loved the Iliad.

I couldn't read it.  Or Jane Eyre, past the initial surviving-the-orphanage part.

I agree with Rebekah. A good book is a good book and lessons apply regardless of sex.

Although, I believe strongly that more men and boys should read Austen, because she has been pigeon-holed as a writer for women. However, anyone who has taken the time to delight in her novels would have to agree that her books are for both men and women (and seriously, what man would not want to be Mr. Darcy).

In the same vain, stereotypically boy-gendered books should be read by girls.

What age are we talking?

If it's books every WOMAN should read (not that I think there is a long list), I think it would be mostly a subset of books every man should read, w/ a few additions. 

But if it's "books good for girls," I do see a difference, because interests are different, and it's good to go with your interests.  I still don't have an answer, though.

In either context, Hemingway is definitely a good read.  I haven't gotten around to finishing A Farewell to Arms yet, but I feel that it definitely has touches for both genders.

My wife enjoys the same books I do. I don't see a reason to do a girls only list. 

okay. maybe there is some misunderstanding. of course any guy can read any book, and any woman can read any book, and good books can be enjoyed by all. That much is obvious. However, there are clearly some books that are either geared towards one gender or the other, or resonate more with one gender or the other. of course boys and girls can both read The Baby-sitters Club books, and enjoy them, but it those books are clearly geared towards girls and their experiences. Lord of the Flies is a phenomenal book for all, including girls, to read, but was clearly meant to express the views and experiences of young boys. Yes, these books can apply to anybody, but seriously ask yourselves, who will it resonate with more. This is all quite obvious.

One caveat:  Lord of the Flies is about young boys, but not for young boys -- I read it when I was too young, saw the scene in which we're looking at the brains coming out of somebody's head, and had a hard time getting that scene out of my mind.


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