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What should be on a boys bookshelf?

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Today I saw mention of "My Side of the Mountian" a book I loved as a youth, which got me thinkin what other good books should a boy have a chance to read?

Despite their not being "PC", Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn should be required reading. I just got "A Dangerous Book For Boys"and it looks like fun. Maybe "Lord of the Flies" for new SPLs?

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"A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle

"Swallows and Amazons" by Arthur Ransome

"2001: A Space Odyssey" by Arthur C. Clarke

Just about anything by Robert Heinlein, such as "Stranger in a Strange Land" or "Starship Troopers"

The "Mars" books by Edgar Rice Burroughs ("Tarzan" books too)


I'm sure there's lots more. Those are the ones that come to mind first (other than the ones already mentioned). :)

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Some additions from an outdoor skills perspective:


The Complete Walker IV, by Colin Fletcher


98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive, by Cody Lundin (yeah, you can gripe about the title, but it is a great book)


Boy Scout Field Guide


Also, if they are planning a high adventure outing, another one to consider - another wonderful book that also has an edgy title - is "How to Sh-t in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art" by Kathleen Meyer.


For navigation, my favorite book "GPS Land Navigation" by Michael Ferguson is now 10 years old (ancient in GPS technology years) and might be out of print, so I'll tend to recommend "Wilderness Navigation Handbook" by Fred Touche



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For what age? 11 yos and 17 yos are very different.


My Side of the Mountain and Wrinkle in Time are for younger scouts (or older cubs). For them, I would also add Hatchet and anything else by Gary Paulsen.


My youngest has carried a copy of the US Constitution with him (at school and on campouts) since he was about 13.




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Follow My Leader by James B. Garfield is a great book that I read as a boy and rediscovered when my son joined Cub Scouts. It is about a Boy Scout that is injured by a firecracker and how he works through the challenges of being blind, working with his guide dog, and forgiving the other boy who threw the explosive.


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Eight or nine through thirteen, after that they will seek out what if anything they want to read.

I was looking for books of how-to and books that described how people delt with the good and bad choices they made, in a manner that dosen't get in the way of a good story, Twain is good for that.


YOu all have joggled my grey cells some more, have read...


The Bible

The Scout Handbook and Field Book

Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn "Lord of the Flies

"A Day No Pigs Would Die" Robert Newton Peck

"White Fang" by Jack London

"Treasure Island" by Stevenson

"2001: A Space Odyssey" and other things by Arthur C. Clarke

"Stranger in a Strange Land" or "Starship Troopers"

The "Mars" books by Edgar Rice Burroughs also both the Tarzan and Conan series

Most all the Issac Asimov books

The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings

A few of the Zane Grey books

"Two Years Before the Mast"


Actully I was a late bloomer, not till 3rd grade did somebody offer me a book worth reading, the age appropreate stuff was so boring, Tom Sawyer was the first hard book I read.




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First things that come to mind for me are of course the Scout Handbook (and actually read it!) and the Scout Fieldbook though I like the previous edition better than the newer that I have. Also, any of the Hatchet books. There's Hatchet, Brian's Return, Brian's Winter I believe, and Brian's River I think. Some other suggestions I've got a Basic Essentials: Knots book, a Backpacking book, A Teen's Gameplan by Lou Holtz, and I Dare You by William Danforth.

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In addition to the previously mentioned books may I add:


Be Expert with Map & Compass by Bjorn Kjellstrom, a classic that will go out of date when compasses are no longer available.


Basic Rockcraft by Royal Robbins, not instruction but an excellent primer to better utilize instruction when it is obtained.

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It seems to me that most of the kids I know (Teenagers) either read just about anything (And a lot of stuff that maybe they shouldn't!!) Or they read only what they are forced to read for book reports and the like.

I wonder how many adults who are involved with Troops, Crews and Ships have read the handbooks?

I don't think I have ever met a Lad who really reads the Bible. Every now and then they might use it as a reference book.

OJ's God-Father (My older brother) bought him a very expensive Catholic Bible when he was baptized. It has lived in his sock drawer and rarely seen the light of day.

He isn't like his "Old Man" he never has seemed to be a great reader.

Maybe because there never was that much time.

The School bus picked him up at 0630, school ended at 1500. Then there was some sort of practice (Track, Soccer, School Play, Choir) Then it was home and there was Scouts or some other activity. (Sometimes he just fell asleep) Homework and then as he got older a part-time job.

He has of course gone through all the video games (Nintendo, Game Boy and PS2) But never really played them a lot, mainly because he never had the cash to spend on new games -Dad is really cheap and Scouting events kept him poor!! (Bank of Dad only paid 50% the other 50% had to be earned)

Sure when I was a kid Bedrooms were for sleeping and reading in at times by flash-light!! His room has every high tech toy known to man. I swear if we put a microwave and a fridge in there we will never see him again!!


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