The Well-Educated Mind List

The Well-Educated Mind List


Augustine:  Confessions
Kempe, Margery:  The Book of Margery Kempe
De Montaigne, Michel:  Selected Essays  IntroductionPart One, Part Two,  Part Three
Descartes, Rene:  Meditations
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques:  Confessions
Thoreau, Henry David:  Walden, or My Life in the Woods
Washington, Booker T.: Up From Slavery
Nietzsche, Friedrich: Ecce Homo
Hitler, Adolf: Mein Kampf
Merton, Thomas: The Seven Storey Mountain
Sarton, May: Journal of a Solitude
Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr I.: The Gulag Archipelago
Colson, Charles W.:  Born Again 
Conway, Jill Ker: The Road from Coorain

Plato (1560)
Paolo Veronese
source Wikiart


Herodotus: The Histories
Plato: The Republic
Plutarch: Lives
Augustine: The City of God
Bede: The Ecclesiastical History of the English People
Machiavelli, Niccolo: The Prince
More, Sir Thomas: Utopia
Locke, John: The True End of Civil Government
Hume, David: The History of England, Vol. V
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques: The Social Contract
Paine, Thomas: Common Sense
Gibbon, Edward: The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Wollstonecraft, Mary: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
De Tocqueville, Alexis: Democracy in America
Marx, Karl & Engels, Friedrich: The Communist Manifesto
Burckhardt, Jacob: The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy
Du Bois, W.E.B.: The Souls of Black Folk
Weber, Max: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
Strachey, Lytton: Queen Victoria
Orwell, George: The Road to Wigan Pier
Miller, Perry: The New England Mind
Galbraith, John Kenneth: The Great Crash 1929
Ryan, Cornelius: The Longest Day
Friedan, Betty: The Feminine Mystique
Genovese, Eugene D.: Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made
Tuchman, Barbara: A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century
Woodward, Bob & Bernstein, Carl: All the President's Men
McPherson, James M.: Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era
Ulrich, Laurel Thatcher: A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary
Fukuyama, Francis: The End of History and the Last Man

Jason and Medea (1907)
John William Waterhouse
source Wikiart


Aeschylus: Agamemnon
Sophocles: Oedipus the King
Euripides: Medea
Aristophanes: The Birds
Aristotle: Poetics
Marlowe, Christopher: Doctor Faustus
Shakespeare: Richard III
Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream
Shakespeare: Hamlet
Moliere: Tartuffe
Congreve, William: The Way of the World
Goldsmith, Oliver: She Stoops to Conquer
Sheridan, Richard Brinsley: The School for Scandal
Ibsen, Henrik: A Doll's House
Wilde, Oscar: The Importance of Being Earnest
Chekhov, Anton: The Cherry Orchard
Shaw, George Bernard: Saint Joan
Eliot, T.S.: Murder in the Cathedral
Wilder, Thornton: Our Town
O'Neill, Eugene: Long Day's Journey Into Night
Sartre, Jean Paul: No Exit
Williams, Tennessee: A Streetcar Named Desire
Miller, Arthur: Death of a Salesman
Beckett, Samuel: Waiting for Godot
Bolt, Robert: A Man For All Seasons
Stoppard, Tom: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
Shaffer, Peter: Equus


Homer: The Iliad
Homer:  The Odyssey
Greek Lyricists
Horace: Odes
Alighieri, Dante: Inferno
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Chaucer, Geoffrey: The Canterbury Tales
Shakespeare: Sonnets
Donne, John
Bible: Psalms (King James Version)
Milton, John: Paradise Lost
Blake, William: Songs of Innocence and of Experience
Wordsworth, William
Coleridge, Samuel Taylor
Keats, John
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
Lord Tennyson, Alfred
Whitman, Walt
Dickinson, Emily
Rossetti, Christina
Hopkins, Gerard Manley
Yeates, William Butler
Dunbar, Paul Laurence
Frost, Robert
Sandburg, Carl
Williams, William Carlos
Pound, Ezra
Eliot, T.S.
Hughes, Landston
Auden, W.H

I've decided not to read through the novels at the moment, but I may add them later on.


  1. I was doing some research about the next Pulitzer Prize book to read and stumbled on Manning Marable's 'Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention. It was named one of 10 best books 2011 by NYT and in 2012 won the Pulitzer. I was wondering if while reading the WEM list one could substitute this one instead of the 1965 Autobiography of Malcolm X. I'm a bit wary about autobio's: " autobiographical "memoirs" are "inherently biased", representing the subject as he would appear with certain facts privileged, others deliberately omitted". (Wikipedia) What do you think? I'm tempted to go for Marable's book also because it is recent and would feel I'm up-to-date on the subject. Let me hear what you think, oke?

    1. Hmmm ..... There seems to be a current trend to distrust autobiographies, when historically, it was the exact opposite. Who would know a person better than himself? Certainly a person may choose not to include everything about themselves, but do we need to know everything? Is "everything" pertinent to who they were and what great things they may have done? Is it a current voyeuristic tendency to want to know everything about someone, so much so that current biographers can even "invent" possible scenarios based on flimsy evidence just to sell books?

      As for the bias, so far with the autobiographies that I've read, the person has a tendency to want to disclose his faults or failures. That's part of the way they portray themselves as human and give the reader a connection with them. And I think you could have even more of a bias with modern biographers, based on my comments in the previous paragraph.

      The particular book you mention makes me rather suspicious. Anytime someone comes up with new evidence, it makes me suspicious. I tend to think that there are a good number of modern biographers who like speculate to sell books. Speculation is a cheap and disrespectful way to portray someone. The book you mention has certainly stirred up lots of controversy which, again, makes me suspicious.

      I guess you could call me a 'purist' but I like to hear what the person has to say about themselves and then what their contemporaries have to say about them. I can't be convinced that someone who lived or decides to write decades later, with a different worldview, (and/or a possible ulterior motive), could have a better understanding of the person being written about. Most of the time. It just doesn't make sense to me.

      I will certainly let you know what I think of the WEM Malcolm X biography. Hopefully I'll get to it around March/April.

      And thanks for the comment, Nancy. I love how you always get me thinking! :-)

  2. Thank you for taking the time to write such a good reply.
    If you read 1965 Malcolm...I'll read the 2011 Malcolm....then we can compare notes! This will probably be in the course of 2106, but looks like something fun to do!

    1. That's a great idea, Nancy! I'd love to do that. I will make sure that I take notes. Sadly, I know nothing about Malcolm X to have a basis to start, but our dual reads will change that.

      Just curious ...... I notice that you read a very wide-ranging and eclectic number of books. Do you purchase all of them, or do you just happen to have a library close by that carries all these interesting books?

  3. I know absolutely nothing about Malcom X so reading will put us in the know. Library? No, not one with the English books I would like.
    I am buying Kindle books instead of paperbacks. There are a few exceptions. I love the idea I can carry all my books everywhere..on the IPAD!