Mark Twain's book recommendations for boys and girls

Mark-Twain-200.jpgWe here at CBC Books love reading lists, but especially when they're from legendary author Mark Twain offering his personal selection of books for young people.

The Shapell Manuscript Foundation has scanned and transcribed a handwritten 1887 letter from Twain to a pastor, who had asked the American writer for book recommendations for a boy and girl. Perhaps, somewhat expected, Twain's suggestions are intellectually substantial, featuring British historian and essayist Thomas Macaulay, and the works of Greek Platonist philosopher Plutarch.

Here's the list:

The History of England, from the Accession of James II -- Volume 1 by Thomas Macaulay
Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant
The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
The Arabian Nights
 Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

For some reason, Twain suggested that girls swap The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe for the poetry of Alfred Tennyson. Kind of a strange move to us, but OK. We're also wondering if Twain was alive today, whether he'd be cool with adding Harry Potter and Hunger Games books to this list.

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