Books to Read: Leo Tolstoy’s List

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Leo Tolstoy was born on the 9th September 1828 into an Aristocratic Russian Family. In his twenties, he received his first literary acclaim, with his semi-autobiographical trilogy, Children, Boyhood, and Youth (1852-1856) and also the book Sevastopol Sketches which was based on his experience in the Crimean War.

Leo Tolstoy famous books, which are claimed to be the pinnacle of realist fiction, War and Peace, Anna Karenina. Like any other great writer, Tolstoy was an insatiable reader of literature and considered some books especially important and influential in his development.

Tolstoy’s Letters

When Tolstoy was 63, he wrote a letter to his friend, compiling a list of books that have impressed him over the course of his life. The letter dated October 25, 1891, has a disclaimer by the author

“I am sending the list I began, but didn’t finish, for your consideration, but not for publication since it is still far from complete.” (Reading, of course, is inherently incompletable — one can never hope to “finish” the body of literature, nor should one wish to.)

Based on his life stages from childhood to his age at the time of the letter, Tolstoy has divided the list of books into 5 categories under the heading WORKS WHICH MADE AN IMPRESSION. Each title has also been ranked great, v.great, and enormous.

From the list, it is evident the importance Tokstoy gives to his teenage years, which he considers are most important in the development of one personality.

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time


Leo Tolstoy’s Books to Read

Age GreatV.GreatEnormous
Childhood to 14 Age 1. Tales from The Thousand and One Nights: The 40 Thieves, Prince Qam-al-Zaman
2. Pushkin’s Poems: “Napoleon
1. The Little Black Hen (public library) by Pogorelsky1. The story of Joseph from The Bible (public library)
2. The Byliny (public library) folk tales: Dobrynya Nikitich, Ilya Muromets, Alyosha Popovich
Age 14 to 201. The Conquest of Mexico by William Prescott

2. Tales of Good and Evil by Nikolai Gogol: “Overcoat,” “The Two Ivans,” “Nevsky Prospect”
1. A Sentimental Journey by Laurence Sterne
2. A Hero for Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov
3. The Hapless Anton by Dmitry Grigorovich
4. Polinka Saks by Aleksandr Druzhinin
5. A Sportsman’s Notebook by Ivan Turgenev
6. Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
7. Die Räuber by Friedrich Schiller
8. Yevgeny Onegin by Alexander Pushkin
9. Julie, or the New Heloise by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
1. The Gospel of Matthew: “Sermon on the Mount”
2. The Confessions by Jean Jacques-Rousseau
3. Emile: Or on Education by Jean Jacques-Rousseau
4. “Viy” from The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol 
5. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
AGE 20 TO 351. Poems by F.T. Tyutchev
2. Poems by Koltsov
3. The Iliad / The Odyssey  by Homer*
4. Poems by Afanasy Fet
5. The Symposium and The Phaedo  by Plato
1. Hermann and Dorothea by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
2. Notre-Dame de Paris  by Victor Hugo
AGE 35 TO 501. The novels of Mrs. Henry Wood
2. The novels of George Eliot
3. The novels of Anthony Trollope
1. The Iliad / The Odyssey  by Homer*
2. The Byliny 
3. Xenophon’s Anabasis 
1. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
AGE 50 TO 631. Discourse on Religious Subject by Theodore Parker
2. Robertson’s Sermons 
1. The Book of Genesis 
2. Progress and Poverty by Henry George
3. The Essence of Christianity by Ludwig Feuerbach
1. The Complete Gospels* 2. 2. Pensées by Blaise Pascal
3. Epictetus
4. Confucius and Mencius
5. The Lalita-Vistara: Or Memoirs Of The Early Life Of Sakya Sinha by Rajendralala Mitra
6. Lao-Tzu

Must-Read Books by Leo Tolstoy

While above are some books that shaped Leo Tolstoy, here are some books by him that are a must-read and will help in building you up. The Leo Tolstoy best books.

The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity.


Leo Tolstoy book Anna Karenina

The 10 Books By Leo Tolstoy You Have To Read

The plot revolves around Anna’s extramarital affair with dashing cavalry officer Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky, which causes scandal in Saint Petersburg’s social circles and forces the young lovers to flee to Italy in search of happiness, but their lives unravel even more when they return to Russia.

Leo Tolstoy book War and Peace War and Peace (Vintage Classics): 9781400079988: Tolstoy, Leo,  Pevear, Richard, Volokhonsky, Larissa: Books

Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812 is the central theme of War and Peace, which follows three of literature’s most well-known characters:

Pierre Bezukhov, an illegitimate son of a count who is fighting for his inheritance while also seeking spiritual fulfillment.

Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, who abandons his family to fight Napoleon in the war; and

Natasha Rostov, a lovely young noblewoman who attracts both men.

Leo Tolstoy book A Confession A Confession: 9781614272120: Tolstoy, Leo Nikolayevich, Maude,  Aylmer: Books

A small book about a big question. Tolstoy asks: “Why do I live?” And the conclusions he comes to – about God, faith, and meaning in life 

The chief difference between words and deeds is that words are always intended for men for their approbation, but deeds can be done only for God.

Leo Tolstoy

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