Mason Crumpacker, an 8-year-old girl, asked Christopher Hitchens what books she should consider reading. Hitchens, at the time in the last months of his life, was in Texas to accept the Richard Dawkins Award at the Feethought Convention. Rather than pass the question off or offer a simple answer, he became intrigued and spent 15 minutes chatting with the youngster.
The list, according to the Houston Chronicle, looks like this:
ɤ Robert Graves’ The Greek Myths (the girl was already a big fan of I, Claudius).
ɤ Richard Dawkins’ illustrated science book, The Magic of Reality.
ɤ Any satirical works by Shakespeare and Chaucer.
ɤ Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations (to explain what it could be like for young women to grow up in this world.)
ɤ A Tale of Two Cities in particular, and any Dickens in general, since Dickens teaches children to love reading.
ɤ Something by P.G. Wodehouse. How about Sunset at Blandings?
ɤ And, when it comes to philosophy, a little Hume. David Hume, that is.
A detailed account of the conversation by Mason Crumpacker’s mother can be found here.
If you're into lists and looking for another set of recommendations, check out some books that changed my life.