The Hottest Men In Required Reading

Old-fashioned man

There’s nothing less thrilling than being forced to read a book. I mean, come on—we’re all passionate lovers of la literature here, right? Can’t we be trusted to pick up a book of our volition? Still, there are times in our lives when even the book-wormiest among us are forced into required reading—but for the most part, the books thrown our way in school quickly become part of our cherished collection of literary memories. Why? Because it’s often within these tomes that we stumble across fictional dudes so hot, they ought to come with a warning label. Here are ten of my personal favorites.

1. Mr. Rochester (Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte). Ugly, surly, and full of secrets? Yes. Mad good at wooing pixie-like dames who’ve been raised in orphanages and believe themselves to be unworthy of affection? Double yes. Hold me back!

2. Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen). The classic example of the way that a person can become increasingly good-looking the longer you know them, and the more often they travel abroad to rescue your sister from the clutches of sexy scandal.

3. Atticus Finch (To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee). Nothing, nothing, nothing is sexier than a man with a solid understanding of the law, a zeal for justice, and some pretty stellar parenting skills.

4. Professor Bhaer (Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott). Sure, Laurie is not without his charms—but this absent-minded professor, complete with a fondness for the academic life and a way with small children? Hunk-o-rama.

5. Jake Barnes (The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway). You know who’s sexy? Ernest Hemingway. It then stands to reason that any character based on Hemingway could, using the transitive property, not possibly help but be dreamy—even if he’s been tragically wounded in war.

6. Christopher Heron (The Perilous Gard, by Elizabeth Marie Pope). A standoffish, withholding man? Intriguing. A standoffish, withholding man who offers himself up to the fairy race so that his sister might be granted her freedom? YES PLEASE.

7. Nat Eaton (The Witch of Blackbird Pond, by Elizabeth George Speare). Reading about the perils of being a unique woman during the witch-hunting days of Puritan-era America is always fun. It’s made even more so when there’s a dreamy dude, all punished and sent away for making jack-o-lanterns, pining over the main character.

8. Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë). Is he a dirty, kidnapping jerk? Totally. But does he do it all in the name of the dead woman whose true love he fears was never reciprocated? Yes. All is forgiven, weirdo.

9. Benvolio (Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare). Romeo is all well and good, and sure, Mercutio is good with words, and Tybalt’s got that brooding, stab-happy thing down, but who needs all that drama when you can just get a coffee with cheerful, kind Benvolio?

10. Pip (Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens). Oh, Pip. His love for Estella makes us all sigh with a heavy heart (and holler, “she’s just not that into you!”). Good looking, kind, and ambitious, he’s got us rooting for him every time we return to this classic text.

Who’s your favorite hottie of required reading?

  • disqus_jpHTybbB3n

    I would heartily disagree with most if not all of the men picked in this. The only one I found myself nodding to was Atticus Finch, and that’s because he’s awesome, and intelligence is sexy.

    • RichmondMom

      And kind. The others are too much work.

    • RichmondMom

      I should also include Professor Baehr on the kind list.

  • wenweeks

    Heathcliff and Rochester

  • Erin O’Riordan

    It doesn’t hurt Professor Bhaer’s case that in the 1990s movie adaptation, Gabriel Byrne played him. Of course, one could saw the same for Theodore “Laurie” Lawrence being played by a young Christian Bale.

  • Stephanie St. John

    Richard Mayhew from Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere- his insecurity makes him sexy.

    • Storm Nyte

      best answer !!!

  • Carissa Case

    Mr. Darcy, always, and I think Ethan Frome should at least get a nod. Oh, what about the Phantom from “Phantom of the Opera”? Brooding, musical, with a devastating back story? Be still my heart.

  • Belva Jennings

    Yes, John of Gaunt in Katherine was a historical character, but he sure made my teenage toes tingle back in the day

  • Jackie Lea Sommers

    Cal Trask in Steinbeck’s East of Eden

  • Robbie Walker Lloyd

    Rhett Butler from Gone with the Wind

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  • LesYeuxHiboux

    Atticus, Mr. Darcy, and Professor Baher

  • Desiree Millsaps O’Leary

    Maxim De Winter from Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

  • WenRaz

    Colonel Brandon from Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility” should TOP this list!

  • WenRaz

    I would also add Aragorn from Lord of the Rings. Sure, he didn’t look exactly like the handsome Viggo Mortenson in the movies, but a warrior, a king, a healer, battling every evil creature in Middle Earth yet remaining steadfast in his love and loyalty to his one true love? Come ON, why is he not in here?

  • Marie Maguire Mayotte

    Thumbs up to Atticus Finch; Thumbs down to Heathcliff.

  • grokmama

    Pip????? My vote goes to Jamie Fraser from Outlander by Diana Gabaldon!

    • Megan

      If only Outlander were “required” reading…

    • Alyssa Mozelle McCord


  • Brandy Taylor

    Colonel Brandon from Sense and Sensibility. He is Galant, quiet, and loves deeply. His personality and loyalty make him attractive.

  • Courtney Jimmie

    How was Captain Wentworth of Jane Austen’s Persuasion left off of this list? Sure, he was jerky in the beginning (for good reason! [I suspect he would be a scorpio, ]), but the love letter at the end is UNREAL. That novel always makes me swoon.

    Also, double thumbs up to Atticus Finch!

    • Andrea Burlingame

      RIGHT!? Captain Wentworth is my all-time fave!!

  • Jennifer Busick

    Not required reading maybe, but Rhett Butler from Gone with the Wind; Horatio Hornblower from those books; and Captain Alatriste from the books by Arturo Perez Reverte. Mmmmmm!

  • James Peters

    Robert Jordan in For Whom the Bell Tolls. He’s brave and sensitive both.

  • Ellen Agar Eddy

    Atticus! of course!

  • Adam Cornell

    Dirk Pitt. Is there anything more classic than driving a Cord L-29 down a ski slope while searching for lost Treasure and also saving the world from certain doom? I think not, Mr. Rochester, Pip or the rest of you. (I totally think Atticus Finch would do it.)

  • Emma Jane Phelps

    Um Where is Jay Gatsby? Who can deny his smile?

  • Danielle Grey

    What about Captain Wentworth from Persuasion? I like him even more than Darcy. Swoon.

    • Andrea Burlingame


  • jazdia

    Ricardo Carlos (Ranger) Manoso and Joseph Morelli from Janet Evanovich’s books!

  • Karen Diederichsen

    Mr. Darcy number one but Rhett Butler a close second.

  • Ann Jordan

    Jamie Fraser

  • Biafra Denmark

    Tea Cake from Their Eyes Were Watching God

  • Allyson

    Yeah, I’m with Carissa….Phantom gets my vote….brooding, sob story, horrifically disfigured and slightly unhinged….YUP! Sign me up!

  • Jerrid Wolflick

    Vronsky from Anna Karinina

  • keatsgirl

    Will Ladislaw from Middlemarch (swoon)!

  • Janice Paulsen

    Valentine Michael Smith of Robert A. Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land”

  • Michaela Noelle Whittaker

    Uhm. Hello? Mr. Knightley. Duh. And Sydney Carton, from A Tale of Two Cities.

  • Ren Puspita

    Roarke from In Death series, hands down. Compare to him, Grey is very, very pale. Roarke is millionaire but also a man who know how to treat his women well

  • alysonkent

    You mentioned Christopher Heron. Love, love, LOVE.

  • Jill Noble Blouch

    I vote Mr. Darcy, Professor Bhaer and Colonel Brandon – they all tie for me :-) Ahhh…

  • Laure Estep

    Robin Hood. A man who sacrifices his own wealth and safety to battle corruption to help those who can’t fight for themselves. A golden heart and roguish grin.

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