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?