100 books to read before you die. What do y'all think?


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okay, whatever

Sep 12, 2018 - 06:45am PT
Yes, Douglas Hofstader's book "Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid" is one that I encountered in the late 1970's, or maybe 1980, whenever it was published. I have it to this day. It is an intellectual merry-go-round, for sure, for anyone interested in logic, computer science, and so forth. Though the main topic that suffused the book was really RECURSION, or self-reference of a sort, which anyone who has a software education or a mathematical education would know about. You certainly can see the concept visualized in some of Escher's work. Hofstadter was, and maybe still is, a physics or computer science professor at the University of Indiana. He wrote at least two, and probably more books after that, which were also good... "Metamagical Themas", and "The Mind's I" ( or was it "The Mind's Eye"?) were two, I think? And also wrote a column for "Scientific American" magazine, for several years. I haven't looked him up for several years now online, but perhaps will now.
okay, whatever

Sep 12, 2018 - 07:11am PT
Rick A

Boulder, Colorado
Sep 12, 2018 - 08:02am PT

One upside of reading is that it carries less risk than base jumping :)

On the Patrick O'Brian Aubrey/Maturin (main characters) novels, I have recommended those books to many of my friends over the years. About half read the entire series, then read it again, sometimes multiple times, like I have.

It's very rich and dense with details about life at end of the 18th century, including nobility and slavery, warfare, domestic life, philosophy, botany, music, food and wine.

The other half don't make it through the first book and tell me,


another nickname

Social climber
Yazoo Ms
Sep 12, 2018 - 08:28am PT
WIth all you California types, there ought to be mention of the author Frank Norris.

"Vandover and the Brute" in particular. Novels, very well regarded.

Very heavy on San Francisco society at Turn of Century. Whoring and drinking.

Also I'm told "Octopus" is good, (though I haven't read it and it's a bit more of a slog (seemed to me). Depicts central valley, I think. Same era.

The silent film "Greed" is based on great Norris novel "McTeague' and has lots of real shots of SF, ca. 1920. Also Death Valley "on location." A key bit of film history.


Social climber
Desolation Basin, Calif.
Sep 12, 2018 - 08:59am PT
The Octopus is a good read, not a slog. The best part, though, is after you read it you can look up Victor Davis Hanson's interpretation of the novel. VDH thinks Norris was sympathetic to the Southern Pacific!!!

Here's another great one not on the list: Joe Hill by Wallace Stegner.
another nickname

Social climber
Yazoo Ms
Sep 12, 2018 - 09:06am PT
Was there any connection between "Octopus" and 1960s TV show "Big Valley" with Barbara Stanwick ?

I never read the book nor watched the show. I'm sure the book was fine. Can't imagine the TV show was much good, although I like BS ok.

Trad climber
Sep 12, 2018 - 01:07pm PT
A must read about the Vietnam War is "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien
Mike Honcho

Trad climber
Glenwood Springs, CO
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 12, 2018 - 01:15pm PT
A must read about the Vietnam War is "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien

I've heard that's good, it's on the list, thanks!

Reminds me of one of my favorite Largo stories "Rats" a little bit.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Sep 12, 2018 - 01:24pm PT
Best flying memoir of Nam: Flying Through Midnight by Halliday.
You canít make that shiz up, and he is a gifted writer.

You should be able to relate, Honch, rumour has it youíve done some flyiní on Half Dome. 🤡

Sep 12, 2018 - 02:11pm PT
A must read about the Vietnam War is "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien

A good triptych of grunt-level Vietnam is the above book, Quang Tri Cadence by Jon Oplinger, and Into the Green by Cherokee Paul McDonald.

IDK about 100 books/die, but in my top 100 would certainly be The Alchemist.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Sep 14, 2018 - 07:19am PT
A good list or at least a good rough draft of such a list, Iíve read eighty some of the op list, my list, or any bodies, would be different, but itís a good staring point and you canít. Go too far wrong with it.

This seems like a good place to talk about Harry Potter. I wouldnít have any of those books on my own list. However, though they donít work for me, I am still a JK Rowling fan, for what she has done.. Just because they didnít click with me is not to say that she isnít on to something that seems to really work for her fan base and much to her credit she has gotten millions of kids to actually read big dense books! Good on her! When I was a kid I was immersed in the Oz books, Edger Allen Poe, a wrinkle in time, then Tolkien, all of which inspired me to find my way into Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Kerouac, Steinbeck, Burroughs, Hemingway etc.

if that series works for kids today and inspires the inspiration to explore and puts them into the wider questioning world, then they have done something magnificent!
don't have one

Sep 14, 2018 - 09:39am PT
I remember feeling somewhat reluctant or obligated sitting down with the first Harry Potter, only to find myself pleasantly surprised and blasted through it; found the first three books to be entertaining, fun and funny, and it provides an easy parent-child connection that not many other books can do in terms entertaining both parent and child simultaneously. The audibles are great as well, and the movies take the usual 3rd place, but are fun and -- from the parenting point of view -- much better than something like Star Wars or anything Disney.

But if you're a crusty muggle climber who gets stressed out by money, politics, and bolts, and middle-age has zapped your imagination, HP will be hard to grasp. ;-)

When I look at that top 100, I can see ditching about half of the list before HP (although seems like HP should be grouped into one book as Lord of the rings did). Half of that list looks like books I remember reading in school. Yawn.

I'd add...
Lonesome Dove if you like cowboy fiction.
Hampton Sides Ghost Soldiers and Blood and Thunder.
Gregory Crouches book Bonanza King is $.

Jingus Newroutaineer
Sep 14, 2018 - 11:31am PT
"For Whom the Bell Tolls" --Hemmingway

and particularly for the st00pid topo crowd "Men Without Women" a collection of Hemmingway short stores....all the st00pid sh#t men do without a woman around to keep us from our more destructive selves.

Social climber
Location: It's a MisterE
Sep 14, 2018 - 07:02pm PT
The 5 Agreements

Trad climber
Sep 15, 2018 - 08:26am PT
The Road
Eiger Dreams
The Fifth Revolution
Into Thin Air
Into the Wild
...just adventure stuff ;)

Trad climber
Sep 26, 2018 - 02:45pm PT
It would really suck to be limited to 100 books in a lifetime. I have read three in a day while tent-bound in Patagonia. That would add ou to only a little over a months worth of reading.

Trad climber
Sep 27, 2018 - 08:07am PT
I have read 92 of the titles listed in the OP. What do I do with the next 20 years of life, watch television?

Social climber
Location: It's a MisterE
Oct 4, 2018 - 10:18pm PT
Missing some spiritual stuff:

Tao Te Ching (I have an early 60's hard-back translation)

Book of Runes - Ralph Blum

Not exactly good "reads" but some kind of reference nonetheless

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