What Ten Books Must All Men Read BeforeThey Die ?


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Trad climber
pacific beach, ca
Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 21, 2009 - 01:48am PT
Credit: zip

This is definitely my # 1 suggestion.

What you say?
Captain...or Skully

Social climber
Idaho, also. Sorta, kinda mostly, Yeah.
Oct 21, 2009 - 01:49am PT
Dude, That's Burt Bronson's book.

Trad climber
pacific beach, ca
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 21, 2009 - 01:55am PT
Credit: zip

Fits right in here.

Trad climber
pacific beach, ca
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 21, 2009 - 01:57am PT
Credit: zip

Good book, but the author seems a little out there.
Fish Finder

Social climber
Oct 21, 2009 - 01:57am PT

My Jesus says the BIBLE !

Trad climber
pacific beach, ca
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 21, 2009 - 02:04am PT
Credit: zip

Trad climber
pacific beach, ca
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 21, 2009 - 02:05am PT
photo not found
Missing photo ID#131835

Social climber
Vancouver, Canada
Oct 21, 2009 - 02:28am PT
Six outta ten so far...........and yah, that chick who wrote that silly book about cartoons fer climbers? She's in the car.

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Oct 21, 2009 - 02:36am PT
Only ten? That would take about a week.

Trad climber
Butte, America
Oct 21, 2009 - 02:55am PT
Credit: mojede

Angel Tech: A Modern Shaman's Guide to Reality Selection by Antero Alli

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Oct 21, 2009 - 03:11am PT
Dune series Frank Herbert
Plato The Republic
Bloom County
Ray Olson

Trad climber
Imperial Beach, California
Oct 21, 2009 - 03:30am PT

that's a lot...

ok, here's a few:

Erica Jong, Fear of 50.

Kate Chopin, The Awakening.

Charles Bukowski, Ham On Rye.

Louis Ferdinand Celine, Death on the Installment Plan.

Louis Ferdinand Celine, Journey to the End of the Night.

Jean Genet, The Thiefs Journal.

Marquis de Sade, Justine (or) The Misfortunes of Virtue

Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita.

Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity

and, just for fun...

Alistair Crowley, Diary of a Drug Fiend.

those should re-arrange a few brain cells in the positive :)

BTW - Crowleys novel is nothing like what you'd expect,
the thing is a total gas.

EDIT: regarding the tremendous writings of Simone de Beauvoir,
probably best to hit "The Second Sex" in favor of the former,
if you choose to limit yourself to just one.

Social climber
Oct 21, 2009 - 04:12am PT
hey there ol' zip... say, thanks for such a FINE introduction here...

*not REALLY guys, i'm just taking the stage... ;)


1-- Jake ('I'm thinkin' ...')

2-- Jake And Sofia

3-- Jake Hugs Texas

4-- Jake's Ranch And The Second Gate

5-- Steppingstones Through Jake's Ranch,Vol I

6-- Vol II

7-- Vol III

8-- Vol IV

9-- (five aint' done yet, but you can read the first story)... ;)

10-- *hang on a bit longer... i'll have ya' another one, next year... :)

Yep, folks, the JAKE SMITH RANCH SERIES, at a website near you! ...


thank you one and all....
and may god bless you this fine eve...
*say, i autograph them, too:

but in the BACK, as i sure mess it up a lot... :O
rick d

ol pueblo, az
Oct 21, 2009 - 09:36am PT
"the Ben Lilly Legend" by J. Frank Dobie
"tight rope" dennis grey
"still life with woodpecker" tom robbins

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Oct 21, 2009 - 10:06am PT
This is a MUST!!!!!


Ideeho-dee-do-dah-day boom-chicka-boom-chicka-boom
Oct 21, 2009 - 10:13am PT
I read a book once.

Oct 21, 2009 - 11:38am PT
Before they die? Is that to exclude all those titles to be saved for the hereafter?
the pretender

Trad climber
Quartz Hill, CA
Oct 21, 2009 - 11:44am PT
anything from Hemingway - there's always plenty of drinking, suffering and well,... manliness

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Oct 21, 2009 - 11:46am PT
Kama Sutra by Mallanapa Vatsyayana
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Oct 21, 2009 - 12:06pm PT
Now that I start thinking about it, it's a tougher question than I thought. I'll start with the following:

The Bible
Brothers Karamozov
The Iliad
The Divine Comedy
A good fifteen or so of Shakespeare's plays
Ulysses (though maybe you could squeak by with Portrait of the Artist)

Hmm, only six. Totally Euro-centric. You can go in lots of directions from there. Definitely need an Aristotle. The Republic (Plato) would be nice. I know there are some big things I'm forgetting but need to think about it more.
Stewart Johnson

t.c. ca.
Oct 21, 2009 - 12:22pm PT
Credit: Stewart Johnson
required reading for all the top brass in the us military

Social climber
Oct 21, 2009 - 12:46pm PT
Tao Te Ching - Lao Tsu
Analects - Confucious
Structure of Scientific Revolutions - Thomas Kuhn
First Folio - Shakespear
Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
Varities of Religious Experience - Wm James
Mastering the Art of French Cooking V1&2, Julia Child (we all gotta eat).
1984 - Orwell
Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences - Abraham Maslow

Trad climber
Central Coast
Oct 21, 2009 - 01:03pm PT
California Road Trip A Climber's Guide Northern CaliforniaBold Text ; )

and probably the BibleItalic Text cover to cover.


Tucson, AZ
Oct 21, 2009 - 01:13pm PT
Upanishads eh Will?

I didn't expect that in anyones list.

Social climber
Vancouver, Canada
Oct 21, 2009 - 01:32pm PT
I think if yer gonna read the Bible, shouldn't you also include the Torah and the Koran as comparative studies for the Old Testament?

I'm gonna steal my kid's copy of The Histories by Herodotus. That seems like a Must Read.

Then again I'm a "woman" and not a "man" so I suppose my "must read" list can vary :-D
Ray Olson

Trad climber
Imperial Beach, California
Oct 21, 2009 - 01:47pm PT
yes Tami, but the OP doesn't state that a woman
cannot make her own list of must reads for men...


Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Oct 21, 2009 - 01:49pm PT
Anything by

Jack Kerouac
Edward Abbey
Hunter Thompson

And for fun (not that those up top aren't fun)

Tom Robbins
Kurt Vonnegut


Social climber
The Portal
Oct 21, 2009 - 02:33pm PT
Endurance- Alfred Lansing

Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoevsky

The 21 indispensable Qualities of a Leader - John C. Maxwell

The Jungle Book - Rudyard Kipling

The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint Exupe'ry

The Prophet - Kahlilgibran

Aesop's Fables - The Harvard Classics

Free Spirit - Reinhold Messner

Yosemite Climbs; Free Climbs - Don Reid


Trad climber
Joshua Tree
Oct 21, 2009 - 02:45pm PT
It's better to just get the Cliff notes, all that reading on dead tree format is so dreary.

Trad climber
Oct 21, 2009 - 02:54pm PT
Cliffnotes are a dry peck on the cheek compared to full-on lovemaking. ;)

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Oct 21, 2009 - 02:59pm PT
"Upanishads eh Will?

I didn't expect that in anyones list."

i dunno, I bet there's at least four of us who've spent some time in there.

Mountain climber
Poor Valley
Oct 21, 2009 - 03:02pm PT

"Jugs" issues 1-current.

Also "That Untravelled World" "Upon That Mountain" and "Nanda Devi" by Eric Shipton.

Trad climber
Oct 21, 2009 - 03:06pm PT
Pretty much anything by Tolstoy and Chekov top my list.

Ya gotta slog and flog your way through Tolstoy's long books, but in the end they're worth it.

Chekov's short stories are miraculous.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Oct 21, 2009 - 03:13pm PT
i'm pretty 'on' with Will and Jobee's lists, Quietpartner has a point, Though Crime and Punishment pretty much has to be the best Novel ever written, Imho
Howie S

Mammoth Lakes, Ca
Oct 21, 2009 - 03:14pm PT
Desert Solitaire, Ed Abbey
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Oct 21, 2009 - 03:16pm PT

Re the Bible vs. Torah: the first five books of the Bible are the Torah.

And yes, Chekhov and Tolstoy rock. I don't think there is any better short story authors than Chekhov. Equal yes, better no. I had considered putting Anna Karenina on my list. It's amazing but probably not top 10, especially when you already have (on my list) the Bros. K.

I think the Mahabharata is probably a better read than the Upanishads. I think people have a tendency to assign a bit too much worth to the Upanishads since the foreignness of the thoughts raised appear to be profound, rather than just, well foreign, or vague. Stuff that's interesting to chew on, but nothing that I don't think is already better represented in the Western canon. The Mahabharata, in contrast, is wonderful at creating myth and has passages of real profundity.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Oct 21, 2009 - 03:18pm PT
if more people actually read Origin of Species, would that increase or decrease, internet word count?

Trad climber
Canoga Bark! CA
Oct 21, 2009 - 03:25pm PT
Any 10 of these:

My Ishmael, D. Quinn, ISBN# 0-553-10636-8

The Celestine Prophecy, J.Redfield, ISBN# 0-446-51862-X

The Lorax, Dr. Seuss, ISBN# 0-394-82337-0

Animal Farm, G Orwell, ISBN# 0-451-52634-1

The Pearl, J. Steinbeck, ISBN# 0-140-17737-X

Way of the Peaceful Warrior, D. Milliman, ISBN# 0-915-81100-6

Atlas Shrugged, A. Rand, ISBN# 0-451-19114-5

Solar Living, Real Goods, ISBN# 0-930-03168-7

Voluntary Simplicity, D. Elgin, ISBN# 0-668-12119-5

Siddhartha, H. Hesse, ISBN# 0-553-20884-5

Medicine Woman, L. Andrews, ISBN# 0-061-05703-7

Your Money or You Life, Dominguez/Robin, ISBN# 0-140-16715-3

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, D. Adams, ISBN# 0-345-41891-3)

Start Where You Are, P. Chodron, ISBN# 0-877-73880-7

Satanic Verses, S. Rushdie, ISBN# 0-670-82537-9

The Quest, T. Brown, ISBN# 0-425-15381-9

The Doors of Perception, A. Huxley, ISBN# 0-060-90007-5

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, K. Kesey, ISBN# 0-140-04312-8

The Fifth Disciple, P.M. Senge, ISBN# 0-553-47321-2

Animal Speak, T. Andrews, ISBN# 0-875-42028-1

The Tao of Pooh, B. Hoff, ISBN# 0-140-06747-7

The Aquarian Conspiracy, M. Ferguson, ISBN# 0-874-77458-6

Flowers for Algernon, D. Keyes, ISBN# 0-553-27450-3

Weaveworld, C. Barker, ISBN# 0-671-70418-4

Tibeten Book of Living and Dying, S. Rinpoche, ISBN# 0-062-50793-1

Cat's Cradle, K. Vonnegut, ISBN# 0-440-11149-8

Lord of the Flies, Golding, ISBN# 0-399-50148-7

The Brothers K, D.J. Duncan, ISBN# 0-553-56314-9

Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems, G. Snyder, ISBN# 0-865-47455-9

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, T. Robbins, ISBN# 0-553-34949-X

Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger, ISBN# 0-316-76948-7

Poems, W.B. Yeats, ISBN# 1-565-11147-8

Journey Without A Goal, C. Trungpa, ISBN#0-397-74194-3

Book of Runes, R. Blum, ISBN# 0-312-09758-1

Enter the Zone, B. Sears, ISBN# 0-060-19131-7

Out of Freedom, Into Slavery, G.Spence, ISBN# 0-312-95840-4

28-Day Yoga Plan, R Hittleman, ISBN# 0-553-27748-0

The Straw Bale House, Steen/Steen/ Bainbridge, ISBN# 0-930-03171-7

Anatomy of the Spirit, C. Myss, 0-609-80014-0

In the Absence of the Sacred, J. Mander, ISBN# 0-871-56509-9

Gaia, Lovelock, ISBN# 0-192-86030-5

Returning to Silence, D Katagiri, ISBN# 0-877-73431-3

An Innocent Millionaire, Vizinczey, ISBN# 0-226-85889-8

Black Elk Speaks, Neihardt, ISBN# 0-803-28359-8

Desert Solitaire, E. Abbey, ISBN# 0-345-32649-0

Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Journey, A. Lansing, ISBN# 0-786-70621-X

Mists of Avalon, M. Bradley, ISBN# 0-345-35049-9

Small is Beautiful, E.F. Shumacher

Heart of Darkness, J. Conrad, ISBN# 1-566-19490-3

Earth Speaks, VanMatre, ISBN# 0-917-01100-7

Alice in Wonderland, L. Carroll, ISBN# 0-553-21345-8

The Milagro Beanfield Wars, Nichols, ISBN# 0-345-34446-4)

The Seventh Son, O.S. Card, ISBN# 0-812-53305-4

1984, G. Orwell, ISBN# 0-451-52493-4

The Tao of Health, Sex and Longevity, D. Reid, ISBN# 0-671-64811-X

Journey to Ixtlan, C. Castenada, ISBN# 0-671-73246-3

The Monkeywrench Gang, E. Abbey, ISBN# 0-380-71339-X

A Wrinkle in Time, M. L'Engel, ISBN# 0-440-49805-8

On the Road, J. Kerouac, ISBN# 0-670-87478-7

Leaves of Grass, W. Whitman, ISBN# 0-192-82675-1

Autobiography of a Yogi, P. Yogananda, ISBN# 0-876-12079-6

To Kill a Mockingbird, H. Lee, ISBN# 0-345-32649-0

The Path of Power, Sun Bear, ISBN#0-943-40403-7

Brave New World, A. Huxley, ISBN# 0-060-80983-3

Of Mice and Men, J. Steinbeck, ISBN# 0-140-18642-5

The Eagle and the Raven, J. Michener, ISBN# 0-938-34957-0

Breakfast of Champions, K. Vonnegut, ISBN# 0-440-13148-0

Ishmael, D. Quinn, ISBN# 0-553-37540-7

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis, ISBN# 0-064-47104-7

The Road Less Travelled, S. Peck, ISBN# 0-684-84728-0

Tracker, T. Brown, ISBN# 0-939-64368-5

Book of 5 Rings, Musashi, ISBN# 0-553-27096-6

Rodale Book of Composting, G. Gershuny, ISBN# 0-878-57991-5

Black Like Me, J. Griffin, ISBN# 0-451-15530-0

Living with Vision, L. Marks, ISBN# 0-904-57553-5

The Little Prince, A. St-Exupery, ISBN# 0-156-50300-X

This Side of Paradise, F.S. Fitzgerald, ISBN# 0-804-11480-3

The Sand County Almanac, A. Leopold, ISBN# 0-195-05305-2

No Exit, J.P. Satre, ISBN# 0-679-72516-4

A Brief History of Time, S. Hawkings, ISBN# 0-553-34614-8

Silent Spring, R. Carson, ISBN# 0-395-68329-7

Ecodefense, D. Foreman, ISBN# 0-993-28503-5

Messages from Michael, C. Yarbro, ISBN# 0-425-10437-0

Return of the Bird Tribes, K. Carey, ISBN# 0-062-50188-7

The Idiot, F. Dostoevski, ISBN# 0-140-44054-2

Rolling Thunder, D. Boyd, ISBN# 0-385-28859-X

Steal This Book!, A. Hoffman, ISBN# 1-586-58053-3

Forty Stories, A. Chekhov, ISBN# 0-679-73375-2

The Alchemist, P. Coelho, ISBN# 0-783-811-95-1

Les Miserables, V. Hugo, ISBN# 0-451-52526-4

Envisioning a Sustainable Society, L. Millbraith, ISBN# 0-791-40162-6

A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis, ISBN# 0-060-65284-5

An Introduction to Zen Buddhism, D.T. Suzuki, ISBN# 0-802-13055-0

The Conquest of Happiness, B. Russell, ISBN# 0-871-40244-0

Keeping the Rabble in Line, N. Chompsky, ISBN# 1-567-51033-7

The Education of Oversoul 7, J. Roberts, ISBN# 0-671-64318-5

Man and Superman, G.B. Shaw, ISBN# 0-140-45019-X

The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkein, ISBN# 0-345-33968-1

Deep Ecology, B. Devall, ISBN# 0-879-05247-3

A World Beyond, S. Peterson, ISBN# 0-694-01018-9

Remaking Society, M. Bookchin, ISBN# 0-896-08372-1

Catch 22, J. Heller, ISBN# 0-684-83339-5

American Primitive, M. Oliver, ISBN# 0-316-65004-8

A Course in Miracles, H Schucman, ISBN# 0-670-86975-9

The Simple Living Guide, J. Luhrs, ISBN# 0-965-02397-0

Mutant Message Down Under, M. Morgan, ISBN# 1-863-40557-7

Elemental Power, A. Wolfe, ISBN# 1-567-18807-9

Joshua, J. Girzone, ISBN# 0-684-81346-7

The Chakras, C. Ledbetter, ISBN# 0-835-60422-5

The Reluctant Shaman, K. Whitaker, ISBN# 0-062-50943-8

The Mind of God, P. Davies, ISBN# 0-671-79718-2

The Hero with 1,000 Faces, J. Campbell, ISBN# 0-691-01784-0

Peace Pilgrim, Peace Pilgrim, ISBN# 0-943-73401-0

Gesundheit!, P. Adams, ISBN# 0-892-28178-X

The Cobber's Companion: Earthen Homes, M. Smith, ISBN# 0-966-37380-4

The Story of Edgar Cayce, T. Sugrue, ISBN# 0-440-38680-2

The Complete Kama Sutra, A. Danielou, ISBN# 0-892-81492-6

The Hundredth Monkey, K. Keyes, ISBN# 0-942-02400-1

Fools Crow, J. Welch, ISBN# 0-140-08937-3

Sacred Eyes, L.R. Keck, ISBN# 0-964-69780-7

The Bible Code, M. Drusnin, ISBN#0-684-8973-9

The Glass Bead Game, H. Hesse, ISBN# 0-805-01246-X

How Your Mind Can Keep You Well, R. Masters, ISBN# 0-933-90009-0

Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World, A Weisman, ISBN# 1-890-13228-4

The One Straw Revolution, M. Fokuoka, ISBN# 0-878-57220-1

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Dee Brown ISBN#

Myth of Freedom, C.Trungpa, ISBN# 0-87773-084-9

Inner Teachings of Taoism, Chang Po-Tuan, ISBN#0-87773-363-5


Mountain climber
Enron by the Sea
Oct 21, 2009 - 04:07pm PT
Not THE ten, but some more worth being on anyone's list that haven't been mentioned (and aren't quite as obvious as the best of Mark Twain, Dickens, and all of the justifiably more famous or worthy authors already mentioned):

A Graham Greene book or two. Power and the Glory, Heart of the Matter, The Comedians, Monsignor Quixote and at least a dozen more you can't go wrong with.

Lives of a Cell by Lewis Thomas, and if you like that grab Medusa and the Snail.

Another Vonnegut book or two (for all his fame, my two cents worth is that he's still under appreciated). God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, Hocus Pocus, Galapagos, plus all those already mentioned and more. Again, you can't go wrong.

100 Years of Solitude

Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

Autobiography of Malcom X (though it's not, 'cuz he didn't write it)

Ball Four, by Jim Bouton. For those of us who grew up when baseball was truly the national pastime, or anyone who wants to read the best mainstream sports book ever written.

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (if this book doesn't make you laugh out loud I'm not sure you're capable of it)

Any Hemmingway book or story set in Africa, followed by Paul Theroux's Dark Star Safari. He's not a Hemmingway fan, and this book makes you understand why, and concede that he has really got a point. A great and entertaining read, and an excellent snapshot of modern Africa and how its changed over several decades. May also cause you to never again give a dime to any of dozens of well known charities...and actually help the continent a bit as result. One helluva travel yarn. This guy's got some cojones, all the more impressive in light of the fact that he was long ago set for life financially and is 60+.


Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Oct 21, 2009 - 05:32pm PT
Hey Mister E,
that's quite a list! I've read 36 of them so far and probably at least a dozen are on my to-do list. I especially like the Herman Hesse novels, The Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi) was certainly a book that got me to think in new and different ways. I'm surprised you don't have any Pynchon in there.

Trad climber
Kennewick wa
Oct 21, 2009 - 06:33pm PT

The Road to Serfdom - FA Hayak

Lonesome Dove - Larry McMurtry

The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

Riders of the Purple Sage - Zane Grey

Human Action - Ludwig Von Mises

Fable of the Bees - Bernard Mandeville

Free to Choose - Milton Friedman

The Man Who Killed the Deer - Frank Waters

Sherman Exposed - John Sherman

Common Sense - Thomas Paine

Trad climber
Oct 21, 2009 - 06:54pm PT
Credit: ddriver

Trad climber
Oct 21, 2009 - 06:55pm PT
Credit: ddriver

Trad climber
Oct 21, 2009 - 06:58pm PT
Credit: ddriver

Trad climber
Oct 21, 2009 - 06:59pm PT
Credit: ddriver

Social climber
Oct 21, 2009 - 08:21pm PT
What all men and women should do is read- and read often. Anything form the back of the soup can to every Louis L'Amour
Here's the murf list:

Huckleberry Finn i re-read it about every other year
Gone With the Wind I was bummed when it was over- My choice between Huck Finn for The Great American Novel
Mark Twain's 3 Travelogues: Roughing It, Innocents Abroad,Life on the River Read them to see Twain developing his style
All of the Freak Brothers Comix- Got me through college-very very funny
Desert Solitaire- Because of the honesty
Steinbeck: Cannery Row, Travels with Charlie, Log from the sea of Cortez- Because of the non-judgemental humanity
Tolkein Trilogy- What a story
Michael Herr's Dispatches- Viet Nam Viet Nam Viet Nam We've all been there
Bible= changed my life
Kerouac's On the Road-Written during Burr haircut 1950's america. So bad Ass

Trad climber
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Oct 21, 2009 - 08:47pm PT
All young men definitely will enjoy "Catcher in the Rye" I ate that book up. The whole idea of the anti-hero was new to me, as was the angst.

Other books worth reading,

"Catch-22" Joseph Heller. I still enjoy quoting from that one. A black comedic look at war, capitalism, and the value of insanity.

"Black Boy" Richard Wright, an autobiography of living in the Jim Crow South. Pretty powerful stuff and no bullshitting.

"At the Mountains of Madness" H.P. Lovecraft, best horror novella Lovecraft has written, though some of his short stories are even better like "The Dreams in the Witch House" and "The Dunwhich Horror" But it should get you going.

Social climber
Oct 21, 2009 - 08:51pm PT
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.


Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Oct 21, 2009 - 10:09pm PT
Hats off to the previous literary pundits!!

I am going to stay on thread and keep this to the 10 books that sent me to where I am today. I will attempt to explain along the way.

I have read many of the classic books mentioned in previous posts, but they did not shape who I am. It appears that late 20th century authors have captured my imagination.

Also----thanks to Mr. E and Hobo Dan for reminding me of these gems of literature that every manly man should read.

I should further note that almost all women that I have tried to force these books on have found most: “boring, violent, and stupid.”

I will add that most all of these books read easily.

1. Catch 22, J. Heller. At age 13: this book changed my life. It had sex, war, and the real theme of: fighting the system. This book moved me from Young Republican to Liberal in a few sweaty, pubescent days.

2. Lord of the Flies, Golding. High school eye opener on just how bad, groups of your peers can be.

3. Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain. Skip digging for symbolism! Another high school eye-opener, that was easy reading.

4. Any of the older Heinlein science fiction books! They simply gave me another way to look at our culture, and what might become of it.

5. Autobiography of a Yogi, P. Yogananda. I was never very religious and still am not. This long book hit me like a “ton of bricks” in my early 20’s and allowed me to appreciate other people’s beliefs and the major world religions.

6. Sometimes A Great Notion, Ken Kesey. OK---I am guilty of following a theme here. This is another novel about people bucking the system. I think it is equal to “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” and not as much of a downer.

7. Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Journey, A. Lansing. It is a good idea to read this: so you can quit bitching about “how tough life is.”

8. The Monkeywrench Gang, Ed Abbey. Another book about someone who had the guts to fight the system.

9. Games Climbers Play. If you only read one climbing book-----this distills the best stories.

10. Cadillac Desert, Marc Reisner. A non-fiction read on how the west has been shaped for “optimal water use.” My favorite quote from the book: “water runs uphill, towards money.”


Trad climber
The state of confusion
Oct 21, 2009 - 10:41pm PT

Good choices.

The Family of Secrets (about the shrub family)

Blackwater. . .

The Dark Side

And I can't imagine this was left out

Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stegner

An Oil Field
Oct 21, 2009 - 11:01pm PT
There is some damn good stuff above.

I agree with almost anything that Wallace Stegner wrote. I think Ed Abbey was a blowhard..mainly because I have been in a lot of the places he wrote about, and I thought he would go over the top. Philosphically I agree with him.

Seven Pillars of Wisdom is right up there. By T.E. Lawrence. Or just go rent Lawrence of Arabia and watch the movie. The book is way better if you can bite into it.

To be quite honest, I made it all the way to thirty reading nothing but Penthouse Forum in that hole under Bachar Cracker.


Social climber
Oct 21, 2009 - 11:41pm PT

Real Frank Zappa Book.

Hells Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga.

The Marijuana Papers.

Kaddish and Other Poems.

Your Brain is God.

The Good Earth.

The Old Man and the Sea.


In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex .

Downward Bound.

Trad climber
Oct 21, 2009 - 11:57pm PT
Bhagavad Gita

(recommended even by one of my patron saints, Thoreau;)

"The New Testament is remarkable for its pure morality, the best of the Vedic Scripture, for its pure intellectuality. But the reader is nowhere raised into and sustained in a bigger, purer, or rarer region of thought than in the Bhagavad Gita. The Gita's 'sanity and sublimity' have impressed the minds even of soldiers and merchants."

(edit; while I'm at it, Emerson seems to have liked it too:
"I owed a magnificent day to the Bhagavat-Gita. It was the first of books; it was as if an empire spake to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions that exercise us.")
mark miller

Social climber
Oct 22, 2009 - 12:28am PT
Great list Mr. E,(The peaceful Warrior was given to me in a bar room fight from an innocent bystander) and glad to see "Downward bound" on someone's list.
I really preferred the writings of Frank Herbert over Tolkeins but you say Tomato......The bible and other cornerstones of the modern world obviously should be required reading and the 40 ways of power by .....
But what about such delightful tales such as "A New Sweater for Harry" and " Where the Wild Things Are"? Reading can do more for the soul then just deep intellectual or spiritual self awareness, how about some whimsical Joy?

Oct 22, 2009 - 12:45am PT
If you're talkin' about "manly" books, how about something from Cormac McCarthy? The Old West, blood, violence, mayhem. How can you go wrong with that?

I'll second A Clockwork Orange. I have never hated a character so much, and then felt so bad for him.

Trad climber
San Francisco, Ca
Oct 22, 2009 - 03:13pm PT
At different stages I'd say the following were important to me:

1. Chronicles of Narnia/and Hobbit

2. Catch-22

3. Sometimes a Great Notion

4. Crime and Punishment

5. War and Peace

6. Soldier of the Great War

7. Out of Africa

8. The Virginian

9. Lolita

10. All of Ludlum's Jason Bourne novels!

Mountain climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Oct 22, 2009 - 06:41pm PT
To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus Finch rules!

Big Wall climber
Oct 22, 2009 - 06:57pm PT
Failure is not an Option - Gene Kranz
The best book I ever read about the space program.

CMOS Cookbook

TTL Cookbook

Practical Electronics for Inventors

The Way Things Work (2 Book Set)

How Things Work (4 Book Set)

K2 - American Expedition


Trad climber
Oct 23, 2009 - 03:24am PT
How to Sh#t In The Woods by Kathleen Meyer, and this one.
Credit: Dodo

Trad climber
Oct 23, 2009 - 05:01am PT
I totally agree that every manuscript previously submitted is a must read!
I am pleased that I have the honor of nominating” GORILLA MONSOON” by John Long as my personal all time Favorite !
So there!
Way to go Largo!
IMHO: YOU hit a home run first time at bat!
Roger Breedlove

Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Oct 23, 2009 - 10:35am PT
I think it is always interesting to hear what other people read. I have a good friend who is an avid reader and very well educated. He also travels a lot for work. His reading habits are based on only reading the books on the biggest display in airport book stores. I think he must read three per week. Rarely do we read the same things.

Picking just 10 is really thought provoking.

So, should this list be books that are for fun? To conform to our own customs and beliefs? Or, to get outside ourselves? For my ten, I pick the last category for the combination of two reasons: all of our sense of a broader self is based on what we have read (or seen in a movie or TV adaptation or heard from our parents based on what they have read or from a religious leader based on what she has read). Or more succinctly, our gods are literary characters. Secondly, our personal sense of self is arbitrary: time and place of birth, language and custom; wealth; etc. So to read is to tap into the nature of who we are and at the same time to escape our individual starting places.

Okay, here goes my totally fallacious list told in scholarly tones. (I can do scholarly tones way easier than I can do actual scholarship.) Can you guess which ones I have actually read cover to cover?

1 and 2. The “Iliad” and the “Odyssey” by Homer. Homer provides the first literary (at least to us) sense of mankind before science, philosophy, and monotheism. The stories also have the flow and characteristics of what we expect in a good read. And reading them back-to-back shows the skill of Homer in weaving the two stories together. It is a little startling to discover that 2700 years ago was not so distant. Fagle’s translation with Knox’s introduction (golden) and the pronouncing and proper name appendix (a godsend) is worth every hour spent.

3. The Bible. It is hard to read the Bible without getting stuck in personal religious beliefs. The Bible is only the starting point of Christian belief. In my opinion the best way to move down the path—not part of the ten—is to read Anne Armstrong’s “A History of God.”

4. The Bhagavad-Gita. I don't read Sanskrit, and I don’t have a recommendation for a more or less full translation.

5. The teaching of Buddha. I only have books starting from Zen. Maybe Karen Armstrong’s “Buddha” is the best introduction.

6. Greek plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes. Take your pick or read them all. This is the the beginning of modern Western civilization, dealing with reconcilation of the competing issues of human character, heroism, hubris, science, and self governance. Read as many as you can carry, but only count as one.

7. Dante “The Devine Comedy”. In my opinion, the first send-up of humanity and its relation to God; and perfectly grounded in Catholic dogma. Irony writ large. Turns the light on the Dark Ages. Also provides the updated travel guide to Hell following on from Virgil. It is worth thinking on how Dante managed to pull this off. Ask yourself what a modern version of "The Devine Comedy" would be-everyone known was named and placed in Hell, Purgatory, or Paradise, and Dante named himself as the best poet/writer of all time. Sounded good at the time. This is the only difficult book to read on my list. Unless you are a Catholic and late Middle Ages scholar, the people, places and events (and jokes) are impossible. I think that Dorothy Sayers’ translation is the best place to start since she includes very complete notes. She was a devout Catholic and for her the Devine Comedy is a strictly religious poem, but she still sees the fun and outrageousness of the whole concept. Her notes make it relatively easy going. If my chance you have read "The Name of the Rose" and liked it (I didn't) you would like the real deal wiht Dante. Many of the same historical characters show up in both.

8. Shakespeare's “King Lear”. Shakespeare filled in the whole canvas of defining human character in all of its manifestations and all in five beat lines. All plays and sonnets are worth reading many times.

9. Tolstoy. Take your pick. The modern world (late 19th Century version) is upon us and it is falling apart fast. There are many worthwhile books from the 19th century.

10. One left to cover the last 100 years. I think that is a tough call. There are lots of great novels written in the last 100 years. And many great non-fiction books. Even a few climbing books worth reading. But picking one that will be read in a 1000 years is impossible. This spot has traditionally fallen to James Joyce’s “Ulysses”. For sure this is a great novel, a writerly tour do force, that links back to all the prior literature of western civilization, and it confers great bragging rights on any one who finishes it with the ability to see all those allusions to the history of our literature. (In this sense, “Ulysses” could count for hundreds of books.) But in my opinion, it moved the needle on the writerly novel scale rather than on the seeing-humanness-in-a-new light scale.

So why not something from Beckett, or Graham Greene, or Kafka, or Borges, or Neruda, or Garcia, or Naipaul, or Coetzee, or Faulkner, or McCarthy, or Roth, or Delillo, or Updike, or…, or....

Okay. Time’s up.

So for 10, I pick McCarthy’s ‘Blood Meridian”. I think it is probably the best American novel, period. But more importantly for the thesis of breaking the arbitrariness of how we see outside ourselves and dealing with how we define and adhere to some sense of civilization, it belongs as a coda to the first nine. It is based on a real story of our history and it ties back through all of literature and human history. If you have read McCarthy’s recent books like ‘The Road” or “No Country for Old Men”, I suggest that you read the first nine books, or at least Homer’s contribution before you read “Blood Meridian.” You will see why.

I just read "White Tiger" by Adiga. I think that this is a modern classic.

Last thought: Read faster or die slower. Too many good things to read and do.

Trad climber
Sh#t Hole, Brooklyn, NY
Oct 23, 2009 - 02:24pm PT
I'll add some stuff useful for men when transitioning from innocence to adulthood:

The Prince, Machiavelli (a glimpse into the world of power and political relationships that form much of the landscape that men will be impacted by)

Nietzsche (pick and choose: to stimulate thought and to discard culturally inherited and debilitating sentimental rubbish and learn about the Will to Power...you know you want it)

Freud (pick and choose: some contact with Freud is useful if only as an introduction to a major paradigm of the modern era and what may influence human behavior...can be applied to any direction from self understanding to hidden persuasion in advertising)

Any decent credible book on Stalin and the Soviet Union (the contemporary model for totalitarianism; it's useful to understand what defines one pole of political organization which has proved extremely adaptable in the modern world).

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William Shirer (a splendid historical work of events that shaped the last century: political invention and the rise to power at a high water mark)

Ulysses, James Joyce (how a book transforms into a narcotic for the mind).

Solid book of poetry, many of them out there. Man needs boatloads of sentimental rubbish and beauty to buoy him up, start dosing.

Plenty of good fiction already mentioned, take your pick.

**Books in general are often overrated. I do not think there is any book a man MUST read. I know plenty of men who don't place much stake in reading books...they've managed just fine as men. More important than any book, liberal education, or academics is to know when to STOP reading and start acting.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Oct 23, 2009 - 03:51pm PT
Wow, Roger and I have a pretty similar list. While I didn't specifically identify King Lear, rather some of Shakespeare's plays, if I had to pick one it would be Lear. I wouldn't put Tolstoy in the top ten, although he is one of the great authors. I just think Dostoyevsky is better placed there.

It is interesting what other people read. This thread has kind of drifted from a 'top ten before you die' to 'the last good book I read.'

Trad climber
Berkeley, CA
Oct 23, 2009 - 04:37pm PT
Some books that are good to read early in life, as training. Other books are good to read later in life, when you can twist your mouth into a wry smile as you read words that crystallize what you have lived and felt or struggled to define. I guess the 10 books should somehow be distributed between these.

Even if they were translated, I have a hard time thinking of 10 books that should be read by "All Men," i.e. peoples across all cultures. What I have come to appreciate is how fundamentally different can be the basic beliefs of different people, in terms of prioritizing Truth vs. Happiness (or it's cousin, Being Right vs. Being Happy), what is the meaning of love and how to show it, what is the meaning of respect and how to show it, what is the appropriate relationship and behavior of a person toward his family, friends, and the world at large. There are not many works which probe into truly universal laws to guide humanity or universal insights that explains a large swath of human experience. I think almost by definition, any work that attempts such a broad scope is going to be welcomed by some and roundly rejected by others. The world is just too diverse.

So, with this preamble I sidestep the brain-hurt of trying to find 10 books great for all humanity. Instead I'll pick a few I liked a lot:

 Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
 Man's Search for Meaning
 Life of Pi
 The Sea Around Us (Rachel Carson)
 Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

And some important for bridging the gap in understanding between peoples of the world:
 Bhagavat Gita (a subset of a bigger story)

I'm only halfway through it right now, but The Name of the Rose (Umberto Eco) is pretty awesome for a view into the cultural evolution of the western world through the middle ages into the renaissance. It's good for reflecting on the kaleidoscope of human nature that led to a wide range of religious sects and the bloody power struggles amongst themselves, amongst sectarian governments, and the inter-relationships.

I guess that's 10. Whenever these things come up, I always end up including some of the things I've read most recently.
Roger Breedlove

Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Oct 23, 2009 - 04:46pm PT
Okay, Dostoevsky has replaced Tolstoy to cover the period from Shakespeare to the post- existentialist (the way I would think of it). Sounds so reasonable, doesn't it?

I think that picking a single work to cover the dawning of individualism and the collapse of the certainty of moral underpinnings is a bit crazy, but the limit of 10 books forces the issue everywhere. This would be fun to do in bar. "I'll trade you "The Odyssey" and "The Divine Comedy: Paradise" for a spot for Dostoevsky and Tolstoy with Gogol's "The Overcoat" thrown in. This was countered by "You can keep either Dostoevsky or Tolstoy, but not both, to make room for Dickens." Followed by another round bought by the guy who wants four spots for John Grisham (fun reads).


Trad climber
Berkeley, CA
Oct 23, 2009 - 04:54pm PT
Reading this thread after offering my own post, reliving good memories of reading some and yearnings to read others.

Life is too short. I find it hard to embrace that I can't absorb it all, that I must make choices and be at peace with the little slices of our world and knowledge that I can experience. But I think deeper happiness lies in accepting this reality, just another dimension of enjoying the half-full part of the glass.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Oct 23, 2009 - 07:44pm PT
I've read both the Overcoat and the Nose, by Gogol, and Notes from the Underground, Krokodil, and White nights by Dostoyevskii; all the in original Russian. A lifetime's worth of material from any of them. But my money's on Fyodor!

Trad climber
Oct 23, 2009 - 08:29pm PT
I remember a couple years back you were looking for a book, or info, to help you evaluate what authors were trying to do. I think you had just read a book and were wondering what the guy was trying to say, or you had a question about how he was trying to say it. I can't remember which. Did you find a book or books that addressed your questions? If so what where they, both the book(s) and your questions?

Oct 23, 2009 - 08:56pm PT
I didn't wade through this whole thread carefully so I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. This is one of the greatest novels I've ever read and also contemporary and extremely funny.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Oct 23, 2009 - 09:07pm PT
Kevin F, did you make it all the way through, 'The infinite Jest'? You may be the only one. Do you know of any others?. Have you read that trilogy that Neal Stephanson had to write, after he should have retired after, 'Snaowcrash'? Was that worthwhile? What have I missed? I need the Clif notes. No way I have enough life minutes left to slog through those....

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Oct 23, 2009 - 09:09pm PT
Pratt's dream job was for someone to pay him $5.00 per hour to read the books of his choice.

Oct 23, 2009 - 09:13pm PT
IJ is worth the trouble Jay. I read it twice this year. It's like a Ulysses for our time and place.

Boulder climber
san diego
Oct 23, 2009 - 10:04pm PT
Lolita merits a position.

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Oct 23, 2009 - 10:20pm PT
Hey Nutjob. . .
I've still got my copy of The Sea Around Us

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
Oct 23, 2009 - 10:29pm PT
I'm too lazy to read books . . . .

Full Metal Jacket
Le Mans
Dawn of the Dead (1978 version)
True Grit
The French Connection
New York Stories
Citizen Kane
Dogtown and Z-Boys
Barry Lyndon

But, if I must list +/- 10 good books that have changed my mind for the better:

Fountainhead / Atlas Shrugged / Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology - Rand
Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail - Thompson
The Old Man and the Sea - Hemingway
On the Trail of the Assassins - Garrison
Steal This Book - Hoffman
Chaos: Making a New Science - Gleik
Emerging Form in Architecture: Conversations with Lev Zetlin - Wilson
Elementary Statics of Shells - Pfluger
Art Through The Ages - Gardner
The Prince- Machiavelli
Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica - Newton
The Meaning of Relativity - Einstein
Brave New World - Huxley
The Cat in the Hat Beginner Book Dictionary - Seuss

A book can have good influence, even way, way, way back then.

Mountain climber
San Diego
Oct 23, 2009 - 11:51pm PT
Great mentions so far, but I would also include:

1) The Holy Bible (Authorized King James Version)

2) The Book of Enoch

3) George Orwell's 1984

4) Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

5) Crossing the Rubicon by Michael Ruppert

6) The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush
Administration and 9/11 by David Ray Griffin and Richard Falk (and
any of the other many great scholarly books he has written on 9-11
being an inside job)

7) Dark Mission: The Secret History of NASA
By Richard Hoagland and Mike Bara

8) The Yosemite by John Muir (or any of Muir's original classic books)

9) The Ascent of the Matterhorn by Edward Whimper

10) High and Wild by Galen Rowell

11) (my list goes to eleven!, one number more, and just that much more loud, lol) Not to mention thousands and thousands of other great reads . . .


Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Oct 24, 2009 - 05:01am PT
Thanks, Fosburg, I will give it another go.

Trad climber
pacific beach, ca
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 24, 2009 - 11:33am PT
Credit: zip

A Climber's Guide To Joshua Tree National Monument

John Wolfe And Bob Dominick

This is a must read for anyone that plans on spending any amount of time there.

This was my second guide book i purchased for this area. The first one was the yellow book, which i can't find. Anyone remember that one?

Good pictures, and route descriptions. First ascent info, and great stories too.
Roger Breedlove

Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Oct 26, 2009 - 02:03pm PT
Zander, I did find the answer to my question that you rose up thread. That thread Way off topic question on literature April 2008 had lots of good posts. Many along the same lines as this thread.

The question I asked was about any sources on literary criticism for Roth's novels. I had just finished "American Pastoral" and was very put off by what I considered sloppy writing and placid storytelling. What got my goat were Roth’s whole paragraphs of essentially the same sentence with different endings. I found a short section in "How Novels Work" by John Mullen on Roth's technique of amplification, which apparently links back to renaissance writing methods. I found it very tiresome and skimmed to the bottom on any paragraph in which he couldn't get what he wanted to say out without repeating it ten times. I think that this probably works fine for a reader who just loves the way all those letters form little groups of and pass time until they are needed in another little group of letters somewhere later, and they sound so sensuous as they roll down with the spittle and drool. More seriously, I think it works okay if the reader cares about the character, or if the writer has a real rant going with momentum. I didn't feel any of those things about "American Pastoral," so the amplification just seemed like ballast.

That said, there is a good interview in last Friday's WSJ ‘Weekend Journal’ with a list of five of Roth's 'indispensable' books to read by Ross Miller, the general editor of his compelte works for the Library of America. The list includes "The Ghost Writer," "The Counterlife," "The Facts," "Sabbath's Theater," and "The Human Stain." I will read these over time. I figure if I don't like a major writer, I should at least fire live.

Back in time..
Oct 26, 2009 - 02:48pm PT
This is a great book my mom would reed it to me in 1965 I loved reeding it to my kids, I just took them to see the new motion picture, what a blast!

Credit: Fogarty


Trad climber
Oct 26, 2009 - 11:28pm PT
Hey Roger,
I’ve never read Roth. I asked around after your thread from last year and got kind of luke warm responses. I guess I’ll try one of the five you mentioned.

I enjoyed reading your “top” ten list. About ten years ago my younger son was in 7th grade and at one of his school functions a couple of the parents were talking and one said, “I wish I had read that.” They decided to start a book club where you only read books where you say, “I wish I’d read that”. We call ourselves the Odyssians because we started with The Odyssey. We've read a bunch of the books from your list. The Illiad, War and Peace, The first five chapters of the Koran, Greek plays, every year we read and then go see a Shakespeare play, The Devine Comedy and even Ulysses. On your suggestion, I will now read Blood Meridian. Thanks for the tip. Our book group is pretty relaxed. Last night we met to discuss the first half of the Aeneid. A third of the group hadn’t done the reading. The potluck was good so all was well. I’m enjoying the book, though. As you said, it is good to push yourself out of our comfort zone with your reading. I find as I get older I’m a less flexible reader. I get ticked at books and authors. Your response to Roth was very familiar in feeling if not detail.

I’m kind of a fan of Karen Armstrong. I own five or six of her books.
Anyway, thanks for your response,


Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Oct 26, 2009 - 11:53pm PT
I think maybe it should be a list of a hundred, or a thousand so I can include Geek Love.
Roger Breedlove

Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Oct 27, 2009 - 08:00am PT
Zander, I am very impressed with your book group. The one I belong to won't read old classics. They call my personal reading, "reading for pain." I remind myself of all the payback I got when I was pushing myself to be a better climber-great routes at higher standards; same for books.
I am reading Herodotus' "The Histories." I am hoping the context will bring more to the Greek and Roman literature
I read the Egyptian "Book of the Dead" for the same reasons. It was interesting, but I don't think it provides much backgroud for our world; we really start as a people with Homer. It is amazing that the first literature out of the box was so big and fine. Like Lynne Hill climbing the Nose all free in 1956 before Royal and Warren were ready to go. .

I suggest that reading a short introduction to "Blood Meridian" is worth it. It is based on a true story which helps with all the blood and gore. It also helps to focus on the brief note McCarthy places in the front and the strange postscript at the end. I didn't begin to understand the postscript until I had read more classics. The novel is not hard to read-it is a good story and beautifully written. It ended up on the list of the best five American novels, along with Updyke's "Rabbit" series, Roth's "American Pastoral," Morrision's "Beloved," and (I think) DeLillo's "Underground."

Trad climber
Oct 27, 2009 - 11:02am PT
Hi Roger, We read Herodotus' "The Histories. There is a lot of interesting stuff in there. I agree it is not in the same category as the Odyssey. It was fun reading about the Amazons and some of the other stories we’ve all heard about.

Have you read the Three Kingdoms? It is the great Chinese Ancestral myth, like the Homer is for the west. It’s a great sprawling book. The version we read is highly abridged and it’s still huge. It is a pretty good read too. I’d never heard of it before we read it. Wendy got kudos from the asians at her work so I suspect a third of the world knows the stories well.

I haven’t read any of the five greatest novels in your post. I better get busy.
Take care,

Minneapolis, MN
Nov 4, 2009 - 11:46am PT

1. The Road: heartbreaking; horrific; Blood Meridian with the full ache of humanity.

2. Blood Meridian: Savageness without relent. Who IS the Judge?

3. Sutree: a litmus test for the impulse for solitude: I related to S. when I was in my bad marriage; now he is so much less appealing. Astounding writing.

4. Ironweed

5. Downward Bound

6. A Day in the Live of Ivan Denisovich

7. Goodnight Moon

8. How Footbal [soccer] Explains the World


Gym climber
sawatch choss
Nov 12, 2012 - 09:51pm PT
+1 for Infinite Jest. Did you ever give it another go JCA?

I moved to a new town and brought Geek Love to the book club. Not everyone's cuppa but I loved it. Have not picked a book since because the internet has destroyed my brain and I hardly read anymore.

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Nov 12, 2012 - 09:58pm PT
I see that at least one person already mentioned To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus is the finest example of a human being in literature that I think of. (Sylvester Stallone in Rambo II gets my vote for 2nd).

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Nov 12, 2012 - 10:08pm PT
Not yet Rhodo. But I'm halfway through anathenum as a gauge warm up.
Yeah that geek love is good for raising a few eyebrows, my mom at 87 or something, couldn't put it down though, much as she wanted to ....

You're too right about the Internet. Living in a tent the last almost 2 months, at least has me reading regularly again. Though the net still reaches its garroting tendrils through the smaht phone pretty efficiently anyway.....

Gym climber
sawatch choss
Nov 12, 2012 - 10:26pm PT
I only managed to get through Gravity's Rainbow on a solo backpack trip in the Escalante. Now i couldn't even tell you the last book I've actually finished. I should get off this thing...something about immediate gratification is really bad for us. Good for you living in a tent.

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Nov 12, 2012 - 10:43pm PT
The Histories - Herodotus

Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

Little Big Man - Thomas Berger
(OK, anything by Thomas Berger, the most under-rated and under-appreciated American author)

Mother Night - Kurt Vonnegut

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey

Dr. Sax - Jack Kerouac
(Both Cuckoo's Nest and Dr. Sax should be read after taking a tab of acid. Dr. Sax, especially won't make any sense if you are straight. And the opening of Cuckoo's Nest is a wild ride as you hook up with the chief)

All Quiet on the Western Front - Erich Maria Remarque (the follow up "Flotsam" might even be better)

The Trial - Franz Kafka

The Octopus - Frank Norris

The Winter of Our Discontent - John Steinbeck


Social climber
Nov 12, 2012 - 11:14pm PT
What Ten Books Must All Men Read BeforeThey Die ?


Germaine Greer's The Female Eunuch should be in there somewhere....

Trad climber
Nov 12, 2012 - 11:26pm PT
Gravity's Rainbow
Freedom at Midnight
In Exile From the Land of Snows
other 7 I have to think about

Social climber
Nov 12, 2012 - 11:36pm PT
FYI, Zip? Per your first reference, if you are using the word "sheer" and the word "manliness" in the same sentence? You might be gay.

That being said:

Narcissus and Goldman


The Pearl

Start Where You Are

The Tao of Pooh

Catcher in the Rye

Out of Freedom, Into Slavery

Desert Solitaire

Brave New World

On The Road

Breakfast of Champions

Book of 5 Rings...

I could go on.


Trad climber
Nov 12, 2012 - 11:51pm PT
The Snow Leopard - Peter Matthiessen
Caught Inside - Daniel Duane
Desert Solitaire - Edward Abbey
My Side of the Mountain - Jean George
Yukon Ho! - Bill Waterson
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
Ulysses - James Joyce
Waiting for Godot - Samuel Beckett
Mountains of the Mind - Robert Macfarlan
The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
BONUS - The Giving Tree - Shel Silverstein


Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Nov 13, 2012 - 12:03am PT
I'll give you one.

Basic Economics, Thomas Sowell.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Nov 13, 2012 - 01:34am PT
A Theory of the Consumption Function, Milton Friedman 1957
paul roehl

Boulder climber
Nov 13, 2012 - 03:35am PT
Ten's hard but if only ten:
King James Bible
Divine Comedy
Shakespeare's plays
Wordsworth's Collected Poems
Magic Mountain
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Tender is the Night
Blood Meridian


Nov 13, 2012 - 04:15am PT

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Nov 13, 2012 - 05:09am PT

Angel Tech: A Modern Shaman's Guide to Reality Selection by Antero Alli

Or, Fairy Tech: A Modern Republican's Guide to Reality Selection by Karl Rove

Trad climber
Nov 13, 2012 - 05:41am PT
Call of the Wild
Black Stone Knife
Beyond the Stars
The Four Agreements a Toltec Book of Wisdom
Where the Red Fern Grows
Last of the Mohicans
Oliver Twist
The Raft
Treasure Island
Freedom of the Hills

any book by Louis Lamour if your into the old west

Trad climber
Nov 13, 2012 - 06:17am PT
The electric koolaid acid test
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Nov 13, 2012 - 06:52am PT
What ten books to read
Ere I bow? Were I a fly
I would leave right now.

You brought up The BIG DAMN BOOK of Manliness. the bigger they are, the more satisfying they are and the longer you can keep the world at bay.

You’ll want to get your money’s worth, so based on the number of words alone,

All the Gary Jennings.
All the Colleen McCullough series on Rome
All of Ayn Rand
All of John Steinbeck
All of the Old and New Testament
The Lonesome Dove series
The Stand, either version, it won't matter in the end
In Search of Lost Time by Proust (there’s another title, but I can’t think of it--it will come)
Gone With the Wind but not the insipid sequel by some money-grubbing sycophant
1,001 Arabian Nights
Alternate selection is Bancroft's History of California.
If you want a substitute for All of John Steinbeck, there is none; and it is the same for the Bible.

Social climber
Right outside of Delacroix
Nov 13, 2012 - 10:41am PT
This just goes to show it's hard to restrict the must read list to ten.

All of Ayn Rand?
All of John Steinbeck?

Interesting juxtaposition there!

Trad climber
Nov 13, 2012 - 10:48am PT
If you only read 10 you might as well be dead.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Nov 13, 2012 - 11:12am PT
when I was a kid my goal during the summer break was to read 10 books, roughly 1 a week... and I did that from at least the 3rd grade through high school...

it was a good habit I somehow dropped when I "got busy" with college and graduate school...
...I should probably try to reinvigorate that habit in the sunset years here now...

got Fitschen's book on the "in box" on my desk, what am I waiting for?

a good list in this thread can be created

Trad climber
Nov 13, 2012 - 12:28pm PT
If you go home with someone, and they don't have books, don't f*#k them...


Gym climber
Nov 13, 2012 - 12:55pm PT
The Encyclopedia Britannica, all 26 volumes.
Now that is manly.

Charles, does a bookshelf full of comic books count?

Trad climber
Nov 13, 2012 - 01:02pm PT
I just finished reading Fire On The Mountain and The Brave Cowboy by Edward Abbey.
Both were great reads.

Death Valley in 49 by Manly is a great true story of epic survival.

Life Amongst The Modocs by Juoaquin Miller is a great book on early California life.

Death Valley Men and Death Valley are both fun reads by Bourke Lee

The Story of Inyo by Challfant is worth the read too.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Nov 13, 2012 - 01:05pm PT
A Steinbeck novel would be in my top ten list.

Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Nov 13, 2012 - 01:09pm PT
^^^ I read that book when I was 12 or 13. I must say I remember quite distinctly what a 'zipless f*#k' is.... so I guess it must have been rather transformational for me too, and perhaps at too young an age. Look what it did to me!!!


Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Nov 13, 2012 - 03:38pm PT
An inquiry into values:

An inquiry into lack of values:

That's two, pick eight more from the lists here.

Trad climber
Sun Coast B.C.
Nov 13, 2012 - 03:38pm PT
Credit: sac

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Nov 13, 2012 - 03:43pm PT
All of Ayn Rand

Surely fifty pages is sufficient.

Ice climber
the ghost
Nov 13, 2012 - 04:01pm PT

Lots of posters here would benefit from reading this.

Trad climber
Nov 13, 2012 - 04:14pm PT
Seriously, Ayn Rand? ugh.

Love Roger Breedlove's list (and the reasons for reading them -- have read The Iliad numerous times, it's just that good)

Will second DFW's "Infinite Jest." Utterly brilliant. At once hysterical, maddening, profound and deeply disturbing. Best writer of our generation. Don't read the websites devoted to the book (there are many) until AFTER you've read it.

Didn't see these mentioned, but they are some of my personal favorites (along with others already mentioned):

Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald (easily the finest closing page in all of American literature)
A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
Moby Dick - Herman Melville

and, a guilty pleasure (just a great, entertaining read), Shogun -- James Clavell
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Nov 13, 2012 - 04:34pm PT
Okay, Dostoevsky has replaced Tolstoy to cover the period from Shakespeare to the post- existentialist (the way I would think of it). Sounds so reasonable, doesn't it?

I think that picking a single work to cover the dawning of individualism and the collapse of the certainty of moral underpinnings is a bit crazy, but the limit of 10 books forces the issue everywhere. This would be fun to do in bar. "I'll trade you "The Odyssey" and "The Divine Comedy: Paradise" for a spot for Dostoevsky and Tolstoy with Gogol's "The Overcoat" thrown in. This was countered by "You can keep either Dostoevsky or Tolstoy, but not both, to make room for Dickens."...
Definitely willing to trade Paradiso (yawn) for Dostoyevsky, though if any of his works are represented it would have to be The Brothers Karamozov. A titantic work. I think you could trade The Odyssey as well. Homer is terrific but The Iliad in his better work. Anna Karenina is a good choice, though I haven't read The Overcoat. Once we start opening the door to more than one 19th or 20th century author, then we really need to consider Moby Dick which, despite its standing, I still believe is underrated as a piece of fiction.

Dickens is terrific but can definitely be excluded from such an exclusive canon.

The Hot Kiss on the end of a Wet Fist
May 11, 2013 - 06:02pm PT
The Happy Hooker - Xavier Hollander.

It transformed my life ( at age of 14)

I hear that; "transformed" my life at the age of 11..
paul roehl

Boulder climber
May 11, 2013 - 07:45pm PT
The Republic
Ovid's Meta.
Divine Comedy
Shakespeare's Complete Works
Moby Dick
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Magic Mountain
Blood Meridian

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 11, 2013 - 08:16pm PT
The white Spider. my first climbing book
50 Classic Climbs
at least one Louie LAmour book
The Cat From Hue
Citizen Soldiers, Stephan Ambrose
Band of Brothers
A Stillnes At Apponmatox by Bruce Caton
How to bag the biggest buck of your life by Larry Benoit (Vermonter)
The Lord Of The Rings trilogy
For Those I loved
An American in the Gulag
Trancendant summits, Gerry Roach
any decent climbing guide you can get your hands on.
Fear and loathing in Las Vegas
Tracker by Tom Brown Jr
Wattership Down
Hitch hikers guide to the Galaxy

Anything by Carl Haisen sp?

that should get you started. i have a book to read now....
Dr Lefttoe

Social climber
Zamora, CA
May 11, 2013 - 08:22pm PT
Beowolf - some dead guy (Seamus OHeaney translation)
Odyssey - Homer
Moby Dick - Melville
Hamlet - Shake a spear
Portrait of the Artist - Joyce
Sound and the Fury - Faulkner
The Stranger - Camus
Steppenwolf - Hesse
Crime and Punishment - Dostoyevsky
The Recognitions - William Gaddis

Mismeasure of Man - Gould
Fabric of Reality - David Deutsch
Secret Knowledge of Water -Craig Child
Brief Acconut of the Devestation of the Indies - de las Casas
Wonderful Life - S.J. Gould
Cadillac Desert - Reisner
Double Helix - Watson
La Relacion - Cabeza de Vaca
Desert Solitaire - Abbey
Founding Fish - McPhee

Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
May 11, 2013 - 09:55pm PT
without reading any of the posts I'm selecting the Book of Love

I wonder who wrote it?

Trad climber
May 11, 2013 - 09:59pm PT
Best greatest incredible (every superlative there is) survival / manly book written:

"UNBROKEN" - Laura Hillenbrand

The Hot Kiss on the end of a Wet Fist
May 11, 2013 - 10:01pm PT
Hey, zBrown..

Tell me, tell me, tell me!!!
manzanita man

Social climber
somerset, ca.
May 11, 2013 - 10:10pm PT
the last 10 months of Hustler magazine. VERY informative.

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
May 12, 2013 - 07:40am PT
Abbys Road
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 17, 2014 - 12:32am PT
time to bump this

Trad climber
minneapolis, mn
May 17, 2014 - 12:40am PT
Ed, you're too cerebral for this place.

I suggest No Exit as a book "all" "men" "must" read before "they" "die".

check u l8tr
Captain...or Skully

May 17, 2014 - 12:45am PT
All men Should read 10 books before they die. Agreed.

Social climber
May 17, 2014 - 07:35pm PT
a few more

Wind, Sand and Stars
The Big Dr Suess books--I'm serious- Eternal themes and the best art work
Devil Take the Hindmost
How to keep your Volkswagen Alive for the complete idiot

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
May 17, 2014 - 09:05pm PT
Wind, Sand and Stars

Love that book. But the translation is really f*cked up.

Not sure how the female half of the readership would feel about it though.

Trad climber
minneapolis, mn
May 17, 2014 - 09:08pm PT
how is the translation whack? (full disclosure: my French is very poor. I am, however, fluent in American.)

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
May 17, 2014 - 09:12pm PT
Unfortunately my copies of translation and original are 10,000 miles away.

What I remember most is a complete rearranging of the order of the narrative toward the end.
Ricky D

Trad climber
Sierra Westside
May 17, 2014 - 09:28pm PT
Green Eggs and Ham
Tao of Pooh
Art of War
To Kill a Mockingbird
Emerson's Essays

I'll think of others later.

Sep 8, 2014 - 04:38am PT


infinite jest / david f wallace
underworld / don delillo
everything is illuminated / jonathan s foer
l'etranger / a camus
the great gatsby / s fitzgerald
catcher in the rye / j salinger
siddharta / h hesse
faust /j w goethe
der prozess / f kafka
classical electrodynamics / john d jackson

but then there are a lot of books i have not read yet-
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Sep 8, 2014 - 05:32am PT
Angle of Repose
The Brothers K
Soldier of the Great War
The Poison Wood Bible
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
To Kill a Mocking Bird
The Adventures of Huck Finn
Cutting for Stone
Fear and Loathing in Las Vagas
i'm gumby dammit

Sport climber
da ow
Sep 8, 2014 - 07:33am PT

Sport climber
Sep 8, 2014 - 08:13am PT

 1984, Orwell
 «Also Sprach Zarathustra» and «The Gay Science», Nietzsche
 «Blood Meridian» and «The Border Trilogy», Cormac McCarthy. Start with the trilogy.
 Brave New World, Huxley
 «A Confession» and «What I Believe», Tolstoy
 The Divine Comedy, Dante
 Faust, Goethe
 Heart of Darkness, Conrad
 Invisible Cities, Calvino
 «King Lear» and «Macbeth», Shakespeare
 The Leopard, di Lampedusa
 The Odyssey, Homer
 Organizational Learning II: Theory, Method and Practice. Argyris and Schön.
 Papillon, Charriere
 The Prince, Machiavelli
 "Waiting for Godot" and "Endgame", Beckett

Many of the books have been mentioned before, but one of the exceptions is The Leopard. Here's a highbrow taste:
”Among his friends Don Fabrizio was considered an “eccentric”; his interest in mathematics was taken almost as a sinful perversion, and had he not been actually Prince of Salina and known as an excellent horseman, indefatigable shot and tireless womaniser, his parallaxes and telescopes might have exposed him to the risk of outlawry. Even so they did not say much to him, for his cold blue eyes, glimpsed under the heavy lids, put would-be talkers off, and he often found himself isolated, not, as he thought, from respect, but from fear.”
Credit: Marlow
”She was tall and well made, on an ample scale; her skin looked as if it had the flavour of fresh cream which it resembled, her childlike mouth that of strawberries. Under a mass of raven hair, curling in gentle waves, her green eyes gleamed motionless as those of statues, and like them a little cruel. She was moving slowly, making her wide white skirt rotate around her, and emanating from her whole person the invincible calm of a woman sure of her own beauty.”

Trad climber
Nedsterdam CO
Sep 8, 2014 - 08:22am PT
Who knew we are all such a literary bunch! Some very good suggestions!

I'll add:
Hemmingway, in particular the Nick Adams series.

Most anything by Gunter Grass, most notably 'Flounder'.

Couples by Updike, or again most anything by Updike.

Lord Jim by Conrad.

Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller.

etc etc...
John Ely

Trad climber
Sep 8, 2014 - 09:06am PT
Remarks on an interesting thread:

'Three Cups of Tea' was required by all the Afghanistan posted military until it was exposed - especially by Kracauer - as a fraud. Actually serves as a kind of metaphor for the entire post 9-11 'democratization' of the place.

Dostoyevsky, have fond memories of him in a belay seat on hot summer days.

Melville, 'Billy Budd', and especially the long short story 'Benito Cereno'

Herodotus, yes!! My favorite remark of his: 'Never insult another person's religion.' See also 'Travels with Herodotus' by Kapuchinski and 'The English Patient'. But the one unforgettable adventure book that has fallen now into the doldrums but was read in the 19th century by every public school boy in the British Empire: Xenophon's Anabasis or 'March Up Country.' Strongly recommended.

Hermann Buhl's memoirs have not been mentioned. Huh?

Given how many climbs have been named after Tolkien, it's interesting how few people mention him. Gone out of fashion since Peter Jackson hijacked his story....

Toni Morrison's 'Beloved' could be added to a very male-centric thread.

Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno: Dialectic of Enlightenment.

A very very good but very very long history of Himalayan Mountaineering: 'Fallen Giants'

I used to teach a 'great books' course. The list is pretty close to breedlove above in terms of the greatest of all time:

Old Testament,
Homer, Sappho, Sophocles (but I prefer the democrat Aeschylus - Oresteia),
Plato's Rep., Aristotle selections (esp ethics and pol 1-4),
Analects, Tao de Ching
New Testament, Augustine Confessions,
Dante's Inferno, Machiavelli Prince and selections from Discourses, Luther's reformation pamphlets,
King Lear,
Hobbes' Leviathan, Locke's 'Second Treatise',
Rousseau, 'social contract' and 'discourse on origins of inequality', Keats poems,
Marx, Communist Manifesto and German Ideology 'on Feuerbach',
Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals,
Frederick Douglas, Narrative of the Life of an American Slave
Madame Bovary,
Weber Politics and Science as Vocations,
TS Eliot Wasteland,
Benjamin, 'Theses on the Philosophy of History' in Illuminations
Woolf Room of One's Own,
Morrison Beloved.

This is close to a list of '10' best....albeit heavy on philosophy. But none are to be missed....


Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Sep 8, 2014 - 09:08am PT
This is going to take some serious thought... If only 10 books, then the obvious question is: to what end?

Education of a malleable mind?
Enlightenment for journeymen battered a bit by life?
Satisfaction and acceptance during the sunset years, reflecting on a life's accumulation of insights and experiences?
Or should it be spaced out to cover what a person needs throughout life?

In this way, we need not be constrained to limit the volumes from any chronological period in history, but rather keep pace with what would give the most value to the reader at different points in their lifetime.

One interpretation of "EVERY [wo]man should read these" is that there is some societal imperative, in which case we might rephrase the question as: which 10 books should every person read for the improvement of the collective well-being of humanity?

I'm going to noodle on it some more.
Gorgeous George

Trad climber
Los Angeles, California
Sep 8, 2014 - 10:45am PT
I can see from the contributions of others that this is obviously very cultural.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Dee Brown

The God of Small Things, Ahrundati Roy

Of Love and Shadows, Isabel Allende

Don Quijote, Cervantes

One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

The Color Purple, Alice Walker

The Old Gringo, Octavio Paz

Massacre in Mexico (La Noche de Tlatelolco), Elena Poniatowska

Pedro Paramo, Juan Rulfo

The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros

Rain of Gold, Victor Villasenor

Slow Man, J.M. Coetzee

To be on my list (and this is just off the top of my head), a book must be so good you call in sick to work to stay home and read it, stopping only to shower and make coffee, and then you can't get it out of your mind for days, sometimes weeks. Better yet, you can't wait to read it again, just to get every little nuance and meaning out of it.

Otherwise, why bother.

And I agree with Nut Again, this is not gender specific.


Jim Henson's Basement
Sep 8, 2014 - 11:37am PT
This is the only book a real man needs:

Credit: justthemaid
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