What Ten Books Must All Men Read BeforeThey Die ?


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Trad climber
Oct 26, 2009 - 11:28pm PT
Hey Roger,
Ive never read Roth. I asked around after your thread from last year and got kind of luke warm responses. I guess Ill 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 Id 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 hadnt done the reading. The potluck was good so all was well. Im 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 Im a less flexible reader. I get ticked at books and authors. Your response to Roth was very familiar in feeling if not detail.

Im 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 weve all heard about.

Have you read the Three Kingdoms? It is the great Chinese Ancestral myth, like the Homer is for the west. Its a great sprawling book. The version we read is highly abridged and its still huge. It is a pretty good read too. Id 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 havent 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-Exupry
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
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