B O O K S


"O my father, I understand nothing but the beauty which came to me in books."

Hippo's favorite non-fictions:

  • The Last Romantic - Hanna Pakula
    "Captured a whole squadron of impassioned admirers, most of them...officers, brilliant, dashing, sentimental, daring, full of Russian ardour mixed with that almost intolerable melancholy so characteristic of the Slav, a melancholy which tore at your heartstrings and disturbed your peace..."

    "...has had an overwhelming soul grief which has shattered her conception of life and humanity."

    "It is so sweet to hear you speak as you do of your recollections of other times when one had the right to be happy. Neither time nor distance could efface the freshness or the intensity of his own memories."

    "I am inconsolable at being so far, living in the memory of the past with no hope for the future. Remember my longing, my nostalgia."

    "So much unsaid, all the dear memories which flood back into my heart ... the woods with the little yellow crocuses, the smell of the oaks when we rode through those same woods in early summer and oh! So many, many things which are gone."

  • Balkan Ghosts - Robert Kaplan
    "Balkans, you had to suffer with the others in order to understand. These lands require a love for the obscure. If the intruder from the West is not willing to feel with his whole being, he cannot hope to understand. What does the earth look like in the places where people commit atrocities?"

    "Monastery of Grachanista (Serbia) - Seen from the outside, this church appeared almost tiny. A perfectly synthesized verticality in which four powder blue dome range closely aournd the narrow, rising deck of another dome, begot this most attractive of architectural deceptions: what looked deliciously petite from the outside looked limitless from the inside."

    "Travelling in Romania was often like inhabiting the pages of a Dostoevsky novel. After a few weeks in Romania, a perverse side of your nature allowed you to fall in love with the country and people. You even thought that, perhaps, the Romanians possessed a peculiar wisdom about life and survival that the rest of the world lacked. And thus you would begin to undertand..."

  • The Romanovs - W. Bruce Lincoln
  • The Balkans, a Short History - Mark Mazower
  • The Russian Revolution - Alan Moorehead
  • Ten Days that Shook the World - John Reed
  • The Climb up to Hell - Jack Olsen
  • The Hiram's Key - Christopher Knight & Robert Lomas
  • Holy Blood, Holy Grail- Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh
  • The Last Place on Earth (Scott and Amundsen's Race to the South Pole) - Roland Huntford
  • Into Thin Air - John Krakauer
    "I looked down. Descent was total unappetizing. Too much labor, too many sleepless nights, and too many dreams had been inverted to bring us this far. We couldnt come back for another try next weekend. To go down now, even if we could have, would be descending to a future marked by one huge question: what might have been?"
    -Thomas F. Hornbein , Everest: West Ridge

    "But there are when for whom the unattainable has a special attraction. Usually they are not experts: their ambitions and fantasies are strong enough to brush aside the doubts which more cautious men might have. Determination and faith are their strongest weapons. At best such men are regarded as eccentric, at worst mad."
    - Walt Unsworth, Everest

    "There was loneliness too as the sun sets but only rarely did doubts return. Then I felt sinkingly as if my whole life lay behind me. Once on the mountain I knew (or trusted) that this would give way to total absorption with the task at hand. But at times I wondered if I had not come a long way only to find that what I really sought was something I had left behind."
    -Thomas F. Hornhein, Everest: West Ridge

  • Eastward to Tartary - Robert Kaplan
    "We drove thru darkness, with a full moon hanging low over the deathly escarpments and minarets. There is no magic like traveling alone, without friends or colleagues to condition one's opinion. It is the very loneliness that makes travel worthwhile: to be in isolation with historical forces, with only landscapes and books as guides."

  • Noah's Flood - William Ryan and Walter Pitman
  • Touching the Void - Joe Simpson
  • Foreign Devils on the Silk Road - Peter Hopkirk
  • How the Irish Saved Civilization - Thomas Cahill
  • The Gifts of the Jews - Thomas Cahill
  • The Lost Gospel - The Book of Q - Burton L. Mack
  • The Cloister Walk - Kathleen Norris
    "As the carriers of hope through disastrous times, prophets are a necessary other. And we reject them because they make us look at the way things really are; they dont allow us to deny our pain. You are chosen, you resist, you resort to rage and bitterness, and, finally, you succumb to the God who has given you your identity in the first place. All that fall, when Jeremiah's grief and my own impossible situation cast me into deep loneliness."

    "Pride is a denial of God, an invention of the devil, contempt for men. It is the mother of condemnation, the offspring of praise, a sign of barrenness. It is flight from God's help, the harbinger of madness, the author of downfall. It is the cause of diabolical possession, the source of anger, the gateway of hypocrisy. It is the fortress of demons, the custodian of sins, the source of hardheartedness. It is the denial of compassion, a bitter pharisee, a cruel judge. It is the foe of God. It is the root of blasphemy. Pride and anger were recognized by the desert monks as the most dangerous of their bad thoughts, and the most difficult to overcome. What really lies outside the ascetic life is despair, the proud attitude which denies the possibility of forgiveness. Men can heal the lustful. Angels can heal the malicious. Only God can heal the proud."

    "The person with a gift for passionate intensity squanders it in angry tirades and, given power, becomes a demagogue."

    "The exhaustion that I'm convinced lies behind most suicides finds it seed in acedia; the rhythms of daily life, and of the universe itself, the everyday glory of sunrise and sunset and all the 'present moments' in between seem a disgusting repetition that stretches on forever. It would be all too easy to feel that one wants no part of it any more."

    "Wisdom requires patience, discipline, and strength in the face of testing. Search out and seek, and wisdom will become known to you; and when you get hold of her, do not let her go. For in the end you will find the rest she gives, and she will be changed into joy for you".

  • Into the Wild - John Krakauer
    "No man ever followed his genius till it misled him. Though the result were bodily weakness, yet perhaps no one can say that the consequences were to be regretted, for these were a life in conformity to higher principles. If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal, - that is your success. The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched."
    -Henry David Thoreau, Walden, or Life in the Woods, passage lightlighted in one of the books found with Chris McCandless' remains

    "The trails I made let outward into the hills and swamps, but they led inward also. And from the study of things underfoot, and from reading and thinking came a kind of exploration, myself and the land. In time the two became one in my mind. With the gathering force of an essential thing realizing itself out of early ground, I faced in myself a passionate and tenacious longing - to put away thought forever, and all the trouble it brings, all but the nearest desire, direct and searching. To take the trail and not look back. Let the rest of humankind find me if it could."
    -John Haines, The Stars, the Snow, the Fire, Twenty-five Years in the Northern Wilderness

    "But we little know until tried how much of the uncontrollable there is in us, urging across glaciers and torrents, and up dangerous heights, let the judgement forbid as it may."
    -John Muir, The Mountains of California

  • Who Wrote the Bible? - Richard Elliott Friedman
    "If we say that the book is great, we can better understand what made it great. We can read a page of the Bible and know that three or even four persons, all artists, all writing from their own experience, in their own historical moments, separated by centuries, contributed to composing that page. And, at the same time, we can read the page as it is, to enjoy the story, to learn from it, to find out how others interpreted it over millennia. And for all of us who live in this civilization that the Bible played so central a part in shaping, it can be a channel to upt us more in touch with people and forces that affected our world. The question, after all, is not only who wrote the Bible, but who reads it."

  • Door Wide Open - Jack Kerouac & Joyce Johnson
    "A man helpless before the contents of his own mind.The flow had become too fast to sustain a life. It was a long while before it became clear to me that he had reached a stage in his agony where he could neither be alone nor be with people, much less sustain a love affair.
    I scramble from day to day, hour to hour, and I seldom stop to ask questions, because when I do, I find everything in the world senseless, without reason, and it terrifies me. I look at your way with wonder.

  • The Sign and the Seal - Graham Hancock
  • The Gnostic Gospels - Elaine Paigels
  • The Secret Gospel - Morton Smith
  • The Treasure of the Copper Scroll - John Allegro
  • Longitude - Dava Sobel
  • The House of Medici - Christopher Hibbert
  • John Adams - David McCullough
  • Seven Years in Tibet - Heinrich Harrer
  • Salt, a World History - Mark Kurlansky
  • Great Books - David Denby

  • Love in the Western World - Denis de Rougemont
    "Happy love has no history. Romance only comes into existence where love is fatal, frowned upon and doomed by life itself. What stirs lyrical poets to their first flights is neither the delight of the senses nor the fruitful contentmet of the settled couple; not the satisfaction of love, but its passion. And passion means suffering. But a myth is needed to express the dark and unmentionable fact that passion is linked with death, and involves the destruction of any one yielding himself up to it with all his strength. For we have wanted to preserve passion and we cherish the unhappiness that it brings with it."

  • Seven Men Who Rule the World from the Grave - Dave Breese
    "The means by which one person is able to rule many others is a fascinating subject to study. Invariably, the explanation of such control is that it is a matter of the mind. Any ruler, no matter how numerous his weapons or great his wealth, must finally rule by other means. He must rule by persuasion, the ultimate weapon through which influence on a culture is produced and sustained. The truly powerful leader must influence the minds of men."
    - Charles Darwin- evolution
    - Karl Max - Communism
    - Julius Wellhausen - Liberal Religion
    - Sigmund Freud - Libido
    - John Maynard Keynes - Economics
    - Søren Kierkegaard - Existentialism

  • Gentle Genius, The Story of Felix Mendelssohn - George Marek
  • Guns, Germs and Steel - Jared Diamond
  • In the Beginning - The story of the King James Bible and how it changed a nation, a language and a culture - Alister McGrath
  • Constantine's Sword (The Church and the Jews) - James Carroll
  • The Mountains of my Life - Walter Bonatti
  • In the Land of White Death - Valerian Albanov
  • The Blue Bear, the True Story of Friendship, Tragedy & survival in the Alaskan Wilderness - Lynn Schooler
  • Longitude and Attitudes - Thomas Friedman
  • Lost in Everest (The Search for Mallory and Irvine) - Peter Firstbrook
  • Scrambles among the Alps - Edward Whymper
  • Nothing Venture, Nothing Win - Sir Edmund Hillary
    "I discovered that even the mediocre can have adventures and even the fearful can achieve. I envied those who in success clung to a measure of peace and tranquility. I was always too restless and life was a constant battle against boredom."

  • The Infernal World of Branwell Brontë - Daphne du Maurier
    Oh, what is a man? A wretched being
    Tossed upon the tide of time,
    All its rocks and whilpools seeing,
    Yet denied the power of fleeing
    Waves, and gulfs of woe and crime;
    Doomed from life's first bitter breath
    To launch upon a sea of death
    Without a hope, without a day
    To guide him upon his weary way.
    All dark without, all fire within
    Can hell have a mightier hold on sin?

  • The World's Religions - Huston Smith
  • The White Spider - Heinrich Harrer
  • The Log from the Sea of Cortez, About Ed Ricketts- John Steinbeck
  • The Greek Way - Edith Hamilton
  • Eiger Dreams - John Krakauer
  • Endurance, The Incredible Journey of Shackelton - Alfred Lamsing
  • Easter Island - Thor Heyerdahl
  • In Patagonia - Bruce Chatwin
  • Everest, Mountain without Mercy - Broughton Coburn
  • The Perfect Storm - Sebastian Jungar
  • Fear and Trembling, Sickness into Death, Either/Or - Søren Kierkegaard
    No one ever comes back from the dead, no one ever enters the world without weeping; no none is asked when he wishes to enter life, no one is asked when he wishes to leave.
    The essence of pleasure does not lie in the thing enjoyed but in the accompanying consciousness. A life that is lived wholly in memory, is the most perfect conceivable, the satisfaction of memory are richer than any reality and have a security that no reality possesses. Grief is secretive, silent, solitary and seeks to retire into itself.
    He has comprehended the deep secret that also in loving another person one must be sufficient unto oneself.

  • Why is Sex Fun? Evolution of Human Sexuality - Jared Diamond
  • Tiger of the Snows - Tenzing Norgay
  • Working - Stud Terkel
  • Snow Mountain Passage - James D. Houston
  • The White Dawn - James Houston
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls Deception - Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh
  • Broken Vessels - Andre Dubus
  • Travels with Charlie - John Steinbeck
  • The Blue Highways - William Least-Heat-Moon
  • The Terror of Ice and Darkness - Christoph Ransmayr
  • Stolen Lives (Twenty years in a Desert Jail) - Malika Oufkir & Michele Fitoussi
  • Travels with my Aunt - Graham Greene

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    That's all folks !!!

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