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111 Books to Read Before Your Brain Atrophies - RESULTS

The Green Dragon

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1Morphidae
Edited: Sep 28, 2010, 4:46pm Top

Out of 570 nominations, 111 made the cut.

I thought I would go with 4 or more votes, but that would have been 143 Books, which isn't a nice number like 111.


28 Votes
84, Charing Cross Road by Hanff, Helene
The Diary of a Young Girl by Frank, Anne

25 Votes
Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Truss, Lynne

23 Votes
All Creatures Great and Small by Herriot, James

21 Votes
A Brief History of Time by Hawking, Stephen

16 Votes
Guns, Germs and Steel by Diamond, Jared
Kon Tiki by Heyerdahl, Thor

15 Votes
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bryson, Bill
The Elements of Style by Strunk, William and White, E. B.

14 Votes
Cosmos by Sagan, Carl
Freakonomics by Levitt, Steven D. and Dubner, Stephen J.
My Family and Other Animals by Durrell, Gerald
The Bible by Anonymous

13 Votes
Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Fadiman, Anne
Joy of Cooking by Rombauer, Irma S., et al.
Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman by Feynman, Richard P.
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Sacks, Oliver

12 Votes
In Cold Blood by Capote, Truman
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by Berendt, John

11 Votes
The Professor and the Madman by Winchester, Simon
Collapse by Diamond, Jared
Omnivore's Dilemma by Pollan, Michael
Stiff by Roach, Mary
The Origin of the Species by Darwin, Charles

10 Votes
All the President's Men by Woodward, Bob
The Double Helix by Watson, James
The Prince by Machiavelli, Niccolo
The Way Things Work by Macaulay, David

9 Votes
A Child Called It by Pelzer, David
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Brown, Dee
Fast Food Nation by Schlosser, Eric
Gorillas in the Mist by Fossey, Dian
In Defense of Food by Pollan, Michael
Krakatoa by Winchester, Simon
Longitude by Sobel, Dava
Mere Christianity by Lewis, C. S.
The Art of War by Tzu, Sun
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Franklin, Benjamin
The Demon-Haunted World by Sagan, Carl
The Devil in the White City by Larson, Erik
Three Cups of Tea by Mortenson, Greg

8 Votes
A Gentle Madness by Basbanes, Nicholas A.
An Anthropologist on Mars by Sacks, Oliver
Band of Brothers by Ambrose, Stephen
Galileo's Daughter by Sobel, Dava
Godel, Escher, Bach by Hofstadter, Douglas
Into Thin Air by Krakauker, John
Notes from a Small Island by Bryson, Bill
The Code Book by Singh, Simon
The Complete Maus by Spielgelman, Art
The Feynman Lectures on Physics by Feynman, Richard P.
The Republic by Plato
The World Without Us by Weisman, Alan
Travels with Charlie by Steinbeck, John

7 Votes
A Crack in the Edge of the World by Winchester, Simon
A Grief Observed by Lewis, C. S.
A Vindication of the Rights of Women by Wollstonecraft, Mary
Confessions by Saint Augustine
Hiroshima by Hersey, John
Kama Sutra by Vatsyayana, Mallanaga
Nickel and Dimed by Ehrenreich, Barbara
Our Bodies, Ourselves by Boston's Women's Health Book Collective
Science of Discworld by Pratchett, Terry and Stewart, Ian
Silent Spring by Carson, Rachel
The Blind Watchmaker by Dawkins, Richard
The Great Influenza by Barry, John
The Histories by Herodotus
The Perfect Storm by Junger, Sebastian
The Voyage of the Beagle by Darwin, Charles
Walden by Thoreau, Henry David
Your Inner Fish by Shubin, Neil

6 Votes
1491 by Mann, Charles
A Distant Mirror by Tuchman, Barbara
Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable by Brewer, E.
Democracy in America by de Tocqueville, Alexis
Gift from the Sea by Lindbergh, Anne Morrow
In the Shadow of Man by Goodall, Jane
John Adams by McCullough, David
Man's Search for Meaning by Frankl, Viktor
Menagerie Manor by Durrell, Gerald
Outliers by Gladwell, Malcolm
Patience and Fortitude by Basbanes, Nicholas A.
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Dillard, Annie
The Complete Persepolis by Satrapi, Marjane
The Federalist by Hamilton, Alexander, et al.
The Golden Bough by Frazer, James George
The Guns of August by Tuchman, Barbara
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Skloot, Rebecca
Wild Swans by Chang, Jung

5 Votes
Agatha Christie by Christie, Agatha
All New Square Foot Gardening by Bartholomew, Mel
Bad Science by Goldacre, Ben
Bird by Bird by Lamott, Anne
Chaos by Gleick, James
Columbine by Cullen, Dave
Fun Home by Bechdal, Alison
Future Shock by Toffler, Alvin
Hackers by Levy, Steven
How the Irish Saved Civilization by Cahill, Thomas
How to Read a Book by Adler, Mortimer J.
My Life in France by Child, Julia
Never Cry Wolf by Mowat, Farley
Oxford English Dictionary by
Team of Rivals by Goodwin, Doris Kearns
The Communist Manifesto by Marx, Karl
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Wolfe, Tom
The Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by Shirer, William
Two Years Before the Mast by Dana, Richard Henry
What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Pool, Daniel
Wonderful Life by Gould, Stephen Jay

2Morphidae
Sep 28, 2010, 1:18pm Top

I'll have to try later to get touchstones to load. Having no luck at the moment.

3cmbohn
Sep 28, 2010, 1:24pm Top

21 on there that I've read, many more on my TBR list. And then some I know nothing about!

4readafew
Sep 28, 2010, 1:30pm Top

wow, I've read one on that list.

5MrsLee
Sep 28, 2010, 2:04pm Top

I've read 20, at least 5 are on my shelves, TBR, and there are several more to go on my wishlist at some point.

Once again, thank you Morphy for all your hard work and organization!

6DeusExLibrus
Sep 28, 2010, 2:30pm Top

There are eleven on there that I've already read, quite a few that are already on the TBR list, and quite a few that I'd never heard of that are going on the TBR list.

7barney67
Edited: Sep 29, 2010, 11:14am Top

20 for me. Few of my suggestions made the list, as expected. Overall I find it a pretty disappointing list. Is Eats, Shoots, and Leaves really vital nonfiction?

Nice to see Kon-tiki up there. There are many good adventure books out there.

8jnwelch
Sep 28, 2010, 2:49pm Top

18 for me. What an interesting list!

9klarusu
Sep 28, 2010, 3:05pm Top

Thanks for doing this Morphy. Between the list & the proposal threads, my wishlist is increasing exponentially!

10Morphidae
Edited: Sep 28, 2010, 4:47pm Top

I've read 19 of them.

Ha! Got most of the touchstones to work. I don't care if anything is wrong, I'm not going back in there. It was ugly. :)

11clamairy
Sep 28, 2010, 7:05pm Top

I've finished 29 and probably started (and hope to someday finish) another half dozen at least.

12Busifer
Sep 29, 2010, 3:55am Top

Voted for 6, I think, and read 1 more (which I'd never recommend to anyone except a student in political history).
There's only 2 TBR's on the list, the rest is not interesting enough to get a timeslot in what remains of my life ;-)

Perhaps I'll change my mind later, who knows.

13reading_fox
Sep 29, 2010, 4:39am Top

I've read 7, wishlist 1 and am curreently reading another, quite independantly from the List. I will add more to the wishlist, but who knows when I'll get around to reading them.

Thanks again Morphy for all the work you put into this. It's an interesting and varied list.

14MrsLee
Sep 29, 2010, 9:36am Top

"It's an interesting and varied list."

Kind of like its nominators!

15maggie1944
Sep 29, 2010, 1:04pm Top

What a great list. It definitely is giving me some books to aspire to reading. Woo hoo

16JannyWurts
Sep 29, 2010, 3:49pm Top

I've read fifteen on the list - noted there are a lot of food related books - :) - must be the recurrent theme of cheese around here, or the recipe threads keep people hungry?

17geophile
Sep 29, 2010, 3:54pm Top

It is indeed a great list!

I've read 25 of them, and another 19 are teetering in mount TBR -- mocking me.

18sandragon
Sep 29, 2010, 3:58pm Top

I've read only 5. A few unread are on my shelves already. I've got a lot of catching up to do.

Is there a list of the nominated books somewhere? There were actually quite a few that caught my eye during the surveys but didn't make the cut.

19lucien
Sep 29, 2010, 4:31pm Top

I've read 17 plus, the plus being books of which I've read only parts. Thanks for the list. There's definitely some that sound worth pursuing.

20Morphidae
Sep 29, 2010, 4:38pm Top

Anyone who wants the entire spreadsheet can send me a private comment with your email. I'll be happy to send it out.

21tardis
Sep 29, 2010, 5:56pm Top

I'ver read about 11, but several others are on my TBR list. Some we own (usually belong to my husband) but I haven't read yet.

22reconditereader
Sep 29, 2010, 10:42pm Top

Wow, I'm impressed with the variety on this list. Thanks for doing all the work, Morphy!! What a delicious thing it is to read...

23yapete
Apr 11, 2011, 11:41am Top

Just found the list... Read 18 of these - definitely have a way to go...

24jillmwo
Apr 12, 2011, 8:12pm Top

I think I participated last year when you were soliciting nominations but I'd missed seeing this list. I have actually read about 20 out of the 111. My brain hasn't atrophied exactly, but I suspect it could use the help of a personal trainer.

25arukiyomi
Nov 23, 2011, 6:05am Top

anyone read the OED then?

ha!

26DaynaRT
Nov 23, 2011, 8:23am Top

If I had an OED, I'd be reading the etymologies for sure, and the W words. I think W is where Tolkien's OED entries start. Pretty sure I read somewhere that the definition of walrus in the OED is his.

27barney67
Nov 23, 2011, 11:42am Top

There's a book about Tolkien's participation in the OED.

The Ring of Words

28maggie1944
Nov 25, 2011, 7:15am Top

I've read an entry or two in my compact (two huge volumes) of the OED. One of my favorite possessions!

29Morphidae
Nov 25, 2011, 7:26am Top

I'm currently listening to The Professor and the Madman about the creation of the OED. Fascinating stuff.

30maggie1944
Nov 25, 2011, 7:28am Top

I thought "The Professor..." was a great, good read. I love it when real life is even more odd than fiction.

31RowanTribe
Nov 25, 2011, 2:14pm Top

Wow, more proof that I read too much. 52 out of that list. Almost half! Makes me feel like I ought to TBR the rest of them and have the whole lot done.

32Rozax
Nov 28, 2011, 2:41am Top

I found The Omnivore's Dilemma to be a self-congratulatory piece of rubbish. "Eating is so violent! Have you ever thought of that? Doesn't it sound smart?" I had to read it for my Culture of Food class in college. I loved the class, learned more than I EVER would have in the Nutrition class (which might as well be called pre-chem), but I hated that book along with Like Water for Chocolate. No, reading it in Spanish doesn't make it any better. It's a trashy soap opera that doesn't mind bland chocolate, because guess what? Chocolate tastes LOADS better with MILK! But then I wouldn't be able to say that "like water for chocolate" is a good superlative for the book.

33Morphidae
Nov 30, 2012, 7:36am Top

Undormanting

34clamairy
Nov 30, 2012, 8:48am Top

Yay! New word!

35cmbohn
Jan 2, 2013, 3:10pm Top

I'm at 37, plus the OED which I haven't completely read, just used occasionally. Plus many more on my TBR list.

36misskate
Sep 4, 2013, 5:21am Top

I thought I was the only person in the world tha had read Eats, Shoots and Leaves.. WOW

37BarbN
Jul 13, 2014, 1:13am Top

Read 42, interesting list.

38stellarexplorer
Jul 13, 2014, 1:22am Top

Just noticed this list. A lot of good choices. 46.

39Morphidae
Jul 13, 2014, 10:24am Top

I should bump all the lists!

40nrmay
Aug 18, 2014, 2:29pm Top

Read only 6 but have several of them waiting TBR.
I have to read faster!

41karenmarie
Jan 3, 2015, 2:03pm Top

Well, better late than never! I've read 32 1/2 of these books - halfway through the John Adams by David McCullough for the last 2 years.

Plus I have the OED, have read many entries. BTW, I do not recommend Reading the OED - whiny and pretentious IMO.

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