Books you'd have if society imploded?
November 20, 2004 5:51 AM   Subscribe

[EssentialBookFilter] If society were to implode for whatever reason, what few hundred essential books would you like to have stockpiled in your secret countryside compound?
posted by Meridian to Grab Bag (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
How Things Work to keep me alive and help rebuild civilization.

Norton Anthology of American Literature to keep me entertained and to educate the next generation with.

(This question has been discussed here before.)
posted by Mo Nickels at 5:59 AM on November 20, 2004

Ambrose Bierce's Devil's Dictionary and Twain's Letters from the Earth, just to remind me that civilization wasn't all that great to begin with.

Thomas Cahill's How the Irish Saved Civilization, because fairy tales about saving civilization will be good bunker reading, and may offer some hope to the delusional.

Lots of Borges and Vonnegut because they are fun to read and escapism will certainly be important after the apocalypse.

Ross Perot, In His Own Words, because timeless wisdom is, well, timeless. Plus it fits neatly into a pocket.

Uncle Tungsten
by Oliver Sacks, because when the shit hits the fan you better know your salts from your, ummmm, non-salts (cut me some slack, I'm only on page 22.)

Oh, and, of course 50 Years of Beetle Bailey, because the Beetle is everybody's favorite PFC.
posted by mds35 at 7:58 AM on November 20, 2004

I'm going to focus on Western Civ. Here:
The Old & New Testaments.
An Anthology of Romantic Petry (Keats, Blake, Byron, etc.)
A computer user manual for laughs.
Some Calvin and Hobbes.
Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan for society buildin'
Rousseau: The Social Contract for when society gets more advanced.
A guide to mushroom picking.
The Kama Sutra for when you run out of other books.
posted by jabberwock at 8:16 AM on November 20, 2004

Besides the necessary survival manuals and porn, here's a handful I can't go without...

1) Gravity's Rainbow
2) Pale Fire
3) The Little Prince
4) One Hundred Years of Solitude
5) The Master and Margarita
6) Moby Dick
7) The Sound and the Fury
8) Ulysses
9) Beloved
10) Native Son
11) White Noise
12) Crime and Punishment
posted by drpynchon at 8:41 AM on November 20, 2004

Only a few hundred?

1) A Series of Unfortunate Events
2) The Bobbsey Twins
3) The Hardy Boys
4) Nancy Drew
5) The Oz series
6) The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide
7) Love in the Time of Cholera
8) One Hundred Years of Solitude
9) Bridge of Birds
10) The Trouble With Being Born

Plus most of the above and below mentioned titles.
posted by kamylyon at 8:57 AM on November 20, 2004

I'm one of those kids that really liked infinite jest, and could reread it ad nauseam.

Assuming total societal collapse though, I think a copy of The Society of the Spectacle would keep me from feeling too bad.

And I'll second drpynchon's list, particularly 1) and 5). And maybe some of the more apocalyptic Vonnegut.
posted by cmyr at 9:03 AM on November 20, 2004

Pocket Ref
posted by phrontist at 9:25 AM on November 20, 2004

Thomas More: Utopia. It's about bloody time.
posted by louigi at 3:22 PM on November 20, 2004

Since we're focusing on somewhat pretentious tomes (Gravity's Rainbow, Infinite Jest, Ulysses, etc), don't forget to bring along some William Gaddis. I recommend JR.
posted by scrim at 3:32 PM on November 20, 2004

The Feynman Lectures on Physics.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 3:57 PM on November 20, 2004

Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I hope we can all be proud of the the post apocalyptic civilization that these suggested books will shape :-)
posted by Meridian at 10:55 PM on November 20, 2004

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