90 books like Calculated Risk

By Dougal Haston,

Here are 90 books that Calculated Risk fans have personally recommended if you like Calculated Risk. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Living Mountain

Sara B. Franklin Author Of The Editor: How Publishing Legend Judith Jones Shaped Culture in America

From my list on the stories we tell about women.

Why am I passionate about this?

Judith Jones became an important mentor and mother figure to me in my twenties, in the wake of my parents’ deaths. Her personal wisdom and guidance, which I received both in knowing her personally and from the incredible archive she left behind, have been invaluable to me during a particularly tumultuous and transformative decade in my own life. I wrote The Editor as I was coming into my full adulthood, and the books on this list helped shape my thinking along the way at times when I felt stagnant or stuck or needed to rethink both how to write Judith’s life and why her story is so vital to tell.

Sara's book list on the stories we tell about women

Sara B. Franklin Why did Sara love this book?

I’ve never read anything like The Living Mountain. A book that is, at once, an autobiography of a remarkable yet under-celebrated woman writer and an exploration of the ecstasies of experiencing the world through the body and its senses.

In gorgeously vivid prose, Shepherd invites us to pursue depth over breadth and to rely upon our felt experience as a way of knowing in the world. This book challenges dominant “hero’s journey” narratives in both content and form and suggests that all we yearn to experience and know can be found right where we find ourselves, wherever that may be. 

By Nan Shepherd,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Living Mountain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The finest book ever written on nature and landscape in Britain' Guardian

Introduction by Robert Macfarlane. Afterword by Jeanette Winterson

In this masterpiece of nature writing, Nan Shepherd describes her journeys into the Cairngorm mountains of Scotland. There she encounters a world that can be breathtakingly beautiful at times and shockingly harsh at others. Her intense, poetic prose explores and records the rocks, rivers, creatures and hidden aspects of this remarkable landscape.

Shepherd spent a lifetime in search of the 'essential nature' of the Cairngorms; her quest led her to write this classic meditation on the magnificence of mountains, and…


Book cover of The Kangchenjunga Adventure: The 1930 Expedition to the Third Highest Mountain in the World

Andrew Greig Author Of Summit Fever

From my list on from the other side of the mountain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was an under-employed Scottish poet hillwalker when I met a Himalayan mountaineer in a pub. Due to alcohol and a misunderstanding about the metaphorical nature of Poetry, Mal Duff asked me to join an attempt to climb the legendary 24,000ft  Mustagh Tower in the Karakoram. By the time I admitted I had no climbing experience whatsoever and was scared of heights, it was too late. Those Scottish winters’ apprenticeships and following Himalayan expeditions re-shaped my writing life, outlook, and friendships. My books have been shortlisted three times for the Boardman-Tasker Award for outstanding mountaineering literature, for Summit Fever; Kingdoms of Experience (Everest the Unclimbed Ridge); Electric Brae.

Andrew's book list on from the other side of the mountain

Andrew Greig Why did Andrew love this book?

I first read this among my father’s books as a child. I believe he had met Smythe in London in the early 30, thus his signed copy of The Valley of Flowers. This is the quintessential book of that era of passionate amateur climbing and exploration, the age of Shipton and Tilman, of highly knowledgeable and deeply eccentric personalities. The writing is lyrical, just this side of purple, earthed by Smythe’s passion for botany, photography, and close observation. In the true sense of amateur, Kanchenjunga is a great adventure expedition in a time that will not come again. This is the book that prompted me to accept an invitation to climb with an expedition on a serious Himalayan mountain with real mountaineers, despite my lack of experience and hardwired dislike of heights. It changed my life. I like to think Smythe would have approved.

By Frank Smythe,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Kangchenjunga Adventure as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'We went to Kangchenjunga in response not to the dictates of science, but in obedience to that indefinable urge men call adventure.'

In 1930, an expedition set out to climb the world's third-highest mountain, Kangchenjunga. As yet unclimbed, a number of attempts had been made on the peak, including two in the previous year. The Kangchenjunga Adventure records Frank Smythe's attempts as part of an international team to reach the summit, how a deadly avalanche, which killed one of the sherpas, brought an end to their climb and how they turned their attentions instead to Jonsong Peak, which offered a…


Book cover of Tents in the Clouds: The First Women's Himalayan Expedition

Andrew Greig Author Of Summit Fever

From my list on from the other side of the mountain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was an under-employed Scottish poet hillwalker when I met a Himalayan mountaineer in a pub. Due to alcohol and a misunderstanding about the metaphorical nature of Poetry, Mal Duff asked me to join an attempt to climb the legendary 24,000ft  Mustagh Tower in the Karakoram. By the time I admitted I had no climbing experience whatsoever and was scared of heights, it was too late. Those Scottish winters’ apprenticeships and following Himalayan expeditions re-shaped my writing life, outlook, and friendships. My books have been shortlisted three times for the Boardman-Tasker Award for outstanding mountaineering literature, for Summit Fever; Kingdoms of Experience (Everest the Unclimbed Ridge); Electric Brae.

Andrew's book list on from the other side of the mountain

Andrew Greig Why did Andrew love this book?

Betty Stark was the aunt of a friend of mine, and she was part of the first all women Himalayan expedition in 1955. It is an antidote to the very all-male outlook and structures of many climbs of that time. It had no leader, no ‘lead climbers’. Instead, they were a small team of friends, all experienced and capable, who wished only to explore, encounter, and climb as high and hard as they could. It is anti-heroic, recording the pains, sufferings, and losses and highs, quietly downplaying and yet the efforts and dangers come through. They were outliers and trailblazers. They made their point. They were the point.

By Monica Jackson, Elizabeth Stark,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tents in the Clouds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Documents the expedition of three British women to unexplored areas on the border of Nepal in Tibet in 1955.


Book cover of The Ascent of Rum Doodle

Andrew Greig Author Of Summit Fever

From my list on from the other side of the mountain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was an under-employed Scottish poet hillwalker when I met a Himalayan mountaineer in a pub. Due to alcohol and a misunderstanding about the metaphorical nature of Poetry, Mal Duff asked me to join an attempt to climb the legendary 24,000ft  Mustagh Tower in the Karakoram. By the time I admitted I had no climbing experience whatsoever and was scared of heights, it was too late. Those Scottish winters’ apprenticeships and following Himalayan expeditions re-shaped my writing life, outlook, and friendships. My books have been shortlisted three times for the Boardman-Tasker Award for outstanding mountaineering literature, for Summit Fever; Kingdoms of Experience (Everest the Unclimbed Ridge); Electric Brae.

Andrew's book list on from the other side of the mountain

Andrew Greig Why did Andrew love this book?

Probably the funniest and most inventive climbing expedition book ever written, loved by climbers who appreciate its satire, spoof, mickey-taking pastiche of Serious Mountaineering Expedition Books. It is Chris Bonnington turned Wodehouse, Jon Krakauer rendered by Spike Milligan. Its knowing self-mockery of all the tropes and self-important delusions of Climbing is sharp and accurate enough to raise it high above whimsy. Wildly creative, it is impossible to read without snorting in one’s sleeping bag. It is the comic, ridiculous side of the great pursuit of Getting Higher.

By W.E. Bowman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Ascent of Rum Doodle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An English comic novel about a World War II expedition to a Himalayan peak.

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY BILL BRYSON

An outrageously funny spoof about the ascent of a 40,000-and-a-half-foot peak, The Ascent of Rum Doodle has been a cult favourite since its publication in 1956. Led by the reliably under-insightful Binder, a team of seven British men -- including Dr Prone (constantly ill), Jungle the route finder (constantly lost), Constant the diplomat (constantly arguing) -- and 3,000 Yogistani porters sets out to conquer the highest peak in the Himalayas.


Book cover of The White Spider: The Classic Account of the Ascent of the Eiger

Stephen O'Shea Author Of The Alps: A Human History from Hannibal to Heidi and Beyond

From my list on the Alps from a history and travel writer.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a history and travel writer, I had always heard the siren song of the Alps. Deciding to try (unsuccessfully) to ignore my fear of heights, I take a hair-raising tour across most of the highest passes of the Alps, through France, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany and Slovenia. So many boundaries crossed: linguistic, religious, historical, political, even culinary. I learned the Alps are not a monolith, they are a polyphony.

Stephen's book list on the Alps from a history and travel writer

Stephen O'Shea Why did Stephen love this book?

The monster of the Bernese Alps, the north face of the Eiger (“the Ogre”), a sheer face of rock taunting and tempting intrepid Alpinists, resisted all attempts to climb it until 1938. Prior to that, climbers fell to their deaths with distressing frequency, made even more macabre by an accident of touristic geography that provided a luxury hotel on a nearby hillock with an unobstructed view of the serial catastrophes. The Austrian Herrer at last summited the face in this white-knuckle tale of determination, grit and luck.

By Heinrich Harrer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The White Spider as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A classic of mountaineering literature, this is the story of the harrowing first ascent of the North Face of the Eiger, the most legendary and terrifying climb in history.

Heinrich Harrer, author of 'Seven Years in Tibet' and one of the twentieth century's greatest mountaineers, was part of the team that finally conquered the Eiger's fearsome North Face in 1938. It was a landmark expedition that pitted the explorers against treacherous conditions and the limits of human endurance, and which many have since tried - and failed - to emulate.

Armed with an intimate knowledge that comes only from first-hand…


Book cover of First on the Rope

Stephen O'Shea Author Of The Alps: A Human History from Hannibal to Heidi and Beyond

From my list on the Alps from a history and travel writer.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a history and travel writer, I had always heard the siren song of the Alps. Deciding to try (unsuccessfully) to ignore my fear of heights, I take a hair-raising tour across most of the highest passes of the Alps, through France, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany and Slovenia. So many boundaries crossed: linguistic, religious, historical, political, even culinary. I learned the Alps are not a monolith, they are a polyphony.

Stephen's book list on the Alps from a history and travel writer

Stephen O'Shea Why did Stephen love this book?

France’s highest-profile contribution to Alpine fiction, Frison-Roche’s story traces the trials and joys of a family of mountaineers in Chamonix during the 1920s and 1930s. Spectacular evocations of the grandeur of Mont Blanc and the dangers of traversing the terrors of the unforgiving mountains and glaciers – it’s all here, and served up with panache.

By Roger Frison-Roche,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked First on the Rope as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First on the Rope - the acclaimed English translation of the French fiction classic Premier de Cordee by Roger Frison-Roche - is a tale about the harsh lives of mountain guides and their families in the French Alps in the 1920s and 1930s.

An ascent of Mont Blanc as porter with his uncle leaves young Pierre further convinced he wants to be a mountaineer, breathing the crisp, pure air and soaking up the splendour of the wild landscape. But his family have other ideas. Chamonix is becoming ever more popular with tourists wanting their thrills on the slopes, and they…


Book cover of Terror on the Mountain

Stephen O'Shea Author Of The Alps: A Human History from Hannibal to Heidi and Beyond

From my list on the Alps from a history and travel writer.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a history and travel writer, I had always heard the siren song of the Alps. Deciding to try (unsuccessfully) to ignore my fear of heights, I take a hair-raising tour across most of the highest passes of the Alps, through France, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany and Slovenia. So many boundaries crossed: linguistic, religious, historical, political, even culinary. I learned the Alps are not a monolith, they are a polyphony.

Stephen's book list on the Alps from a history and travel writer

Stephen O'Shea Why did Stephen love this book?

Swiss novelist Ramuz delivers a taut, engrossing tale about Alpine villagers whose decision to tempt fate ends in disaster. Ignoring the pleas of their elders, some young men take their flocks to summer in an upland mountain pasture that is reputed locally to be a cursed place. It turns out that the reputation is well earned.

Book cover of A Tramp Abroad

Stephen O'Shea Author Of The Alps: A Human History from Hannibal to Heidi and Beyond

From my list on the Alps from a history and travel writer.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a history and travel writer, I had always heard the siren song of the Alps. Deciding to try (unsuccessfully) to ignore my fear of heights, I take a hair-raising tour across most of the highest passes of the Alps, through France, Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany and Slovenia. So many boundaries crossed: linguistic, religious, historical, political, even culinary. I learned the Alps are not a monolith, they are a polyphony.

Stephen's book list on the Alps from a history and travel writer

Stephen O'Shea Why did Stephen love this book?

In a travelogue which spends much of its time in the Alps, Twain delivers anecdotes of haplessness that will make readers smile, if not laugh out loud. Twain portrays himself as an American naif who thinks he understands everything while actually understanding nothing at all.

By Mark Twain,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Tramp Abroad as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.

Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. To ensure a quality reading experience, this work has been…


Book cover of G.

Tobsha Learner Author Of Quiver

From my list on for when familiarity sets in.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first book was Quiver, a collection of erotic short stories. I wrote it to immortalize the hedonism of Sydney in the 1990s, wanting to show a nonjudgmental, joyful side. The fact that it touched a lot of people compelled me to write two more collections Tremble and Yearn – each exploring different themes: Tremble is an erotic re-imagining of various root myths, whilst Yearn has more historical and fantastical elements. I interweave all the characters in the stories throughout the whole collections. Humor is also important to me when it comes to the ironies and emotions around sex, the other aspect is gender power play and all the sublime reversals that can encapsulate. 

Tobsha's book list on for when familiarity sets in

Tobsha Learner Why did Tobsha love this book?

John Berger was a fantastic cultural observer and art critic, this book is erotic both in its observation of culture and context but also of human fallibility, and psychic and psychological transportation of love itself. It had a big influence on me as an art student and for the brief years when I was a sculptor. What I love about it is its empathy for both the female and male inner erotic life, although it is set in England and Europe at the end of the 19th century, Berger’s razor-sharp, succinct blending of the internal and external world is both moving and sensual. 

By John Berger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked G. as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this luminous novel about a modern Don Juan, John Berger relates the story of G., a young man forging an energetic sexual career in Europe during the early years of the last century as Europe teeters on the brink of war.

With profound compassion, Berger explores the hearts and minds of both men and women, and what happens during sex, to reveal the conditions of the libertine's success: his essential loneliness, the quiet cumulation in each of his sexual experiences of all of those that precede it, the tenderness that infuses even the briefest of his encounters, and the…


Book cover of The Path to Rome

Steven Faulkner Author Of Bitterroot: Echoes of Beauty & Loss

From my list on travel that enrich landscape with history.

Why am I passionate about this?

After reading travel books that voyaged beyond mere tourism into the life of the land, its people, and its histories, I found myself longing to launch my own journeys. I took a thousand-mile canoe trip with my son following the 1673 route of the French explorers Marquette and Joliet; I crossed the Rockies with two sons by foot, mountain bike, and canoe following Lewis and Clark and their Nez Perce guides; I took to sea kayak and pontoon boat with a son and daughter, 400 miles along the Gulf Coast in pursuit of the 1528 Spanish Narvaez Expedition. Writing of these journeys gave me the chance to live twice.

Steven's book list on travel that enrich landscape with history

Steven Faulkner Why did Steven love this book?

This may well be my favorite travel book of all time. I have read it several times. Belloc is an opinionated, humorous, deeply insightful writer who, when he was a young man, decided to walk from France, where he had served in the French army, to Rome on a pilgrimage that almost killed him. Each day is a revelation. He passes on to the reader his wonder at his first sight of the distant Alps, his miserable boredom on a long muddy walk in the rain (which he makes funny and engaging by creating a contest with his readers). There are days of exhaustion and joy. His reflections on Europe, tourism, Catholicism, and travel inform and delight, open the mind and open the heart.

By Hilaire Belloc,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Path to Rome as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Path to Rome is one of the most well-loved travel books of the past century. Legendary writer Hilaire Belloc tells of his walk from Southern France to Rome.
But it is so much more than a travelogue. It is a history of Europe, and exploration of the English language, and journey to Christ and His Church. The Path to Rome is both the story of Hilaire Belloc and his path to becoming one of the most celebrated writers of the modern era; and the story of us as Christians, navigating the divide between history and our own age as…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Alps, Scotland, and presidential biography?

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