96 books like The Living Mountain

By Nan Shepherd,

Here are 96 books that The Living Mountain fans have personally recommended if you like The Living Mountain. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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 Calculated Risk: Adventure and Romance in Scotland and the Alps

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?

The sole novel left by legendary Scottish mountaineer Dougal Haston - prickly, opinionated, striking, not given to self-doubt, probably the finest all-around climber of his day. It has a great opening when an incensed young ambitious climber barrels his motorbike up the winding Loch Lubnaig road on his way to Glencoe, goes on to include a fictional version of his epic on the Eiger when the great American climber1966  John Harlin fell to his death beside him, and Haston helped rescue a stranded group of climbers and after a week-long drama finally summited the North Face. It is raw, emotional (has a classic climber’s love story), philosophical, full of impatience to climb, to live more. After finishing the first draft in Chamonix, Haston went to ski the same avalanche-prone gully where his central character in the book had been avalanched and miraculously survived – Haston did not. I saw him…

By Dougal Haston,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When John Dunlop gives Judy Scott a lift to Glencoe on his motorbike, both are surprised when a relationship develops. But for John all passions must be relegated to the demands of the big climb. The focus soon shifts to the Alps where he teams up with the American climber Jack McDonald. Their careful planning goes awry and a major first ascent bid turns into an intense struggle bringing disaster and tragedy. Calculated Risk is a fictional portrayal of the world of mountaineering, of climbing the most demanding routes at a time when climbing was still emerging from its primitive…


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 Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

Robert Jensen Author Of It's Debatable: Talking Authentically about Tricky Topics

From my list on feminism (“not the fun kind”).

Why am I passionate about this?

After bumping around newspaper journalism in my 20s, I wandered into a Ph.D. and then landed a great job at the University of Texas at Austin. Being a professor allowed me to explore any subject that seemed interesting, which resulted in books on environmental collapse, sexism and pornography, racism, foreign policy and militarism, religion, journalism and mass media, and critical thinking. Throughout this work, radical feminism has remained at the core of my philosophy. Andrea Dworkin captures this politics in a line from her novel Ice and Fire, “'I am a feminist, not the fun kind.” Such feminism may not always be fun, but it’s always important.

Robert's book list on feminism (“not the fun kind”)

Robert Jensen Why did Robert love this book?

Audre Lorde was known primarily as a poet, but her essays were more engaging for me. She was fearless in confronting male dominance and white supremacy—and every other hierarchy that structures modern life—always with an awareness of the centrality of love and beauty in our lives.

Two of those essays that became classics in feminism—“Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power” and “The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism”—were particularly influential for me and are as relevant today as when they were published in 1984.

She also died too young (at age 58 in 1992), and I have always wished I could have had a chance to see her speak.

By Audre Lorde,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Sister Outsider as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The woman's place of power within each of us is neither white nor surface; it is dark, it is ancient, and it is deep

The revolutionary writings of Audre Lorde gave voice to those 'outside the circle of this society's definition of acceptable women'. Uncompromising, angry and yet full of hope, this collection of her essential prose - essays, speeches, letters, interviews - explores race, sexuality, poetry, friendship, the erotic and the need for female solidarity, and includes her landmark piece 'The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House'.

'The truth of her writing is as necessary today as…


Book cover of What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim: A Midlife Misadventure on Spain's Camino de Santiago de Compostela

Jill Franks Author Of Every Stranger a God: Hiking The English Moors

From my list on adventure travel with a quirky narrator.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an English professor/long-distance hiker who loves both the experience of walking in cool places and then writing about the adventure. I've hiked across several European countries and odd sections of the Appalachian Trail—such as New Jersey. As for the "quirky narrator" part, apparently I'm brave, brazen, or bizarre to explore the world unescorted. I find I meet more people when traveling alone and pursue my thoughts to a greater extent. I love it when a writer finds a way to put their vulnerabilities on the page in a way that doesn't alienate others (or themselves). I love books with strong, individualistic narrative voices that draw you into their stories.

Jill's book list on adventure travel with a quirky narrator

Jill Franks Why did Jill love this book?

Christmas's tale was one of the two narratives (out of dozens I read) that inspired me to make pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago, the other being Emilio Estevez's film, The Way. What I admire about Christmas is that she is unafraid of criticisms that will inevitably be directed towards a female writer who tells it all, just like it is: Her distaste for the women who accompanied her on a pilgrimage. Her decision to move on alone. Her unstinting descriptions of dismay about the physical challenges of long-distance hiking. Her distrust of men who have intentions on her person! Yet Christmas's experience is not all negative. Like other "true pilgrims," Christmas steps out of her western, worried, ego-centered self and finds a refreshing new perspective.

By Jane Christmas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

To celebrate her 50th birthday and face the challenges of mid-life, Jane Christmas joins 14 women to hike the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. Despite a psychic's warning of catfights, death, and a sexy, fair-haired man, Christmas soldiers on. After a week of squabbles, the group splinters and the real adventure begins. In vivid, witty style, she recounts her battles with loneliness, hallucinations of being joined by Steve Martin, as well as picturesque villages and even the fair-haired man. What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim is one trip neither the author nor the reader will forget.


Book cover of Notes from a Small Island

Karen Gershowitz Author Of Wanderlust: Extraordinary People, Quirky Places, and Curious Cuisine

From my list on making you want to travel.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been traveling since age seventeen when I boarded a plane and headed to Europe on my own. Over the next three years I lived in London, took weekend jaunts across the continent, and became completely bitten by the travel bug. Since then, I’ve traveled to more than 95 countries. I’ve lost and gained friends and lovers and made a radical career change so that I could afford my travel addiction. Like my readers, I am an ordinary person. Through travel I’ve learned courage and risk-taking and succeeded at things I didn’t know I could do. My goal in writing is to inspire others to take off and explore the world.

Karen's book list on making you want to travel

Karen Gershowitz Why did Karen love this book?

Shortly after it was first published, I picked this book up in the bookstore at Heathrow on my way home from a business trip. I spent the entire flight glued to it and laughing out loud.

This was Bryson’s first travel book and one that changed my perception of what travel writing could be. It is perceptive, irreverent, and focuses on the small, often quirky, details that make travel so interesting. I am now a huge fan of all of Bryson’s books, but this was the one that got me hooked.

By Bill Bryson,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Notes from a Small Island as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1995, before leaving his much-loved home in North Yorkshire to move back to the States for a few years with his family, Bill Bryson insisted on taking one last trip around Britain, a sort of valedictory tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home. His aim was to take stock of the nation's public face and private parts (as it were), and to analyse what precisely it was he loved so much about a country that had produced Marmite; a military hero whose dying wish was to be kissed by a fellow named…


Book cover of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Ursula Goodenough Author Of The Sacred Depths of Nature: How Life Has Emerged and Evolved

From my list on an ecospiritual orientation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m working with others to develop what we call a religious naturalist orientation or an ecospiritual orientation, and these books have deeply guided my path and inspired the writing of my own book. 

Ursula's book list on an ecospiritual orientation

Ursula Goodenough Why did Ursula love this book?

Annie Dillard joins Aldo Leopold and Rachel Carson as my favorite “nature writers.” Annie is pithy, often wry, insisting that we notice and guiding us with her own noticing.

A classic quote: “In nature, improbabilities are the one stock in trade. The whole creation is one lunatic fringe. If creation had been left up to me, I’m sure I wouldn’t have had the imagination or courage to do more than shape a single, reasonably sized atom, smooth as a snowball, and let it go at that… No claims of any and all revelations could be so far-fetched as a single giraffe.”

By Annie Dillard,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Pilgrim at Tinker Creek as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek has continued to change people's lives for over thirty years. A passionate and poetic reflection on the mystery of creation with its beauty on the one hand and cruelty on the other, it has become a modern American literary classic in the tradition of Thoreau. Living in solitude in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Roanoke, Virginia, and observing the changing seasons, the flora and fauna, the author reflects on the nature of creation and of the God who set it in motion. Whether the images are cruel or lovely, the language is memorably beautiful and poetic,…


Book cover of Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning

Vichet Chum Author Of Kween

From my list on to feel alive, awesome and Asian American.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Cambodian American/Asian American writer who is always concerned/interested/curious by the landscape of our diasporic stories. There is incredible diversity here… in the ways Asian Americanness can look, sound, and feel like a myriad of things. These books aren’t instructed or tethered by gaze but rather born and smartly crafted by unique souls that run deep. These authors and their stories are my heroes. I hope you enjoy these picks as much as I do!

Vichet's book list on to feel alive, awesome and Asian American

Vichet Chum Why did Vichet love this book?

This book is itchy. It makes you scratch at thoughts, intuitions, and feelings you may have not resolved for yourself but always knew were there.

Cathy Park Hong explores Asian Americanness in the most micro and ‘minor’ of ways, and in turn creates an entirely macro and major experience. It’s a deeply funny, sobering, and vulnerable read.

By Cathy Park Hong,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FOR AUTOBIOGRAPHY 2021

A New York Times Top Book of 2020

Chosen as a Guardian BOOK OF 2020

A BBC Culture Best Books of 2020

Nominated for Good Reads Books of 2020

One of Time's Must-Read Books of 2020

'Unputdownable ... Hong's razor-sharp, provocative prose will linger long after you put Minor Feelings down' - AnOther, Books You Should Read This Year

'A fearless work of creative non-fiction about racism in cultural pursuits by an award-winning poet and essayist' - Asia House

'Brilliant, penetrating and unforgettable, Minor Feelings is what was missing…


Book cover of Down the Nile: Alone in a Fisherman's Skiff

Jill Franks Author Of Every Stranger a God: Hiking The English Moors

From my list on adventure travel with a quirky narrator.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an English professor/long-distance hiker who loves both the experience of walking in cool places and then writing about the adventure. I've hiked across several European countries and odd sections of the Appalachian Trail—such as New Jersey. As for the "quirky narrator" part, apparently I'm brave, brazen, or bizarre to explore the world unescorted. I find I meet more people when traveling alone and pursue my thoughts to a greater extent. I love it when a writer finds a way to put their vulnerabilities on the page in a way that doesn't alienate others (or themselves). I love books with strong, individualistic narrative voices that draw you into their stories.

Jill's book list on adventure travel with a quirky narrator

Jill Franks Why did Jill love this book?

Mahoney's courage, intelligence, and eloquence make her an intimate companion on my armchair journeys. I knew I could follow this woman anywhere when she wrote of camping in Israel to the sound of bombs in Palestine (A Singular Pilgrimage). The dangers are even greater when she decides to paddle down the Nile in a rowboat. She presents such a persistent challenge to Egyptians—a woman traveling alone, buying a boat, talking to strangers—that she ultimately concedes and dons a masculine disguise. She often leavens the dread that readers may feel with irony and humor. When an Egyptian man complains of the "whorish" British women who hire gigolos, Rosemary levelly replies that it must be the gigolos who are prostitutes since they are the ones selling their bodies.

By Rosemary Mahoney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Rosemary Mahoney, in 1998, took a solo trip down the Nile in a seven-foot rowboat, she discovered modern Egypt for herself. As a rower, she faced crocodiles and testy river currents; as a female, she confronted deeply-held beliefs about foreign women while cautiously remaining open to genuine friendship; and, as a traveller, she experienced events that ranged from the humorous to the hair-raising - including an encounter that began as one of the most frightening of her life and ended as an edifying and chastening lesson in human nature and cultural misunderstanding.
Whether she's meeting Nubians and Egyptians, or…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Scotland, mountains, and presidential biography?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Scotland, mountains, and presidential biography.

Scotland Explore 306 books about Scotland
Mountains Explore 16 books about mountains
Presidential Biography Explore 18 books about presidential biography