Books for 13 year olds. "Today, I am an adult, and I take my place..."

A Listmania! list by W. B. Abbott (Oakland, CA USA)
(REAL NAME)   
The list author says: "For Bar Mitzvas or Bat Mitzvas I used to wonder what to give, then I realized I had a list of books in my head that I'd found illuminating and helpful to have read as a young person. Books to return to as you grow into adulthood, books to provide a guide, a commentary, and perhaps, an inspiration. Books I gave to high school graduates, and camp counselers at my son's summer camps. I'd have been pleased to get any of them, and I'm honored to give them, in turn.

I'll have to add comments to the rest, I'm putting in the titles now."
The Periodic Table
1.  The Periodic Table by Primo Levi
The list author says:
  "Unique and magical, a chemist's life, each chapter centered on one element and its relationship to the author and those around him. Mercury, Lead and Carbon are imaginary, the rest autobiographical. My favorite chapter is the story of the chemists at lunch, and the slice of onion in the linseed oil."
Used & New from: $0.62
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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The Caine Mutiny: A Novel
2.  The Caine Mutiny: A Novel by Herman Wouk
The list author says:
  "A detailed disection of a failing organization and the price it extracts. Not to mention a great novel. (The typhoon made my hair stand on end when I was a kid) I give this book to people in crazy organizations (most organizations are crazy...). I have never read a better description of where the distress and responsibility fall when things aren't working right."
$11.60   Used & New from: $0.01
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (187 customer reviews)

The Maltese Falcon (Crime Masterworks)
3.  The Maltese Falcon (Crime Masterworks) by Dashiell Hammett
The list author says:
  "Hammett's best, not withstanding the Charles' of The Thin Man (and the movies it gave birth to...).  All the elements are familiar, and yet the way it unfolds is riveting. The writing is gripping, laugh-out-loud funny and timeless. The subjects are honor, duty, loss, romance and having to get up every morning and get on with your life. Because "..a man ... has to do something.""
Used & New from: $0.01
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (348 customer reviews)

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A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes
4.  A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes by Stephen Hawking
The list author says:
  "This is it- how we know what we know, only one equation, and as readable and instructive now as ever. Hawking's ability to express himself against the challenges of his own body is beyond my words. This book is so clear, and starts with a wonderful joke. I was overseas the first time I read it, and his contrast of Einstein and Aristotle gave me courage to get the job done."
Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)

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Emma (Penguin Classics)
5.  Emma (Penguin Classics) by Jane Austen
The list author says:
  "One of those remarkable books which seems dauntingly long when you start and far, far, too short by the time you've finished. Emma, of good family and comfortable circumstances, trys to help her friends by matchmaking. The results are far from what anyone wants, complication and crisis compound on each other. But all is made well. Her own match is concluded in the sweetest way."
$9.00   Used & New from: $0.01
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (552 customer reviews)

The Wisdom of the Bones: In Search of Human Origins
6.  The Wisdom of the Bones: In Search of Human Origins by Alan Walker
The list author says:
  "This terrific book focuses on the Nariokatome Boy, a 1.6M yr old Homo Erectus' skeleton. Kamoya Kimeu found the first pieces, Alan Walker and Meave Leakey assembled them, the scientific descriptions were published by Walker. The Boy is most complete Homo Erectus skeleton so far. Like us. But not us. Pat Shipman, Walker's wife, is gifted writer. The story is his, the voice hers."
$13.41   Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

The Autobiography of Malcolm X (Penguin Modern Classics)
7.  The Autobiography of Malcolm X (Penguin Modern Classics) by Malcolm X
The list author says:
  "I read this book in 1971 and I found it electrifying- Brother Malcolm X plumbed the depths and climbed the heights and had his life torn from him just as it seemed his greatest work was beginning. The hell of segregated America is something we must never forget. How one man educated himself out of prison and became a national leader is always worth knowing."
$13.38   Used & New from: $2.65
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (543 customer reviews)

The Hominid Gang: Behind the Scenes in the Search for Human Origins
8.  The Hominid Gang: Behind the Scenes in the Search for Human Origins by Delta Willis
The list author says:
  "A great how-they-did-it adventure, led by Richard and Meave Leakey, Kamoya Kimeu, etc. Kimeu is a treasure in his own right, worth meeting. Willis was with the expedition as they, Alan Walker, etc, found the Nariokatome Boy, a 1.6M yr old Homo Erectus skeleton. She also covers friction between the Kenyan team and the Institute for Human Origins (from Berkeley), who found "Lucy" in Ethiopia"
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5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
9.  Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values by Robert M. Pirsig
The list author says:
  "Pirsig wastes no time. You need a thin aluminum shim for your top of the line BMW motorcycle. Do you buy expensive shim stock from the BMW dealer, or snip a piece of essentially the same thing from an empty beer can? Pay someone to think for you, or call it yourself and accept the consequences? What *is* high quality, how do you define or apply it? A great story too!"
$6.00   Used & New from: $1.28
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,073 customer reviews) | 2 customer discussions

When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals
10.  When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
The list author says:
  "Written by a noted natural science reporter and a once-enfant-terrible of Freudian Psychology, is very readable and not always comfortable. Elephants are not the only species here. Animals feel and express emotions; cases to cite don't hurt.
Full disclosure: S. J. McCarthy is a personal friend of mine. my admiration of her writing has been verified in double-blind tests."
$13.05   Used & New from: $0.01
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)

To Kill a Mockingbird: 50th Anniversary Edition
11.  To Kill a Mockingbird: 50th Anniversary Edition by Harper Lee
The list author says:
  "Some people can't stop writing books. Harper Lee had one book to write. Her love of her father and the story she wanted to tell is worth more than the whole production of many other writers.
Atticus Finch's story wasn't leading straight to Rosa Parks, Brown Vs. Board of Education or the Voting Rights Act of 1964. Low-key person-by-person didn't get the job done. But it wasn't a coward's path."
$17.00   Used & New from: $6.55
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,750 customer reviews) | 1 customer discussion

The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage
12.  The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage by Clifford Stoll
$11.54   Used & New from: $0.67
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (291 customer reviews) | 1 customer discussion

The Face of Battle: A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo, and the Somme
13.  The Face of Battle: A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo, and the Somme by John Keegan
The list author says:
  "A landmark book, explaining the often unrealistic conventions of military history, as far back as Julius Caesar and as close as the Charge of the Light Brigade. He then describes three notable battles in the history of England and Great Britain, and what the typical soldier would have experienced. Keegan's account of the first Battle of the Somme is heartbreaking."
$14.34   Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)

Ancient Engineers
14.  Ancient Engineers by L. Sprague De Camp
The list author says:
  "A wonderful (filled with wonder) history of engineering in the long ago and far away. From the Tigris/Euphrates and Nile civilizations to Leonardo, who De Camp rightly points out, was the last of the ancients- wise, but secretive, not pubishing during his lifetime or after. Not a specialist book on any area or culture, its a guided tour by someone who loves the subject."
Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Desert Solitaire
15.  Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
$11.13   Used & New from: $1.24
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (318 customer reviews) | 1 customer discussion

FATE IS THE HUNTER
16.  FATE IS THE HUNTER by David Maraniss
$12.76   Used & New from: $0.01
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (213 customer reviews)

Funny Money
17.  Funny Money by Mark Singer
$12.43   Used & New from: $1.00
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

A Garlic Testament: Seasons on a Small New Mexico Farm
18.  A Garlic Testament: Seasons on a Small New Mexico Farm by Stanley G. Crawford
$17.35   Used & New from: $0.99
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

The Fallen Man
19.  The Fallen Man by Tony Hillerman
$9.74   Used & New from: $0.01
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)

Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters (P.S.)
20.  Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters (P.S.) by Matt Ridley
$11.05   Used & New from: $1.00
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (254 customer reviews)

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
21.  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
$10.26   Used & New from: $0.01
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,143 customer reviews)

Incredible Victory: The Battle of Midway (Classics of War)
22.  Incredible Victory: The Battle of Midway (Classics of War) by Walter Lord
The list author says:
  "The best kind of history, built of quotes from 350 survivors, 250 from the US and 100 from Japan. How code breaking, courage, luck and sacrifice stopped the Japanese conquest of the Pacific. A human tragedy, triumph and a victory that comprised 1/3 of what Winston Churchill called "The Hinge of Fate""
Used & New from: $2.79
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)

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Rising from the Plains
23.  Rising from the Plains by John McPhee
$13.38   Used & New from: $0.01
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

Stranger in the Forest: On Foot Across Borneo
24.  Stranger in the Forest: On Foot Across Borneo by Eric Hansen
$12.29   Used & New from: $0.31
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

Assembling California
25.  Assembling California by John McPhee
$13.88   Used & New from: $0.01
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews) | 1 customer discussion

The Survival of the Bark Canoe
26.  The Survival of the Bark Canoe by John McPhee
$11.45   Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

Young Men and Fire
27.  Young Men and Fire by Norman MacLean
$12.97   Used & New from: $0.01
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (167 customer reviews)

Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body
28.  Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body by Neil Shubin
$10.72   Used & New from: $5.00
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (369 customer reviews) | 1 customer discussion

The Simple Art of Murder
29.  The Simple Art of Murder by Raymond Chandler
$12.46   Used & New from: $0.01
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

The Immense Journey: An Imaginative Naturalist Explores the Mysteries of Man and Nature
30.  The Immense Journey: An Imaginative Naturalist Explores the Mysteries of Man and Nature by Loren C. Eiseley
$9.83   Used & New from: $0.01
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

The Joy Luck Club
31.  The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
$10.57   Used & New from: $0.93
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (722 customer reviews)

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
32.  The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward R. Tufte
$29.62   Used & New from: $14.89
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (186 customer reviews)

Synapsida
33.  Synapsida by John C. McLoughlin
Used & New from: $0.40
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Five Equations that Changed the World: The Power and Poetry of Mathematics
34.  Five Equations that Changed the World: The Power and Poetry of Mathematics by Michael Guillen
$11.19   Used & New from: $0.01
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
35.  One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
$10.65   Used & New from: $1.95
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (335 customer reviews) | 2 customer discussions

A Country Year: Living the Questions
36.  A Country Year: Living the Questions by Sue Hubbell
$11.56   Used & New from: $0.01
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

All Creatures Great and Small
37.  All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
$11.02   Used & New from: $2.68
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (385 customer reviews)

Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys
38.  Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys by Michael Collins
The list author says:
  "If writing the best book about being an astronaut to date (no ghost writer) AND flying the Command Module for Apollo 11 AND being a Gemini astronaut were not enough, Collins started the Smithsonian Air and Space museum as we know it.

I love to quote Collins' example of the "capture latch release handle lock" that led him to believe more English majors were needed in the space program."
$10.94   Used & New from: $4.37
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)

The Prince (Bantam Classics)
39.  The Prince (Bantam Classics) by NiccolÚ Machiavelli
$4.50   Used & New from: $0.01
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (443 customer reviews) | 3 customer discussions

Ultramarine: Poems
40.  Ultramarine: Poems by Raymond Carver
The list author says:
  "I've bugged more friends and family with Carver's masterpiece, "The Car", in this book, than with any other poem. There are teaching guides online suggesting how to use it. Add your verses. Pick your own subject.

The first poem is called "What You Need To Paint". Its lists artists' colors, and tools. And then the zinger,: "...The ability to work like a locomotive. An iron will.""
$14.16   Used & New from: $0.01
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Author

W. B. Abbott (Oakland, CA USA)
(REAL NAME)   
Qualifications: friend, reader, father, philosopher, son
Last updated: 2/23/11
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