Must-have caving books

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Must-have caving books

Postby Waveguide » May 9, 2009 4:31 pm

Hi,

I was appointed to be a librarian in my Grotto with an idea that some new books should be purchased. :big grin:
However I realized that I have no idea where to start from... :shrug:
So far, our library has almost no books (we have mainly periodicals).

Could somebody please give any advice which books one **must** have in the Grotto library? I think that this should cover the following subjects:

Rope techniques, for newbies and for experienced cavers
Cave-diving
Cave-stories
Anything else????

I would be thankful if somebody could suggest which books to buy (I mean, readable and with the most updated information- especially on rope techniques and on cave-diving)...

Also - what could be the best place (poor caver-friendly) for buying caving books ?

THANKS!
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Re: Must-have caving books

Postby wyandottecaver » May 9, 2009 4:43 pm

For technical reference:

On Rope (vertical)
On Station (survey)
On Call (rescue)
Alpine Caving Techniques
Cave Geology (by Art Palmer)

Are all a good start. All are also probably good targets to "walk away" so be careful

lighter but still excellent:
Under Plowmans Floor
Ten Years Under the Earth
The Longest Cave
Wind Cave Adventure
Cave Passages

Ebay and yard sales are your best bet for cheap.
I'm not scared of the dark, it's the things IN the dark that make me nervous. :)
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Re: Must-have caving books

Postby NZcaver » May 9, 2009 6:05 pm

Welcome to the forum, Waveguide. :waving:

For technical books, I'd go with Cave Geology and Alpine Caving Techniques at the top of the list and maybe On Rope too. The others wyandottecaver listed are getting a little dated in some parts, but are still packed with lots of great information. I guess the subject matter will depend where the interests of the grotto lie. Particularly the newer members who may thirst for knowledge but don't have their own book collections. Assuming they wish to read something other than the internet, of course. Is there a lot of interest in cave biology? If so, find something which caters to that. Maybe a bat book?

A few more lighter books about cave exploration (non-fiction novels) which I've enjoyed reading -

Beyond the Deep
Beyond Mammoth Cave
Deep Secrets

Try eBay for cheaper/used books, or check out some of your favorite caving book vendors like Speleobooks.
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Re: Must-have caving books

Postby Teresa » May 9, 2009 6:13 pm

Don't forget older cave books. While one should have the most-up-to-date for safety and techniques, the best reads aren't the new ones.

Speaking of flea marketing/yard saling--
Include anything you like by Bill Halliday.
Exploring American Caves by Franklin Folsom. (1950s vintage, probably paste a disclaimer for the tech in it, but it's a really good read. Folsom's boy adventure books turned me onto caves as a teenager with absolutely no clue how to connect to anyone.)

The Grand Kentucky Junction (Story of the Mammoth-Flint Ridge connection. Excellent.)
Speleology by Br. Nicholas Sullivan and George Moore.
The Life of the Cave, Dr. Tom Poulson and Charles Mohr. (40 years old, yes, they've learned more, but what is in this book is solid, and it's written in non-technical language).
Ron Kerbo's poetry book...it's a trip!
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Re: Must-have caving books

Postby ian mckenzie » May 9, 2009 8:22 pm

Our club has recently liquidated its library, because these days it's so easy to obtain information on almost anything from your computer that we found that nobody was signing anything out. Something to think about before you lay out money for books that you might be selling in this forum a couple of years from now...
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Re: Must-have caving books

Postby Scott McCrea » May 9, 2009 8:56 pm

Previously. Lots of great books mentioned.
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Re: Must-have caving books

Postby Waveguide » May 9, 2009 9:53 pm

Thank y'all very much!

This had been a very valuable advice for us!

I think that our Grotto will keep the library for a while. Sometimes people come and ask for various books (especially the new cavers)...

I agree that internet is a great resource for any caving info, I use it myself rather frequently, but it seems that sometimes the new cavers are not even aware of what to google...

And our old-cavers love reading anyway (well, not any technical stuff, though) so even they were asking me about any caving-books-to-read...

Probably we are quite old-fashioned over here. :big grin:

Thanks again!
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Re: Must-have caving books

Postby Bill Putnam » May 9, 2009 11:03 pm

One of the best cave exploration books ever written, and my personal; favorite: Subterranean Climbers, by Pierre Chevalier.

Also, 1000 Meters Down, by Jean Cadoux.

And the classics: Ten Years Under the Earth, by Norbert Casteret and Memoirs of a Speleologist, by Robert de Joly.

No collection of caving literature is complete without these four titles, IMHO. If you have not read them, you really do not understand caving.

All available from Cave Books at http://www.cavebooks.com.
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Re: Must-have caving books

Postby Bill Putnam » May 9, 2009 11:06 pm

ian mckenzie wrote:Our club has recently liquidated its library, because these days it's so easy to obtain information on almost anything from your computer that we found that nobody was signing anything out.


Holy smokes - what did you do with the books?
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The Revolutionary Hodag Party - Thinking outside the cave.

The jackal can roar,
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Re: Must-have caving books

Postby ian mckenzie » May 10, 2009 4:47 pm

Bill Putnam wrote:Holy smokes - what did you do with the books?

Sold them to members who wanted them. I picked up a couple of arcane items - an old 'karst in China' book for example - but missed out on the classic Clair de Roche. The reams of old newspaper clippings, non-English pamphlets and touristy stuff just got chucked.

Our library had become a repository for old stuff that people didn't want any more but felt was too good to throw out. Probably the people who bought books this time round will be looking to offload them in a few years ;~)

We did keep our full set of The Canadian Caver and our newsletter Journal of Underground Metaphysics, and a bunch of survey notes, but we now call it an archive rather than a library.
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Re: Must-have caving books

Postby barcelonacvr » May 10, 2009 6:34 pm

Ian: I really want to try this fall- to get The Canadian Caver archive scanned- I know I sort of dropped the ball on the momentum, but the VAST knowledge in the archive really needs to be saved in a format that will preserve it and allow easy access.

I doubt that one of my local club's- library will ever be liquidated but I think a thick layer of dust resides on the majority of publications :( similar to your clubs experience.

One book I recommend is "Down to a sunless sea" By Mike Boon .It is out of print but hopefully soon a reprint run will take place ( I have tentative permission to go ahead and re=print this treasure trove of knowledge and great caving adventures)


For those of you who have not heard of Mike Boon..the following is something Ian Mackenzie posted (he says it better than I can and know far more of the history than I do)

"Mike Boon was a British caver who was active from the late 1950s thru the 1970s. You might know him from the accounts of early Swildons dives, but he also surveyed (with Tich Morris) the entrance series of Darren Cilau - 'nuff said? Mike went on to fame caving in Mexico when Mexico wasn't cool, did a solo expedition to the back of Castleguard Cave in Canada, and was considered by some to be the best caver in the world... and currently lives quietly in Calgary."



A good description and surveys of Quashies River Cave and Bristol Cave Jamaica , amongst others such as Ireland.Slovenia ,Yochib and many others in Mexico.The first sidemount dive in Britain circa 1962- "A technical review of cave diving " had a huge impact when he released it in 1966 and MANY wonderful/hair raising stories by a man who had a pure and all encompassing passion for cave exploration and furthering caving knowledge . He could ALWAYS be found assisting as many cavers as he could.


BTW if anyone has an interest regarding the book being reprinted-pm me
Last edited by barcelonacvr on May 11, 2009 10:44 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Must-have caving books

Postby Crockett » May 10, 2009 7:13 pm

"Five Boys In A Cave" by Richard Church

Read it when I was 11, still trying to live it at 54.

First printed in 1951 this book has at least three different covers. Some of them give the title as "The Cave".

"Five Boys In A Cave" should be required reading for, well, everyone, but that would be a bit overbearing, so it is suggested as voluntary reading. The NSS should commission a reprint, oh wait, we lost THAT in the stock market crash didn't we...look on the internet book sale sites.

On the heavy side: "Speleogenesis: Evolution of Karst Aquifers" by Alexander B. Klimchouk, Derek C. Ford, Arthur N. Palmer,
and Wolfgang Dreybrodt published by the NSS in 2000. This is an extraordinary book and available from your favorite store:

http://nssbookstore.org/index.php?mode=store&submode=showitem&itemnumber=07-0012
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Re: Must-have caving books

Postby Dwight Livingston » May 10, 2009 8:33 pm

As a separate category, novels with caving scenes . . .

Shibumi by Trevanian

Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester

. . . and my all time favorite caving story . . .

Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
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Re: Must-have caving books

Postby kelli1992 » May 18, 2009 4:07 pm

:yikes: :yikes: :yikes: Have you tried the NSS Bookstore! I hear they have a lot of books and the lady that runs it is supper nice, and always glad to help out!!!! :big grin:
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