LOST Required Reading

LOST Required Reading

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Here at we heart this, one of our favorite things about Lost, is that the show doesn’t have to be over at the end of the hour. Each episode offers so much information, that half the fun is going back through the show to catch all the clues the creators throw out. There’s no shortage of sites on the Internet to comb through all the hints, big and small, to the mysteries of Lost. Not to mention, the official ABC Lost site that is loaded with facts, trivia, images, episode guides and video, sure to keep a Lost fan happy for hours.

Best of all, for these chicks that heart reading, Lost is overflowing with parallels, shout outs, allusions to and appearances of great books! Viewers who pay attention to the books that appear on Lost have been thrilled to dissect the parallels between those books and the characters and plot lines of Lost. And, least you think the books are mere props, Lost writers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse even started a Lost BookClub during a seasonal hiatus:

If you are an addicted Lost fan and/or a book lover, do we have a list for you! Get ready to add to your amazon cart, start downloading on your kindle or reserving copies at the library. We’ve gathered the title of Every Book mentioned on Lost (and added some thoughts on a few favorites). How many have you read?

Additionally, since Lost is a hotbed of philosophical ideas, religious overtones, mythological references, and even scientific theories, we’ve added a complete list of what we consider essential reading to further your Lost experience.

Books referenced on LOST
1. Lewis Carroll – Alice In Wonderland
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that several Lost episode titles were taken directly from this book and its sequel, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. Specifically: White Rabbit (season 1), Through the Looking Glass (season 3) and Something Nice Back Home (season 4). Other huge nods to these works that can be found in Lost: rabbits, chess, dreams, the Dharma Looking Glass Station, to name a few. If you are craving better insight into the Lost narrative as a whole, these books are essential.

2. Joseph Conrad – Heart of Darkness
3. William Golding – Lord of the Flies
4. Richard Adams – Watership Down
5. Madeleine L’Engle – A Wrinkle in Time

6. Judy Blume – Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret
Who can forget tough guy Sawyer reading this teen girl classic on the beach? Was this book just used as a good laugh for the eagle-eyed viewer or can you see a parallel between book heroine Margaret and Lost’s John Locke as they grapple with faith and question their relationship with God?

7. Gary Troup – Bad Twin
8. Fyodor Dostoevsky – The Brothers Karamazov
9. Herbert Mason (tr.) – The Epic of Gilgamesh
10. Aldous Huxley – Island
11. Percy Walker – Lancelot
12. Ambrose Bierce – An Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge

13. Charles Dickens – Our Mutual Friend
Aside from the glaringly obvious connection between the title of this book and the story of Lost (everyone in the Lost universe is connected to everyone else and therefore a mutual friend), this book is pivotal to the story of Desmond in particular. Desmondphiles already know that this was the book he took with him to prison, and that he wanted this to be the last book he read before he died. Many years later, in one of the most poignant scenes in Lost history, Desmond discovers that his beloved Penny had tucked a letter to him inside this very same book, proclaiming her undying love to him. Is it a coincidence that he finds this letter at the exact moment that he is contemplating suicide after spending three years in the hatch? (aww – we love this couple – wht)

14. Flann O’Brien – The Third Policeman
15. Henry James – The Turn of the Screw
16. L. Frank Baum – The Wizard of Oz
17. Stephen Hawking – A Brief History of Time

18. Stephen King – Carrie
A wht favorite! Watch the Lost BookClub video for a fabulous Juliet scene and a total smack down – in defense of the brilliance of Carrie – during an actual Island Book Club.

19. Joseph Heller – Catch-22
20. Agatha Christie – Evil Under the Sun
21. Ayn Rand – The Fountainhead
22. Vladimir Nabokov – Laughter in the Dark
23. John Steinbeck – Of Mice and Men
24. Stephen King – On Writing
25. Robert Heinlein – Stranger in a Strange Land
26. Charles Dickens – A Tale of Two Cities
27. Lewis Carroll – Through the Looking Glass
28. Harper Lee – To Kill a Mockingbird
29. Philip K Dick – VALIS
30. Adolfo Bioy Casares – The Invention of Morel
31. Jack Kerouac – On the Road
32. Kurt Vonnegut – Slaughterhouse-Five
33. C.S. Lewis – The Chronicles of Narnia
34. Jules Verne – Survivors of the Chancellor

35. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – The Little Prince
Probably on just about everyone’s “Top 10 Books of All Time” list, The Little Prince is arguably one of the most important influences on the Lost narrative. The parallels are abundant: a fateful plane crash, a magic box, the longing to go back home, disappearing bodies, a Lamp Post, the list goes on and on. Also, one of Lost’s most important episodes (The Little Prince, season 5) centers around our Losties’ “little prince”, baby Aaron. Just who is Aaron and why is he so darned important? Read The Little Prince for clues.

36. James Joyce – Ulysses
37. Carlos Castaneda – A Separate Reality

38. Flannery O’Connor – Everything That Rises Must Converge
Any fan of Flannery O’Connor knows that there are important secret messages hidden within her writings. Sound familiar? If that’s not reason enough to read this collection of short stories, consider that Jacob is reading this book while sitting on a bench in front of Anthony Cooper’s office…waiting for John Locke to come crashing through the window and fall eight stories to the ground.

LOST Further Reading

1. Paul J. Nahin and K.S. Thorne – Time Machines: Time Travel in Physics, Metaphysics, and Science Fiction
Perhaps nothing is more confusing in LOST than time. Time Machines helps us understand how LOST uses the idea of time along with understanding the paradoxes related to time.
2. Huw Price – Time’s Arrow and Archimedes’ Point: New Directions for the Physics of Time
3. Brian Green – The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality
4. Michio Kaku – Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the 10th Dimension
5. Dan Falk – In Search of Time: The History, Physics, and Philosophy of Time

Eastern Philosophy
1. Alan Watts – Tao and the Watercourse Way
2. The Dalai Lama – The Middle Way: Faith Grounded in Reason
3. Thich Nhat Hanh – Beyond the Self: Teachings on the Middle Way
4. Jeffrey Armstrong – Karma: The Ancient Science of Cause and Effect
I’m not sure how (or if) Lost is using the principles of karma, but this book provides a very interesting examination of karma and karmic law. Since it surely seems that Lost possesses karmic elements, this book is very helpful in understanding Lost’s character dynamics, particularly those characters who have been “reincarnated.”
5. Aurobindo and Sri Aurobindo – Rebirth and Karma

Western Philosophy
1. Aristotle – Metaphysics
2. Plato – Republic (Book VII)
3. Martin Heidegger – Time and Being
4. Heraclitus – Fragments
5. Nicholas Rescher – Paradoxes: Their Roots, Range, and Resolution
Critical thinking anyone? Whenever time travel is used as a story-telling device, there is always the risk of committing specific paradoxes. This book describes what those paradoxes are and how to avoid them. It also provides the reasoning as to why Lost’s narrative had to go in a certain direction, in order to avoid falling prey to these pesky laws of thought.

1. Joseph Campbell – The Hero with a Thousand Faces
2. Joseph Campbell – The Inner Reaches of Outer Space
3. Joseph Campbell – Myths of Light
4. Joseph Campbell – Masks of God (Vol. 1 and 2)
5. Geraldine Pinch – Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses, and Traditions of Ancient Egypt
6. Sophocles – The Oedipus Trilogy
Lost surely has its share of daddy issues and Sophocles’ Oedipus provides some interesting associations with Lost’s daddy-haters.

1. Carl G. Jung – Modern Man in Search of a Soul
2. Carl G. Jung – Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious
3. Carl G. Jung – The Undiscovered Self
4. Carl G. Jung – The Earth Has a Soul
Freud’s “Super-Ego” ain’t got nuthin’ on Jung’s The Earth has a Soul. Although not directly related to Lost, Jung’s insights do share some similar characteristics with the island, where “consciousness has slipped from its natural foundations” and where “primitives know how to converse with the soul.”
5. Carl G. Jung – Answer to Job

1. Salman Rushdie – The Satanic Verses
2. Philip K. Dick – The Divine Invasion
Lost makes several references to one of P.K. Dick’s other novels, VALIS, and as a consequence, The Divine Invasion is a must-read. Period. You’ll thank me later.
3. Philip K. Dick – Radio Free Albemuth
4. Philip K. Dick – Time Out of Joint
5. Kurt Vonnegut – Sirens of Titan
6. Jack Kerouac – Dharma Bums
7. J. D. Salinger – Teddy (Short Story)
8. Ayn Rand –
Atlas Shrugged
9. Jules Verne – The Time Machine
10. Flannery O’Connor – The Donkey Archive

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22 thoughts on “LOST Required Reading”

  1. LOL! Thanks Stef and Irene–I’m afraid it’s gone beyond “casual obsession” at this point (for both myself and my boyfriend). The benefit of that is that neither one of us will complain if the other wants to abruptly pop a disc from season 2 into the DVD player because we’ve “suddenly made a connection between Walt and the smoke monster”.

    And Stef, you are so welcome. For the record, I will help justify the posting of Sawyer’s pic in any future wht post, if requested. ;)

  2. Good job!!! I feel your obsession Recessionista… my friends and I printed out a copy of the map on the wall of the hatch to look for clues, we’ve hunted for “easter eggs” through every episode, and always go digging for the books referenced on the show and even the character name references! This is part of what sets Lost apart from any show I’ve ever seen. Hats off to an amazing group of writers. Every episode, I am continuously impressed and amazed at the depth they’ve taken this show to…it will be missed when it ends!! On a side note…Sawyer…*sigh!* Never get sick of looking at that ; )

  3. This is incredible – nicely done! I love Lost and am so impressed with all the nuances of the show and the sites that are all over the place to help weed through it all. I sure hope they wrap up the season as well as we all expect – but how could they not?!

  4. Lindsay: *gasp* The horror! (just kiddin’!) It is never too late to become a Lostie. Granted you’ll miss the months of communal agony and nonstop theorizing that the rest of us endured in between seasons, but if you watch on dvd you can always stop between seasons and check the countless archives on Lostpedia (carefully avoiding spoilers) and still have a very rewarding experience that way! Please let me know if you decide to dive in and rent season 1…it’s a crazy ride you’ll never forget! :)

    spitfire77: Thank you so much. I am THRILLED to meet another Lostie on wht! Yay! That hatch door map has caused me countless headaches over the years, I tell ya. And kudos to you for digging for books and analyzing character names–you’re a girl after my own heart. :) I really lucked out because my boyfriend is working toward his PhD in philosophy at the moment, so I basically just have to say, “OK, so tell me everything I need to know about the real-life John Locke” and he’ll do it (he’s a bigger Lostie than I am!). And um, yeah…let’s talk about Sawyer for a minute. Is it just me or does it seem like he keeps getting hotter each season and Jack keeps getting *less* hot?

  5. melinda: Thanks so much! :) I know…the Lost universe has truly taken on a life all its own. If I had a nickle for every Lost blog entry I’ve read and every podcast I’ve listened to over the years I’d be a VERY rich girl right about now.

    About the ending: I try not to freak myself out too much about that, because sometimes I think that we’ve all built this up so much that they can’t possibly deliver on our expectations. But then I realize–they’ve never once let me down after five seasons (with the exception of “Stranger in a Strange Land” lol!) so it’s GOT to end fantastically. Fingers crossed!

  6. That onion piece is hilarious! And so true I’m sure for the uninitiated – or…the people that work with spitfire and I – we drive them crazy the day after an episode airs.

    I missed the season finale they aired the other night, but am so delighted to report that it’s now on abc.com. Just started watching it – I wish they had those pop-ups for EVERY episode!!

  7. Recessionista – A Philosophy phD, WOW, how cool is that to pick his brain on Lost!!! Ah yes, John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, humans are all born a “blank slate”, “Tabula Rasa”, SO intriguing, and makes me wonder if that’s why “The Others” were so obsessed with children?! So happy to find other Lost lover’s on here! : )

  8. Lol!!! Yep, Mel and I do drive the co-workers CRAZY! : ) They have no clue… they ridicule us with remarks like “polar bears on a tropical island?!”, and “everyone’s lost”, and “it’s all just a bad dream!” They just don’t understand… ; ) lol

  9. I’m not a Lost fan either Lindsay so don’t feel bad :) But I had no idea there were clues and links to the books they were reading. That would take a lot of creative thinking for the writers. How awesome of a job would that be to have? *some cool writer chick thinking: What clues can I throw out there this time? muahahaa*

    Good post Recessionista!

  10. So last night after I picked out pictures and published this amazing list, I spent a half hour searching for my Flannery O’Conner collection (which sadly seems to have disappeared over time – eerie) so I could reread Everything That Rises Must Converge. I have three copies of A Good Man Is Hard To Find in various anthologies, but a new FOC collection is going to the top of my booklist. How awesome is that picture of Jacob on the bench? (Recessionista, are you by chance a Shriekback fan too?)

    This post has me so excited for the start of the season and makes me want to rewatch all five seasons over the weekend!

    I totally want to read Paradoxes: Their Roots, Range, and Resolution too. That’s book #2 on the list. Recessionista, thanks for this fantastic post!
    .-= Tyna Werner´s last blog ..LOST trying to achieve a natural look? =-.

  11. Love this. I have been counting down the days till the new season starts and this make me go deeper!There are a few books I need to check out… and I am thinking I need to rent the seasons and go back with a notebook! Thanks.

  12. Mel and Spitfire: You girls are cracking me up! I wish I worked with you! lol. I agree that a lot of people who don’t watch Lost don’t quite “get it” but you’d think that our passion would spur them to at least check it out, right? I don’t know about you guys, but the pilot episode had me hooked and there was just no turning back. And spitfire: I agree about The Others and children. There HAS to be more to it than just the fertility issue. And that essay by Locke–isn’t it interesting that that particular work inspired David Hume? Hum….oh, and btw, WHAT is the deal with Walt? No really…they better explain that!

    Cori: Thank you so much! All I can say is rent season 1 and see what you think. You might be very pleasantly surprised. :)

    Tyna: OMG, I was stunned by the awesome pic selection for this post. You really outdid yourself with these–especially the Jacob pic. Perfection! As for Shriekback, WOW, I haven’t thought about them in years!! You are awesome for making that connection! I totally forgot about that song! In fact, I looked up Oil & Water on amazon and just about flipped when I saw that they have another Lost-related song on that album called…NEMESIS! Do you think Darlton are Shriekback fans??

    PS: I’d love to know what you think of those books when you read them. :)

    Susan: I think you should set aside some time this weekend for a Lost-marathon. My boyfriend and I have spent the last few months doing our own re-watch of S1-S5 and you would be surprised at how many little clues you pick up on now, and how many new connections and revelations you will have. Seeing the series through more educated eyes is really adding to the overall experience for us. I highly recommend it! :)

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  14. I found at least 16 similarities between my first Atlantis novel and the first season of LOST. Considering Atlantis was published five years before Lost aired, the coincidences are amazing. There are only so many good ideas out there.

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