The Nethack Reading List

In an effort to get myself back into reading for pleasure, I've decided to try and make it through all of the various literary works that had have been referenced in the Nethack In-Game Encyclopedia. Naturally, there is a whole lot of speculative fiction on this list, but at the same time there are a whole lot of reference books documenting the lore and history of the civilizations that inspired the aforementioned speculative works, along with an assortment of fairy tales, old classics, poems, plays, historical studies, and a biography or two.  It's a more balanced selection than you would expect from a fantasy game, although I suppose that is underestimating a game with as many inspirations as Nethack.

The list uses A Bilbliography of Nethack's Database, written by Dylan O'Donnell, as a springboard, and focuses almost entirely on the books listed in the first section. Unfortunately Dylan O'Donnell's site has been taken down since this list was created, but it was still an invaluable resource.

Keep in mind that some of these books, just like Nethack itself, are rather old.  In some ways this will be beneficial, as free (legal) online versions will be readily available for some of the older books; others, however, will invariably have slipped through the cracks, in which case your best bet is going to be your local library.  If a book is available in full online, it'll be linked, and each entry will be linked back to the Nethack wiki, which contains what the book was referenced in relation to, as well as the excerpt if it is posted on the wiki.

Adams, Douglas. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Towel)

Aesop. Aesop's Fables (Fox)

Alexander, Lloyd. The Book of Three (Spellbook)

Anderson, Poul. Conan the Rebel (Homonculus)

Anderson, Poul. Three Hearts and Three Lions (Troll)

Anon. The Arabian Nights, "Aladdin" (trans. Lang, Andrew) (Lamp)

Anon. Popul Vuh (trans. Nelson, Ralph) (Xan)

Anon. The Song of Roland (Horn)

Anon. Tales of Heike, "Story of Tsutsui no Jomio Meishu" (Glaive)

Arrowsmith, Nancy & Moorse, George. A Field Guide to the Little People (Leprechaun)

Ashton, John. Curious Creatures in Zoology (Leocrotta)

Basinger, Jeanine. Silent Stars (Keystone Kops)

Bierce, Ambrose. The Devil's Dictionary (Potion)

Blackmore, R.D. Lorna Doone (Lichen)

Blake, William. The Tyger (Tiger)

Blaylock, James P. The Elfin Ship (Cornuthaum)

Bottomley, I. & Hopson, A.P. Arms & Armour of the Samurai (Kabuto)

Briggs, Katherine. A Dictionary of Fairies (Hobgoblin)

Budge, E.A. Wallis. Egyptian Magic (Mummy)

Bulfinch, Thomas. Bulfinch's Mythology (Sirius)

Bulwer-Lytton, Edward. Richelieu (Magic Marker)

Burns, Robert. Grace Before Meat (Anything with the word Meat in it)

Burroughs, Edgar Rice. Tarzan of the Apes (Both of the Drums)

Butterworth, Oliver. The Enormous Egg (Egg)

Campbell, John W. Who Goes There? (Doppelganger)

Capuzzo, Michael. Close to Shore (Shark)

Carroll, Lewis. Jabberwocky, from Through the Looking Glass (Both the Jabberwocky and the Vorpal Sword)

Carroll, Lewis. Sylvie and Bruno Concluded (Sack)

Ceram, C.W. Gods, Graves, and Scholars (Lord Carnarvon)

Cervantes Saavedra, Miquel de. Don Quixote of La Mancha (Knight and Lance)

Chesterton, G.K. The Innocence of Father Brown (Acolyte)

Chesterton, G.K. The Runaway Abbot (Abbot)

Clarke, Arthur C. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Caveman)

Cohen, Daniel. The Encyclopedia of Monsters (Sasquatch)

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (Crossbow and Water)

Cook, Harry. Samurai - The Story of a Warrior Tradition (Ashikaga Takauji)

Cox, Barry. Prehistoric Animals (Titanothere and Baluchitherium)

Crichton, Michael. Jurassic Park (Amber)

Dahl, Roald. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Candy Bar)

Dahl, Roald. Royal Jelly (Royal Jelly)

Daley, Brian & Lisberger, Steven. Tron (Grid Bug)

Dana, Richard Henry. Two Years Before the Mast (Oilskin Cloak)

Dante Alighieri. The Divine Comedy, "Inferno" (trans. Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth; trans. Cary, H.F) (Door)

David, Peter. Knight Life (Excalibur)

Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol (Iron Chain)

Dorst, Jean. A Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of Africa (Ape)

Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan. The White Company (Bow)

Dumas, Alexandre. The Count of Monte Cristo (Chest)

Dunsany, Lord Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett. The Charwoman's Shadow (Any Gnome)

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Ode (Saddle)

Epstein, E.L. Notes on Lord of the Flies (Baalzebub)

Evslin, Bernard. The Minotaur (Nymph, oddly enough)

Gaiman, Neil and Pratchett, Terry. Good Omens (Holy Water)

Gardner, Craig Shaw. A Dealing with Demons (Wizard)

Gerrold, David. Battle for the Planet of the Apes (Ape)

Gilbert, Sir W.S. The Mikado (Snickersnee)

Grimm, Jakob & Grimm, Wilhelm. Snow White (Mirror)

Haggard, H. Rider. King Solomon's Mines (Melon)

Haggard, H. Rider. She (Blindfold)

Hamilton, Edith. Mythology (Minotaur)

Hammett, Dashiell. The Maltese Falcon (Figurine)

Headon, Deirdre. Mythical Beasts (Dragon, Cockatrice, Tengu, Unicorn)

Herbert, Frank. The Dosadi Experiment (Any Sphere)

Herbert, Frank. Dune (Any Worm, the Worm Tooth, and the Crysknife)

Homer. The Iliad (Gold Golem)

Homer. The Odyssey (Cyclops and Ghost)

Howard, Robert E; Nyberg, B.; & de Camp, L. Sprague. Conan the Avenger (Crom)

Howard, Robert E. Conan the Conqueror (The Heart of Ahriman)

Howard, Robert E. & de Camp, L. Sprague. Conan the Usurper (Pelias)

Howard, Robert E. Conan the Warrior (Slasher)

Hugo, Victor. Les Miserables (Ghoul)

Hulpach, Vladimir; Frynta, Emanuel; & Cibula, Vackav. Van Gouden Tijden Zingen de Harpen (King Arthur)

Jacobs, Joseph. English Fairy Tales, "Jack and the Beanstalk" (Harp)

Jones, Diana Wynne. The Tough Guide to Fantasyland (Altar, Boots, Cloak, Crystal Ball, Curse, Demon, God, Harp, Mine, Magic Portal, Quest, Robe, Tower)

Jordan, Michael. Encyclopedia of Gods (Amaterasu Omikami, Anshar, Athena, Brigit, Camaxtli, Huhetotl, Ishtar, Susanowo, Thoth)

Joyce, James. Ulysses (Knife and Stiletto)

Juster, Norton. The Phantom Tollbooth (Staircase)

Keats, John. Endymion (Scroll)

Kilmer, Joyce. Trees (Tree)

King, Stephen. The Stand (Banana)

Kipling, Rudyard. Rikki-tikki-tavi (Cobra)

Kipling, Rudyard. The Jungle Book (Hunter and Monkey)

Le Guin, Ursula K. The Tombs of Atuan (Dragon, Ixoth)

Leiber, Fritz. Swords and Deviltry (Kos)

Leiber, Fritz. Swords In The Mist (Issek)

Leroux, Gaston. The Phantom of the Opera (Trap Door)

Lewis, C.S. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Statue)

Lewis, C.S. The Last Battle (Orange and Pear)

Lindemans, M.F. Encyclopedia Mythica (ed.) (Cwn Annwn, Mars)

Livingstone, Dr David. Travels and Researches in South Africa (Centipede)

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. The Arrow and the Song (Arrow)

Lovecraft, H.P. At the Mountains of Madness (Anything from the Amoeboid monster class)

Lovecraft, H.P. The Cats of Ulthar (Kitten, Housecat, and Large Cat)

Macaulay, Thomas B. Lays of Ancient Rome (Altar)

Marlowe, Christopher. Doctor Faustus and Other Plays (Book of the Dead, any Candle, the Candelabrum)

Martin, George R.R. A Game of Thrones (War Hammer)

Matheson, Richard. Nightmare at 20,000 Feet (Gremlin)

Melville, Herman. Moby Dick (Grappling Hook)

Meyrink, Gustav. The Golem (Every Golem except Gold and Flesh)

Miller, Gustav Hindman. 10,000 Dreams Interpreted (Lynx)

Miller, Thomas A. The Adventurers, Epic IV (Shrieker)

Moorcock, Michael. Elric of Melnibone (Arioch)

Moorcock, Michael. The Jade Man's Eyes (Anything made of Jade)

Moorcock, Michael. The Lands Beyond the World (Stormbringer)

Nesbit, Edith. The Story of the Amulet (Any Amulet except the Amulet of Yendor)

Orwell, George. 1984 (Any Rat)

Parker, Derek & Parker, Julia. The Immortals (Dwarf)

Patrick, Richard. Greek Mythology (Titan)

Penrose, Roger. The Emperor's New Mind (Schroedinger's Cat)

Poe, Edgar Allen. The Pit and the Pendulum (Pit and Spiked Pit)

Poe, Edgar Allen. The Raven (Raven)

Pratchett, Terry. The Colour of Magic (Tourist)

Pratchett, Terry. The Light Fantastic (Expensive Camera)

Pratchett, Terry. Eric (Bell of Opening)

Pratchett, Terry. Soul Music (Tins and the Tinning Kit)

Procter, Bryan Waller. For a Fountain (Fountain)

Pyle, Howard. The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood (Quarterstaff)

Raymo, Chet. 365 Starry Nights (Scorpius)

Renault, Mary. The King Must Die (Boulder)

Robinson, Herbert Spencer & Wilson, Knox. The Encyclopedia of Myths and Legends of All Nations (Mitra)

Rombauer, I. & Becker, M. Joy of Cooking (Tripe Ration)

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Any Gnome)

Rumi, Mevlana Celaleddin. Divan-i Kebir, Meter 2 (Pickaxe)

Ryotaro Shiba. The Fox-horse, from Drunk as a Lord (Samurai)

Sandburg, Carl. Fog (Fog Cloud)

Scott, W.B. & Crossman, E.J. Freshwater Fishes of Canada (Giant Eel)

Scott, Sir Walter. Brignall Banks (Bugle)

Scott, Sir Walter. Marmion (Web)

Shakespeare, William. King Richard III (Horse and Warhorse)

Shakespeare, William. Macbeth (Dagger and Newt)

Shakespeare, William. The Winter's Tale

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein (Flesh Golem)

Smith, Clark Ashton. The Abominations of Yondo (Any Lich)

Smith, Dodie. The Hundred and One Dalmatians (Leash)

Stoker, Bram. Dracula (Clove of Garlic)

Sturluson, Snorri. The Prose Edda (Lord Surtur and Tyr)

Twain, Mark. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (Spear and Javelin)

Tennyson, Alfred, Lord. The Charge of the Light Brigade (Saber)

Tennyson, Alfred, Lord. Maud, And Other Poems (Scroll of Amnesia and Maud)

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Silmarillion (Earendil, Elwing, and The Dark One)

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Hobbit (Cram Ration, Goblin, Orcrist, Rock, Sting)

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Fellowship of the Ring (Balrog, Elbereth, any Elf, Elven Cloak, Hobbit, Kraken, Lembas Wafer, anything Mithril, Pony, Ranger, any Ring. Warg, Wight, Wraith)

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Two Towers (Mumak, Wand)

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Return of the King (Olog-hai)

Vance, Jack. Rhialto the Marvellous (Sandestin)

Wells, H.G. The Invisible Man (Mummy wrapping)

White, E.B. Charlotte's Web (Any Spider)

White, E.B. The Trumpet of the Swan (Oilskin Sack)

White, T.H. The Once and Future King (Cornuthaum)

Winner, Cherie. Salamanders (Salamander)

Wodehouse, P.G. A Pelican at Blandings (Any Bat)

Wordsworth, William. I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud (Cloud)

Wordsworth, William. Sonnet (Throne)

Wright, Dudley. The History of Vampires (Any Werecreature)

Zelazny, Roger. Knight of Shadows (Grayswandir)

Zelazny, Roger. Unicorn Variations (Unicorn and Unicorn Horn)