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1.
A "basal book" is one that is absolutely crucial to a particular academic discipline or profession, a book that everyone who knows anything knows about. It is a book (or perhaps an article) that forms the basis for understanding a certain topic or joining a certain conversation. It is often the sort of book that everyone wants to have read but no one wants to read. It is always the sort of book or article that cannot be digested properly by reading it all the way through just once, but must be studied and digested (analytical reading helps with this).
Greg Glassman's article "What is Fitness?" is a basal article for the Crossfit movement.

Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" is a basal book for the environmentalist movement.

"Mein Kampf" is a basal book for the Nazi movement.
by LA Wordsmith May 14, 2012