General Question

aaronou's avatar

What books have most impacted your life?

Asked by aaronou (735points) July 22nd, 2008

I know for most of us, we could develop a list that goes on and on, but how about just 2 or 3 for this specific question. Choose the most influential pieces of literature, those that resonated deep with your heart and soul and shook the very foundations you tred upon, and give us a list.

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33 Answers

joeysefika's avatar

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole: Age 13 and 3/4
Absolute Classic!!

aaronou's avatar

I’l start this out. My favorite little pessimist is Holden Caufield, who uses his extreme negativity to paint some very insightful realities. Thus, Catcher in the Rye came at an opportune time to open my mind to the world around me.

And then I cannot leave out TOrthodoxy along with The Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton. I owe a number of my personal beliefs to this man right here.

seVen's avatar

Word of God [The Holy Bible].

tirithalui's avatar

veronika decides to die by Paul Coelho

shrubbery's avatar

I know you said 2 or 3 but I can’t help it, sorry…
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman
The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
Matthew Flinders’ Cat by Bryce Courtenay
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (not in that HP shook my foundations but because they filled much of my childhood)

mediadigitus's avatar

1) The Way of Zen by Alan Watts
2) The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
3) Simulacra and Simulation by Jean Baudrillard
4) Voodoo Science by Robert L. Park
5) On Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins
6) His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman

rockstar's avatar

The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
Jesus Among Other Gods by Ravi Zacharias

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

Brave New World

shrubbery's avatar

Oops, ok I’m sorry but I forgot these:
Lighthousekeeping by Jeanette Winterson
The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

arnbev959's avatar

1984 – Orwell
Damien – Hesse
Sidhartha – Hesse
Steppenwolf – Hesse
The Stranger – Camus

lindabrowne1's avatar

The Four Agreements
Eat Pray Love

generalspecific's avatar

Breakfast of Champions – Kurt Vonnegut
and for some reason:
Remainder – Tom McCarthy

PupnTaco's avatar

The Masks of God by Joseph Campbell
The Demon-haunted World by Carl Sagan
The Chicago Manual of Style
The Barbecue Bible by Steven Raichlen
Cocktail by Paul Harrington
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Europe through the Back Door by Rick Steves

ezraglenn's avatar

The Year of Magical Thinking – Joan Didion
The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Milan Kundera
Everything is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer

ketoneus's avatar

I know this sounds ridiculous, but one for me is The Street Lawyer by John Grisham. It helped me to recognize the racist beliefs that I had grown up with and made me start to look at my fellow man with a new, more open mind.

MacBean's avatar

Leaving out ones that people have already mentioned…

Le petit prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Also, anything and everything by Poe and Wodehouse.

susanc's avatar

The Idea of the Holy, Rudolph Otto
The Psychoanalysis of Artistic Vision & Hearing, Anton
Gestalt Therapy Verbatim, Fritz Perls
His Dark Materials trilogy, yep me too
Birds Without Wings, Louis de Bernieres
To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
The Feathered Serpent, Women in Love, Sea and Sardinia, DH Lawrence
Everything ever written by Patrick Leigh Fermor
The Aubrey/Maturin series, Partick O’Brian
Banjo & Pistols, Rosa Aubrey Wood

emt333's avatar

Franny and Zooey- J.D Salinger
Meditations- Marcus Aurelius
Winesburg, Ohio- Sherwood Anderson

BronxLens's avatar

Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand
Myths To Live By – Joseph Campbell
20 Love Poems And A Desperate Song, by Pablo Neruda

blakemasnor's avatar

Flatterland by Ian Stewart
Princess Bride by William Goldman
Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne

nina's avatar

1. ‘The Forsyte Saga’ by John Galsworthy (the power of beauty)
2. ‘Atlas Shrugged’ by Ayn Rand (rational selfishness)
3. Magister Ludi – The Glass Bead Game’ by Herman Hesse (the beauty of high rationality and its impracticality)
4. ‘Jew Suss’ by Lion Feuchwanger (The complexity of being jewish)
5. ‘Alice in Wonderland’ by Lewis Carrol ( A powerful memory of childhood)
6. ‘Godel, Escher, Bach: Eternal Golden Braid’ by Douglas Hoffstadter (my dissertation, if I were a better scholar)
7. ‘A history of the jews’ by Paul Johnson (the simplicity of being jewish)
8. ‘Throguh the Children’s Gate’ by Adam Gopnik (some deep truths about being a parent)
9. ‘On Death and Dying’ by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross (helped me more or less overcome fear of death)

augustlan's avatar

To Kill a Mockingbird because it informed my view of what it means to be a good person.
The Road Less Traveled is an eye opener…life IS hard, but still pretty damn wonderful!

delirium's avatar

Neil Gaiman’s Sandman literally saved my life.

Hobbes's avatar

Calvin and Hobbes, The Hobbit, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, House of Leaves, and The His Dark Materials Trilogy – yep, another one :)

stevenb's avatar

David Eddings The Belgariad and The Mallorean.
The Hobbit.
The reason they changed me was that I had never been aware that words could move me or make my mind see clearer than my eyes could. They paved the way for me to become an avid reader and lover of words. They hold a special place in my heart as my first literary loves.

Knotmyday's avatar

The Adventures of Lord Iffy Boatrace, by Bruce Dickinson

arnbev959's avatar

@MacBean: How could I forget?! Of course! The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes!

sdeutsch's avatar

I could make a list a mile long, but the one that stands out above all the rest is A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeliene L’Engle – I’ve read it at least twenty times, and it gets better every time…

noraasnave's avatar

I started reading the Bible at the age of 16 it has been a decade plus of reading it and it still influences my life.

jlacombe's avatar


QUEER's avatar

Walden; or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau’s thoughts expressed in this book are enlightening. Nothing has ever influenced my life more.

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