Books that influenced you?
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What are the books that really influenced you? This topic stolen from one of flickr's bookshelf groups.
"Where the Red Fern Grows" by Wilson Rawls encouraged a life long love affair with animals.
"Barbarians at the Gate" by Brian Burroughs covinced me I needed to drop out of journalism school and enter business school.
Those are the first two off the top of my head, I'm sure there are more :)
It's a great question.
A Wrinkle in Time changed my perception of reality in a way few books have come close to since. Of course, I was eleven and impressionable, but nothing else has altered my thinking the way that book has.
Back in the 1950s I found Darrell Huff's How to Lie with Statistics on a school library shelf one day and discovered that I was right to question everything. Not long after I was telling a friend about how great Huckleberry Finn was (another touchstone book) and told him about Huck's friend being killed in the feud and Huck discovering his body. ("I cried a little...Buck had been awful good to me." I cried too, first time I read that.) The friend said, "That's not in the book!" So we pulled Huckleberry off the shelves and, sure enough, the section at the end of chapter XVIII was gone. There was this mealy-mouthed notation at the front of the book about it being edited, but I hadn't paid attention. See, people were protecting us children from things we ought not know about, like death and violence. These two books taught me a whole lot about lying and that knowledge has served me well for more than fifty years and especially well during the period of the Vietnam War.
One of the books that really helped me to focus my thoughts about the bigger issues of culture, history, politics, and the Whole Big Picture was John Ralston Saul's Voltaire's Bastards.
I've enjoyed all of his other non-fiction work as well, especially Reflections Of A Siamese Twin: Canada At The End Of The Twentieth Century.
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