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Old 01-15-2013, 06:23 PM   #16
rdfry
loving the books
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:53 PM   #17
BeccaPrice
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I don't know whether they shaped who I am or not, but my quote book has more quotes from Lois McMaster Bujold than anybody else. Either she's a great influence on how I think about things, or she's simply the most quotable (or maybe both)
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:09 PM   #18
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Probably the works of Robert E. Howard and Edgar Rice Burroughs influenced me at the earliest age, with a shout-out to Johann David Wyss's "Swiss Family Robinson."
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:16 PM   #19
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I read the Handmaid's Tale in high school and it helped turn me into a feminist.

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Old 01-15-2013, 07:18 PM   #20
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There are three books from my elementary school years that come to mind:
"The Story of My Life," by Helen Keller
"My Side of the Mountain," by Jean Craighead George
"Escape from Warsaw," by Ian Serrallier

From high school and college:
"Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" by Annie Dillard
"Cane" by Jean Toomer
"The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison
"Fair and Tender Ladies" by Lee Smith

As an adult:
"The Island of the Colorblind" by Oliver Sachs
"Thinking in Pictures" by Temple Grandin
"Nowhere Else on Earth" by Josephine Humphreys
"The Pyramid" by Ismail Kadare

I couldn't say specifically how any of these books have altered the course of my life, but they all contributed to the way I think and they all were entry points to further reading that greatly expanded my interests. They serve as reference points when interpreting and understanding the events of my life.
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:30 PM   #21
bearymore
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This will seriously date me, but here goes: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:55 PM   #22
twowheels
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Originally Posted by crich70 View Post
The book that comes to my mind as an answer to the question above is The King James version of the Bible. It may sound corny but it did have a long lasting effect on me. I attended a church run school for several years when I was young and a copy of it was part of the required school equipment. I still have the child sized edition that my parents bought me back then.
I'd have to say the Bible as well, but [at the risk of treading into topics best reserved for the restricted subforums] not in the way that most would assume if I said it without qualification.

I spent years of my life chasing after what I understood to be a literal interpretation of that book. It affected my job choices, my marriage, my performance in science classrooms [especially Biology], etc. Later in life I gave it an honest look and re-read it trying to ignore the influence of all preconceived and taught interpretations and REALLY read it, and that changed my life even more drastically than the previous attempts to read it. That said, the change wasn't in the direction that many who profess to believe it would say that it should.

I've since read and reread it many times more than I had before and find it to be an extremely intriguing book, but wonder how I ever could have repeatedly read over certain uncomfortable sections without actually seeing the words in front of me.

I also found it interesting that you mention the King James version in particular. To this day, even though I no longer believe that the book holds any divine authority over my life, I still find that any other translation just doesn't do it for me. Having grown up only reading that one translation the others just feel like cheap imitations, like reading a reader's digest version or a children's version.
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:00 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by bearymore View Post
This will seriously date me, but here goes: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
Years ago I read that book while on a multi-day self-supported bicycle tour. While the modes of transportation were different, the ordeals were often similar. It made the book really resonate in a way that I don't think it could have if I were to have read it sitting at home.
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:02 PM   #24
kennyc
The Dank Side of the Moon
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Tough question. I don't know that any one book did it. But the earliest book I remember reading which made me sit up and take notice was Pellucidar by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Probably for the sci-fi/adventure/fantasy elements before that it was See Spot, See Spot Run and comics and encyclopedias school books etc.

I think the 'event' that shaped me was the U.S. Space program I listened/watched/collected books, mags, models etc. in complete thrall.

The book that is currently influencing me most is 'The Immense Journey' by Loren Eiseley -- It is the one book I've re-read more than any other .. and mostly in the last few years. Also 'The Lives of a Cell' by Lewis Thomas and 'The Demon Haunted World' by Carl Sagan.

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Old 01-15-2013, 09:27 PM   #25
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Pyewacket by Rosemary Weir
Big Red by Kim Kjelgaard
Cookbook by Betty Crocker
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:32 PM   #26
Stitchawl
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At the age of 21 I was given a copy of the 'Tao Te Ching' and told that if I wanted to improve my martial arts I needed to study this book. I was surprised that it had no reference to fighting in it, but as it was only about 50 pages I read it anyway. And understood none of it... for the first few years. I've been studying those 50 pages for the last 46 years, and nothing has changed my life as much as this little book that would have been so clear if I simply lived it instead of trying to understand it.


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Old 01-15-2013, 10:28 PM   #27
davidfor
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"Dragonflight" by Anne McCaffrey and "Dune" by Frank Herbert.

These were given to me for Christmas in my early teens by older siblings. The biggest effect was on my reading. I read a bit before these, but afterwards I read a lot more. And I started reading SciFi almost exclusively, which lead to the discovery of a lot of good books and ideas.
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:23 PM   #28
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Surfing the alpha waves ~
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The New Conquest of Central Asia, by Roy Chapman Andrews. He is rumored to have been the inspiration for Indiana Jones. I read it when I was 11 or 12 years old, and it stuck with me. I went on to study geology at college. My adventures don't stack up to his, though.
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:38 PM   #29
danskmacabre
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If I absolutely HAD to choose only 1 book then I will go with one of my very earliest reading experiences, "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien.
It opened my mind to books and the enjoyment of reading which increased the quality of my life immensely and the enrichment of knowledge in general as I became an avid reader after reading that book.
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:48 PM   #30
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This thread makes me think that I need to read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
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