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Thread: Which books/reading matter shaped who you are?

  1. #1

    Default Which books/reading matter shaped who you are?

    This isn't a "favorites" thread... This is for which books had a profound influence on you, which changed your outlook, your opinions, your knowledge... even your writing style...

    For instance, Fantasy (& other) role-playing manuals influenced me heavily but I would not "favorite" them...
    Calvin & Hobbes is among my very favorite comics but it didn't really influence me... I was too old when I read it...

    Anyway I'll start:

    My paranoid-book collection:

    All of Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos } things lurking in shadows out to get you
    Franz Kafka }
    Subliminal Seduction & Media Sexploitation > things out in the open out to get you
    The Hidden Persuaders >
    Brave New World & all those other dystopias...
    Last edited by Raccoon; 17-Feb-2008 at 06:54.

  2. #2


    Definitely Harry Potter and Fahrenheit 451.

  3. #3


    Mmm, good topic...

    Well first up, a book I have stood by for a long time now: Fahrenheit 451. I could talk for ages on this novel, but I'll try to keep this as brief as possible, although I don't see it happening that way.

    I feel this novel accumulates and summaries essentially my attitude toward society. That cold and distant feeling it presents Montag (main character) as is just something I haven't felt reading a novel before. The novel takes you on a personal journey, one that develops and constructs the bounds (or lack thereof) of the society (dystopian) in which he lives. I feel the hedonistic, apathetic, sheep of this society (it's citizen's, in other words) are driven to such extremes of own personal satisfaction that the true meaning of "living as a community" is destroyed. This reflects greatly how I feel about our own world, the way in which fear is instilled into our lives by what is presented to us by higher authorities, or those with control over the masses (the media). And how that adversely affects us as a community.

    The struggle and transformation of Montag as he breaks free of his dulled down, dim-witted surroundings reminisces of a personal quest to find a comfortable level of individualism in my own life, something which has only recently struck me as something I was missing. Again, this book, reflects what I feel is becoming of society. Life without pain, only pleasure, is a life I do not wish to endure, as it would mean sacrificing the one thing we truly ever own to the clutches of others: ourselves.

    I'll probably post up a few more novels when I get the time to do so...

  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by Lukie View Post
    I'll probably post up a few more novels when I get the time to do so...
    but lukie... ALL your posts are novels.

    i don't know what books have shaped who i am as a person, but the book that's shaped who i am as a writer more than any other book is Murphy by samuel beckett. i honestly believe that's pretty much the greatest novel ever written.

  5. #5


    Farenheight 451.
    Animal Farm.
    Brave New World.
    A Clockwork Orange.

    That's about it. I don't need to complicate.

  6. #6


    Harry Potter series
    The Ark+The Xenocide Mission
    Starship Troopers

  7. #7


    I'm not sure why I'm posting this...but anyway....

    I don't feel that who I am has been in any way affected by the books I've read (and trust me I've read a LOT of books over the years).

    I think what has shaped me the most as a human being can be boiled down to simply the following:
    • my parents (my upbringing)
    • my siblings (family/upbringing)
    • my relationships (friends/lovers/workmates)
    • my religion (both past and present)
    • significant events in my life (births, marriages, deaths, graduation, university, moving)
    • and last but not least...the less significant but no less 'shaping' events in my life (someone giving up a seat on a bus for me, a young man holding a door for me at the mall, etc etc etc)

    All of these have shaped who I am, and none of them were contained in a book. That's not to say that some books (or even movies) haven't influenced me in some way. I'm sure that my avid devouring of all things Asimov has influenced me in some small part in believing that there is other intelligent life out there...somewhere. I know that Stephen King has influenced my belief in the supernatural (although personal events went a long way toward doing that, too). Of course I could go on and on, about every author I've ever read and how they've influenced me, but I do not believe that any one book, or combination of books, has had the effect of shaping me as a person as the items I've listed above.

  8. #8


    I feel that even more than the dysfunctional household I live in, books and the characters in them have been the biggest influence on my life to date, as that's where I retreated to.

    In rough order of when I read them, starting at first grade:

    Tom Swift books (quite a few/random ones)
    Harry Potter
    Lots of Scifi, Asimov, Dick, random
    The Hobbit
    His Dark Materials trilogy
    Riddley Walker
    The man in the high castle
    Of Mice and Men
    Stephen King (started with Salem's lot, got addicted, have read everything he's ever written)
    Dark Tower (Stephen King again, I know, but huge influence)
    Native Son

    More recently, the Grapes of Wrath influenced me. No idea why I put it off so long.

    EDIT: 1984 and Brave New World are up there too
    Last edited by Vaultin; 16-Feb-2008 at 14:27. Reason: forgot two, grammar

  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by avery View Post
    but lukie... ALL your posts are novels.
    Why this... this has given me a novel idea!

  10. #10


    Ahh, His Dark Materials... I read the French version, since unfortunately, most French books around here suck. I should start reading original English books, translations aren't very good most of the time...

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