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Thread: What novel changed the way you viewed the world?

  1. #1

    Default What novel changed the way you viewed the world?

    I am ready to start a new book, after I spent last night crying for the souls of the last book I've read. I have already asked a couple of friends for suggestions, and they gave some good ones, but I thought I'd ask more of my friends on here!

    This is what I want: A book that will help me grow to be a better and wiser person.

    What novels have changed the way you viewed the world? How so? Any favorite (non-spoiler) quotes from said novels?

    My personal favorites are things like Cat's Cradle, Breakfast of Champions, 1984, Stranger in a Strange Land, and Kafka on the Shore.

    Self-help books are sometimes good and sometimes not. I'm okay with the idea, but generally I've personally found a lot more wisdom in fiction. Favorite nonfiction genre books I've liked were Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth (though I did not like Power of Now) and I like just about anything David Sedaris ever wrote...

    There is only one book which I have ever really disliked so much that I was literally sour and annoyed with every page turn. That is Notes from the Underground. I loathed that protagonist as much as he loathed himself. I had no one to root for. Nothing to care about. Maybe that was the point, but I'm going to avoid books such as that in the future. It should be enjoyable to read and intelligent, in my opinion. Or at least, that's what I'm searching for!

  2. #2

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    The book of Hopi.

    I read it when we moved onto the res. The first part is the "Genesis" of the Hopi people, the second part is the explanation of the ceremonies, and the third part is the history of white contact.

    It was very eye opening and challenged a lot of the things I was taught in school. I have learned to really dig and find both sides of a story anymore, and question any thing a government states as fact.

  3. #3

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    Some might laugh, but for me, there were two.

    The first was back when I was still in high school. I found Midnight at the Well of Souls. I picked it up initially because the back said it had mermaids in it. The story though was about an alternate explanation for our society that gave me an admittedly fictional "creation story". I was struggling deeply at the time with my faith (I was a cradle catholic). Reading a book that had, to my mind, a more plausible explanation for the world rocked my spirituality because I suddenly was able to see the church's story as a creation story, not truth.

    I have no idea how I would feel if I read it (and it's four sequels which are like one long book) today. The story is, in my head, awesome and epic. I say this because I don't know if it would be a good recommendation or not. *I* still think it's story was excellent and I think it would be fun to go back and read the series again.

    The second was Being Good, an introduction type book on Buddhist ethics (it touches on the theology but it's principally about the philosophy). Tying back to the first book, after leaving the church, I spent a long time trying to understand morality and what makes people "good". This book didn't preach Buddhism, and at the time, I was extremely suspect of all religion, but I wanted to learn. The lack of pushing and the neutral approach to morality really struck me. I've re-read this book several times and it's the first one I recommend to anyone I know struggling with anything fundamental in their life.

    c

  4. #4

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    For me it would be the Tornbirds. A peak into the lives of the clergy in the catholic church. You realize that they are Humans first then men of God.

  5. #5

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    I've read so many books already that it's a little hard to say which one has affected me the most. Hmmm...well, come to think of it, two spring to mind.

    The first is Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks - his depiction of the stark reality faced by the soldiers of the Great War made a bit of an impression on me, and the feelings of angst inside the persona's head when on leave was a very good grasp at actually feeling anxious/panicky.

    The second, because I spent a long time studying this book, was To Kill a Mockingbird by (guess who hasn't heard of her) Harper Lee. A lot of themes were covered in class, and I really got to know and love the book. The theme of discrimination and the outlook of it from a child's perspective rather struck a chord with me.

  6. #6
    RainbowShy

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    Kingdom Keepers.

    I know it's all fiction, but I read the first book and actually just thought that maybe there was some point to the magic that took place in those books. I guess it was because of the geniusness of what Ridley Pearson was getting at. I can't really explain it because my reading comprehension sucks.

  7. #7

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    Ender's Game - for better or worse impacted how I viewed the world as a child enormously.

  8. #8

    Smile



    Quote Originally Posted by Frogsy View Post
    There is only one book which I have ever really disliked so much that I was literally sour and annoyed with every page turn. That is Notes from the Underground. I loathed that protagonist as much as he loathed himself. I had no one to root for. Nothing to care about. Maybe that was the point, but I'm going to avoid books such as that in the future. It should be enjoyable to read and intelligent, in my opinion. Or at least, that's what I'm searching for!
    No way! I found "Notes from Underground" absolutely compelling! Underground Man may not be particularly nice, but I felt some sympathy for the absolute meaninglessness of his existence... I suppose I thought of it in an abstract way -- trying to work out what Dostoyevsky was trying to say about humanity, so I didn't think about really trying to root for the protagonist. But it is certainly uncomfortable reading, so I can understand why you didn't like it.

    I don't read much (I have a terrible attention span), but I've been trying to read Sartre's "Nausea" for a while. I've re-read the first 40-or-so pages about ten times... but I keep forgetting about it for a few months, then picking it up and forgetting how it starts... But so far it seems like a fascinating book...

    I also found "The Catcher in the Rye" by J. D. Salinger pretty good and unlike anything else I've read. That's surely got a protagonist you can root for! Here's a snip about the book from Wikipedia:



    Quote Originally Posted by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Catcher_in_the_Rye
    Originally published for adults, it has since become popular with adolescent readers for its themes of teenage angst and alienation... The novel's protagonist and antihero, Holden Caulfield, has become an icon for teenage rebellion.The novel was included on Time's 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923, and it was named by Modern Library and its readers as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by tiny View Post
    I also found "The Catcher in the Rye" by J. D. Salinger pretty good and unlike anything else I've read. That's surely got a protagonist you can root for!
    I came into this thread partially looking to see if anyone mentioned this book. :P The Catcher in the Rye is on the top of my list! I really sympathized with Holden: how alone we can feel, despite being surrounded by others. The book left me with a few things to think about.

  10. #10

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    His Dark Materials. Effected my views of religion more than anything else I've ever written. Interestingly, it strengthened my views as a Wiccan, probably in contrast to what Pullman intended.

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