27 March 2010

ink & paper influences

I was reading some blog where the author listed the 10 books that have most influenced him. I didn't much care for his list (Ayn Rand? sooooo predictable), but it did inspire me to write my own. It's less than 10 because I am lazy with a small attention span.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
I read this book for my senior lit project in high school, and it was the first book that I ever really "got" and (independently, without instruction) understood what the author was trying to say. It was a huge lesson in trusting myself, trusting my experience, and trusting my interpretations.

Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
I so related to Peekay and the difficulty of finding yourself amid what everyone else tells you you are. It's a book I continually go back to and it gets richer every time I read it.

Fact of a Doorframe by Adriane Rich
She was the first poet that I read and went "Ooohh, that's why you write poetry...got it." Beautiful exposition of a woman finding herself.

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
I never want to read this book again, but the idea that to know pure light, you must know pure dark has stuck with me ever since.

My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
The idea of being a whore when you do what you love for the wrong reasons is a concept rarely discussed, and Potok does it with such beauty. Utterly heartbreaking.

The World is Flat by Thomas Freedman
I don't agree with quite a few of his arguments, and, yes, I realize this is a book on globalization from an American perspective, but his points have stuck with me. It made me think that in the future, invention, innovation, and new ideas will be the saving graces of any country. It makes a strong case for an excellent public education system and a society that appreciates what it has, two ideas I can very much support. I read it while I was studying Business Ethics at Gonzaga, where my professor's course taught the idea that a society can use tools at its disposal -- government regulation, tax structures, and grassroots movements -- to create a ethical value system within a capitalist system. Fascinating. It brought ideas into my head that hadn't been there before.

Hmmm.... my five readers - what are the books that've most influenced you?


  1. The Power of One is one of my favorites as well (I owe that one to Beth's wonderful mom).

    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - An Inquiry into Value by Robert M. Pirsig. Describes and outlines philosophy in terms of science and mechanics, something I can relate to and understand.

    Running Loose by Chris Crutcher. This is the first book of Chris Crutcher I read. He was my favorite author in high school, however I think you might have to grow up in a small town in Idaho to truely appreciate his writing.

  2. The Long Haul by Myles Horton. This book made me want to move to the hills of Appalachia and work at the Highlander School. This was a simple man who believed in the power of people and the change happens from the bottom up.

  3. I have never had one single book
    change my life. However from childhood i have always loved books in a series.From babysitter club to nora roberts brides. i loved it when marie and daniel were young we were always
    collecting books nancy Drew and star
    wars are just a few examples.Ill say it again i love books in a series.

  4. Well let's see...those feminist fantasy kids books by Tamora Pierce are my security blanket. About this stubborn little girl who wants to be a knight. I brought them to college, and with me when I moved abroad. Yikes. Stay classy, self.

    And then 'Chimera' by John Barthes, because how can you not love academic discussions about lit theory and mythology in which the discussers/discussors? are themselves mythological figures?

    The Little Prince is my prime language-learning text - I have it in French, English, Turkish, and German. The latter two are pop-up versions, seriously awesome.

    And Jane Eyre, which I helped me work through the aftermath of an unfortunate relationship; and The Eyre Affair, because once you fall in love with a classic, you ought to entertain all the fun meta-uses it's been put to.

    The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell, for spiritual crises; Dorothy Dennett's Lymond Chronicles for remarkably exquisite prose and historically accurate, multi-lingual fun. She does for the UK dialects what Twain did for the 'Merican ones.

    Will stop there - with thanks for letting me bore on. Nice to meet you. Hello.


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