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Books that changed your life

  1. Jul 16, 2009 #1
    Since this is about Any book, I decided that General forums would be a good place, feel free to move. What books do you deeply love, have changed you, or believe that every literate person should have?

    These can be in any language and of any subject. I pose this in hopes of expanding my collection of already amazing books. As for my input, I believe every person should read:

    Dante's Divine Comedy (Inferno, Purgatory, Paradise)
    Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
    Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment
    (Marquis De Sade for a powerful message; very, very, very disturbing to most people.)
    Philosophy: Plato (Obviously), Kant, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Hegel, Spinoza, Aristotle, Epictetus, Nietzsche, Sartre, Confucius.
    Homer's Odyssey and Iliad (Alexander Pope's translation proved to be the best for me)
    The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli


    Many thanks for any input.:smile:


    Fragment
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2011
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  3. Jul 16, 2009 #2
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  4. Jul 16, 2009 #3

    Evo

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    Re: Books That Every Person Should have/That Changed You

    Bunicula.
     
  5. Jul 16, 2009 #4

    turbo

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    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  6. Jul 16, 2009 #5
    Re: Books That Every Person Should have/That Changed You

    Dr Zhivago
    Of Human Bondage
    Les Miserables
    The Spell of the Yukon
    Development of Concepts of Physics
    The Stranger
    The Nature of the Chemical Bond
    Machinery's Handbook (any after 15th ed)
    The Lady in the Lake
    the Bible Book of Amos
    Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
    Soul on Ice
    A Farewell to Arms
    The Guns of August
    Street Without Joy
    All Quiet on the Western Front
    The Guide for the Perplexed
    Huck Finn
     
  7. Jul 16, 2009 #6
    Re: Books That Every Person Should have/That Changed You

    Hahaha....I only know what this is because when I traveled to Uganda, we brought a bunch of random childrens books (they don't have books there), and this was one of them...my gf's choice.
     
  8. Jul 16, 2009 #7
    Re: Books That Every Person Should have/That Changed You

    And,
    The Business of May Next
    The Furniture Doctor
    The Confederate Nation
    Mere Christianity
    Relativity Visualized
    The Federalist Papers
    The Odyssey
    Quo Vadis
    Dispatches
    The Gathering Storm
    To Kill a Mockingbird
     
  9. Jul 16, 2009 #8

    Astronuc

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    Re: Books That Every Person Should have/That Changed You

    Encyclopedia Brittanica (A-Z). I used to browse through it at a neighbor's house, because my parents couldn't afford a set.

    Columbia Encyclopedia, 2nd Ed. Nice condensed book about 5 inches thick with tiny print, but had lots of articles in the humanities (history, geography, art, . . .) and science. I used to read that in bed, especially when I was home ill and couldn't go to school.

    Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia - strictly science and technology. I used to spend hours browsing it in addition to the Columbia Encyclopedia.


    Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Simply brilliant.


    Isaac Asimov's Foundation and Empire series.


    Myths and Modern Man (one of the best books on the subject)
    https://www.amazon.com/Myths-modern-man-Barbara-Stanford/dp/B00072V4S8/
    by Barbara Stanford

    Houston Smith's The World's Religions

    Christmas Humphreys - an obscure book on Buddhism, which I can't locate.


    Jerzy Kosinski's Being There


    There are thousands of other books on my list.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  10. Jul 16, 2009 #9

    lisab

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    Re: Books That Every Person Should have/That Changed You

    I second Astro's nomination of a good set of encyclopedias. We had the World Book set...well not a full set :redface:.

    Our household also had a giant dictionary...had to be 6" thick. It wasn't the OED, but it was a great book for a kid to browse through.
     
  11. Jul 16, 2009 #10
    Re: Books That Every Person Should have/That Changed You

    It happens I've read each of the books in your list (but not each of the authors) except for Canterbury Tales which I am reading now.

    My list would include:
    The Apology of Socrates, by Plato
    This Perfect Day, by Ira Levin
    Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
    The Mouse that Roared, by Leonard Wibberley
    The Einstein Theory of Relativity by Lilian Leiber
     
  12. Jul 16, 2009 #11
    Re: Books That Every Person Should have/That Changed You

    The Stranger was the most influential book I've ever read, it changed me forever, and I'm glad.

    But the best book I read is Sartre's Nausea

    The story is excellent but even more so is the writing which expresses a rich use of language, even in a translation from the French. The book is deep, it's not an easy read.
     
  13. Jul 16, 2009 #12

    turbo

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    Re: Books That Every Person Should have/That Changed You

    When I was about 10 or 11, my father scraped up the dough for a set of World Book encyclopedias, and kept buying yearly updates. I read them from cover to cover, and I always had a volume in my bedroom, bookmarked so that I could keep track of where I was. They weren't Compton's or Britannica, but it was enough for a young kid who had questions and a library card.

    When we moved into that house, my parents and my younger sisters got the actual bedrooms upstairs. I got a very small walk-in closet with a small ell over the staircase. Lucky for me, that ell contained shelves full of cheap editions of classic literature. When I wasn't reading the World Book, I was reading Twain, Dickens, Hawthorne, Verne, etc every night. I had a cheap AM radio that could pull in stations in Buffalo, Albany, Boston, WWV, etc, and I had multi-media every night. Music and books.

    Edit: By the time I hit 5th grade, nothing in our elementary school library was interesting or demanding enough to capture my attention for long. The principal of the school who also taught 5th and 6th grades used to bring in books from her library and loan them to me for reading with assigned commentary/review required. God! I learned to hate Somerset Maugham during that period, and idolize Mark Twain and Ambrose Bierce.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2009
  14. Jul 16, 2009 #13
    Re: Books That Every Person Should have/That Changed You

    Catch-22, by Joseph Heller - simply unbeatable in every way

    Closing Time, by Joseph Heller - almost as good as its predecessor (but very grim)

    Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton - a good thriller with some surprisingly interesting philosophy

    The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin - my favorite novel in elementary school, still a favorite

    The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure, by Hans Magnus Enzensberger - the book that first got me really interested in math

    Crime and Punishment, by Fyodor Dostoevsky - a classic exploration of morality with decent thrills to keep things moving

    The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky - denser than C&P, but also a bit deeper

    and many more...
     
  15. Jul 16, 2009 #14
    Re: Books That Every Person Should have/That Changed You

    I don't read.
    I don't understand how a book will change me.
    I don't understand why people read books to change their lives or themselves/find some book that changed them (someone recommended me to read a book that changed his life).
    I unsuccessful tried to change myself using a book about living the present moment (zen) but later I discovered that changing life involves bit of more work than just sitting and reading a book.

    IMO, if I want to change myself/believes I would write the way I changed them rather than reading.
     
  16. Jul 16, 2009 #15

    turbo

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    Re: Books That Every Person Should have/That Changed You

    Be the book, rootx. Be the book.





    (be the ball, Danny, in case you were sleeping or unavailable during the 80s)
     
  17. Jul 16, 2009 #16
    Re: Books That Every Person Should have/That Changed You

    1984.

    Truth, freedom, dignity, sanity, values, and why losing them is a fate worse than death.
     
  18. Jul 16, 2009 #17
    Re: Books That Every Person Should have/That Changed You

    I can understand if you don't think that a book will change you, but why do you choose not to read at all? Many "classic" books are written much better than alternative forms of entertainment (television shows, movies, video games). Whereas a television show is written in a few days by a team of writers, books can capture the brilliance of the works of some of the best authors in the past several hundred or thousand years which took years to complete.
     
  19. Jul 16, 2009 #18
    Re: Books That Every Person Should have/That Changed You

    Art of Love, Ovid
    Anything Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas (Their works are much better in French, if you can read it.)
    Metamorphoses, Ovid
    Meditations, Marcus Aurelius
    Anna Karenina, Tolstoy
    War and Peace, Tolstoy
    Don Quixote, De Cervantes
    Lolita, Nabokov
    Paradise Lost & Paradise regained, Milton
    Das Kapital, Karl Marx (Touches many subjects, including philosophy and economics)

    A good book is hard to find, but once you find it, you realize you need nothing more. :wink:
     
  20. Jul 16, 2009 #19
    Re: Books That Every Person Should have/That Changed You

    How about more "educational"/textbook books. I realize Encyclopedia Brittanica might be a good place to start, but what would one read to gain general knowledge of one particular subject? (Medicine, law, history, geology....)
     
  21. Jul 16, 2009 #20

    Moonbear

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    Re: Books That Every Person Should have/That Changed You

    Where the Wild Things Are
    James and the Giant Peach
    Rumpelstiltskin
    The Billy Goats Gruff
    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
    A Christmas Carol
    Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates

    (Yes, some are fairy tale stories, not so much books.)
    Once you're old enough to read literature, I don't think it matters much what you read, but I think it's those childhood books with lessons about how to treat other people that are important.
     
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