Which books had the biggest impact on your life?

Bob Weaver

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Jul 6, 2019
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Individual books are harder to identify.

The book I've read more than any other is Pride and Prejudice. I would say I'm a romantic at heart, but I don't know if I like it because I'm a romantic, or if liking it helped shape me that way.

Lion of Macedon is an OK fantasy novel by David Gemmell, but it was the first fantasy book I read and it sparked a life long love of the genre, and in history and mythology.

The Dice Man. A book about a psychiatrist who makes all his decisions by rolling a dice. I didn't take all the ideas from this, (it doesn't end well for the character), but it did give me a certain freedom.

From being a shy teenager worried about what others thought of me, I realised I didn't have to care and could, up to a point, do as I pleased.

The main uptake from this was in my social life, I happily did stuff that may be seen as embarrassing, and was regularly slagged off, but just didn't care. I would wear daft clothes, get wasted and make a fool of myself and ask out girls who were way out of my league.

I would say this confidence/lack of care has faded with adult responsibility, but I can still remind myself of it, which is useful when my shy/introverted side rears it's head.


Trainspotting and all the hedonistic books of the 90's and early 2000's. Reading these fed into a hedonistic lifestyle I led from 16 - my mid to late 20's.

I'm sure I would have indulged anyway, but they were part of a party culture that existed in the UK at that time, and I bought into it.
I trust you've read The Catcher in the Rye. That is such a good book. JD Salinger pulled all the stops out there.
At school. Not sure if it was for school or for pleasure. Total classic, the I haven't read in years.
 
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Setanta

BAD MOTHERFUCKER
May 24, 2013
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Emain Macha
can you give me a rundown on this?

ive bought this and dubliners the other day specifically because opinions are so divided on joyce.
apparently you either love or despise him. there is no in between

It is probably useful to read THE ODYSSEY by Homer, in order to understand the allusions in ULYSSES.
And if you're going to read THE ODYSSEY, you may as well read THE ILLIAD, which is the prequel.

Joyce writes about a single day in Dublin (June 16 1904).

Each episode of Homer's ODYSSEY (which spans 10 years), is represented in an episode in Leopold Bloom's day.

It would also be useful to read PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN (also Joyce) as some of the characters in this earlier work appear in ULYSSES.



You could start with THE DUBLIUNERS to get into Joyce. It's a series of short stories that you can digest one at a time.

ULYSSES is a bit of a slog, filled with puns and references to other literature, but well worth the effort.
 

Bob Weaver

The original and best
Jul 6, 2019
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9,291
Joyce is great, but difficult.

Read them all in my early 20's and really liked them. Have no desire to read them again these days though.
 
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Trail

R.I.P. Joe Rein
May 24, 2013
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And the story of how Darwin came to write it is pretty good too.




Still the best primer on the subject 75 years later.

A sharp dude, no doubt. I could have put ANIMAL FARM on my list as well.
Apparently, Stalin read it and got right pissed off. :smile
Bertrand Russell's History is a go to book. If you're a casual Philosophy reader it's the one to head for.

When I was at university I had a reading list that was madness. The amount of books I had to buy was madness.

I was big on moral and political philosophy, Roger Scruton, Peter Singer. I also loved philosophy of religion.

My first essay at University of Sheffield in the Philosophy of Religion I expected to fail. I got 85%, top of the class.

I was a considered first for my degree (I was on 68%, 70% is a first). They wouldn't push me up, the f*ckers. Never mind.
 
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Setanta

BAD MOTHERFUCKER
May 24, 2013
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Emain Macha
Without blowing my own trumpet (it's not my style) both University of Sheffield and King's London were top five for Philosophy when I was at both.

I applied for both Oxford and Cambridge for a doctorate. I was shit hot, but considering my Mum was a cook and my Dad a steelworker they wouldn't have me, I was far too working class. I'll f*cking get there in a couple of years. I have to get that Phd.

You can get that doctorate if you really want it.

But you'll need to live at least a few more years, the booze notwithstanding.

The life of man does not always have to be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. :smile
 
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Trail

R.I.P. Joe Rein
May 24, 2013
34,559
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Donny
You can get that doctorate if you really want it.

But you'll need to live at least a few more years, the booze notwithstanding.

The life of man does not always have to be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. :smile
I'll get that doctorate for certain.

I'll go to Oxford or Cambridge for sure.

If it means quitting beer, I'm happy to do that. I had 10 months off of the ale last year because I was told I'd have six months to live by five doctors/consultants and a drug and alcohol nurse if I didn't stop it with the ales. Today is exactly a year since I was given six months to live. I'm still here. I survived.

Aim for the stars. Never, ever, sell yourself short.
 

Trail

R.I.P. Joe Rein
May 24, 2013
34,559
9,211
Donny
Of the books mentioned so I think I found the Darwin one ok.

Anything by Hitchens and Dawkins a load of wank.
Both God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens and The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins are fine books.

The God Delusion went above me initially, I had to read it two or three times. It made sense in the end.

Jim Brady's Boxing Confidential is worth a read, such a good book.

Donald McRae's Dark Trade: Lost in Boxing is exemplary, as is all of his writing.

I liked Ricky's Vegas Tales book. Simple but effective.

Mike Tyson's Undisputed was so good. The Montieth Illingworth book was so good also.

Have a look.