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Malazan Book of the Fallen definitely altered the way I thought about something but I don't want to get banned so I'm not going to say what it is.
The Hobbit, A Wizard of Earthsea and the first Harry Potter book made me fall in love with reading. I didn't actually read them myself. My Mum read them to me. Good times.
As a really young child: The Giving Tree
Be honest, as a child you never could grasp the concept of giving. Sharing was one thing, giving was a whole new concept. But The Giving Tree gives us a story about a tree that would give when she had everything, and would still give when she had nothing, and expect nothing in return. The true spirit of giving.
A little older: The Giver
The book just took so many twists and turns. The idea of a "perfect" society scares me and that book was a little freaky, but still influenced me.
And finally: A Tale of Two Cities
The idea of resurrection and gaining trust and love for people. At the beginning, Sydney Carton seemed like my type of guy. At the end, he seemed like the guy I would rather be. The guillotine scene at the end has shaped me. Carton > Darnay.
These, along side with the first few harry potter books were what inspired me to actually learn to read (I stubbornly remained illiterate until late grade 3).
I devoured everything I could get my hands on from then until about my 16th birthday.
90 Undead Death Knight
Homage To Catalonia by George Orwell is one of my favorite books, depicting his time serving in an international brigade during the Spanish Civil War.
Player Piano and Brave New World by Kurt Vonnegut and Aldous Huxley respectively changed how I view the world.
Contact by Carl Sagan. Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen by Garth Nix. And "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut.
Hellz yeah for the Abhorsen series. Loved that series, and seriously tempted to pick it up and read it again.
Personally? At this point, I'd say I've read such a vast array of books, each of which has impacted me to some degree that it's hard to pick out a few.
If I had to pick out a couple memorable ones, I'd say prolly Redwall (for years, whenever I wrote a story, half of them ended up being about animals, just now managing to break that), some of R.A. Salvatore's stuff (from all of his series, though I have to say those little journal bits in the Drizzt books have always held extra appeal to me), prolly some Garth Nix (Sixth Tower/Abhorsen Series)... and... ugh, there was one other author I was thinking of that I can't recall off-handedly... damnit, this is gonna haunt me for the rest of the week.
I've read all the books previously mentioned and I loved most if not all of them. The one book that sticks with me to this day and one I recommend to everyone is "The Legend of Huma". It's a Dragonlance book that I read back in the day when I was still into D&D. The book illustrates (at least to me) what it really means to be a hero and to this day I think of it. That and the books by David Gemmell. The Rigante series and the Druss the Legend books. Unbelievably awesome. They are supposed to be making a movie of the fall of Dros Delnoch. God I would kill to see that if they casted it right. And, if you want a real warrior, check out the Death Dealer books...awesome.
OK, I'll shut up now...
Anyhow, people who don't read are missing so much. To all who read BOOKS I salute you!
Nineteen Eighty-Four & Animal Farm by George Orwell
The Lord of the Rings trilogy & The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
The Alchemist by Paul Coelho
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Night by Elie Weisel
85 Goblin Hunter
Don't see anyone else with mine so here it goes.
Robert Asprin's Myth Adventures series helped me get into reading so I think that is fairly significant. I was pretty young and those books were really easy to get into and enjoy.
Incarnations of Immortality series by Piers Anthony. Once again I was young and thinking of these abstracts was new for me.
Peter F. Hamiltion's Nights Dawn trilogy. These are my favorite books now (along with his other work) and has kind of ruined other Sci-Fi for me a little.
Such great comments. This is going better than I had hoped. It's been said that you can learn a lot about someone by looking at their bookshelf. I think this thread goes to show the depth and breadth of our community. Keep it up!!
I'm excluding some since there are some I wouldn't say changed me so much as were a continuation of exploring great stories and ideas. I'm sure I'm forgetting some.
Heinlein- Starship Troopers, Red Planet, Stranger in a Strange Land and a slew of others.
Orson Scott Card- Ender's Game (and the entire series)
Anne McCaffrey- Killashandra series
Niven, Pournelle, Barnes- Legacy of Heorot and Grendel's Children
C.S. Lewis- Chronicles of Narnia (early on)
Anne McCaffrey- Dragonriders of Pern
Stephen R. Donaldson- Mirror of Her Dreams etc
Gene Wolf- Soldier of the Mist, There are Doors
Mary Stewart- The Crystal Cave etc.
Terry Pratchett- Discworld
Douglas Adams- Hitchhiker's Guide, Dirk Gently's Detective Agency
Glen Cook- Garrett Files
Non-Fiction and Poets and Classical Literature-
Various World Encyclopedias we had, National Geographic, and Grey's Anatomy (fascinating), Edgar Allen Poe, T.S. Elliot, Bronte, Homer
Edited by Nethaera on 5/4/2011 8:21 AM PDT
The Talisman was the first book that introduced me to the terrible concept that a key character could die. I think I was all of 11 when I first read it, and got so wrapped up in the story I cried for hours.
Other than that, Animal Farm. My Dad gave it to me for my 9th birthday. I got in trouble to reading it in class, so my Dad had to go in and explain he'd bought it for me. We used to sit and talk about the themes in the book. I still re-read it from time to time.
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