The books and albums that really influenced me were the ones that put me on a crossroads, of sorts- the ones I keep on re-reading because they were excellent in itself and sent me onto travels into other directions. With literature I can think of this one being very influential when I read it first at a pre-teen age:
This reading of Greek mythology stayed with me a long time- I kept on lending it from the library and, about a decade ago, bought a copy when traveling in the Netherlands again. It put me on the path of other folk tales and I have read many other tales of long forgotten civilisations but the Greek ones always had a certain drama, the main characters are fascinating in their often unlikeable and human-like ways.
Other books like Lord Of The Rings have taken the whole concept of a folk tale to a new extreme too, which is why sci-fi and fantasy are favorite with me too. I love travel-stories for the same reason- the next thing I really got into were authors like Jules Verne who took the adventure-novel to a sci-fi-like level and whose descriptive narratives of some of the amazing spots on this earth have made me dream of visiting them (I just got back from Patagonia, described in The Children Of Captain Grant
). So, in many ways this book was pivotal for me.