What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

in reality, all of this has been a total load of old bollocks
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PresMuffley
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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby PresMuffley » 03 Mar 2017, 08:53

The Great Defector wrote:
toomanyhatz wrote:Not to start another religious argument - there's no such thing as a religious "discussion" on BCB - but I find the concept of "disagreeing" with the Bible to be an odd one. No one would "disagree" with the Bhagavad-Gita, for example. They treat it as a series of stories from which you can glean a variety of conclusions - not all of which are "you must live THIS way or you're bound for hell." But maybe it's mostly Americans - and only in recent history - that go straight to the authoritarian elements and ignore the rest.



Trying to be raised a catholic in Ireland, you very much got the "you must live this way.......". The church and Ireland couldn't be separated up to maybe a decade ago. In other countries you might have an argument, but not in Ireland when I was growing up.


I think you both make great points. Oftentimes how you are first exposed to something shapes the way in which you feel about it to such a degree that is nearly impossible to shake your initial conclusions. This happened to me in my enrichment class in elementary school when our teacher shoved Shakespeare down our throats. I've never quite recovered from that... yet.

Have you read Edna O'Brien, Great Defector?
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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby Toby » 03 Mar 2017, 09:01

toomanyhatz wrote:Not to start another religious argument - there's no such thing as a religious "discussion" on BCB - but I find the concept of "disagreeing" with the Bible to be an odd one. No one would "disagree" with the Bhagavad-Gita, for example.


That's because, in the main, it lies on the periphery of our moral imaginations. It's too exotic and distant to be condemned outright.

I'd love to read it but I'm always aware of Mencken's quote about Eastern philosophy...

HL Mencken wrote

It is, fundamentally, a moony transcendentalism almost as absurd as that of Emerson, Alcott and company. It bears no sort of relation to the known facts, and is full of assumptions and hypotheses that every intelligent man must laugh at.

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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby Robert » 03 Mar 2017, 09:21

Rayge wrote:'Profound effect' is difficult for me to justify.
As a writer myself, the books that affected me most are to do with style, as a person, gut-busting drollery.
In the first category,
Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (easily my favourite, and most influential book)
Visions of Cody by Jack Kerouac
Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut
Moby Dick
Erections Ejaculations and General Tales of Ordinary Madness (I think that's what it's called) by Bukowski
Straddling the two:
The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brian
Uproarious:
A Touch of Daniel by Peter Tinniswood (and others in the series)
the Molesworth books by Willans and Searle
The Fan Man by William Kotzwinkle (probably my favourite author overall, and the only one I like still living)
Revenge of the Lawn (short story) by Richard Brautigan

Moving away from the literary, virtually any collection of Calvin and Hobbes comics.

And into non-fiction
Frisbee by the Masters by Charles Tips


Wot, no The Book Of The Law ??

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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby Geezee » 03 Mar 2017, 09:39

Master & Margarita. I've still never read anything like it. There's a bit of a carnival feel to the book now - Russia seems to be using it to attract toursim - and I hear there is a Hollywood version coming up - and it's disappointing that nobody seems to care that I discovered the book way before it was cool.

Similar to Belle Lettre I'll put Death on the Nile there as well - it was the first adult book I read in English, and I'll never forget my total confusion in the first chapter where there a couple are madly in love, and in the very next chapter, the guy is married to someone different, but there is no initial explanation and the plot is zipping along as if nothing has happened. I was convinced it was down to issues over my own comprehension / language and kept reading and rereading those first two chapters to try to figure out what on earth was going on. I remember my total shock/frustration when I eventually read on and it was explained what had happened - and I don't think I've ever trusted a narrator ever since.
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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby fueryIre » 03 Mar 2017, 09:50

Geezee wrote:
Master & Margarita. I've still never read anything like it. There's a bit of a carnival feel to the book now - Russia seems to be using it to attract toursim - and I hear there is a Hollywood version coming up - and it's disappointing that nobody seems to care that I discovered the book way before it was cool.



Wonderful book - first read it in about 1977 and have re-read it pretty much every decade since then. Not sure when you first got into it G, but the book first really began to enter Western culture big time when Marianne F turned Mick J onto it in the mid-60s (Bulgakov's influence on Sympathy for the Devil is there for all the world to see).

Not sure if you saw it, but tehere was a very good Russian TV version on Sky a couple of years back. Ultimately, I hope and pray that the talk of a Hollywood version never gets past the talking stage. The possibility of having someone like Jim Carrey or Adam Sandler play Behemoth is horrifying and not in a nice way
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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby Toby » 03 Mar 2017, 09:53

I always call it the Master and the Margarita. LOL

It is a brilliant book, but one I think I need to reread properly.

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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby Fonz » 03 Mar 2017, 11:08

The Bible. Set my moral compass. Or at least people/society taking their lead from the Bible shaped my moral philosophy. Never needed to alter the basics. Ten Commandments etc.

'Cigars of the Pharaohs'. The first Tintin book I read. Gave me a desire to travel, and visit Egypt among other places.

'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus'. I didn't realise men and women were different until reading this. It taught me everything I needed to guarantee success on the local pick-up circuit.

'Crazy from the Heat' David Lee Roth's autobiography. Incredibly positive and uplifting, believe it or not. A man who doesn't stand still.

The Alexandria Quartet. My first foray into words that were a bit more sensual than my normal crime fiction.
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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby Bride Of Sea Of Tunes » 03 Mar 2017, 11:24

fueryIre wrote:
Geezee wrote:
Master & Margarita. I've still never read anything like it. There's a bit of a carnival feel to the book now - Russia seems to be using it to attract toursim - and I hear there is a Hollywood version coming up - and it's disappointing that nobody seems to care that I discovered the book way before it was cool.



Wonderful book - first read it in about 1977 and have re-read it pretty much every decade since then. Not sure when you first got into it G, but the book first really began to enter Western culture big time when Marianne F turned Mick J onto it in the mid-60s (Bulgakov's influence on Sympathy for the Devil is there for all the world to see).

Not sure if you saw it, but tehere was a very good Russian TV version on Sky a couple of years back. Ultimately, I hope and pray that the talk of a Hollywood version never gets past the talking stage. The possibility of having someone like Jim Carrey or Adam Sandler play Behemoth is horrifying and not in a nice way


Thanks to all who brought up Bulgakov -

I immediately jotted down that this is mandatory for me. 18 months ago I had a great discussion with an Ukranian lady (Natalia S.), who left her country and found asylum in Holland (I don't know the details, save for her comment that she found the way she was treated very humiliating). She is a medical doctor, specialized in helping people with substance addictions. And she's very beautiful, gifted with a unique sense of humour.

Our talk was about classic Russian literature. And she really stressed several times that I should read Master and the Margarita (haha, I find this variation very funny!).

I will oblige, with her wonderful personality in mind!
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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby fange » 03 Mar 2017, 11:54

Fonz wrote:'Cigars of the Pharaohs'. The first Tintin book I read. Gave me a desire to travel, and visit Egypt among other places.

Ah, nice one, you've reminded me of the Asterix and Tintin books. I absolutely devoured them as a kid, rereading them many times over. They were a big influence on my developing love of history and geography/travel.
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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby Toby » 03 Mar 2017, 12:28

Asterix for sure. I'm sure it was foundational for my reawakened love of Classics.

The only book my father ever pressed into my hands was The Good Soldier Svejk by Jaroslav Hasek and it remains one of my favourites.

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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby The Great Defector » 03 Mar 2017, 12:30

toomanyhatz wrote:
The Great Defector wrote:Bible, genuinely. I disagreed with so much of it growing up and having to read and listen to its teachings. It just made me not want to follow it blindly and make up my own mind, which carried on to other subjects.


Don't mean to harp on this, and I probably am just picking on your language usage (not that I'd be the first to do that by a longshot :D ), but I wonder if what you really mean here is that you disagreed with how the Bible was interpreted? If you just disagreed with the book itself, you'd have no reason to ever pick it up again. So did re-reading it with "making up your own mind" as the goal make it more, if you will, agreeable?


Well we're talking about books that have had a profound effect on your life, what is the catalyst for this for me, the bible. I get what you are saying but I stand by what I said. The bible as a whole, had this affect on me.
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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby The Great Defector » 03 Mar 2017, 12:31

PresMuffley wrote:
Have you read Edna O'Brien, Great Defector?


I have not.
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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby Still Baron » 03 Mar 2017, 12:48

Toby wrote:
toomanyhatz wrote:Not to start another religious argument - there's no such thing as a religious "discussion" on BCB - but I find the concept of "disagreeing" with the Bible to be an odd one. No one would "disagree" with the Bhagavad-Gita, for example.


That's because, in the main, it lies on the periphery of our moral imaginations. It's too exotic and distant to be condemned outright.

I'd love to read it but I'm always aware of Mencken's quote about Eastern philosophy...

HL Mencken wrote

It is, fundamentally, a moony transcendentalism almost as absurd as that of Emerson, Alcott and company. It bears no sort of relation to the known facts, and is full of assumptions and hypotheses that every intelligent man must laugh at.


I suspect this was all a pretext for taking the piss out of Emerson.
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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby Robert » 03 Mar 2017, 13:23

Character - F. Bordewijk
Max Havelaar- Multatuli
The Sponger - Nescio
The Valley of Duties - Nescio
( in fact, pretty much everything by Nescio, which is not an awful lot)
Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
Catcher in the Rye - J.D.Salinger
You can't Win - Jack Black
The Sufferings of Young Werther - Goethe
The New Sufferings of Young W.- Ulrich Plenzdorf
From the Life of a Good-for-Nothing - Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff   
On the Road - Jack Kerouac
Junkie - W.Burroughs
The Loneliness of The Long Distance Runner -Alan Sillitoe

And many, many more that escape me for the moment.

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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby Still Baron » 03 Mar 2017, 13:41

Coupland, Generation X
Hemingway, Sun Also Rises (I don't remember much of the book, but I remember how it made me feel)
Kerouac, On the Road
Faulkner, As I Lay Dying/Sound and Fury/Go Down Moses
Trouser Press Record Guide
Spinoza, Ethics (I don't remember specifics of this either, but it was definitely huge at the time)
Doctorow, Book of Daniel
Naipaul, Guerrillas
Davis, City of Quartz
Cahiers du Cinema the 1950s
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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby Bride Of Sea Of Tunes » 03 Mar 2017, 14:57

Still Baron wrote:Coupland, Generation X
Hemingway, Sun Also Rises (I don't remember much of the book, but I remember how it made me feel)
Kerouac, On the Road
Faulkner, As I Lay Dying/Sound and Fury/Go Down Moses
Trouser Press Record Guide
Spinoza, Ethics (I don't remember specifics of this either, but it was definitely huge at the time)
Doctorow, Book of Daniel
Naipaul, Guerillas
Davis, City of Quartz
Cahiers du Cinema the 1950s


Ah, Book Of Daniel, Loon Lake, World's Fair - all superb!

Still want to read Homer & Langley, about brothers with a terrible hoarding disorder.
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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby Dog Pickle 'BEAUT' » 03 Mar 2017, 14:58

Oh yeah, Burroughs' Junky too. Loved that.

And his letters to Ginsberg. And HST's letters too.
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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby Deebank » 03 Mar 2017, 15:15

The Haunter Of The Dark (and others) - H P Lovecraft
The Illuminatus! trilogy - Robert Anton Wilson, Robert Shea
Foucault's Pendulum - Umberto Eco
The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
Home - Francis Pryor
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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby Moleskin » 03 Mar 2017, 15:22

fueryIre wrote:
Geezee wrote:
Master & Margarita. I've still never read anything like it. There's a bit of a carnival feel to the book now - Russia seems to be using it to attract toursim - and I hear there is a Hollywood version coming up - and it's disappointing that nobody seems to care that I discovered the book way before it was cool.



Wonderful book - first read it in about 1977 and have re-read it pretty much every decade since then. Not sure when you first got into it G, but the book first really began to enter Western culture big time when Marianne F turned Mick J onto it in the mid-60s (Bulgakov's influence on Sympathy for the Devil is there for all the world to see).

Not sure if you saw it, but tehere was a very good Russian TV version on Sky a couple of years back. Ultimately, I hope and pray that the talk of a Hollywood version never gets past the talking stage. The possibility of having someone like Jim Carrey or Adam Sandler play Behemoth is horrifying and not in a nice way


The Russian TV version is excellent. Available on DVD.. The subtitling is poor in places but you can mostly get the gist of it.
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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby Belle Lettre » 03 Mar 2017, 16:21

Toby wrote:Asterix for sure. I'm sure it was foundational for my reawakened love of Classics.


I would have voted Asterix except that I don't think developing an interest in all things Roman has really changed my life - I'm not studying like Toby or anything.
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