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

Postby PresMuffley » 04 Mar 2017, 13:09

fange wrote:Why do you hate him, Pres? Or is it his books you hate?


Well, I haven't attempted to read any of his stuff in years so I suppose my distaste for him is mostly about him as a human being - his treatment of women, his daughter, becoming a bitter, jealous alcoholic and just all-around general shittyness. When I first got into him I was 15 or 16. He was something of a god to me then, but the more I learned about him as I got older the more disappointed I became. Perhaps it's simply a matter of killing your idols or whatever, but I do feel he was, or became later in life a rather pathetic, unsympathetic individual.
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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby fange » 04 Mar 2017, 13:20

Yeah, it's sometimes hard to separate your feelings for the artists from his/her art, especially if they are well-documented arseholes. I kinda feel the same way about him as a person - but when I think of the utter joy and lightness I felt when reading 'The Dharma Bums' or 'On The Road' for the first time, I just try and focus on the words.
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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby PresMuffley » 04 Mar 2017, 13:34

I don't disagree with you. There will always be a place of appreciation for him in my consciousness, but I doubt I'll be revisiting his work anytime soon.
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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 04 Mar 2017, 13:39

I get this reaction to Kerouac. It seems like it's not so much about hating him as waking up to the realization that being like him would lead to a morally untenable life. Is that off base?

I love reading Kerouac. He illuminated something about life that other writers before him didn't quite get at fully. That's an accomplishment. Not having been friend or family to the guy, it's easy to ignore the rest. But in a way it's good to know how unsympathetic he was. It creates some pause before accepting his ethos as a blueprint for living.

Most of the folks who've influenced my thinking seem to be just as fallible - hence my earlier declaration for Lenny Bruce's autobiography. I didn't ultimately find myself wanting to be like the guy. But he did teach me a thing or two about how to recognize bullshit.
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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby PresMuffley » 04 Mar 2017, 13:45

Davey the Fat Boy wrote:I get this reaction to Kerouac. It seems like it's not so much about hating him as waking up to the realization that being like him would lead to a morally untenable life. Is that off base?


Not off base. Spot on, actually.
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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 04 Mar 2017, 13:45

I also find myself wanting to mention Vonnegut. He's a pretty obvious influence for people my age. Like a lot of folks, Slaughterhouse-Five was a gateway drug (and a book I still regard as a kind of masterpiece). Yet I hesitate to single it out as a book that "had the most profound effect" on me. Instead - I think it was just finding Vonnegut's voice in general.

Another book that had a huge influence was a book of interviews with Isaac Bashevis Singer. Not sure why...but a lot of his ideas really took root with me.

The Truffaut/Hitchcock interviews were also pretty important to me. I bought it as a kid and carried a dog-eared copy around for years before it basically disintegrated.

"What We Tall About When We Talk About Love" by Raymond Carver was pretty impactful.

Earlier in life I had a mild obsession with Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens - plowing through most of their books before driving age. Even younger, I was pretty voracious with Bradbury, Heineken, Cheever and (especially) Wells.

This thread is making me wish I read more these days.
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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby Dog Pickle 'BEAUT' » 04 Mar 2017, 14:17

Oh, Raymond Carver for me, too!

Fuck, but that man could write...
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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby Belle Lettre » 04 Mar 2017, 14:46

Cynthia Heimel's Sex Tips For Girls.
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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby fueryIre » 04 Mar 2017, 14:52

OH wrote:Oh, Raymond Carver for me, too!

Fuck, but that man could write...


Gordon Lish might have a few things to say about that...
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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby Polishgirl » 04 Mar 2017, 15:40

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Most of:

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

Postby Still Baron » 04 Mar 2017, 15:46

I went on a Waugh jag a few years back and loved it, but I think I was too old for it to really shape or change me. Same for Balzac and Vanity Fair, which I just read. Had I been younger, it would've made a bigger difference.
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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby Polishgirl » 04 Mar 2017, 15:52

Still Baron wrote:I went on a Waugh jag a few years back and loved it, but I think I was too old for it to really shape or change me. Same for Balzac and Canity Fair, which I just read. Had I been younger, it would've made a bigger difference.


I think you're right. I caught onto Waugh really because there'd previously been a fairly major adaptation of Brideshead Revisited on the tv. My mum and sister had been gripped by it at the time; I was too young at that point. It left me curious about him, so I read several of his novels in my teens. I think "Vile Bodies" really was my favourite because of the dark humour.
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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby Bride Of Sea Of Tunes » 04 Mar 2017, 15:59

Davey The Fat Boy wrote:

Earlier in life I had a mild obsession with Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens - plowing through most of their books before driving age. Even younger, I was pretty voracious with Bradbury, Heineken, Cheever and (especially) Wells.


Eh?

Heineken?

:shock:

I didn't know that this Dutch mogul also was a literary giant:

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

Postby Belle Lettre » 04 Mar 2017, 16:15

I think I can have this one on the grounds that I knew a bit more (as opposed to bugger all) about Americans after reading it:

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

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 04 Mar 2017, 17:09

Bride Of Sea Of Tunes wrote:
Davey The Fat Boy wrote:

Earlier in life I had a mild obsession with Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens - plowing through most of their books before driving age. Even younger, I was pretty voracious with Bradbury, Heineken, Cheever and (especially) Wells.


Eh?

Heineken?

:shock:


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

Postby PresMuffley » 04 Mar 2017, 17:45

PABST BLUE RIBBON!
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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby kath » 04 Mar 2017, 17:50

i am another shakespeare freak (and beowulf... and le morte d'arthur... and chaucer and and paradise lost) so we'll just throw it all in there as books or as complete works of, poetry or plays.

i don't know what to do with dickens. i'll go with great expectations, although several in the running.

some of these may not be profound, but they were all game-changers for me.

the lord of the rings, j.r.r. tolkien
alice's adventures in wonderland, lewis carroll
shogun, james clavell
one flew over the cuckoo's nest, ken kesey
slaughterhouse-five, kurt vonnegut
frankenstein, mary shelley
1984, george orwell
brave new world, aldous huxley
a clockwork orange, anthony burgess
to kill a mockingbird, harper lee
gulliver's travels, jonathan swift
the sound and the fury, william faulkner
the adventures of huckleberry finn, mark twain
ulysses, james joyce
jitterbug perfume, tom robbins
the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy, douglas adams...

i will stop here, as there is no way i can remember everything i'm forgetting.
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Re: What books have had the most profound effect on your life?

Postby kath » 04 Mar 2017, 17:54

Davey the Fat Boy wrote:
Bride Of Sea Of Tunes wrote:
Davey The Fat Boy wrote:

Earlier in life I had a mild obsession with Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens - plowing through most of their books before driving age. Even younger, I was pretty voracious with Bradbury, Heineken, Cheever and (especially) Wells.


Eh?

Heineken?

:shock:


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so what are we talking about here? heineken's stranger in a strange bar?

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

Postby Nick » 04 Mar 2017, 19:43

OH wrote:Oh, Raymond Carver for me, too!

Fuck, but that man could write...


Yep. A wonderful writer.

Have you read this John? It focuses on Carver, Hemingway, Cheever, Fitzgerald, Tennessee Wiliams, and John Berryman. Some of my greatest favourites right there.

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

Postby Nick » 04 Mar 2017, 19:45

When I was a kid, anything and everything by Richmal Crompton had a huge effect on me. I still love reading her William books, some of the funniest and smartest writing ever.

Twain's Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn too, especially the former. I must have re-read that book dozens of times.
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