28 March 2010

Ten most influential books

One of those parlour games/memes is spreading around. I usually ignore them. But it's seems worthwhile to identify your influences and lazy not to take the time to think it through.
"Influential" turns out to be a trickier concept than it looks like at first. Influences, for one thing, run in both directions, towards and away. Influential doesn't necessarily mean high quality or best or favorite.
Anyway, here's my list of books that changed the way I think about things or that still shape my life.

The Bible
(Not because I'm Christian, but I grew up in a church where we studied the Word intensively. I read it through, once as a believer and again, later as a heathen.)

War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner

The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway

Zorba the Greek, Nikos Kazantzakis

The Portable Nietzsche,  Friedrich Nietzsche, edited by William Kaufman
(Includes the complete Thus Spoke Zarathustra, together with long selections from the Gay Science and Genealogy of Morals as well as letters and essays)

Essays and Aphorisms, Arthur Schopenhauer

Letters from a Stoic, Seneca

Victory, Joseph Conrad

Collected Poems, W.B. Yeats

On Aggression, Konrad Lorenz

Advertisements for Myself, Norman Mailer

Oops, that's 12.

What are your top 10?


  1. hey, I tossed in a trackback, but in case, I replied here: http://www.140mileseastofcool.com/2010/10books/

    so as to not clog your comments with my drivel

  2. Yes, thank you for not sullying my pristine "0 comments" notices.

  3. what can I say, I'm a moron.

  4. Heh. Well, what I meant to say before the self-pity kicked in was: clog away. Clog like hair and grease put together.
    We -- oops -- enjoy all comments, as long as it's not some vile spam.

  5. Hilarious! What is it with War and Piss? I hate that book, but every guy I know has it in their night table..