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maroule
01-12-2005, 09:05:24
1/ "Memoirs of Hadrian" M. Yourcenar, a huge shock, at 25 yrs old

2/ "a history of civilisations" Braudel, the kind of book that make you think you're intelligent (you're not, but the author is) at 20

3/ "the crusades through Arab eyes" A. Maalouf at 16 yrs, taught me empathy

4/ "The Lords of the Rings" Tolkien, at 12 yrs old, blew my socks off

5/ too many books make it at number 5, can't choose. Probably fiction, probably Stendhal

King_Ghidra
01-12-2005, 10:25:54
animal farm/1984, george orwell - at 17 awoke the political intellectual in me and made me realise there was another world of the mind out there

crash, jg ballard - something in the nihilistic ultrawarped violence and sex of this connected with me, and it took me to many other places intellectually i wouldn't have otherwise gone (william burroughs, j k husymans, will self, hunter s thompson, etc.)

the end of the affair, graham greene - pretty much defined the notions of tragic/romantic love for me, in a typically stoic english way

american psycho, bret easton ellis - i became a GQ subscriber after reading this :lol: great book but it was the view of the vaccuous yet alluring world of the deisgner-clad rich that made an impression on me. i don't think i would own a gucci watch if it wasn't for this book (be that a good or bad thing).

meditations on first philosophy, rene descartes - i've read better philosophical books since, but studying this during the first year of philosophy at uni changed everything for me, nothing has been the same since



interestingly i read all of those at college or uni, it was undeniably the single most important time of my life in shaping the man i am now (intellectually at least).

i was sorely tempted to say lord of the rings as well, i am a fairly huge fantasy nerd and i can't pretend it doesn't all flow from that, but whether lotr in particular really changed me in any way, i don't know. the fantasy vibe was well established in my youth, and things like ad&d and warhammer had as much influence on me as anything else in that respect

MattHiggs
01-12-2005, 10:54:35
It's sad, but I don't think I've read any books that have had any influence. :(

The last book I read was over 7 years ago and that was for GCSE English.

Scabrous Birdseed
01-12-2005, 16:00:12
Anne Phillips - Democracy and Difference (Hugely influential on my political ideals)

Machiavelli - Discourses on the first ten books of Titus Livius (Ditto)

A book I can't remember the title of (Possibly "Myths and Legends of greece and rome" or something) that was the first book I read in English (age 11 or 12), showing me I could read perfectly well in that language and opening up a world of literature to me.

Brewster, Bill and Broughton, Frank - Last Night a DJ saved my life: A History of the Disc Jockey (changed my views on music, not a lot of books can claim that!)

Ingmar Karlsson - Det Lilla Europa: Guide till Europas små folk (A historical and geographical overview of Europe's stateless minorities. I've probably read this more times than any other work of non-fiction (since I was about 16) and It's still an area of huge fascination for me.)

No proper fiction, as you can see. I read quite a bit of fiction but I just don't consider it important, just a diversion mostly.

Lazarus and the Gimp
01-12-2005, 17:02:26
"A child's history of England"- Charles Dickens. It got me into history.

"If on a winter's night a traveller..."- Italo Calvino. It made me want to write.

"Riddley Walker"- Russell Hoban. It's the greatest work of fiction ever written.

The other two are yet to be read.

King_Ghidra
01-12-2005, 17:18:57
i'd never heard of russell hoban, but a quick glance at some reviews on amazon certainly seems to echo your rather startling claim laz. one for the xmas list i think

The Norks
02-12-2005, 20:12:24
Cooking with mother- the book that set up my early expectations of what women did, and the role of the mother as well as teaching me the delights of French toast.

The Female Eunuch- the one that brought it all crashing down again. Flawed it may be but you have to admire Greer's passion and vision.

A book of 'erotic literature' with a particular theme I found in my mother's drawer age 9

Will have to think about the other two

Fergus & The Brazen Car
03-12-2005, 11:40:17
Ursula K Le Guin's 'The Dispossessed'

George Orwell's '1984' and his collected essays and journalism

Shakespeare's 'Antony and Cleopatra'

James Joyce's 'Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man'

C. V. Wedgwood 'The King's Peace' .

paiktis22
04-12-2005, 17:43:20
_Dyed Red Hair.
The story of Louis (the name is the same as that of the first olympic winner at marathon in the 1st modern olympics in athens - so he who runs fast was called "louis" in the past) and another guy who always plays it safe, never dares anything, does what his mother tells him and aims for a job at the public sector. they're best friends. the writing of mourselas is really something else. direct and full at the same time. the atmosphere is like you have your whole country in front of your eyes and so focused and detailed at the same time to let you plunge into households, situations, life histories, personal fears, crimes and decisions voluntary and not in a flash. and there's terrific flow. this book is like drinking wine. got turned into an unsuccesful TV series later on. we all know a louis and we all know the other guy (whose name is no accident we always seem to forget)

_Saturday Night at the edge of town
By triantafyllopoulou a semi-atuobiographical of her escapades as a student in new york city and paris then back to athens. writen in a purposefully naive fashion. velvet underground, lou reed and living just like you want to but never getting what exactly you want. the contrasts of her psychology between the different places is striking. plus has one of my most liked phrases ever which i am never able to remember by heart. her writing is so fake - simplistic you drink that book up like water. her other book were let downs.

_Pattission.
That's the name of a street close to where I live. The story of this book is weird. Its writer is killed now, he was not a professional writer, just a freak case wanna be director at his early 20's who died tragically at Pattission riding his motocycle. A taxi driver went on reverse from a back alley into pattission avenue killing him instantly and his sister. After his death his parents discovered his writings. Too bad he was killed I think he'd become one of the best writers. direct, fresh and takes you into the depths of desperation in a second but always with the humour present. I never thought a guy could live so much in such a short time. deliciously self sarcastic with what seemed to be a god given knack for writing. It's a secret book, sort of, few people know it.

_De cornisons au chocolat?
No matter that this was a school book (!) made a lasting impression and a solid argument for sending your kids to "liberal" schools. just your typical teenage angst but with lost of talent and insights for a 14 year old girl.

_Les temps des amours.
pagnol
crap book. completely unworthy to speak about. but contains a phrase which got firmly attached as an excuse to be a swallow person. "what would be of romeo and juliet if there was some gramars less of flesh on the face"

maroule
05-12-2005, 10:44:16
Great, plenty of books I don't know about, it gives ideas for further readings. Keep on posting all of you!

BigGameHunter
05-12-2005, 10:48:26
In no particular order and possibly wrong/misremembered...

Siddhartha (Hermann Hesse). This was during my metaphysical days and was just a great revelatory look at loss and gain and what really matters in life. As an added bonus, it opened the door to Hesses' other books, which are a lot more dreary but have the most tangible "tones" of any author...actually...made "tonality" in writing really important to me.
"Was Atman then not within him? Was not then the source within his own heart? One must find the source within one's own Self, one must possess it. Everything else was seeking - a detour, error."


Desolation Angels by Jack Kerouac. I love all of his books and appreciate his grasping at meaning and debauchery and hedonism and all that...he's the one that made me want to write the most...another "process of life" writer. I like this one a lot because it is about isolation and return to the company of others.
"THOSE AFTERNOONS, those lazy afternoons, when I used to sit, or lie down, on Desolation Peak, sometimes on the alpine grass, hundreds of miles of snow covered rock all around..."


The Left Hand of Darkness/A Handmaid's Tale by Ursula Le Guin/Margaret Atwood. Awakened the feminist in me and made me understand more about gender as a state rather than a circumstance. Respectively wonderful and bittersweet and awful in turn.
LHOD
"A man wants his virility regarded, a woman wants her femininity appreciated, however indirect and subtle the indications of regard and appreciation. On Winter they will not exist. One is respected and judged only as a human being. It is an appalling experience."

THT
"That was one of the things they do. They force you to kill, within yourself."


Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. It's my bible.
"Great achievement looks incomplete, yet it works perfectly.
Great abundance looks like emptiness, yet its supply is never exhausted."



Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. I don't know how to be a Stoic, but I find a lot of great ideas in his writing. Good in hard times sort of thing.
"If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment."

Lazarus and the Gimp
05-12-2005, 19:30:47
You're all remarkably highbrow for a bunch of twats, aren't you?

Scabrous Birdseed
05-12-2005, 20:21:30
Actually, I'm pretty lowbrow when it comes to REAL literature. Gimme a decent detective novel any day over yet another concieted egotist retelling his own thinly-veiled life story as if it was important, filling it with blunt symbolism and characters whose only apparent quality is chronic depressivity.

Immortal Wombat
06-12-2005, 08:10:37
I'm not highbrow either.

- The first encyclopedia I got, at the age of eight, whose title I forget. I spent an entire summer reading it over, sating an intellectual curiosity which I hadn't known I possessed. Probably responsible for my later boredom in school.

- "The Bafut Beagles". By the time Gerald Durrell died, three days after my 11th birthday, I had read practically all of his books, but I think this was first. Probably in part responsible for my trip to Madagascar.

- "Swallows and Amazons", Arthur Ransome. Rescued my childhood from nintendos and football stickers.

- "The Blind Watchmaker", Richard Dawkins. Is why I'm still trying to do biology, even though anything involving microscopes bores the hell out of me.

- The internet, or more specifically, the 'poly OT. Which isn't a book, and is slightly embarrassing. Introduced me to more aspects of human life than anything else before or since.

King_Ghidra
06-12-2005, 08:54:45
Originally posted by Scabrous Birdseed
Actually, I'm pretty lowbrow when it comes to REAL literature. Gimme a decent detective novel any day over yet another concieted egotist retelling his own thinly-veiled life story as if it was important, filling it with blunt symbolism and characters whose only apparent quality is chronic depressivity.

go get your own thread for this bullshit you tired old troll

paiktis22
06-12-2005, 14:50:53
I also find that kind of books boring almost useless. And there was a period when the bookselves were filled with those. Of course there are exceptions.

Fergus & The Brazen Car
06-12-2005, 15:21:00
Originally posted by Lazarus and the Gimp
You're all remarkably highbrow for a bunch of twats, aren't you?


i Lak boks wiv drawns of cwos adn horsse and dogs an a big BiG houws.

aN yous a nasty so therr

novacane
06-12-2005, 15:31:29
Originally posted by Scabrous Birdseed
Actually, I'm pretty lowbrow when it comes to REAL literature. Gimme a decent detective novel any day over yet another concieted egotist retelling his own thinly-veiled life story as if it was important, filling it with blunt symbolism and characters whose only apparent quality is chronic depressivity.

I see some truth in that. "Catcher In The Rye" is (to my knowledge) the only work of "fiction" I have read recently and Scabrous Birdseed's words ring true with that. I enjoyed it though. Wished I had read it a few years ago. I think it might have given me a bit of clarity when I had none.

"Decent" detective novels sound like they might be quite hard to come by though. :cute:

King_Ghidra
06-12-2005, 15:39:01
basically scabby is generalising and that is pure trolling

if he wants to bring up specific examples we can discuss them

but i hope he starts a seperate thread should he do that, because this a positive thread and it needs positive honest input not non-specific whining

novacane
06-12-2005, 16:00:09
Originally posted by King_Ghidra
animal farm/1984, george orwell - at 17 awoke the political intellectual in me and made me realise there was another world of the mind out there

ditto re: Animal Farm. I studied it at GCSE level and remember being absolutely compelled and a little disillusioned when what appeared to be a revolution, simply became another hierarchy. It did more than anything else to plant the seed of not taking things at face value. Being slightly younger than K_G when I read it, I can't underestimate the genius of using animals to portray a political story. That was the hook for me, and a great way to maintain the interest of children, for whom this book is probably most valuable.

I bought 1984 a few months ago and hope to read it soon
:nervous:

Funko
06-12-2005, 16:02:46
Another ditto re: animal farm but I read it a lot later than you guys.

Scabrous Birdseed
06-12-2005, 18:52:49
The beauty of posting insults in an unrelated thread is that they absolutely cannot be replied to. :) Start a thread yourself if you wanna discuss it. Now back to the proper topic, which IS positive and interesting.

Funko
07-12-2005, 09:16:58
I guess as this is "5 books that changed your life" you are likely to get 'highbrow' and unlikely to get some trashy detective novel that passed some hours on the train?

ok...

Animal Farm (as mentioned before) for similar reasons.

Lord of the Flies - Read it as a teenager, I guess it was the first book I read that made me consider how short a distance there could be from civilisation to barbarism.

Stranger in a Strange Land - for challenging my precopnceptions of pretty much every aspect of human culture.

To Kill a Mockingbird - Only book that I still managed to love despite having to read it at english lesson pace. I guess it opened my eyes to predjudice a bit and is a beautiful sad story.

That's only 4 but nothing else jumps out at me right now like those 4.

mr.G
07-12-2005, 09:54:45
the fountainhead - Ayn Rand ( i think every architeture student has to read this book at least twice)

Sun Tzu - the art of war. just finished that one and i regret the fact i didn't read this one when i was a teenager.

The discovery of Heaven - harry mulisch. one word: masterpiece

Het Bouwbesluit 2001 (Duth new building regulations 2001) changed my life enourmous and made me think to emigrate to Australia

Comics ( like XIII)

Funko
07-12-2005, 10:04:20
Originally posted by mr.G


Het Bouwbesluit 2001 (Duth new building regulations 2001) changed my life enourmous and made me think to emigrate to Australia

:lol:

mr.G
07-12-2005, 10:26:24
ow and in 2006 i will read Catch 22.
A friend of mine gave that say 6 years ago, he is a bit disspointed at me for not reading it yet. well fuck Drekkus.

Mark David Chapman
07-12-2005, 10:39:28
Probably Catcher In The Rye changed my life the most.

AND I'D DO IT AGAIN DAMMIT!

novacane
07-12-2005, 11:14:32
Jeez, they really do have it easy in prison. I haven't even got internet access at home.

Happy Anniversary for tomorrow.

Funko
07-12-2005, 13:18:57
Ah, Catch 22! Ok that's my number 5.

King_Ghidra
07-12-2005, 13:55:17
ourgh, hated that, should have been 100 pages long, it just repeated the same joke after that

the good soldier svejk by jaorslav hasek is a better, funnier book with the same kid of themes written 50 years earlier

Lazarus and the Gimp
07-12-2005, 16:10:10
Originally posted by mr.G
the fountainhead - Ayn Rand

And it didn't put you off books entirely? Astonishing.

Funko
07-12-2005, 16:42:29
Originally posted by King_Ghidra
ourgh, hated that, should have been 100 pages long, it just repeated the same joke after that

the good soldier svejk by jaorslav hasek is a better, funnier book with the same kid of themes written 50 years earlier

Yeah, you've mentioned that book before. (possibly a previous discussion of catch 22) I want to check it out.

I found the second half of Catch 22 more interesting in a way, but I didn't really find any of it funny really.

mr.G
07-12-2005, 19:47:43
Originally posted by Lazarus and the Gimp
And it didn't put you off books entirely? Astonishing. why?

Lazarus and the Gimp
08-12-2005, 18:59:46
It must translate better into Dutch, because in English it's completely fucking awful.

The Norks
08-12-2005, 19:44:02
Ayn Rand is a love/hate writer for most people. Like literary marmite.

JM^3
08-12-2005, 21:07:13
I know that I hate her results

so many people buy into her foolish ideas after reading her books...

JM

mr.G
08-12-2005, 21:09:43
Originally posted by Lazarus and the Gimp
It must translate better into Dutch, because in English it's completely fucking awful. I read it in english but hey you know my english
For me, but maybe it is beause of my interest in the architeture / life of an arhitect it read like a childs poem.

The book was inspired by the life of Frank Loyd Wright who i think is a GOD.

Lazarus and the Gimp
08-12-2005, 21:11:58
In fairness, I don't think even Rand's fans would hail her as a master of actually putting words together. It's the ideas and philosophy that appeal more- though they seem to appeal most to people with strangely fixed expressions on their faces.

mr.G
08-12-2005, 21:13:20
nicely put Laz.

Lazarus and the Gimp
08-12-2005, 21:14:58
Scabby recommended "The Long Ships" to me, and I'm guessing it lost something in translation. Though the story wasn't bad, the narrative was limper than boiled lettuce.

Lazarus and the Gimp
08-12-2005, 21:16:09
Originally posted by mr.G

The book was inspired by the life of Frank Loyd Wright who i think is a GOD.

He designed all those buildings that are falling apart, right?

mr.G
08-12-2005, 21:16:45
nono Wright.

mr.G
08-12-2005, 21:17:46
and i think you meant falling water, what is THE MOST BEATIFUL VILLA EVAH BUILT.

Laz you do know your architeture

mr.G
08-12-2005, 21:18:44
http://www.livingonthenet.com/trips/Ohiopyle/Falling%20Water.jpg

Lazarus and the Gimp
08-12-2005, 22:20:39
Originally posted by mr.G
and i think you meant falling water, what is THE MOST BEATIFUL VILLA EVAH BUILT.



The one they spent millions on because of its distressing inclination to fall over?

mr.G
09-12-2005, 08:06:05
don't know that story but hey, mr Kaufmann owns billions and THE MOST BEAUTIFUL VILLA EVAH BUILT so who is nagging about millions, that's like pocket money.

BigGameHunter
11-12-2005, 10:03:16
We are lucky enough to have one of Wright's homes here. It was fully restored and moved 24 miles from its original spot...now on public display in a huge garden!

http://www.eastvalleynews.com/gardenguide/photos/gordon-600.jpg

Here's the floorplan...I love it...totally open and unified for the most part:

http://www.oregongarden.org/GardenPhotos/Floor-Plans/GORDON-H.gif

Lazarus and the Gimp
11-12-2005, 19:15:34
Ah, yes. Flat roof (ideal for sudden failure and costly repair), concrete overhangs (with authentic rust-staining from the rotting internal reinforcements). It's a genuine Wright.

My favorite local pub has been standing for 735 years, with just a few changes of roof in that time.

mr.G
11-12-2005, 20:50:27
Originally posted by BigGameHunter
We are lucky enough to have one of Wright's homes here. It was fully restored and moved 24 miles from its original spot...now on public display in a huge garden! yup, one of the first examples of what he called "floating spaces" like kitchen - dining - living - entrance etc without doors.

FLW rocks!!!

mr.G
11-12-2005, 20:51:26
Originally posted by Lazarus and the Gimp
Ah, yes. Flat roof (ideal for sudden failure and costly repair), concrete overhangs (with authentic rust-staining from the rotting internal reinforcements). It's a genuine Wright.

My favorite local pub has been standing for 735 years, with just a few changes of roof in that time. :lol:
didn't know you were like the "handyman"

and for your pub, i like to see it and drink beer there, you did post a pic of it didn't you. I don't understand the comparison between a FLW house and your pub tho.

Funko
12-12-2005, 08:57:59
this pub's been here for 735 years, just changed the roof 5 times, the walls 6 times...

mr.G
12-12-2005, 09:27:32
yup, but the foundation has no distressing inclination to fall over.
oops architects joke

Lazarus and the Gimp
12-12-2005, 19:21:17
Originally posted by Funko
this pub's been here for 735 years, just changed the roof 5 times, the walls 6 times...

It was the walls that allowed them to date it so precisely, funnily enough. They took a sample from the timber frame, and did dendrochronological testing that dated it to 1270 AD.

I can see the aesthetic appeal to a FLW building, but I just have an abhorrence of buildings that aren't built to last. It partly dates back to when I used to underwrite mortgages, and had to make judgement calls on whether people were wasting my time by trying to but something that was going to fall over and/or rot.

mr.G
12-12-2005, 19:44:49
normally a building is built to last 50 years,with 2 major rounds of maintenance . architecture / city design etc. is a dynamic thing.

Funko
13-12-2005, 09:23:30
Really? I've only ever lived for 2 years out of 30 in houses that were less than 50 years old.

Fergus & The Brazen Car
13-12-2005, 11:00:51
Originally posted by mr.G
normally a building is built to last 50 years,with 2 major rounds of maintenance . architecture / city design etc. is a dynamic thing.

Georgian Bath and Dublin and the somewhat earlier Windsor Castle say, 'no, say it ain't so....'


;)

mr.G
13-12-2005, 13:47:45
normally, some buildings are buit to last like the notre dame

Lazarus and the Gimp
13-12-2005, 17:27:23
I have fallen into (or jumped into) that stretch of the River Avon on at least a dozen occasions.

Lazarus and the Gimp
13-12-2005, 17:28:37
Pulteney Bridge is a typical Bath construction. A lovely facade, but from the back it looks hideous.

Fergus & The Brazen Car
17-12-2005, 10:01:20
Originally posted by Lazarus and the Gimp
Pulteney Bridge is a typical Bath construction. A lovely facade, but from the back it looks hideous.


Like the 18th Century 'Enlightenment'- fur coat and no knickers...