The 3 books that had the greatest impact on you

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The 3 books that had the greatest impact on you

Postby BeaP » Fri Nov 19, 2021 8:20 am

I often have the feeling that the way a question is formulated or a topic is presented decides the fate of a thread. I'm obviously collecting recommendations, but if I ask for them directly, I think I get totally different answers. So those of you who dare (because it tells a lot about your personality) please share with us the 3 books that had the greatest impact on you. My 3 books are:
1. John Steinbeck: East Of Eden (read at the age of 16, in Hungarian)
2. Ottlik Géza: Iskola a határon / School at the Frontier (read twice, at the age of 17 and 30, in the original Hungarian)
3. Ian McEwan: Atonement (read at the age of 25, in English)
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Re: The 3 books that had the greatest impact on you

Postby DaveAgain » Fri Nov 19, 2021 9:28 am

i'm not sure how to answer this one. Three books I've read more than once are:
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Re: The 3 books that had the greatest impact on you

Postby AroAro » Fri Nov 19, 2021 11:32 am

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters - one of the first books I've read in English. I think my level was not good enough to fully appreciate it at that time but still, I enjoyed it a lot and it has this plot twist that makes you scream: "Tell me this is not happening!". I loved almost every single book by this author ever since.

Proszę bardzo by Anda Rottenberg - I'm a big fan of non-fiction literature and this autobiography, set against 20th century, is a poignant story plus stylistically one of the best things published in Polish after '89. Still remember some of the scenes to this day.

L'Assommoir - my ambition was to read the whole Rougon-Macquart series, of course I gave up but I'm glad I read this story, a real page turner though not for the faint of heart.
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Re: The 3 books that had the greatest impact on you

Postby german2k01 » Fri Nov 19, 2021 3:28 pm

When I read "Crime and Punishment" in English. I actually cried at the end of the book. It was recommended to me by one of my Polish friends from Poland at the time I was living in Pakistan.
The autobiography of "Arnold Schwarzenegger". His father and my father had a lot of commonalities- he was never appreciated by his father; he wanted to run away to a far land like the USA same goes for me. We were born in different countries he was born in Austria and I was born in Pakistan. However, we had similar goals as kids even though we had meager means of fulfilling our dreams.
As a preteen, I dreamed of visiting NYC because the picture of Manhatten stuck in my mind like this city was from another planet. I visited it in 2019 but in my 30s. It goes to show that God is well aware of your every wish.
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Re: The 3 books that had the greatest impact on you

Postby luke » Fri Nov 19, 2021 3:45 pm

The Pushcart War, read to the class by one of my favorite teachers in grade school.

Calculus and Analytic Geometry by Thomas and Finney was the most impactful in the university days.

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Re: The 3 books that had the greatest impact on you

Postby Le Baron » Fri Nov 19, 2021 4:27 pm

There are many more than three, but off the top of my head (so I assume still deep in the memory):

1. No Neutral Ground - Joel Carlson. Carlson was a young lawyer in Apartheid South Africa in the late 40s through to the 70s and after first being almost naively unaware of how the black majority actually lived, he was a pioneer in uncovering the catalogues of legal abuse and started a liaison with international human rights lawyers; to the point that his life was in danger and he had to flee the country.

2. The four of Plato's dialogues making up The Life & Death of Socrates. Despite disagreeing with a lot of Plato I love his works. I first read this at school and I still have the same Loeb Classical Library edition. However the Hugh Tredennick translation for the old Penguin Classics is much more readable (for those who failed Greek at least).

3. Confessions - J.J. Rousseau. I read this book after I'd had something of a mental collapse and was emerging from it after being unable to open a book for a long time. So I remember it well.

Honourable mentions: Down and Out in Paris and London (Orwell); Communist Manifesto; The Sociological Imagination (C.Wright Mills); The End of the Affair (Graham Greene); L’Âge de raison (Sartre); Darkness at Noon (Arthur Koestler); Love on the Dole (Walter Greenwood). Deep Water (Patricia Highsmith)... I'll stop.
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Re: The 3 books that had the greatest impact on you

Postby Ogrim » Fri Nov 19, 2021 4:47 pm

This is a tough one to answer, but I guess my top three are:

1. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I read it for the first time in my late teens and got totally enchanted both with the story and the use of the English language. I must have read it at least 10 times since then.

2. White Nights by Dostyevsky. Also a book I read in my late teens (in Norwegian translation) which touched me greatly. As a nerdish kid I identified a lot with the shy dreamer who is the protagonist of this short novel. I have since struggled my way through the original text, and will pick it up again once my Russian has improved further.

3. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. I read it in Norwegian the year it came out, and since then I have read it once in Spanish translation and twice in the original Italian. There is so much to unpack in this book apart from being a good detective story - I always discover something new when I reread it.
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Re: The 3 books that had the greatest impact on you

Postby lingua » Fri Nov 19, 2021 5:03 pm

These are three that come to mind though I'm sure there are many others.

The Brothers K by David James Duncan
The Cider House Rules by John Irving
The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy

In the past I've read most of the books by the latter two authors so this exercise has given me a little kick to see if there's anything new to consider. Duncan is probably better known for The River Why which I also read.
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Re: The 3 books that had the greatest impact on you

Postby rdearman » Fri Nov 19, 2021 5:05 pm

Here we go, I think you're asking for fiction books.

  1. Way-Farer, Dennis Schmidt
  2. Dune, Frank Herbert
  3. Noble House, James Clavell

Although all the books by those authors are amazing. I am sorry to have missed out on Lord of the Rings, but I figure that is three books so ...

Anyway, I'm going to cheat and include 3 non-fiction books!

  1. The C programming language, Brian Kerningham and Dennis Richie (AKA The white book)
  2. How to swim with the sharks, without being eaten alive, by Harvey Mackey
  3. How to get RICH $LOW, Tama McAleese certified financial planner.

I could list a half a million honourable mention in the non-fiction arena. :)
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Re: The 3 books that had the greatest impact on you

Postby sfuqua » Fri Nov 19, 2021 5:20 pm

War and Peace. Tolstoy. Read in translation. Much of what I think of as my own thoughts and opinions are just paraphrases from this huge book. Rereading it recently reminded me of how unoriginal I am. :D
The Plague. Camus. Read in translation. I read it in high school and it's stayed with me ever since. I dip into it from time to time to clarify my thinking. It stopped me from worrying as much about the whichness or what or whatever. There's plenty to do; just get on with it. :lol:
Cosmos, and other books by Carl Sagan. Both the books and the TV series. It was nice to learn that many other people experience the same sort of religious wonder that I feel just looking at this marvelous universe. It made me a science teacher. :D
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