Books that have shaped aspects of yourself

dawnstrider 05-09-2005 08:23 PM
Jo Smile .


Back with a bang or a whimper...could really care less about oft-toted return clinches, but it feels fine to be back nonetheless Smile .

Well, the title state it; Have you ever read a book or other piece of literature that has either changed your life, altered your world perception, or have generally given you something that you didn't expect (and possibly, didn't want Tongue )? I'm curious to know if such a work has and, if so, what it was and what about it struck you. For me, that book was, surprisingly, Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. I'm very much a free thinker with a built-in BS Radar and accompanying cutter, so I don't get overwhelmed or "converted" by grandiose socio-political statements; I take them for what they, maybe debate their grounds, and be on my way. With Dandelion Wine, it might be a bit too much to say that I was swept away - I'm not the type - but it's implicit, grass-roots knowledge and philosophy got me to thinking about all of the little things in life around you - friends, loved ones, and just general stuff outside of your own head. It wasn't really a "stop-and-smell-the-roses thing, but it did make me more appreciative of the hidden sources of thought and enjoyment that can be found in seemingly trivial things Smile .

I've read many a work of literature along the lines of philosophy, religion, science - you name it; but nothing has got me thinking...differently about what's around me like this one. Well, that's mine; what book/comic book/etc. has altered something about you in either a good or bad way? And why?

Peace Cool .
Darth Nat 05-10-2005 11:40 AM
Well, very few books have ever had such an effect on me that they have literally changed the way I think or feel about something. But I'd say the book that has come the closest to achieving some sort of effect in my life is, oddly enough, Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. It's really an exceptional examination of the human psyche and the criminal mind, and after reading it, I can hardly write or read something without delving deep into the subconscious thoughts of characters. It's a book that really makes you wonder about human nature: are we inherently moralistic and come to desire punishment for our wrongdoings as the book presents with Raskolnikov, or can human beings become unfeeling and morally bankrupt demons as Svidrigailov is? The psychology of the book is just great and thought provoking.

Oddly enough, another written work that has influenced me recently is Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns comic. It's really a profound look into what can happen to the world when the good people do nothing and merely become yesmen for the higher authorities, and the reprocussions and fallout of what happens when one man rises up to put an end to the madness. I consider the comic's portrayal of Bruce Wayne to be one of the most powerful and moving characterizations in any form of media. It's another book that presents many questions and really doesn't provide a whole lot of answers. It also has probably one of the most powerful and moving endings I've ever read, with two former friends and the greatest heroes the world has ever known engaging in a cataclysmic battle during what may very well be the end of the world. But in the end, it's a very human story with very human characters, and I think it forms a very accurate portrayal of the state of the world in the past decades. As corny as it sounds, it really makes me wish I could do something, to rise up and make a difference in a world on a kamikaze course toward hell, like Batman does in the story.
R and D 05-10-2005 12:40 PM
a book that has really made an influence on me? hmmm...that's kinda hard. ummm i guess it would have to be...Green Eggs and Ham. I used to read that book all the time when i was little and i guess it inspired me to read more books. Embarrassed Sweatdrop
Lady Tesser 05-10-2005 01:06 PM
Robert A. Heinlein's work, read during the impressionable years of middle-teens, and given a healthy dose of skepticism, love of history, suspicion of government, and a preference for freedom, privacy, and frontierism.

Specifically "Time Enough for Love", "The Number of the Beast", "Farnham's Freehold", "Stranger in a Strange Land", and his letters in "Grumbles from the Grave".
BethMcBeth 05-10-2005 01:28 PM
The book that really hit the most and still ahs for a long time was Time Cat

I loved the adventures of it, the book also inspired me when things were going wrong back in the day and I did also learn quite a bit of history as well, and for some odd reason it has always stuck with me.

pen1300 05-10-2005 07:48 PM
Oh gosh. So many books come to mind that I don't see their titles. Here's a few:

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson: At the time I read it, I felt VERY much in touch with the character just in that she was outcasted. I was in one of my times where it seemed like I had no friends. Speaking of which, I think I was a freshman when I read it.

Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson: Read during my senior year of high school. Again I related to the character and I was happy to have read it at the time I did. Sometimes books just come to me.

The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter: I read this book for Gothic Lit. BLAST! I related to this character so much that I didn't like the fact she represtented who I thought I was. I don't know. I just gained a little better understanding of myself when I read it.

Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury: Honestly, I LOVE this guy. This was just a good book. I'm afraid I messed up the title slightly. *Shrugs* Still, he voices the best ideas when it comes to writing!

The Hero's Daughter by {I forget}: Made me realize I have a LOT of growing to do.



There will probably be more. I have read a lot of books.
Prince-Consort Tesser 05-11-2005 12:25 PM
Old Superman comics. Especially the concepts of doing the right thing because it is the right thing and not doing the wrong thing just because you can.
Pero_Is_Crying 05-19-2005 01:42 PM
Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite never gave me any profound revelations, but it did put me on a bus to New Orleans several times. I've been in love with that city ever since I read the prologue. Brite captures the beauty and diversity of the place like no one else. I think I can blame her for all the books I've read and documentaries I've taped about New Orleans and South Louisianna since.

Also, I don't know if I had a security blanket as a kid, but for years since I've had The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and Bullfinch's Mythology. Tough times and unfamilliar situations find me climbing back into Middle Earth and Aurthuriana. If caffeine hadn't rotted out every synapse in my brain I've have memorized them both by now.
Travis Bickle 05-19-2005 02:00 PM
As odd as it may seem, I used to see myself as some sort of spitting image of John Savage/the Savage/however he's referred to in Brave New World.

Now, it's just Nine Inch Nails lyrics for me (especially With Teeth).
Monk 05-21-2005 05:57 PM
Bone By Jeff Smith
It shaped my Aspects and Judgements on Political Power (Knights and magical kings) But it still in all of it was very funny.

Johny the Homicidal Maniac Jhonen Vasquez

Something to help me shape myself into
Ace of Spades 05-22-2005 10:39 PM
Hmmm books that have shaped my psychological being and why? Weeeellllllll....

Stranger in a Strange Land - Taught me never to trust the Government

Johnny The Homicidal Maniac - Showed me what it was like to be different in a society that has no remorse or pity for the different.

Atlas Shrugged - Learned that the is no such thing as a perfect anything.

The Fountain Head - It showed me how its good to have your own personal individualism at the hands of mere Second Hand Souls.
anjuta 06-21-2005 01:10 AM
Anything (or nearly anything) by Alexander Dumas [dew-MAH] helped me a lot through teenage years, because even though he was alive during the renessance, teen issues were still the same, like hating your 'rents or breaking up or losing a really good friend.. Stuff like that never gets old, it's a classic no matter what era you live in. So I read lots of books by him. "Life of Angelique" by Anne & Serge Golons helped me understand people and the way they think better when I was younger. It basically tells a story of this girl who was born into a family of a aristocrats who were totally broke so they had to arrange a marriage for her. But surprisingly, she falls in love with the wealthy count who is her husband (whom at first she of course hates). But then the king feels so jealous of his money and so insecure next to a big vassal power like that and so he accuses him of witchcraft, buys off the judges, executes him by burning him. So the girl who's like 19 and pregnant is kicked out of her own house with no where to go and she must steal and eat rotten crap she accidentally finds and live with criminals. Then eventually she finds her way back up, she gets a job, fixes up this ran down pub and starts getting rich. Money is her ticket to nice things and even aristocrat friends, so she tries once again to regain her place in the king's crowd for the sake of her son who's entitled to a name and money by birth. After all, he is an heir of a count. Then the king comes on to her but she hates him for what he's done to her husband, and refuses him. He angrily reveals that he did not kill her husband but had a change of heart at the last minute and her husband was just kicked out of the country but is still alive. so she goes on to search for him in Asia where he was last heard from. Her ship is taken over by pirates and she is sold into slavery, she is to become a muslim Sultan's concubine. She escapes just before he is about to either kill her because she won't accept Islam and goes back to her country only to be arrested by the king's people. The king's still furious that she refused him and left the country without his concent. She goes to jail and is released a week later because the king wants to see her but she fakes really ill and asks to go back to her castle in the country. However, he keeps sending her letters threatening her to come back or her son will have to pay for her "mistakes"... She rebells and raises her whole entire province against the king and kills a bunch of his drunken rapists-soldiers. Her makeshift army gets slaughtered though, and she must seek refuge among Huguenots - French Puritans who are persecuted because of their religion. She begs a pirate who once helped her escape slavery into taking her and a bunch of her Huguenot friends to America where she's heard English Puritans found peace. The pirate agrees and on the way there reveals to her by taking off his black mask that he is her husband. But he is angry at her for not recognising him, for being ready to marry on of the Huguenot men who's with her. He's more like a friend to her, though, and she never wanted to marry him, just didn't know how to say "no" nicely, so she was asking for more and more time. She's angry at him for never letting her know he was alive. By the time they get to America, they've sorted things out though. But once they get there, a bunch of French canadians do all kinds of things to destroy their fort and break them two up.... It's long but very very interesting.... ^_^ I obviously rambled on for like an hour.
Sir Nise 06-21-2005 11:12 AM
Welll...I think most things DR. Seuss are pretty much a given. The House of The Scorpions was a pretty thoughts-towards-conservatives changing book. Now i don't like them even more.

And how could I forget? Aaron McGruder's comic the Boondocks. All of those collections raised my radicalism level another 8 notches.
Hienrich Ele 07-14-2005 08:51 PM
Semi older thread...

The entire Lonseome Dove quadrilogy, especially the last two, really changed my aspects. Call's character is one I will never forget, and changed my views on many things.

The Great Gatsby did as well.

"Can't repeat the past!? Why Old Sport, of course you can!" Hit me hard. Poor, poor Gatsby.

Couple of Batman comics made me view people different. Sounds funny, I know. But the one line in Arkham Asylum where the doctor asks the guy why he cuts himself, to which he responds "Just to feel... Anything" Was something that me me go "Oh"

And, of course, Zombie Survival Guide. Both because it created great discussions between my friend and I and for the protection it gives.
President Alex Rosewater 07-15-2005 07:52 PM
Enemy Within By
spoiler (highlight to read):
Michael Savage

Taught me to look at what SOME of my teachers were teaching me...

Hobodoken 07-15-2005 07:59 PM
Definately going with Stranger in a Strange Land by Heinlein.

Such an awesome book, really made me and a bunch of friends think.
088nd 07-15-2005 08:38 PM
Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger

Because Holden Caulfield is the physical manifestation of what I used to feel about everyone. Everyone was an enemy and some sort of conformist to me. I had been over this phase for a little while in my life, but when I read this book, it really brought me into a state of mind to show me how much I was in the wrong, and how much I had wronged others.

The Sun Also Rises Ernest Hemingway

Beautiful characterization. This book made me want to jump out of my little rut and create truthful relationships with my friends. Through the good, through the bad, etc.
aeternus_flammus 07-27-2005 07:22 PM
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn

It put the world in an entirely new perspective.
Generalissimo D 07-27-2005 07:27 PM
Though not really a book...its a short story that someone told me to read.
Harrison Bergeron
by Kurt Vonnegut

This just threw me ideas out of whack. For a moment, I looked at my strange, marxists Ideals and went..."WTF?!". I now am no longer going to bother with the notion of true human equality.

A good read. I recommend it.
StevieV019 07-29-2005 08:09 AM
Lance Armstrong: Its Not About the Bike

A Catcher in the Rye

The Alchemist

Short story: The Most Dangerous Game