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Thread: What book has had the most influence on your reading taste and view towards books?

  1. #1
    Registered User cynara's Avatar
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    Mar 2009

    What book has had the most influence on your reading taste and view towards books?

    When i was twelve i discovered 'gone with the wind' and from then on i was hooked on the nineteenth century. Even though the book was written in the 30's it started my love affair of old books and simultaneously classic literature. It still remains one of my favourite books even if i can now see flaws in my previous literary ideal. So my question is what book has made the largest impact on you?

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    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
    I Canti, Leopardi. That's probably the reason I study Italian.

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    Mar 2009
    Tess of the d'Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy

    It's why I love to read tragedy so much.

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    Registered User Ghuyuran's Avatar
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    Sep 2008
    Quebec, Canada
    I have to say that Goethe's Faust is certainly one of the motivational factor that pushes me to continue studying German. My goal? To be able to read this massive work in the original language.

    A year or so earlier, I have to admit that I did not like poetry. Then I had my Poetry Class and things changed. Was it the teacher or had I matured? Too many names come to mind. Needless to say, I was introduced to the great poets and was amazed.
    Last edited by Ghuyuran; 04-14-2009 at 10:23 PM.

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    Registered User jinjang's Avatar
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    What a great question!
    I was about 10 when I read The Secret Garden that possibly was the key to open the door to my reading. The education system in Korea is such that I was loaded with school work and I read only what was required - I couldn't call it a pleasure - during my middle and high school years. The nationwide entrance examination to universities took most of my time, although I could claim I fooled around, though moderately and nothing serious, more than most of my classmates.

    During the long summers between the undergraduate years, I read some translations in Korean of the world classics, including Paradise Lost. Reading became enjoyment again. I was searching for the meaning in life and discovering a religion and so books by Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Hesse, Goethe were the most influential to me. English writers came to me much later. I tend to read author by author, meaning I read most of each author and move to another.
    Last edited by jinjang; 04-14-2009 at 11:35 PM.
    Walk, meditate, forget - Victor Hugo
    Life is bigger than literature - Michael Cunningham

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    Asa Nisi Masa mayneverhave's Avatar
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    Nov 2007

    This play essentially ruined all other reading for me because it set the bar too high. I have never been content with pretty much everything since reading that play.

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    Don Quixote Jr Don Quixote Jr's Avatar
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    Mar 2009
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    What book has had the most influence on your reading taste and view towards books?

    This is a really interesting question, but I'm afraid my answer is fairly mundane...
    I can't for the life of me single out any one book to answer this question with!
    If God lived on Earth, people would break his windows.
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    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    Saarburg, Germany
    The Assault - Harry Mulisch (if it was ever translated I'm not sure). It was my first grown-up book when I was sixteen and I made such a brilliant bookreview that my teacher asked to state my sources.

    That book introduced me to reading because it had more to offer than the story. I hated reading. From then on I loved it.

    Victorian literature I discovered through Jane Eyre which triggered a love for English literature. Thank you BBC, for your absolutely sh*t adaptation which compelled me to read the original.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'me ne se vide ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scne VII)

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    Card-carrying Medievalist Lokasenna's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
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    Hamlet had a massive impact on me when I first read it - as a slightly melancholic, existentialist 14 year old, I really identified with the Prince.

    However, I would say that reading the Anglo-Saxon poem The Wanderer in my first year of Uni was probably the largest turning point for me - I fell hopelessly in love with it, and my career as a medievalist was pretty much decided from that point...
    "I should only believe in a God that would know how to dance. And when I saw my devil, I found him serious, thorough, profound, solemn: he was the spirit of gravity- through him all things fall. Not by wrath, but by laughter, do we slay. Come, let us slay the spirit of gravity!" - Nietzsche

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    Probably "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" by Solzhenitsyn. My ebullient and wonderful English tutor was a great fan of his work - she recommended it to me, and i enjoyed it so much i automatically went on to read many of his other works. And from Solzhenitsyn, who was a great admirer of Tolstoy, i moved onto Tolstoy - which is where my love of Russian literature started!! From then, i've read Dostoyevsky, Gogol, Lermentov...i've read works by Russian poets, too, only i hate reading poetry in translation (yeah, i don't speak Russian - only English, and very rudimentary German) One day, i intend to learn Russian so i can enjoy these works as they were intended - but as yet i haven't had the opurtunity. English schools are pretty rubbish in regards to studying languages: at my school, for example, you can study either French, German or Spanish - what kind of limited selection do you call that!? It's no selection at all!

  11. #11
    ignoramus et ignorabimus Mr Endon's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
    What a great question!
    Interestingly, the book that changed my view towards books is not necessarily the best book I've read: the exquisite Watt, though not my favourite Beckett, made me realise how much I hate pretentious literature. It was quite a shock to read Bowen's Heat of the Day immediately afterwards - a shock from which I may never fully recover.

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    Registered User PoeticPassions's Avatar
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    Crime and Punishment and Anna Karenina.

    I read them both at 12 years of age. The first made me fall in love with Dostoevsky (a love affair that continues to this day, 12 years later), and incited my passion for Russian literature... for psychology even. It opened the door to many things, many works. It led to Anna, it led to Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenev, Chekhov... but mainly it led to all of Dostoevsky's novels.

    The second shaped my views on what love and passion are, for better or for worse. Anna Karenina shaped many of my world views. I learned what love is. And now I am kind of cursed to always seek out tragedy and suffering in love, and in books. It caused me to believe that love is only pure when tragic... and so on and so forth. Perhaps I have, since that day, possessed a sado-masochistic desire to be someone's Anna Karenina. Though thinking about it now, I resent Tolstoy for portraying her the way that he did. Perhaps it was out of some kind of bigotry or sexism... or perhaps it was his own warped views on sexuality and the consequences of sex.
    Last edited by PoeticPassions; 04-15-2009 at 07:45 AM.
    "All gods are homemade, and it is we who pull their strings, and so, give them the power to pull ours." -Aldous Huxley

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  13. #13
    Literature Fiend Mariamosis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cynara View Post
    So my question is what book has made the largest impact on you?
    I bought Daniel Keye's 'Flowers for Algernon', and there is where my love affair really began!
    Last edited by Mariamosis; 04-15-2009 at 09:17 AM.

  14. #14
    I grow, I prosper Jeremiah Jazzz's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce.
    It lead me to literature, as elementary as that.

  15. #15
    loquacious cat mrawr
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    Feb 2005
    The first book that tought me what it meant to not just read a book, but understand it, was Animal Farm by Orwell. Since then I have had a small passion for Orwell.
    The book was given to me by my 6th grade English teacher, since he felt I ought to read some extra curricular material; he also added a few others, Solzhenitsyn, Richard Bach, etc.
    But seriously, I remember the moment while reading in Animal Farm that it occured to me that this was not just a story about funny animals, and thus started to develop my passion for literary analysis.

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