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Ok, folks - what are the five most influential, or transformative books you've read? (I'm always looking to expand my reading list!)

Here's my 5:

  1. The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoevsky
  2. The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
  3. The Body Keeps the Score - Bessel Van der Kolk
  4. The Book of Ruth - (it's in the Bible - I know, not a good idea here)
  5. The Road Less Traveled - Scott Peck
Keith_J 6 May 30

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The Hitchhiker's Guide series

Which Douglas Adams called a trilogy... it's way more then 3 books! lol


Island of the blue dolphins by ODell got my reading bug started when I was a kid.
But the rest I will have to think about there are so many. BTW the poisonwood bible was a great read.

I used to live on Catalina which was a stone's throw from where that book was based on! Read it as well.


My 1971 diary, my 1972 diary, my 1973 diary, my 1974 diary, my 1975 diary. I stopped writing them and keeping them to read later because they were found by my GF. Too much information she used to become my wife in 1980.

Planning on selling copies?!?

@BlueEyesDallasTX Once she found them and had them in her possesion while I was in Navy Bootcamp, I knew I had to throw them away.. I sure enjoyed reading them. I loved my routine before crash, everything happened that day, girls names when, how met, details, always a compendium of the day and the night. Too much info. When I came home for xmas, she had a wedding dress and I found by my buddies, you getting married and we did on christmas day. I wish I had them.... oh the memories that will bring!!!!! My life is too sedated to start again the habit now. But they were great read of a life and times of a 17 to 21 Alfa Puertorrican in search of adventure. The Big Afro Diaries. I could just picture her with her girlfriends reading the damn things.... I feel violated right now.

@GipsyOfNewSpain I once had a couple diaries in a purse that was stolen. I was probably most upset at losing those then the cards, money, purse (which was the only expensive purse I've ever bought.) Those diaries kept my memories fresh. I feel your pain!

@BlueEyesDallasTX I am very sorry for your loss. And that is why I hate thieves and one day I will like to cut one in pieces just to rob the individual of his/her life.


The Crying of Lot 49 - Pynchon
Pic - Kerouac
Master and Margarita - Bulgakov
Moby Dick - Melville
Genesis - Who knows? [earliest book to have as main characters grifters, prisoners, murderers, goatherds, alcoholics, and a whore.]

  1. The Brain Diet by Dr. Alan C. Logan

  2. How To Analyze People On Sight by Elsie Lincoln Benedict

  3. Physiognomy by Dr. Joseph Simms

  4. Common Sense by Thomas Paine

  5. Opticks by Isaac Newton

  6. USA Culture Smart! by some fat hoe

  7. A Discourse on Method by Renee Descartes

  8. Watchmen by Alan Moore

  9. Philosophae Naturalis Principia Mathematica by Isaac Newton

  10. Some paper on Grothendieck Rings


Most of what I would offer are books that, if anyone has the slightest interest, would have read them already: The Hitchhikers Guide series, 1984, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Bible in general for empowering me to call bullshit as a bible scholar

The one recommendation I have that you might not have already read is the Soul of the Night by Chet Raymo. Beautiful poetic language about astrophysics, the stars, the myths man has made around everything. He’s a physics professor at stone hill and writes beautifully. It was fairly heavy reading material for a 14 year old but I think it was one of the first things to really shake me out of my mystic religious haze and wake me up to the beauty of the natural universe.

  1. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  2. The Cider House Rules by John Irving
  3. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  5. Beloved by Toni Morrison

@Keith_J, I really enjoyed Barbara Kingsolver's The Bean Trees and Pigs in Heaven.

I need to read that! Thank you.

@Keith_J Please do . . . and make sure you read them in order. 🙂


A Mind That Found Itself-Clifford beers.
Grapes of Wrath-John Steinbeck
On The Road-Jack Kerouac
Clockwork Orange-Anthony Burgess
A Child's Garden of Grass-Jack Margolis


To Kill a Mockingbird-Harper Lee
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings-Maya Angelou
The Grapes of Wrath-John Steinbeck
The Obsidian Mirror-Catherine Fisher
El Aleph- Jorge Luis Borges


Okay, I have to ask, how long did it take you to read The Brothers Karamazov?!? I've heard it's a great book. You've also now have me curious about the Book of Ruth. ..

Karamazov took me awhile. Russian writers don't leave out detail.

Ruth is a piece of protest literature. She was a gentile widow who married a Jewish man, which was taboo in that day. I won't give away the surprise at the end of the story, but in that day and culture it was a radical thing.

@Keith_J I'm sold!


Copied and pasted from a previous post of mine:
I just finished Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. Loved it. Lots of little interesting facts. Also listened to Letter To A Christian Nation by Sam Harris. Short, but also good. Also recently finish God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens. Very good but brutally honest when speaking about the atrocities committed by the church. Currently listening to The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. Very blunt and unapologetic about his disdain for all religions.

Edit: Okay. I know it's a kids book but I don't care! The Giver by Lois Lowry. I can't get the images and scenes out of my head that I created by reading it. Watched the movie and was devastated. My brain was much more interesting!

Kids books are great! I read "The Velveteen Rabbit" and "The Fall of Freddie the Leaf" several times each year.

  1. Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk
  2. Don't Make Me Think - Steve Krug****
  3. Innumeracy - John Allen Paulos
  4. Time Quake - Kurt Vonnegut
  5. Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card

****technically about Web Design best practices, but I've found that about 90% translates to all types of communication.

Love Kurt Vonnegut he is one of my favourite Sci-fi writers of all time along with Philip K Dick and Ray Bradbury

@LenHazell53 'Do Android Dream of Electric Sheep?' would definitely have made the Top 10.


War And Peace -Leo Tolstoy

The Brothers Karamatzov- Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Moby Dick-Herman Mellviille

Catch 22- Joseph Heller

The Old Man And The Sea-Ernest Hemmingway

War and Peace, Karamazov, and Moby Dick - not exactly "bathroom reading."


Hard to pick just 5 but here goes....

Demon Haunted World - Carl Sagan
Cosmos - Carl Sagan
The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
The Wheel of Time - Robert Jordan (15 total books)
The Power of Myth - Joseph Campbell

The Power of Myth is incredibly insightful. Campbell was brilliant.

  1. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking.
  2. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
  3. A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martian
  4. The First Congress by Fergus M. Bordewich
  5. Our Lives, Our Fortunes and Our Sacred Honor by Richard R. Beeman

Brief History of Time was amazingly readable, I thought.


1: The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight
2: Spiritual Midwifery
3: Grapes of Wrath
4: Coming of Age in the Milky Way
5: Dreaming the Dark
Honorable Mention: Ragtime, Magic and the Western Mind, Harlot By the Side of the Road.


The Mystic Path to Cosmic Power by Vernon Howard


The Crying of Lot 49 - Pynchon
Pic - Kerouac
Master and Margarita - Bulgakov
Moby Dick - Melville
Genesis - Who knows? [earliest book to have as main characters grifters, prisoners, murderers, goatherds, alcoholics, and a whore.]


Putting on the Mind of Christ by Jim Marion - because it was my springboard out of typical Christian thought.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo - because it gets at the idea that there is something out there, without having to define it.

Adventures Beyond the Body by William Buhlman - because during the time I was reading it I had my first out of body experience, and it provided great food for thought

The Baghavad Gita - The character of Krishna, I thought, provided a nice framework within which to ponder our human situation

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse - A nice example of following one's own thoughts rather than adhering to an "off the shelf" belief system.

.... and various books on Jungian psychology - again, his ideas provide a good framework within which to understand our lives and our selves.

Fins Level 4 May 31, 2018

I know this isn't exactly what you are looking for, but I read a book when I was young that totally changed the way I think/approach others. I can't remember the title, but it was by Robert Heinlein. In the story a dragon from Venus (yes, I know this sounds silly, but it works in the story) tells a human that his people are totally astounded that humans can stand on a sidewalk and just by looking gauge the speeds of the oncoming cars to decide if it is save to cross the street. I had never thought about it but it really is a remarkable skill. The book made me realize that how I think of things is not necessarily the way another does. I've been reading science fiction since then. My advice is to check out the various types of science fiction and try something that sounds good to you.


Non Fiction

A History of Western Philosophy Bertrand Russell.
Why I am not a Christian Bertrand Russell.
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything Christopher Hitchens
The Divine King in England by Margaret Alice Murray


Small Gods Sir Terry Pratchett
The Great Pursuit Tom Sharpe
The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams
Ardath Marie Corelli
Sorrows of Satan Marie Corelli

I used to sell Tom Sharpe his newspaper every morning, incidentally. Quite an impressive claim to fame, if you ask me!


Other than Webster's Dictionary / Daniel Webster------Always have one near for obvious reasons
1)The Gift of Fear/ Gavin de Becker-------Sharpened my self defence skills
2) Black Like Me / John Howard Griffin------- Taught me empathy
3) Lord of the Flies/ William Golding----Confirmed my fears of what males become sans woman
4) Silent Spring/ Rachel Carlson------Became an ardent envioronmentalist at 11 years old.
5) 1984/ George Orwell--------Taught me that a toxic government is a vote away

  1. The Pentagon Papers. 2. None Dare Call It Treason. 3. None Dare Call It Conspiracy. 4. Che Guevara's Handbook on Guerrilla Warfare. 5. Blue Jackets Manuel.
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