Name the book that has most influenced you--in whatever way you so describe-- whether that book be fiction, poetry, architecture, comic, or what have you. It could be a book on Persian rugs. I just want to know about it. This influence could be what made you love to read, or hate to read, or what pushed you to write or into some particular career. My leanings are distinctly literary, but I wanted to push this out of the book club to see where the question took others.

I can't answer this question decisively. I could give a three or four-way tie, and that's the best I could do. So don't be afraid to get long and drawn out about it.

My most influential book(s):

The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, by H. L. Mencken: My first exposure to Nietzsche, and honestly probably number one on this list. Opened up new ways of thinking for me, was perhaps the first book to make me realize there was more than one way to see the world.

The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway and All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy: Both, in their own diverse ways, taught me how to write. Taught me just how much can be done with words.

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Fahrenheit 451 was revolutionary for me when I was a kid. I got to mic Ray Bradbury last year at a science fiction conference. I stole his cheese after it was over, because I was starving and I had to stay and video tape science fiction poetry which made me want to kill myself oy. But he it was really cool to hear him talk about creating his characters.

Frankenstein, I have had to read this book a few times and have used it in a few papers as examples. Every time I come back to it I am amazed how well crafted it is.

The most recent book that had an effect on me was Atonement. The first half of that book is just amazing. It’s no surprise people criticize the movie, it would just be impossible to achieve that on film.

The only poetry book, since I am not a huge poetry person, would be Leaves of Grass.
A short but very honest list...
Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters by Courtney Martin
My Life So Far by Jane Fonda (seriously, SUCH a good read)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
Gosh 1984 is influential for me too...

My fear of rats is justified by that book.
Rand: Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged - and surprisingly, I didn't get sucked into Objectivism, but I did find some of the ideology to be pretty straight on.

Orson Scott Card: Ender's Game - Makes you think about societies on a whole

KC Cole: First You Build a Cloud - Makes you think about the way our world is put together...

Any dystopian books: Lord of the Flies, Farenheit 451, the aforementioned 1984...
Writing-wise, Essays by EB White. I love his approach to the personal essay. I am reading his Letters right now.

Fiction-wise, Ada, or Ardor: A Family History by Nabokov. So complex and multi-layered and filled with fun references.

Everybody who mentioned that they liked 1984 or Brave New World should immediately go to their local library and check out WE by Yevgeny Zamyatin. It's the original and best.

The book I have talked about the most is "I Know This Much is True" by Wally Lamb. He has influenced me in my own writing. Also, I know this sounds a bit cliche, but I live by the "The Secret"

Memoirs (Rage Against the Meshugenah, Running with Scissors, An Education, Magical Thinking, Possible Side Effects, Me Talk Pretty One Day, etc.) were what got me into blogging.


Also, Harry Potter.

That inspired me quite a bit, as far as reading/writing goes.


As well as Catcher & the Rye.

I would have to say "Thank You For Smoking" by Christopher Buckley, and the short story "Hills like White Elephants" by Hemingway.  The former taught me a thing or two about comedic timing in writing, and "Hills Like White Elephants", or I guess Hemingway in general, is where I steal my structure for writing dialogue if I ever end up doing so.
+10 points for Hills like White Elephants.
I think the one that influenced my writing style when it comes to my novel was probably "The Goose Girl" by Shannon Hale. It's young adult fiction, just like what I've always been interested in writing. She's a really incredible author and a wonderful role model. I have actually interviewed and she gave me some wonderful tips for writing which is probably one of the biggest reasons I finished my first draft in the first place. It's a wonderful book just like all of her other novels.


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