Books that have moved or impacted you

TallyT

Here for the High Lord of Extra
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David Lowenthal's The Past is a Foreign Country. I first came across this at least 20 years ago as a public member of the local university library. They had 2 copes, and for something like 11 months I would have one out on loan all the time until a relative tracked down a copy of my own for my birthday (a revised edition came out relatively recently and another rellie gave me that. I keep and treasure both). I was also fascinated by history, but this book - which is about how we see history, how it shapes us and our present, how it is shaped by us, how it 'changes' as we do - did a lot to crystalise my youthful fascination into one of the deep lifelong loves of my life, and also totally shaped how I see and interpret as a whole - I have studied history and intend to do more in retirement, and this book will be there when I do.

And slightly less augustly... my very first P G Wodehouse. Because as everyone who has been there knows, one's first Wodehouse is a milestone in literary life and a joy never forgotten.
 

NoviceFan

Triple Something-Triple Looping
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Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl has had a profound and tangible impact on how I live my life.

Among my recent reads, When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi really moved me.
 

TontoK

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East of Eden, by John Steinbeck.

One of my favorite things about this book is that Steinbeck put his actual mother, grandfather and an uncle into the novel, in a story-within-the-story kind of thing. There's a hilarious story about Steinbeck's mother, Olive, during WWI when she won an aeroplane ride for raising money for war bonds.

But his Irish grandfather, Samuel, is a fabulous character who spins out stories and philosophy. He has long discussions with Lee, the Chinese houseboy/cook/nanny who cares for the main character's twins. Lee also belongs to a fabulous group of scholars (possibly mostly Chinese?) in San Francisco who meet once a week. At one point this group takes on the study of Genesis to search out meanings and translations for a particular phrase.

I love a triumphant, transcendent ending, too.

I had forgotten about this thread, and happily it pops up on my screen tonight.

I went through a phase in my late teens when I was something of a Steinbeck groupie. I read all of his works. I stated before that I tend to read in phases, and that was my Steinbeck phase. It's been so many years, I would benefit from a re-reading of his best.

I've been in a history phase recently - especially British royal histories. Anyone thinking of going down that path? I'd recommend Dan Brown's Plantagenets. His history is accurate, but reads like a novel.
 

TontoK

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And slightly less augustly... my very first P G Wodehouse. Because as everyone who has been there knows, one's first Wodehouse is a milestone in literary life and a joy never forgotten.

My intro to Wodehouse was a collection of short stories featuring The Oldest Member. All the stories are told by an old man, past his prime, who regals the willing and unwilling with tales of men and women who golfed at the club.

It was the first time I had ever had to lay a book aside because tears of laughter impaired my vision. I still have that book and treasure it.

Any author who delivers that much joy 100 years later has written a classic.

That book led me to Jeeves and Bertie.
 

Ducky

On the Ice
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Not books, but I've been on an Edna St. Vincent Millay poetry kick lately.

And a few months ago the New Yorker published the most heart breaking story by George Saunders, "Elliot Spencer" and just thinking of it makes me tear up.
 

LRK

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My intro to Wodehouse was a collection of short stories featuring The Oldest Member. All the stories are told by an old man, past his prime, who regals the willing and unwilling with tales of men and women who golfed at the club.

It was the first time I had ever had to lay a book aside because tears of laughter impaired my vision. I still have that book and treasure it.

Any author who delivers that much joy 100 years later has written a classic.

That book led me to Jeeves and Bertie.

My first Wodehouse was an early book of his - "The Little Nugget". I read this in Swedish ("Guldklimpen"); I still remember being in the shop, and Mamma pointing me towards it, and buying the book for me. The Little Nugget is a quite unprepossessing young boy, but who is the son of very rich, separated parents. He is sent to a boarding school - where various people, for various reasons, try to kidnap him. I need scarcely say, I think, that I recommend it.:)
 
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