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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Friday 2 March 2012

The Top 10 Books That Have Influenced Me

I read this, and got thinking about the books that have influenced me in my life. 

So, I decided to make a list.  I cut it from 20 to 10; as a writer, it’s always good to try stripping down your message to deliver it clearly.

Here’s my top 10:

-          Miyamoto Musashi was a samurai in 17th Century Japan.  Because of an interest in his life developed through reading Sword of the Samurai, I picked this up way back in elementary school.  Every time I read it – frequently a couple times a year – I pick up something new.  His philosophy of fighting and planning has informed governments and businesses around the world.  This remains my favourite book on strategy.

Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad

My Traitor’s Heart, Rian Malan

On The Road, Jack Kerouac

Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

-        I was somewhere deep in Ecuador when I first read this.  When people think Orson Scott Card, they generally think Ender’s Game, a book used to develop strategy by militaries all over the world.  I’ve never read Ender’s Game (being made into a movie now) but The Worthing Saga really left an impression.  It (combined with Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy) instilled in me the idea of planting seeds in the present that will bear fruit in the future and of being able to prognosticate based on current and historical realities.  Of course, there’s a deeper allegory in the idea of sleep, too (read this, then go watch Inception).  I have come to realize that the real-world equivalent of Somec isn’t religion – that’s just a red herring.  The real false god we all cling to is a silo-based vision of individuality.

-          For my major OAC (yes, I’m old enough to have had grade 13) English project, I did a compare/contrast between Western thought and Eastern thought, using Taoist and Confucius philosophy as my entry point to the East.  Reading the Tao te Ching was like defogging glasses; the philosophies therein just made sense to me, though I couldn’t have told you why at the time.  Now that I’ve begun to wrap my head around cognitive function, I can tell you exactly why this little book is as relevant today as it was when it was written.

The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway

Time Machine: Sword of the Samurai, Michael Reaves + Steve Perry

-          Michael Crichton is the guy who wrote Jurassic Park and created ER; he was also a trained doctor, a travel-addict and a man who sat uncomfortably on the edge between science and mysticism.  I picked this book up for the travelogue and because I enjoyed his other books, but what I really took away from Travels was Crichton’s methodology of applying scientific reasoning to that which seems to defy explanation.  It was from this book I developed the idea that there is no such thing as the “super” natural; what we see as supernatural is really just the dark corners of understanding that we have yet to fill in.


The Red Queen, Matt Ridley

        This level of understanding is Kurtz’s voice; our preconceived notions are Somnec, keeping us from consciousness; the discipline of a samurai allows us to journey through the mythology of history to The Centre, where all things begin and ultimately, end.

This, then, is my list.

What's yours?

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