See, I just completed a Facebook “7-Day Book Challenge” to list a book a day for a week that has influenced you deeply.
Keeping it to seven proved quite a challenge, but I ended up with the following list:
- The Eighth Day — Thornton Wilder
- Stranger in a Strange Land — Robert Heinlein
- Johnny Got His Gun — Dalton Trumbo
- The Doors of Perception — Aldous Huxley
- Cat’s Cradle — Kurt Vonnegut
- Under the Volcano — Malcolm Lowry
- Steal Like an Artist — Austin Kleon
Part of the rules — which I broke, of course — was to post the book’s cover with no explanation. Yeah, I’m a little too wordy to leave it at that, and frankly, as a professional explainer I had to add commentary on most of my posts. You can check those out over on my Facebook timeline if you wish.
Some of these books I had written about before, listing 3 of them as books to I intend to re-read. Several I have already read multiple times, and will re-read with great relish sometime again in the future.
But by the end, of course, I was struck by the books I had left off the list. I had decided early on, that in addition to the Top 7, I wanted to include a trio of books I have stacked up over on an end table by a chair here in my study for quick reference. While none of these 3 made it to the top 7 list, each had great influence on my thinking in their own ways: The Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment, Space-Time and Beyond (previously described here) , and Playing Ball on Running Water. The beauty of these three is their brevity and clarity on their related topics.
Still, my list of 7 books hardly sufficed to cover my most basic reading influences. Somehow, though, I still managed to leave out both Ken Kesey and Larry McMurtry as well as Tom Wolfe‘s 60’s pop sensation, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, that had led me to both of them. And how could I forget Bud Shrake, whom I met first through Strange Peaches and just kept reading more and more of his work.
And I bumped Tom Robbins off my list in favor of Vonnegut, but could easily have listed Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. And of course there’s Thomas Pynchon (Gravity’s Rainbow and The Crying of Lot 49) and David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)!
Wow — that’s a lot of books! I provided links to find & buy them as well as links to info on the authors. That oughta keep you busy until I come back to write some more.
Enjoy your reading!