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What book has affected your life the most?
There are many wonderful books out there that have had a vastly profound effect on those who read them. I was just curious what book has fundamentally shaped your life, changed your outlook or affected you deeply, and why?

For me, I would have to say that book would probably be Lord of the Flies (which I'm currently re-reading)

Aside from the fact it was one of the first novels I ever read in my life, it is also that rare blend of mixing together a wonderful story with wonderful writing in a way that seems almost symbiotic. Nothing seems out of place or jarring to the reader, there is no sense of remembering you are reading a book and detached from the story. I felt as though I was right there on the island with Ralph and Piggy and Jack when I first read it at the age of 8...and 19 years later the feeling is still there. This book is the cornerstone on which I hope to base my own writing some day.

It was also the first book I read that dealt with some very heavy issues: the breakdown of society, held together by the thinnest of veneers, mental health, murder, symbolic beasts...the book has it all. It is one of my favorite novels and was responsible in part for how I view modern society.
If They Come In The Morning by Angela Davis

It changed me forever. It woke me up.
Honestly? The Satanic Bible written by Anton LaVey.

There was pretty much nothing evil in. There were some things I considered a little harsh, but not evil and I could see the reason behind them and felt they were pretty logical. The first page of the book said it would change my life. I rolled my eyes and thought, "Yeah right." It ended up changing my life. When I saw something that EVERYONE considers to be evil filled with torture, murder,all that stuff didn't have it.

I did what everyone else did and accepted something as fact since that's what society told me to do and then once I actually decided to learn about it instead of just taking everyone else's word for it I learned something that most people don't know because they are not open to learning about it.

It's amazing the things you learn by actually seeking out the knowledge instead of accepting what everyone else has told you. It actually makes me feel like I"m living in a totally different world than everyone else.

PS I really enjoyed reading Lord of the Flies although I was expecting it to be a bit more epic than it was, I guess I have high standards. A wonderful book nonetheless.
I loved the Satantic Bible as well Spencer. Anton LaVey was a genius. Another great book that helped me throughout life as well (though I don't identify as a Satanist personally, still...wonderful advice and musings the man had)

East, I have never read "If They Came in the Morning" but from what I have seen of your posts on this forum, we are of similar minds and I'm sure I would love it. I shall look for it to place on my reading list soon Confusedmile:
I like to think a lot of books have affected my life in different ways.

As a teenager, Great Expectations influenced my priorities in life, On Liberty helped to shape my political views, and Marianne Moore's poetry changed my perception of what great poetry is about.
When a subject is highly controversial — and any question about sex is that — one cannot hope to tell the truth. One can only show how one came to hold whatever opinion one does hold. One can only give one's audience the chance of drawing their own conclusions as they observe the limitations, the prejudices, the idiosyncrasies of the speaker.
- Virginia Woolf
I'm really not sure. If I thought about it, I guess I'd have to say the books that inspired my creativity. Like Pip above, certain poets that really resonated with me helped my own creative endeavors; Sylvia Plath and Tennyson immediately spring to mind.
A nod to J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis too for spiriting me away in their books at an early age, to the point where I was creating my very own mythical worlds and writing my own histories for them. (A great advantage for me when I discovered Dungeons & Dragons) :biggrin:
I know this is going to sound really weird coming form me since I'm pagan but, The Bible.

Not because of what it actually says but because of how erroneous interpretations of what it says caused others to react to me and treat me. That book was the source of the reasoning my parents used to justify disowning me and, more than anything, that taught me that, in the end, I have only myself to both rely one and to blame or thank for wherever my life goes.
I have to agree with Blue on the witness of the application of interpretations of the Bible as the most influential book in my life. I would say that as an adult a couple or three come to mind that had profound impact on me. One was Scott Peck's The Road Less Traveled, another was The Spirituality of Imperfection and finally, Addiction and Grace rounds out my top three since becoming a survivor and thriver! Xyxthumbs
Heart  Life's too short to miss an opportunity to show your love and affection!  Heart
When I was a little girl I LOVED books about Pippi Longstocking and Dorrie the Little Witch. Both girls were very independent and got themselves out of trouble, and I think that shaped my thinking about myself. I suspect my automatically being comfortable with some radical anarchists and libertarians as I got older might have its roots in Pippi (after all, she used gold instead of paper money, lived on her own and bodily threw out the cops that came to take her to social services, had no fear of guns, rejected dogma, and even lived the permanant tourist lifestyle when not at Villa Villekulla).

That was not only helpful when I needed to depend on myself but I also think it made me receptive another book and then movie: The Little Girl That Lived Down the Lane. I caught this movie when I was 16 (and was so perfect for the dreary and rainy afternoon that it played on) while I was still living with a drunken mother that used me only for child support and I LOVED how a 13-year-old managed to thwart all the adults in her life to live independently (like Pippi) and also live smart that made me want to live like her. I was so in love with this movie that I went to the library as soon as I could and luckily found the novel which was even better. The character Rynn became my role model and I even took to reading classical poetry and listening to classical music because of her. More importantly, I adopted her tactics. For example, when a teacher threatened me with a law Bush had just signed I verified such a law existed (unfortunately it did) instead of just assuming she was telling the truth. And when I ran away from home for a 2nd time and assumed an alias I made Rynn my new middle name in honor of this character and hope that I could also be as clever and strong-willed (and, if necessary, as ruthless) as her in resisting the world of adults trying to crush my spirit. And in doing so it would help shape the person I'd become.

That said, many other books (including nonfiction like Prometheus Rising by Robert Anton Wilson) have also made a difference in my life, though I was 17 before finding many of these other books.
Oh yes, I enjoyed reading The Satanic Bible and also The Satanic Witch. I can't say it changed my life but there were many interesting concepts in it (perhaps if I hadn't already been made familiar with much of the philosophy from elsewhere then it might've impressed me more) and both were good reads. I don't agree with everything said (though I try to keep in mind that at the times the books were originally published they might've held more truth) but I still found it mentally stimulating.

I was in my 20s before reading those books, however. A friend tried getting me to read The Satanic Bible when I was 15 but I wouldn't as I figured it was literally about worshiping Satan (as opposed to the Self, though the selfishness in it tended to be the more enlightened kind and also encouraging indulgence but not addiction) and since I didn't believe in God or Satan I just wasn't interested. I now wish I had because plenty of people thought I was a Satanist as I was growing up and I wish I could go back and respond to those who called me a Satanist with, "You say that like it's a BAD thing." Roflmao

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