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This is a question This book changed my life

The Goat writes, "Some books have made a huge impact on my life." It's true. It wasn't until the b3ta mods read the Flashman novels that we changed from mild-mannered computer operators into heavily-whiskered copulators, poltroons and all round bastards in a well-known cavalry regiment.

What books have changed the way you think, the way you live, or just gave you a rollicking good time?

Friendly hint: A bit of background rather than just a bunch of book titles would make your stories more readable

(, Thu 15 May 2008, 15:11)
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This question is now closed.

oh and...
please do not post on the linked forum unless you have something genuine to say, and love cats. sorry for the sadness, and seriousness of it.

as for length... well its been 3 years since i saw my first baby.
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 12:37, Reply)
passages of sadness, passages of hope.
I am a huge reader. i dont have tv at home so i spend my evening with various litaray texts, exploring my own deep imagination.

These links aren't books.. but small passages by anonymous people. These passages changed my life, and have helped me time and time again when loosing friends and rescues alike. For anyone who has lost a beloved pet, or for those heros who work with dumped, abused and elderly animals... This is for you. Read, enjoy and know they are safe.

You have CHosen Tears: (why we adopt)

Rainbow Bridge: (for those who have lost)

The Rescuers: (for those who care)

enjoy people, i know i did, and now i know what its like to cry as you read something.

PS - if your going to reply with some bullshit about how 'they are only animals' have a fucking heart you cold bastards.
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 12:32, 30 replies)
Quantum to Scat
The Incredible Shrinking Man

A rather innoccuos choice really, but one that opened up worlds of quantum mechanics, drug trips and revelations about eternal life.

The premise was that he was getting smaller and each day he would measure himself against a ruler and he was convinced that once he could no longer be measured on the ruler he would be dead, gone, whatever.

Obviously he just keeps getting smaller right down to the molecular level and the book ends with the realisation that he wouldn't simply disappear that he would just keep reducing down forever. But in all honesty he would starve to death i suppose...Anyways, amazing concept that blew my 14 year old mind.


Personally i thought this book was hilarious, the accounts really do get worse and worse and it progresses taking filth beyond humour and right into Dali territory. Fucking a goats nostril while it lapped your balls still sounds like a winner! it proved that you can never take a joke to far.
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 11:47, Reply)
My wife won
a competition in south Africa to have a full makeover

That was the bok that changed my wife

Very Sorry
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 11:41, Reply)
graphic novel "Arkham Asylum"
good story, even better artwork.

The Joker says to Batman as he leaves.. good luck in the nuthouse (the outside world).

I thought it was quite apt.
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 11:41, Reply)
The back of the Frosties box
at breakfast, and the back of the shampoo bottles, as well as various other bathroom products while I'm having a poo. -generally if I'm bored I'll read anything.

Life changing? Nah, but they do taste grr...eat, and leave me wondering what the hell 'sodium lauryl sulphate' is.
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 11:19, 23 replies)
Neal Stephenson
I don't know if its been mentioned yet, but the book 'Snow Crash' totally blew my mind when I read it.
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 11:02, 3 replies)
My Favourite Book (Off topic and rather silly)

Ah forget it, I was going to try and do a silly pun!

Who cares, it's my birthday woo!
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 10:57, 6 replies)
Sorry for no great revelations here
Spike Milligan - Adolf Hitler, my [part in his downfall. and his other war diaries.
Some of the funniest, most rivetting and most poignantly 'human' books I've ever read.

Favourite quote, that still makes me laugh when I just think of it, but without the full text here it'll have to be a paraphrase.
"Letters from the Draft Office kept arriving. Eventually I opened one. It contained a cunningly worded invitation to take part in World War Two. 'The king must think very highly of you to send all these letters.' said my mother. Laughing, I felled her with a right cross."

Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Gave me my name and reminded me after a hiatus that reading for pleasure is wonderful. This book more than anything else gave me the mental step between being merely intellectually aware of racism and feeling the real, pointless horror of it in some way.

Richard Laymon's horror books and Richard Morgan's 'Takeshi Kovacs' novels - One lot are massively gory and spooky, the others are violently, futuristically fun. For indulgent pleasure reading with little or no highbrow redeeming features look no further.

Pratchett and Gaiman - Discovered together through Good Omens, both these authors have been a reliable source of enjoyment for year upon year. Every copy I have of any of their books is battered, cracked, folded and stained from being read over and over, when at home, when I'm ill, when eating, in the bath, when I should be asleep... Whenever I run out of money/time and haven't any new books to read it's always a Discworld book I reach for to tide me over.
The Sandman comics (call them Graphic Novels if you like) are the only ones I've ever bought in trade paperback and are worth re-reading too. The Corinthian is still the best villain ever. "A nightmare created to be the darkness, and the fear of darkness in every human heart. A black mirror, made to reflect everything about itself that humanity will not confront."

Gray's Anatomy - The amazing illustrations showed me the insane and beautiful complexity found inside people and put me on the path to a degree in Anatomy and Human Biology.

Patricia Cornwell's 'Kay Scarpetta' novels. Aside from taking the concept of "strong female lead" to astonishingly over-the-top heights, these gave me a mild interest in pathology/forensics.
I've always been attracted to the idea of some kind of law enforcement, ever since I first noticed that a lot of humanity is fucking horrible to each other through a kind of low-grade, ignorant disregard for each other, rather than deliberate evil. It turned out that the reality of forensic science was far, far more interesting than these books and that's why I now do it for a living.

The bible - I was raised C of E. I spent a dozen years learning that "this is what Jesus did and is the truth" versus "This is what other people believe", before waking up to the fact that I didn't believe any of them, and had independently concluded that people should be nicer to each other because it's right, not because of god, and that religion in an organised church is un-necessary and frequently counterproductive.

Oooh, I want to write much more, but sadly (thanks to Patricia Cornwell) I've got to go put on a silly costume (scrubs, hat, mast, gloves, lab coat, more gloves) and try and fight crime.

edit for being a div:
I forgot the most important one!
Relatively recently I read Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon - It's the best, most enjoyable book I've read in probably a decade. Go and read it.
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 9:55, 3 replies)
3) Mein Kampf
by Adolf Hitler

Right, let's not lynch me. I've read the Bible, and I'm not Christian. I've read the Koran, and I'm not Muslim. Having read Mein Kampf does not make me a Nazi. Quite the opposite, in fact.

I've always believed in having informed opinions. If I'm going to denounce Christianity as a load of bollocks, surely I need to understand just what it is I'm disagreeing with. It is for this reason that I frequently became disillusioned in history or politics lessons. Nazism = bad was frequently drummed into our heads, without any reason behind it. Sure, Hitler had millions killed; but so did Oliver Cromwell, that doesn't mean that Republics are necessarily bad.

So, armed with this information, we follow Thinker into a year 9 History lesson. The topic, of course, is the Second World War, and Nazism, and how evil the Nazis are, and how every German person was a mixture of stupid and evil.

Surely not, thought I. Surely the German people were just.. mis-informed? Misled? Perhaps there was some vote-rigging? Surely, no mass population would ever vote in a leader on the promise of genocide?

Then, using a combination of dial-up Internet and real paper-based, non-Wiki encyclopaediae, I learned of a book called Mein Kampf. Written by Adolf Hitler, it detailed his mad thoughts, his insane ramblings, his ideals and, most of all, the story of his life.

Intrigued, I tracked a copy down, and bought it. I've no idea where the proceeds went to, actually. Still, a fiver's hardly going to re-establish a Reich, my 14-year-old brain reasoned.

And so, I read it. It was a frightfully boring tome, poorly written, and with the occasional outrageous statement going completely without support or backup. He'd make ridiculous claims about the Jews in general, and their evil, sick tendencies. I noticed, throughout the book, that the Jews were always treated as a collective. As were Communists, Gays, Gypsies and so on. But there were never Jewish scientists. No Jewish doctors, no Gay policemen, no Communists in the army. No, the Jews acted as a collective. One Jew was the same as any other. This helped to dehumanise them.

Of course, I don't want to go into repeating the book, or summarising it, or whatever. If you want to find out what it says, go read it.

The most striking thing, though; the way in which reading this hate-filled literary record of one madman's bile change my life; is how I read, see and hear eerily similar sentiments expressed today.

Replace "Jews" with "Immigrants", and you could be reading the Daily Mail. You could be listening to your favourite yob at the pub, or chav on the street, complaining about "Immigrants". The usual "coming over here, stealing our jobs" stereotype directed at non-whites in general is sickening.

Having read Mein Kampf, and learning about the horrors committed during World War II, I make terrifying extrapolations.

The Germans of the 1930s were no stupider, nor more evil, than the majority of modern Britons. Mein Kampf was nothing more than an early version of the Daily Mail. It politicised the thick, alerted them to the "injustices" against them, and it earned Hitler votes. It got Hitler into power.

With the rise of far-right nationalist parties such as the BNP, I fear the same thing happening in Britain. Ordinary, working-class Britons have no interest in politics. But if the BNP or a worse party could politicise them, feed them bullshit about the injustices they face, alert them to the evils of "the Immigrant".. it's very scary.

I believe that, had I never read Mein Kampf, I wouldn't see this in the same way. I could possibly have just followed, accepted that the Germans were stupid and evil, and that the modern British were above that.

I shudder to imagine myself as a Daily Mail reader. I'd like to thank Adolf Hitler for opening my eyes to what it could possibly lead to. I just wish more people were able to see.

That said, I obviously see how it'd be a bad idea to make Mein Kampf compulsory reading in schools.

Apologies for length. I can only hope it's not as dull and boring as the book itself.
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 1:16, 36 replies)
Books in general have changed my life,
often when i read a book, especially books which are narrated by the author, it feels more personal, and i have a greater understanding of the story, and how it effects the narrator.
(, Tue 20 May 2008, 0:01, Reply)
"commandant of auswich", the autobiography of Rudolf Hoess
jesus. what a book.

if anything can teach you something about the ins and outs of human behaivour, its this. so bin your wanky sociology books kids and have a ganders at this.

he seems seemingly sane throughout the book, and he portrays the nazifolk as normal people who have been brainwashed. his opinions on dr. josef mengle (what a total, utter, sick twisted cunt)and herman goering are somewhat disturbingly descript.

its a history lesson of "donts" if you ever end up cheif of a kraut murder factory.

its not a book i'd normally read, but fuck me it was the single most interesting peice of literature i've ever come across. that and the book's foreword.

it changed the way i percieve people from the minute i closed the book. frightening.
(, Mon 19 May 2008, 23:44, Reply)
S&M for children
When I was 13 my parents decided it would be educational to send me to stay with my French cousins for 3 weeks in Nantes.

It was, but not in the way they thought it would be.

One night while snooping around my cousins bedroom I chanced upon a graphic novel stuffed behind a bookshelf. Graphic doesn't actually do it justice though, more like the depraved sexual thoughts of some insane S&M hitler channeled through the drawing talents of the Yorkshire ripper.

The 'story' involved a man travelling through time and sexually abusing then killing women in more and more obscure and grotesque ways, huge burning logs were rammed in front bottoms, women were impaled on pretty much every page and limbs were chopped off and inserted in various orifices. It ended with him being slowly and agonisingly split in two by an amazonian woman.

I recounted the story recently to a French female friend of mine and told her how seriously weird and wrong I thought it was for a 13 year old to be stroking his chap to stuff like this, she answered by saying that it's nothing shocking, every French boy has them and we British are too uptite about sex.
(, Mon 19 May 2008, 22:11, 1 reply)
After much thought...
Dick King-Smith

The man is a genius. My favourite book by him (which I have just remembered as a result of this qotw) is Happy Mouseday which I have read more than any other book as I used to race myself to see how quickly I could finish it. Yes, I had a fun childhood. So I guess it changed my life in that it made me competitive and eager to read.

But think about it, everyone has read a Dick King-Smith book in their childhood or even as an adult to their children and he encourages reading and keeps his stories original and funny.

So give this a click if you love Dick King-Smith. He is still alive at 86! Also, what is your favourite Dick King-Smith book?
(, Mon 19 May 2008, 21:55, 8 replies)
I can't decide
if Tolkien is brilliant, or over-rated overlong twaddle. I enjoyed The Hobbit as a kid, but Lord of the Rings bored me immensely. I managed to plough through it just before the film came out. It's all that "so snd so, son of so and so, brother of whoseit", that goes on for a page or so, Just use the guy's/elve's/hobbit's name, FFS.
(, Mon 19 May 2008, 21:54, Reply)
The Big Fat Book of Lies
Is the name of the novel I will write one day.

I'm just going to make up stuff and bung it in and hope that someone will be stupid enough to give me a squillion quid for it.
(, Mon 19 May 2008, 20:48, 80 replies)
Someone (I believe it was K2K6) said they couldn't read several books concurrently
I'll never understand that - at the moment, I'm reading 'Marley and Me' by John Grogan (almost finished), 'An Utterly Impartial History of Britain or 2000 Years of Upper Class Idiots in Charge' by John O'Farrell (halfway through), 'Dealing with Dragons' by Patricia Wrede (an ex-girlfriend had left it at my house, and it's surprisingly accessable - halfway through), 'Sword in the Storm' by David Gemmell (don't normally go in for heroic fantasy, but it came highly recommended - just started) and 'The Complete Robot' by Isaac Asimov (a collection of short stories, so it probably doesn't count - part of the way through).

I put it down to my notoriously bad attention span, and the fact that I've got to be in the right 'mood' for a certain book. Don't get me wrong, I read almost every night, but I prefer to have a number of options for my night-time reading - deciding which story to continue is a great pleasure. After all, variety is the spice of life.

Does anyone else do this, or am I just weird?
(, Mon 19 May 2008, 20:08, 9 replies)
Alice's Adventures In Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass.
The fateful day when the Disney "magic" finally died for me when I realised they were no less of a faceless, money grabbing, crowd pleasing, corporate force than any other Hollywood studio.

Having totally missed the point of one of the most enjoyable books I have ever read and me only realising this years after seeing the film that has become the original in the eyes of the masses, I mourned the loss of Disneys position in my heart as the infallible creators of cinematic magic. Yet still managed to find some comfortin the sheer brilliance of Carroll's work.

Also, upon watching Peter Pan for the first time since I was about 4 I realised they are a bunch of racist fucks n'all.

(Cars is stull fucking awesome though.)
(, Mon 19 May 2008, 19:58, Reply)
Some book on programming ZX81 BASIC ..
.. don't even recall it's title anymore. I was ten at the time. The front cover featured a drawing of a computer game whose graphics would be outright impossible to do on a ZX81, ever. But it tricked me. And for better or worse, it put me on the tracks towards what I am now doing professionally, developing software.

Just glad that it wasn't "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" that I read at that tender and impressionable age. (It's a brilliant book, BTW).
(, Mon 19 May 2008, 19:27, 1 reply)
Fair play, what a fucking rubbish question!
(, Mon 19 May 2008, 19:18, 1 reply)
The Atrocity Exhibition
Bit of an odd one this. I dreamt that I'd read this, but hadn't. I got the book as a result.

Ballard's experimental phase- utterly strange but entirely compelling.

Naked Lunch- when I read that at 15 I realised what words could really do. The routines, the humour, the scatological perversion, it took me until American Psycho to find something else that did that.

The Raw Shark Texts- great idea but a bit clinical. As a postmodernist though it's brilliant.
(, Mon 19 May 2008, 19:08, 2 replies)
one book nearly changed my life in a bad way
Dyes, Explosives and Foodstuffs.

A school textbook- yes, really. Myself and a couple of school friends thought we might be able to use our chemistry knowledge for the nefarious purposes of making flash-bang pyrotechnics and latterly, rockets. All worked well for a little while- film canisters made excellent pots for holding quantities of powder, mixed up from chemicals that we bought from various sources- magnesium and zinc powder and sodium nitrate from an academic laboratory supplier (posing as 'office junior' for a special effects company with the aid of a faked ID card (letraset back in those days!) and of course you can buy sulphur over the counter at boots (for some reason!). That just left the carbon- one bag of barbecue briquettes and a burned out coffee grinder later we had carbon powder a plenty.

Some of the 'flares' looked pretty impressive, even in daytime but they had a habit of going 'out' rather than 'up' so I later adapted a short length of towel rail (sturdy metal pipe with chrome plating) so that the burn could be longer and more directed. Hammer down one end in a sort of crimp and the result was great.

At that point one of my friends thought that we could make our own rockets by- well, just turning the thing the other way up before igniting the propellant. His plan was to use a length of aluminium tent pole and mix the basic black powder with zinc, and by heck his rockets would fly well.

I used magnesium powder instead (liked the bright sparks it created) but tried to go 'lightweight composite' and sawed a length of giant bamboo to make the body of my rocket. Unfortunately the propellant was too vigorous for this plant-derived casing and it promptly exploded.

Aw shit. But, hey, that was kinda cool.

I went back to the metal pipe idea and wondered if the 'fuel' would shoot a projectile out of the end? I had some aluminium capacitors at home that fitted the 'barrel' more or less so fixed the tube to a wooden handle to aim with, and drilled a small hole in the crimped end so I could ignite the mix with match heads.

First test firing worked well, a sooty 'phoom' and the capacitor flew good and true. I took it home, pleased, and reloaded. the next one went better than expected, in that instead of a sooty 'phoom' there was a very loud bang and a bright flash that temporarily dazzled me, so much so that it was difficult to run away shitting my pants in fright. But as soon as I realised I was OK the next stage of the plan came on.

I wasn't a fan of blowing myself up so back to the rockets idea. In an effort to increase the flame velocity I crimped down both ends and just left the small hole drilled in the end for ignition AND exhaust.

Let's just say I was glad not to be standing closeby when 'launch time' came along. Ignition? Set. Countdown (running away) 5-4-3- BLAM!!!!!

Me and my friends legged it as it was obvious the sound would be audible for 1/2 a mile away... unfortunately (perhaps fortunately?) someone called the police with a description of a gaggle of 16-year olds WITH A DOG (the clincher) had been seen running away from the explosion. We were rumbled, I had to 'fess up and was marched back to the scene by my dad to pick up the remains of the tube which had been blown apart like a comedy peeled banana.

The funny thing was, the police let me off with a caution because I admitted that I'd made the device from chemicals and engineering tools rather than just chucking fireworks about and they didn't want to put a blotch on my young life with a criminal record.

So stay in school kids, but don't blow things up.
(, Mon 19 May 2008, 19:05, 7 replies)
One for the ladies....
F/32 the second coming by Eurudice.

It starts with the line 'Ela has the tightest cunt in the world'.

It's basically about a women who loses her fanny and goes looking for it.

One of the strangest books I've ever read.

It didn't change my life but before this story I'd never read anything with the word cunt written so many times in one book.
(, Mon 19 May 2008, 19:03, 5 replies)
You can tell when you haven't been reading enough books and have spent too much time online when you start coming up with shit like this.

(, Mon 19 May 2008, 18:56, 8 replies)
poetics of space
by gaston bachlard.
couldn't have got my Masters without it!
(, Mon 19 May 2008, 18:10, 1 reply)
hmmm well. bear with me
This is a bit of a hard one. The question has vexed me all day.
What constitutes a book that 'changed my life'? I mean we all enjoy a good read from time to time, whether its the Metro or In the name of the rose. but im not sure what changes a book from one that i really really liked to one that fundamentally affects my existence.
I love the Hitch Hiker tri cinquology thingy. And i take the point that posters have made that it changes your sense of humour for ever if you read it at a formative age as i did. A bit like Tom Sharpe novels and PG Wodehouse ones do too - but nothing that radically altered the choices i have made or the paths i have taken, even if they have altered my outlook on life and its petty tribulations for the better.
If you want a rollicking good time from a book, a book that makes your heart beat a little harder as it climaxes in a desperate four boat shoot out, a book that makes you stand just a little taller, then may i suggest A Ship of the Line by CS Forester.
There are other books both before and after in the series but non of them seal Hornblowers rep like this one does.
It makes me happy, regularly.
(, Mon 19 May 2008, 17:15, Reply)

This question is now closed.

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