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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.

An un-autherized autobiography of Arnold Swartzenegger
By Al B Bach
(, Thu 22 May 2008, 11:15, 6 replies)
Back on topic - honestly
One book I thoroughly enjoyed recently was

Taming the Beast by Emily Maguire


It's the first novel by an Australian writer and it shares much in theme with Lolita and Notes for a Scandal.

It's been described as 'Dark, sexual...brutally honest'.

Certainly it's not the sort of thing you'd want to share with your maiden aunt.
(, Thu 22 May 2008, 11:12, 2 replies)
Wind through the trees
by Russell N Leaves?
(, Thu 22 May 2008, 11:12, Reply)
Garside, Philip, Secrets to Getting a Job, The
This book is largely irrelevant now, having been published at a time when headline unemployment figures were over 10% (they're now below 5%, employers are screaming blue murder and I have a fully-fitted dungeon with a gimp written into my graduate employment contract), but for a long-term-unemployed schmoo with few qualifications and no prospects like myself, it was a godsend. Here is the relevant, life-changing passage:

It should boost your confidence to know that the majority of people at all levels, from managers to labourers, interview very poorly. If eight people are interviewed the chances are that all eight will be poor. As a result, many decisions are made on a comparative basis: the least worst will get the job.

The least worst! I can be the least worst! I immediately stopped approaching interviews as if I was about to have my hands chopped off, and spoke like a more-or-less natural person. Obviously things like volunteer experience and the natural pick-up of the economy have helped, but you asked for a book that changed my life and this one certainly did.
(, Thu 22 May 2008, 11:09, 3 replies)
Oh! I forgot about my love of medical dramas
You name it - ER, erm.....Grey's Anatomy....erm....Scrubs...erm....

Anyway, one excellent book all about the life of a leading surgeon from Dublin -

The Irish Heart Surgeon by Angie O'Plasty
(, Thu 22 May 2008, 11:09, 1 reply)
Back to seriousness again for a moment (kind of)
has anyone read anything by Matthew Reilly?

young Australian author who, in his own words, writes books as if they going to be made into hollywood blockbusters with people like Tom Cruise in the lead.

Sounds like utter tosh, but some of the books are quite entertaining.

If you like mindless action, reasonably well described, with limited vocabulary then it's worth checking out Ice Station.

Temple or Contest actually have some merit.

He has got one book called Hovercar Racer, which follows a young boy who somehow becomes the futuristic equivalent of a Formula 1 driver.

The book ends with the priceless line: "He was Jason Chaser, Hovercar Racer"
(, Thu 22 May 2008, 11:07, 3 replies)
have a random book suggestion...
... since that's what half these posts are anyway.

"Ninth Day of Creation", by Leonard Crane (a science thriller, where the science isn't bollocks, just for a change)

I suppose if you all buy a copy, it might just change Leonard's life, so I'm just about on topic. ;-)
(, Thu 22 May 2008, 11:03, Reply)
Understanding Prostitution by
Nicholas A Gayne.
(, Thu 22 May 2008, 11:02, 2 replies)
There's a guide to leaving the closet
I need: Amanda Love
(, Thu 22 May 2008, 11:01, Reply)
*lowers tone*
anyone perused "Big Fact Cocks" by Ivor Bigun and Hugh G. Rection?
(, Thu 22 May 2008, 11:00, 4 replies)
Anyone read "Revenge" by Mark Mywords?
(, Thu 22 May 2008, 10:58, 1 reply)
Moving on

The Ruined Mattress

By I.P. Nightly
(, Thu 22 May 2008, 10:55, Reply)
The critical text on the famous Clint Eastwood character...
Dirty Harry is... : Amanda B. Reckondwith
(, Thu 22 May 2008, 10:54, 3 replies)
anyone read
Painkillers by N. L. Gesic?
(, Thu 22 May 2008, 10:52, 3 replies)
Codo: Ancient Ways
I was given this book by a mate of mine when I started my teaching course. Basically it's book written by an Aikido teacher concerning various aspects of his life and stories.

I weas readign this while on the course and hit a real low point (not feeling I was getting anywhere and also having issues with the course).

While reading the story of a blind servant who worked at a monastery and wanted to become a priest and the advice he was given:
'You may not be a normal priest but you can become a real priest'
This really picked me up and enabled me to complete the placement and also the course, so yes, this was a life changing book.

Defo worth a read if you're interested in Martial Arts or in Buddhism
(, Thu 22 May 2008, 10:46, Reply)
I'm sorry but I'm amusing myself immensely here
Dairy farming for beginners by

Wendy Cowes-Cummhome.
(, Thu 22 May 2008, 10:40, 5 replies)
Sliding down the banister
By R. Stornoway.

A cautionary tale.
(, Thu 22 May 2008, 10:20, 2 replies)
Discovering Shakespeare
By Toby O'Knotterby.
(, Thu 22 May 2008, 10:18, 5 replies)
How about that famous book on sexual techniques.
By Mona Lotts.
(, Thu 22 May 2008, 10:12, 7 replies)
It's changed my life in more ways than one...

(, Thu 22 May 2008, 10:12, Reply)
On another note...
does anyone listen to music when they read books?

I read all Tony Hawks books to 'Zero 7'. It helped to picture the scene better. Now when i listen to the music it takes me back to the story, I quite like that. 'Piano in the Pyranees for example', when i listen to Zero 7 now, i can imagine Tony in his house in the pyranees, playing the piano, trying to build a swimming pool.
(, Thu 22 May 2008, 10:06, 4 replies)
didnt change my life but
I reckond Paul Carters 'dont tell my mum I work on the rigs' book was pretty cool.

that and all the Tony Hawk books.
(, Thu 22 May 2008, 10:02, Reply)
second hand book shops
are great for finding obscure out of print books or as an alternative to spending a fortune on Amazon

I bought this book a few years ago for 60p and I'd highly recommend it - it's been a much quoted resource and I wish I had an e-book version

along with "The Anglo-American Establishment" Professor Carroll Quigley, who was the historian for The Royal Institute of International Affairs goes into the reasons behind history - the stuff we never get to learn about, more relevant than just the dates and names, such as who made their fortunes, who funded who etc

Quigley is famous for saying that there's always a certain amount of competition allowed with the lower political parties and individuals but the ones at the top and the 'coterie' around them had always been vetted by a much higher organization outside of the democratic rule. Quigley wrote that we have had a secret government in a managed society for 60 years ... and he wrote this in 1960s

this is why politics is only about getting to decide how to arrange the deck chairs - you will never, and have never, been allowed to decide the direction the ship is travelling in, as we head towards a standardised world system and global governance - the water melon world - green( eco ) on the outside, red (socialist with China as the model) on the inside
(, Thu 22 May 2008, 9:44, Reply)
Shocking thrillers
I've always had a soft spot for thrillers, particularly cheap nasty ones - the ones where the paperback covers are printed in lurid shades of scandal.

The type of book where you drink double espressos all night just so you can keep turning the pages.

The type of book that you keep hidden from your friends and family because it's just so trashy.

My favourite author is a guy called Tricity - his work is really quite something.

His best work?

It's a Shocker! by Alec Tricity.

I read that and I was knocked out.
(, Thu 22 May 2008, 9:39, 15 replies)
As an easily influenced adolescent....
... after watching and being amazed by the movie Bladerunner I tracked down a copy of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K Dick. Thinking that it would a pretty standard book/movie adaptation I was totally blown away by the simulacra concepts, Mercerism and the humanity of the replicants.

This of course led me onto Valis, A Scanner Darkly, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch and the paranoid world of (in my humble opinion) of not only the greatest SF writer of all time, but greatest ever writer - Philip K Dick.
(, Thu 22 May 2008, 9:18, 4 replies)
Terribly geeky this one...
... but when I was (relatively) little - old enough to be able to read but only just - I picked up a copy of a book my Dad brought home from work. He'd recently taken over a large railway workshop and was fitting it out as a truck garage, and had found a couple of old books in a dusty corner of the office. This book was (and this is the geeky part) "Diesel Traction - a Manual for Enginemen". It's pretty much as the title sounds. It was published in the late 50s or early 60s as a guide for train drivers and mechanics to get their heads around these new diesel trains that were rapidly replacing steam.

The main thing that affected me about it was the diagrams. Flicking through it I realised that you could understand and explain just about anything if you could make a diagram of it. It also covered a lot of stuff about not coming to a conclusion too early when you're tracking down problems, rather like the bits about formal scientific method in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

If I hadn't read it, I'd probably be doing something highly-paid and dull, and hating it.

Oh, and is it just me, or was The God Delusion a pile of self-indulgent wank?
(, Thu 22 May 2008, 7:58, 1 reply)
The Orange Papers

For anyone who's ever had an addiction/habit/etc., but thought that the 12-step programs were a little too creepy and cultlike, and felt bad about criticizing them because, after all, "they DO help a lot of people", this site may be a godsend.

(, Thu 22 May 2008, 5:11, 1 reply)
Zen Flesh Zen Bones
as compiled by Paul Reps.

Read this in college, as I was beginning to study comparative religion.

Having grown up Catholic, I'd had more than enough Christianity and guilt for one lifetime, so I thought I'd see what else was out there.

Zen meditation is interesting. There are basically two approaches to practice (this is a completely bastardized description), 1)sit down, count your breaths, and try to free your thoughts and still your mind. Or 2) pick a koan (a zen riddle), and run it like a mental screensaver. Koans are designed to lock up the conscious part of your mind so you can attain a transcendent awareness.

The practices work. (At least as a way to experience a new and impressive mental state, not as a way to attain immortality, etc.)

The inevitable problem (assuming you haven't joined a temple and are being constantly reaffirmed in your belief system)? You're still mortal, you've still got stuff to do, and now being less attached to "things", you need to find better motivation than monetary rewards to get through the day, which can be tricky.

The downside with the Western proselytizing faiths is that their practitioners tend to cause a lot of problems (e.g. the Crusades/Jihad/Terrorism/bad music/etc.)

The downside with Eastern religion is that the passive and detached mindset makes those cultures vulnerable to less enlightened but more active tyrants (see e.g. China/Myanmar-Burma/Cambodia/North Korea).

Luckily we're getting past religion now. (Once we get a few more electric cars on the road and some solar thermal generators up and running, OPEC will be out of business and the terrorists will have to go back to their day jobs.)

Oh, I know, some of you may think you're Christian, but what most of you really are is products of the Enlightenment, an 18 century philosophical (not religious) movement.

Read the following: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_Enlightenment

Then compare it with the values of the New and Old Testament (rape/homophobia/slavery/having to believe in invisible magic beings, etc.), and see what you're really in favor of.

(That's assuming you're interested in actually practicing the faith according to the texts. If you decide to go the 12-step/New Age/believe whatever I want to route, that's your right also, but that's not really religion, that's pretending. (Is there a difference?)

But seriously, for an interesting mental experience, Zen is worth a shot, and Zen Flesh Zen Bones is an interesting book.
(, Thu 22 May 2008, 4:47, 1 reply)

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