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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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The Cartoon History of the Universe Volume I
Thinking back, I suspect this has really been one of the most influential books on my life ever since I used to sneak into my brother's room to read it. I always liked comics... or then, did I? It's hard to know, because I read this for the first time at such a young age.

This book was full of SCIENCE and HISTORY and, although it would include little details of how people knew things, it would make passing references to huge topics and not explain. And it would be clear that people didn't actually know all the answers; there were theories. It was hugely exciting, and always full of more information than I could take in, and yet the main threads were easy to follow.

It introduced me to so many ideas that seemed mindblowing at the time: evolution, asexual reproduction, how did coins come about, the cycle of history, different views held by Knowledgeable People, that the way we thought things were could CHANGE. And the very idea of starting with a history of the universe that narrows down on the solar system, then the Earth, then animals, then humans... Even though I know a lot of the established views have changed since the book was written (particularly on hominid evolution), that doesn't lessen how excellent it is. And I suspect I only know that views on hominid evolution exist because of this book.

I can never know just how much it's shaped my life, but I suspect it's a lot. Just last year I finally tracked down a copy of The Descent of Woman purely because it was referred to in a brief strip at the bottom of a page in this book and I'd wanted to know more since I was 6. And it looks like that's another book that, while science has moved on, the essential essence and point of it have changed the way I look at things.
(, Thu 22 May 2008, 3:40, Reply)

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