In no particular order cause I LOVE all my books:
10. Wheel of Time series of books by Robert Jordan
9. The Mercy Thompson series by Patrica Briggs
8. Tipping The Velvet by Sarah Waters
7. Harry Potter series (UK edition) by J.K. Rowling
6. 'Warrior' multiple series of books by Erin Hunter
5. The complete writings of Edger Allan Poe
4. The God Delusion by Dawkins
3. Strange Brains and Genius by Clifford Pickover
2. Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean
1. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
I just got finished reading 'Fried Green Tomatoes' by Fanny Flagg which is really good despite the religiousness of it.
I wondered about this topic. I could not stop with 10 books. So I made 10 categories, most of which contain more than one book each. These are the books that I recall, have most influenced how my mind works, how I behave, what I think of other people.
1. T.R. Pearson. A Short History of a Small Place. I love the rhythm and voices. I've read this book 5 times. It's my all time favorite book. I don't know why. The characters are just so human. It's mostly forgotten by all human beings on the planet earth, other than me.
2. Charles Mann. 1491. & Charles Mann. 1493. These books taught me about how the world came to be, how people, plants, and animals are distributed around the globe, how the modern era of humanity, biology, ecology, history, society developed.
3. Markus Rediker. The Slave Ship. and Douglas Blackmon. Slavery by Another Name. and Adam Hochshild. King Leopold's Ghost. These books taught me about the greatest mass crime of humanity, and the incalculable debt that modern society owes to the enslaved, and incalculable burden left to the slaves' descendents. Again, multiple reads of each.
4. Yann Martel. Life of Pi. A very touching book about lonely tragedy, existentialism, adventure, struggle, making peace, and even loving, the one who would kill and eat you, and coming through adversity. There is religion too, in a kind of woo woo kumbaya way, which for some reason I didn't mind.
5. Susan Jacoby. Freethinkers. and Susan Jacoby. The Great Agnostic. Jackby is a great historian and tells stories we need to hear. Freethinking and atheism are not new, and learning about the greats, gives me focus and keeps us from reinventing the atheist wheel.
6. George Orwell. 1984. and George Orwell. Animal Farm. These books have given me more insight into modern politics, both national and in the workplace, than anything else I can think of. I add, in a strange way: John Man. The Terra Cotta Army. Strange as it may seem, this book about the first Emperor of the united China, 230-221 BC, taught me there is no change in human "leadership" behavior, across vast reaches of time and vastly different cultures.
7. Dale Carnegie. How to Win Friends and Influence People. - not about cynicism, but about how to show genuine appreciation to others, and express what I really feel. I grew up in a coarse, plain spoken community. People were critical and did not mince words. If I stayed that way, I would never have risen to the challenges ahead. This book is worth a re-read about every decade. People can tell when you are faking it, but it's harder to show them when you are being real. This book helped me a lot.
8. Munro Leaf. The Story of Ferdinand the Bull. My hero.
9. The "Holy" Bible. Revised standard version. Much of this book is poorly written, tedious, boring, with many inconsistencies, senseless plot twists, bad poetry, and many evil characters. It does have a few good parts, not many. Even so, reading it set me free from christianity. It taught me that christians throughout history do not follow the bible, ever, including now. It taught me about humanity's inhumanity to humanity. It taught me about critical thinking, as a classic test subject. Nothing was more instrumental in freeing me from christianity, than this book. It is also the best reference for countering modern christian stupidity. Most christians are willfully and blissfully unaware of the contents of this book, and once you show them you know the book, they leave you alone. At least, they leave me alone.
10. Betty Crocker's Cookbook. I don't know what edition. also Bobbie Hinman and Millie Snyder. Lean Luscious and Meatless. Another Cookbook giving many vegetarian recipes. These books taught me to cook for myself. I don't make a lot of recipes form them any more, but they were empowering when I had to learn how to take care of myself ad a burgeoning adult.
Too long of a list. Lifetime reader. For good and sometimes not so good, reading on my own made me what I am.
Wow, no science books, no sci fi. Except Orwell. I would have thought I would have listed those. Strange of me.