Ben's picture
Ben from Australia is reading My Booky Wook by Russell Brand October 14, 2011 - 3:40am

I've been waiting all week for my copy of Lidia Yuknavitch's The Chronology of Water to arrive, and it finally came today.  I'm currently about two-thirds of the way through it, and thus far, it has not failed the considerable expectations I had for it.

First and foremost, Lidia can write.  That may seem like a ridiculous statement to be making about a published author, but I mean she can REALLY write; already I feel changed from having read some of her work.  Honestly, I've only stopped reading to start this topic because I don't want the book to be over in another 90 minutes.  I want to draw it out and lose myself in it for as long as possible.  And this isn't even a novel I'm talking about, but a memoir.

She lived this.  It makes me feel like a spoilt brat in a toy store throwing a tantrum, for every time I've ever complained about something, because nothing in my life can compare to some of her worst experiences.  I've had a fine dose of reality over the last couple of hours, and for that, I'm eternally grateful to Lidia.  She's achieved what so few writers can, in that I feel connected to her somehow.  I know already that this book is going to stay with me long after I've finished reading it.  I know that I'll pick the book up again at some point over the next week and read it again.  And again and again and again into the future.  I've already jumped online and ordered a copy for a close friend.

For those of you who haven't read it, I suggest you get your grubby little mitts on it, pronto.

 

What books have really opened your eyes?  What books have changed you?  Stayed with you?

Raelyn's picture
Raelyn from California is reading The Liars' Club October 14, 2011 - 5:56pm

I'm surprised no one has responded to this yet.  At the moment only two books come into my mind:

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho - This book is amazing.  It only took be an hour or so to read, but I will never forget it.  The criticism for this book is very two sided though; either people absolutely loved, or loathed it.  The book is very spiritual which could turn people off, I'm atheist however and it didn't bother me. 

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman - By no means is this book revolutionary, but it is thee book that flipped a switch in my head and made me say "I'm gonna be a writer."

bryanhowie's picture
bryanhowie from FW, ID is reading East of Eden. Steinbeck is FUCKING AMAZING. October 14, 2011 - 10:26pm

Reasons to Live was one of those books that knocked me over and made me look at writing in a different way.  Survivor did this too.

Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut was probably the first book to make me want to really write.  Before that, my inspiration was comic books and Stephen King.  Not that there's anything wrong with those...

Chronology of Water is the first memoir that has completely sold me on memoir.  It's brilliant.

Kate Winters's picture
Kate Winters from Toronto is reading James Rollins' Sigma Force series October 14, 2011 - 10:32pm

@Rae: those two are the ones I will always keep around, along with William Gibson and Chuck's stuff.

Also: Mitch Albom's Tuesday with Morrie, and Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture. These two weren't strictly fiction (Pausch's isn't, and the guy died of pancreatic cancer before the book was even published) but they had helped me look at the world slightly differently, in a good way.

I always credit my love for reading English fiction to William Gibson, but before him, there was Edgar Allen Poe, specifically The Tell-Tale Heart. These were life changers too.

aliensoul77's picture
aliensoul77 from a cold distant star is reading the writing on the wall. October 14, 2011 - 10:46pm

@Raelyn.  I'm reading the Alchemist, I'm like halfway done and I still don't get the point of it.  I mean shepards and crystal shops and Arabs.  I keep wondering:  why is this popular?

Kate Winters's picture
Kate Winters from Toronto is reading James Rollins' Sigma Force series October 14, 2011 - 11:05pm

@allensoul: it'll all come together at the end of the book ;)

Raelyn's picture
Raelyn from California is reading The Liars' Club October 14, 2011 - 11:11pm

@allensoul - Send me a message once you're finished and we can discuss it if you'd like.

Ben's picture
Ben from Australia is reading My Booky Wook by Russell Brand October 16, 2011 - 12:27am

I finished The Chronology Of Water and definitely stand by my initial recommendation.  Another book that springs to mind that stayed with me a while after finishing it is Less Than Zero.  I read it after having read American Psycho, and for me, the subtlety worked.  After reading Less Than Zero, my personal opinion of American Psycho was that whilst it was still good, Ellis was trying too hard.  The complete lack of emotion he wrote with in Less Than Zero worked beautifully, and that was probably my first real inspiration to want to write fiction.

I also really admire the creativity behind The Eyre Affair and Lost In A Good Book, both by Jasper Fforde (although, in my opinion, the remaining books in that series weren't as good), as well as Palahniuk's Rant.

I've read The Alchemist, but that was a few years ago and I don't remember much about it, although I think I liked it.  I'll have to pick up a copy and read it again to refresh my memory.

Raelyn's picture
Raelyn from California is reading The Liars' Club October 16, 2011 - 12:39am

I took a look at my bookshelf and found another one; can't even believe I didn't think of it at first.  Ishmael by Daniel Quinn.