Books of Influence


It has been said that I have a book obsession. I haven’t said that myself, but those close to me seem to hold to that opinion. I have to admit that I do like books and reading a lot. If that is an obsession then so be it. I find it difficult to walk past a bookstore without going inside. Ironically, there are no bookstores in Elliot Lake, although there are three thrift stores that have decent book sections and Shoppers Drug Mart has decent, but small, selection of books. Some of my favourite days on holiday have been with my daughter using the TTC in Toronto and trying to visit as many different bookstores as we can in one day. I think our best was 10 stores in a single day. Most of these were second-hand bookstores and we picked up some great bargains. So it could be said that books are a big part of my life.

Recently there was a popular book meme on Facebook that many people, including myself, took part in. People were invited to share the ten books “that have stayed with you in some way”, or in other words ten books that have influenced you the most. My Top Ten was as follows:

  1.  ‘The Hobbit’ – J.R.R. Tolkien (best book ever – forget the movies, just enjoy the book)
  2. ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ – C.S. Lewis
  3. ‘Fahrenheit 451’ – Ray Bradbury
  4. ‘Pagan Christianity?’ – Frank Viola
  5. ‘One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich’ – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  6. ‘The Sacred Way’ – Tony Jones
  7. ‘What’s So Amazing About Grace’ – Philip Yancey
  8. ‘Celebration of Discipline’ – Richard Foster
  9. ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ – Ernest Hemingway
  10. ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ – Douglas Adams

Someone then analysed 130,000 of the posts and came up with a top 100 influential books. CBC Books posted an article with links to the list and also posted the top 10, which was as follows:

  1. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  3. The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien
  4. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  6. The Holy Bible
  7. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  8. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
  9. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  10. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

I’ve actually read 8 of the top 10, and 34 from the top 100. Quite a few of my top 10 appeared on the list of 100 as well. Of course my top 10 could change on any given day, depending on how I feel. I think that The Hobbit would always be my number one, though. I was interested to read some of my friends’ lists as well, comparing them with mine. What are your most influential books? I’d be interested to see. Feel free to leave a list in the comment section of this post. Meanwhile, I’m off to read a few pages before bed.


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