Rod Dreher has a post on “Ten Most Influential Books. I responded after thinking hard and coming up with entries that surprised me a bit, in more or less chronological order:
Kipling’s Jungle Books– first read to me by my mother– gave me a lifelong love of the underrated author, and England.
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. See above. And I still love thrillers.
The Once and Future King– best book I read as a kid. I collect White 1st eds and did a foreword for one of his reprints (The Goshawk).
Hemingway– weirdly my first on my own was Islands in the Stream. First modern “lit” that clicked.
Heart of Darkness: EVIL.
Waugh: Brideshead. 1st “Catholic” novel.
In Patagonia (Bruce Chatwin)– travel writing that influenced me, and 92 in the Shade (Thomas McGuane), novel ditto, by near predecessors.
Patrick Leigh Fermor Between the Woods and the Water: ULTIMATE travel writing. And everything he has written and (I hope) will write.
E O Wilson Biophilia: explained that phenomenon.
Patrick O’Brian: BEST historical series.
Ted Hughes poetry: first living poet to knock me out.
Yeah, more than ten. And I have a hundred more favorites. But we are talking INFLUENCE.
By all means feel free to list your own.
UPDATE: be sure to see Peculiar’s list at his blog. And as I said in comments, “how did I forget Out of Africa”, the biggest influence on Querencia- the- book ?!”
UPDATE II: and how did I forget Vicki Hearne? Margory Cohen reminded me in comments; as I said there “her Bandit may have more to do with how I articulate animal issues than any other book!”