This book meme has been lying around in my draft folder for quite sometime, and I was just reminded of it today when reading the Bragging Rights Archive II at VWXYNot. While reading that archive I remembered that I had been tagged for this meme by virtue of having fallen out of a sailboat - at least once. The possible first time was in my childhood, and it may have been someone else who fell out, thereby leaving me with a permanent scar after imagining how terrible falling out would be. The for-sure second time was in Washoe Lake, Nevada, after the boom swung across the boat, causing me to fall out and the boat to tip over all at the same time. Falling out of boats of any kind is one of my least favorite things in the world; it can involve being in water over your head rather suddenly. In this particular instance, the sailboat was not rightable - after we both made it back to the boat to give it a try - because it turned out that the mast had no cover on top, so had completely filled with water. We had to drag it close to shore, it upside down - and several people got involved in the righting. Not me. Being there - hanging on to an upside down boat while my boating partner drifted away, then getting resucued by another sailboat, and then making the righting attempt while thoroughly waterlogged - had been enough for me.
Oh, back to the book meme. The official rules of the meme are "list fifteen books that had the most profound impact on you - ones you can think of in fifteen minutes or less." And here's where things slow down: 15 books? Which ones? Most profound effect, or just the ones I remember right off the bat? Or some combination of the two, perhaps?
Foundation Trilogy (is that 3?)
Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Trilogy (is that 4?)
Time Enough for Love - much more so than Stranger in a Strange Land.
Flowers for Algernon
Childhood's End - the only Arthur C. Clarke book I ever liked.
The Martian Chronicles
The Mote in God's Eye
East of Eden - or The Grapes of Wrath.
The Secret Garden
I'd like to list something heavy, like De Re Metallica, but really, I don't think that's what caused me to become an Economic Geologist, although it is a very good book on mining and prospecting, published in 1556.
I would also like to state, for the record, that at a certain time in my life I was considerably impressed with Ayn Rand. At the time, it was fairly common for people in college to read her books, almost like some kind of cult thing - I swear these were the same people also listening to the Grateful Dead, but I could be wrong. Three of her books have left some lasting impression on me, not entirely positive, especially after seeing part of one movie rendition, and after realizing retrospectively how the women in her books were characterized in a partly sexist, though strong, fashion. At this point, the only book I think worth reading if you haven't yet read any of her writing is We the Living.
I'm not sure if 1984 belongs on the list, but I put it there because I thought of it relatively quickly, and because the effect was strong. Fortunately, the strongest effects (rats) have faded with time. Perhaps one of the Russian novels should be listed instead, maybe One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch or Master and Man.
As for tagging, this is a fairly old meme, so if you'd like to play, consider yourself tagged - also, any and all readers who had vegetable gardens this summer can consider themselves tagged.