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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Books that have shaped me (5 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Michael Daniels
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This has been quite a self-revealing exercise.

In sort-of chronological order of influence:

1. Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
2. The Moonstone - Wilkie Collins
3. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
4. You-Forever - Lobsang Rampa
5. The Autobiography of a Yogi - Paramahansa Yogananda
6. Yoga - Ernest Wood
7. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
8. Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
9. Romeo and Juliet - William Shakespeare
10. The Doors of Perception - Aldous Huxley
11. The Secret Doctrine - H.P. Blavatsky
12. The Way of Zen - Alan Watts
13. Under Milk Wood - Dylan Thomas
14. The Confessions of Aleister Crowley
15. The I Ching
16. Liber Lucis - Amado Crowley
17. The Varieties of Religious Experience - William James
18. The Farther Reaches of Human Nature - Abraham Maslow
19. Memories, Dreams, Reflections - C.G. Jung
20. The Atman Project - Ken Wilber

Mike
motown
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1. "The Hidden Persuaders" - Vance Packard

2. "Subliminal Seduction" - Wilson Bryan Key

3. "The Art of Advertising: George Lois on Mass Communication" - George Lois

4. "Bill Bernbach's Book: A History of Advertising That Changed the History of Advertising" - Evelyn Bernbach

5. "Gardner's Art Through the Ages" - Helen Gardner

6. "Josef Müller-Brockmann: Pioneer of Swiss Graphic Design" - Lars Muller & Paul Rand

7. "Shane" - Jack Schaefer

8. "The Illustrated History of Magic" - Milbourne Christopher

9. "The Outsiders" - S.E. Hinton
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The Hermit
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As a mentalist, I found Secret Teachings of All Ages to be a great work for study. It discusses everything from various myths, religions, occult arts and philosophy in small segments. It's an entire education in ancient wisdom that is concise and accessible. It will open you mind for ideas.
Jonathan Townsend
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Most recently blindsight / echopraxia by Peter watts. It's an argument worth refuting. Contrasts nicely with the Heinlein story about to get movied, All You Zombies.
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mastermindreader
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Michael- I used to love reading Lobsang Rampa's books. Quite a strange and interesting character, even though he apparently never set foot in Tibet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobsang_Rampa
Michael Daniels
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On Sep 30, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
Michael- I used to love reading Lobsang Rampa's books. Quite a strange and interesting character, even though he apparently never set foot in Tibet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobsang_Rampa


Yes - Cyril/Lobsang was an extraordinary and enigmatic character. In many ways he was the Carlos Castaneda of his day. Probably a charlatan but very influential in popularising Western interest in the mystic East, specifically Tibetan Buddhism. I read most of his books in my early teens in the 1960s and found them absolutely fascinating.

Mike
mastermindreader
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That's when I read them, Michael. He was quite popular back then. (Seems like we're from the same generation.)
JoeHohman
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No particular order --

Franny and Zooey, by J.D. Salinger
Catch 22, by Joseph Heller
The Green Mile, by Stephen King
Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Truman, by David McCullough
John Adams, by David McCullough
Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse
The Three Musketeers, by Alexander Dumas

Now You See It, Now You Don't, by Bill Tarr
The Magic Book, by Harry Lorayne
Complete Course on Magic, by Mark Wilson
Stars of Magic
acesover
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I find it interesting that only two people were affected by reading The Bible yet affected by many other works. When I say affected I do not necessarily mean come away after reading a Bible and became be a Bible thumper. But I cannot imagine how it would not sort of shape your ideas of the world you live in. You have to come away with something. Whether it is agreeing or disagreeing it should create some sort of how others feel and act and why.

Myself, while an avid reader I can say that no book I have read has changed, or shaped me in of itself. However many have definitely given me insights to things I may never have encountered in my life other that reading about them. So for that I am grateful.

The more I ponder this topic, I believe "just about" everything we read does shape us somewhat, or at least become part of who we are. I believe that is what serious books worth reading are intended to do.

You can ask some people who have read "Animal Farm" by Orwell what is it about and they will tell you it is about animals (especially the pigs) on a farm who revolted and evolve. Do the math.
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mastermindreader
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The topic of the thread, as I understand it, is simply to list books that have "shaped us."

I certainly didn't list ALL of the books that have shaped me since I've read and enjoyed thousands. And while I certainly agree that the Bible is one of the most influential works ever written, it simply isn't among my own top twelve that I listed above. (Though there is no doubt that it had a strong influence on literature and authors who I have enjoyed. For example, without an understanding of the Bible, it would be impossible to fully appreciate the works of, say, James Joyce. Or, in the case of my own list, the writings of Borges.)
stoneunhinged
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Since I grew up as the son of a Baptist missionary, the Bible had a gigantic influence on my life.

I am skeptical that it has as much influence on your average person.

Aces, I believe you are Roman Catholic, right?

The Bible generally has much less influence on catholics than catholics think it has had on them. They have been influenced by priests and catechisms and sermons and magisterial interpretations, but not the Bible itself.

Back in graduate school at a catholic university, I was shocked that my colleagues (doctoral students!) couldn't find their way through a Bible. Ask a Baptist to look up the book of Job or Habakkuk or 2 Peter, and they zip right through. Catholics fumble around until they accidentally stumble upon what they are looking for.

The Bible isn't an obvious or automatic entry on any list these days.

Unfortunately.
mastermindreader
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There is no doubting, though, that it would be nearly impossible to appreciate literature and philosophy without at least a fundamental familiarity with the Bible.

I was raised Catholic myself and, you're right, it only compromises about a third of Catholic theology. But, nonetheless, I studied it in depth when I was in college in order to better understand the English literature that was my major.

And many atheists I know, also have studied the Bible as it is essential to understanding history.

I guess my point is that the Bible is an important work regardless of one's religion.
stoneunhinged
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Exactly.
Orville Smith
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Since I've been influenced by both Christian books and books by the Dalai Lama, I'm into both Christianity and Buddhism. People frown on me and CRITICALLY say-how can I embrace both religions at the same time? To them, I say, why not? If it helps me spiritually, and helps me in my relationships with my fellow men, then why not?
acesover
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Quote:
On Sep 30, 2014, stoneunhinged wrote:
Since I grew up as the son of a Baptist missionary, the Bible had a gigantic influence on my life.

I am skeptical that it has as much influence on your average person.

Aces, I believe you are Roman Catholic, right?

The Bible generally has much less influence on catholics than catholics think it has had on them. They have been influenced by priests and catechisms and sermons and magisterial interpretations, but not the Bible itself.

Back in graduate school at a catholic university, I was shocked that my colleagues (doctoral students!) couldn't find their way through a Bible. Ask a Baptist to look up the book of Job or Habakkuk or 2 Peter, and they zip right through. Catholics fumble around until they accidentally stumble upon what they are looking for.

The Bible isn't an obvious or automatic entry on any list these days.

Unfortunately.



Yes I am Catholic. I do have a few issues with the way the Church has gone about some things. While you know I am I am anti abortion. It is only abortion for convenience that I am against. I feel rape and or incest are entirely different and should be looked at differently and on a case to case basis along with a few other exceptions I will not get into here and now. I do not want to turn this into another abortion thread. Have we ever discussed that? Smile

I have had many discussions with priests and even the Late cardinal Oconnor (Archbishop of New York) whom I had the privilege to be in his company twice in a very informal settings which included dinner and great conversation after. Actually he served in the Navy as a chaplain. Probably one of the most mesmerizing and intelligent individuals I have ever had the privilege to meet. Wow do I digress. Sorry.

Only trying to say that while I am a Catholic I am not in complete agreement with everything they as a church say. Having talked to priests and others including Oconnor as I have mentioned it is OK. They informed me that just on that I am not condemned for eternal ***ation. Smile Any one who really studies the Catholic religion would know that but I thought I would throw it in before someone said, "well aren't you worried about not following it to the letter". Again I don't want another religious topic. Just giving some of my life's experiences. Thanks for reading this far.

Now what were we discussing? Oh yea books that shaped us. Sorry. Probably one of the only times I have ever said I am sorry twice in the same post. I hate to apologize. Smile
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Magnus Eisengrim
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Quote:
On Sep 30, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
There is no doubting, though, that it would be nearly impossible to appreciate literature and philosophy without at least a fundamental familiarity with the Bible.

I was raised Catholic myself and, you're right, it only compromises about a third of Catholic theology. But, nonetheless, I studied it in depth when I was in college in order to better understand the English literature that was my major.

And many atheists I know, also have studied the Bible as it is essential to understanding history.

I guess my point is that the Bible is an important work regardless of one's religion.



I considered putting Anatomy of Criticism--Northrop Frye on my list for precisely this reason.
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
foolsnobody
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The people who put their choices in chronological order caused me to reflect a little on books I had forgotten about. I would say John Steinbeck's In Dubious Battle. Dostoevsky's The Idiot. Also Crime and Punishment. Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy. Erle Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason Pocketbooks. Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer mysteries. Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe mysteries. Barnaby by Crockett Johnson (a series of children's books). Don Juan series by Castaneda. The works of John Lilly. William S. Burroughs. Jack Kerouac. Gary Snyder. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche's Cutting through Spiritual Materialism.
landmark
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Foolsbody list reminded me of some more important ones for me...we must have been born under a similar star...Castaneda, Lilly, Burroughs, Rinpoche
George Ledo
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On Sep 30, 2014, Michael Baker wrote:
8) Scenery for the Theatre: The Organization, Processes, Materials, and Techniques Used to Set the Stage - Harold Burris-Meyer

Wow, I haven't heard anyone mention that book in years! It was considered the bible when I was in school, and it still sits on my shelf. Unfortunately, it hasn't been revised since the 70s, so a lot of the technical stuff is outdated, but the darn thing is still fantastic.
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stoneunhinged
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Isn't it interesting that nobody ever mentions textbooks on these kinds of lists?

No one ever says, Fundamentals of Physics, or Mathematics for Business, or the McGuffey readers (which begs the question of why home schoolers are so fond of them), or, say, what I'm about to list as my fifth book:

5. SRA cards

Most of y'all probably don't know about these. But the private school I attended in Taipei used SRA's reading system. And--without any exagerration whatsoever--those darn cards probably shaped my life more than anything else.

Honestly, what I've read has shaped me much less than my ability to read.
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