One of the hosts said he felt that the book titles for him would be different at different points of time. Another said he felt saying the Bible was a cop out even for a Christian. Sure it might have influenced your life, but it's the easy answer. A person might say it's the Bible but has it impacted your political views or is it those who tell you what it says who did that? How about if you believe the Gospels and yet ignore Christ's words about caring for the poor or not judging others. Does it really impact your life philosophy or is it just a get out of jail free card?
This led me to thinking about what three books could I say had impacted my life the most. Of course there are the ones I read as a child but I figured to start with young adulthood. I took more than a few seconds to really think about it.
I came up easily with The Virginian by Owen Wister. I consider that book definitive for the western and something to describe the western ethic. I loved the honeymoon scene more than any romantic scene I've ever read-- and it had no sex. It had plenty of tenderness and meaning. I liked how it showed the need of the community to bring law and order to a land. I liked how it showed there is cost to what we do. I loved the humor and scenes of the people gathering together in ways I remember hearing my father describe as he recalled being a child growing up in South Dakota. It was written during the time it depicted and to me it had truths that still apply today.
There are lots of authors who have influenced my life by writing books about nature, farming and their lives. Pilgrim on Tinker Creek is certainly one by Annie Dillard. But in the same vein were books like Wapiti Wilderness by Margaret Murie and her life married to the naturalist Olaus Murie. She took her children into the wilds of the Tetons and spent summers there. She wrote about it beautifully. Gladys Taber wrote the Stillmeadow books and they, like many others set in the rural lifestyle, certainly impacted my life and still do today.
Then there are the books by John Steinbeck, pick any of them but especially Grapes of Wrath. I think today it impacts my political view that sometimes the government is needed and people can be pushed beyond their limits by circumstances. Being poor doesn't mean you did anything wrong. Once again, there was a cost to trying to help others. The book is about society shunting some people aside and others taking responsibility to make a difference.
"Wherever they’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever they’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there." --- Grapes of WrathThere are a many other authors who have probably impacted my life philosophy along with the life I lead-- writers of fiction and non-fiction. Today though, the life I lead, those three are still in my life philosophy-- they have lasted.
So just for the fun of it, think about what three books might you say impacted your life and still do today? If you are so inclined, how about sharing them. They don't have to be famous authors or books that are noted for being classics. That's not what it's about. It's what touched you and maybe even changed the direction of your life?