Obooki’s Top Ten Life-Changing Books

In an Obookian spirit of contradiction, I have now compiled my top ten life-changing books, sticking very closely to the life-changing criterion and not in any way suggesting anything about literary value:

  1. Fantastic Mr Fox, by Roald Dahl
  2. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl
  3. The Hitch-Hikers’ Guide to the Galaxy (et al.), by Douglas Adams
  4. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert M Pirsig
  5. The Pickwick Papers, by Charles Dickens
  6. The German Ideology, by Karl Marx
  7. A Nietzsche Reader, by Friedrich Nietzsche
  8. A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy, by Laurence Sterne
  9. Notes From Underground, by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  10. The European Mind 1680-1715, by Paul Hazard

Make of it what you will: – the first 7 were read before I was 18; I have never been a Marxist or followed the philosophy of Nietzsche; I’m not much impressed, as I said before, in novels which incorporate much philosophy; Sterne is the only one I included as a wholly literary influence (and maybe Dickens). – On the other hand, I can think off-hand of moments when I happened to be walking down the street on my own thinking my own thoughts that have been more influential than any of these.


One thought on “Obooki’s Top Ten Life-Changing Books

  1. Hi – I know you wrote this a while ago, but I was very interested in the fact you chose The Pickwick Papers as a life-changing book. It was life-changing for me, too – specifically, it led to my writing my first novel, Death and Mr Pickwick, which explores the origins and subsequent history of The Pickwick Papers. The novel will be published by Random House in May (in the UK) and by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in June (in the USA). If you are interested, you can find out more at: http://www.deathandmrpickwick.com Best wishes Stephen Jarvis

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