Quest #13: The Ten Books that have Influenced Us the Most

Just warning you… if you read these books you will be forever changed and will be unable to look at the world the same way again. 

E’s Books

1. The Harry Potter Series– I firmly believe that each of us have one part of pop culture we reach for in our greatest need. Our pop culture comfort food, if you will. Harry Potter is mine. I have been listening to the books on tape since I was five years old and nothing calms me down like Jim Dale’s dulcet voice imitating my friends Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the rest of the gang. 

I took the above picture myself. My love for Harry Potter motivated me to visit London last summer with my dear friend H ( to see the actors and JK Rowling at the premiere of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.” It was one of the cooler things I’ve ever done.
2. “An Anthropologist on Mars” by Oliver Sacks– Oliver Sacks is a personal hero of mine. He is a genius in so many ways. He is a great scientist, writes beautiful prose, and is an empathetic, caring man. I love the way he approaches neuroscience. Anyone would be interested in reading his works. 
3. “A Short History of Nearly Everything” by Bill Bryson– Talk about a mind-blower! This book really puts things into perspective. It is, actually, a short history of nearly everything, from the formation of the universe to the scientists that made these discoveries. 
4. The “Odyssey” by Homer– I read the Iliad and the Odyssey while I was in Greece the summer before my freshman year. My dad was working in a small fishing village near Delphi, so my family got to tag along. This was a really incubative time for me in a lot of different ways, and somehow Homer worked himself into who I am today. The ultimate quest for the unreachable Ithaca, the faithful Penelope, the dreaded Cyclops and ensnaring Sirens. I love it all. 
5. I feel like I should include the King James Bible. I asked my mom for this version when I heard that Martin Luther King learned his rhetoric from the grand language used in this version of the Bible. Even if you’re not religious, Christianity is such a huge part of our culture and literature. You can recognize stories from the Bible everywhere. Of course, the same is true about Shakespeare and Greek Mythology, so you should also read those. 

P’s Books

  1. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling-Like, E, these books have been a huge part of my childhood. I read them growing up and I was literally the same age as Harry, Ron, and Hermione as they battled dementors and learned magic. I’ve learned so much from the series and the books have contributed so much to my love for reading. 
  2. Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom-This book is absolutely wonderful. I read it and it really changed my view on what I’m doing with my life and about what’s important. If you go back to our first blog post you’ll see that this is one reason we started the blog. After this book I quickly became a Tuesday person and E and I have lunch every Tuesday to celebrate Morrie and his view on life. In addition, if I’m being real with you guys, I am ADDICTED to self-help books, not that I’m like, messed up or anything, it’s just that I have this weird desire to improve like every facet of my life and with self-help books I can read all about other peoples’ journeys and tailor their tips and advice to my own life. For reals, once you go self-help, you never go back. Other self-help books I enjoy are The Happiness Project, How to be a Hepburn in a World Full of Hiltons, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, etc. The list goes on forever.
  3. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen-I love this book and I do not care whether you judge me. Don’t get me wrong guys, I love me some Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. I like Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain and I read Homer and Shakespeare and I think classics are great books (sometimes), but there is just something about cheesy romance novels and young adult fiction that I cannot resist. I remember reading the Hunger Games almost two years ago and loving it! I just love fairytales and teen fiction and things about high school and magic and worlds that only exist in your imagination. Percy Jackson and Penndragon used to be some of my FAVORITE books. Yea, sometimes the plots are shallow and the characters are underdeveloped, but the idea behind the story always shines through. Certain ideas, certain quotes, they always stick with me from these kinds of books. It’s comforting for good to triumph over evil, and it’s fun to read books from the old days and have them take you back to your childhood. I don’t think I will ever outgrow children’s books or young adult books. 
  4. Blindness by Jose Saragamo-This book won the Nobel Prize for Literature and I can absolutely see why. The story was horrifying, yet extremely touching and a very wide array of human emotion is depicted throughout the book. It’s a hard book to describe and really just one you’ll have to read for yourself.
  5. The Science of Fear by Daniel Gardner-I really love reading science-y books, I guess because I’m a math and science nerd. This one is one of my favorites. I really like reading about the brain and about the body and why we do what we do. I find various diseases and ailments very intriguing and I enjoyed the Science of Fear a lot because it truly broke down what fear is and why humans feel it. it makes me approach my fear in a very different way. I have tons of other favorite science-y books (Michio Kaku anyone?) and I would definitely say this is one of my favorite genres.

CRAP. I just realized that I didn’t even include The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and that’s one of my favorite books. EFF. Maybe I’ll write a post called Why I Love The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Truthfully, this process of choosing five of my favorite books was absolutely grueling because there are so so so so so many wonderful books out there.

Anyway. Lots of Love and Happy Reading!



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