Which classic novels have changed your view and perspective of life?

Guy Named Sue

Censored
Feb 11, 2015
27,652
Terra Incognita
I have a long list of books that have changed my view of life, my thoughts and feelings.

Kafka said ;
  • What we need are books that hit us like a most painful misfortune, like the death of someone we loved more than we love ourselves, that make us feel as though we had been banished to the woods, far from any human presence, like a suicide. A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us.
I can talk for hours about novels by Kafka and about the man himself, same goes for Dostoevsky. Brothers Karamazov, The Idiot, Crime and punishment just to name a few.

And if anyone would like to discuss them further I'd be happy to indulge in that discussion.

I want to see if you have any classic novels that have had the same effect on you and which books you would say they were.

To quote Kafka again

A book should serve as the ax for the frozen sea within us.
 

sam_in_cali

Scream for me Strat-Talk!
Silver Member
Feb 21, 2014
16,691
SoCal
Not a classic novel but I'd recommend this book to anyone. It certainly helped me out.
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Stratbats

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 16, 2018
4,081
WV
I wouldn't know which to mention... Pale Fire, one of the funniest, saddest novels ever. Works on many levels, poem, goofiness, seriousness, playfulness, etc. All of Nabokovs American novels, just incredible works of art. My favorite personal novel is David Copperfield, big fan of Dickens. Tolstoy Anna Karenina... Melville Moby-Dick... All the regulars. Personal fan of Kerouac, feel his best novel is Dr. Sax, have everything the man wrote, been to Lowell, his house, the cemetary. Have read many novels, from Sholokhov's Quiet Flows the Don (Daglish translation) to Madame Bovary, from Oblomov to the Great Gatsby, from the Bros K to Proust...
 

montemerrick

no earthly reason why
Apr 13, 2015
22,788
300 miles from anywhere.
if a novel doesn't change my view i'm disappointed.

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson isn't classical (published 1980) but M Robinson is a gifted writer in the classical tradition

Cervantes' Don Quixote - arguably the first western novel is profound, hilarious and fresh as ever 500 years later.

Kerouac has his place too.

first novel i read, Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, when i was 6 or so, lingers with me today...

Ishmael Reed's Mumbo Jumbo is a mindbender.

and I'll go along with Joel on Kafka and Dostoeyevsky..
 

Stratbats

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 16, 2018
4,081
WV
I admire many thinkers/philosophers from Kant to Nietzsche, etc. But I think I agree most with Schopenhauer. Had a few years of personal stress and spent many a night up reading Kant, Montaigne, Hume, the Greeks and Romans, not peppy reading when you can't sleep... Now I re-read the Pickwick Papers when I can't sleep, or Johnson, or Boswells Johnson. Or the man himself, Shakespeare.
 

Will Lefeurve

Most Honored Senior Member
Mar 1, 2016
6,091
Angleterre et France
I'll name two that have had a profound effect on me in a myriad of ways. Both simple books of their time, but so powerful in their simplicity..

Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee.. which is virtually a photograph of my own boyhood..

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway... never lose faith in yourself, never discard your dreams, your wisdom and tenacity along with guts will see you through.. :thumb:
 

dbbluesproject

Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Nov 3, 2015
3,324
Maine
I don’t remember how I got into his stuff but I remember reading Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut at a very early age......11 or 12.
The stuff just blew my mind at the time and I read every book of his I could get my hands on.
Later on I got into Albert Camus and basically did the same thing.
I thought The Stranger and The Plague were brilliant.
After that it was Crime and Punishment then Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance and On the road.
All of these books/authors had a profound affect on me.
 

Stratbats

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 16, 2018
4,081
WV
I have a long list of books that have changed my view of life, my thoughts and feelings.

Kafka said ;
  • What we need are books that hit us like a most painful misfortune, like the death of someone we loved more than we love ourselves, that make us feel as though we had been banished to the woods, far from any human presence, like a suicide. A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us.
I can talk for hours about novels by Kafka and about the man himself, same goes for Dostoevsky. Brothers Karamazov, The Idiot, Crime and punishment just to name a few.

And if anyone would like to discuss them further I'd be happy to indulge in that discussion.

I want to see if you have any classic novels that have had the same effect on you and which books you would say they were.

To quote Kafka again

A book should serve as the ax for the frozen sea within us.
have you read Frank's bio of Dostoevsky? Very good, I liked it so much I emailed him and he graciously replied.
 

Rastus

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 1, 2014
4,439
Australia
Yo,

Without any doubt, "The Silmarillion" by J.R.R.Tolkien, (& of course, The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings).

Colin Wilson has some most excellent novels too. The first one to spring to mind is "The Occult".

Jack Kerouack's "On the Road" is pretty good too, though autobiographical...

Too many novels to mention here, as I've read heaps lol ! Much better the internet IMO. ( I see the the internet as a massive world-wide magazine, with about 99% bollox, & 1% or less credible value ).

Cheers,

Rastus
 
Last edited:

ido1957

Senior Stratmaster
Oct 13, 2014
3,236
Canada
I've read 2 books in 20 years, both autobiographies of musicians. The internet has a plethora of information and opinions and has replaced books for me. I don't miss the physical sensation or smell either lol.
 

Stratbats

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 16, 2018
4,081
WV
Yo,

Without any doubt, The Silmarillion by J.R.R.Tolkien, (& of course, The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings).

Colin Wilson has some most excellent novels too. The first one to spring to mind is The Occult.

Jack Kerouack's On the Road is pretty good too, though autobiographical...

Too many novels to mention here, as I've read heaps lol ! Much better than the internet IMO. ( I see the the internet as a massive world-wide magazine, with about 99% bollox, & 1% or less credible value ).

Cheers,

Rastus
The internet, right!
 


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