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 Post subject: Re: Non-fiction books that made you who you are
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:11 pm 
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When someone I dearly loved was pretty much on the fast track to death because of her alcoholism, I looked for books so I myself could understand her struggle and the first two I researched and found at the library were really good:

Drinking: A Love Story by Carolyn Knapp

and

Dry by Augusten Burroughs.

I read these books and thought they were great and recommended them to my dear one who read them, too, and she's been sober now for eight years (not because of these books, but they were great for shedding light and helping her to understand herself and know others shared her experience and she was not alone) and she says to this day these are the two books that were most relatable to her own personal experience and feelings on the matter and gave the most recognizable voice to her own struggle and despair of that time. She also says Dry is her fave book now (like of all books she's read: fiction, non-fiction, whatevs).

But for myself personally--I can't think of any books that changed my life in any other significant way other than to shed light on the struggle of another so I could understand and best empathize, so I guess those two books are it for me. Even though my intent in reading them was to understand someone else and not to better myself...

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 Post subject: Re: Non-fiction books that made you who you are
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:13 pm 
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Wallace22 wrote:
Eating Animals


Loved this.

seitanicverses wrote:
Drinking: A Love Story by Carolyn Knapp


Loved this.


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 Post subject: Re: Non-fiction books that made you who you are
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:06 pm 
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The dictionary and the set of World Book encyclopedias we had. My mom, sister and I would pick a volume of the encyclopedia and take turns flipping to a random page and then we'd all read about volcanoes or Austria or carbon. I think it's part of why I still like reading about a wide variety of random subjects.

Also, Dr. Thomas Noguchi's memoir Coroner, which my mom bought for me when it came out. I was 11 and decided I wanted to be a forensic pathologist. Obviously I never did, but I've always, always been interested in forensic science (like realsies, not CSI) and even did a certificate program in forensics at my alma mater's extension. Noguchi himself was pretty much a media hors d'oeuvre, but the case studies were fascinating to my preteen self.

The book that introduced me to vegetarianism was a Hare Krishna publication called The Higher Taste. That was a month shy of 26 years ago! It definitely had a lasting effect on me.

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 Post subject: Re: Non-fiction books that made you who you are
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:13 pm 
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I HATE NON-FICTION IT'S SO BORING. K, sorry, I had to get that out. I haven't read a ton of NF books obviously, but this one had a big effect on my life:

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 Post subject: Re: Non-fiction books that made you who you are
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:04 am 
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Oh, this obscure book I'm sure none of you have heard of called veganomicon. The recipes in it convinced me that vegan food could be delicious and filling. Then I finally got around to checking out the web sight mentioned in the back of the book, and the people on the boards were awesome, smart, sweet, fun, creative, unique people who convinced me that not all vegans are like PETA and they even had science to back up the fact that veganism wasn't deadly or even unhealthy if done right. So I tried it and it stuck.

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 Post subject: Re: Non-fiction books that made you who you are
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:27 am 
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solipsistnation wrote:
linanil wrote:
my first day on my job for the company that I still work for. I was told to learn Perl because I needed to do some stuff. And do some stuff I did.


It's not RCN, is it?

RCN may have finally stopped running perl I wrote back when I was working for UltraNet, before the buyout.

There is, of course, only 1 tech company in the DC area, so I suspect I have guessed correctly. 8)


No :) I'm not a programmer so it wasn't for any large scale work. In the early days, I did a lot of unix administration, some web server administration, did some cgi/database stuff, etc. Later on, I wrote a lot of the scripts our company still uses related to DNS, firewall log filtering and such. I rarely do any scripting these days but once in a while, I'll be asked to help with something.

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 Post subject: Re: Non-fiction books that made you who you are
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:02 am 
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A People's History Of The United States by Howard Zinn (I found this extremely relevant to Europeans)
anything by bell hooks and Angela Davis
Gender Outlaw by Kate Bornstein


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 Post subject: Re: Non-fiction books that made you who you are
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:11 am 
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eight wrote:
A People's History Of The United States by Howard Zinn (I found this extremely relevant to Europeans)
anything by bell hooks and Angela Davis


I love Zinn, hooks, and Davis.

ETA; Although to be honest I've only read one of Davis' books, "Women, Race and Class."


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 Post subject: Re: What's the most challenging book you've read?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:45 pm 
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Quarantined wrote:
Ulysses. I read it along with a companion guide which helped a lot.


I am impressed! I always find it hard to believe ANYONE could get through that book.

Mine is probably The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro. It is such a weird, weird book.


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 Post subject: Re: Non-fiction books that made you who you are
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:47 pm 
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linanil wrote:
No :) I'm not a programmer so it wasn't for any large scale work. In the early days, I did a lot of unix administration, some web server administration, did some cgi/database stuff, etc. Later on, I wrote a lot of the scripts our company still uses related to DNS, firewall log filtering and such. I rarely do any scripting these days but once in a while, I'll be asked to help with something.


Ah cool. Being a generalist is fun. 8)

So uh if you're near DC, do you know Meri? (It's a long shot, but hey, who knows? She's a person who knows people. You know those kinds of people? That's her.)

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 Post subject: Re: What's the most challenging book you've read?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:48 pm 
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molly wrote:
Quarantined wrote:
Ulysses. I read it along with a companion guide which helped a lot.


I am impressed! I always find it hard to believe ANYONE could get through that book.

Mine is probably The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro. It is such a weird, weird book.


I tried to listen to the audiobook version of Ulysses and gave up after five minutes.


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 Post subject: Re: Non-fiction books that made you who you are
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:55 pm 
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Henry Jenner's Handbook of the Cornish Language.

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 Post subject: Re: What's the most challenging book you've read?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:15 pm 
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"Godel, Escher, and Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid," by Douglas R. Hofstadter.

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 Post subject: Re: Non-fiction books that made you who you are
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:53 pm 
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solipsistnation wrote:
linanil wrote:
No :) I'm not a programmer so it wasn't for any large scale work. In the early days, I did a lot of unix administration, some web server administration, did some cgi/database stuff, etc. Later on, I wrote a lot of the scripts our company still uses related to DNS, firewall log filtering and such. I rarely do any scripting these days but once in a while, I'll be asked to help with something.


Ah cool. Being a generalist is fun. 8)

So uh if you're near DC, do you know Meri? (It's a long shot, but hey, who knows? She's a person who knows people. You know those kinds of people? That's her.)


I know those kind of people but being a hermit, I don't know anyone :)

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 Post subject: Re: Books that made you who you are/most challenging books
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:59 pm 
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I combined both of the threads because they're both about books that impacted you...just in different ways.

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 Post subject: Re: Books that made you who you are/most challenging books
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:35 pm 
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My answer makes no sense anymore. Note that Christopher Columbus did not majorly impact my life. He just gave me a headache. I don't think I've ever read a single book that completely changed me.


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 Post subject: Re: Books that made you who you are/most challenging books
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 3:15 pm 
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Interview with a Vampire made me hate books written with long run-on sentences.

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 Post subject: Re: Books that made you who you are/most challenging books
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 3:27 pm 
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mollyjade wrote:
My answer makes no sense anymore. Note that Christopher Columbus did not majorly impact my life. He just gave me a headache. I don't think I've ever read a single book that completely changed me.

yeah, just to clarify Ulysses was the most challenging book I read not one that made me who I am.

Also- yeah, it was brutal! But worthwhile to get through it.

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 Post subject: Re: Books that made you who you are/most challenging books
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 3:31 pm 
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That is why the topic name has both topics in it. Plus, if you look above the individual post, it says what you were originally replying to.

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 Post subject: Re: Books that made you who you are/most challenging books
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 3:33 pm 
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also a big fan of bell hooks and Howard Zinn.
the obligatory: Moby Dick. Strange Pilgrims. Necromancer/Burning Chrome/etc. Dune (I can't believe I'm the only one). (i read all of these about once a year. every time is better.)

and what seems to be the non-typical... The Canterbury Tales, Ulysses, Beowulf and some other assorted Old English poetry

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 Post subject: Re: Books that made you who you are/most challenging books
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:25 pm 
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Most challenging book -- Atlas Shrugged. I didn't even know what it was about, I just kept noticing references to it popping up all over. Then I noticed all my conservative acquaintances loved it and my liberal acquaintances hated it so I got really curious. It was pretty dry and I only have made it 1/3 through. I may have to resort to audiobook!

I can't think of many books that changed me. Probably some of the bio/chem/physics textbooks in college and some of the social science texts about perception. I guess those changed the way I thought about the world!

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 Post subject: Re: Books that made you who you are/most challenging books
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:27 pm 
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torque wrote:
and what seems to be the non-typical... The Canterbury Tales

Yeah, totally my Chaucer stuff. I suppose Shakespeare was challenging (I remember when I was new to university, I decided to take my Shakespeare courses first so I could "get him out of the way" because i was scared of him and thought I would never understand him. I regret that because I pretty much love him more than anything. I could weep with a copy of Hamlet in my hands for the beauty within.) I love my Chaucer professor and she was incredible, but I can't really read Chaucer without the translation keys where I can read Shakespeare pretty straight up now without much help from the translation footnotes--unless a word is really off from it's more modern meaning or unfamiliar. But yeah, Chaucer was the most challenging but Shakes put me through the fire first to warm me up for GC.

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 Post subject: Re: Books that made you who you are/most challenging books
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:48 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Books that made you who you are/most challenging books
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:50 pm 
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There's a Pot of Beans on the Stove but My Baby Done Left Me for the Arctic Circle

I cried during the last chapter.

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 Post subject: Re: Books that made you who you are/most challenging books
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:46 am 
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seitanicverses wrote:
I decided to take my Shakespeare courses first so I could "get him out of the way" because i was scared of him and thought I would never understand him....Chaucer was the most challenging but Shakes put me through the fire first to warm me up for GC.

ha. my first college advisor was a german professor and a chaucer geek and she told me that i would never get through chaucer unless i took german (after she skewered me in our first meeting for pronouncing his name wrong, i wasn't going to study german if it saved my life, especially if she was teaching it). So I didn't take it. Then the next year I switched my advisor (and my major) and my new advisor was the resident Glorified Old Boy old english expert. He got me so revved up about Chaucer that he had me do the backwards progression-- Chaucer, then Piers Plowman-era, then Beowulf, then the really crazy stuff (prose Edda, irish epic poetry, etc). My last year, I retook Chaucer as a section leader, and after having read all the earlier stuff, it was amazing.
I wish, for my part, that I had actually taken some Shakespeare courses. I have a deep love for Shakespeare, and we had amazing Shakespeare scholars i could have studied with, but I was too busy with my noun declensions and trying to decipher Old Irish poems about mythical red bulls so I could make connections with the Venerable Bede.

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