I got this question recently and it pushed me to think hard about what I read (more than once) and why. My answer was "The Little Prince." The words offered in the book touched my heart and have carried me through some tough times. It is because of The Little Prince that I know I am unique in all the world and also that I have stars that can laugh.
The Ginger Man by JP Donleavy -
Donleavy’s debut rocked the literary world in the late 50s and continues to be a modern classic. A sprawling, wild ribald book based on one errant American’s battle against sobriety and decency in post WWII Dublin, The Ginger Man introduced many wonderful terms for those who read this book: ‘spider walk’ for avoiding creditors, ‘goat dance’ for drunken revelry and many more. Who can forget Sebastian Dangerfield boiling his sheeps' heads as he removes lead pipes from his rented house to pawn for another trip to the pub? The Ginger Man is hilarious and tragic, more so the latter on subsequent readings. Originally banned for scenes that would now be considered tame, the book’s prose takes such chances that work brilliantly but are not in any way pretentious. The writing is simply fantastic, both tough and tender, and the story packs a wallop. This was the first ‘grown-up’ book I ever read and I re-read it every couple of years. It inspired me (and many others) to write due to its unabashed method of story-telling that said ‘you can use your own voice’. Do yourself a favor and read this wonderful book.
Wow that is such a tough question and to be honest if I were put in this situation, I would probably die. I don't think I could survive with just one book but for the sake of this question I am going to say, 'Interview with the Vampire' by Anne Rice.
Pet Sematary! (by Stephen King)
It was the first horror book I read when I was eight years old, and it changed my life forever. Without that book, I wouldn't have started writing.
William Faulkner's The Sound and The Fury. I feel like I live there in that story, as if the memories from the story are my own memories. The Sound and the Fury is, I believe, based on William Faulkner's real life experiences at least to some extent. I know a lot of writer's do write from life. Life is stranger than fiction, it's hard to make up some of the things that really happen. And when it's from real life you can just tell.
If I have one book it will be health manual. Because "if health is lost, everything is lost."
Lots of great books here - and amazing how the choices we make on something like this reveal so much about what we treasure. :)
'Madame Bovary' by Flaubert is a gem of a book and it is worth owning for its amazing, sparse writing. I read it at various times during my life and it was like reading a different book each time for the amount of detail that bubbles to the surface (according to the age the reader is at the time). I still find new things in there that stop me in my tracks.
The book written in 168 A.D. by Marcus Aurelius which is a journal is a wonderful look into the mind of an historical person educated in bothy classical Greek and Roman arts and culture. It sheds light on a brilliant thinker.
Call me sad but the book I find myself going back to time after time is Stephen King's The Stand. Every time, I wish it could be as good at the end as it was at the beginning.
Les miserables by Victor Hugo.
I haven't read that yet, it's on my summer reading list. I hope with all the work I need to do I have a chance to get to it. I think if I had to choose one book it would be something from Jane Austen, she is one of my favorite authors and never get tired of reading her books.
I'm totally in love with Peter Benchley's The Island, and could read all day long forever.