My friend Rob posted a list on his blog of books that had left a mark on him over the years. I really liked reading his and writing mine, so I figured I'd copy my list here. Anyone want to add theirs?
Siddhartha was a good one for me too. I read it in high school but it left a mark.
Fifth Business by Robertson Davies. Davies' poetic prose would be enough on its own but this one struck a chord in its underlying principle.
Vonnegut, don't remember which one in particular. He wrote one about a painter, it had a Norman Rockwell counterpart in it. Blanking on the title.
The Rum Diaries, by Hunter Thompson. Not everybody's favourite of his works, but I really liked it. Not so frenetic in its writing but still chaotic in the lifestyle it represents.
Franny and Zooey, by JD Salinger. This book kicks Catcher in the Rye's ass. Holden Caulfield was a whiny bitch.
Homer's Odyssey. I had a Classics teacher with a slight scottish accent who would read to us. When a teacher believes so much in a literary work as an espousing of virtue and philosophy... it kinda rubs off.
Run With the Hunted, a Charles Bukowski Reader. This was my first exposure to Bukowski. I used to read this on the Hastings bus route into downtown Vancouver from Burnaby surrounded by a sea of sweaty human trash. This book ruined me for people. It probably contributed to the ruination of my relationship with the girl I was living with at the time. Bukowski's distaste for his fellow man was contagious. It was a decade before I was able to pick up another of his books. By far my favourite author. Now, rather than chasing me off, I find his work steels me against the mundane and hopeless.