by Alena Naiden
It is always a challenge to tell weeds from wheat, and the task to name three the most influential books is pretty tough because I feel that by calling something more important, I reduce the value of the rest. Nevertheless, I’ll try to stop on only three books that are crucial to my life.
One o such books is One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest written by Ken Kesey. The author, a person from the beat generation, wrote it after working in a mental health facility, and the patients in the book are presented as people who are rejected by society because they don’t fit in. The book is much more than a story about a nuthouse to me; it made me think about the freedom and the beauty of a human mind that is suppressed so often, either by society, authorities or by ourselves.
Another book I can call one of the most important to me is a novel that I’m reading right now, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I haven’t even finished it yet, but I can say that this is just an amazing book that makes me feel so alive, think about so many questions, and enjoy the rich taste of words. One of the themes in the novel is what it is to be a human, and — like in Dandelion Wine, — Bradbury’s talent to describe the world in a way that a reader can touch and smell everything by himself makes me so happy to live. Another motive in the book is censorship, or, more precisely, the danger of the fight for the rights; if everyone tries to protect the group he belongs to, it can lead to a world where you can’t do or speak about anything without offending someone. All in all, it is a very impressive novel with so many facets, and each of them is just fascinating.
The last book that is special to me is The Stranger by Albert Camus. My warm relationship with existentialism started after reading it, and I was amazed by how different the book was from anything I read before. The novel brings up questions about artificiality of moral, about borders between freedom and permissiveness, and about people’s absolute loneliness that existentialists feel so deeply. Camus summarized this novel by a phrase: “In our society any man who does not weep at his mother’s funeral runs the risk of being sentenced to death.” (Camus, 1) Such unexpected and courageous thoughts, that were almost revolutionary to my world then, and piercing melancholy of the novel were and are speaking to my mind and soul, and isn’t it the greatest part of reading?
1.. Camus. Oeuvres Completes. V. 1. Gallimard, 2006. P. 215.
I: “Child 44” by Tom Rob Smith is by-far one of my favorites. Covering the serial murders and subsequent investigation of the infamous “Butcher of Rostov” Andrei Chikatilo, the book is powerful not only in its detail of the cat-and-mouse relationship between the protagonist and Andrei, but in its well-constructed commentary of the Soviet Union under Stalinism itself. The pursuit of Chikatilo is unique – trains take the place of cars, crowded breadlines replace smoke-filled bars and freedom takes a knee. These changes to the murder-mystery status quo are in good taste; Smith’s meticulous attention to detail in his recreation of the Soviet State is most of what made the book so appealing to me. It’s clear that Smith has done his homework; his knowledge of everyday customs and culture is fascinating, charming, and most of all, believable. You really feel like you’re there! The reason this was influential for me is because I’ve always had a little crush on Soviet Russia. Learning about life during some of the darkest days from the perspective of the common man was remarkable, and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t give me some serious perspective on how we live our lives in the United States today. It influenced me to lead a more wholesome, less materialistic life, and I appreciate that.
II: Here’s a throwback: Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, the smash-hit of the 1930’s. It was a gift for my 16th birthday, a book that, given its age, has some serious staying power in the marketplace. Informative? Sure. Inspirational? Arguably. Influential? Definitely. I love this book, and it loves me. That’s the key to its influence – it’s there to guide me, there to offer me advice and there to pick me up me should I stumble. This book, by definition, is influential. What more can I say?
III: “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley has an influence on modern society itself, if that counts. The more time that passes, the more relevant the book becomes. Spot-on commentary that jabs with eerie accuracy at the direction of society as a whole? I like it. Keep up the good work, Al.
By Jorian Lewke
Out of all the books I’ve ever read, The Things They Carried, Crime and Punishment, and The Fault in Our Stars remain my favorite. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien is masterfully written, and takes the readers as deep into the Vietnam war as literature possibly can. While it is clear that it is an anti-war book, it is more so a book reevaluating the definition of truth, and how a fictional story that makes you feel the same as what actually happened is more true than sticking with the facts. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky is the most well written book I’ve ever read. While incredibly dense and difficult to get through, the way that he conveys his messages are complex, yet genius. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is also written incredibly well, and the wit and humor that come through this heart breaking story make you feel as though you’re going through it all with the characters. It is a profoundly human book that explores every facet of emotion we have.
By Stephanie Andrada
Some of the most influential books that I have read in my life time are The Outsiders, The Secret and my favorite book The Giving Tree. Now, I know what you’re thinking! Why these books? All of these books are for kids. Well let me tell you why!
The first book on my list is The Outsiders. When I read this book I was in the 7th grade. The whole class had to read it for out first writing assignment. I remember only reading the first chapter and I was immediately hooked! I couldn’t put the book down and I read ahead of the class. It has stuck with me this whole time, because it was about a group of kids who didn’t belong and didn’t live up to the status quo of things back then. It taught me to be myself and to stand up for myself, to never let anyone make me feel bad about the person that I am.
When I read The Secret, I was in the military and I had heard about a book that everyone was talking about so I went to the PX and I bought it. The reason that I liked this book was because it was like a self motivating book. It talked about how if you want good things to happen to you, you not only have to work hard for them, but to also think positively about what you want. There was a lot in the about having a positive mind and going after what you really want.
The last book I would like to talk about is The Giving Tree. This book is my favorite because it made me feel good. I always had a smile on my face when the teacher brought it out to read to us, and when we had free time I would go straight to that book even though I had already heard the story just yesterday. This book made me feel good because the tree had a friend to talk to and vice verse. So it made me think that anyone could be friends.
Even before I was able to read I remember being very interested in books. My mother encouraged me to look at books and read to me every night. Eventually, I was able to identify words and sentences which opened a brand-new world to me. I have always loved books and enjoy reading different genres especially science fiction and mystery. I even preferred reading books over watching movies or television shows. I did watch a lot of movies via VCR growing up, such as Disney princess franchise and my favorite being Balto. Currently, I go to the movies once in a while with friends to watch the latest film such as the Hunger Games and Penguins of Madagascar. When driving to school, I listen to the radio which plays both songs and talk about current news. I am not as familiar with newspapers and magazines because our household does not subscribe to any particular magazine. I do not read the newspaper because I generally watch the news on the TV or read the news from the internet. I do use the internet quite a bit for homework and for entertainment purposes. I admire journalists and I think the work they do is very important because without them, the average person would not know what is happening in the world. I am interested in maybe majoring in advertisement, but I am not sure. I heard that San Jose State has a great program, but I would like to go further away for school.
Blog 2: Books of My Life, Armen Vardanian
The books, which are my favorite form of media, significantly impacted my life and my character, by giving me an ultimate inspiration to the way I see the world around me. In my opinion, the people are greatly influenced by the books in their childhood and carry the essence of what they learned from these books through their lives.
The first book that influenced me at the age of nine was “The Three Musketeers,” by Alexandre Dumas. The book was an eye opener, and illustrated all the parts of life that a nine years old boy would want to know: adventure, plot, bravery, romance, humor, and a victory of the good over evil. The book gave me the understanding of the right and wrong, taught me the aspects of the gender roles in our life, and influenced me to be brave when facing difficult situations. The reading of “The Three Musketeers” a couple of years ago, when I was going through chemotherapy, gave me the same sensation I experienced when I first took this book in my hands.
Here is the link to this marvelous book:
The second book which had great influence on me was “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I was 14 years old when I first have read the book, and was fascinated by the fantasy of the author on the subject of mystery and crime deduction. The ideas in the book were adventures, advanced and mature, which perfectly suited my age. I have learned to think more logically, which helped me to improve my math at school, and to be more observant in my surroundings, which gave me an opportunity to increase my visual memory. I have read “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” in three different languages and incline to think that the original English version has more appealing impression.
“Barns and Noble” has a wonderful collectable edition of this book:
The third book that had more profound effect on me than ever was the “Bible;” to be more specific it was the Torah, which is also called Jewish “Bible” or The Old Testament. Despite the fact that I have sung liturgy songs in a church choir back in Armenia, I was never religious. I started learning the Torah, with the extended written commentaries from the sages, when I was 43 years of age. The deeper supernatural understanding I had with every new insight from my reading, the more serenity I felt with the world and myself. This was a long process, and the experience of the sensation did not come to me at once, but built up slowly, by pulling me towards something warm and greater than I could ever imagine. By realizing that there is a reason for every moment in our life, the reading made me humble and served as a base for my spiritual awareness. The reading of the Torah every day had also encouraged me to learn Hebrew language, which allows me to read the Torah in the original language.
I own several Torah books at home, but this edition is my favorite:
By Alan Farinas
The video website WorldstarHipHop is one of the most popular places on the internet to watch music videos and viral videos. But the difference between WorldstarHIpHop and other internet video sites is that a majority of the videos that are posted are vulgar rap music videos and violent brawls between black men and women. This has recently lead to some people blaming WorldstarHipHop for normalizing black stereotypes. Fans of the site argue that the content isn’t race specific and there are other videos like pranks and interviews. In response, detractors point out that most brawl videos feature people in the video chanting “worldstar” which just shows how much influence the site has on violence.
The website’s audience has grown over the past couple years and has a wide range of people frequenting it, but in its initial stages its target audience was people of the hip hop community with a big part of it being black. Youtube was a platform to get famous and it lead to other websites just like it. However, WorldstarHipHop has become this thing where people hope to get fanous off of violent and/or mindless behavior. Videos like the “Sharkeisha, No!” fight and one featuring a little girl ”twerking” make the front page of the website everyday. A majority of the videos that are posted spotlight a black male or female. It is easy to see that there are specific types of videos being curated and most sending a negative message to the audience.
WorldstarHipHop is a powerful media outlet and may be responsible for continuing black stereotypes of violence and vulgar behavior. But just like any other form of media the purveyor is going to supply what the people want. The videos get millions of views due to society’s obsession with shock value, so maybe it’s actually today’s culture that is to blame.
By Karissa Louie
These three books have had the most influence on me because after reading them they really made me sit down and think about how fortunate I am to be growing up in American and have opportunities that others did not have.
- To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee
This is a very powerful book that highlighted the idea of racial injustice and unfairness from a child’s point of view. I grew up with the Scout and experienced her carefree childhood filled with mischief and learned with her when she realized her impressions of her neighbor was wrong. It was interesting when I was able to understand grown-up concepts her father discusses and Scout does not comprehend. And later on being able to identify the point at which Scout grows up and realizes that reality is far from fair and people in her society at her time, were not able to break out of their stereotypes. I am grateful today that segregation and racial injustice has been overturned. This book reminds me though, that society still has stereotypes and we need to continue fighting until we achieve equality for all.
- The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
My heart broke after reading the stories of these mothers and the tragedies they suffered in China. The mothers in this book suffered hardships from the old way of life, such as arranged marriage and poverty. The daughters on the other hand suffer in a different way; they are embarrassed with their heritage and try to come to terms with their mothers’ high expectations. This book made me realize the importance of family and realize that I have had opportunities I would not have had if I grew up in another country.
- White Fang by Jack London
This was an eye-widening book, from beginning to end. Following White Fang from the time he was born to his interactions with humans to the abuse he endured, I admire his strength and courage through the abuse he faced. Even though this was a fictional story, White Fang’s journey throughout his life is relatable because he had to have the strength to go through so many cruel people and still had the spirit to fight for himself.
A recent situation that has developed is about a young American men and women trying to join the ISIS terrorist group. The mother of Mohammed Khan blames the terror group for “brain washing” her child by using their mastery of social-media and video production skills. Mohammed Khan was arrested while trying to board an international flight to Syria. It was later found out that Mohammed Khan’s 17 year-old sister and 16 year-old brother planned to later join him in Syria to fight for the cause of this group. Zarine Khan, mother to Mohammed Khan, said in tears “Leave our children alone!” while standing outside the courthouse. Her oldest son will be tried for attempting to provide material support to a terror organization. While this is certainly not the mainstream media portraying ISIS as something that appeals to teenagers, it is an interesting because it seems ISIS is creating their own media channels online. Never before has a terror group been so successful at recruiting westerners, this is a widespread global issue that is using different forms of media to recruit impressionable youths to attempt trips across the world to fight or even commit attacks here at home.
BY JP Michelsen
Probably the most important series of books, not only for me but for my generation of children, would be the Harry Potter series. This fictional tale was a massive movement that most every experienced at least a part of. These books were a way for me to bond with my dad at a young age because we both enjoyed the story line. This series was meant for kids, but was able to transcend between generations.
The second most influential book I’ve read is Lord of the Flies. It gave me a perspective of what a life lived through anarchy would be like, and it was nothing like how I had pictured it at the time. I’ll never forget the scene where Piggy was crushed by the boulder.
The third most influential book I’ve read is A History of the Game it was a basketball book that detailed the lives of both Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. I was a basketball player at the time and it really inspired me to strive for greatness in athletics.
I used to read every single day as a kid. Unfortunately, I am no longer such an avid reader so it was somewhat of struggle to remember some of the most influential books I have read. Off the top of my head I especially remember
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah
Cash The Autobiography
The Odyssey by Homer
A Long Way Gone was one of the most shocking books I have ever read. This book is about the struggles that went on in Sierra Leone (and much of Africa) at the time of a civil war where people were getting raped, mutilated, executed, and brainwashed to become soldiers for either the government army or the rebels. Ishmael Beah survived some truly atrocious things and eventually fled to New York and published his story. This story stuck to me like glue because I had no idea that such things existed in the world and how so many young kids were robbed of their childhoods and ordered to murder people.
The autobiography of Johnny Cash was a books that a friend gave to me because he knew I have been a huge Johnny Cash fan since I was a kid. My childhood was filled with my brother putting on Johnny Cash in the car and listening to the simple yet tasteful, oldschool, country songs. I enjoyed reading Cash’s autobiography because he reminisces on the time in which he created some of his most famous songs and wrote about all of the talented performers he played with, such as Kris Kristofferson, Roy Orbison, and Elvis.
The Odyssey is probably the most adventurous story ever written. It is the tale of a man who left his kingdom, wife, and home island of Ithaka, Greece to go fight in the Trojan War. He survives the 10 year siege of Troy and it takes him another 10 years filled with sea monsters, cyclops, and other perils to return to his beloved island. After the whole ordeal Odysseus returns to his home and finds it filled with suitors for his wife. Odysseus kills them all. This a tale of freewill, justice, pride and persistence and I think it is very important, not only as someone who enjoys a good adventure story but as a Greek who takes pride in learning about the ancient stories of the great Greek figures of the past.
The Ferguson Riots seemed to be a screaming topic, when it was popular on the media. Being that is was indeed a trending topic all over social media, it is argued to be the primary cause of the rioting in the first place. “Blame it on the media” is the common term for it. It is said that all of the hash-tags, and misinformation/ exaggeration posted on social media is what enraged many people, especially of African American ethnicity; enraged them to the point where they felt as if they had to try and get justice, even if it meant for violence that the actual crime. The point is, many people are saying that if it was not for the media, these riots may have never started, or go so out of hand. This can be an example of both Social Learning Theory, and Agenda-Setting Theory. First of all, because of all of the discussion on social media, and news broadcast, people felt as if the situation was a lot more important than what it was, being that things like this happen everyday, however it isn’t projected as much as this case was. Secondly, the reason the riots did get so out of hand was because, people observed others going out and being violent for justice, that they felt the urge to go do the same.
Here is a like of all the tweets of reporters, and their thoughts on media, and the problem at hand:
By: Manuel Jaimes
Media has always been a great part of my life and of course had a great impact on my life as well as other. Many people have grown up with media, and as media has evolved the youth of that generation have evolved with it. Although there are many advantages of Media and how it has progressed over time, there always seems to be those who make stalemates that the Media has a negative effect in the youth. In the book “ Mass Media in changing the World” it states how the media such as video games, movies, and T.V shows have negative characters displaying acts of violence such as killing, foul language , gang related violence. Chapter 2 in the book explains how this portrays a criminal perpetrator and those who watch it would want to replicate those actions, known as Social Learning.
When I was in middle school and high school one would see students spread throughout the campus. Some students would hang out in the main quad, some behind the gym etc. Many of these students would be separated and would only with those students with the same interest. I would see a group of students all dressed in black, skinny jeans all with long hair hang out in the main quad. Then I would see other students with sagging pants, really big belt buckles and long shirts hang out next to our gym. They all had one thing in common; they all tried to replicate the same style and their favorite music artist.
People are always going to have different taste in music but some choose to blame music on the effect on youth. Even though there are so many genre of music the one I always here being blamed for destroying the youth, is Rap and Hip Hop Music. Majority of Rap and Hip artist are Either African American and those who disagree with that type of genre argue that rather being a positive role model to their fans they portray violence and express a lifestyle that not many people would agree with. Hip hop has impacted the youth very much such as the slang language they use, the way the dress, in a video with Bill O Reilly he states “if you can’t see that unsupervised children might be harmed by that kind of stuff, then you are not a responsible person.” Music is always changing and new music will always be coming out and be affecting the Generation who grew up with, and it will always be blamed for the problems of the youth. Many people across the globe listen to Rap and Hip hop but the media likes to emphasize Hip Hop Culture with Black Crime. In the video Link before is a perfect example of one of many videos blaming Hip Hop Culture for its affect on Youth.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnqnvjPkPew ( Rappers, Rap Music , Black Youth , And Black Crime.)
1.) The confident women, by Joyce Myer
This book has really helped me realize my value as a woman, and how I need to value myself in today’s society. It talks about how our confidence as women, is what carries us and helps us achieve amazing things in this world. If more woman knew their value and importance, we could change the world. This book is a great up lifter!
2.) For single people who still understand the value of relationships, by Rob Hill Sr.
This book is for anyone who has ever been in a bad relationship, has always wanted a relationship, or is dealing with a heartbreak. This book has lifted me up in my lioness times. It helped me realize what good qualities I look for in a spouse, along with what to keep an eye out as warning signs in a relationship. It is a constant reminder, that there are good-hearted people out there like myself who also want a lasting rich relationship. A must have in your book collection!
3.) The purpose driven life, by Rick Warren
This book has been key to help me know my potential when it came to making and setting goals and doing what it takes to reach those goals. It is all about self-improvement and striving to be the very best you can be, and to help bring the best in others. A great read!
Written by Alexandria Sellers
There are a lot of books that I feel have changed my life. It is hard to just choose three. But here I have.
1. Hero by Perry Moore. http://www.amazon.com/Hero-Perry-Moore/dp/1423101960
This book pays homage to classic comic books in a new way. It takes time to reveal the main characters feelings and fears in a way that brings your personal ones to light. It easily made me laugh and cry in the same scene. The author manages to take make something so fantastical and bring it so close to the average and the language so simple yet thought provoking and breathtaking you can’t help but apply your own life. It takes a positive stance on the lgbt community and yet easily explains issues still circulating. It inspired my desire to read.
2.DragonSong by Anne McCafrey http://www.amazon.com/Dragonsong-Harper-Hall-Trilogy-Book/dp/0689860080
Dragonsong displays and deals with a persons internal conflicts and how outside influences can affect a persons development. This book is both fantastical and raises a persons awareness about how every action effects ones future. The writing is well developed from years of practice. This book was one of the ones that inspired me to work with people to help.
3. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004G606EO?btkr=1
Unfortunately this is one reason why I have trust issues with books and media. I first read this book in elementary school and I thought it was going to be a good cute book with dogs. I was wrong. This book hurt my inner animal lover to an extreme, especially since I had quite a few pets at the time. I have never forgotten the since of betrayal, and it was a definite encouragement to double check what happens in both books and media.