Readings: The Influence of Books
I was watching CNN and they mentioned a website called Klout. Klout is a social networking tool that provides people with a measure of their social impact or clout. Klout does this by tracking the impact of your Facebook posts, Tweets and other social media emissions. Klout is not only interested in who you influence, but also who influences you. This started me thinking about the people who have influenced me the most.
Besides the obvious influences of family and peer groups, the mass media has also shaped the way I think about myself and the world. Being influence by the media is often considered undesirable; however, by maintaining a healthy amount scepticism one can largely avoid being bamboozled. By contrasting discourses in the media with my own personal experiences and the competing ideologies of others, I try to maintain a modicum of objectivity which informs my writings on this blog. At the end of the day, what influences me the most, is what I regard the most — books, magazines and documentary films.
I’m not a fast reader. In fact, I only read around 20-30 books a year — tops. My girlfriend reads over 50. My bookshelves are crowded with books I haven’t read, and yet I find myself frequenting the Amazon website looking for new ones. When I finish a book it feels like a great accomplishment. The reward comes with the realization I get to start a new book; but when you’re a slow reader, picking out a new book from a literal library of options isn’t an easy task. What you read influences and informs you. It shapes your perspective and if you’re lucky, it entertains you.
Many of the books I’ve read have profoundly influenced and shaped my world view; however in some cases, books have simply provided means by which to better understand the culture I live in. When reading classical fiction, I often find myself saying “Ah! That’s where so-and-so got the idea for this movie or that modern fiction!” So, in thinking about what has influenced me, or informed me, I’ve created this gallery of book covers to highlight some of my recent readings and to acknowledge the authors whom have provide me so much food for thought.