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It's Friday night. It's 10 p.m. I have nothing in particular to say, but I'm sure if I just keep typing long enough I will find at the end that enough words have unreeled from my brain to my fingers to warrant the title of post.

I keep thinking about that Lizardek's Worldview-forming Booklist that I mentioned offhand a few posts back and which a few people then said they would like to see. But not yet enough to put it together. I think I need to do some more digging in my book-memory to be able to come up with a comprehensive list, the problem being that I don't have all the books that made up my make-up, as it were, so I can't easily and quickly access them.

But what I mean when I talk about worldview might not be at all what YOU mean. What DO you mean? I mean: my philosophies about life and the way it works; religion and my ideas about a higher consciousness, the afterlife and faith; ethics and morals and common courtesies and how they apply to me and the world that surrounds me. How to behave in any given situation. How to think about what I know and what I want to know, and maybe most importantly, what I don't yet know.

My worldview is still growing and changing and I still find that clarifications to my thought processes and belief system come from all kinds of unexpected sources. You never know when a piece of the existential puzzle will slot into place. Poetry holds keys, essays, books, conversations with people of all different faiths. Most of the books I am listing are not books that I read as an adult, but rather as a pre-adolescent, a teenager and a young adult in my twenties. And I'm not listing poems or poets that affected me greatly or we'd be here all night. This is the SHORT list of books that, for better or for worse, made a major impact on me and my philosophy:
  • Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Illusions by Richard Bach
  • Mister God, This is Anna by Finn
  • You Were Born Again to Be Together by Dick Sutphen
  • Little Women, Little Men, Jack & Jill and Eight Cousins, by Louisa May Alcott
  • Diamonds and Toads by Charles Perrault
  • Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
  • Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
  • Rite of Passage by Alexei Panshin
  • Mandy by Julie Edwards
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
  • The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
  • Double Star, Stranger in a Strange Land and I Will Fear No Evil by Robert A. Heinlein
  • Holding Wonder; The People: No Different Flesh and Pilgrimage by Zenna Henderson
  • D'Auliare's Book of Greek Myths
  • My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok
  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Everything Madeleine L'Engle ever wrote
  • Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
  • Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
  • The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare
  • Heidi by Joanna Spyri
  • The Lives of a Cell by Thomas Lewis
  • The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson
Like I said, this is the short list. I am sure if I really did my homework I could come up with a list 3 or 4 or 5 times as long (I have read a LOT of books...haaaa!).

I've read the entire Bible as well, more than once, actually, when I was a teenager, but I've found that it wasn't and isn't so much the Bible itself that contributed to my worldview so much as everything that swirls about it: commentary, discussion, study, essays, and just plain conversation with the adults and contemporaries around me at the point in my life when I needed it. Let's just say that it's still under consideration and leave it at that.

What books would you put on your Worldview-forming List? Not the ones you have added to as an adult when you may have been Seriously Searching, but the ones that started it all, that grounded it, that became the basis for the mental map you navigate the world with.

Making My Day: Wild Things Left | Right; Calvin & Hobbes; Aw hell, the whole damn list (and the blog itself, which comes complete with tutorials)!

*Title from a quote by Carl Sandburg
mood: awake
music: Paul Young—Come Back & Stay


I know a couple of books that really shaped the grown-up me were "I Married Adventure" by Osa Johnson and "Kon Tiki" by Thor Heyerdahl and later anything by Heyerdahl. "Little Women" is on my list as well.

I remember reading Kon Tiki, but the other one is new to me, shall check it out :)

Great post Liz.

A couple of books on your list that I read in young adulthood would certainly make my list: Jonathon Livingston Seagull (which I read while visiting a friend's college dorm room and waiting for her to get out of class one morning), and Atlas Shrugged is definitely on there.

Another Roadside Attraction would make the list. This book I used to want to read aloud to anyone I was getting into a serious relationship with.
And we can't forget Raggedy Ann and Andy, very good philosophy books.
I couldn't tell you now what's in it (maybe I should read it again?), but I do remember some vague and wispy feelings stretching my mind and heart when, as a 19 year old in my first apartment, I laid out on the deck under the summer stars, reading the biography of Sammy Davis Jr.
Tolkein's writings would have to make the list as well.

Fun exercise. I'll have to give it some more thought and finish the list. Several other books on your list had impact on me, but after I was an adult with an already formed (but admittedly malleable) worldview.

Gah! I forgot about Tom Robbins! You're right. He makes the list. And so does Kurt Vonnegut, and so does Tolkein!

Like yeah! Of course Tom Robbins. But tell me, which book(s) were prominent in shaping your worldview?

Still Life with Woodpecker. Another Roadside Attraction. Jitterbug Perfume, for sure :) This was all college-age, though.

I carried "Another Roadside Attreaction" around with me for years. It was the first Tom Robbins that I read, and my sweet little mind could hardly believe it. I guess in my innocence and rather bland school environment, I had thirsted for such reading without even knowing it.

World View

Calvin and Hobbes should be at the top of my list.
(and somewhere on yours too...)
Bloom County.
wheres Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys....???


Re: World View

Bloom Country & Calvin and Hobbes, okay...though they were late—college years, both of them. But I don't think Nancy Drew or the few Hardy Boys I read really counted toward my worldview. They were just good stories.

BUT! I did forget Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

You blow me away with your reading! Wow! I marvel at your capacity.

Charlotte's Web by E. B. White started it all for me. Not so much a directory for life, but I sure grew an appreciation for warm slop steaming in the morning.

And as for my puzzle, it is the one missing a piece and I'm still looking for it!

How could I have missed E.B. White?? Trumpet of the Swan definitely is on the List!

Not really related, but book-related!

Hey Liz,
I'm trying to remember the title/author of a favorite book that I've read three times and I'm wondering if by some chance you've read it too? It's a memoir of a guy who builds a boathouse in the middle of...Iowa? I think? He puts wine bottles in the front window, and it's about how the space seems so small at first and then becomes his perfect home. I think the word "perfect" is somewhere in the title, but Google doesn't think so. :)

Re: Not really related, but book-related!

No clue, but I think there are sites out there (don't know the addresses offhand, though), where you can enter book descriptions and find out the title.


So many of your books are on my list too! (D'Auliare illustrates any reference to Greek mythology in my head, Madeleine L'Engle, Harper Lee, Louisa May Alcott, Laura Ingalls Wilder..)

A few from my list that I'd add:
East of Eden, John Steinbeck
101 Dalmatians, Dodie Smith
anything by Marguerite Henry

Now I am off to wishlist the books on your list I haven't read!


I didn't read Steinbeck until LAST YEAR! And I was an English major at university, which makes you wonder how I got away with it. :) I actually should add DOdie Smith to my list, even if not 101 Dalmations, because so much of her writing has also contributed. :)


Steinbeck wasn't popular at all in the English classes I took so I'm not surprised you didn't read him. (I double majored in music and English, then went to grad school in English before I realized the folly of my ways and went into computers ;-). We didn't study a single book of his all 6 years either, but I picked up East of Eden at a library sale my freshman year and loved it very much. I don't know if it would weather well but if I run into another copy I'd definitely reread it to see!


I still haven't read that one. We read Grapes of Wrath last year in our book group, and afterwards, I read Of Mice and Men, and Travels with Charley.

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