10 Books that shaped my life

I'm an avid and eclectic reader, and these are ten books that are deeply important to me. I've avoided series of books here. A couple of honourable mentions that didn't make the top 10 include: Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari, Who Killed Kurt Cobain? by Halperin & Wallace, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and The Beach by Alex Garland.
  1. 1.
    Phantoms in the Brain by V.S. Ramachandran
    This book opened my eyes a lot to understanding the relationship between the body and the brain. It inspired several projects through college and university and even now. It is informative and accessible.
  2. 2.
    Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
    I found Never Let Me Go deeply moving. An exciting and novel concept, I can't recommend this enough. It has haunted me for years.
  3. 3.
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon
    It is so clear in my mind, the memory of the first time I read this book. I read it in one sitting on holiday, and I think there are very few novels that I have re-read as much as this one.
  4. 4.
    The Road by Cormac McCarthy
    There is something uncanny about The Road which has made it so successful. It is an incredible story, and written such a clear and distinctive way.
  5. 5.
    Flood by Stephen Baxter
    I remember reading this and be terrified but compelled at the idea of a world slowly disappearing to rising tides. It is such an exciting and tense book. Another that I have revisited several times over the years.
  6. 6.
    Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
    Before reading this book I saw the film. Something I usually try and avoid if I can. However, I think that the two are such distinctly different ways of telling the same story, that I'm glad I approached them the way I did. The film being a grand narrative, the book more factual. Both have stuck with me for a long time.
  7. 7.
    American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
    Normally I am not a squeamish person. This is the only book to have made me feel like I was going to pass out.
  8. 8.
    Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
    I don't think there is much I can say about this book that hasn't been said before and said better. Aside from being a great story, I feel it is an essential read for understanding contemporary masculinity. (Although perhaps slightly less relevant today than its initial release)
  9. 9.
    The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson
    Jon Ronson has made me question the mental state of everyone I've ever known, including myself, and for a point in time had me convinced that I was surrounded by Psychopaths. That aside, this tackles an interesting subject matter in a unique way. An eye opening read.
  10. 10.
    Margrave of the Marshes by John Peel
    This biography/auto-biography half written by Peel and then finished by his wife following his death opened me up to a new way of appreciating music. I'm a sucker for a music biography, but this book is something else. The man was more than just a radio DJ, and his appreciation for music was infectious, even for someone who never had the honour of meeting him.