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Here are a few selected books that have particularly influenced me, and how

  • Silent Spring by Rachel Carson convinced me of our need to live in harmony with our environment
  • Swallows and Amazons and the rest of the series by Arthur Ransome convinced me of the essential equality of female and male (and kindled my interest in sailing)
  • The Kon-Tiki Expedition by Thor Heyerdayl fed my interest in sailing and travel
  • Ulysses by James Joyce spoke to me of the decency of every human being, and the wonders of language
  • Time is the Simplest Thing by Clifford Simak introduced me to the concept of aliens who were simply friendly
  • The Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkein is the book that I have re-read most often
  • The Complete Walker by Colin Fletcher crystallised my love of backpacking, and gave me the inspiration to go backpacking solo
  • Book of the Eskimos by Peter Freuchen hit me in the heart and gut with a picture of a people, the Inuit, living with dignity in an utterly unforgiving environment
  • The King Must Die by Mary Renault gave me a love of history and of legend
  • The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey demonstrated for me the subjectivity of history
  • The Medieval Machine by Jean Gimpel showed me the renaissance within the Early Middle Ages
  • Rebuilding by Bruce Fisher opened and healed my heart
  • Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix helped me to realise how much I value conscious relationships
  • The Faded Sun (trilogy) by C J Cherryh took me further inside the minds of people with an entirely different world view than almost any other book
  • So long, and thanks for all the fish by Douglas Adams was such a sweet love story
  • The Hidden Dimension by Edward Hall showed me the fundamental importance of design in space, and of cultural assumptions
  • The Squares of the City by John Brunner which told me more about the power of careful design
  • The Shockwave Rider by John Brunner creates cyber-gentle nine years before William Gibson creates cyber-punk
  • Oxford English Dictionary is just simply the greatest reference work
  • Njal's Saga by an unknown Icelander is a novel hundreds of years ahead of its time
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy is perhaps (for me) the best novel ever
  • Bloodtaking and Peacemaking by William Ian Miller significantly altered my views of Viking Age Icelandic society, and had me enthralled while reading about law (no mean feat)
  • Semantics by Geoffrey Leech related the word and the conscious mind in a meaningful way
  • The Physical Foundations of the Psyche by Charles Fair related the physical brain and the conscious mind in a meaningful way (and has the dubious distinction of being the hardest-to-read book I've ever enjoyed struggling through)
  • Good News for a Change by David Suzuki and Holly Dressel – I adore the title – showed how anyone can make a difference


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