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  • Writer's pictureChristopher G. Moore

Top Hundred Books

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” L.P. Hartley, The Go Between (1953) The same can be said of old books written in the deep past. I visited these foreign countries of the mind like an old fashion explorer looking for adventure, gold, and knowledge. I eagerly signed on to those old ships and set sail. On this life long voyage I’ve learned a thing or two; forgotten a thing or three. But back on the shore of the present, I’d like to share what I brought back. My catch is displayed on the dock below. We have the books of the moment and we have libraries of books written in the past. Both time scales—the past and the present—pull like a force field shaping our literary appetites. Though with the avid of the Internet and the wide-scale prevalence of social media, our wish to visit that foreign country of the past has been vastly diminished. As time goes on, I suspect writers who produce a list of books that have influenced them will increase at the same time the number of books from the past on that list will decrease. How any book influences a person is a combination of subjectivity along with other factors including wishful thinking. A writer is usually the worst person to ask about his literary influences. The chances are too great he or she will draw be caught by the availability bias as well as the desire to signal to others their range of reading. A hundred books may appear at first glance to be a lot of books. But if you’ve lived a long time, and you are an active reader since childhood such a number isn’t so impressive. It’s actually quite ordinary. Going through this list, I can remember where I read most of these books. The place, the time of life, those who were in my life, the books I was writing, all come back. Some books had a greater impact than others. My sense is that anyone who has read my books will be able to detect the influence of these authors on my own literary efforts. One Hundred books that shaped my worldview as a novelists and essayist. Christopher G. Moore 30th January 2019

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