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The Books in My Life Paperback – August, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-1571741110 ISBN-10: 1571741119 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Hampton Roads Publishing Company; First Edition edition (August 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1571741119
  • ISBN-13: 978-1571741110
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #775,372 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

It's not among my favourite works by this author but he's rarely less than compelling.
still searching
I tend to think that Wilson doesn't have complete answers so he decides to go for what he's sure about, leaving out those areas that would complicate the question.
Takis Tz.
He reads every joyful drop of life from books, even from the books by the gloomy existmentists.
"pengcheng"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Crystal Eitle on December 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
...without being pedantic. In "The Books in My Life", Colin Wilson gives a highly personal, semi-autobiographical account of the books that have influenced him most throughout his life. As such, this is not a dry survey of "great books" (although some classics are mentioned), but rather an account of how the literature he encountered during his youth shaped the philosophy of the man who at the age of 24 would break into literary fame with "The Outsider", his first book. The first chapter, "The Truth About Wilson", doesn't refer to Colin Wilson, but rather to a serialized adventure story he read in a boys' magazine when he was about ten. The next chapter deals with Tom Sawyer, which he was assigned to read in school. One of the great things about this book is that Wilson is not afraid to express his own opinions on the "classics" of literature. For example, he says that while he found Tom Sawyer riveting, Huckleberry Finn--Mark Twain's supposed "masterpiece"--was a great disappointment to him, as a boy and also when he returned to it as an adult.
He discusses the influence on his life of Dostoevsky, William and Henry James, Plato, Joyce, and Sartre, but also Sherlock Holmes and Shaw. He also discusses relatively unknown authors such as David Lindsay, who wrote "A Voyage to Arcturus", and the Russians Leonid Andreyev and Mikhail Artsybashev.
The common thread running through "The Books in My Life" is how each of these books inspired his belief that humans can be greater than they usually are, or lended support to his philosophy of the Outsider, or gave an example of what happens when authors fail to grasp the significance of what they themselves are writing and then sink into despair.
This is an interesting book that will get you to think about the books that have shaped your own life.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is an introduction to the books that most shaped Colin Wilson's ideas. And it is somewhat surprising - not every book on this list is an "outsider" book. One of the interesting things about this book is that it is autobiography through bibliography. Wilson chronologically traces his personal development and the development of his thought through the books that most influenced him - from his earliest experience with reading to the present. And some of the choices-like Edgar Rice Burroughs and Arthur Conan Doyle--are surprising.
Also interesting is Wilson's defense of his various tastes. It's a rare treat when someone shares their person aesthetic preferences, and Wilson, as a lifetime reader, does this well. For one example, he describes how his former love for G.B. Shaw's plays faded as he got older.
For fans of Wilson, this is a welcome insight to how his ideas developed.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Takis Tz. on March 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
Since this is a book obviously aimed at Colin Wilson fans I'll get straight to the chase:
In a work such as this one would expect several things. First and foremost, that it would be a seriously bulky book. Afterall, this is C.Wilson we're dealing with here, a man with a 20.000 book library in his house and one of the most prolific modern writers. In a book where he's discussing the most influential books in his life, you'd expect something like a 700-1000 page mammoth, ranging from his teenagehood up until now. Instead, we get a rather "lazy" 300 page offer where mostly literature is presented and to a lesser extend some philosophy.
That's strange considering that for the better part of the last decade C.Wilson has been investigating such intriguing areas as the paranormal, the occult and the possibility of alien existence or activity. In these topics Wilson has done some of his very best work, and I'm sure i don't stand alone with this opinion. Yet, there's nothing to be seen in "The Books in My Life" about all that. I, for one, was expecting a big part of the book dedicated to these areas with an appropriate bibliography accompanying it. I was dissapointed that all this was ommited, but it's also obvious that this was a choice C.Wilson made, allthough I'm not at all convinced about the logic behind it. Unless of course there is a "part 2" of this book to follow, focusing only on the latter stage of his research and works. I'm very curious about it all.
Strictly speaking about this book, I wasn't exactly thrilled even though C.Wilson is my favorite author and researcher. First of all he mentions several authors who -he himself admits- play no role anymore in his life and haven't done so in many years.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By "pengcheng" on April 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
i found this book in a used book store, simply because of the title. that's the best $5.00 i have ever paid.
there are 20 some episodes, covering the books Wilson read. from easy detective story to difficult phylosophy works. it shows how can reading build a man, and it makes me want to read all the books he read, to see whether i agree with his comments or not.
I feel Wilson's positive philosophy from the first page to the end, though his comments (especially the one on Joyce) is debatable, but his optimism makes life shining. He reads every joyful drop of life from books, even from the books by the gloomy existmentists. He makes reading and meditation no more a depressing process.
i wish i could find this book 10 years earlier, and start to read all the books he covered in this book.
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