A list of books I read that had a great impact on how I think and act.
- Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes.
- Ishmael: A Novel, Daniel Quinn.
- Johnny Got is Gun, Dalton Trumbo.
- The Daily Stoic, Ryan Holiday, Stephen Hanselman.
- Il fascismo eterno (How to spot a fascist), Umberto Eco
Flowers for Algernon is a short story, later expanded into a novel.
The short story won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story in 1960. The novel was published in 1966 and was joint winner of that year's Nebula Award for Best Novel.
Algernon is a laboratory mouse who has undergone surgery to increase his intelligence. The story is told by a series of progress reports written by Charlie Gordon, the first human subject for the surgery, and it touches on ethical and moral themes such as the treatment of the mentally disabled.
Ishmael is a philosophical novel that reads as easily and smoothly as a well written fictional novel, while also being extremely thought provoking and insightful on what is the human condition and on civilization in general.
The format of the Socratic conversation, a dialogue between a teacher and their pupil, is perfect for analysing one by one the many layers of thoughts that lead the reader to a deep reflection on the condition of humankind and our relationship with the environment.
The book was published in 1992, but I found it absolutely relevant today.
Johnny Got His Gun is an anti-war novel written in 1938 and published in September 1939.
Joe Bonham, a young American soldier serving in World War I, awakens in a hospital bed after being caught in the blast of an exploding artillery shell. He gradually realizes that he has lost his arms, legs, and all of his face (including his eyes, ears, nose, teeth, and tongue), but that his mind functions perfectly, leaving him a prisoner in his own body.
The story is very moving and reflects upon themese such as euthanasia, human dignity, and the myths and realities of war.