1.) Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (I have returned to this novel again and again ever since I first read it in 7th grade.)
2.) The Gay Science by Friedrich Nietzsche (First hooked me onto philosophy)
3.) Discipline and Punish by Michel Foucault (Determinative of my thinking on power, law and space)
4.) Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (This book has lingered in my consciousness during my darkest hours)
5.) Being and Time by Martin Heidegger (I still haven’t full digested the full scope of this book’s ideas yet I keep going back to do so – he made me appreciate philosophy about Being, even if I didn’t share his intellectual framework and ideology.)
6.) Ulysses by James Joyce (first major avant-garde work I read – love his clever wordplay, extensive knowledge of various writing styles and his love for his characters)
7.) White Noise by Don DeLillo (It was this book that taught me to interrogate our postwar consumerist culture and economy – also sparked my lifelong love affair with postmodernism)
8.) Cities of Salt quintet by Abdel Rahman Munif (Only read the only three volumes that were available in translation but it still impressed me with its trenchant political critique of the impact of Gulf monarchies on the lives ordinary Arabs. Revived my interest in Arabic letters)
9.) Spectres of Marx by Jacques Derrida (re-oriented my ideology to the far-left – helped me become a Marxist, even though its approach is far from doctrinaire)
10.) In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust (Pretentious choice I know and one that may not make complete sense to me at such a young age but from what I got – I have never read a work that gave a better insight into the struggles and anxieties of a young closeted homosexual man. It’s discussion of Belle Epoque social manners, hypocrisy, lesbianism, psychology and repressed desire speak to me on many levels. I wish to return to this novel again and again during my lifetime).
This is but a preliminary list for there is so much I have read and have yet to read that I don’t think a reading person can be most shaped by a set list of books over the course of a lifetime. Yet they have touched me the most so far and represent some of the most intellectually and aesthetically fulfilling reading I have ever done.