NOTE: This list is a republication- Source: The Booker Prizes Website.
Cheon Myeong-kwan, author of Whale
Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong
I read this book so many times when I was in school! I don’t remember any other reading experience that was so powerful and overwhelming. I can’t pretend to understand how this book affected my consciousness and sensibilities, but I can’t deny this book’s literary influence on me as a fiction writer, many years later.
Rabbit, Run by John Updike
Before this, the books I read when I was young followed remarkable lives. Stories about adventure and romance, hardship and adversity, struggle and triumph. What I realised when I read this novel at 18 was that, for the most part, not much happens in life. And while that truth was very disappointing, it was also oddly a relief.
Post Office by Charles Bukowski
I was already middle-aged when I read this book for the first time. I read it at a very difficult time, personally. Chinaski, the weary protagonist, is also going through a hard time. Strangely, though, I felt happy while I was reading it. Setting aside its literary significance, it was because I felt I would be able to bear it all, no matter how difficult, if I could look at the world through Bukowski’s eyes - if I could arm myself with Bukowski’s gaze to stand up against the world - and be accompanied by alcohol, too.
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