Seven Books That Influenced Me! My “Wednesday Bookmobile” Has Classics New And Old!

Time To Read!

During these times of “sheltering at home”, many of us have had the chance to catch up on books we’ve not had the time until now to read.

My blogging friend Robbie Cheadle inspired me to share some books that have influenced me. So for this “Wednesday Bookmobile”, I am going to share 7 books and Authors who all impacted me in some way.

So, as I said, it’s time to read!

1 – “Adventures In The Screen Trade” by William Goldman.

He was a great writer of screenplays like “Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid” and yes, he wrote the NOVEL “The Princess Bride” before doing the film’s screenplay!

I won the original paperback for “The Princess Bride” but it was his non-fiction look at the crazy world of Hollywood that hooked me to his series of real-life “Adventures In The Screen Trade.”

Goldman’s inside look at the wild business of entertainment was a guide to me when I was young and breaking into the business myself. Goldman came up with the legendary phrase “nobody knows anything” to describe the entertainment business – and how true it is!


Goldman died recently – here is a look at a life and more of his work if interested:

2 – “The Name Of The Rose” by Umberto Eco.

This historical drama was the first “serious” hardcover book I ever bought, and the picture above is that copy, which I still own 40 years on.

This book made me realize the power of storytelling.

This 1980 debut novel from Italian author Umberto Eco is a historical murder mystery set in an Italian monastery in the year 1327; an intellectual mystery combining semiotics in fiction, biblical analysis, medieval studies, and literary theory.

Powerful and timeless as well.

3 – “The Happy Isles Of Oceania” by Paul Theroux.

You know I love this acclaimed Travel Writer and Author of novels such as “The Mosquito Coast” – “The Happy Isles Of Oceania” is his story of paddling a canoe through the South Pacific!

This fascinating account of that journey has tales of how he dodged deadly encounters with animals – and people – as he explored a part of the world that seems to still be living in the 1700’s.


Here is a look at his most recent book:

A trip through Mexico in the time of Trump…see more here:

4 – “Kitchen Confidential” by Anthony Bourdain.

The memoir where a great Writer finds his voice and becomes the most influential food writer in the world.

It all began with an essay he wrote for The New Yorker, with hilariously insightful advice to a restaurant-goer from someone who knows:

“Order fish on Tuesday, when it’s fresh and the chef is well-rested from his day off. Never order your food well done, because that’s where kitchen staffs get rid of the worst of their meat. (“The philistine who orders his food well-done is not likely to notice the difference between food and flotsam,” Bourdain explains.) Chicken is for people who can’t make up their minds, but pork is fantastic. At a good restaurant, there will be a stick of butter in every meal.”

Bourdain’s death was a shock to the food world – and I shared a look at ALL of his writing across many genres here:

5 – “But Enough About Me” by Burt Reynolds.

I just read this last year after his tragic death, and it is a classic autobiography – and the title came from how he saw other Stars become so incredibly narcissistic that they couldn’t appreciate others.

His joke was, after talking bout himself on and on, he would pause, look at the person listening, and say: “but enough about me. What do YOU think of me?”

His memoir is candid, and he doesn’t spare himself from criticism:

One of the world’s most popular Actors takes you through his career with honesty and regret, and it’s a fascinating book that really made me look at the way I live my life.

Here is a post I shared a few years ago that looked at his wild career:

6 – “In Watermelon Sugar” by Richard Brautigan.

I was hooked on this Author when I read this opening line:

“In watermelon sugar the deeds were done and done again as my life is done in watermelon sugar.”

Counter-culture Writer Richard Brautigan was most famously known for this masterpiece:

“Trout Fishing In America” made him a star in the late 60’s, but “In Watermelon Sugar” was the novel that made me a lifelong fan:

His writing was lyrical, imaginative and wildly creative, and he published dozens of novels and books of poetry as well:

Here is a look at all of his work – magical:

7 – “Faraway” by Lucy Ivine.

Lucy Irvine has written three of my favorite memoirs ever – her claim to fame was based on answering this newspaper ads in the early 80’s:

Her year on a desert island became the bestselling memoir “Castaway”:

Her followup book told the story of a South Seas family who hires her to write their family memoir – and she gets caught up in the story in ways you can’t predict:

She also wrote a third book in the trilogy “Runaway”, which tell the harsh story of her teenage years…you can read more about all three of these by clicking here:

Thanks to Robbie Cheadle for inspiring this with a recent post on her blog:

Robbie has a number of great books she’s written, and you can click here to see her terrific blog with her list of books that influenced her:

I’ve been sharing great Authors like Robbie every week in my “Wednesday Bookmobile” series – trying to help support great Authors like Ritu Bhathal:

Chickpea Lit!

Ritu is just one of many highlighted each week – here are some to check out:

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Leave me a comment with some of your favorite books!

Categories: Art, Awards, Books / Media, cookbooks, Memoirs, nature, Pop Culture, Talent/Celebrities, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir

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21 replies

  1. Good mix there! Enjoy reading. Stay safe

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A great collection! Right now I’m reading aloud two of my favorite books, crossing over from “Little House in the Big Woods” to “Little House on the Prairie.” Robbie will be in seventh heaven.


  3. An eclectic mixture, John. I’ve enjoyed a few of them and may try some of the others you recommend.


  4. What a wonderful, eclectic bunch of books! Some of my fave people and subjects and some that are new to me – thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderful list John. I loved The Princess Bride, but I haven’t read Adventures in the Screen Trade. Books that would be on my list include:

    The Diary of a Young Girl-Frank
    Anne of Green Gables-Montgomery
    A Little Princess-Burnett
    The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe-Lewis
    To Kill a Mockingbird-Lee
    Uncle Tom’s Cabin-Stowe
    Arabian Nights-trans. by Lang
    Brave New World-Huxley
    Little Women-Alcott


  6. Some great books here, John. I love reading recommendations from Americans because you read a lot of books I don’t know. SA followed the UK literary path and most of our books are by British people. You and Jennie have introduced me to a whole new world. Thanks again for the mention, I appreciate it.


  7. Reading the book about Burt Reynolds would be interesting to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I still have my hardback copy of The Name of The Rose. It’s the one with the map of the library illustrated inside the cover. What a book!
    Okay, some of mine.
    The Catcher In The Rye.
    Great Expectations.
    And Quiet Flows The Don.
    Wuthering Heights.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for the recommendations! We certainly have time to do some reading lately!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Fascinating eclectic group of books

    Liked by 1 person


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