I've seen this post around in blogs lately, though I think I saw it for the first time in Booktube. I am not sure whether and where it originates from, but some bloggers who have done it lately are, for example, Jillian at Random Ramblings, Adam at Roof Beam Reader and Rayna at Libereading.
The most influential books are not necessarily your favourite books of all time, although mine mostly are because I don't feel like the books I didn't enjoy affected me all that much.
I think the idea behind this post is to simply list the books and offer no explanation why they are so important, but I'm going to cheat a bit here for the sake of clarification. For example, I have an anthology in Estonian in the list, which without explanation says exactly zero things to 99% of my blog audience. I also picked the books that I haven't read for the first time in the past, say, 5 years, because although I have no doubt that one of David Mitchell books may take one of the positions in this TOP10 some day, it hasn't been through my own personal test of time yet.
The books are listed in alphabetical order and with Estonian title, if I read it in my native language for the first time. I currently own seven of these books, the rest three I either lent from the library or are at my mum's house, somewhere.
1. American Psycho (Ameerika psühhopaat) by Bret Easton Ellis - the book that taught me to look through blood and violence and to appreciate the idea behind. The lesson I still appreciate today, and not only when it comes to books.
2. Lilled Algernonile - published in 1976 in Soviet Estonia, this book was probably the closest thing in many years for Estonians to get a good glimpse at sci-fi and fantasy that came from the western world. The impact that Lilled Algernonile has had on me and so many others cannot be underestimated. The title is that of Daniel Keyes' Flowers for Algernon, which was the story that affected me the most out of all the others in this book. Other authors represented in this anthology are Isaac Asimov, Brian Aldiss, Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, Marshall King, Clifford Simak, Poul Anderson, Robert Sheckley, Murray Leinster and Theodore Sturgeon.
3. The Fellowship of the Ring (Sõrmuse vennaskond) by J.R.R. Tolkien - no comments needed here.
4. The Martian Chronicles (Marsi kroonikad) by Ray Bradbury - my first Bradbury book. Among other fantastic values it has, The Martian Chronicles also taught me that you should not lend out your favourite books to random people - I gave it to my ex's brother to read, and never got my old, tattered, Estonian copy with an ugly cover back. I now own a copy in English, but it ain't the same :)
5. Martin Eden (Martin Eden) by Jack London - this book is fantastic, with 4.30 average rating on Goodreads and during my 1+ years of blogging, I don't think I've seen any blogger mention it. I am not a fan of London's White Fang, but this book made me open it 5 am each morning for about a week and read before I went to work.
6. The Master and Margarita (Meister ja Margarita) by Mikhail Bulgakov - dare I say this book is underrated as well? Interestingly, after my first read in high school, I didn't think much of it (clearly the intellectual abilities of my brain were not quite there yet...), but the following reads proved me so wrong. This book is so funny, so intellectual, so fantastic, so sarcastic, so many things. Read The Master and Margarita, people.
7. My Family and Other Animals (Minu pere ja muud loomad) by Gerald Durrell - one of my childhood favourites, which I probably read a few times every summer. Every time it ended with a tummy ache because laughing can do serious miracles to your abs. I also felt connected to Durrell for his infinite love for all things living, be it big animals or small insects. The way he describes life with his crazy family on a Greek island is utterly enjoyable.
8. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami - though not my favourite Haruki Murakami book, it was good enough to make me want to read *counts* six other novels by him. Murakami is the only author so far who has made me believe that a character sittin' by the kitchen table, sippin' beer, or then, chopping vegetables on the counter are the most fascinating bits of story ever created.
9. The Sound and the Fury (Hälin ja raev) by William Faulkner - the brightest memory I have from American Lit courses in uni. I'd probably hate it if I had to read it alone and not be able to discuss with teacher and the others, but alas this was not the case; we took this book apart from cover to cover and it was so good.
10. The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Olemise talumatu kergus) by Milan Kundera - probably the most poetic non-verse novel I've read. Full of vague plot and extremely flawed characters. I could have easily written down half of this book in quotes. Kundera also taught me to despise the kitsch.