One of my readers asked me about the books that have inspired me throughout my life so I’m taking the opportunity to share my list with everyone. Currently, I’m also asking this question to the authors who have been published in the L-Antoloġija tal-Letteratura Mqarba in a series of interviews with them which you can find in the Arts and Culture section.
I’m a very sensitive person so I was deeply impressed with the works of Charles Dickens at a young age and I don’t think that there was any other author who impacted me so greatly. Dickens’ works such as Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, and A Tale of Two Cities radicalised my socialist thought which I used to get firsthand by listening to Dom Mintoff in his political meetings against Malta’s membership of the EU. Dickens lead me to social history and inevitably, Karl Marx whom I read with ease and without being intimidated by the volume given my experience of reading Dickens’ long works. It would probably not make sense if I would list all the other classical authors I read because most of them had Dickens’ mark: including the great Russian authors Tolstoy and Dostoevsky which I also read. Indeed, the stereotypes attributed to Russian authors such as their darkness, the irrelevance of life, the evil of humanity, the greed, the treachery, the existential crises – these are not Russian literary attributes: they are Dickens and Victorian London. The Russians and the French followed Dickens’ literary style to describe the darkness of that century. Still, none of them did it better than Charles Dickens himself who was probably the greatest author of the 19th century and the Godfather of modern literature.
Hunter S. Thompson
I’ve read most of HST’s works and they were a great influence on my perspective on journalism. HST’s works were entertaining to me for simply giving a lucid look at the bizarre things in life, however, there was a lot of darkness in HST’s works which has been overlooked by Hollywood. HST’s first book: Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs was not entertaining at all as it debunked the romantic spirit behind motorcycle gangs in the US by revealing their dark and disturbing secrets. HST was more entertaining when writing about politics and the rule of law but he was always consistent in writing about brutal truths in the most honest manner possible. As of today, I still have to read a better article than HST’s obituary of Richard Nixon.
Daphne Caruana Galizia
Daphne Caruana Galizia was Malta’s Gonzo journalist, and no one can convince me otherwise. I had been reading Daphne Caruana Galizia even before she started her website, and I used to find her incredibly entertaining, but it was mostly her murder that gave me the foresight to look up to her with even greater respect. Although her works weren’t significant to my thought process when she was alive, her murder changed my life completely, but so did my perspective on her work.
I’ve been greatly influenced by Godfrey Wettinger probably for being the only Maltese historian who took a scientific approach whilst producing many different works. He is until today the historian who has produced the largest number of valid and historiographic studies on Maltese history. He is The Maltese historian, with an emphasis on the capitalisation. Malta has other good historians and I won’t mention any so that no one gets offended for being missed out, but all of them would agree with me that none of us has ever come close to Wettinger’s greatness.
Hegel’s works influenced my historical philosophy and enabled me to extend my understanding of religion. Hegel also complimented my appreciation of science and empirical history and made me more critical of intellectuals themselves who as Hannah Arendt once said, their job is to fabricate ideas about anything. To put it simply, Hegel’s philosophy enabled me to understand history in its totality as opposed to understanding history from the relativist perspective. Hegel was also superior to Kant because he gave a historical and philosophical explanation for our progressive beliefs and advancements through history as opposed to Kant who had the categorical imperative and the moment of Enlightenment. Nowadays, Kant is much more popular in European universities while the interest in Hegel is mostly restricted to Germany where they keep recycling the same things about him over and over again. There is probably more interest in Hegel in the Americas which gave us major Hegelian philosophers such as Henry Harris.
Fabrizio De André
I used to be fascinated by the classics and their intricate poetry and I read a lot of Shakespeare and Dante when I was young, even though I didn’t understand most of it. However, there was no poet whom I have enjoyed more than Fabrizio De André. De André’s poetry oscillates from the tear-jerking to the euphoric when one reads it drunk, but there is throughout his work a youthful spirit that yearns for freedom and love and that I love so much.
Bonus. The only self-help book you need: Skin in the Game
Nassim Taleb is the biggest asshole on the internet, but you can read one of his best works which is the only self-help book you need in your life called: Skin in the Game. It can also be used as an excellent educational tool in business, management, and finance.