Maybe like you, I'm still thinking a lot about the James Frey + Oprah thing, and books and lessons and truth. It's made me very curious about what kind of books have the most influence on people. One of the points brought up several times in this controversy was that novels just don't sell that well, compared to memoirs.
What were the most influential books for you?
Maybe top of my list is Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain. (I read it in the original translation from German in college, but I hear that a newer translation is much better and easier to read.) I just remember it having a huge emotional impact at the time. The message to me was not to embrace death or escapism, but to embrace life.
I'd love to hear what your top books are. Were they novels? Memoirs? Business books?