The Bible - First Epistle of John
I'm not religious in any formal, denominational sense. We all have to make our own pilgrimage. Even rejection involves considered thought. At the time when I felt utterly lost, I had what Jung calls a ''great dream'' and began to perceive glimmers of hope. I also turned to the Bible and found in John's injunction to love one another a moral foundation to make some sense of existence.
When We Were Very Young - A.A. Milne
I first read the Christopher Robin poems as a child and loved them. I'd recite The King's Breakfast and Vespers to anyone who'd listen. Then I forgot them for half a century - until I bought a copy for my granddaughter, and realised with a shock how deeply Milne's rhythms and cadences had, all unconsciously, influenced my own writing style.
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
I discovered Jane Austen during a dark time in my middle years and found in the dazzling lightness and irony of her prose a brilliance that outshone any mere costume romance. Austen might paint her Georgian miniatures on little pieces of ivory, as she says. Yet in the Bennet-Darcy misunderstandings, the novelist portrays a wealth of universally acknowledged truths about human nature.
The Tree of Man - Patrick White
This wonderful novel is of a far more profound Australia altogether. In White's gaunt images and sparse but sympathetic language, I found an evocation of the Australian character that struck me as completely true. The ordinary has become the extraordinary. Stan and Amy Parker's pioneering domestic journey transforms into a quest for the sublime wherein God may be discerned in a gob of spittle.
Seven Little Australians - Ethel Turner
As a boy, I devoured the adventure stories of Stevenson and Ballantyne that took me to other times and places. Ethel Turner's family at ''Misrule'' brought me back to my own country and people. The tears I shed when Judy died at the end taught me for the first time the power of story to touch the inner life of a reader, and I knew that one day I'd try to write such books of my own.
Anthony Hill is a journalist, speech-writer and author of 17 books for children and adults. His latest book is a biography of Australia's youngest prisoner of war, The Story of Billy Young (Viking, $29.99).