December and January are often when various publications, journalists and bloggers make  lists of what was best and worst of something (movies, political acts, news stories) for the year ending or  ended.   Since most of us are at  least in the autumn of our lives if not 'December' we  could probably make many best/worst lists. The best and worst things that ever happened to us or  that we ever did. But I'm not  going to get that personal (unless you want to share).  I'm thinking more along the lines of putting the best/worst judgments aside somewhat and make lists of the things (again movies, books, historical events, deaths of famous people) that had a profound effect on us even tho they didn't directly have an impact on our daily lives.   We could probably if every one would participate do some  lengthy  threads on books that changed our thinking or  outlook on some aspect of life, on movies that touched us deeply for good or  ill. And be fore warned I may grab an idea and create a whole separate discussion about something specific---it's pros and cons (of course crediting whomever inspired me with a comment of theirs), and I encourage the half dozen or so members we have to feel free to create a new discussion with more narrow focus themselves.

But i'll get on with it:

What books have most influenced your life? (My list would have dozens, but  the first to have a profound impact was Robert Louis Stevenson's 'A Child's Garden of Verses'.  My Dad bought it  for me at a second hand store. While of course my  first children's books were full of 'rhymes', this was my first exposure to real poetry---I was hooked and touched something at my  core.)

Movies? Which scared you most? Made you laugh the most? Made you think about the world and what people are like?  (Again, my lists would be long, but the original 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' would top a list it was the first movie that confirmed my own long held belief that contact with alien life is not 'overt' because we're such barbarians. We are growing, some of us faster than others...but we have a long way to go. )

Historical events? For Americans---the day JFK was shot stands out of course...but for  me the whole decade of the '60s fit  Dickens' opening line of 'Tale of Two Cities' ("It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."). The protests, the passing of legislation  that had the potential to move us closer to the ideals of the USA we are taught in school, the assassinations.  But the first celebrity I really mourned was actually Humphrey Bogart, not because of what a good actor  he was, but  because he  stood up to McCarthy and the HUAC.  I was 10 1/2 and a teacher had a transistor   radio on while 'watching' our class on  the playground. I cried.  (My Dad had explained the political thing to me back when it happened.)          

So, how about you...what shaped you, or touched you unexpectedly???  Part of the human experience is  that in our lifetimes we have seen the world go from a time when we usually only heard about  major events in other countries, and learned of ongoing bad situations when people  revolted against repressive regimes to a time when we can actually...thru cyber chats, SNSs and/or  Skype actually talk with the 'average' citizen in other countries...and learn from people much like us what life is like in their  country.  We don't have to rely on official views and journalists. My Dad was a HAM  radio operator  (and yes living in Florida he often helped people get word to loved ones that they were safe after a hurricane) but he also had contacts around  the globe.  Booting up a computer and logging in to an  SNS is a lot simpler...but it  can broaden our perspectives on the world if we let it.