Well, Mike, I believe that any list of books claiming an affect upon the world would be eclectic. Perhaps, though, my list is geared more to the Western world. As to Peyton Place changing the world, it did change perceptions as to middle class America.  At the time Peyton Place was published, there was a belief that although "sin" could certainly be found in large cities, small town people led rather "moral" and boring lives, and that only "bad" girls had sex outside of marriage. Peyton Place changed that perception and, in fact, the book was widely banned at the time. Giovanni's Room actually affected my perceptions.  I read it in college.  It's written by James Baldwin.  It's about a young American man traveling through Europe after college before he is to go home and begin his career. While in Europe, he becomes engaged to a Swedish woman(I believe) and while she is visiting her family, he remains in Paris and meets and falls in love with an Italian man (Giovanni).  What's so startling about this book is the character's realization of his homosexuality and Baldwin's real(he was gay himself) portrayal of homosexuals.  Until that time, I had met few gays and largely thought about them as they had been portrayed in movies or by comics, as strange cartoon characters.  Another starting aspect of this book is its lack of "race."  James Baldwin is black, but the characters could be either black or white.  It's not relevant. 
In a message dated 4/2/2006 4:55:52 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, [log in to unmask] writes:
This is an eclectic list, to say the least.  Did Peyton Place really change the world?  I think we missed it in UK. One similar tome which affected me was Sillitoe's Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.  Lady Chatterley's Lover certainly changed the bookseller's world.   Thank you for the list, I have not read Giovanni's Room.
----- Original Message -----
From: Kate Troy
Sent: Sunday, April 02, 2006 5:45 AM
Subject: Re: 12 books

In no particular order of importance:
On the Road (Apres moi . . .)
Giovanni's Room
The Time Machine
Peyton Place
The Plague
The Declaration of Independence
A Tale of Two Cities
In Cold Blood
The Diary of Anne Frank
The Kinsey Report
The Warren Report
Lady Chatterly's Lover