The shape of thoughts
Many have bounced off this fun Slate piece, in which various folks recall the book that most influenced them during their college years. My favorite contribution is by Nicholson Baker—appropriate, since I devoured Baker's The Mezzanine during college, as well as U and I (I enjoyed, to a lesser degree, Room Temperature and Vox).
I'm not quite sure how I came to The Mezzanine; I do remember buying about six copies afterward, to give to friends as gifts. I read a lot of Nabokov in college, especially senior year; probably the most influential assigned, non-Nabs book for the young Ed was Borges's Labyrinths. (Best bookstore discovery in those days: The TriQuarterly issue devoted to JLB!)
Extracurricularly, I quite enjoyed Mark Leyner back then. I started reading Ishiguro...and I believe my first exposure to Frederick Exley was in college (Pages From a Cold Island before A Fan's Notes—Pages was deeply discounted at the Co-Op!). And Lester Bangs!
I have a feeling I read more poetry then—García Lorca, Neruda. On the comix front, the first installment of Art Spiegelman's Maus had a big impact on me, and I remember Spiegelman coming to speak about it. (Bill Griffith and Harvey Pekar were other big likes.)
I feel old and vaguely depressed now but also amused.