Posts Tagged ‘reading’

The Flip Side of Writing

READING is the flip side of writing. Every author, teacher, or writing coach worth their salt will suggest you read widely in your genre if you want to publish—Stephen King* not least among them! We’ll say this (often) because we know you’ll learn as much about structure and style from considering how your favorite authors artfully construct their stories as you will from even the most instructive books about the writing craft.

Further, reading—in one’s genre or out of it—reliably restocks our pond of creativity, so that, when we go angling for new ideas and approaches, there are always plenty of fish to choose from.

Also, as poet W. H. Auden is reported to have said, “We read to learn more of what it means to be human.” And it does seem that often we are—consciously or unconsciously—seeking wisdom of some sort when we pick up a book.

There are a gazillion or so lists of books to consider adding to your reading pile. Among them, THE NEW YORK TIMES Book Review, BookBub, and Goodreads.

A little closer to home (like, here, on this blog!) are a couple of reading lists you might want to peruse. The first, 20 (or so) Novels That Have Impacted Our Lives and Imaginations, was compiled during a very literary walk with my best pal Jill. The second, a post titled Support Black Writers, has a list of lists—Black-authored books that PBS, Penguin Random House, and HuffPost consider must-reads.

*And, as you may know, Stephen King, who reads voraciously, widely, and well, includes a list of 96 books he considers important in his ON WRITING: A MEMOIR OF THE CRAFT. You’ll find that list on Aerogramme Writers’ Studio.

Wherever you are in your reading life, keep turning those pages. Reading not only fills the creative well—it fills our hearts, our souls, our minds, and our imaginations.

Writing coach

Need help with your book? I’m available for book coaching and manuscript review! And check out Should I Hire a Writing Coach” in THE WRITER magazine.

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Thank you to Llewellyn Worldwide for kind permission to use the image of the Nine of Pentacles card from the EVERYDAY WITCH TAROT

20 (or so) Novels That Have Impacted Our Lives and Imaginations

ON OUR WEEKLY WALK AND BOOK CHAT, Jill and I started listing novels that have had a long-lasting impact on us. As we built our personal canon, we were not necessarily reflecting on the same considerations that Karen Swallow Prior, author of ON READING WELL: Finding the Good Life through Great Books, explores in her essay “How reading Makes Us More Human,” in THE ATLANTIC. But we were close!

Here’s our list (and below that, if you’re a list-aholic—or just looking for more reading recommendations—you’ll find links to three more lists to help satisfy your reading itch).

Reading (and writing) inspiration

(Okay. There are more than 20 books on this list. Mostly, because while Jill and I agreed on many authors, we almost always chose a different book from their oeuvre. But also because there are just so many books … and we got excited.)

And now, in no particular order …

THE BURIED GIANT, NEVER LET ME GO, Kazuo Ishiguro

AS I LAY DYING, William Faulkner

THE GREAT GATSBY, F. Scott Fitzgerald

MARIANNE DREAMS, Catherine Storr

THE HEART IS A  LONELY HUNTER, Carson McCullers

WOLF HALL, Hilary Mantel

ATONEMENT, Ian McEwan

THE SECRET GARDEN, A LITTLE PRINCESS, Frances Hodgson Burnett

LOOK HOMEWARD ANGEL, THOMAS WOLFE

THE HOBBIT, THE LORD OF THE RINGS, J. R. R. Tolkien

STRONG POISON, HAVE HIS CARCASEGAUDY NIGHT, BUSMAN’S HOLIDAY, Dorothy L. Sayers

HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY, Audrey Neffenegger

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, PERSUASION, Jane Austen

TURN OF THE SCREW, Henry James

STAR WARS (yes, the novel),GEORGE LUCAS

LITTLE WOMEN, Louisa May Alcott

THE BONE CLOCKS, David Mitchell

JONATHAN STRANGE & MR NORRELL, Suzanna Clarke

HUCKLEBERRY FINN, Mark Twain

A HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE, Gabriel García Márquez

THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD, Zora Neale Hurston

IF ON A WINTER’S NIGHT A TRAVELER, INVISIBLE CITIES, and anything else, says Jill, by Italo Calvino

HARRIET THE SPY, Louise Fitzhugh

More literary resources

The 50 Most Influential Books of All Time, listed on the Open Education Database (OED)

25 Books That Will Change Your Life, by Yasmeen Piper, on Book Riot

13 Women Reveal the Book That Had the Biggest Impact on Their Lives, by Charlotte Ahlin, on BUSTLE

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The photo illustrating this post is by Pouya sh, who generously made it available under the Creative CommonsAttribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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