No matter what genre we write or like to read, there are certain books that, as writers, we can learn so much from.
I remember the first time I read Carson McCullers’s novel “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.” What struck me most was the way she used setting in her story – how it became a living, breathing presence.
What are the best books to read and learn from? Opinions vary but below are lists from two successful authors and one grand list from the Guardian. Browse their lists and then create your own.
From suspense and thriller writer Lee Childs: Top 40 Books of All Time
From Pulitzer-winning author Michael Chabon: Top Ten List
And from the Guardian: The 100 Greatest Novels of All Time
Do you have any favorites to add?
Mary Ann Gwinn, book editor for The Seattle Times, recently published a list of top 32 books for 2011. Read her article here, including her criteria for placing a book on the list. She admits any “top books” list is “squishy” and depends on the criteria you use. I’m sure we could find many more “top books” list for 2011.
What I love about The Seattle Times list is the variety of books represented: fiction, non-fiction, and even poetry.
As a writer, I love reading the blurbs for each book. One of the most useful tips I learned as I began writing my current novel was to have a one or two sentence bullet for my book that contains my original idea. This helps keep me focused as I write and will come in handy as I begin to pitch and promote the book. Also, book blurbs are goldmines for ideas. Read more