I apologize in advance because I’m going to reference Stephen King a lot in my posts, but as prolific and high-selling as he is, it’s not like the man isn’t qualified to talk about writing… we can learn some things from him! Anyway, one thing he says and that I absolutely agree with is that writers have to be readers, too. Reading is how we learn style and find inspiration. It keeps us humble, but if we read a lot, we come across that one book that makes us say, “I maybe could’ve written that better…”
I wanted to share what’s been on my reading list these days, along with some of the books that have really inspired me lately. I won’t share the one that I think I could’ve done better, but it exists, and it happens to be a book I loved anyway 😉
1) All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr. I legitimately believe this may have become my favorite book of all time last year. I finished reading it the night before I learned that a friend of mine passed away, and even without the tragedy, the book hit me in ways I didn’t know a book could hit me. I’m not usually into historical fiction, but the writing style almost gives it the elements of a fairy tale. There’s descriptive gold here – the kind I really want to emulate. The way he describes a blind girl’s sight, the sounds and smells of cooking, it’s ridiculous. Coolest of all, he weaves two stories together. They’re totally separate in the beginning, but they cross paths at the end and it’s fantastic. I wish I had written it…
2) The Heroes of Olympus Series – Rick Riordan. Not only do I want to be Rick Riordan; I want to be his main character, Percy Jackson. True story: these books actually helped me in class a few months ago when my professor asked me who the God of Poetry is… Anyway, I’m trying to write a young adult fantasy book right now, and I have to admit that I’m often trying to channel this book’s energy. I want its humor and its pacing and its high stakes action and even the ease with which the author addresses issues of equality. I can’t rave about this hard enough.
3) The Princess Bride – William Goldman. This is the most recent book I read and I was seeking some sort of inspiration for my work in progress. I had seen the movie a long time ago so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but in the end I was really pleased with the book. The best part was all the snark I wasn’t expecting. Goldman clearly doesn’t take himself too seriously, and that invites the reader to laugh and have fun. It’s a cool quality.
4) Paper Towns – John Green. I didn’t like this one quite as much as The Fault in Our Stars, but I still tore through it in about 3 days and enjoyed every page. The story isn’t inherently fun, but John Green makes it fun. I’m still trying to figure out how he does that…
5) Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn. Alright, to be fair, I just started this one and I’m only on chapter three. To be even more fair, I already know all the big twists because I’ve seen the movie twice. But because I’ve seen the movie, I already have to respect Flynn for how intricate her crazy plot is. Plot’s hard, I’m not gonna lie, so mad respect to her already for writing one out that can my jaw drop in the theater. I do have to say though, just by reading these first few chapters, I’m not going to be disappointed by the book. I live for vivid descriptions and great imagery, and it’s all there. I’ll probably throw up on my eReader when I get to the Neil Patrick Harris scene.
So, to keep on writing, we have to keep on reading and learning from the greats… I’ll keep sharing my thoughts when I stumble on more!