The second half of my bookshelf list is below. These books offer wide-ranging craft lessons and insights.
6. Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose: I read this while in the MFA program and it helped me to understand why I had begun to struggle with my reading. I couldn’t read the same kind of books I’d read before, and when I read I no longer read for story. Suddenly, I was reading books with a writer’s eye and it was making my reading miserable. Until I read this book and realized that it was a good thing and began to understand why and what I could gain from the new way I approached reading.
7. Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury: I’m a longtime fan of Bradbury’s so I picked this gem up for that reason alone but the book wound up being a delightful read.
8. The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler: Vogler’s book is a study in the psychology behind character types and why we are drawn to them as humans who have encountered them time and again. While it is a fine line to make sure that we aren’t writing stereotyped characters and plots, knowing these common types allows us to develop characters that the reader will relate to. This book is important to ensure writers are familiar with the common archetypes.
9. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott: What is there to say about this book that hasn’t been said before? It’s a book every beginning writer should read and every writer should reread throughout their career.
10. A CURRENT MARKET BOOK APPROPRIATE FOR WHAT YOU WRITE: If you want to submit your writing, it’s imperative that you have a current market book. Stay on top of the latest information on markets before you submit.
Do you have writer friends? Set up a system where you can exchange books. Share with each other what you’re learning from a particular book. Recommend books to each other. What’s in your top ten list?