10 Influential Books

Now we’re talking! The Haunted Wordsmith asks us for 10 books and I decided to use only those I gave 5 stars to on Goodreads. Couple reasons. One, I can take screenshots of ’em to show not tell, and isn’t that what writing is all about? Two, if they aren’t right in my face, I might have trouble remembering them (like the mystery tidal wave movie yesterday). Three, I gotta have some way of narrowing down the books I love into a list and this is as good as any. Let’s begin!

1. This is a children’s book with universal themes of loneliness, friendship, abandonment, imagination vs reality, and feeling outcast from your tribe. It has really stayed with me.

2. I had already been enjoying the detective novels of Lawrence Sanders, but the McNally series notched his writing up to a whole new level for me. I realized you could fall in love with a flawed antihero who made mistakes, stepped out on his girlfriend, and overindulged in food and booze. Our protags don’t have to be perfect; in fact, they’re more interesting when they aren’t.

3. Crusie’s Welcome to Temptation showed me a fresh and sassy narrative voice that gave me hope for my own. Faking It continues this voice that I’ve fallen in love with and adds a fabulous plot, so mixed up and crazy, but somehow seamlessly blending with the love story, not jangling against it or tacked on as an afterthought.

4. I literally could not put down this book. I never knew I could even enjoy a memoir ~ I thought they were all boring celeb brags. This book is incredible (the movie just so-so).

5. What can I say ~ I named my cat after this book. The most beautiful writing to hit the page, so lovely, so poetic. I never get tired of its lushness.

6. The first and best book in the series. A gift from a friend, which captivated me so much I began watching the show, and it is incredible. I don’t normally go for fantasy and/or sci-fi, but GOT is an exception that breaks every rule.

7. Even though I didn’t list any Stephen King novels here, I have enjoyed many, as well as his short stories, and this book on his craft is a treasure. I recommend it to all writers.

8. This is the novel that hooked me into Murakami’s writing. I picked it up at B&N, sat down, and read the entire thing without pause. Then I began buying his books ~ my favorite is probably his short story collection Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman.

9. Speaking of shorts, Ray Carver is my favorite short story writer, and this is my favorite book of his collected work. But they’re all great! He writes down to the bone, cuts to the essence of an idea, nothing extra, no poetic loveliness a la Fitzgerald. I love both types of writing, no need to choose!

10. And now TULOB, my very favorite book of all time. Absolutely brilliant. The movie doesn’t do it justice at all ~ you must read the book, again and again. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I feel bad I didn’t include any poetry books (Mark Strand, Robert Frost, e.e. cummings, etc.), or Margaret Atwood or Rosanne Cash or Faye Kellerman etc. etc. etc., but again, like I did with the movies, I tried to focus on what influenced me over time, not on what I merely enjoyed a whole bunch.

Happy reading 📖!

7 responses to “10 Influential Books

  1. I added the Raymond Carver one to my reading list. Thanks for the suggestion!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Haunted Wordsmith

    Very nice post! Personally I have read two on your list and started a third but put it back.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. you mentioned two of my favourites, Kundera and Fitzgerlad, yes those two are worth reading more than once. good picks

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh! I love lists like the one you posted. My choices for the most influential books I’ve ever read are:

    “A New Guide to Rational Living” by Dr. Albert Ellis. It is written for the layman and he offers an easy method to follow (calling it ABC) and ways to work through life’s conflicts. One caveat, you must be willing to really sit down and think about your priorities and belief systems and be willing change them if that change will improve your outlook on life.

    FLIM-FLAM! by James Randi (a retired stage magician) shows how we easily we can be fooled or misled, how this has been done, and how to combat the BS that people use to get our money, and sometimes our lives.

    And finally, any cartoon books of Bloom County or the Far Side. So I can laugh at my problems.

    Liked by 1 person

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