“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
Reading has been as much a part of my life as writing and I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t doing either one.
The following titles, both fiction and non-fiction, have influenced me as a writer. Some titles may be favorites of yours, some you may not be familiar with.
I will be periodically updating this list, because there are so many books in this world and a lot of them have made an impact on my life in one way or another.
Some titles may not be available new or may even be out of print, but there are many independent new and used bookstores that can help you, as well as your local library. They’re just waiting for you to walk in and ask.
The Woman in White (1860) – Wilkie Collins
Pride & Prejudice (1813) – Jane Austen
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902) – Arthur Conan Doyle
The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920) – Agatha Christie
Gaudy Night (1935) – Dorothy L. Sayers
Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) – Zora Neale Hurston
The Lord of the Rings (pub. as 3 separate books, 1954-55) – J.R.R. Tolkien
The Haunting of Hill House (1959) – Shirley Jackson
IT (1986) – Stephen King
Frankenstein (1818) – Mary Shelley
The Color Purple (1982) – Alice Walker
Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928) – D.H. Lawrence
Dracula (1897) – Bram Stoker
And Then There Were None (1939) – Agatha Christie
The Divine Comedy – Dante Alighieri
MacBeth (1606) – William Shakespeare
Black Beauty (1877) – Anna Sewell
The Black Stallion (1941) – Walter Farley
Where the Red Fern Grows (1961) – Wilson Rawls
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (2000) – Stephen King
*part memoir, part guide to writing.
The Great Mortality (2005) – John Kelly
*about the European Black Plague of 1347-1352.
Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks (2011, 2012) – John Curran
*an insight to the Queen of Crime’s notes that would later become some of her most famous titles, including And Then There Were None, Murder on the Orient Express, etc.
An Autobiography (1977; re-issued 2012) – Agatha Christie
*the Queen of Crime’s life story, as told in her own words…….. except for the time in which she herself became a subject of mystery when she ‘disappeared’ for ten days.
Woman in the Mists (1987) – Farley Mowat
*biography of Dian Fossey (1932-1985). She was a zoologist, primatologist and anthropologist; author of Gorillas in the Mist (1983) and founder of the Karisoke Research Center, studying the mountain gorillas of Rwanda.
Anais Nin (1995) – Deirdre Bair
*biography of Nin, famous for her journals, her friendship with Henry Miller and writing a book about Miller and his wife, June. The book, Henry & June, was adapted for the screen and released in 1990, starring Uma Thurman (June), Fred Ward (Henry) and Maria de Medeiros (Nin).
Desert Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell (2005) – Janet Wallach
*Bell (1868-1926) was an English writer, traveler, political officer, administrator, archaeologist and spy and ally of T.E. Lawrence. She helped shape modern Jordan and Iraq.
Lily Dale: The Town That Talks to the Dead (2006) – Christine Wicker
*about the town famous for its spiritualism.
Seabiscuit: An American Legend/The True Story of Three Men and a Race Horse (2001) – Laura Hillenbrand
*Grandson of Man O’War and unlikely hero of the Great Depression, Seabiscuit proved that with the right combination of teamwork, great things could be achieved. Best moment in the 2003 film? The match race between Seabiscuit and his uncle, War Admiral (son of Man O’War).
Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind (1981) – Donald Johanson & Maitland Edey
*about the discovery of the oldest hominid in Ethiopia, changing the way we view the origins of modern humans.