Every time you turn around there is another list of books that every writer should read. True, you will find the books below on various lists, but here at BookFuel we felt that these five in particular are fantastic choices for the budding author as well as the seasoned one.
- The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. & E.B.White. This one is on many lists and has been one of the “go-tos” for over fifty years. We chose it because it does provide a great introduction to grammar and developing a style. It should be emphasized however that it is not the be-all, end-all of grammar rules. While helpful, The Elements of Style is not the Bible of grammar. Think of it as a guide of rules to be broken and worked upon.
- Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. One of my favorites, Goldberg’s book is a must for those just venturing into the world of writing. She provides some solid advice and really helps flush out the fears and walls many authors encounter. Be prepared to nod your head repeatedly as you read: “People often say, ‘I was walking along [or driving, shopping, jogging] and I had this whole poem go through my mind, but when I sat down to write it, I couldn’t get it to come out right.’ I never can either. Sitting to write is another activity. Let go of walking or jogging and the poem that was born then in your mind. This is another moment. Write another poem. Perhaps secretly hope something of what you thought a while ago might come out, but let it come out however it does. Don’t force it.”
- The Adventures Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. There is something so interesting about Samuel Clemens. He was really just a dang genius. Yes, his book is controversial to this day for his choice of words, but there is something important here that is not to be missed. Everyone needs to read Huck Finn for a few reasons. One being the style that Clemens imparts. While many authors of his day were writing in a similar fashion to one another, Clemens stood apart. He infused his own style into his work, a style that fully embodied the southern world of Huck and Jim. Every writer can take something away from this standard high school read.
- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. If you haven’t read anything my Ms. Lamott, you need to get to it. In Bird by Bird, Lamott gives aspiring writers advice on all aspects of the writing process. Funny as well, you’ll find yourself eager to write. Lamott’s ability to motivate is fantastic and Bird by Bird is a must for your personal shelf. “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.”
- Finding Your Writer’s Voice: A Guide to Creative Fiction by Thaisa Frank and Dorothy Wall. We all strive to find our “voice,” but how does one actually accomplish that? The many different exercises and tips, in Finding Your Writer’s Voice you will learn to determine what your voice sounds like and how it is distinctly you. “Every writer has a voice and a personal way of telling a story that reflects his or her life experience, sense of humor, and way of seeing the world. This book will help writers find their own voice–helping them move from raw outpourings to polished prose….The authors have focused on a writing skill that is very hard to teach, and they have done so successfully. The ideas they present are good, and the exercises should help writers get at the heart of their feelings and passions.” – Library Journal