Writers also are readers, gaining inspiration and learning about the craft of writing as they read the works of others. Some writers swear by specific books on the craft of writing, books that have helped them hone their skill. I have several beautifully informative craft books on my bookshelves or stacked on the floor of my living room. I’ll probably write a post about them someday. But the following thirteen books, most of them award winning, are favorites that have inspired me over the years to put fingers to my keyboard (or pen to my writing journal—whichever I happen to be nearest), to dig deep and make my prose sing.
I don’t think I can adequately articulate why I find these books so inspiring, so I’ll just list them. I decided to go with thirteen in honor of 2013. Here they are, in no particular order:
- Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley (YA fairy tale retelling)
- Sabriel by Garth Nix (YA fantasy)
- Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (fantasy for all ages; technically three books, but I’m counting them as one, since they can be found in one volume)
- The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis (MG historical fiction)
- Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt (YA historical fantasy)
- Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (MG/YA fairy tale retelling)
- Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens (classic)
- Beowulf—the Seamus Heaney translation (epic)
- Castle Waiting by Linda Medley (graphic novel series)
- Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales (fairy tales for all ages)
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (MG science fiction)
- American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (YA graphic novel)
- Bone by Jeff Smith (MG graphic novel; nine volumes nicely shoved into one 1300+-page book)
I’ll give a quick shout-out to Harper Lee’s classic, To Kill a Mockingbird. I didn’t add it to the list, because I wanted to keep the list to thirteen books.
What books inspire you?