I believe that, if a writer wants to hone their craft, they’d better read a lot. My tastes are pretty eclectic and I have a system for choosing books to make sure that I round out the experience. I read a classic, then a children’s book, a book about writing, then a book I’d like to read just for pleasure. I’ve always got a book of poetry on the go at the same time.
Here are some of my favourites; though not an all-inclusive lists, these are the ones that come first to mind:
- ‘Jayne Eyre’ and ‘Wuthering Heights’ by the Bronte Sisters
- ‘Atlas Shrugged’ by Ayn Rand
- ‘The Waves’ by Virginia Woolf
- ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee
- ‘Anne of Green Gables’ by Lucy Maude Montgomery
- ‘Old Bayana’s Tales’* by H. W. D. Longden (a favourite from my childhood)
- ‘Grimm’s Fairy Tales’* by The Brothers Grimm, from Doubleday’s Junior Deluxe Editions (a favourite from my childhood)
- ‘Stories from Anderson’* by Hans Christian Anderson, from Collins’ Clear Type Press (a favourite from my childhood)
- Just about anything by Robert Munsch
- ‘Skellig’ by David Almond
- ‘Inkheart’ by Cornelia Funke
- ‘The Lightning Thief’ by Rick Riordan
- ‘The Giver’ by Lois Lowry
*I still have copies of these books, tattered and dog-eared, from my childhood.
Books About Writing:
- ‘Second Words’ by Margaret Atwood
- ‘Bird by Bird’ by Anne Lamott
- ‘Eats, Shoots and Leaves’ by Lynne Truss
- ‘Stephen King on Writing’ by Stephen King
- ‘Writers Dreaming’ by Naomi Epel
Books I Read for Pleasure:
- Anything, and I mean anything by Charles de Lint. ‘Dreams Underfoot’ and 'Moonheart’ and its sequel ‘Spiritwalk’ are my favourites.
- ‘The Stand’ and ‘Four Seasons’ by Stephen King
- ‘Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten’ and ‘Maybe, Maybe Not’ by Robert Fulghum
Books of Poetry:
- ‘I’ve Tasted My Blood’ (and anything else I can get my hands on) by Milton Acorn
- ‘A Wild Peculiar Joy’ by Irving Layton
- ‘All Our Wonder Unavenged’ by Don Domanski
- ‘The Wall of the Earth’ by Giorgio Caproni (translated by Pasquale Verdicchio)
You’ll notice that many of the poets are Canadian. It’s not that I’m biased. We just happen to have some wonderful Canadian poets.