Saturday, August 21, 2010

Five Books I Recommend

This Tuesday will be the final session of my current Grub Street Fiction class, and the instructor has given us a fun final assignment to bring in – a list of five books we recommend, along with a short sentence or two describing what we can learn from the book. I thought I’d share mine here, as well.

In picking these five books, I tried not to recommend the most obvious (John Gardner or On Writing Well, etc). I wanted a mix of non-fiction with fiction, with different strengths to each book.

1. Making a Literary Life, Carolyn See
Making a Literary Life is a cheerful guide with practical advice on every part of the writing profession from crafting a scene to promoting your published book. There’s no way you can read this book and not pick up at least one great tip.

2. The Anatomy of Story, John Truby
On the flip side of the coin, The Anatomy of Story is a dense exploration of the components of satisfying plots and character arcs. Be forewarned that the book draws from a wide range of books and movies for its examples.

3. The Feast of Love, Charles Baxter
I’m not a “beautiful sentences” person, but I love this book for its beautiful sentences. It’s nice to have Charles Baxter in your head for a while.

4. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
If there’s one thing to learn from Suzanne Collins, it’s courage. She puts her characters in danger on every page and doesn’t pull a punch. The tension in this book is insane.

5. Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides
My favorite book by my favorite author. It’s everything.

What five books would you recommend?

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