Read

Reading inspires us to think big, think different, get out of our own heads and lives. It also improves our ability to communicate - whether it's telling stories at dinner parties, writing academic papers or grants, or trying to get a novel published. There is no writing without reading.

So here are my favourite pieces of writing - my 100% Recommended Reading list. Each of these books, stories or essays entertained me, sparked me, changed me. They stuck with me long after reading them, in some indescribable way. Who can define great writing? Read these and see what you think. And check back! I'm often adding newly-read (or forgotten!) books to this list.
Axx

PS. Here's where I'll link to stories that I've written. 
"Exorcism" - published in Monkeybicycle, April 2015


FICTION
2010s
The Cuckoo's Calling, by Robert Galbraith (2013)
The Kings and Queens of Roam, by Daniel Wallace (2013)
The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion (2013)
Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn (2012)
The Casual Vacancy, by JK Rowling (2012)
The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green (2012)

2000s
Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout (2008)
A Long Way Down, by Nick Hornby (2005)
Drop City, by TC Boyle (2003)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon (2003)
The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini (2003)
Man Walks Into a Room, by Nicole Krauss (2002)
Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides (2002)

1990s
A Fine Balance, by Rohinton Mistry (1995)
The Tortilla Curtain, by TC Boyle (1995)
The Robber Bride, by Margaret Atwood (1993)

1980s
Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1985)
Water Music, by TC Boyle (1982)

1930s
Tortilla Flat, by John Steinbeck (1935)

1800s
Around the World in Eighty Days , by Jules Verne (1873)


FICTION - APOCALYPTIC, DYSTOPIAN AND OTHER CRAZY SHIT
2010s
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman (2014)
Wool, by Hugh Howey (2013)

2000s
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins (2008)
The Road, by Cormac McCarthy (2006)
Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood (2003)

1980s
Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card (1985)
The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood (1985)

1950s
The Chrysalids, by John Wyndham (1955)
I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson (1954)
Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke (1953)
Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury (1953)

1940s
Animal Farm, by George Orwell (1945)

1930s
Anthem, by Ayn Rand (1938)

1800s
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving (1820)



NOVELLAS AND OTHER NON-CLASSIFIABLE SHORT FICTIONS
We Take Me Apart, by Molly Gaudry (2011)
The Collectors, by Matt Bell (2008)


SHORT STORY COLLECTIONS
2010s
Chase Us, by Sean Ennis (2014)
Vampires in the Lemon Grove, by Karen Russell (2013)

2000s
Sum, by David Eagleman (2009)
St Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, by Karen Russell (2008)

1990s
Jesus' Son, by Denis Johnson (1992)
Einstein's Dreams, by Alan Lightman (1992)

The Best of Roald Dahl


POETRY
2010s
Life on Mars, by Tracy K Smith (2011)
Come, Thief, by Jane Hirshfield (2011)

1990s
White Stone: The Alice Poems, by Stephanie Bolster (1998)


GREAT ESSAYS AND SHORT PIECES
What You Will Do, by Jacob Newberry in Ploughshares (2012)
The Slather, by Brian Doyle in Orion (2012)
Bruised, by Joe Wilkins in The Sun Magazine (Jan 2012 - sadly not available online in its entirety)
What the Dead Wear, by Sue Wright on Drimzel Road (May 2013)


NONFICTION - FOOD AND LIFE
2010s
Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health, by Jo Robinson (2013)
Buddhism for Mothers: A Calm Approach to Caring for Yourself and Your Children, by Sarah Napthali (2010)

2000s
Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking, by Michael Ruhlman (2009)


NONFICTION - SCIENCE
2010s
The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, by Siddhartha Mukherjee (2010)
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot (2010)


NONFICTION - HISTORY
2010s
The Heart of Haiku, by Jane Hirshfield (2011)

1970s
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West, by Dee Brown (1970)


NONFICTION - ART AND WRITING
2010s
A Field Guide for Immersion Writing: Memoir, Journalism, and Travel, by Robin Hemley (2012)
Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative, by Austin Kleon (2012)
The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Creative Writing, by Alice LaPlante (2010)

2000s
How Fiction Works , by James Wood (2008)
Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing, by Margaret Atwood (2002)
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King (2000)


MEMOIR
2010s
Paradise in Plain Sight: Lessons from a Zen Garden, by Karen Maezen Miller (2014)
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed (2012)
Mortality, by Christopher Hitchens (2012)

1990s
Running in the Family, by Michael Ondaatje (1993)


COLLECTED ESSAYS
2010s
Men Explain Things To Me , by Rebecca Solnit (2014)

2000s
A Field Guide to Getting Lost, by Rebecca Solnit (2005)

 






DISCLOSURE: If you purchase books - or anything, really - via these links, the cost is the same as always but I receive a teeny commission. Which I use for more books. So thank you xx

2 comments:

Barbara Good said... [Reply to comment]

Great list. I live Jeffrey eugenides and Margaret Atwood especially. I've tried a Cormac McCarthy, blood meridian, and absolutely hated it. So much so I didn't finish it which doesn't happen often. I too tend to know exactly what I like or dislike unlike my sister who will read anything. At the moment I'm reading cloud street which, embarrassingly I've never read before.

Amanda Niehaus said... [Reply to comment]

Thanks Barbara! The Road is the only McCarthy I've read ... but I've heard similar assessments to yours about the others so haven't read them. You might try it, though - it's graphic and disturbing, but what a story. I haven't read Cloudstreet either! But it's an Aussie classic, right, so I'd better get to it :)

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Thanks for commenting! Amandaxx

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Thanks for commenting! Amandaxx

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