10 Books That Made Me A Better Writer

Recently, when I have been avoiding work, I have been escaping to tumblr. While there, I’ve come across multiple posts of stacks of ten books. These posts are usually titled something along the lines of, “The Top 10 Books that have Changed My Life”.

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I think these lists are so fascinating– each is tailored to an individual and his or her life experiences.

These posts got me thinking about what books I would put on my list. So I went into my bedroom and looked at all of the books that line my walls. And quickly came to the conclusion that picking 10 books was going to be way too hard. Because… Well, I have a bit of a problem. It’s a good problem, but a problem nonetheless.

I have so many books that I don’t have enough room for them in my room. Or my basement.

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I like books. A lot.

So I decided to make a different list. Instead of picking my favorite books of all time, I decided to pick 10 books that have helped me to become a better writer.

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Too much, actually. And may or may not alphabetize them.

Some of these books opened my eyes to what excellent writing is, how to craft a sentence in a way that makes the reader crave to read it aloud. Others have shown me how to create atmosphere and mood in a story through description. Others have shown me the importance of stories within a culture. Others have shown me the importance of world-building. Others have shown me how to create complex, believable characters.

If you asked me what books I would bring with me to a desert island, some of these would not be on my list– books like Little Women and Jane Eyre and A Moveable Feast and The Road would. But these are the books that, whether I was seven or twenty at the time, have proved to be invaluable textbooks for me as I work (and continue to work) to hone my craft.

The books I chose are the following, in no particular order:

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Why yes, that is a Batman action figure on my shelf.

1. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

2. Watership Down by Richard Adams

3. Erec and Enide by Chrétien de Troyes, translated by Ruth Harwood Cline

4. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

5. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

6. Beowulf by Unknown, Awesome Anglo-Saxon Dude and translated by Howell D. Chickering, Jr.

7. Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

8. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

9. The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

and 10. Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

Clare and I have decided to write reviews of our Top 10 lists, so look for those in the future. I am so excited to write about the ten books on my list! And we would love to know… What books would be on your list?

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And yes, I keep books on my radiator, too.

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