Books to Read for Aspiring Writers

Reading books for prospective authors

I recommend these books in the order I have read them over a period of twelve years. I would like to hear other authors talk about their experiences with such things. I' m looking more for actual stories than for books about writing. Who I talked to, what were the main topics of conversation. I'm sorry, but there are many bad writers.

Meanwhile, Stephen King has compiled a list of 96 books for future writers to read

When I was 11 years old, I found Stephen King, indirect through a baby-sitter who plumped me in front of the soap of the day and disappeared. Sobriety of One Lives to Lives, I read the piles of bulk-paper books my absent legal adviser bequeathed me - romance, mystery, thriller and yes, terror. King's books certainly look like the other raunchy, mushy books, and at least his early works usually match a certain formulation, which makes them perfect for Hollywood movies.

But for many years, when it went from gruesome to wider themes, King's collection has developed far beyond his fellow-musicians. He has become a "serious" author and with his 2000 publication On Writing-part memoroir, part "Lehrbuch" - something of a novelist who switches from the shelves of supermarkets to the pages of The Paris Review.

Very few modern authors have questioned the somewhat indiscriminate distinction between literature and so-called gender rhetoric as much as Stephen King, whose standing provoked such verbal conflicts as this recent Los Angeles Review of Books discussion. No matter what critic throws at him, King continues to plough, read books, refine his handicraft, share his insight and read whatever he wants.

To prove his contempt for academics, we have his Writers' Book Lists, which he has included as an annex to On Writing. Bestselling authors like Nelson DeMille, Thomas Harris and Needs-no-introduction J.K. Rowling are sitting next to lit-class clips like Dickens, Faulkner and Conrad. He also advises realists such as Richard Bausch, John Irving and Annie Proulx, and occasionally postmodern or "difficult" authors such as Don DeLillo or Cormac McCarthy.

It also contains several non-fiction books. He starts the listing with a disclaimer: "I am not Oprah and this is not my bookshop. Below we have twenty good readings that he suggests for future writers. Those are books, says Mr. Kings, that directly inspire him: "Somehow I suppose that every single one of the books in the catalogue had an impact on the books I wrote."

He says to the writer: "Many of them could show you new ways to do your work." As with many of King's own works, many of these books suggest a range, no gap between literature and advertising, and many of their authors have been successful with display adaptions and Barnes & Noble ads as well as widely read reviews.

The full selection of King's books can be found in the complete 96 books in the Aerogramme Writers' Studio.

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