So when trying to come up with a topic for a new blog post, I was coming up flat. Then I went to Pinterest for inspiration and I found it! There were a ton of pins about the "best books ever," so I decided to make my own list.
I usually post about my writing process, etc., but today I'm going to talk about reading. Because, after all, as Stephen King said, "If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that." I agree wholeheartedly. Reading is like exercise for a writer. I can't find the exact quote, but SK also says in his wonderful, must-read book "On Writing" something along the lines of this...it's akin to a marathon runner running around the neighborhood every day...reading is the same for writers...it's practice that we need. How can you learn to write if you aren't an avid reader? You have to stay with the times as far as what's popular right now and the current trends in technical writing.
I've been a voracious reader since I was little. I can barely remember a day going by when I didn't at least open a book and read a few sentences. Usually, I try to read a few chapters a day. I read on my breaks during the work day, every night before bed, and whenever I'm not writing on weekends. I truly, truly believe this has a lot to do with how much I've grown as a writer recently. Because now when I read, I'm not just reading for entertainment...I'm reading to LEARN. I've learned so much from authors like, yep, Stephen King, Greg Iles, Gillian Flynn, Wally Lamb and Philippa Gregory (all my favorites).
So, what I'm going to do today is give you a list of my absolute favorite books of all time....ever. I've read a ton more than this, obviously, but these are the ones I keep on my bookshelf because they taught me something. I laughed and/or I cried and I fell in love with the characters, good and bad. I know that people are always recommending books to one another, and I'm no expert, so I don't expect you to run right out and buy these books, but if you are in search of a great read (or several), check out the books on this list. I promise you won't be disappointed. NOTE: There are plenty of other books I've somewhat enjoyed...even entire series I've read...but these are the cream of the crop.
Here they are, in no particular order:
Fall of Giants - Ken Follett
Winter of the Word - Ken Follett
(I did not enjoy nor finish Edge of Eternity by Ken Follett)
Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
The Red Tent - Anita Diamant
She's Come Undone - Wally Lamb
I Know This Much Is True - Wally Lamb
The Historian - Elizabeth Kostova
The Crimson Petal & The White - Michael Faber
The Notebook - Nicholas Sparks
The Stand - Stephen King
On Writing - Stephen King (a MUST for writers)
Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn
Dark Places - Gillian Flynn
Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
All the Secret Things - Laura Lippman
East of Eden - John Steinbeck
The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern
Finders Keepers - Stephen King
Doctor Sleep - Stephen King
House of Sand and Fog - Andre Dubus
the entire tudor/war of the roses series by Philippa Gregory (too many to list)
Twilight Series - Stephanie Meyers
Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larson
Girl Who Played with Fire - Stieg Larson
Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - Stieg Larson
(I did not so much enjoy the fourth book written by someone else after Stieg's death)
Beloved - Toni Morrison
Good In Bed - Jennifer Weiner
Game of Thrones Series - George RR Martin
Natches Burning - Greg Iles (the entire series is great, but this one stood out)
11/22/63 - Stepehn King (saved the best for last - my all-time favorite)
That pretty much covers it. There are probably more I've left out, but these are the ones that stand out in my mind. As you can see, sometimes I like an entire series, or sometimes I like only one or two books from a series.
Well, that's all for today folks. Hope this gave you some inspiration to pick up a book you've never thought of reading before and to use reading as a tool to hone your writing skills.