Hello future writers!
If you are like me, wanting your future career to be writing, then you should give this article a read. Throughout my years of writing, I have come across people who gave me lists of books that they recommend I should read. Some of these books will help you to understand some things about the life of a writer or they're just good guides to become an author--self-published or not. The majority of these books will help you with your writing career by giving you good insight on life. So here are some books that I think you should read if you're dreaming of being a writer.
1. "The Lazy Man's Guide To Enlightenment" by Thaddeus Golas
The job of all writers is not only to translate their knowledge and beliefs into words but--more importantly--to know themselves. In "The Lazy Man," Thaddeus Golas bring his readers to a greater understanding of not only the souls within, but also of their purpose on this planet.
2. "The Republic" by Plato
Being one of the first philosophical texts to question and dissect the role of writing in society, Plato's "Republic" is a must-read for any aspiring writer. By emphasizing the power of wide-spread publication and including his own take on political and social concepts of the time, Plato offers insight into a writer's responsibilities and impact on the world. He reminds writers that they're not only creating entertainment and art, but frameworks of ideology and realities for those observers.
3. "Sixty Stories" by Donald Barthelme
Remembering all these great writers may leave you thinking it has all been done before--there's just nothing left to write. Barthelme proves to you just how wrong you are. He gives a new meaning to short stories, taking the outline far deeper than its length. Each captivating story puts a new lens on life, constantly challenging any preconceived constraints of storytelling, or of simply being human.
4. "The Struggles and Success of Self-Publishing: The Simple and Understandable Guide to Becoming a Self-Published Author" by C. L. Lowry
In his book, Lowry explains the self-publishing process and shares tips that will help independent authors stand tall among traditional authors. Although Lowry has sold enough books to consider himself a best-selling author, he explains why he never received that title and what he could have done to achieve that goal. Due to the many options for self-publishing, many authors waste a lot of time and money trying to compete with books that have been released by traditional publishers. C.L. Lowry wants to help you avoid making mistakes and ensure you profit from your hard work. His advice will assist writers with deciding whether self-publishing is the right choice for them and if so, which option would work best for their books.
5. "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print" by Renni Browne and Dave King
In this completely revised and updated second edition, Renni Browne and Dave King teach you, the writer, how to apply the editing techniques they have developed to your own work. Chapters on dialogue, exposition, point of view, interior monologue and other techniques take you through the same processes an expert editor would go through to perfect your manuscript. Each point is illustrated with examples, many drawn from the hundreds of books Browne and King have edited.
6. "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen
"Pride and Prejudice" has remained one of the most popular novels in the English language. It's the story of Mrs. Bennet's attempts to marry off her five daughters, and is one of the best-loved and most enduring classics in English literature. Excitement fizzes through the Bennet household at Longbourn in Hertfordshire when young, eligible Mr. Charles Bingley rents the fine house nearby. He may have sisters, but he also has male friends, and one of these--the haughty, and even wealthier, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy--irks the vivacious Elizabeth Bennet, the second of the Bennet girls. She annoys him. Which is how we know they must one day marry. The romantic clash between the opinionated Elizabeth and Darcy is a splendid rendition of civilized sparring. As the characters dance a delicate quadrille of flirtation and intrigue, Jane Austen's radiantly caustic wit and keen observation sparkle.
6. "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou
This book have been one of my favorites since freshman year of high school. Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local "powhitetrash." At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit and the ideas of great authors will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned. Once you've amassed a linguistic array worthy of your creative intentions and learned to select with skill and honesty from the writhing verbal milieu of your mind, elevate your prose with rhythm, cadence and tone--now's the time to learn to sing little bird.
7. "Native Son" by Richard Wright
There are as many stories in the world as individual souls to tell them, so don't waste your time trying to co-op a narrative that's not yours to tell. Follow the example of Richard Wright's dark, brilliant, scathing story of institutional racism and structural poverty and learn how to bring your passions to life while letting the world revel in your particular point of view. Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. "Native Son" tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Wright's powerful novel is an unsparing reflection on the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and of what it means to be black in America.
8. "Hamlet" by William Shakespeare
From symbol to metaphor, allegory to aphorism, character to plot, setting and style, no one has inspired more great theft than the bard himself. If you don't know your Shakespeare, you're nowhere, and if you've got the guts to steal from one of the greatest that ever was, you'll know you're really on the right track. One of the greatest plays of all time, the compelling tragedy of the tormented young prince of Denmark continues to capture the imaginations of modern audiences worldwide. Confronted with evidence that his uncle murdered his father, and with his mother’s infidelity, Hamlet must find a means of reconciling his longing for oblivion with his duty as avenger. The ghost, Hamlet’s feigned madness, Ophelia’s death and burial, the play within a play, the “closet scene” (in which Hamlet accuses his mother of complicity in murder) and breathtaking swordplay are just some of the elements that make Hamlet an enduring masterpiece of the theater.
9. "The Journalist and the Murderer" by Janet Malcolm
You read Malcolm because her nonfiction is a crash course in writing gripping literary journalism--and a meta-commentary on the larger issues surrounding journalism as a profession. Even if this isn’t the kind of writing you want to do, Malcolm’s attention to detail is something we should all emulate. Using a strange and unprecedented lawsuit as her larger-than-life example, she delves into the always uneasy, sometimes tragic relationship that exists between journalist and subject. In Malcolm's view, neither journalist nor subject can avoid the moral impasse that is built into the journalistic situation. When the text first appeared, as a two-part article in The New Yorker, its thesis seemed so radical and its irony so pitiless that journalists across the country reacted as if stung.
In the end, I hope you enjoy these books and hopefully find the time to find one of them to read.
Lead Image Credit: Lou Levit via Unsplash